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Oct 15, 2016

Draping Drama + My Charm Bracelet!


Sometimes I forget where I originally raised a style-related question, here or on Instagram.

Regardless, if you're one of the many millions wondering whether men can wear charm bracelets, I am here to assure you that, yes, they can, though perhaps not every day and certainly not if the jingle-jangle of the charms is going to distract those around you or get in the way of your work.  Sewing in a charm bracelet, for example, can be challenging as the charms tend to get tangled in your threads.

I found my vintage charm bracelet on eBay last month and, while I might wish the bracelet itself were a tad heavier and the charms older (this one dates from the mid-to-late Sixties), it's a nice accessory that you certainly don't see every day, and quite the conversation starter.

Here are some closer shots of the charms themselves, which include a treadle sewing machine, a working hour glass, and an electric fan.  Naturally, I wonder who owned this bracelet originally and what the story was behind the charms. Thought-provoking.




Moving right along, I'm still busy draping in my Draping II class at FIT.  Today we had to present our princess-seam creative dress variation and we received our very first public critique: we lined our projects up against one wall, our professor graded them, and then at the end of class, she voiced her evaluation before the class.  It was a little anxiety-producing but thankfully I received a positive critique so I had no complaints, plus it was very fun hearing what the professor pointed out as positives and negatives and seeing if we agreed.

We'd started out draping a basic princess seam dress.


Then we began experimenting with variations on the princess shape.  My seam curved into the center front rather than extending into the shoulder or armhole.


My front princess curve is echoed in back.


Here's my final project.  I wish I had draped it in a softer fabric but we're permitted to work in heavy muslin even though the focus of the class is soft silhouettes (and I recently purchased an entire bolt of this muslin). That will change when we start draping cowl necks apparently.

Someone on Instagram said this was very Courreges.  It does remind me of a late-60's Vogue Paris Original shift dress, though it's more fitted through the waist.


We are graded on creativity, technique, difficulty of design, and overall presentation.  I'm happy to report I did well in all four categories.  Even though we're creating only the right half of what will be a symmetrical garment, we're expected to include a professional finish: hems, facings (which we must draft ourselves), pressing, etc.  It's surprising how many students don't take these extra steps.

In other news, I have purchased yet another Japanese men's pattern book, a brand new one titled simply Shirt.  I found it at Kinokuniya bookstore but first stumbled upon it on Etsy.  It includes not only a wide variety of shirt patterns, but a few vintage workwear-inspired jackets as well.  It's a beautiful book.



And that's it!  My Ladies Tailoring class resumes this coming Tuesday after a three week hiatus due to mid-week holidays.  Lots to do to prepare for our next meeting!

Have a great day, everybody!

In class today, we also draped a pegged skirt.

20 comments:

  1. Very nice Peter! The dreaded critique! My arts education was filled with critiques by both teachers and fellow students. You quickly get a thick skin

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  2. Peter, you inspired me to hunt down my late '60s - early '70s silver charm bracelet. Events commemorated in charms include new puppy, piano lessons, first time in a plane, 13th birthday, first moose sighting (!), ski school, guitar lessons, and more. I'm tempted to start collecting again (must have a sewing machine!), as there's still some real estate left on the bracelet ... but I'll heed your advice and avoid wearing the thing in potentially compromising situations!

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  3. ADOre the charm bracelet - you've reminded me that somewhere I have my mother's. I'll have to go find it.

    I'll be interested to see what you think of the Japanese shirts. When I lived there, I found the shirts generally beautiful to look at but maddening in terms of Western proportions - tight cuffs and very fitted (which, of course these 20-odd years later, is all the rage, but then it just felt skimpy and constricting).

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    1. Do dig out your mother's bracelet: I'd love to read about it on your blog!

      Japanese patterns are drafted small compared to American patterns, but this actually works well for me -- most of the time. I'm an American size Small but in Japanese sizes I'm a Medium, and I still have to lengthen the sleeves.

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  4. Love your variation of the princess seam! AND, I must pull out my charm bracelet from the early 60's to wear! How I loved collecting those charms!

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  5. You sound like a mature age student haha. I remember as a young student thinking "why do those older students try so hard to dot all the I's and cross all the T's? P's get degree's people and I have better stuff to do". As a mature age student I give my lecturers what they have asked me to produce which usually mean's doting all those I's and crossing all of those T's. Your comment did make me smile.

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  6. My grandfather was a jeweler (from Sicily) and, when I was born, he made me a charm bracelet of epic proportions. I'd get new charms each holiday. All the charms move. They're all made of gold with precious stones. It's truly amazing. And it lives in my mother's safe deposit box because I am afraid to wear it out of the house.

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  7. Peter, your take on the princess seam made me immediately think of your earlier dress with the creative use of stripes. Then a little later I began to wonder if it would be possible to eliminate the upper part of a seam which replaces the dart on a figure with a very generous bust?

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    1. It's hard for me to visualize what you mean, Annushka. If you don't need shaping you don't need a dart, but you can always add a seam that doesn't shape (i.e., replace a dart) just for design.

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    2. I was thinking of someone who needs more than the average amount of shaping but only at the bust. Without a shaping seam above the bust, how would one avoid baggyness in this area? Sorry for any obscurity in my hypothetical question.

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    3. For someone with that figure, a princess seam would be ideal -- it will take out the fullness above the bust and look elegant at the same time.

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  8. I love the design lines and cutout of your princess seam drape.

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  9. I can't wear metals anymore, so my 'exboyfriend charms' bracelet still has a place of honor in the jewelry box. I want you to tell people about your time as a majorette.
    My spouse graduated with his BA in english lit this year (never too old at 55) and was the mascot of his upper level classes. I sat in on one, and the younger students were appalled/highly entertained by the greying couple arguing about the unreliable narrator. It's more fun when you can go grab a drink after class with your teacher, even if none of you drink anymore.

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  10. My charm bracelet with numerous 60's era charms, alas, was lost many years ago when given to my aunt to have the charms soldered on by her favorite jeweler. My aunt had 7 kids, it was lost somewhere in her home. I still have thoughts that it will turn up if she ever sells her home.

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  11. Peter it all looks amazing! I'm curious what Draping class you are taking at FIT - the one for the draping proficiency or the 2X a week one that's part of the degree program. Thanks.

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    1. It's Draping Proficiency, DP112, and meets just once a week.

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  12. The dress you draped is beautiful. I love the neckline detail.

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  13. I love the neckline detail of your dress.

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