January is always a month for clean up, reflection and to begin anew. It is just six weeks before my first wholesale show, the Buyers Market in Philadelphia and seven weeks before the wholesale, retail show, The American Crafts Council Show in Baltimore so I am deep in design and production mode. One of the things I observed in my 11 shows last year was that it was my larger items that sold really well. Those being my dresses and vests and of those, it was the small sizes that sold. I have just 3 dresses left from my initial collection of 15 and they are all size 12-14 and only made 4 dresses in those sizes. In my vest collection I only have one size 12-14 wrap vest and one large envelope vest. I am not sure if this means anything, but it is worth noting. I will continue to create my Collage A-line dresses and I just finished one I call :Bird of paradise".
I don't like to go to shows with nothing new, in terms of design and styles. I have been working on a new scarf design that I call the "Jackson" as it reminds me of the action painting s by Jackson Pollack. They are skinnier than my normal scarves. I was frequently asked at my shows if I had a skinner and shorter scarf. Personally, I like scarves that are wide and long so I can wrap up and get real cozy but there seems to be demand for something not so overwhelming.
I am not trained as a clothing designer. Yeah, I know my way around a Vogue pattern, but to create one is a real challenge. Since my vests were so popular ,I am working on some new styles but I really needed help. I turned to two resources, my former intern Ashley Conchieri and a wonderful book, which I highly recommend,
Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong. With little or no experience it is very easy to follow the directions.
These two photos are of my first draping project, my new vest design, which I call basic vest,
and basic vest, with variations. Next
week I will enlarge the pattern for a size 8-10 and make a felted sample.
By the way I am not draping full size I am using the half
sized mannequins from PGM. There is wonderful dress designer Anne Hand, an artist and
associate professor of fashion design at Philadelphia University, Who I
read about in Threads magazine. Though her designs are amazing it was the use
of the half size mannequin that intrigued me. Here was a way to work out the
problems without a huge outlay in materials or time.
I am having so much fun figuring out the new patterns. It is a little like making doll clothes, which I remember doing quite fondly.