Blast of Color

Harlequin inspired designs have been around for ages and keep resurfacing when the economy is doing well. Let’s take a trip back to the 1980’s when color was exploding in fashion and stocks still had some value. Here are a couple examples:

Joan Collins looked so chic  covered with a patchwork of fabrics and colors. This look was popular in day wear and also for those all important totally beaded party gowns.

But where did all this come from? Have a look at these:

So what does any of this have to do with my little rural based sewing studio?

Well, a client came in with a little outfit from the 80’s which she had kept wrapped in plastic for 30 years waiting for just the right era to wear it.

Louis Feraud was designing back then and he certainly thought he needed to throw everything from the workroom on this baby. It has ruffled ribbons, braid, sequined stars, tassels, gold piping and gold braid and dangling beaded trims and covered buttons on black velvet and satin fabrics. The jacket also had huge foam shoulder pads and if that didn’t make the shoulder area large enough he draped black gathered ribbon horizontally across the upper edge of the sleeves to make them wider.

Now my client is a tiny little older lady who needed 2 inches taken out of the side seams and underarm sleeve seams to make it fit. I pinned out the areas which you can see in the photos and then opened up the hem edge of the lining to have a good look around inside.

Guess what I found?

Something happens to foam shoulder pads after 30 years in a plastic bag…they self-destruct!!! Once I had opened the one side and found all this mess falling unto my carpet I knew I had to eventually open the other sleeve and find the same thing…crap!

Then after brushing/and swearing all the old foam out of the seam allowances and velvet and satin here is what was left. Only a small white sleeve head is left as it was made of cotton. You can see the seams where the satin was added on the outside the the velvet cut away. Pretty good construction for a designer garment but you never know what happened in the factory until you open up the lining.

Next I thread basted the new seams .

Now all I need is the client to return to try it on before doing the machine stitching, trim off all the excess seams and seal up the lining.

Here is a funny thing…after taking in the side seams and sleeve seams 2 inches, the lining is the exact size of the new circumference…hmmmm. What does that tell us? Well like many factories when they run out of linings for one size, they toss in another one no matter whether it matches or not so all this time aging in the closet the lining was at least 2-3 sizes too small for the jacket but with no one wearing it who would know?

One of my beefs with other seamstresses’ work is when I have to re-do their work because the garment doesn’t fit correctly. The client comes to me complaining of a tight crotch in her pants or twisted seams in her skirt and it is always the same problem…the previous seamstress never altered the lining when she altered the outer fabric. Now that is pure laziness!!! OK sometimes you can get away with it but if there is an extra 2 inches or 2 inches needed that is serious.

Soon this little honey of an outfit will be making the rounds at all the society Holiday parties in town and leaving a grand impression!

Thankfully the turkey day is over, the cranky relatives back home and now we can get into some preparing for the next holiday and still remain calm.

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