Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Green Show: Extremely High Thread Count

So, I know I promised photos of the Closer to Fine opening, and I will!  I promise!  But I didn't get a chance to take too many photos during the amazingly successful event! so I'm waiting to collect some from other people.  Thanks to everyone who came by!  Anyway, I have another show tomorrow, so here's some stuff about that:

As previously mentioned, I'm a little OCD.  I've been a seamstress for about a year now... but since the very beginning I have been collecting the little bits of "waste" that accumulated through the repetitive sewing process.  You've already seen the crazy (CRAZY) amounts of fabric I've taken home.  But here is the sincerely obsessive thread collection:

But c'mon!  Who could resist collecting this when it's such a magnificent material!!

I had a bunch of ideas of what I wanted to do with the mass of thread:  crazy lace, spin it into yarn, hair-spray sculptures...  so when I got a call-for-entries from the cafe next to work for a Green Show focusing on recycled materials, I was excited to start playing around.  I decided to try to make something lace-oriented.

I ordered a whole bunch of water-soluble stablizer and went to town!  I sandwiched the thread between two layers of stablizer, playing with different colors and patterns and structures, and then used my sewing machine to sew a grid pattern through all of the layers.  The grid provided enough structure for the material to stay together!  Success!

After a few weeks of samples, I decided that I wanted to make a sexy lace neglige out of this new-found crazy-lace material.  Any functional object would call into light the amount of waste created in industrial processes, but the neglige specifically, I hoped, would comment on the conditions that many seamstresses around the world have to endure.  I read an article once about how Mexican seamstresses in the Victoria's Secret factory make so little money sewing that they also have to work as prostitutes in order to live.  The terrible irony was that because they were so poor, they had to make their own sexy lingerie out of the scrap material from the Victoria's Secret production.  (Unfortunately, I couldn't find the article, or I'd place a link to it.)  I didn't design this piece with any intention of specifically referencing that phenomenon, but I thought a lot about it while I was making it, and maybe some of that thought will come through.

Anyway, so I started working with sexy lace patterns:

And I bought a neglige to pattern and used ALLL of the black thread that I had collected since I started working at Viv Pickle!  (And all the black thread that the other seamstresses had been collecting for me since I started this piece!  See?  OCD is totally contagious.) 

It was soo hairy!I hadn't really been prepared for that (which was silly, in hindsight.)  I had thought that I would be making something chaotic but functional, and potentially even sexy.  But the thread was bodily, and barely controllable.  But it worked: and once I had all the pieces sewn, I serged the edges...

Et Voila!  

I then soaked it in luke warm water for, like, half an hour to remove the stablizer and let it dry.  It's fantastic!  Which is good, because I have to drop it off at the cafe this afternoon.  Ha!  Talk about cutting it close!  Anyway, I would have also included a photo of the finished, dried neglige but my camera DIED! this morning!  Right when I was sitting down to write this!  Gah!!  

OH WELL!!  Cause you can go see it yourself!  The Opening is Tuesday night!

The Green Show
Cafe Estelle
441 N. 4th St, Philly
Opening Event: Tuesday, Sept 4th, 6-9pm

I will definitely put up photos of the opening and the piece in situ, but you all should definitely come and see it yourself!   


Smartlady at Large, Esq. said...

This is the hottest thing since... sliced bread? Can you slice bread when it's hot? Either way, I love the negligée, and I demand pics from the opening!

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