Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Bottom Line

The devil is always in the details in my reconstructed sweaters! Here are three hems that I have recently used on my coats. Each has their own flair. The top one (used in Animal2day) is a scalloped hem that gently runs across the bottom of the coat. It is especially nice on a knee length or shorter coat or on the more petite woman that doesn't want a lot of detail on her garment.

The second coat is an example a my pieced hem on one of my reconstructed cardi coats (this one is Roar2day). It is a great hem on the "twirly coats" - this hem can add length to the bottom of the coat and is great on the longer coat to either add hem line interest and contrast, or continuity and length.

The third hem is a triangularly pieced hem. It doesn't add as much length as the above hem, but it does add texture and visual interest to the bottom of the garment.

Of course there are as many (or more) options in the front closures and the sleeves - that is what make jill2day garments truly one-of-a-kind!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vogue and I agree!

I was looking through my new Vogue (APR) today, and there on page 140 was a highlight of all of the "skin" showing for this spring! "Leopard prints on the prowl this spring"
Well who'd a thunk it... here I just listed two new "skins"! With some great encouragement from a custom client, I recently went hunting for all of the animal prints I could find. I made her custom coat, but had lots left over, and so I listed Roar2day - a grey, black and white long coat and Animal2day a shorter smaller sweater. Both are perfect for the spring cool nights and will be perfect come next fall, too!
Personally I think they have more flair than any of these fashions on the pages of Vogue!

For the birds

The birds in our yard give me so much joy! Everyday they wake me with their singing, they flight about flashing their colors, the cavort and beg at the feeders. I figured they might like some special nest decor this year.

I have started hanging a few of my serger scraps out on one of the trees, so they can have some color for the nest building! I am hoping next winter when the nests are abandoned and the summer visitors have left for warmer climes, I will find some of the nests in the bare trees lined with these scraps!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A new addition to the family

Here is my new pride and joy!

I purchased a new super duper industrial strength serger this week. "Bessie" is an amazingly fast and heavy duty work horse that will now supplement the stable of other machines I have.

But, I did have to rearrange my studio to give her the window place of honor! The gianormous foot pedal is wonderful to keep my foot from cramping up, and when floored it goes to 6500 stitches a minute!!

One of the best things about the purchase was the wonderful family owned business that sold it to me. It was so good to deal with people (Milwaukee Sewing Machine) who are friendly, craftsman and knowledgeable - and will be there whenever I need them!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Groovy times in Chicago!

There were so many beautiful quilts on display in both the competitive exhibits and in the vendor booths. They ranged from the traditional log cabins and historic Baltimores through the very contemporary art quilts. The things they all had in common was the maker's love of fabric and the incredible craftsmanship.
It was obvious that those women making quilts in the 1800s didn't have any TV to distract them. I think some of them could hand sew stitches that are smaller than my machine makes! They knew "green" before eco-friendly was trendy. Today's traditional quilters are almost as amazing. Some still hand quilt and some have adopted using the machines - with incredible precision. Some still stick to the traditional colors and some use contemporary colors in the traditional design - a nice juxtaposition.

The art quilts ran the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. Many of them were made by the SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association) members. There were abstracts, experiments, humor and real artistry. Some had incredible workmanship, some had incredible concept and some had real artistic sophistication. A few had it all!

I am not including any photos of the quilts here, because the devil/beauty is in the details in these quilts; The way the light hits the quilting, the stitches, the subtle shifts of color, the difference between a fused or raw edge, the sheen of the fabric or embellishments. It is so very hard to get that from photos - especially lo-res on the web! Photos boil it all down to subject matter and composition - not always the strongest elements in quilting! However, many examples can be found on the show website

Beyond the exhibits were so many activities! Saturday night the “Make It University” (a hands on exhibit sponsored by Quilting Arts magazine and a million supply vendors) held a 60’s runway competition. We had about an hour to make a 60's costume out of the supplied craft supplies… It was goofy and frenetic… as we also had to answer trivia and dance to get many of the supplies. I ended up winning (and the judges said it had nothing to do with the granola bars I bribed them with - or offering a "toke" of my pipecleaner pipe!) first place - about a gazillion dollars worth of dyes, paints, books, videos, supplies etc. It was such sweet retribution to have all my misspent youth pay off!

My friend, Maggie, and I also walked the runway with a couple of my reconstructed sweaters in the “Stitch in Time” fashion show. It is were those who have created garments may model them for the viewing audience. It was very fun and nice support from the viewing audience! (Hope some of you that asked for cards and info are reading this!)

Anyway - it was all a fun weekend that will never have a repeat, the show is moving to Cincinnati next year, and the busload I have gone with to the show for the past 7 years will not be happening. Ann and Gloria - thanks for all the fun, and Goodbye to the “Bloomers”!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Report from Chicago

I am at the IQA Chicago Quilt Show. Just me, about 700 vendors, 30,000 fellow fiber people, 400 exhibited quilts and a busload of good people that I see annually!

The communal breakfasts and happy hours are as fun as the show itself. Lots of great people/clothes/bags/ watching as well. I will take some pics of the show today to post later...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reconstructed Tshirts for Spring and Summer!

NEW - starting today jill2day will be offering reconstructed tshirt weight tunic tops! Check out the new section in my shop. These garments are made with the same swingy style and longer length of my sweaters so they are flattering and fun! They all have sleeves, but the sleeves are wide and breezy. That means coverage and coolness! Often these repurposed garments start with a graphic or pattern that sets the tone for the rest of the piece.

I will be including a few skirts in the mix, too. They will always be designed with the relaxed comfort of my other garments.

I was really excited when I found the oboe graphic (shown with the matching skirt) because I palyed the oboe back in my high school days and think it is the strangest instrument both from sound and sight!

Take a look and enjoy these eco-friendly clothes! As always feedback is appreciated. These are being listed based on the great feedback you gave regarding my "cobbler's clothes".

Garments shown are (clockwise from upper left): Oboe (shirt) and Patchy (skirt), Angel, NewYork, Raven, Letters and Fire

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Busting out!

Spring is busting out all over here in Wisconsin. It is amazing to me all the different ways that the green pops out from the trees.

My favorite is the Tamarak (American Larch) in the upper right.It is a beautiful 'evergreen' that turns bright yellow orange in fall and drops the needles, but then, in the spring, is the greenest of green as it sends out these feather soft "needles" and new cones.

I should not like this as much as I do, because it is also amazing how many different pollens these trees can produce - and how miserable they can make many of us. But, they are beautiful and Spring is so welcome.

A Little Skin in the Game.

Things are roaring in the ole reconstructed sweater studio these days. Lions and tigers and bears - OH MY!!

The three sisters are showing off some of the newest of the new from jill2day. In the center is a custom project for a repurposed cardi coat that I am just finishing up. She is surrounded by two of her offshoots.

I have been dreaming of doing an animal skin coat for a while, then a lovely customer convoed me asking if I could do one for her... well the hunt for skins was so lucky that I got enought for her custom coat and then some.

This has really been fun! well - back to the studio to finish them all. Not only green and eco-friendly, but animal friendly too!! What more could you want!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Matisse and Folk Art

I spent yesterday at the Chicago Art Institute. Went on a bus trip to the Matisse exhibit that is now in progress. In general, I am not a Matisse fan, so my expectations were relatively low, but I must admit to being pleasantly surprised. The show was very well curated, and was a great explanation for his processes and techniques. Very interesting commentary and a very large exhibit.

Along with that exhibit, I had time to wander through the Folk Art and Asian Art areas. These are not areas I usually gravitate to, and so decided to forgo the usual suspects for these areas. I am glad I did. The Asian potteries were amazingly contemporary and the craftsmanship is just superb. The Eastern diety sculptures were fantastic. The folk art section was a plethora of whimsy and fun! I must say, I have a soft spot for art created just for oneself or home without any intent of gallery display. Whether that is folk art, or kids art or "craft" it is good in its purity and directness.

The day was good; the weather was perfect the company interesting and the art inspiring. Next week it is back to Chicago for the Internation Quilt Assn. show. A several day extravaganze I have been attending for about 8 years now. It is a wonderful time to explore vendors and see quilting and quilters from all over the world. (not to mention enjoy an Embassy Suite (and their happy hours) filled with fellow sewing people and quilters!

Reports forthcoming.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The cobbler is now shod.

Okay, so I make all these fun things, but have none of my reconstructed clothes or sweaters that I actually call my own. In a couple of weeks I am going to a 3 day quilt convention in Chicago, and decided maybe I should wear some of my own things! Well is is always about 90 degrees there (inside) so sweaters are out (tried that last year). So I spent a day making some reconstructed t-shirts and skirts for myself.

I used recycled t-shirts from Goodwill and a lot of the same principles used in my comfy coats and sweaters. Here are the results. I am happy... so happy, in fact, that I went to Goodwill yesterday and bought several more t-shirts to try some more. So we will see if they start showing up in my shops soon. Want to do some more experimenting first though!

Heidi Klum - eat your heart out and watch your back.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Finery

In thinking about Easter I can't help but think of all of the wonderful Easter Outfits I had growing up. My mother, Evy, loved clothes and accessories. She wasn't a clothes horse in the full sense of the word, but she sure knew how to put an outfit together. Born of the era when purses and shoes must match and no women would be seen in her best unless it included a hat and gloves, she truly believed in welcoming spring on Easter Sunday.

I remember a lavendar suit of hers that had a marvelously textured jacket over the slim skirt - all finished with a lavendar floral hat and purple Monet  pin. As I grew, she took equal relish in helping me to learn the fine art of acccessorizing. My all time favorite Easter was the year of the white boucle coat (which I am sure was 100% plastic polyester) with yellow gloves, yellow patent leather shoes, and a yellow purse. I even can picture the yellow daisy pin on the coat collar. A little more vague in my memory is the year of the polka dots - might have been the new accessories for the white coat the following Easter! Mama taught me well. 

Those were the days when "Sunday Best" meant something. When you could sit in church and contemplate the beady eyes of the mink collar shawl on the woman in the pew in front of you instead of listening to the sermon. It was when Dad put his business card in his Fedora, so that it would be returned to him even if the wrong guy picked it off the coatroom shelf at the end of church. It was looking down at the new shiney shoes and white anklets that you knew you better take off the minute you stepped back into the house so they would still look new next Sunday. It was when you big brother's crew cut stood straight and he wore a tie for at least an hour. It was belting out "Onward Christian Soldiers" while admiring the spectrum of hats parading out during the recessional.

Today my buddy Maggie and her husband are visiting. We will have an Easter dinner, and a lovely day with friends, but for fashion I asked her to do a little modeling for me. Here she is, showing off a little of my fashion and color sense that I am sure are a product of the yesteryear Easters!

New postings (this reconstructed sweater and several more) will be appearing in my Etsy shop tomorrow.
Happy Easter and Happy Spring.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Never Mind.

I had a blast reading all the comments here and on Facebook. Although you all have great ideas and new holidays that you would like to celebrate, I have decided to stick with what I do and not continue with the proposed April Fool's change after all!

So it is back to the studio today and should have some new things up early next week.

It is 80 here in WI and I hope it is also a beautiful spring day wherever you are.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ANNOUNCING: Change of Direction of Business

I was so inspired by this wonderful Holiday sweater that I found at Savers yesterday, that I have decided to dump the previous jill2day type of styles, and embark on a new venture. From now on, I will be only making holiday themed sweaters. I am particularly excited about the Ground Hog day sweaters and the Presidents' Day sweaters that I have in my mind, as those holidays have been sorely ignored by traditional sweater manufacturers.

I intend to also branch out into new colors for old holidays; neons for Christmas and greys and blacks for Easter will be my first forays into these trend-setting options that I will be introducing. I will also be introducing combo sweaters. For Christmas I will have sweaters that have your Christmas stocking integrated into the sleeve of the sweater. Easter sweaters will come complete with a built in egg carton for your convenience. And, of course, Thanksgiving sweaters will all be pre-meal and post-meal size adjustable.

But, as always, April Fools will remain my favorite holiday, so for that I will offer the Emperor's New Sweater at an exceptionally high price!

Wish me well on my new venture, and let me know any further ideas you may have. Happy April 1 to you all.