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I know it’s been a while since i write something here. Let’s say that my come back to Montreal have been quite ectic with everything that needed to be done for ”PucePop” craftfair. Add to that, a post hollyday in paradise blues and i think everything is explain no ?!? The thing that’s great is, i have done new sewing patterns !!! Theyre not as particular than the dress created for Kate Gilbert’s Twist Collective magazine (a little patience there’s more to come) but i think i can say that they are quite cute ?!  

In fact, i create those patterns when i began teaching sewing at Effiloche. The point was to come up with something easy enough for the often neophites students i had, and to help sell all those coupons (cheap fabric option to compensate for those expensive but gorgeous graysone handles) and notions laying around in the store.

Those pattern have been conceived like a kniting pattern. Which means, that you don’t need a paper pattern but just to trace the pieces directly on the fabric.

 I call this bag simply D.I.Y.1 because you really have to do it yourself ! Not sure how to explain where the inspiration is coming from. The idea was to create a deconstructed version of those granny-ish, doctor-ish tapestry bag or satchel. So i took a piece of muslin and start to fool around with pleats. When the shape (which will be assymetrical and deconstructed since i like too much japanese designer. Ask my credit card !) was obtained, the fun of choosing fabrics, textures, colors… began ! The possibilities are virtually endless ! It’s up to you to mix and match. But for those who may be a bit lazy (we all feel that way sometime) There’s some allready made kits, including everything you need to make that bag, prepared at Effiloche in Montreal http://www.effiloche.com/Bienvenue.html  

 

 

This one, have been call D.I.Y.2. It’s base on the same idea as for the bag but have to say that it will be safer to make a paper pattern before cutting. I was inspired by a serie of vintage sewing/pattern making books i had found in a bazaar sale. One of this book was about the ”perfect travel wardrobe” (vintage remember ?) there was a top made of (ugly) ribbed knit fabric that was builted like a kimono. Then, i realised that we had all those rib bands and that nobody had an idea about what to do with it. So what about a top in jersey using those rib bands ? I made the top out of a really expensive lurex jersey but didn’t have much success (which is why there’s no pictures of it here). And while we’re at it why not a dress version of that pattern ? Then again, it’s so easy you can do it your eyes shut ! What can i say more ? Get your sewing machine started and run to Effiloche or if you prefer visit my etsy shop… http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6190902 HAVE A BLAST !!!    

Back to Laos and…

I don’t know how to start this tale about my last trip to Luang Prabang (Laos) ? How will i ever be able to translate all the magic of that city ? Imagine a little peninsula surround by a stream (Mekhong) and a river (Nam Khan). Covered with luxuriant nature. With temples at every corners and monks walking like ghost at dawn. If i was only listening to me, this post will end-up way too long and covering way too many subjects. So since i mostly write about fashion, design, textilles and… Let’s talk about a young girl i met there. 

 

Ta Dam is her nickname (More easy for falang to pronounce) She lives and work in a little house on the opposite bank of the Nam Khan river. In front of her house which is also a ”boutique” there is some ”weaving mills” (not sure i’am using the good term for that ?) , where she works calmly, in open air, kissed by the sun that peak through the palm tree leafs, with members from her family and freinds. So every time your passing by her place, you ear the slow rythim of the mills, chit chat and giggles, the songs of the insects hidden in the green surrounding… A certain serenity long lost in our occidental cities.

 I discuss a lot with her (since i splurge myself a little too much with her silk scarfs). And even if she is really happy about her little ”cottage industry” and the fact that she is taking some expansion and need to hire more people because of her second store opening on the peninsula soon. She says that lao handycrafts are in fact threatened. The increasing number of tourist passing by this city since the country opened his door to the rest of the world in (i think) 1999 have a side effect. The local craftmens and store owners, find it faster, easier, cheaper… to buy already made products from Thailand, Vietnam and China to sell them at the market or in the stores. Like us, they’re attracted by easy money and the main category of tourist passing there (backpackers) just don’t help with their always present desire to live, buy, eat, drink cheap !!! In fact, as i alraedy lived there before, i could judged it with my own eyes, they just don’t want to pay ! The gouvernement don’t really bother with that either since he have many things to deal with already (developing country remember ?) I was sad to ear that. What would happened with all that knowledge ? That amazing craftmanship ? That small country and the people living there, will then just be swallowed by the bigger, more advance, powerfull… countries surrounding them ? Will their culture be forgoten ? So please, if you ever pass by this city, encourage local craftmens !!!

    

After all the nice comments (beleive me, i’m sincere when saying that i’ve really been touched by it !)  received about the dress i create for Kate Gibert first Twist Collective issue, i’ve been working really hard to put some copies of the pattern for sale before i leave on some much needed hollydays in Laos (don’t worry all the shipping will still be taken care of) !!! So it is real, the first six (6) copies (small budget and expensive process) are available on etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6190902 or in Montreal, at Effiloche (have to be reserved) http://www.effiloche.com/Bienvenue.html for all of you who love that dress and want to sew (or have it sewn) for themselve ! It comes in multi size (6 to 16), with a 3 pages confection guide (with colour pics too !) and if you like my drawings there’s one of them on the enveloppe.  For those who wont have the opportunity to buy it now (never know maybe it will sale like hot cakes ?) There will be other copies available at the end of september hopefully ?!?! I know the price may seam a bit extravagant, but the only way to have a pattern properly sized and all, was to work with a pattern making company.

I will like to add, that this is the first time i’am trying to commercialize  one of my pattern. Maybe there will be some mistake ? Will sure not be perfect at first shot ! Even if i spend many nights (too many in fact)  trying to do so ! If ever some points are not clear or you need anything please feel free to contact me ! It will be a pleasure for me to help you as long as i don’t need to sew more of them (joke)

  Seriously, that dress have been a real pleasure to make despite a quite time consuming confection. But somehow, hand sewn finishing, is for me, like knitting. It is what allows me to sit in front of the t.v. some nights and not feel too guilty about it ! So hope i didn’t write too much nonsenses ? Or sound like an infomercial ?  Enjoy the sewing !!! And please keep sending me those nice comments i’ve just became addict to it !!! 

I know i’m a bit late for the news. But it is now time to talk about the dress i create for Kate Gilbert’s first ”Twist collective” issue.

Like it is said in the magazine http://www.twistcollective.com/ I met Kate while she was teaching knitting and i was (still do) teaching sewing at Effiloche. I was in love with her designs and especially her ”Clapotis”. In fact, i knit 3 of them no less !!! She was curious about my work too and said she like it. So one saturday morning, she ask me if i will like to do a design ”correspondance” with her. Of course ! How can i resist to the idea of having one of Kate’s design created just for me ? We had a first meeting at her place and then start to discuss our relative tastes and mood. She explain me as a young mother what she was feeling to wear. A lot of colours, something sexy, pulled together, graphic… So than i noticed her love of Marimeko and automatically, tough of mixing it with a bit of Mary Quant and mod style of the 60′s. But somehow i was not satisfied with the direction i was taking and she didn’t seam too inspired by what she was seeing either so…

 

I had just received my new japanese pattern books (pattern magic) and saw that dress with seaming allover that was ending in a bunch of knots at the neckline.The seaming was like ribbons, and ribbons recalls threads. Why not a dress totally construct (like for knitwear) of ribbons ? But the ones available were not really interesting and the one i wished to used were a bit to expensinve for my ”starving artsit” budget. I was busy with knitted a cable scarf too at that moment (still are since it’s not finish) 1+1=a new idea ! What about a dress with seaming that form braided cables that will snake around the neckline ? 

I wanted to make it all black. But when i went shopping for fabrics with Kate on St-Hubert street, she show me grey flannel. A suprise when you know her love of colours ! The punch will be put in the lining then. So that’s why the dress in the magazine is in a awsome charcoal wool and cashmere flannel with a silk charmeuse in ”kate’s red” (named it that way since i personally made the mix for her). I think the effect is classy but graphic ? A bit like Kate designs no ?

 

But now, after all the corrections i had to make on the pattern, i’m busy on the sample for Effiloche since the pattern will be available for the intrepid seamstress who want that dress for themself soon !? I decided to treat myself on the fabric side. I choose a deep pine green wool crepe (just adore that fabric !) and i lined it with a pale blue viscose voile. The linining was a pain to cut since it is on the biais but it worth every painfull minute of it ! The result so far is so fresh ! What can i had ? Pictures are speaking for themself no ? If ever you are interested in the dress, feel free to contact me at daniel@effiloche.com

From then to ???

I have decided to do a tracking back of my activities in Montreal since that project in Laos with the prince failed. What i’ve been up to and how ?

 While i was working on the gold thread collection (see previous post), Ginette my friend and owner of the Effiloché sewing room and knitting lounge http://www.effiloche.com/Bienvenue.html offer me to work there since it was more practical than where i was living at that moment. People saw me work and start asking if i was giving sewing workshops. Extra pocket money is always nice so i said ”Why not” !!! and since than…

I’ve been sewing, and sewing, and… Have to admit (even with the sometime psychotic mothers to be, around. People who know me will understand who i’am talking about) that i’am having a blast !!! What can i ask more ? I have no (so often neurothic in the fashion business) boss over my head, i’am meeting plenty of interesthing people from so many different backgrounds but, the more important to me, is that i communicate my passion for sewing, textilles, design and all to other persons ! If i manage to hook up a new person, my mission is accomplish ! Especially in our time where people lost the interest in that type of handycraft and that is becoming slowly but surely an endangered specy. If they understood all the pleasure it gives to sew something with theyre very own hands (and that even if it’s not perfection at first shot), the contact with nice fibers, all the colours available… The endlesss possibilities a flat surface can hide !!! So far, the ones who have understood it better, are my little monsters ! They just mix everything together, experiments, in short they just go wild !!! It’s just great to see what they end-up with !!!

Everybody who’s interested to join us in our sometimes mad experiments are more then welcome !Just send me a sign at daniel@effiloche.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S: I have to apologise for what may be really bad writen english ?!?! Sorry i’am doing my best but it is not my mother language. And by the way, i apologise for the not so good quality of the pictures. Have to invest in a better camera.

In the begigining !!!

Once upon a time, there was a young and idealistic canadian designer (not sure i can still use the word young anymore ?) that by a twisted play of circumstances, end up becoming a ”Fashion missionary” in Laos. What he tough would be an amazing chance to discover a new country and culture and the endlest creative possibilities is wild imagination was seing in lao traditionnal costume (in other words, a dream come true) All that turn into a nightmare when ne realised the he was in fact enslaved by the ”Evil witch of the peninsula of Luang Prabang” Locked in the atelier 6 1/2 days on 7 without the opportunity to enjoy the sun. Locked in with seamstress that spoke english like he spoke lao… Even the ”nuits d’ivresses” spended with the few friends he manage to met throug the particular comunity (to not use another term) of expatriated peoples living there and… Could not cheer him up and make him forget that he was designing garments for retard hippies. He felt lonely ! Then he met a prince (literally !!!) It was love at first sight ! He tought he had found a partner, a friend and a lover wrap into one. They where artistically really connected and really understood each other on the subject of creation (it was the only one in fact). They decided to create a collection together and builted castel in spain. The young fellow designed pieces inspired by true love (sarcasm) and the prince did gold thread embrodery on them.It should have been a match in heaven… But they’re now still perfect for each other in the world appart together. The collection is now roaming free too in the company of the ”Prince of Theifs”. 

  

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