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Buttons Galore

July 23rd, 2011 6 comments

I think JoAnn’s just supplied me with the button box of my dreams.  It’s sad, though:  At least in my area, JoAnn isn’t  going to carry JHB buttons any longer.  I walked into our local stores and discovered that all JHB buttons were on clearance, priced at 25 cents to 97 cents.

Here’s the haul, spread out on a table:

Guess I won’t be buying buttons for years!  It might be worth a trip to your own local JoAnn to see what you can score, although the walls I encountered were well-stripped even before I got to them — my haul was fron the dregs.

Some dregs!  I’m a happy camper, but sad that this line won’t be locally available any more.

By the way, I stapled like cards together before tossing them in the box.  That way I’ll know exactly how many of each set I have without undertaking a frantic search when I need specific buttons later.

Categories: Misc, Tips Tags:

Tilton “Original”? Vogue 8761

July 17th, 2011 8 comments

Have you seen this new Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 8761?

Have you ever noticed the logo in the upper right corner?  It’s Marcy Tilton’s logo:

If you can’t read the small print under, it says “Vogue Patterns Designer Original”.  Vogue, and Marcy Tilton, want you to know that you’ve just paid for something special:  an original design by a “designer”.  This is (allegedly) something you can’t get anywhere else.

On the back of the pattern, you can see this:

It says:  “SOLD FOR INDIVIDUAL HOME USE ONLY AND NOT FOR COMMERCIAL OR MANUFACTURING PURPOSES ONLY.”  There’s a copyright notice above this line; that means that Marcy Tilton and Vogue own this design, and no one else can profit from it.

Well, that seems fair, doesn’t it?  Marcy Tilton (and Vogue) are selling you the right to make items from this pattern just for your own personal use.

They are reserving the right to make money off this design, because it’s their own, original design.  Marcy Tilton has put sweat, effort, and presumably, development expense, into designing this pattern so that she can sell it, first to Vogue, and then to you.

EXCEPT  .  .  .   EXCEPT that when I bought this pattern, I was wearing this bag, which a fantastic company named Baggallini has sold for years:

This is the Baggallini Uptown bag.  That shiny plate on the front says “Baggallini”.

And, at that moment, at home in my closet, was this bag:

(Yeah, all rumpled.  It didn’t know it was going to get its picture taken today.)

This one’s my favorite Baggallini bag of all time, the Milano, which Baggallini was selling a long time before this Tilton pattern became available this month.

Baggallini is an interesting company.  It was started by stewardesses who wanted better purses for travel.  You know, just people who had a good idea and thought they might grow a business from it.  Kind of like what a designer might do, too, when starting out — imagine things, create them, and grow a business.

At first, Baggallini  offered very utilitarian bags, but in recent years, they’ve gotten more adventuresome, and now offer new, more fashionable, lines.  The Milano, above, is from their trendiest, the “International Collection”.  Apparently, it’s catching quite a few eyes.

Here’s the line drawing for the Tilton pattern:

The differences between the Tilton “designs” and the Baggallini bags are inconsequential.  Vogue/Tilton have even used exactly the same, somewhat unusual, closure for the view B bag as the one that is sold on the Baggallini Milano.

These two bags in the Vogue pattern are not “original” in any sense of the word.  The “designs” were Baggalini before they were “Tilton”.

Although both Tilton and Vogue license this pattern under terms that do not allow you to profit from their work, they apparently, have no problem profiting from someone else’s labor and development, themselves.  They just don’t want to be the ones ripped-off.

Nothing in the pattern, on the Tilton site, or on Vogue’s site, indicates that this pattern is authorized, or licensed, by Baggallini.

This is a particularly interesting situation since it calls into question the value of the Marcy Tilton brand.  What kind of “designer” offers previously marketed work and repackages it as his or her own?

Any one of us might buy a Baggallini bag and copy it.  Home stitchers do this, or some variation of it, all the time.  BUT IF THEY ARE ETHICAL PEOPLE, THEY DO NOT SELL PRODUCTS MADE FROM OTHER’S DESIGNS. And this isn’t a case of someone making one of something for personal use; it’s a case of a “designer” selling something that looks virtually identical to something already on the market, made by another company entirely. And backed by a major publishing house.

This example is particularly interesting, too, because not one, but TWO, unoriginal designs are sold in this pattern envelope — both, seemingly, from the same source.

Marcy Tilton is not a home sewer; she is a person who has made her name, and her livelihood, on theoretically original designs that she creates.  When you buy a Tilton pattern, you are buying Marcy Tilton’s “vision”, her aesthetic:  Something, theoretically, you can’t find elsewhere.  Except, it seems, when you can.

It makes me wonder if somebody saw all those Etsy sellers getting ripped off, and decided that, really, it was OK to lift whatever would sell, because who, really, would notice?

I did.  I have a closet full of Baggalini bags, and I love them.  I buy them because they are clever, stylish, and easy to wear and use. Apart from ethical and legal considerations, Baggalini deserves more respect than this.

And there’s that other nagging question:  Why design at all if you can just take what others have already done and claim it as your own?

If there’s a good explanation for this I’d just love to hear it.

Update 7/18/2011:  A reader has written to let me know that there is a link to Baggallini on Tilton’s website.  Tilton recommends the Baggallini Rolling Tote on her “Life Tools” page.

This confirms that Tilton is familiar with Baggallini products.

The mystery regarding the release of two designs that so closely mirror Baggallini’s, under the Tilton name, without any mention of Baggallini, still baffles.  It’s odd that the designs are so obviously similar, yet no explanation is offered.  This seems a strange choice when the lack of an acknowledged link is virtually guaranteed to raise questions.

Categories: Bags, Misc Tags:

Quality control. Of a sort.

June 25th, 2011 5 comments

The cat who used to be the baby of the family thinks the sewing room is incredibly boring, which was a much-appreciated surprise, as Baby is incredibly persistent, and forgets nothing that interests him.

We have two new boys, though, and one of them loves to spend time with me in the sewing room.  Leo is a very lazy relaxed fellow and, unlike Baby, refuses to jump up anywhere.  Leo respects the gates we have all over the house:  Baby sails right over the gates, but Leo refuses to.

Naturally, I assumed my sewing table was safe.  I was wrong.  Apparently Leo can do a standing leap from the floor to above my waist if sufficiently motivated.  And his persistence more than matches Baby’s.

I do not find his assistance helpful.

We reached an accommodation:

Leo is another BIG cat; he’s also a Maine Coon, like our Emma, but with different coloring.  He probably won’t be full-grown, though, for another year or so.

Categories: Misc Tags:

FIT Exhibit: The Sporting Life

June 16th, 2011 2 comments

One of the myriad nearly-secret pleasures of New York City is the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Admission is free, and the gallery is always full of slightly eclectic, fascinating garments.  Until November 5, 2011, the exhibit is “The Sporting Life”, and featured clothing runs the gamut from the 1800s to the 21st century.

Sadly, photos aren’t allowed, and, generally speaking I’ve found that the photos released for publicity by FIT rarely illustrate the scope of the collections.  The current exhibit is no exception, and it’s a pity, because there is so much detail that is wonderful to discuss, and it’s very difficult to do that without images.

Here are two “sporting” outfits, both from the late 1800s, among the very few photos available online:

First, a two piece dress by Haas Brothers, with a middy blouse (I do love me a middy!):

The contrast looks orange here, but it’s not; even 117 years later it’s a bright, clear red.  The trim is a white flat soutache braid used in triple rows around the collar, hem and cuff, and double rows on the tie and belt.  The belt has no obvious fastener; just a diagonal keeper. It’s dressy athletic-wear, 1894 style!

Second, this gym suit, for more active young women:

I’m guessing that waist is about 18 inches, and perhaps it was corseted even for sport, but it does make for a marvelous profile, doesn’t it?  Careful examination (don’t you wish all clothing exhibits were staged with mirrors showing the reverse of the garments?) revealed that this, too, is a two-piece garment.  There’s a small peplum that tucks into the trousers below the very fitted waist on the top.

Another secret:  There are neat little buttoned tabs at the side waist, and longish openings at the side seams.  This suit has a drop seat!  Was it actually used as such?  Or was that just a simple way to accommodate entry and exit?  The collarless, side-buttoned blouse is classic; we’ve seen more than a few like this in the decades since.

Oddly, all of the other PR photos show what I found the least interesting of the garments:  A Patagonia jacket; generic biking jerseys; an OK Tom Ford Gucci ski jacket and an eh LaCroix beach ensemble — all of them from the 1990s.  There’s so much more to see, and many more decades represented than just these two.  I wish the bait had been a little more varied — or that I’d been allowed to show you far more of what I loved seeing!

Above, the Patagonia jacket.  Meh.  Clean design, but .  .  . more commercial than spellbinding.  It might be stupendous in a technical clothing exhibit.  Perhaps, thirty years from now, this will be a curious relic of a distant time in sportswear.  Today?  It just doesn’t seem either ground-breaking, nor particularly representative of a compelling era.  Design-wise, these garments are more utilitarian than cutting edge.  Don’t get me wrong; I love utilitarian clothing, but this sort of thing, like the biking jerseys, seemed out of place in an exhibit that generally celebrated the idea of sport as interpreted by designers responding to cultural change.

Among the rest:  Anne Cole’s “scandal suits” from the 1960s; a fabulous (fuchsia?) neoprene dress with box pleats, a bouffant skirt and a tiny waist; plus fours for golfing;  men’s (and a woman’s) shooting jackets; and a really odd Gaultier ski suit that resembles a cozy mattress cover; and much, much more.

Everything was interesting to one degree or another, but the outfit that amazed and astonished me was a sporting outfit from the mid-40s designed by Claire McCardell.  Think skinny leggings (black) topped with a sleek trim jacket, subtly and narrowly striped in black and gold.  A zipper up the front that terminates in a deep collar — almost a cowl, but with no excess fabric.

The zipper is closed only to the base of the collar; one side of the open collar stands up, the other is folded over.  (Verrry chic!)  Long, slim sleeves are finished with just a touch of elastic hidden in the hems.  There are nearly hidden vertical pockets — all you can see is the hint of the zippers — just at the side, and below, each breast.  Matching boot/shoes that are the same stripe as the jacket, and almost pixie-ish — except that they are the height of era-less style, and not cute at all.  To die for — and eminently wearable today, a mere seventy or so years later.

Categories: Misc, Vintage Tags:

Toilets Can Be Fun

May 29th, 2011 4 comments

Really.  When you do your own repair, you get to be quirky:

1952 toilet (the date of manufacture is stamped inside the tank), 2010 push button.  Fun, no?

I did this repair a couple of years ago, but decided that I’d post it, just to round out the recent plumbing series.

Related:  The Kitchen Sink, Sinking, Not Sewing , and Plumb Done

Categories: Misc Tags:

The Tyranny Of The See’s

April 22nd, 2011 4 comments

So, after meeting up with some sewing bloggers and consuming wonderful See’s chocolates with them, I got to thinking about the horror and deprivation of being too far from Mary See’s main stomping grounds.  Why, I asked myself, should those of us unfortunate enough to be stranded 3,000 miles away from Nirvana, be forced to suffer so?

Ah, sweet mystery of life.

Naturally, in spite of having read this article the very day of my search, I went online to find  a solution to this vexing problem.  And I found it, in several recipes allegedly replicateing my favorite-of-all-favorite See’s Candies, the Dark Chocolate Bordeaux.

I experimented, and fiddled, changed things up, and made a few pounds.  The first batch was messy:

But they still looked nice on a plate:

We ate them anyway.  The flavor?  Yuuuum, and very, very Bordeaux!  However, I’d crystallized the sugar a bit, so naturally I had to make more.

The second batch was neater, and dressed up nicely.  We ate it, too.  Mr. Noile thinks these are better than See’s, but Mr. Noile is a bit of a renegade.  I ate most of them, anyway, so perhaps his judgement is skewed.

It turns out that Michael’s, the ubiquitous craft store, sells candy boxes and foil cups:

Candy making, not unlike sewing, has its own set of tricks.  After the first batch, I realized that it was important to boil the brown sugar fondant at a relatively low temperature, and for a very short period of time.

A melon baller was perfect for scooping up uniformly sized centers, and a fondue fork — with snake-tongue prongs — was the right thing for dipping the centers into the chocolate.  The prongs held the fondant so that it didn’t slip off.  A common table fork was helpful to slide the dipped candies off the fondue fork.

Michael’s also has cute little gold elastics for closing the boxes (though you could probably buy any color by the yard at a fabric store):

Michael’s had seals, too, but I didn’t put one on this box.  (It wasn’t going to be long for this world.)  Any office supply store might offer a choice of those, too.

Tempering the chocolate in the microwave required some practice; it’s best to melt it in short bursts, not in longer sessions, which can make the chocolate lumpy.  I used Hershey’s Special Dark rather than a better European brand; it was just right with the Bordeaux-like centers, and, anyway, See’s is a quintessentially USA-American candy, so USA chocolate seemed appropriate.  The flavor was just right with the brown-sugar-coffee centers.

I used Wilton’s sprinkles — a travesty if ever there were one — but next time (that would be after we lose the weight we just gained), I’ll use these Dutch sprinkles.  They can’t be worse, and they sound a whole lot better than the rather waxy Wilton’s.  It’ll go better with the organic cream and butter.

Here’s another useful tip: Really good candies don’t have either corn syrup or sweetened evaporated milk in them; you might get sweets that way, but you won’t get anything like See’s.  And never, never use the candy-making pellets on sale in craft departments.  They aren’t really food.  Honest, they aren’t.

Categories: Misc Tags:

Paper Modness

April 14th, 2011 4 comments

Shams, of Communing With Fabric, has a post up today about two surprisingly chic dresses made from candy wrappers, which reminded me of this post, which has been languishing in my queue since February.  This particular dress isn’t exactly made from wrappers, but it is made of paper — more or less.  The image is, of course, Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s soup can:

I saw it in the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.  According to its website, the Heard is “one of the world’s finest destinations for learning about American Indian arts and cultures”.  Where Polish-American Andy, or, for that matter, Campbell’s soup, fits into this mission is unclear, but nevermind .  .  .

In the late 1960s, soup lovers could acquire this dress by sending in a couple of Campbell’s labels and a small fee (a dollar, I believe).

Note the dart — both placement, and construction:

It’s sort of an interesting take on a one-dart-fits-all approach:  The dart is really just a pleat.  This works on a mannequin, but I suspect it just “poufed” in the wearing.

The late 60s were a great era for paper clothing.  I have a paper sari from around that time which was given to passengers by Air India; it’s rather charming, actually, though, of course, completely impractical as a garment.  How times have changed!  Now the best you can hope for on a plane is a cardboard sandwich.  If you’re lucky.

The Heard Museum seems less like a museum and more like a showcase for contemporary artists whose work is on sale, but that’s not all bad; it’s filled with interesting artifacts, and worth a trip if you find yourself in Arizona — which I hope you don’t, at least until the state legislature acquires some semblance of sanity and does a little productive soul-searching.

Categories: Misc, Vintage Tags:

Plumb Done

March 19th, 2011 2 comments

Yep, it’s the third and final sink faucet unit in our living space.  This one is in a very small bathroom off our kitchen pantry; it’s 1952 sink with a 1952 faucet unit.  Somehow we never noticed that we didn’t have shut-off lines under it — not until the leaky faucet became too persistent to ignore, and I realized that I couldn’t conveniently shut the water off.

We had professionals come in to install the valves, and new, flexible hoses.  Then I tackled the faucets.  The big question was:  Were they repairable?  We already knew these were irreplaceable.  Much to my surprise, they were less of a challenge than the unit in the upstairs bathroom, largely because I only had to work from the front.

All I had to do to remove the stem was take the faucet handles off and unscrew the nut you see on the left.  Easy-peasy.

One handle was frozen to its stem, though, and the guy at our local independent hardware store bashed it off using an old screw, a screwdriver and some brute force.  He didn’t have a few of the washers I needed, so I went back to the plumbing supply place where I’d gotten the faucets for the upstairs bath.  They didn’t have them, either, but they knew who did — another small hardware store on the other side of town.

I remembered to take a picture of the stem before I dismantled it.  There was sixty years’ worth of grit in the threads, which washed off easily with the help of a soft toothbrush.  When I came back to the house, I used this picture to reassemble the stems. (An excellent trick, by the way, photograph everything. No mysteries later that way.  Digital photos are also useful at the parts stores when you’re trying to explain something.)

Then it was just a matter of screwing the stems back into the sink:

This repair is not an unqualified success:  Even the famous Jack LaLanne would find these handles difficult to turn, and I haven’t figured out how to change that.  I seem to recall having heard that this is a common complaint about faucets of this vintage.  One of the hardware store proprietors warned me to use plumber’s grease on the threads “to make them easier to turn”, which also suggests that this isn’t an unknown issue.

However, we now have water at the sink (however difficult it is to extract it), and no leaks or drips.  Just to be sure, I put a bowl beneath, but so far, all is well.  I seem finally to be out of plumbing projects.  Now if I can only find my way to the sewing room.  I know it’s around here somewhere .  .  .

(Useful tip:  Since the washers were so hard to find, I bought a duplicate set, put them into a tiny plastic bag, labeled it, and stuck it into the mostly unused bathroom cabinet.  If they need replacing, I’ve got the next set ready to go.)

Related:  The Kitchen Sink and Sinking, Not Sewing

Categories: Misc Tags:

Sinking, Not Sewing

March 15th, 2011 8 comments

More plumbing, less sewing.  Just before I left on an unexpected trip, I reached down to move the bathroom trash can and made a horrible discovery — it weighed a ton.  Underneath a snowy layer of tossed kleenices, the trash can was filled, nearly to the brim, with water.  Yikes.  We had a leak.  We had two leaks, actually; one at the faucet, and one in the line.

I turned the shut-off valve to “off” and left town.  When I got back, the toilet had stopped working, too.  And there’d been a power surge that caused an electrical explosion in the house.  Oh, joy.

Mr. Noile called in an electrician while I was gone, so that knocked off the initial electric stuff.  The toilet was pretty easy; it fails about every six months, so I’m used to dismantling it.  The sink, however, was another matter.

(I’d already removed one screw when I remembered to take a “before” shot.)   A plumber was not an option, at least partly because he would undoubtedly tell us that we needed to replace the sink, since we could get both a new sink and a faucet unit for less than I was going to pay for the new faucet unit.  If I could find it.

This would have been good advice, except that we have tile on lathe * lath-and-plaster walls.  I don’t even want to think about the bill we’d have on our hands once the plumber finished removing the old sink and installing the new one.  So it was do-it-yourself time.

Underneath the sink wasn’t too intimidating, but it was a very tight fit.  I was pretty bruised and banged up before this job was done, and never was able to imagine how a 200 pound plumber could have fit in the minuscule space between the sink legs and the wall.

Once the faucet handles are removed, you turn those chunky, nautical-looking nuts, and remove the brass nuts on the water lines, and the faucet unit pulls out.

The first challenge, though, was removing the faucet handles.  Taking the screws out did nothing; they were frozen in place, probably since the 1970s, when I suspect this set was installed.

I used this nifty tool — a (imagine that!) faucet puller:

You place the ends behind the faucet handle, and then screw until the handle comes off.  Worked a treat for the cold water handle, but then disaster struck.  The stem came with the hot water faucet, and broke off.  It’s missing in the photo below:

The broken stem is what made replacing the unit essential, as opposed to just replacing washers; can’t do anything without a faucet stem.  A trip to three local hardware stores confirmed my worst fears.  The sink itself was installed in 1952, and, as it turns out, all modern sinks have faucets that come off the top of the sink, not out the wall of the bowl.

Fortunately, there’s a plumbing supply place in a nearby town, so I headed there the next morning.  The guy behind the counter was shaking his head as soon as I unwrapped the unit, but he said he’d look upstairs and see what he could find.  When he returned he was carrying box labeled “ledgeback lavatory faucet”  made by Union Brass of Eagan, Minnesota. (Let’s hear it for the heartland, eh?)  I happily left the equivalent of my right arm in cash at the counter and returned to this:

That’s plumber’s putty; it goes under the faucet facings.  Porcelain scratches, so I used a nylon scraper to remove this yucky stuff.  By the way, don’t ever put anything metal in your porcelain sink unless you’ve lined the sink with a towel first.  That spout should not be sitting directly on the porcelain.

I thought removing the putty would be tricky, but it was pretty soft, and came off easily, yielding the result below:

The next step was truly scary.  The faucet unit is sold as as adjustable one — and was far too wide for my sink.  I had to lop off an inch or so of copper pipe from each end.  Weirdly, while at IKEA a while ago, I’d picked up a pipe cutter, thinking that I might use it for jewelry (or, just possibly, because it was very cheap and looked like a cool toy).  After measuring three times, and then double-checking my work, I marked and cut the pipes:

This was particularly nerve-wracking because the original unit was not cut perfectly to the center stem; when fit properly to the sink, the copper tubing didn’t meet the center unilaterally, so it wasn’t as if I could just cut them to match.  As you can see below, the new unit looks too big compared to the old.  It’s not; in this picture, the old just isn’t pulled out to fit the sink.

The helpful guy at the plumbing supply place warned me that there were o-rings inside the fixture that could be sheared and rendered useless if I left any kind of burr or sharp edge inside the copper pipe.  Fine sandpaper worked to make sure that the inside was smooth. (I tested it with a finger and wasn’t wounded; I figured that was good enough.)  However, he didn’t mention that cutting copper pipe distorts it.

Copper is so soft that this is apparently unavoidable.  However, the very minor distortion meant that I could not insert the brass pipe (the one to which the o-rings were attached) into the copper without shearing the o-rings.  (Ask me how I know.)   I headed off to our local independent hardware store and asked for advice.

It turns out that a full-sized pipe cutter comes with a little triangular gadget that is used to ream the pipe once it’s cut.  It molds the pipe back into the correct shape, and removes the ridge cutting it leaves.  This is apparently not a concern for IKEA, who are not notable for selling copper components.  Lesson learned.

Here’s the unit, set in place for a fitting.  The picture’s taken at a slight angle, and the fixture is resting on the bottom of the openings.  For final installation, it set higher, and was centered properly.  And it fit!  (Note the towel in the sink.  Better to be smart eventually than never.)

Installing it requires screwing the spout and the decorative flanges onto the front side (after filling them with plumber’s putty).  Then you crawl back under the sink for the hundredth time and re-attach the nautical-looking nuts, very, very gently so that you don’t crack the porcelain.  In order to seat the unit correctly, I had to fiddle a little bit with the tensions from front to back; like a lot of porcelain sinks, ours isn’t perfectly even.  Here’s the final result:

I originally thought I’d installed this unit upside down.  The famous torque adage is “lefty, loosey, righty, tighty” but in this case you turn the faucets to the right to open them, and to the left to close them.  I went to bed on installation night cursing myself for the amateur that I am, but in the morning learned that there is only one way to install this unit, and that’s how I’d done it.

After all this, though, I still had a leak.  All I’d really done is the equivalent of replacing the washers that had worn out and caused a slow leak from the faucets.  The leak that had filled the wastebasket was coming from a water line.  I had hoped that removing the line and reseating it would fix the problem, but it didn’t.

I wasn’t too sorry, though, since this meant that I could replace the old inflexible water lines with flexible ones.  Six bucks (and yet another trip to the hardware store) later, I had them in hand.  One last sojourn under the sink, bolts detached and tightened once again, and the job was done.

I couldn’t get flexible pipe in the size I theoretically needed, but the next size up worked fine, since moderate flexing in no way interferes with the transfer of water.

When I was done, I did the most important thing of all:

Yep — put a roasting pan under the whole thing for 48 hours.  You can’t be too sure.  And after that, I replaced the wastebasket, putting it in the exact same spot.  I’m a huge fan of having waterproof wastebaskets under plumbing.  This isn’t the first time I’ve found a leak this way, though it’s the first time in this house.  And the first time the leak has gone undetected for so long due to rising kleenices –that was an artful touch!

*We do not have a lathe in our walls Chez Noile.  Nor, it seems, do we have an adequate editor.  However, Noile has an excellent cousin who unfailingly catches these things, and, in doing so, makes Noile a happier person.  Merci, Fair Cuz!

Related:  The Kitchen Sink

Categories: Misc Tags:

Embellishment

January 23rd, 2011 3 comments

I’ve just finished a garment that needed a little enlivening, so I added some braid to spruce it up.  (The garment in question will show up in the next post.)  I had an accidentally too-wide expanse of black corduroy, and after considering several options, I used a basic embellishment technique taught by Kenneth King (*but not unique to him).

The embellishment is just a flat black braid over which I’ve looped red rattail.  This is pretty pathetic embellishment compared to the exotic and extravagant designs Kenneth King turns out — what I’ve done would just be a base on which to build, if I were to embellish King-style.  Sadly, I am not Kenneth King, and this stark example is Noile-style.  Nonetheless, it has its uses.

I used the same method years ago; it’s a sensible, mathematical approach to the problem.  If you’re doing completely free-hand embellishment, this isn’t useful, but if you want to repeat a pattern or duplicate the exact pattern on another part of the garment, this is a great way to do it.

Here’s how I did it:  First you take a piece of symmetrical braid, and tack it in place.

Loopy braid like this works best, but a solid braid works too — it will just be a little more tricky to figure out where you are.  I did both sides of my garment at once, anchoring the wide braid in place (measuring carefully to make sure they’d be symmetrical).

And then I wove the rattail through, and anchored the loops:

The repeat pattern on the braid lets you space the additional trim evenly — and makes it easy to repeat on another surface.  If you’re using solid braid, you can weave the additional trim over and under evenly by counting motifs, or you can just do it the old-fashioned way and measure.  But a nice, loopy, braid like this black one makes the whole process simpler and easier.  (You can see the black braid a little better in the first and second images above.  Black on black:  Not so easily photographed.)

I used a medium-sized Gutterman thread spool to ensure uniform sizing for the loops:

Then everything gets tacked down.  I made this before I got my braiding foot,  and, worse, added the embellishment after the garment was finished, so I did all this trim by hand.  I’m afraid it’s all too obvious.  If I’d had my braiding foot, I’d have finished in half the time, with a much more professional-looking result.

Speaking of a professional-looking result, don’t use rattail that’s been tightly wound around a small card for a project like this.  You want rattail from a large spindle, without obvious creases.  Mine came from the beading section, and I wasn’t able to do a thing about the obvious kinks dented into the cord by  the tiny card it was wrapped around.  What can I say?  I was stash-busting and there was no way I was going to buy more red rattail, even if I could find it.  Which I couldn’t — not locally, at least.

* Kenneth King IS unique, however, and if you ever get a chance to take a class, attend a lecture, or just drool over what he’s wearing from across the street, do it! His work is incredible, and he is marvelously witty and entertaining in person.

Categories: Misc Tags: