July 30, 2014

Far, far away - ready for my close up

I am in Denver this week working on a very exciting project.  I submitted proposals to Craftsy last year, 
But when they called while I was Sweden to ask if I could film a class, I was overjoyed!

WHAT???? You never heard of Craftsy? Craftsy is the best known online classroom for learning any type of craft. Sewing, quilting, knitting, art, photography, cake decorating...you name it, Craftsy has a class for it. Well...almost! Thay didn't have a class on bra-making...until now!

For the last three weeks, Erin and I have had to put other projects on the back burner in order to prepare for this time at Craftsy. Lots of late nights and weekends, but we were well prepared for the trip.

So this week I am in the Craftsy studio in Denver! The studio is in a renovated Taxi Depot so the building is all decorated in vintage funk! I love it here and the creative vibes throughout the whole place are palpable.

There are 4 of us filming this week, and each of us had this waiting when we arrived. Would you look at this! A star with my name on it!

I spent some time with Danica in hair and make-up. She is very talented and made me look fabulous!...OK, Mr. deMille...I am ready for my close-up!

Here is my set...and yes, here is my Ashley mannequin on set with me! She flew ahead so we could be together in the studio.

And me...why...I look like I belong there!

Here is my model, Heather. We felt that having a real model to measure on would be better than trying to measure on Ashley...sorry Ashley, you are just too slippery!

Heather is tall ( and I am not! ) so during the shoot, I had to stand on a box so I was tall enough to measure her...otherwise it just looked too weird!

Did I mention my film crew? They are the best! My producer is Karen, and my videographer is Marshall and my technical director is. Andrew. They are all so patient, plus they are making me look good on film. You gotta love people like that! Plus the guys are "devastatingly handsome" (they told me to tell you that). Professionals in every sense of the word. They are making this too easy!

One thing they did to keep me looking directly at the camera eye, was to put a picture of Val Kilmer (Young Val not today's Val) up over the camera eye. It wasn't hard to focus on him at all!

More filming tomorrow! They expect this to release later this year. I am not sure of the date, nor am I totally sure of the actual name of the class. Believe me, I will let everyone know as soon as I get that information!

Ta Ta, dahlings.....Hollywood is calling!

July 20, 2014

Digital Fashion Show - Boob Camp July 2014

Hi all!

We've all been very busy this past two weeks having bra and panty classes. Last weekend we held a beginner bra class. Just yesterday (Saturday) we had a panty class. 

But all last week (Monday to Friday) we had a Boob Camp! I love Boob Camp. It's a week where you can do what you want in bra-making. We had 4 students, two from Alberta, one from New York, one from the Niagara region. What this class lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm! They were so eager to learn!

The requests for different bras are many and as varied as the students who attend.  If you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall listening in on Boob Camp, here is a sampling of what I hear all the time:

" I want to make a bra/ panty/ bodyshaper just like {insert bra brand here} but I want it to fit me"...{so the same...only different!}

"I want to make a regular bra, plus a partial band bra, plus a foam cup bra, plus a Shelley plus everything else i see in the store!"...{great expectations!}

" I just want a bra to fit me...I don't care for fancy stuff, just get it to fit me"... {we can do that}

This one is followed a couple of days later by...

" I can't believe this fits so well. Now I want a red one with lace, and a pink one...oh yes, the turquoise too...and a fuchsia"...{we knew it!}

Here are some of the bras made this week.

The Classic Bra with the addition of a split lower cup and butterfly lace. Also check out the clever use of the bit of lace tucked into the side seam.

Here's a Shelley with some of that new lace I bought in Taiwan (not much of that left now - it has all sold very quickly!)

Here's a foam cup covered in the Dotty netting. Fit like a dream!

And here is one that took a longer time to build as she did it from scratch. In other words, she had drafted her cup from her body measurements and made the bra from cut-an-sew foam, then covered it in pink Venice and a sheer lace over top. We taught her how to make the lace edging band so she could have the pretty edge of the lace as the bottom edge.

We also made a "designer dupe" as Erin calls it, of a bodyshaper that sells for $100 on the market, and our students signed up for the Boob Camp specifically to make one of those shapers. The cup on the original shaper didn't quite fit her so we started with getting a bra cup fitted. Then we made the shaper out of our regular power net for the body and duoplex for the cups. (cost of materials - under $25)

She made a shaper with the Classic Bra in a hip length and one with foam cups and a body length so she would have a choice of which she wanted to wear. And drat...wouldn't you know it, I didn't get a picture of them (Grace - you promised to send me photos....lol)  but I do have drawings because I knew you would want to see what she made!

Next week, Erin and I are working from my studio at home to get me ready for a secret project coming up the following week! As soon as I get the word that I can tell you about it, I will!

July 10, 2014

Multiple Births at the Enchanted Castle

Just arrived at the store - the four colours of power nets we have been waiting for! These are all the Regular Power net FP-1, 60" (150 cm) wide, with a blend of nylon and spandex. It is the firmest power net we have for bra backs.

 It seems like we have been waiting months and months for this new delivery - but at last, they are here and settling nicely into their new home on our shelves. This picture shows only the tip of the iceberg - we actually had to purchase 400 metres of each colour!
The colours are fuchsia, turquoise, navy blue and peach (the peach in the photo looks a bit on the yellow side, but I can assure you it is a lovely peachy colour!)

These colours match our duoplex, cotton spandex, raschel and 15 denier fabrics.

Oh yes, I almost forgot...we also got in these super cute polka dot bows! Your choice of black dots on pink, or white dots on red. Don't you love them!

Now we can take a bit of a breather while we figure our what to order next! If you have any suggestions of stock or colours you would like to see at Bra-makers, please leave us a comment and we will take it into consideration.

July 04, 2014

Far far away - A "slight" miscalculation

Today we went to the Vasa Museum. This was my second time there in as many years but this place fascinates me. The Vasa was a ship built in Stockholm which sunk in the harbour on her maiden voyage in 1628.
The Vasa was built in the shipyard in Stockholm and was one of 5 sister ships commissioned by the King at that time. However, the master shipbuilder kept the plans in his head and decided well into the building process that the ship could use about 50 cm more height in the gun decks. Unfortunately the gun decks were above the water line. 
This made the ship top heavy for the width of the beam. Here is a scale model of the Vasa. This was the part above the water...but there was not enough of the ship below the water to hold her steady. You can see how near to the water the gun decks were. When she tipped a bit from the breeze, the gun decks filled with water...the rest is history.
Twenty minutes into her maiden voyage, in full view of spectators and with over 250 crew and their guests aboard, she caught a slight breeze, took on water and in twelve terrifying minutes, sank in Stockholm harbour, where she remained for over 300 years. 

You can see in this cross section model, that the bottom layer was the only one under water...the rest were above. And with 64 bronze cannons on two gun decks...that's more than a mathematical miscalculation...that's a disaster destined to happen.
In 1959 they started to raise her from the muck and mire and the process took two years. But finally in 1961, she was guided into the harbour on her own keel to her permanent home at the site of the museum.
And then the real story begins...years and years of preservation to keep the wood from deteriorating. Years of forensic anthropology to reassemble and try to identify the 30 some-odd skeletons that were found (including those of two women, probably relatives of a senior officer)

300 years in the water didn't do the paint job any good. However with microscopic examination, they were able to determine that the stern looked like this, complete with the King's seal - the opulence of which designed to impress their allies and terrify the enemy.
Over 700 wooden sculptures were on the original ship. These are re-creations of some of the ones on the stern, the colours are as close as they can determine.
Here are samples of the types of powders for the paint they used for those rich colours - paint that would not be allowed today because of their carcinogenic properties. But back then, it was a different story. Lead and antimony in paint was a fairly common occurrence.
The fabric sail was restored as much as is possible when you consider the canvas fabric was the consistency of wet leaves. But about one-third of the main sail was recovered, sealed between two layers of plastic and put on view. You can see here the panels still with hand stitching visible.
The figure head was the lion, a symbol for the King of Sweden. In fact all the gun doors had a lion carving on them...over 70 lions in all on the Vasa. All the wood was oak, so the gun doors weighed over 100 kg each.
Look at the sculpture on the stern! This is the area that would have been painted. You just cannot imagine the full height of this ship! However check out the people walking to the right and the left. We weren't allowed to touch or walk on the ship but they had lots of scale and life size models to see.
Here I am on a life size model of one of the lookouts. You can see only a part of the Vasa in the background.
The Vasa was a maritime tragedy however it is the only survivor of that period of time. It is a glimpse into life in the shipyards of Stockholm in 1628. 

Today my time in Stockholm comes to an end, but I hope you have enjoyed travelling with me back in time and to another place far, far away.

July 03, 2014

Far, far away - On stage with ABBA

Today was a sightseeing highlight for me. We went into Stockholm and walked along the street. You can see the agrand Hotel at the left with the flags...temporary home to many rock stars who perform in the city.
Here's the Stockholm Theatre along the way. What glorious architecture!
It was raining a bit so we took refuge under a tree lined walkway, where there was a conveniently located ice cream kiosk! However we did not partake...there is a better ice cream store in Haninge near Bodil's home, I was told.
We are going on a boat ride...an ABBA boat ride! It starts at the Grand Hotel and goes around to the ABBA museum, about an hours ride. All the while we listened to ABBA music and headphones told the story of the band.
Here we are on the boat. We had a special escort so we felt like celebrities ourselves. I know it doesn't look like Jessica is very happy but she was...really!
At the amusement park we passed, they are building what appears to be a giraffe attraction
The boat docked at the ABBA museum, so I had to pose with Jessica, Bjorn and Benny! Doesn't this outfit make my legs look fantastic? Lol
Posing again with the group in the park!
Of course...I had to join them on stage too! Lip syncing and dancing with ABBA...their fifth band member and the secret life of your Fairy Bra Mother!
OK...let's be serious...the best part of the tour was a re- creation of Frida's sewing room, complete with a vintage Husqvarna machine. Apparently, she made quite a few of the costumes in the beginning, as she had a degree in pattern design and loved to sew.
Now for the costumes...all are originals from the band's actual performances
It doesn't get more 70s than this!
Or this! Frida loved this white jumpsuit and skirt with roman gladiator panels. This was her favourite outfit!
These blazers are painted with traditional Swedish flowers.
This next one is my favourite! Those coloured panels are individually sewn together. Do you suppose she used a serger?
These were the costumes from The Girl with Golden Hair
As were these
Look at the purple and red lurex jackets here!
When the band went to Japan, they wore these kimono inspired costumes
Frida also designed the paintings for a couple of the costumes, including the hare and fox shown here
When asked to wear costumes in the colours of the Swedish flag, they chose to wear the now famous Pop Cats dresses.
These are the costumes worn by the three girls in the movie, Momma Mia.
Seeing these costumes put me in spandex heaven! I would have loved to be involved in the costume making. I can't help but think, that without spandex...ABBA on stage would not have quite as spectacular!

We left the ABBA museum and took the tram (that's a streetcar to us Canucks or a trolley to the Brits)  back to the Grand Hotel to our car.
What a day this was! We went to the candy store...yes, they have a bulk candy store in Haninge..and got ice cream as the perfect end to this perfect day!

July 02, 2014

Far, far away - classes are over

Classes are finally over but this is always a bittersweet time....I have to say goodbye to my new Friends but yet I know they are going home with new knowledge and hopefully inspiration to make themselves some beautiful bras.

We did a class on style changes and that was a full house with16 in the class. I love teaching that class - there are so many design elements we can add to a bra by changing the strap attachment area, or the band, and by changing the seam lines on the cup.

The students were shown both a  2D method and a 3D method of changing the style lines. The paper draft is slightly more difficult than the 3D method of creating the new lines in foam. But the paper draft can be quicker to do, oddly enough. They had enough time in the class to sew up a cup from a style line they created and we were able to fit the cups they made.

Yesterday, on Canada Day, we did a half day class on Fabrics. This is a class that I thought would not be that well attended, as I assumed  that everything was already familiar with bra fabrics and how to choose them. I was wrong! That class was a real eye-opener for even some of the more experienced bra-makers.
Erin and I had prepared swatch packs of 40 fabrics before my trip and I gave each student a packet of fabric and a booklet where they could attach the fabric to a space for information. That way, all of the info they need in order to work with that fabric is available in their booklet.

So after saying goodbye to everyone and packing the car to bring all the supplies home, Bodil and I were able to sit down last night and discuss what we would do differently next year, and what to offer for classes. We welcome suggestions from everyone for course content and ways to make the conference even better! We have tentatively set the dates for next year as June 27 through July 7.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the students who attended, the staff and managers at the hotel Scandic Bromma, and most of all, a HUGE thank you to Bodil and Lillebror Friman, who made it possible for me to come and share their home, family and friends for the last two weeks!

Now it is time for some relaxation and some sightseeing, then home to Canada on Saturday!