School Days

More pockets! This time, with a scholastic theme!

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I met my friend Cheryl in class when I was a student at Houston Community College several years ago. She is one of the few people in my life that understands my obsession with design because she is equally obsessed! We can spend hours dissecting runway shows or celebrity red carpet events. We have a working vocabulary of design that is eerily in sync. Seriously, we often finish each other’s sentences when discussing fashion. I wanted her pocket to reflect the origins of our relationship, so I focused on the core of design – a sketch. Her pocket is the Forgotten Traditions jacket label.

The foundation fabric is white muslin and I did some simple stitching to reflect the look of wide-rule filler paper. I used a Sakura brush-tip pen to draw the sketch and words. I like the Sakura pens because they don’t bleed on fabric and they are rather permanent. I did some simple embellishment stitching and used a few sequins in various millimeters to highlight the dress of the illustration.

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I have known my friend Julie for what seems like one hundred years. She is basically another sister to me. I have so many memories of Julie, it’s impossible to single out just one story. Let’s see, there’s the insane sales lady in Dallas, the Betsey Johnson assistant manager VCR/fashion show freak out, making her wedding dress, her struggles with the pink lamé bustier… I could go on forever. LOL

She has a wonderful eye for putting clothes and accessories together. I always think of her style as sort of vintage eclectic with hints of pop color, so I chose fabric and embellishments to reflect this. The foundation is dark royal, hand-dyed silk velvet and it is lined in blue hand-dyed china silk. The flowers are gathered circles of hand-dyed silk organza with hand-dyed silk ribbon leaves. The edges are outlined in small, mottled, lapis-colored beads and the beaded fringe is made with blue crystals.

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My dear friend Ruby Marquez unexpectedly passed away a few years ago. We had been at school together as students and then as teachers a few years later. Ruby was the kindest of people – genuinely kind. Her students loved her and I honestly can’t think of anyone that ever had a negative thing to say about her. Apart from being a delightful person to know, she was an exceptional tailor. She excelled in learning new techniques and adapting them to her design aesthetic. As soon as she mastered these techniques, she was the first person to teach them to a new crop of students.

I wanted her pocket to reflect this spirit, so I tried a new technique that meshed with the beautiful wool and silk fabric that Ruby mastered – weaving. I chose yarns that had an obvious, visual texture and tried to chose colors that harmonized, but still had individual personalities. The embellishments were kept simple and the outer edge is finished with flat kumihimo that reflects the interesting trims that she was known to work with.

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The other Ruby in my life is the one that taught me much of what I know about sewing and design, Ruby Muller. She was the first teacher I learned from at school and it was an honor and a privilege to have been, not only her student, but also a teaching peer. Ruby can sew anything and has taught countless students how to master a sewing machine.

She really taught me to appreciate beautiful fabrics and in this spirit, I chose a beautiful wool suiting for the foundation. Ruby loves turquoise, so I trimmed the pocket in hand-dyed china silk. She taught me how to make welt pockets, so her pocket does double duty with two functioning openings. I used gunmetal and turquoise seed beads for the two picot edges and hematite-colored bugles for the welt opening. The buttons are cast polymer clay and are shot with gold glitter. The pocket needed sparkle, so I added the clear sequins just to catch the light.

More pockets on the way soon!

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