Lovely Cotinga

Remember when I talked about my coordinated jacket and pant project? No? That's probably because you don't actually read my blog, but I won't hold it against you. As I finished up my jacket, and prepared to deliver it to Ryerson, I thought I should take a few photos for you, my random blog reader, to enjoy. After a sleepless night sewing, I didn't think you'd want to see my vampire face. My buddy Emily assisted with the photos - frantically taken in my building hallway but 20 minutes before the jacket was due. Enjoy the frantically assembled collages. Keep in mind, these garments are made for a misses 9/10, which is something like a 6 or 8 in our more common shopping sizes. I'm swimming a little.



We're moving into evening wear. My final project in my illustration class was to design 4 evening wear design sheets (a total of 20 designs), and select 3 designs to present as fashion illustrations, each using different media, different styles, composition, etc. As I am still trying to "find my voice," and really develop a style, my illustrations are usually pretty different anyhow. Here are my three - what do you think?

pencil, watercolour, ink, metallic thread, glass beads (I'm actually going to make this in all the spare time I have...)

pencil, conte, lace

ink, pencil crayon frottage on back



The terno is done. A mixture of hard and soft elements, both in form and materials. Leather, jersey, and chiffon - perhaps a strange combination, but so am I, I suppose.

I will post full-length photos when the garment is on a body - there is no expression in a bust form.


Never Ending

School is a never ending run of projects and assignments. I am sleeping very little - 3 to 4 hours a day if I'm lucky, and I catch up on the weekends, against my will. At this rate I'm never getting ahead. With so many projects on the go for each class, I am going a little bit insane.

This week I handed in a lovely pair of pants, part of a coordinating suit project that will continue until the end of the semester. Unrealistic production time lines, yes, but oddly enough in the framework of post-secondary education it's barely enough time. I failed to take a photo of the pants in the wee hours of the morning before handing them in, and will only get them back at the end of the semester. Photos will follow then, but for now, enjoy the 3 inspiration boards required for the project: The South American Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird (mandatory "3-D object"), Gianfranco Ferré's FW 2009 collection (mandatory designer collection), and "Frogs" (randomly given "wild card"). Blogger has uploaded the images in some crazy way, so the colours are heavily distorted. Oh well.

The influence of these inspiration boards should be visible in the completed pant and jacket. My pants are a lovely, heavy-weight silk charmeuse in a deep bluish-grey, high-waisted with room in the hips, moving into a long slim leg - more influence from the Ferré collection than anything else. The jacket will be the showpiece, just as the Umbrella bird is a frou frou attention-grabbing bird flirt. Pretty
excited about the garments, though they are keeping me up at night, every night. School sucks.


Focus on the Philippines

In light of the recent catastrophes occurring in Asia, the Filipino art exhibit has been understandably postponed. No problem for me, as my dress is still only a bodice, the sleeve is yet to be attached (I have yet to hand-sew the sleeve to the bodice, through 7 layers of leather!), and the skirts yet to be cut.

In the meantime, the Kapisanan is busy packing up balikbayan boxes and putting out calls for necessities to send to the Philippines. If you can donate anything along the lines of first aid kits, feminine hygiene products, diapers, food items, soap, etc. please feel free to drop by the centre on Augusta and Dundas, in Kensington, and drop off some items.

If you have time or interest, you can also help pack boxes, and learn a little bit about various parts of Philippine history. This centre is a fantastic place that offers a variety of resources for artists, musicians, opportunities to learn about the culture and participate in it through drawing circles, history lessons, and even food eating events! YUM. Visit their website to learn more, and make sure you drop by on Saturday, October 3 sometime after 7pm for a great fundraising event for victims of Hurricane Ondoy. The evening features a poetry slam jam, music, cheap drinks, and of course great people! It's Nuit Blanche, so if you're out and about, stop by!



Garter & Asp

One of my favourite Canadian designers, Jennifer Ann Gilpin, has a new collection out now. I am so excited! Originally designing under the name Re-Gen, she then produced a few seasons under her own name. SS08 was the last I saw of her amazing designs as she made a move to Berlin - can I say I wish I were in Berlin? Now I have discovered she has re-surfaced with the design label Garter & Asp. Her collections are often highly conceptual, but she aims to bridge the gap between conceptual fashion and wearable art - a goal I believe she succeeds in achieving. Her designs have proven once again to be interesting, elegant and sleek, with a bit of bite.



I Am A Mestiza

Working on a project for an upcoming art exhibit at the Kapisanan Philippine Centre. Taking inspiration from a page in a Philippine history encyclopedia, my selected entry is on the "Mestizo" - literally translating to "mixed-blood." It's an interesting undertaking so far, looking forward to seeing my final product. Traditional Filipino design with a modern and personal twist. Progress posts forthcoming.



Union Special 39500 FA

A good friend of mine, Jodee, has recently been doing some great work at the Kapisanan Philippine Centre. They have a crazy old industrial serger there, which he asked me to come in and take a look at. Googling this machine it appears that it is a "streamlined high speed overseamer." Oh.

I spent a couple of hours, without proper tools, trying to thread the damn thing. Anyone who has ever threaded a serger will understand the frustration that often accompanies such a process. This machine, which I am yet to triumph over, is at least 30 times worse than threading any modern day serger.

Machine parts do not move out for easy access to loopers, fingers must attempt to fit in tiny holes and corners, thread must travel in awkward directions in order to pass through the tiny holes necessary to thread the machine. At one point, I had to thread a hand-sewing needle, tie a loop in that thread, and feed the eye-end of the needle through a tiny hole in the serger. Then, using a long metal utensil, I pulled the looped thread out from the tiny crevice it had recently been pushed into, tied the actual serger thread to that looped thread, and then retracted the hand-sewing needle, pulling the looped thread, and then serger thread through the tiny hole that was otherwise IMPOSSIBLE to thread!

It's absolutely absurd. This really can not be how this was done in a factory. Anyone with an industry secret, please do share. Holy wow! This thing better work well...

Page one of instructional diagrams

From sewusa.com where such diagrams were available. You'll need more than lots of luck.


Fancy Feet

I am obsessed with beautiful shoes. In preparation for a wedding I attended last week in Cochrane, Alberta I washoping to procure some fabulous shoes to go with my hot drop-crotch halter jumper. Seriously, it's hot. Unable to find those dream shoes that fit within my budget and were actually my size, I decided to create a versatile shoe accessory to not only go with my outfit, but something I could wear to many future occasions, and strap onto an assortment of shoes. Hand-cut and hand-sewn comme la haute couture véritable, I am thrilled with how these turned out. I am going to make a variety of styles now - some with a little more glitz and glam - delicate beading, gaudy gemstones, bold colours, et cetera.

Purchased shoes

With lace accessory:

Lace on another pair of sandals:


Bad Form

I don't have a proper drafting table, so I am forced to create patterns and cut fabrics on my very hard floor. Not only am I slowly destroying my back, but also my knees. Until I get a table, makeshift knee pads will have to do.

Have I upped my street cred yet?


Sweet Summer

Some new clothing items and accessories are in the works right now (I'll try to get them up here soon-ish), but in my periods of relaxation I've been finding the perfect summer lifestyle accessories. Most recently these include a sickenly sweet Polish cherry wine, a patio, and Christian Dior's autobiography. Yes, I'm drinking one glass for myself, and one for Monsieur Dior.


Fashion Takes Action Launch Party

At the end of April I participated in an Earth Day celebration - the launch of Fashion Takes Action. FTA is an organization based out of Toronto that aims to create awareness, through all levels of the fashion industry, regarding ecologically friendly fashion. It will help to connect consumers with retailers with designers with textile manufacturers and so on in an effort to increase sustainability and help save our planet from complete devastation! A little dramatic, perhaps, but thankfully it seems that the general trend in fashion is indeed moving in this direction, albeit slowly.

The event went down in the historical Burroughes Building on Queen West, and featured an open bar and some great DJs including Brendan Canning from Broken Social Scene. Part of the night involved pairs of fashion students from Ryerson creating garments out of old product packaging and materials donated by event sponsors. My good design buddy Devlyn Van Loon and I created a dress out of materials provided by The Lifford Wine Agency. We had 3 hours to do it, and we did it! We had no sewing machine - just needles and thread and glue. The bodice is made of non-woven textile wine bags, the skirt was made from old promotional t-shirts, soaked in their now discontinued line of eco-wine for the tie-dye effect. The creator of FTA just Twitted (or whatever) our dress here: http://twitpic.com/48vre

Otherwise, here are some pics from the event itself, which was kind of incredibly fun:

Devlyn Van Loon in complimentary colours.


Devlyn likes to scream.

Working hard. Thanks to my good buddy Daniel for supporting us and taking photos!

Yes, we always dress like this while designing/sewing.

Triumphant after 3 hours! Time to drink.

The Lifford dress.

Look at that sexy back.

Rooftop patio of the Burroughes Building.

Once the taps ran dry - resting my legs at the end of the night.

Heading home - Devlyn frightening us in the elevator.


Tala Kamea Spring 2009

I've been busy at school painting squares and drawing organic objects. Not my favourite things to do. I have also been busy pattern drafting and sewing, as much as I can. Here are the fruits of my labour. More coming soon.

Custom colours and fabrics are available to order at talakamea.etsy.com. Check it out!

Photos by Shayda Omidvar.

Springsteen Dress

Fringe Tunic & Arch Skirt

Men's Modernist Top

Leather Fringe and Rose Gold Plated Chain Necklace