Sorry for the radio silence, but once again, so much has been happening that I haven’t had time to write about it all!
First, I finished the first muslin for the Phoenix Rising uchikake. The body came out way too wide, but by chopping two inches off either side, I got it down to a reasonable width. There is still one glaring problem – the extensions on the front panel need to be moved up by 5-6 inches. And the bottom needs to be extended by about 8-12 inches. But otherwise, it seems reasonably plausible.
Here are pics of the muslin:
This shows rather clearly some of the design challenges. The kimono/uchikake will likely be displayed on a broomstick, with its arms out to show the pattern. At the same time, however, it needs to look good when worn, and the pattern will look quite different when on the body.
For example, this beautiful design, which I spent several hours concocting before finishing the muslin, simply won’t work:
It looks great hanging from a broomstick, but the two side panels will be largely invisible when the kimono is worn. (For evidence of this, look at the back of the muslin – the two stripes of white muslin appear clearly when the arms are extended, but are nearly invisible when the arms are down.)
My conclusion from this is that I really need to design directly on the muslin, so I can see what is working and what is not. This fortunately shouldn’t be too hard – I can design in Photoshop and then print onto long sheets of fabric, ironing the fabric to freezer paper to stabilize it and using a printer that can print 12″ wide and arbitrarily long. By taking this approach, I can easily play with the design, while using a flexible material that won’t affect the drape of the garment. (Paper is too stiff to play well, I think.)
My next steps? Redo the muslin, this time in a heavier fabric that more closely resembles my handwoven fabric sample, and fixing the mistakes I made in the first one. Then design various phoenix motifs, print them on fabric, and test different arrangements on the broomstick and the dress form. I think I can finalize the design quite quickly using this approach – at least, enough to let me weave more samples.
And then? Well, chocolate season is approaching way too quickly. I’m making chocolates a month early, Oct 30 – Nov 2, because of my work schedule. This means I need to start making chocolates around Oct 19, which means finishing my planning by Oct 12 at latest. That means I need to know what flavors I’ll be using by then, which in turn means I need to start the flavor trials Sept 21-28 or so. Whoops! That’s coming up way too fast. So I am poring over chocolate books and starting a list of flavors to try for this year. Test kitchen commences on Sunday.