Saturday, February 21, 2009

Work in Progress Part I: Aprons

I am having a lot of fun playing with the fabric over here <-- (to be read with a tone of barely restrained glee.) Above is new gingham (a bit pinker than I expected when I ordered it, but I'm getting used to it) and a vintage Liberty print.

Gingham just makes everything look so sweet. The blue on the right is an almost electric shade in the middle of turquoise and royal. What is that shade of paint we all had in oil painting class? It's one of the basics on the pallet. Well, whatever it is called, this is it. I like both ginghams with this - another vintage floral. Winter is not bothering me lately as it is spring in my studio now. I think it sprang because of Florabunda, which is my first show for which these aprons are being produced.

Apron production is going really well - all the skirts are hemmed, rolls of wide twill for back neck ties arrived from my new supplier - and I've been dabbling in pairing waistbands to skirts. This is the most creatively exciting part of my work - marrying up prints.

One of my goals for 2009 is to increase the efficiency of my production process so I can continue of offer one-of-a-kind American handmade aprons at such a low price. One of the unfortunate realities I discovered in 2008 is that it is considerably more expensive to hunt down, buy and repurpose textiles that are already out there in the world. I now know why my favorite sweaters at Preloved are $90. I have had to embrace that other meaning of the word "sustainable," as in, "In what way do I have to work to make this business sustainable?" I have known for a while that I'd have to write about this here and have been hesitating... But this feels like a joyous context in which to bring out the truth of my use of *gasp* bolts from the factory. I am still incorporating thrifted scores where I can: shirt collar and cuff trim, some waistbands and pockets, the lining of the apron bibs, special aprons made entirely from vintage table clothes, and when I can get big enough pieces, whole aprons from repurposed fabrics. But the fact is that I can use new fabric for a fraction of the price of repurposed and that's what I need to do to keep the aprons at $39 for another season.

Here are some other fabric combos I've been playing with:

The blue and white stripes here are vintage Marimekko. Note on the right the excellent company I keep in the studio ; >

I am so keen on this dark chocolate wood grain and the fun pairings for aprons. I keep thinking: "Picnic in the Woods." The fabric's a heavier weight and cost me twice as much so these will be at a somewhat higher price point.

Lovely vintage table clothes reborn as very special aprons. All the edges of these (except for the pink on the very right) will be finished with bias tape. They will have that *special* price point also.

This might not be even half of fun, so I think I'll post again when I get to the other fabs. More Mid Winter Projects coming too, so...stay tuned!

1 comment:

Heather said...

sarah, i am loving your designs and fabric choices...
almost as much as i love the poster in your studio! :)