I know that fine, couture garments are not the first thing that come to mind when you think of the International Quilt Market, but that's just what I transported there last week.
Embroidered Dressing Gown
by Tina Lewis
designed by me!
With some crossed fingers and some wee hours editing, we were able to get The Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews to press a week early and get a box of advance copies shipped into Market. Once we had that worked out, I decided that I would bring a trunk show of the actual garments that appeared in the magazine along for the ride as well. So into the suitcase went the silk dressing robe, the beaded shrug, the sequined flapper frock, the bias-cut gown, and the embellished 4-ply silk dress, along with some quilting projects featuring the Andover line of Downton fabrics.
I am sure you can imagine my anxiety with transporting these precious garments. What if they were lost? What if the suitcase burst open, and they were stained or torn? How would I get the wrinkles out?
Fortunately, the wrinkles were my only challenge. I had spent the week before in long discussions with my mother (who has an obsession with removing stains) on how to spot clean the light peach silk robe, if needed. Photo shoots can be hard on garments, but I didn't want to risk dry-cleaning. We settled on using a Mr. Clean sponge, which wouldn't add water spots. I decided not to iron any garments, as I couldn't be sure of the effect, so instead I relied on archival Mom advice again and hung the garments in the bathroom with a hot shower running to steam out wrinkles. Can I just put in a plug for the travel genius of black 4-ply silk? Not one wrinkle when I pulled it out of the suitcase. The quilt projects needed no care, thank goodness.
Our hotel was a ways from the Market, so the next morning, I had to hop on a trolley with all the garments hung in plastic, draped over one arm and my suitcase in tow. Fortunately, I ran into Quilting Arts editorial director Vivika DeNegre and contributor Susan Brubaker Knapp, who helped with my suitcase and coffee. (Yes, coffee! I had to risk it, because there was a serious shortage of drinkable coffee at the convention center!)
It was nerve-wracking to get the gown and robe across town without dragging either on the ground, but I finally made it to the booth. The quilt projects went over to Andover, the gown went straight to the Bernina booth (it had been embroidered with the new Bernina 880), and the rest of the garments were hung on display in the F+W booth.
I once worked at a sewing magazine where the garments went on the road regularly, and I know how much people love to touch and inspect beautiful clothing. This was no different. Everyone oohed and aahed over the outfits, and because The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo has recently become a part of our company, Pittsburgh is only the first leg of their journey, as the garments will go on the road now to those shows, along with other issue projects.
The best part of the trunk show was when members of the F+W team decided to try on all the garments and pose for pictures in the booth. At the end of the day, these outfits are to be worn, and used, and loved, so I am delighted that they inspired an impromptu photo shoot.
Now you can order The Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews magazine for yourself in the Sew Daily Shop, and create modern projects inspired by the fantastic show, ranging from easy to expert.. I hope you get as much pleasure from the projects as we have!
Are you a fan of the show and its fashion? I would love to know!