Feature Friday: Laura McFarlane

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Photography: Nathanael Patriquin Model: Alyssa Yvette Corset: Laura McFarlane Surface Design: Dee Wilkie


How long does it typically take to make a corset?
A traditional corset can take about 40 or more hours depending on how much embellishment is desired, and hand sewing there is to be done. A traditional corset can also have ‘laminating’ which means that two inside layers of the corset are sewn together with several vertical lines of stitching for added structure. A fashion corset on the other hand can take closer to 10 to 20 hours of work because they often have more machine sewing and lamination is not neccessarily needed. The corset is not intended to be as structured, and is more for show than utility.

How much fabric is needed?
There are usually three to four layers of fabric in a corset, the outer ‘fashion fabric layer’, two layers of fabric into which the bones will be inserted, and sometimes another inner layer to add thickness and strength to the fashion fabric if it is a light fabric like silk or cotton. All together 2 to 3 meters of fabric can go into a typical corset.

Where did you learn to make them?
I graduated from the Fashion Design program at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in 2014. In the fashion program there is a course all about corsetry which teaches how to properly create a pattern, how to fit it properly, and how to sew a traditional style of corset.

What do you love most about making corsets?
I am a costumer, and have always loved the history of clothing, and undergarments and corsetry have evolved so much, but the historic look of corsets has been

What is the most frustrating part about making a corset?
It takes a lot of time to make one complete corset, and I will admit that I can get a little impatient. Usually I do a lot of hand stitching at the beginning and of end my corsets, and it is amazing how fast an evening can disappear when you’re hand stitching pieces together, or stitching down your edges.

What kind of details and embellishments can be added to a corset?
Piping the seams of a corset is a common embellishment, and can help to strengthen your seams. There is also a type of stitching embellishment called ‘flossing’ which is a technique of stitching at the top and/pr bottom of the bone channels. The stitching can be purely for decoration, but it is also used to better anchor the bones in place, and to add strength to the fabric which will make it less likely for the bones to eventually poke through the fabric over time. As modern fashion corsets go however, anything from lace to fringe, buttons, stubs and more can go into a corset.

When did corsets start in history and how are they used/worn today?
The corset was first introduced into fashion in the 16th century in Italy. They were worn to create a smooth tight cone shape to the torso, and to push the breasts up. Over hundreds of years many

different shape and technique changes occurred, including the addition of boning, which were commonly made from whalebone but are now either plastic or metal.

Today some people do still use corsets as a shaping undergarment, but now fashion corsets are much more popular and are worn as/or over clothing. Current costuming trends are also making corseting much more popular, such as Steampunk, which is inspired by the technology and aesthetic of the 19th century.

To check out more of Laura’s designs, check out her facebook page here.

The Art Project Does Jamaica: Sweet n’ Sassy Minerals

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As most of you know, I am NOT a makeup girl.  I wear makeup about once a week, and even then it is mostly just mascara.  However Sweet and Sassy Minerals was kind enough to hook me up with some swag for my trip down south, and I must say, I really liked it.  The eye shadow was so subtle that there was no way I could have messed it up!  (Although I still made my friend Sara put it on for me. lol)  And the mineral powder was so light I could barely tell that I was wearing any (even in the hot Jamaican heat).

Also, can we just talk about the truffle bombs?!  Coconut lime is the PERFECT down south scent, and I am so happy they picked this one for me.  I truly believe that there are few things better than taking a hot bath and reading your favourite book either while you are away, or taking a “staycation”.

To purchase any of Sweet n’ Sassy’s products, visit Whimsey on Main Street Fredericton.

“Just wing it.  Life, eyeliner, everything.”

D.W.

Feature Friday: Nora Swimwear

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1.) Where are you from originally and where are you located now?
I was born in Bermuda but most of my memories were made in Fredericton where I went to FHS, and then did my undergrad at UNB. I moved to London, England in January of this year!

2.) Why did you chose the name “Nora Swimwear” for your brand? (Was it named after someone?)
The name Nora actually wasn’t always the intended name of the brand. Over christmas break, I was sketching some designs and I was naming each of them. I named the marble bikini ‘nora’ originally and fell in love with it. I decided to look into what nora meant and it turns out it means ‘light’ and ‘honour’ which ended up being pretty central to the theme of the swimwear’s brand. Nora is all about making girls feel like that ‘woman of honour’ in which they can empower other women- while looking awesome!

3.) Where do you see Nora Swim going next? 
Things are pretty hectic right now. Its a learning process, but as of right now the website is being worked on, and the look- book shoot is planned to happen in MTL with my good friend Nat Carson as the photographer. Everything is a go for the big launch, which is happening May 21st online and pop- up at Shop Tilleul in Fredericton which I am SO excited for! Fredericton is very close to my heart, so it was easy for me to decide that is where I wanted to launch at my good friend Katie Boyce’s new store. Plus it goes live online the same day too!

4.) Where do you pull inspiration from?
I’ve always been a huge fan of swimwear. My friends always thought I was a bit crazy when I’d spend $120 on a bikini, but to me it was always worth it. Being born in Bermuda, I was naturally programmed to like warm weather. Throughout my undergrad, I saved all my (pennies) to make sure I could get down south with every chance I had. I pull inspiration from a lot of trends in textiles, fashion, and places like California, Bali, and the Mediterranean.

Inspiration is also taken from the movement where people are increasingly taking care of their health and their bodies. I think its great that people want to show off a little, and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. I also am constantly pulling inspiration from bloggers like Barefoot Blonde, WeWoreWhat, Cara Loren, and Emily Luciano. So many of the styles they post about can be transformed into swimwear.

5.) Describe your brand below in a few short sentences.
Nora Swimwear is all about making women feel and look good. Taking inspiration from beach culture and the beaches of Bali, California and the Mediterranean, Nora Swimwear is comfortable and can serve as statement pieces. Ultimately, Nora Swimwear’s aim is to connect women around the world in positivity and empowerment.

6.) What makes your swimwear brand different from others?
I think Nora Swimwear is different from other swimwear brands because it pulls many trends into one. The designs are fitted, comfortable, and are suitable for a wide range of body types. A portion of the profits will also be going to an organisation that provides micro loans to women in under- developed countries, which ties in with the meaning behind nora swimwear to empower other women.

Ashley Lemmon

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Feature Friday: Zafira Apparel

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Tie Jumpsuit - Sheana Canthan
Photographer: Sheana Canthan
Wrap - Sheana Canthan
Photographer: Sheana Canthan
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Photographer: Brent McCombs

How long have you been in the fashion industry?
I guess it depends what you would consider to be working in the fashion industry! I have been making and selling clothes for the past 8 years on and off, but really started my clothing line 4 years ago. And for the past year, I have been working for other companies in Toronto as well as growing my own brand.

What is your favorite garment to make? (romper, dress, skirt, crop
top?)
I love creating anything! I still make most of my own samples, so the entire process is fun to me for any new garment I design. If we are talking the actual sewing aspect than the simpler the garment the better! Sewing is so time consuming, but in the sample phase it’s enjoyable.

What is your favorite fabric to work with and why?
I love working with natural fibers, especially cotton because it’s so easy to work with. I have been a lot more experimental with knits though as of recent which has opened up a lot more options with designs.

Where are you located now?
I am currently located living and working in downtown Toronto.

Who is your target market/Zafira girl?
The “Zafira Woman” is a city dwelling 22-35yr old seeking consciously made garments made in exclusive runs. Although I say 22-35, my customers are of all ages! Anyone looking for a unique, comfortable, practical and easy to wear piece. My favorite thing is to create wearable pieces that are versatile.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I have no idea! I used to be scared to not have a bit of a plan in place, but I think i’m in a great place right now and I am excited to see what is to come. Besides Zafira, I am currently a full time designer at Nuvango (www.nuvango.com<http://www.nuvango.com>). They are a vertically integrated fashion and tech company located in Toronto. Their concept is working directly with artists from around the world and putting artwork on fashion and accessories. I am fortunate enough to have a hand in creating the garments and choosing the artwork that we use. I have no idea where this road will take me and I’m not scared about it! Everyday is exciting, it is totally a dream job. With Zafira I can still explore designs, be creative on my own and be my own boss and with Nuvango I get to work with an incredible team on a project that I never saw on my path, but here I am!

What is your most favorite garment that you ever made?
It would be a toss up between my Tie Jumpsuit (which is my best seller) and the Garden Gown from SS’14. My jumpsuit is comfortable, sexy and versatile and the Garden Gown is printed, dramatic and fun.

As a fashion designer, what is your greatest strength and weakness?
My greatest weakness would probably be procrastination and my greatest strength would probably be my perseverance to carry on even when I am faced with many challenges as a fashionpreneur and as a fashion designer in a highly competitive industry.

What is your favorite colour/print to work with when you are
sewing/designing?
I love working with bold colours but also neutrals and black. Black is so versatile so it’s usually my go to. I am obsessed with prints, so I feel very lucky working as a designer at Nuvango where I get to play with artwork on clothing all day!

Follow & Connect with me!
instagram: @shopzafira @connizafiris
twitter: @zafiraapparel
facebook: ZafiraApparel

Dee Wilkie – The Art Project Does Jamaica: Heart Strings

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I am so in love with heartSTRINGS Jewelry!!  Each piece is so unique and is made out of both new and used guitar strings.  I wore this off and on during my entire trip in Jamaica and it was one of my favorite pieces.  I was worried that the wire which held the beads on it might get caught on my clothing, or scratch my skin.  It didn’t at all, and actually, I tried looking at my bracelet to see where the wire began and ended and I couldn’t find it.  The craftsman ship of Melanie Browns’ work is excellent!

“Once a year, go some place you’ve never gone before.” – Dali Lama

D.W.

Designing My Silk For Red Dress

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Our beautiful model: Marilyn Luscombe

 

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Fashion Designer Adrienne Goodine with our model!

 

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Detail shot!!  (Adrienne LOVES bows and cute details.)


Sometime in March.

I don’t know about you, but  when I have an important project to do, or something that will take a lot of work, I procrastinate.  WHY do I do this!?

This year Adrienne Goodine asked me to design and dye silk for her red dress for the annual Red Dress Fashion Show which is a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  I knew that tie dyed silk would not stand out amongst the rest of the other gorgeous hand made dresses.  So I decided to hand paint three meters of yardage with my signature roses.  WHY DID I THINK THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA!?  It’s not.  Setting up the frame to stretch out my silk takes forever!!  Not to mention I have to find a space to do this first. UGH!  Now that I am writing this I have answered my own question as to why I am procrastinating dying this fabric…

March. 21st
Update!  I cleared a spot in my living room and finally started dying my silk (hooray!) now for the bad news…the news that always seems to follow when you’re me and you’re a surface designer.  There is always an obstacle to over come, always a barrier to break down, always a problem to fix.  My “scarlet red” dye is looking more pink than red.  WHHHHYYYY!?  I have painted one and a half meters of silk THREE TIMES now, and it finally looks somewhat red.  I am worried about what it is going to look like once I rinse and wash it out.  Oh well, another problem for another day really. lol

March. 25th
Silk is painted, steamed, rinsed and washed!!!  It turned out red (hooray!)

April. 3rd
As well as the red roses, I have to dye a piece of silk that is solid red.  Guess what…I ran out of dye!

Sometime in April
Thankfully I finally finished dyeing all of the silk and it turned out RED, thank gosh!  I will post more pictures soon on my instagram or facebook account, but I would love to know what everyone thinks about how the dress turned out!

“My head says, “who cares?” but then my heart whispers, “You do, stupid…””

D.W.

Dee Wilkie – The Art Project Does Jamaica: Sueno Swimwear

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In a recent article that was published, it came out that Victoria’s Secret will no longer be selling bikinis.  (Insert freak out here.)  Don’t worry men and women everywhere, I have found the solution!

Sueno Swimwear is a Nova Scotia based company that sells custom made swimwear.  Sueno takes care of ALL the details, and although having a hand made bathing suit might SOUND iffy, I assure you, Seuno has the bathing suit making business down to a science!!  (For example, even the bottoms you buy come with a sticker on the…crotch…area to ensure sanitation and professionalism.)

The best part about Sueno swimwears’ bikinis? …Where do I start?!  They are completely customizable for one.  Joanna Tranter (the founder of Sueno Swimwear) asked that I send her my measurements which were so easy to take I took them by myself!  Then I got to pick the design I wanted.  (Sueno Swimwear already has tons of both cute and sexy swimwear to choose from, but I really wanted something specific for our trip.)

Secondly, Joanna designs the swimwear to not only to be fashionable, but also to be functional.  Joanna is a surfer, so she understands the importance of having a bathing suit that doesn’t fall off.  While we were in Jamaica we had the awesome experience of traveling up Dunns River Falls.  Our tour guides warned us time and time again to make sure our bathing suits were secure so they would not fall off.  Needless to say, out of all the things I was worried about while traveling up a 55m rushing waterfall, having my bottoms fall off was not one of them.  (AND they were not super tight causing a muffin top.  They legit just fit really well.)

My biggest regret about Sueno Swimwear?  I wish I had ordered a custom top to go with my super cute and comfy bottoms!

To order one of Sueno Swimwears suits, check out their website here.

“Life is too short to wear boring swimsuits.”

D.W.