Hook and eyes are durable fasteners used as additional reinforcement for a variety of garment openings. Although usually small, they must be durable enough to withstand strain and pulling during wear. For that reason, hook and eyes are made of metal featuring either a nickel or black finish. Since they are designed to be understated visually, these two finishes are the most commonly used in dressmaking.
A hook and eye closure comes in two pieces: one serves as the hook while the other is a straight or round shape serving as the eye. Both the hook and the eye have two round holes at each end through which they are permanently sewn to the garment using a whipstitch (see tutorial below).
Hook and eyes are usually sewn to the areas of the garment that have some form of underlay- facing or lining. The reason for that is that the fastening stitched should never be visible on the right side of the garment. Thus, they need to be sewn to the underside of the garment only through the underlay layers.
Although some clothing items use hook and eyes for the entire opening, hook and eyes are usually localized and added as additional reinforcement, or to help certain edges/areas of a garment stay in place. There are commonly two main types of edges that often require hook and eye additions: Lapped and abutted edges.
Lapped edges are those that feature some form of overlapping either through an extension or larger overlapping areas of a garment. This is most commonly seen on traditional lapped waistbands, cuffs, collars and overlapping opening edges.
Abutted edges, on the other hand, touch and meet at the same place when adjoined, but they do not overlap. The most common application of hook and eyes along abutted edges is at the top of invisible zippers, the center front opening edge of a clothing item, along specialized styles of cuffs, collars, and waistbands.
An Uplifting Interview With Artist Kristen Saksa Juen: Bringing Nature-Inspired Ceramics To Modern Spaces.
This morning, as I was browsing through pictures of Kristen Saksa Juen's beautiful ceramics, I inadvertently landed on her Instagram page. A black and white image of clay pieces neatly arranged in a kiln caught my eye. The message adjacent to it made an even more powerful statement as it is a true depiction of Kristen Saksa Juen's journey through her artistic development. She says: " I'm grateful to call myself an artist. Not to say it isn't a lot of hard work that comes with some trade offs. And it took me time, a looong time to even have the courage to say the words 'I am an artist'. But I am so happy and grateful that I get to do this work."
As you'll discover in the interview with Kristen below, art was always present in her life even when she wasn't intently pursuing it. That's the thing about art- you don't choose it, it chooses you. A true artist doesn't actively decide to become an artist. Vise versa, your artistic spirit grabs hold of you and doesn't let go until it is explored and pursued.
Kristen Saksa Juen
She loves to work with her hands, free-forming and feeling the textures while creating a bond with each material at hand. Kristen sees accidental imperfections as beautiful. To her, what some might perceive as an "imperfection" she sees as a gift that comes from each individual artistic process, creating pieces that are always one-of-a-kind. As opposed to other ceramicists, she does not work on a wheel but rather prefers to hand-mold each piece to her individual artistic rhythm. Her connection to nature is prevalent in her love for naturally vibrant colors, creating unique plant potters, and hand carving nature-inspired prints which she designs to fit within a clean space, both modernizing and refreshing it. She describes her work as "a connection to nature in modern spaces".
It took Kristen years to discover herself and become the artist she is today. As you'll notice in her work presented below, she incorporates the natural color of the clay (and its color variations) into the finished product, resulting in pieces that feel earthy yet maintain clean design lines. In the interview to follow, take a journey into the life of a ceramics artist, from the everyday process of designing and making each piece to the challenges and rewards associated with this artistic exploration.
When and how did you become interested in pottery/ceramics?
I remember being fascinated with ceramics as a child, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I took a couple ceramics classes on the side for fun. My creativity was always something that I thought I would have to satisfy on the side. It took me several more years to have confidence in my artwork, appreciate the value of my creativity, and entertain the idea of working as an artist. When I got back into ceramics and started to develop my own artistic style, I started having so much fun I couldn’t stop.
Photo courtesy of Kristen Saksa Juen
There is a beautiful earthy, clean quality mixed with architectural structured edges in your work. How do you describe this unique aesthetic and what inspires you artistically in your work?
I am inspired by the beauty of nature and my love for the outdoors greatly influences my creativity. I particularly love getting inspiration from mountainous landscapes, and unique plants. I strive to create ceramics that spark a connection with nature for modern spaces. Additionally, I strive to express the beauty I see in the process of working in clay. I love to create items that grow into their own unique character, and to celebrate the beauty of handmade.
Photo courtesy of Kristen Saksa Juen
I love how you use color in your pieces- it makes a statement visually, yet still remains very earthy and natural. Can you describe what color represents to you in your work?
I love to use the color of the clay itself as a color in my pallet. Clay by its nature, comes in many earthy tones from white to tan and brown. I enjoy incorporating the color of the ungalzed raw clay into my designs which I think gives my work an additional connection to nature.
In last week's tutorial, you learned how to shorten close-ended, conventional zippers. This week, we'll take things a bit further by showing you how to shorten a separating zipper. As you might have guessed, shortening a separating zipper takes a bit of extra effort and follows a different process (and logic) than that of a regular, conventional zipper.
What Are Separating Zippers?
Separating zippers are zippers that once fully open, separate into two portions. They are often sewn into the opening of jackets, coats, dresses and other garments that require a complete separation along the edges or seams.
Separating zippers normally separate at the bottom, disconnecting one row of zipper teeth from the other. Once completely open and separated, one portion of the zipper tape and teeth houses the zipper slider and puller while the other houses a vertical crimp at the bottom (also called the pin). To close the zipper, this vertical crimp (pin) is inserted into a zipper box slit at the bottom thus allowing the zipper slider to pull the two rows of zipper teeth closed in an upward motion.
Separating zipper components
Closed separating zipper bottom
Understanding the structure of a separating zipper is very important when it comes to shortening it. Due to the fact that all the functional hardware is located at the bottom, a separating zipper cannot be shortened from the bottom using a whipstitch as you would on a close-end conventional zipper. Since the bottom portion is essential to the operation of a separating zipper, it should be left untouched in the shortening process.
Luna Pines: A Unique Jewelry And Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Brand Featuring A Great Passion For Its Craft And Love For The Natural World.
Luna Pines is a jewelry and lifestyle brand sporting a deep connection to nature. Started by Amanda Lachapelle in 2012, it offers natural crystal jewelry that is thoughtfully designed and carefully pieced together to allow the natural elements to truly shine. Every crystal is lovingly handpicked by Amanda herself to create everlasting jewelry that is well-balanced aesthetically and energetically. The brand's name, Luna Pines, gives away the designer's love for nature, implying her strong connection to the moon (luna) and the beautiful pine trees of New England, where she grew up and began her artistic quest.
Photo courtesy of Luna Pines
What stands apart in Amanda Lachapelle's work is clean design mixed with a pleasantly surprising twist. The attention to detail is evident in her design aesthetic, artistic process and careful branding. As you look at each individual piece, you will always find a unique detail, whether it is in the form of a sweet moon charm or an interesting chain extension, marking the jewelry as uniquely hers. Amanda's multi-faceted design aesthetic represents every element of the brand, from her thoughtful Eco-friendly packaging to her care for using environmentally friendly materials all around. She goes beyond aesthetics, inspiring a socially conscious change using Luna Pines as a voice.
Amanda Lachapelle of Luna Pines
Each piece is carefully crafted in her Clinton (MA) studio, where she spends most of her time designing, making jewelry and sometimes finding inspiration among busy days crafting and filling orders. Her studio is where she feels truly happy, motivating her to keep designing and evolving everyday regardless of the challenges or success she attains. As you'll find from the inspiring conversation to follow, Amanda of Luna Pines is a well balanced artist that understands the importance of paralleling her work with her family life, maintaining consistent love and care for both.
Explore a story of hard work, dedication and true passion for her work in this week's interview feature with Amanda Lachapelle of Luna Pines.
How did the name “Luna Pines” come about? What is its significance/meaning for you and the brand?
My friend actually came up with the name for me. I’ve always had a strong connection with the moon and celestial bodies and this has been evident in my work. She suggested “Luna” as a reference to the moon, and “Pines” to acknowledge my New England roots. I had just moved back to Massachusetts from Oaxaca, Mexico, so this name felt like a perfect fit.
Photo courtesy of Luna Pines
What is the greatest point of inspiration in your work and how does this connect to your design aesthetic?
My greatest point of inspiration comes from the natural world. I’m so fascinated by it! This comes through in my choice of materials. I draw inspiration from everything around me when it comes to designing. Currently, I’m very interested in minimalist style, mid-century modern furniture, and abstract gestural paintings. I think it’s really neat how this influences my work.
In sewing, you will often find yourself having to make certain adjustments to zippers depending on the garment at hand. One of the most common alterations you'll need to learn right from the beginning is how to shorten a zipper.
When Is It Necessary To Shorten a Zipper
You'll be surprised how often you might find yourself needing to shorten a zipper as you start making your own clothing. The most common issue that requires shortening of course, is (naturally) the zipper being too long for the designated zipper application on your garment. Due to the fact that on a commercial scale, zippers are mostly found in 5 inch increments, you'll often need to buy a long zipper and shorten it to fit your own sewing requirements. So that being said, there are really two situations that will probably require you to shorten a zipper by hand in dressmaking:
What are notches and how are they used in sewing and pattern making?
Notches are clips or wedges cut into the seam allowance in order to facilitate matching and sewing the corresponding seams during garment construction. In other words, you can figure out which fabric pieces should be pieced together to form the seam by matching the corresponding notches to one other.
Notches are extremely important in the sewing process. All fabric components of a garment should be marked such that each seam is easy to piece together once the patterns are removed. It is much easier to figure out which edges should be sewn to one another when you are looking at the marked patterns. However, once the fabric pieces are cut and the patterns are removed, a lot of important marks and lines are often lost visually, and you are left with fabric pieces that can appear a bit confusing, especially to the untrained eye. Transferring notches from the patterns onto fabric will ensure that that each edge is properly aligned and the front and back pieces are not mismatched during sewing.
Notches are always marked into the seam allowance, stopping at less than halfway through the width of the seam allowance itself. They become hidden on the inside of the garment once it is complete, and are used for construction purposes only.
Keep in mind- individual notches that are added to seam edges are strictly used to facilitate sewing and they should not add any form of tension release or affect the fit and look of the clothing item being constructed. Specialized notches and wedges used for release tension are cut in groups along more curved areas of a seam, and are applied much closer to the seam-line.
To learn more about tension release notches/wedges, check out this sewing tutorial: Clipping The Seam Allowance During Sewing: How And When To Use The Fabric Clipping Method.
Types Of Notches On Sewing Patterns
Triangle shaped notches-wedges: These style notches are found mainly on commercial patterns and most commonly used by home dressmakers. Triangle notches require to be cut in a v-shaped wedge which makes them most visible during the pinning process. For that reason, they are the preferred method for sewing beginners as they are easier to see during pinning and stitching.
A single triangle notch
Nevertheless, triangle or v-shaped notches take a bit longer to cut- you have to be very careful not to cut too far through the seam line in the process since it requires the cutting of a very specific triangular shape.
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Today, allow yourself a few moments to explore and feel inspired because everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. Never stop searching for what makes you truly happy.