16 Nov Guest Post – RTW Faster Julie Starr
If you visit the Pattern Review website then you certainly have seen the gorgeous clothes and helpful reviews from Julie Starr. We live on opposite sides of the small state of South Carolina, but I had the pleasure of meeting this lovely woman last year. I was so pleased when Julie signed up for the 2014 RTW Fast and found her post fascinating while reading about the way her sewing is influenced by her daily surroundings.
I was introduced to Sarah’s blog when I stumbled on it purely by accident in 2012. It was a revelation to me and truly became the catalyst for my return to sewing. Now, nearly three years later, accepting the challenge to join her fast from buying RTW for all of 2014, along with a group of nearly 400 women from around the globe, has become a large and rewarding part of my life. Creating my wardrobe by hand gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction and relaxation from a demanding work schedule and I have had a great time this year sharing ideas and projects with these talented ladies whom Sarah has brought together via internet technology. It is remarkable to realize that I now have “sewing buddies” on several continents.
For the past eight years I have been involved with luxury residential construction management, including historic restoration, in and around Charleston and Kiawah Island, South Carolina. I have the incredible good fortune to work on a daily basis with enormously talented and respected architects, designers, tradespeople and decorative arts professionals in this well-preserved gem of a city.
Only recently have I begun to realize the extent to which this exposure is reflected in my sewing style. Form, function, balance, scale and texture each has its own important place in good design, whether in a building or a garment. The antique brick, wrought iron, copper, cobblestone and wood of which Charleston’s structures and streets were built have withstood centuries; some actually pre-date the American revolution. Interspersed with these traditional materials, modern elements are being introduced.
In fact, the controversial proposed design of the new Clemson School of Architecture’s curving concrete perforated walls and metal screens is the basis of a lawsuit brought on by preservation groups who feel it is not in keeping with established guidelines for the historic district. Private gated paths offer peeks of fragrant walled gardens and history is alive at every turn. Just as in garment sewing, a mix of seemingly unrelated materials oftentimes results in unexpected impact. All of this surrounds and inspires me in untold ways every day.
This fall, as I select yardage and styles for cooler weather, I find myself drawn to textural sweater knits, matelasse quilted fabrics, leather, metallics and lofty boucle. Left behind is my summery seaside palette of clear blues, aqua and white as I embrace black, neutrals and deeper, more mellowed hues.
Paper patterns are a sewist’s “blueprints” and as in construction, details must always be executed with precision. Trims are important to my artistic expression; I love edging with braid and piping and selecting buttons or embellishments to enliven a simple, classic silhouette. These are the touches that make my sewing uniquely my own. Using every tool in the box ensures that my garments are a reflection of my individual style.
Home town: Suburban Buffalo, New York; moved to South Carolina in 2000
Family: Husband, Jim; 3 stepchildren – 35, 30 and 25; 3 grandchildren – 10, 4, and 2; wire fox terrier Scooter; Lhasa Apso Bella
When not working or sewing: I’m playing golf (not as much as I’d like!) or gardening; I received my Clemson Certified Master Gardener designation in 2004
Major sewing accomplishment for 2014- Attending Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing School in Houston
New-to-me sewing technique/project planned for 2015: Vogue 1263 jacket using hand embellished reverse applique in the style of Alabama Chanin