Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Story...

Behind Jacket No.3 for Alan Lee.

If I had to sum it up in 3 words or less, it would be, "what a whirlwind!!" of an experience!! Alan always seems to challenge me, not only my creativity, but also with time constraints. But that is what I love about the guy the most. He challenges me; as a designer, and a business woman. I have grown so much because of him. Ok, back to telling the story....

Alan being the fantastic artist he is, came up with a super idea for a jacket that incorporated the tooling art of leather artisan Pascal from Riff Raff Leather, and my craftswomanship. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to work with the "boot maker to the stars" even though I knew that with what time we had, and the distance between us, it was not going to be an easy task. What I didn't know, was how difficult it was going to be for me to work with leather I had never worked with before, in that short time.

After meeting the challenges of creating the design Alan had envisioned, and perfecting the pattern, I was now faced with the challenge of putting the jacket together. Pascal was wonderful to work with, always available to answer any questions I may have had. But who knew that this "twice the thickness" of leather I normally work with, was going to cause so much turmoil for my machine. Twice we had to call in the help of our most friendly repairman, Troy, of Stanley Sewing, (yes, shameless plug---this man deserves it!), who rushed to our assistance on a holiday weekend. Hey, time was running out and our job needed to be completed....we had a plane to catch! We missed our flight anyway. :-(

About 1:00 AM, the morning before Alan's red carpet premier in Vegas, our machine for the second time, would only stitch about an inch or two, before it started missing stitches. This was NOT good at all!! We had more work to do, and our only machine dedicated to sewing leather, couldn't handle the task. Machine number two was our only option, except, this machine was my mother's when she was a factory sample maker for a designer in Boston some 70 years ago. This machine was calibrated to stitch my linings, not leather. With some adjustments, we were able to stitch some of the leather, but not the thickest parts. We broke 6 needles in the process too, and stayed up the entire night trying to finish the jacket. On our way to the store to purchase new needles for our sewing dinosaur, Alan called asking where we are with his jacket. "We're coming! I am on my way to purchase more needles," I say. "If you don't get your a__ on a plane now, you will miss one of the biggest opportunities, and one which you have worked so hard for", he says.

Anyone who lives in NH, knows that it takes at least 20 minutes to get anywhere, unless you live right in the city. Sleep deprived, we ignore Alan's plea to jump on a plane, and finish our trip to buy the needles we need. We rush home, book the next flight from Boston to Vegas, pack whatever we can in 10 minutes time, then back to the workshop to get whatever sewing we can get accomplished in what little time we had left, which was almost none. With tons of threads hanging that need to be tied off and snipped, and seams left unsewn, we throw Alan's unfinished jacket into our bag, and scurry to the airport. Remember in the movies seeing folks frantically running through the airport to catch a plane? Well, that was us going as fast as we could toward our gate, and toward the pilot walking in our direction. He asked me, "are you on this plane?" I said, "yup". He then turned around and we walked on the plane together. I think they were waiting for us. lol

Last to be seated on the plane, and hungry as heck since there wasn't any time to stop to stuff our faces, we snuggle in for the long flight out west and patiently wait for the flight attendants to come around with something to eat and drink. While Brent closed his eyes to catch some much needed rest, I sat there with Alan's jacket on my lap and begun tying off all those threads in an attempt to finish whatever I could. Then I too, closed my eyes because I knew, once we set foot in Vegas, it was going to be a long night.

Alan was at the airport when we landed, which was about a half hour before the premier of The Room 101 Conspiracy Party. We were whisked off to The Palms and up to our hotel room where we gave Alan his almost completed jacket. He LOVED it! Thank God!! Even in it's almost completed stage. But the show must go on, right? And it did!

Alan made his way down to the red carpet wearing our creation, while we had less than a half hour to get ourselves cleaned up and dolled up for the big party. Alan called, "are you ready yet? We're waiting!" High heels and all, we race from Palms Place to The Palms Casino, with Alan as our personal GPS navigating us to The Playboy Club, where he's standing there, phone in hand, waiting to walk the carpet. We follow behind, as he takes his place, photographer's flashing, and video cameras taping. We watch as he does his thing. Finally, I can breath. But for what only seems like a second before we're whisked off into the club for a night of networking, mingling with friends new and old, and enjoying an experience of a lifetime. What a whirl wind!!!

After Vegas we flew to LA to spend some time with Alan in his shop. Dined at the infamous Rainbow Bar and Grill with Alan (wearing his new jacket), and shopped on Melrose Ave. too. The day we checked out of our hotel room, the day of the Oscars, we sat at the Starbucks on the corner of La Brea and Sunset, waiting for our ride. In walked Tim Allan! My first celebrity siting in LA. lol We say hello, in the same manner any dorky tourist would. Soon after, Pascal arrived to pick us up and take us to his workshop were he so kindly taught us a few tricks of the trade. What a super fantastic guy who's talent for tooling and boot making is just unreal! Pascal was nice enough to show us a few sites before we had to head back to Alan's and catch our flight home. After this experience, we were really looking forward to our 10:35 PM overnight flight back to maybe we could catch some much needed Zzzzzz on the airplane before we return to the work that was awaiting us back in NH.

1 comment:


Wow! Seems like you had a serious adventure!
Great photos of the jacket, it's phenomenal.
Next time you're in LA, look us up!!