Abstract Wearable Art

My dear friend told me about an event that was going on in Portland that she bought a ticket for and thought I might be interested in joining her. The event was a combination fashion show, art exhibit and promotion of new happenings in the city. It was hosted in a former retail space in Pioneer Place mall , a once booming luxury mall that had been hit hard since the riots of 2020 and was loosing traffic, but is showing a renewed interest with some high end shops and new use of some of the otherwise unoccupied spaces. A new art gallery has opened in one such space in the mall, Gallery Go Go, which features local artists, hosted the event and invited other fashion, makeup and performance artists, and most notably, the amazing botanical artist, Francois Weeks. All of the amazing makeup art was done by a talented team at Event Cosmetics.

Of course, I was thrilled to hear of such a show and immediately purchased a ticket to join in the fun and also to support some local talent. Plus I got to hang out with a wonderful, fun and beautiful friend who also shared a passion for fashion and culture as I do.

I began to plan what I wanted to wear to this event as I just LOVE fashion shows and events that involve socializing, seeing amazing artists work, and dressing up!

Since the event was happening in early March, I thought it would be wise to make a statement coat or jacket of sorts so that I wouldn’t have to worry about what I was going to wear as outerwear over my outfit. I felt it was a great idea to make a unique jacket and embellish it with floral and botanical inspired embroidery, beading and appliqués, and line the asymmetric peplum with a complimentary pop of color. I gathered up my pattern ideas, materials and ordered some lovely appliqués from Etsy and began to work on it.

Some sketches of my idea
An appliqué and beads that could work on the jacket
Or these 3-D rose appliques
Another gorgeous appliqué I purchased

If you know me at all, you know that I tend to have TOO many ideas swimming around in my head and only occasionally take the idea to a finished project. Well you guessed it, the idea was a great one, I started on it, but time just began to run out and I knew that I couldn’t finish it in time to wear to the show. Argh!

So, I tabled plan A and moved on to plan B.

I have plenty of lovely fabric in my stash, fabrics that are already embellished or printed and only need a blank slate to make them come alive. Enter the idea to make a great jacket using a pattern that I have always wanted to make and some great fabric I’ve been saving for such an occasion!

I got to work cutting out this McCalls pattern #M7879 that I had in my collection, choosing the view with the interesting leg ‘o mutton sleeve and longer hem so that I could be warm and stylish, but not too hot if it were to be hot at the event:

McCalls 7879 pattern cover
The line drawings for the pattern. I made view C

If you happen to be interested where I got the Leg ‘o Mutton description of that style of puffed sleeve, it is actually a style of sleeve that has been around since the 1800’s and is to resemble the leg of a lamb.


Did you know I also am a huge fashion history nerd? You heard it here, Folks! Love it.

On to the project!

I had this interesting floral and abstract printed cotton blend fabric that had a Scotch-guard surface treatment, perfect for a light outerwear piece, or a home decor project. It has some abstract floral print and black zebra-type stripes on a bright white background. I had purchased enough yardage of it with the intent to use to make it into a rain jacket, so it was just right.

It didn’t take too long to make up the jacket, between other client projects and teaching sewing classes, about two weeks on and off in total. Even though the jacket is fully lined and making the sleeve like that was new to me, I managed to stay up late some nights and power through it.

I tell you, with having my own sewing business, operated out of my lovely and inspiring home, I have more time, mental space and ability to do special, last minute projects like this and that makes me so, sew happy! I have all my tools, machines, notions, thread, buttons, fabrics, patterns, trims, beads; essentially all of the things I need to make most any garment at my fingertips. No need to even leave the house! Such a dream come true.

A pop of color using bias piping trim, inserted to the inside of the jacket between the lining and the facing. A little design feature I love to add to jackets and coats whenever I can.
The jacket lining installed and getting close to being finished. I had this silk/spandex blend fabric in black on hand in my fabric stash. I love using silk to line better garments. It’s so luxe and slippy!

Alas, I finished the jacket just in time to take a few photos of it, put it on with the rest of my outfit, do my makeup and hair, and head out the door to meet my friend for dinner before the show.

She’s finished!
I’m ready to go and excited to wear my new creation!
I wore my new jacket over a black cashmere turtleneck and faux leather leggings with some Sorel booties. Perfection!

The show was amazing and so fun to see such wonderful creations by talented artists featured on bodies of beautiful people. The featured artist Francois Weeks created spectacular live botanical displays and wearable works of floral art. Check out some of the photos I took from my seat at the show and afterwards. Click on the photos to see some of the detail work that will blow your mind! Amazing and SO inspirational!

At the Gallery Go Go pre-show

I was so mesmerized by the amazing arial artist, I only got this one photo of her, about to approach the arial hoop, at the very beginning of doing her magic during the show:

The arial artist, a mesmerizing show!

Even the music from the featured DJ’s was super sweet! We also got a great goodie bag that included some lip balm from Event Cosmetics that I have been loving, an amazing perfume sample, and some other great little treats to enjoy!

We had an amazing night out, seeing such talent and inspiration to be creative, and just fun to hang out with some cool people of Portland! I was perfectly comfortable and felt great in my jacket and the outfit I put together with it. I got tons of compliments on my jacket, before and after the show, as well as from my social media posts following that night. The icing on the cake happened when McCalls Pattern Company contacted me through my Instagram post, asking if they could feature my jacket on their page. WOW!!!

My Form of Art: Fashion