Oh my gosh - what is new in the shop! Many things are new and I will talk about the silk braids today as they are just absolutely luscious.
During the summer I was able to spend time at Au Ver a Soie and learn more about their capabilities. I knew they made some round braids but the most fun was digging through the boxes of special things they made for the couture industry, looking for ideas and understanding their unique capabilities. One of the things I came upon were these absolutely beautiful flat silk braids. These seven rolls were already made and were looking for a customer and were in colors in our historic color palette already! Access Commodities immediately imported them for me - these are very close to the sweet bag braids used for frog purses, grape purses, and bags and will work wonderfully for them.
I am selling them by the meter and will cut to measure so you can order multiple meters if needed and they will be continuous. The braids are just 3 mm wide.
Laying on top of the braids is a second type and much smaller. This is a pre-production sample of a braid used in stumpwork to make the small ties on shoes. This was my approval sample for a suite of braids to come in the next year and placed here for scale. I am REALLY looking forward to these braids as not only do they make wonderful accents for stumpwork, but there is an entire genre of trinkets that the girls made with them - casket toys I call them. I put the sample here so those in the class don't mistake the slightly larger braids as ones they can make little shoe ties with. Buy the braids - but only for the right purpose. These would work great sewn together to make capes and drapes on people, tents, and to wrap around thick wire for poles. I am sure you can come up with ideas!
Getting the braid structure for the little braid right took a lot of detective work, but most difficult was getting the right stock silk to size it right and then the parameters on the tensions. Being able to tie and use the braid for these casket toys is directly dependent on the tightness of the braid. I needed to make a suite of samples so I could give one to Au Ver a Soie to match it exactly for structure and flexibility. My lovely intern this summer worked for a week braiding a few yards of braid to get the parameters right. (Conditions were rough - that is my family room and kitchen furniture in the dinning room! The construction noise constantly broke her concentration).
This is a lot of what I do - examine many embroidery pieces under the lens and take measurements on threads and materials that appear time and time again and give these items that 'it factor' and characteristic texture. Then spend time figuring out HOW they made them and what the structure is. Prototyping is the next phase. You never will get the item you want if the manufacturers have to figure out all the parameters - they have too much on their plates to figure out a new product. So if you can come to them with it all worked out (as well as a very large order), you have a prayer. Of course, doing it within the distribution system is necessary if you want to get it in a range of colors and provide a long term market for it - so they will decide to put it higher on the list amongst all the myriad of requests they get. They do have limited resources. I am looking forward to getting this braid family and a few other things that are surprises out this year!