While holidaying in the US we stayed at Carmel by the Sea for a few days. While it has a beach it does not feel like a beachy town that I am used to in Australia. I was surprised that many of the homes overlooking the coast appeared not to enhance their views, having big trees and small windows. Again, my experience in Australia is for large decks, ceiling to floor windows and panoramic views to the endless ocean – is it because the houses in Carmel faced west and were blocking out the hot afternoon sun? While the beach did not seem significant to Carmel the retail area certainly was. There were high end jewellery shops, beautiful antiques and a restaurant where the wine list was so extensive it really was a book while the food was on two half pages. I had not come to shop or surf but to see Loes Hinse’s studio, and learn more about the LOOK and how to get it.
Loes Hinse creates patterns for the home sewer as well as sewing that range for her studio in Carmel by the Sea. I could see exactly what the pattern and fabric looked like made up and how the pieces co-ordinated. In the shop there were 3 racks of clothing, antique ‘recycled’ furniture and a large clam shell full of scarves. Her pants are made from fluid rayon crepes, micro fibre and tencel. Tees are made from the softest rayons, stretch lace and ‘silky’ knits. Cardigans and jackets from ribbed, textured heavier knits/wovens. The fabrics drape beautifully, are comfortable to wear and easy to maintain making them perfect for travel. Her colour palette is limited to neutrals, bright colours are absent and she loves black with white. Pictures do not show the quality of the fabric or the range of colours that just lay beneath the surface of what at first glance appears ‘colourless’. Loes has incredible attention to detail, all designs and fabrics selected have to fit her LOOK philosophy “perfectly”. She spoke of simplicity, silhouettes, proportion and the fabric that suits the individual design. To create the final step in delivering the timeless style, Loes then teams up selected scarves or jewellery to complete the overall look.
Loes is European trained and has an industry background. Her patterns have small seam allowances for quick overlocker assemblage- a modern approach to sewing. Loes collaborates with friend Sharon who writes the LOOK newsletter and manages the on-line pattern and fabric store Casual Elegance. During my visit, Loes talked about how to stabalize the neck and shoulders . Sharon’s explanation in the latest September LOOK “Practise What You Preach” is to the point and provides an important step in making perfect garments. Loes also spoke about how she pretreats fabrics to ascertain shrinkage/behaviour, and again had an example on hand that she had just treated.
An irregular shaped piece of fabric is traced onto an A4 sheet before washing. After washing/drying the piece is checked against the traced shape for changes. Loes explained that often knits do not shrink consistently, sometimes in length only as was the case of the fabric she had on the table in front of us. Loes advised cutting the garment longer to account for this but rarely changed armhole depth. She went on to explain that when a large length of knit fabric is washed it may twist and become difficult to manage. Her solution is to sew the smaller pattern pieces together, and wash after construction. Loes has had a lot experience with different knits and how they behave, which is clearly demonstrated when you see her clothes in the flesh as opposed to photographs and on the internet. Her ideas are easy to grasp once you understand her philosophy and it is then that you “get it” and the rest of her ideas fall logically into place.
Loes endeavours to creates a range of timeless clothing. It can be either purchased or made by you, using her patterns and perfectly matched fabrics. You will be creating classics….. unemotional workhorses for an easy to wear, co-ordinated wardrobe. Back in the hotel room I went to the Casual elegance web site and couldn’t help ordering some fabric and patterns.
Yes….I did get it!