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.

Window of LH studio, shawl and Tee from same fabric.

Window of LH studio, shawl and Tee from same fabric.

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.

Three racks of clothing.

Three racks of clothing.

Range of tanks made from lingerie fabric. Wear under of out!

Range of tanks made from lingerie fabric. Wear under or out!

Three racks of clothing.

Three racks of clothing.

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!

4 thoughts on “Did I GET IT?

  1. thornberry

    This is really interesting. I’m going to check out her pattern store. I couldn’t do the neutral/monochrome colour ways, but I really love the styles and the fabrics! I wonder if I will “get it”?


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