On Nov. 1st. and 2nd, 2013, the Plano ASG chapter sponsored Marla Kazell’s Koos Van Den Akker trunk show and workshop. Marla became well-acquainted with Koos and his fabulous collage designs while guiding National ASG-sponsored New York City tours including his atelier.

Marla has been sewing professionally for 30 years and currently creates beautiful couture garments in her custom clothing studio located in Tigard, Oregon, just outside Portland. Her garments focus on fit created with fine techniques and wonderful details. She was written articles for Threads and Sew News magazines and teaches classes and hands-on workshops both in Portland and across the country.

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The Friday evening trunk show was an introduction not only to the fabulous collage jackets both she and Koos created, but also an overview of the “Rules of Couture”, some great tailoring tips most of us had not heard before, 10 ways to use silk organza (it should be a staple in your stash), and three very creative ways to make button holes and/or slash pockets.

Saturday the group set up their machines in the luxury of having one 6’ table for each person. Marla began by giving insight to inspiration for combining colors and creating patterns -most often defined, very much like stained-glass, by hand-made bias tape. She stressed that even very small pieces of fabric can be cut into unexpectedly long pieces of bias tape.

We learned how to create interesting new textures by slashing, tucking, crumpling, pressing, stitching and couching. We learned how to spray glue large pieces of fabric in place without moving them away from the base fabric and/or making everything around us sticky as well, and we learned how to make bias tape turn in tight curves. Because these jackets are usually left unlined, the base fabric doubling as a lining, Marla demonstrated several seam finishes, (Hong Kong, flat felled, fold over and bias tape), for making jackets reversible and covering the raw edges on hems, fronts, collars, etc.

Learning to collage is a bit overwhelming at first. Most of our group began by simply experimenting with her techniques. A good bit of pre-planning is needed to develop a really successful piece of art. Marla gave us the tools we need to make this happen; now I can’t wait to start a fantastic collage project!

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