Wiscasset Marketfest features hand-made finery

Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest is Dec. 7-10!
Posted:  Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 2:45pm
Asian Accents is a Wiscasset-based cottage industry specializing in hand-sewn, one-of-a-kind jackets and purses. According to owner Christine Hopf-Lovette, the items she sews are inspired by her love of collage and her appreciation for the Japanese culture.  Find a selection of Asian Accents fashions at the pop-up Wearable Art Studio, 49 Water St., during Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest.  The Studio will be open on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s great fun to combine Asian fabrics in simple shapes such as my kimono-style jackets,” says Hopf-Lovette. “These jackets are fully lined and roomy, with offset shoulders and wide sleeves. I usually use printed cottons in Asian patterns, although now and then I have been known to succumb to satin brocade. Most of the jackets, however, can be worn with anything from casual denim to dressy velvet.”

In addition to her jackets, Hopf-Lovette describes the small purses she sews as perfect for those times when you only need to carry a phone and a bit of cash. “Now that the smartphones are getting larger, I am making them taller,” she says, and sometimes wider, too.  Hopf-Lovette meticulously designs, constructs, and sews each purse to be unique. Every purse has a special imported bead on a cord for the closure, and the straps are long enough to wear across the body. They make wonderful gifts for friends, mothers, daughters, and daughters-in-law, with no sizing required.

Hopf-Lovette enjoys giving herself new challenges that add to the creativity and drama of her work. “Lately,” she explains, “I’ve been intrigued by a technique called Boro.  It is a fashion statement that evolved from the patchwork of repairs that the Japanese farmers made on their clothes when they began to wear out or tear.  First they stitched a piece of fabric over the hole.  Then they made the patch stronger with several rows of a running stitch called sashiko. For Marketfest, I have a few items made with my version of Boro.”

Originally from New York State, Hopf-Lovette spent most of her professional life in advertising, publishing, and media relations in California. “All of this had nothing to do with sewing,” she says, “but growing up in a family of five girls the sewing machine got a lot of use and I always enjoyed putting together the puzzle of pattern pieces.”

After retiring 12 years ago and moving to Wiscasset in 2009 to be near family, she began making purses to sell at craft fairs, enjoying the freedom to set her own deadlines and expectations while creating something useful and lovely.  She took workshops in fabric collage, quilting, and Japanese Sashiko stitching, and the jackets soon followed.

“When I came across a simple pattern for a kimono-style jacket that could be made unique with a collage of fabrics, I knew that I was on to something that would take advantage of my love of collage. The jackets sold very well at the craft fairs, and at this point I have probably made 100 of them — each one a unique combination of fabrics.”

The Wearable Art Studio is one of three pop-up shops open during Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest, which runs from Thursday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 10. Event times and details can be found online at www.wiscassetholidaymarketfest.com

Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest 2017 is sponsored by the Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce. Major Sponsors are Camden National Bank, Carl M.P. Larrabee Agency, Carriage House Gardens, Greg’s Used Cars, Norm’s Used Cars, Red’s Eats, Sheepscot Bay Physical Therapy, Tim Dunham Realty, and Wiscasset Ford with additional support from Big Al’s, Central Maine Pyrotechnics, Cod Cove Inn, and Midcoast Credit Union.

FMI: Lucia Droby, ludroby@verizon.net.