Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let It Snow

~McCall's 7157 (1947) - found at the thrift store for $.39~


Season's Greetings! 

I cannot believe it has been a month since I last posted! I have to tell you that the holidays have kept me more than busy with all the decorating, shopping, baking, luncheons, and parties. I had a wonderful Christmas and I do hope that your holiday was wonderful too!

~Tea saucers make for wonderful fabric weights!~
I have been working on a wee-bit of sewing. Since The Great Gatsby movie premiere has been moved to May 2013, I have temporarily put my 1920s dress project to the side (there is plenty of time to work on it) to construct a suit from a 1947 McCall's sewing pattern I found at the thrift store. Currently, I have the skirt to the suit completed and the jacket and jacket lining cut out. The suit is being made from a knitted lavender cotton and lined in a matte lavender satin - I hope to also construct from the same material a darling little chapeau to match.

Here are a few construction photos of the skirt. Hopefully you will be able to see the texture of the knit (metallic silver threads are weaved throughout). Please forgive the poor quality of some of the photos - I had to use my cell phone to take pictures until my camera was returned to me (I accidentally left my camera at my brother's and he lives 80 miles away - lol).

~Skirt together - shell and lining need basted~

~Waistband on and pinned for stitching~

~Skirt lining being stitched to the hidden zipper~

~Skirt hem being stitched to the skirt lining~

On another front (a weather front, to be exact), we had a fun little winter storm blow into Ohio Christmas night. The local stations had us all ready for a blizzard and nearly a foot and a half of snow. We certainly had the blizzard winds, but the snow accumulation (at least in Dayton) was only around 7 inches. As much as we Ohioans complain about the snow and cold, winter doesn't feel quite right without it (we secretly love it)! Besides, if we all migrated south for the winter, we'd miss magical scenery like this, Mr. Cardinal camping out in my pear tree after the storm:

~He sure is one fat daddy!~

Happy Holidays! Be safe, stay warm, and blessings and happy sewing!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Taking Care of Business

~It's the white tree this year~
The week of Thanksgiving is always very busy for me and my family. Aside from my oldest daughter assigning me relish and cheese tray duty this year (I got off light!) - she hosted her very first Thanksgiving dinner and she did a wonderful job - I decorated my house for Christmas and cleaned up the attic while I was at it. As you can imagine, there hasn't been time for sewing.

But soon, like tomorrow, I will be back into the swing of sewing things (with a whirlwind of fervor)! On November 16th, I opened my Etsy shop, and after Thanksgiving I thought I might like to get busy and start creating some product to sell - lol. That's what I've been doing the last couple weeks: talking to my wholesalers, updating my fabric inventory, and preparing product to sew and sell.

~Satin inventory~
It's been a few good years since the hubs and I left the fair circuit, and while I do not miss fair life (we had ten very good years), I miss our customers, I miss offering unique, quality products, and I miss being in business. My husband, God bless his sweetness, was in the business for me - he's a long-haired, hippy-freak, technogeek and his sweet spot (and vocation) is binary code and other such alien languages, not fair speak ("Anon!") and Ren garments. When we packed up shop, he was done. But, I wasn't. I figured I would jump back into business again one day. Well, four years! 

~Product cut and ready for sewing~
What's exciting about this time around is that my creative endeavors are not limited to what products of mine will or will not be juried into a show, but rather by my own imagination and skill - I set the limit. One year, I wanted to introduce a new garment (in the same line as our other garments, but made of leather) and the craft coordinator would not jury in the garment because the leather smiths would be in a stink over it (rolls eyes). This sort of product bias is common practice in juried shows and it stifles vendor creativity and revenue opportunities - it also robs the customer of a potentially better product. It's not all about making money, is it? (As any ethical business person will tell you, the answer is no.)

I'm excited! I have all sorts of ideas spinning through my head and I love it! Just so you know I haven't been slacking, but taking care of business...

Blessings and happy sewing!  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marie's Gatsby Dress


For The Great Gatsby premier in early January 2013 (the premier date has been recently updated from December 2012 - the movie is currently in post production), Marie chose a McCall's 1925 autumn dress from my collection of antique and vintage patterns. For the slip she chose a matte lavender satin, and for the dress a vintage print sheer crepe (this was quite a lucky find, and as I pointed out in the previous post, the width of the crepe was 39", the standard width for fabric in the 1920s). Finally, the orange "sapphire" buttons used for the cuff and neck closures are vintage Bakelite.  

Marie's dress is in the traditional tunic-style of the era, snug at the hip and loose on the upper torso. The bodice/shirt of dress illustrates the chinoise chic or Asian influence prevalent in mid to late 1920s fashion design, as does the stylized poppy flowers in the print. Despite the delicate nature of the crepe (I was a little worried and very careful!), the dress came together well and drapes beautifully. What do you think? 

~A close up of the crepe~

Later this week I will begin constructing my Gatsby dress - I believe I have found the dark plum and bone color linens that I will need to make the pleated skirt. I just have to get my derriere to the fabric store with a swatch of the bodice fabric and match it up to be sure. 

In the meantime, my friends, blessings and happy sewing!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Double, Double Toil and Trouble, Fire Burn, and Caldron Bubble...


Halloween is near

Last weekend, me and my girls (and their friends) took our annual trip to the Circleville Pumpkin Show. We always have a good time (see picture above); I even made it home with a new piece of art glass from Jack Pine Studio (see picture below).

On the sewing front, I have Maria's Gatsby dress cut out and ready to be sewn, and I had just enough crepe to make it - in other words, there isn't any spare fabric left for oopsies - no pressure. (Did I mention the crepe is 39"? Yah, laying out a pattern efficiently on narrower material, it's amazing the difference 5" will make, especially on my patience - lol!). 

And guess what I did? I finally made myself a fun little witch-y costume! I have wanted to make one for Halloween forever and I broke down this week and made it! I had all the material (stuff I accumulated over the years and held on to) so I didn't spend a dime (I love these sorts of sewing projects). The bodice is constructed of a heavy twill lining (boned lightly at the seams) and black taffeta. The skirt and sleeves have a layered construction made from burnt orange bridal satin, black netting, and black organza:

I'm ready for All Hallows Eve - just need to pull my broom out of the closet - ;) Blessings and happy sewing!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vicky Separates: The Beginning of a Wardrobe

Well, I don't have much in the way of late Victorian costume (I have one suit, two corsets, and some cotton and linen underthings), so I thought I'd create some separates. To begin, I took my wardrobe inspiration from the lady on the right in the picture above. I adore the shape of her jacket, the crisp white shirtwaist, and the tie. A few months ago I happened across a great deal on some plaid cotton and decided I would use it to create my inspiration suit. A dressmaker can do a lot with gray and black fabric, and from here I constructed a black velveteen vest with split lapels as an alternative to the plaid jacket. It's a good beginning and I am pleased with my Vicky vêtements - :)

What's next on the sewing list? Why, mine and Maria's 1920s dresses for the Great Gatsby movie premiere in December (and maybe a dozen or more things in between) - :)

Blessings and happy sewing! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yarn Bombing & Other Fiber and Textile Art at DAI

~Marie - sketching a Greek statue~
Marie, my youngest daughter, is a fine arts major at Wright State University. And, like all fine arts majors, she has to take a whole host of art history classes and write a whole host of essays regarding various works of art, etcetera. She and I headed off to the Dayton Art Institute this morning, loaded down with sketch books, charcoal, ink, and extra batteries for photographs. While she was sketching her heart out, I slipped away to view the yarn bombing and various other fiber and textile arts on display around the museum. 

Yarn bombing (aka guerrilla knitting, yarn storming), if you are not familiar with it, is a new and fast emerging form of urban street art (or graffiti) which uses "feminine craft" in the forms of knitting, crocheting, felting, sewing, and embroidery rather than paint (or other permanent media) as a means to tactilely beautify a space or object. I love it - it gives such warmth to an otherwise lifeless thing or area. Folky, yes. But we Yanks love our folk art! It is ingrained in the American spirit, so bombs away!

~Artists Nancy Mellon & Jafabrit, "Off Their Rockers" (2012)~

~Artist Jafabrit, "Jafabrit Yarnbomber's Arm" (2011)~

~It did!~

New art cannot have a valued presence without the recognition and appreciation for old art, and like every true romantic of bygone eras, I find myself gravitating toward the marvelous works of the old masters. 

~Flemish Tapestry (wool and silk): The Months of Lucas, March, circa 1650~

~Flemish Tapestry by Hans Geubels (wool and silk): King Abimelech Restores Sarah to Her Husband Abraham, circa 1560-1580~

~Sculpture attributed to Francisco Salzillio y Alcaraz (wood, silver, human hair and lashes, glass, crystal, fabric): Sorrowful Mother, circa 1760-1780~

~Dutch Benediction Veil (linen and bobbin lace), circa 1690-1700~

~American Lafayette Commemorative Coverlet (double weave, jacquard loom, blue and white cotton), 1824~

In the spirit of Good Will and in the name of "feminine crafting", I encourage you to yarn bomb the object or space of your choice. And, while you are in the throws of this softer and warmer form of urban defacement, blessings and happy knitting, crocheting, felting, sewing and embroidering!