Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Edwardian Slip

This slip is constructed from the same pattern I draped for the black slip. I used ivory silk dupioni, which is stiffer than taffeta and provides more fullness to the skirt. Because of the stiffness of the fabric, I chose only to make one bust ruffle rather than two (in contrast to the black slip):

I have another slip I wish to make from one of my old Butterick patterns and it will be used as the foundation undergarment for a sheer gown I have planned. I'm not quite sure which style from the pattern I'll be using or the materials (maybe a pink or green silk under cream lace..?). Nothing set, just ideas rolling around:

For construction pictures of this slip or the black slip, please visit my Flicker page. Blessings, my friends, and happy sewing!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Little Things

Happy Autumn! Like most folks in the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year is my favorite, filled with birthday celebrations, harvest festivals, and holidays. Late August is the beginning of my busy time and it's usually occupied with holiday/event projects and canning. This year I allowed my gardens to lay fallow, so I bought my produce from Fulton Farms. I don't allow my gardens to lay fallow very often (mainly because I heavily compost my earth and my soil is very healthy), but it's good to give the land a breather - a year to recuperate. In the meantime, I feel naked, or rather empty, like something is missing, like I should be doing something - it's like when you graduate from high school and then the following school year starts, except for you. It's amazing how much of our habits define who we are and an odd sensation when a habit is removed from our routine, even if temporarily.

Despite my gardening homesickness, there are many little things, wonderful things, that make me smile and elicit happiness, including the change of season and...

Frankenberry Cereal:

Kroger's had like six skids of Booberry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry, the best seasonal cereal on the face of the planet, for $2.49 a box (nom nom nom)!

Roasted Pumpkin: 

I baked a few Cutie Pies in the oven, mashed and froze the pulp; then, I soaked the seeds in a salt brine, dried them out on a towel, coated them with butter, salt, pepper, garlic and onion salt, and gave them a good roasting. Everything else went into the compost pile...

Stinky Eggs, Beer Sausage, and Plum Preserves:

My Eastern European heritage requires of me that all things must be pickled (*snort*) - meat, veggies, fruit, and whatever else I can stuff in a jar and cover with brine...

Seasonal Projects and Decorating:

I made Fall runners for my tables. I have Halloween runners, but let's observe one month (and its corresponding holiday) at a time, shall we?

Thrift Store Treasures:

How about a 1960's Christian Dior suit in a size 14 (*squee!*)? 

Wishing you a wonderful Autumn season and the happiness of little things! Blessings and happy sewing!

Monday, September 8, 2014


In August, my oldest daughter, Sydney, had the pleasure of showing her fabulous photography at RAW: Columbus. RAW is an organization managed by seasoned artists who mentor and promote promising new artists. The organization showcases craft professionals from all genres in more than 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada, and England.

Sydney's specialty is urban and industrial photography and she wanted to frame her photos using industrial material. Her HoneyDo, Elliott, is a welder, and with his help and the help of a family friend, David, they were able to create the frames for her photos from my sketches and measurements...

~Elliott, scoring the polycarb sheets~

~David, smoothing some ruff edges off the framing mounts~

~Framing the photos one by one~
~Framed photos packed and ready to ship~

For the backdrop (or wall), I bought 10 yards of olive burlap and constructed a large curtain, which Sydney laid out in the yard and graffitied with spray paint. An urban effect was certainly achieved - her display area was quite dramatic. Here's a peek of Syd's art show, along with the talents of a few others: 

~Me and Syd~

Lemonsgraph Photography (Sydney's work): 

~Sydney Fleming, photographer (all rights reserved) - used with permission~

~Sydney Fleming, photographer (all rights reserved) - used with permission~

~Sydney Fleming, photographer (all rights reserved) - used with permission~

~Sydney Fleming, photographer (all rights reserved) - used with permission~

A & J Studios (Ashley Wright):

~Ashley Wright, photographer (all rights reserved) - used with permission~
~Ashley Wright, photographer (all rights reserved) - used with permission~

Jenai Dominique - Floral Accessory Designer:

Holly Hunt - Hair Stylist:

~BM Photography (all rights reserved) - used with permission~
~BM Photography (all rights reserved) - used with permission~

Phlipped Fashions:

Glamazon Jayne Fashions:

Aftershock Art (Bobbi Jo Gonzalez):

Christine Poindexter - Stylist:

The show was wonderful and there was so much talent at one venue. RAW is a real alternative for new artists looking for exposure - there's no games, no gimmicks, just art and those who support the art community. 

Blessings and happy sewing!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Women & The Great War at KSFM


The Great War: Women and Fashion in a World at War (1912-1922) exhibit at the Kent State Fashion Museum opened July 24, 2014 and runs until July 5, 2015 - I encourage you to visit (admission is only $5). This era in American history, the tale-end of the Progressive Era and the beginning of the American Jazz Age, is my expertise in fashion and social history. I applaud Sarah Hume, curator to the museum, and her staff for putting together a beautiful and informative exhibit.

"For Every Fighter, A Woman Worker" (1918)
One of the more intriguing displays of The Great War are the propaganda posters on loan to Kent State from the University of Minnesota. These posters targeted women and the social and political issues which concerned them specifically during WWI. In this era of American history, great political and social changes swept across the nation and women were very often the featured subjects of propaganda campaigns and their promulgation, including the eugenics and hygiene movements, trust (monopoly) busting, the social work movement (see Jane Addams and Hull House), child labor laws, and woman's suffrage. In the case of The Great War, these posters helped to shape women's perceptions of the war and impart their greater purpose, one which extended beyond the reaches of the domestic sphere and into the employment of their nation - a call to duty to protect the integrity of their homes and to preserve the American way of life. These posters are certainly more than just pretty prints and a romantic glimpse into the American past, but historical gems that convey some aspect of the social, political, and cultural values of a people from a by-gone era. The symbolism and underlying messages can be quite extraordinary, deceptive, and sometimes misunderstood.

For example, I found that the most interesting print at The Great War exhibit was "Columbia Calls". It's not merely an enlistment poster for the United States Army, but its symbolism suggests a meaning far more complex than at first glance. The artist and poet for this poster was Frances Adams Halsted and she submitted it to the War Department the moment  the United States entered WWI in 1917. More than one million copies of this print was sold, including calenders and post cards, and profits were relegated by the US government to fund orphanages for American war children. But beyond Halsted's artistic merit and the War Department's financial benevolence toward parentless children is a message within the poster which seems to denote more than just the health and strength of a nation. Pictured we see the creamy-skinned and robust female figure of Lady Columbia wielding a sword (thought to be Excalibur). Unlike Lady Liberty, who summoned the poor, the weak, and the hungry, Columbia was the embodiment of civilized progression and the symbolism of Europa, she was American brawn personified. Discretely placed in her company and just below Old Glory (between the title and body of the poem, on the bottom right side of the poster) is a small black swastika. Understanding the symbolism behind Lady Columbia's image and the modern Western connotation of the swastika, it is easy to conclude that the principle message behind the poster's imagery is one of racial superiority and antisemitism. However, 1917 is a little too early in Western history for the swastika to take on its most infamous ascription from the Nazi Party. In this case, it is more likely that Halsted used it as a symbol for Victory and a means by which to heighten American patriotism. Until the mid-1920s, the swastika was still viewed culturally (both in America and Europe) as a mystical Hindi or Kabbalistic symbol for fortune and light. 

Now, on to the Pretties!

Fashion & The Great War:

~Cotton dress, c. 1915 (American)~

~Evening dress, c. 1917 (American)~

~Cotton summer dresses, c. 1917-1920 (American)~

~Wedding gowns, c-1915-1916 (American)~

~Rust damask suit and striped cotton ensemble, c. 1912-1914 (American)~

~A decade of corsets, c. 1912-1922~

~Hat made from green silk, feathers, and ribbon, c. 1910 (American)~

~Black leather pumps, c. 1914 (American)~

~Boots made from wool canvas and leather, c. 1910 (American)~

~US Army infantry uniform, c. 1917 (American)~

~US Navy Female Yeoman's Uniform, c. 1918 (American)~

~Nurse's (left) and maid's (right) uniforms, c. 1910 (American)~

~Lady's gym (left) and basketball (right) uniforms, c. 1910~

~Men's cotton canvas gym shoes, c. 1910 (American)~

To view more from my photographs of The Great War exhibit at Kent State, please visit my Pinterest page. Blessings and happy sewing!

Source Notes:
"'Columbia Calls' is Nation's Poster." New York Times (July 3, 1917).
"The New Columbia." Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine 51:1 (July 1917), 2.