Monday, August 30, 2010

Mystery Monday 7: The Skirt

 Every Monday, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Here's a drawing of the skirt and a few corresponding notes after the jump...

The Skirt

I'm still not sure that the skirt and jacket are from the same outfit for three main reasons:
1: The jacket clearly was made to fit over a bustle, while the skirt is very straight around the hips.
2: While the jacket was finished by hand in places, the skirt seems to be entirely machine-stitched.
3: The waist of the skirt is several inches smaller than the waist of the jacket.

Neither of these things are "deal-breakers" for me yet... I could be looking at a petticoat (and the wear around the waistband is actually friction from some bustle contraption?) and the discrepancy between waist sizes is from the bulk of layers that would have been worn between the two pieces.  So... more research is necessary.  Any other theories or ideas that I might be overlooking?

And before I get to the good stuff (notes under the jump!!) an announcement: Mystery Monday is now a monthly feature on the last Monday of the month.  I'd like to focus on researching more thoroughly and presenting more information, and it gets hectic on a weekly schedule.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Phat Quarter Swap!

Here is the piece I made for Joe Degand III for the Phat Quarter movies swap.  I worked from a black and white still from A New Hope.  It's also my first foray into applique.

Swap Piece

It was a blast to make and I learned a lot about embroidery, applique, and why I shouldn't ever finish pieces off that way again.

Now, I'm thinking about how I'd change my process for a second movie still-inspired piece.

Han Solo encased in carbonite, anyone?.

"You only exist if you tell people you're there."

I ran across an interview with author A. S. Byatt this morning that I wanted to share:

In it, she said a lot about modern technology and communication that I want to consider, and a couple quotes I'd like to share even if you don't watch the video.

"The word 'facebook' is very very interesting... because it means it's a mirror.  you're actually looking for a mirror, and you need a mirror because you haven't got a picture.  You need a mirror to tell you who you are."

"You only exist if you tell people you're there."

An epigraph (one of many) from her novel, Possession, has stuck with me since last summer:

Is love then more than the kick galvanic
And the thund'ring roar of Ash volcanic,
Belched from some crater of Earth-fire within?
Are we automata or angel-kin?

BONUS: A preview of what I sent in the Phat Quarter movies swap...

Sketched out.

Stay tuned for a full report soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mystery Monday 6: A Love Song to The Jacket, Inside

 Every Monday, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

I could write a love song the inside of this jacket.  It is so beautiful to me that I would just look at it for a while, study its features like I'd study a landscape before painting it.

Inside of Jacket

Someone thought about this piece and made it to last.  They (I'm assuming it was a she, actually) built-- constructed-- it to be sturdy and wearable.  It is changeable, too, and renewable.  From the extra seam allowances to the removable collar and cuffs, this was a piece built to last, change, and grow with the wearer.  Maybe more than one.  It was carefully repaired in well-worn place -- perhaps twice; there are two different kinds of black thread reinforcing the spot-- and shows evidence of tailoring and alteration.

Repair on Jacket

Someone respected fabric.  Someone took the time to think about how this should fit and how it should look and what was the right way to do it.  Someone respected the wearer of this piece, if not as a person with the right to suffrage and economic equality, as a person who had a right to wear something of quality.
Set-in Sleeve

Hand finished seams and everything. Maybe it wasn't a bigger deal back then because everything was hand-finished and most were home-made to some degree, so quality and care were a necessity instead of an exception.  And though many pieces were made and finished in homes, plenty of homes were awful places to work.  It is hard not to romanticize this concept, and I'm trying my best.

There are many reasons why we don't wear clothes of such quality today, and all of them are valid.  They make sense.  But there's something you just can't compare to the feeling of holding or. better yet, wearing, a piece that you know - you can tell - is the result of love, care, and thoughtful work.

I am determined to make more of my clothes.  When I do, I want to put the love into them that results in pieces as well-made and well-maintained as this 1880s jacket.

Though I'll go without the corseted waist, diminished legal rights, and various social limitations that came with it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Permanently Awesome

Seeing a photo of Carrie's awesome stitchy tattoo got me thinking about what, if anything, was awesome enough to wear forever.  A couple years ago, I thought Fozzie bear and a banner reading "wocka wocka wocka" would be the best, but now that I'm making a lot more decisions on my own, I need a little more constructive motto than "wocka wocka wocka."

Jim Henson was a wonderful man, and the more I read about how he lived and what he believed in, the more I think of him as I make both small and large decisions.  I ask; "What would Jim Henson do?" and so far it hasn't lead me astray.

So, if I was planning on a tattoo:

What Would Jim Henson Do? 

BONUS! More drawings of Kermit before I figured out how his head was shaped: 

More Kermit Sketches

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UPS, You're My Only Hope!

Just mailed out my first ever swap piece to Joe Degand III and I'm very excited.

Does etiquette require that I wait for the piece to be received before I post about it?

Kittens: They're Wonderful

Since I've moved out of the house for good, my parents have adopted two adorable kittens, Boris and Natasha.  They are sweethearts and I'm glad they're keeping Mom and Dad on their toes since I'm not around causing adventures.

 Here's to you, kittens. 

Kittens are wonderful.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mystery Monday 5: The Jacket, Outside

 Every Monday, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Mystery Monday Jacket 

What do the numbers mean?  Text and analysis after the jump...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feeding Ourselves 102


I'm getting better at this bread-baking thing every week.

Also this morning, Fix made almond milk and a mess in the kitchen.

In craftsy news, I recently made an emboidery sampler/ pouch for safety pins.  Much nicer than a ziplock bag.

Embroidered pouch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Aid "Insurance?"

One of the great things about helping others declutter their lives is that sometimes, you get to bring a little more cool stuff into yours.

It's surprisingly heavy and I think I will use it for my growing collection of embroidery supplies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mystery Monday 4: Notes and Drawings

Every Monday, I post something about my 1880s Victorian dress.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3

Fashions of the 1880s 

Here are some notes and drawings of dresses in the 1880s.  Stay tuned next week for a detailed drawing of my jacket with measurements!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two Useful Projects

My project list gets longer and longer, but I'm working through it (mostly) in order of need.  Last week, I finished two very useful items: coasters and a clothespin holder.

I made the coasters out of an awesome but very small piece of woven fabric by cutting it to a little larger than the size I wanted and zig zag stitching about a quarter of an inch in from the edges.  I pulled whatever strands were unattached and trimmed everything up, and now I have colorful, textured coasters and don't have to use cardboard any more.  HOORAY!

(What happened to the earlier coasters?  Felting is an adventure, and I was getting tired of not getting it quite right.  That project is on hold for now, especially now that I don't need them any more.)

Clothes Pin Bag

The clothespin holder was originally a sleeve of Fix's that I upcycled* into a pouch with a little wrist strap.  I trimmed it down and sewed up the bottom while leaving the cuff open.  Useful.

*Is it just me, or is "upcycled" a really dumb word?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Learning New Things

Yesterday, I learned to crochet, and today I learned how to make French Knots.

Flowers and Knots

Life is good.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mystery Monday 3: Lovely Buttons

Mystery Monday is devoted to what I've figured out about my newly-purchased Victorian jacket and skirt.  Catch up on the adventure by reading Part 1 and Part 2!

This week: a look at some lovely buttons.

Crochet Button Detail

Although the jacket isn't heavily decorated, it does have delightful, detailed buttons.  There are 14 down the front, and another four on each cuff.  It appears that the decoration on each button has been crocheted over a form (and perhaps also attaching the ring to work around).  They're all good condition even though they've faded to a variety of colors, and show patterns of daily wear.

Cuff With Buttons 

Isn't it beautiful?  I love this thing.  I probably shouldn't dismantle it to make a pattern from, should I?