Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“There is Springtime in my soul today....”

Who would have thought that just last week there was over two inches of snow on the ground? Today the sun was shining (despite a couple attempts by the lurking clouds to put it out), and the lawns are looking twice as green as they did the last time the sun was out—Sunday. It would seem that the plant-life up here, once it gets even a little bit of sunshine, grabs it and makes as much of it as possible. Seems like one can practically watch things grow up here—so different from the slow, gradual change from dead, ugly Winter to vibrant, living Spring back in Northern California. Amazing!

What with Mom and Bro off to orchestra rehearsals once again, I now have Tuesday evenings free to update my blog! Yay! So while you probably won't see me posting here much during the week, I will endeavor to post regularly on Tuesdays. I know, I know; I always say I'm going to do something, and then I never do it. I beg your forgiveness, and crave your indulgence this once more. God helping me, I intend to follow through this time! *Halo*

Today being Sewing Day, I devoted it, with God's aid, to working on my newest project—“Jubilee.” Last week I took it apart, so it looked like this:

Mom has graciously been helping fit the bodice...which, it turns out, didn't need as much extending as we'd thought. Just a couple gussets in the sides, plus the almost three inches we put in the shoulders to get the Empire seam down in the proper place. And by a miracle of God, it's only taken a small part of one of the pressed-out ties to do it! 
Former tie/sash, all opened out and pressed flat
 As I said before, the ties ended up about four inches wide once opened out and pressed flat, and being nearly 18” long didn't hurt, neither. :-D
We ended up taking 9” off the skirt back panels and 8” off the front panels (the front was shorter than the back at the top because of the way the bodice was originally cut). This ended up being too wide to fit the new bodice, so I got to take up over an inch at the tops of the skirt seams...which I wasn't too happy about because I don't want to waste any more fabric than can be helped, and I want it fairly long. However, since the thing was nearly floor-length to begin with, and I was able to repair the honking-great hole in the hem instead of cutting it off, the dress will still be well below knee-length. More like mid-calf (“tea-length”?), which is where I like it best anyway. :-) Long enough to look elegant and modest, but short enough that it won't get tripped or trodden on or dragged in the mud. :-P
I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I forgot to take my camera out to the studio, and I was determined to get the dress finished today. That didn't happen, but at least we have progress, Houston! I'll try to get some pix of the alterations for next week's post, though.

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to a couple of pet projects waiting in the wings, as it were:

See the snaps for attaching to a hood?
Meet Wesley, the FauxWeasel (although Peter informed me that he “looks more like coyote fur”). I know he's not much to look at now, but by the time I'm finished with him, I hope he'll look something like this (scroll down).
Wesley (named after Charles and Samuel Wesley, who wrote several old hymns) began his life as a piece of detachable “fur” trim on a coat hood. I found the hood in the Green Cross barrel at work sometime last month while emptying out the barrel. I expect the hood was in there because there was no coat to go with it. So I brought the trim home and gave it a bath...by hand. See, I've had bad experiences with artificial plush and washing/drying by machine (still kicking myself for what happened to Lucy Bear), so of course I didn't want to risk my little “weasel” having his long, soft fur get all shrunken and frizzled. So I washed him in the sink and let him air-dry, and as you can see from the pictures, his fur is as long and fluffy as ever (and now smells like Kiwi-Lime shampoo, LOL).
CU of Wesley's very soft fur
I must confess to a secret fondness for stone martens and the like, such as Jenny-Rose's adorable “Fred” (used very cleverly as a hat decoration!) and Alisa's zibellini or “flea-fur.” And Kellie's “Petrov” is simply too cute. :-) However, at the same time, I felt I couldn't ever justify buying/wearing something like that myself because, after all, some poor animal had to die in order for us humans to have its beautiful skin. Yes, I am a walking paradox, thank-you-very-much. No autographs, please. :-P So I put the idea out of my mind...and next thing I know, there's this fake-fur trim in the Green Cross barrel! I took it as God's solution to my inner conflict—the girlie part(s) of my psyche can have her (their?) fur collar/hat-trim/whatever, while my inner animal lover can rest easy that no animals were harmed in the making of this project. :-P
I removed the black binding and snaps, which, God be praised, weren't attached to the fur much at all, and opened the “fur” out flat. Wesley's original stuffing ended up in the trash, as it looked a wee bit grungy, but we do have more fiberfill if I decide to re-stuff him. Eventually I want to model a head and feet out of polymer clay (a gift from Uncle Dave last year), and trim down one end of the “fur” to look like a tail. I had thought of then chopping up the pile from the cut-off bits (plus what came off the edges when I opened it up) into fine fuzz and carefully gluing it over the clay parts to make him look more realistic. However, I'm thinking now that this might only end up looking like a mess, so we'll see about that one.

This silver filigree is what I plan to use on Wesley's head once it's made. It's been in my stash for several years (a hand-me-down from Cousin Laurie), and it's actually what this project was based on in the first place. After I saw Alisa's “zibellini” the first time, I came across this stamping and thought it'd be perfect for my own little “flea-fur” project. As for the rest of the embellishments...well, perhaps something will come to mind when I actually get this fake fur looking more like a weasel. :-P
*EDIT* Please don't think that I look down on people who wear real furs. That's not what I meant at all. It's just not something I'm personally comfortable with. That's why I'm so thankful to have Wesley. Thank you. /EDIT
Pet Project #2 is, at present, a dress that belonged to my Aunt Kathy, who died before I was even born. Grandma gave us her dress over a decade ago to use for the costumes in a play Mom directed for her homeschool choir, but I took a fancy to the dress and tried to alter it to fit me instead. I wore it for about a year before outgrowing it, and ever since then I've been pickling my brain trying to find a way to make a dress out of it that will fit me. But the Lord has finally gotten it through my thick skull that it's just not possible. 
CU of front. You can still see where the original (gaudy!) trim was
As-is, the dress is way too small (Aunt Kathy was TINY!), and it won't work to use it piecemeal with something else because, while I have enough velvets (collectively) in my stash for two or three dresses, they don't all go together that well. Plus this fabric—vintage rayon velvet—is too delicate to be washed every time I wear it. The solution? Make a hat out of it (and you thought that “dream hat” description was just made up for Kellie's Blog Party :-P)! I don't know exactly how big a hat this fabric will yield; I'll need to do some measuring....
It's actually dark royal purple with a bit more red in the mix

Here's a close-up of the embroidery on one sleeve. Imagine the purple chain-stitch as metallic gold picot-braid, and the little holes/circles as riveted-on sequins, and that's what it looked like originally. Yeek. This motif is the one I plan to use on all the triangular crown-sections, Lord willing there's enough fabric in the rest of the dress. The top loops will be in the center, where I plan to attach a tassel of some kind.

...but they'll both have to wait a while until I get my more practical (but still pretty!) projects finished. Considering I have NO SUMMER DRESSES and only one pair of capris, a zibellini and a velvet tam o'shanter are hardly Priority One projects, wot? ;-)

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless you all and grant you success with your own endeavors!

1 comment:

  1. All of your projects look fantastic!
    Oh, your purple velvet tam o'shanter is going to be absolutely beautiful!!!

    I'm with you and wearing real furs. I certainly don't look down on those who do, but the thought of wearing one myself...well, it kind of creeps me out.



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