Monday, 24 February 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green

It's not easy being green.

What a week! I don't know about yours but mine has been a bit mad. I have been to Germany this week for a few days so haven't had much of a chance to draw breath let alone get busy with the machine. However, I was on my way into the studio this afternoon to pick up some corset fabric for an upcoming project and had a bit of a wander into the charity shops looking for sewing books, as I always do.

"Golden Hands" are happy hands.

I found a few copies of the "Golden Hands" series from Marshall Cavendish. They seem to be some sort of part-work with all sorts of craft tuition in them in bite-sized lessons. 

Mama, but we're all crazee now.

I only got three and they are not in any particular order but they have lots of knitting, crochet and sewing things in so I think that they will come in handy.

Arran, the mark of a man.

I am probably a bit of an oddity in the vintage sewing world as I love the fashions from the 60's and 70's as well as previous eras. I mean who doesn't love a good pair of flares? Probably everyone but me.

I would probably wear most of these. Doesn't say much really.

I know that most of the focus on the current vintage, or vintage -inspired patterns/sewing seems to be from the 30's to the very early 60's at the latest and, as much as I love it, I am always a bit scared that sewing things from this era will look too costumey, like I am auditioning for Mamma Mia.

Quick, make a run for it before they crochet one for you too!

What do you think? Yay or nay? Could that be the case with some vintage sewing? Can you ever take vintage style too far?
I will leave you to ponder with a few pictures from the books.
K xx

Yeh, you think that this looks funny. It's dark in half an hour.

These actually look quite nice. Very Mui Mui.

Whereas these on the other hand were probably the inspiration for the "Chucky" film series.


Sunday, 2 February 2014

More Shopping on Location (But Still No Sewing)

Fabric Shop Barcelona
Ribes y Casals and they were having a sale!
Ok, another week has gone by with no sewing but I did fulfil a task that I have been meaning to for ages - I bought some lace trim! OK, well that might not sound extraordinary to you but I have been looking for just the right colour/style/width combo for months and, up till now, had drawn a blank. 

This week I was lucky enough to have meetings in Barcelona and had a few hours spare on the second day. Never one to turn down some fabric shopping in pastures new, I took advantage of a couple of spare hours to hit the shops. In the first place that I visited I struck paydirt.

Ribes y Casals is just a 10 minute walk from Placa Catalunya  and has an amazing amount of fabrics set out in rolls on tables and racks and stands. Most of it was poly-something but there were some very beautiful bridal fabrics, suiting and beaded laces. I really wanted to take a picture inside but one of the older gentlemen who was serving was glaring quite pointedly at someone doing the same so I thought that I had better not chance my luck. There were another three fabric shops in the same part of the street (Carrer de Roger de Lluria since you asked), one selling poly jersey knits very cheaply and the others a nice selection of fabric with some nice suiting.  I bought nothing bar the lace.
The lace is a sort of deep jade cotton and is to go with a corset that I made last year for Newcastle Fashion Week. I drafted the pattern for this one by scaling up a pattern from "Corsets & Crinolines" by Norah Waugh. It started life as the top colour, a beautiful crisp buttermilk yellow silk dupion, very heavy weight already but stabilized with interfacing which I then flatlined to cotton herringbone coutil.

To dye the silk I used Procion MX dyes in turquoise for the first layer and midnight blue mixed with black. The corset was dyed after it had been sewn together but before I put in the bones or the top binding. The lining is just a thin cotton so not to add any more bulk while still providing a nice inner layer.

Looking a bit awful but the crinkles went. Phew!
Doing the dying was very stressful. I didn't have enough of this fabric left to repeat if I wasn't happy with the results as I had already made another plain one with the remainder of the fabric. Anyway, I put the dye in a big bucket to cut down on the mess, donned my Marigolds and sort of bounced the pre-wetted corset up and down in the dye until I it looked nice and even all round. Cue rinse and repeat. After a paltry 2 1/2  hours it was done *pah, tell my arms that*. I gave it a rinse in loads of cool water then hung it on the line to drip dry.

The pic above was taken when I brought it in. Looks very crinkly but it was still a bit damp so I could give it a good press and a bit of surreptitious shaping with a lot of steam. I was very lucky and the silk retained its subtle sheen too. Even though it looks great as is, I have always felt that something this over the top needs a bit more lily-gilding so the lace will be perfect. I am thinking lots of sequins, beads and Swarovski's to pick out the other colours too.

If you get the chance to go to Barcelona then I highly recommend the place. It is full of great bars, shops, friendly people and beautiful architecture. I'll leave you with a bit of Gaudi. x

Got a bit of a Gaudi thing going on. I was in my element.