Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vintage Cars

The vintage cars that were unveiled and zippin' around town for the summer are steadily finding their way back to their tarps and storage units. I know hardly anything about the cars themselves, but I appreciate their sleek appearance and link to the past. Maybe that appreciation comes from childhood days of playing with flashy matchbox cars. Here are some pictures I was able to snap of a few eye-catching cars.
This candy apple of an automobile is in beautiful condition.
What a stunning baby blue.
A classic.
There aren't too many dark purple cars on the road.
This car reminds me of a little coffee bean. So cute!
There was a clear yellow and white '50s car that I remember seeing a couple of times too, but I was never able to take a photo of it. Maybe next year! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Scallop Fabric Winner

Oh my, what an unexpectedly wonderful surprise--an update for my previous post! My Scallop fabric won the contest! I am in a state of excited shock! Scallop is now up for sale by Spoonflower and is being turned into a collection of shoes, along with the three other winning fabric designs, by Milk and Honey. I will be sure to post a picture of the shoes when I get them in the mail. Thank you so, so, so much to everyone who voted!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scallop Fabric Shoes

This week's Spoonflower contest theme is small scale geometric prints specifically for shoes, so my Scallop fabric is in the running. If you like it, you can vote right here! On Wednesday the 25th, the fabrics with the most votes will be narrowed down by Milk and Honey (a great company that facilitates custom shoe design), and four designs will be selected to create a collection of shoes. What a great idea and opportunity!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vintage Barbie Clothes

I admit it. I have slunk back to my Barbies on several occasions over the years following the acknowledgement of "being too old for them". From time to time, I visit them in their Rubbermaids and waste a good chunk of an afternoon creating outfits. I've realized, though, that it's not really the dolls I love, it's their clothes. I never want to get rid of them. Even as a child I sensed the difference between my Barbies' authentically classy attire and the synthetic frocks wrapped in plastic and horribly twisted wire on the toy store shelves. My Barbies wear vintage! The majority of their clothes are actually hand-me-downs from the Barbies my mom played with in the '60s and '70s--mostly handmade from old dresses and rag bag scraps. In one of my recent Barbie sessions I took advantage of the styles and dressed up my drawing mannequin as a sophisticated model for some of the larger clothes.
I adore the gathering on this skirt, and, of course, the floral of the shirt and dress.
This fuzzy jacket has always amused me.
A very cheerful dotted Swiss and rickrack number.
Two different strawberry prints!
Some cute outfits for fall--a cape with a bow!
This dark orange fabric has excellent body and texture.
A look that seems very Parisian!
This display was an elegantly humorous addition to my desk. Now I only wish the clothes were human size!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Glass Knobs

I recently found these two drape holders at a garage sale for $2 each. I bought them because I love glass knobs (I'm always on the lookout for them), and figured I could use the knobs for something!
I screwed them off of their chunky black bases and painted them white to better match the look I had in mind.
After a few coats of acrylic matte and semi-gloss paints, they were transformed into architectural, shabby chic beauties!
I might use them to make a hook for hanging jewelry, but I've got a few more ideas up my sleeve...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cat Love Shirt

Way back in the spring I had hopes of making myself a lavender cat print romper.
I undertook the project and printed out various cat silhouettes onto cardstock, cut the shapes out with an X-Acto knife, laminated the paper, and then cut the laminated cat shapes out to make 4 cat stencils. While searching for some lavender fabric and a good romper pattern, I tested the stencils with different types of fabric paint. I never found the fabric and pattern I had in mind, so the stencils sat on my desk the whole summer acquiring dust.
However, with cat print clothing items popping up in many stores this fall, I became even more determined to accomplish the task. I began my search for a t-shirt to modify. There were so many t-shirts on the clearance racks in stores, but none of them fit the bill. The neckline, material, or color were all somehow wrong for what I had dreamed up. I am rather particular, so my crafting always involves some form of a massive process of elimination. Then, one night as I was falling asleep (that's often when I manage deep and successful creative pondering, and then I am forced to lay there, wide awake with excitement) I remembered the dark grey knit fabric in my closet--a Lands' End turtleneck. Since I am a fabric vulture I had been hanging onto that men's extra large shirt for some future use, and I found one! The fabric itself is some mighty fine combed cotton. Just like a furry feline, it is very soft, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the knit is flexible but sturdy to sew. Most knit fabric is not that cooperative.
I cut the neckline, shortened the body, took in the sides, and used the top halves of the long sleeves to create shorter ones for my altered shirt. There was a lot of draping, pinning, sewing, and seam ripping involved! Through that complicated trial and error process I created a relaxed shirt with a sweetheart neckline, a scooped back, and fluttery sleeves. Considering I was completely winging it and teaching myself as I went along I can't even describe how amazed and amused I am with the result! Although that was just the base.
Then the cats came back.
I used the stencils and white fabric paint to add a heart crawling with cats spelling out the word "cat"!
Talk about a multidimensional learning experience! I even got to practice my patience skills! It's no lavender cat print romper, but I am just as delighted with this shirt as I was with the romper prospect.
 As a final note, of course I have to wear this shirt with my hand painted cat pendant! My crafty cat love is finally satisfied!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Home Economics

Apparently I would have really loved home economics class in the 1950s!
My mom scooped up these two home economics textbooks for me at Value Village for $3 each, and I've been enjoying reading through them. Clothing Construction by Evelyn A. Mansfield was published in 1953 and covers various sewing techniques.  Clothing Construction and Wardrobe Planning by Dora S. Lewis, Mabel Goode Bowers, and Marietta Kettunen is from 1957. It teaches information about personal style and grooming, wardrobe design, warbrobe planning and budgeting, clothing care, and careers in fashion in addition to sewing techniques. Nowadays schools just don't focus on teaching tips on manners, charm, or style, and sewing has become a largely foreign skill. That's what makes these vintage books very thrilling reads, as they are filled with common sense that is no longer common. That being said, it's interesting to see which perspectives and practices within the books have stood the test of time, because there are of course a few. Personal grooming practices are quite different, but the way that people hem a dress today--well, for the people who hem dresses today--is the same way they did it 60 years ago!
Between the two books there are some hilariously cute illustrations as well as solid information on fabrics.

One of my favourite sections is the information about matching hair, eye, and skin coloring to coordinating hues to find the perfect palette for a personal wardrobe.  
There are also step-by-step sewing instructions for basic garments.
It's too bad home economics has predominately faded from the curriculums, but that's why I love thrifting. Finding these books has allowed me to learn these lessons anyway--bits of wisdom from the past that I can apply to my artistic endeavours!
I think this simple attitude lesson is particularly valuable. Now, I can't help but wonder what the students of days gone by would have thought of me voluntarily reading their textbooks...

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