Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beading and Radiotherapy

Recently I had four days of free time on my own, away from friends and family, with no responsibilities, not even to cook for myself. So my creative darlings in a situation like that, what does one do?

I took a little project away with me, and although it is not finished yet, this is the result. The first attempt with a new medium, beading. I had purchased some glass seed beads, that looked Victorian and was keen to have a play with them. Lesson learned if I am going to pursue this I need a tapestry frame, fabric needs be stretched when you are working on it.

It was intensely absorbing and I barely left my room for the whole four days.

I have mentioned Rafaella Serena's book in a previous post, and I was inspired by an image in her book.

It was a detail of a sampler from her book, embroidered in cross stitch, in silk thread on linen and worked in Italy the first half of the 19thC. It is from the collection of the Palazzo Danvanzati, in Florence. Put a link in for you if you would like to take a little trip to Florence, what an incredible museum.

Below are the front and back of a small purse worked in glass pearls, from a private collection in Milan, also taken from Raffaella's book.

The detail in this work is extraordinary, but then glass and beads were refined to some of the highest levels in this part of the world.

So there is probably at least 30 hours work in my feeble attempt at bead work at the head of this article, imagine the hours that went into this little purse. This was at a time when we were not just consumers as so many of us are today, but producers, and skilled artisans were highly valued. It was not about the cheapest, it was about the most beautiful, the highest quality. We have lost so much in the way we value things today. Clothes made from cotton that has sucked lakes dry, and pegged young Chinese girls eyelids open, so that we only need to spend $10.00 on a piece of clothing, that will shortly be thrown into a landfill, because it was actually rubbish when we bought it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Best Way Series No.16 Coat Completed

Hallo my precious darlings, it has been so long, and I have not been in touch. Other more pressing things have taken my time and I was torn away for a time. However I have still had needle and thread in hand, and here is some wonderful news, a completed project to show you.

A coat made from a pattern found in the collection of The Brain Watkins House in Tauranga. The pattern was adapted from the enclosed free pattern in a Best Way sewing magazine to the style of one of the illustrated coats in the magazine. It is from the early 1900's, and the finished coat stays true to the cut of the era.

Here it is in all its Autumnal glory.

I thought I would show you some of the inner workings of the coat, and here you can see the horse hair interfacing used on the lapels. This wonderful fabric is getting hard to find, it is the tailor's sculptural medium.

Worked with pad stitching as shown here, two layers of fabric can be made to hold form and shape. Its a wonderful thing.

Here is the collar, with completed pad stitching.

Pressing is as important as sewing in tailoring, and the tools of this trade, rounded pressing pads, baby muslin pressing cloths, and sleeve boards are indispensible.

And of course I have to show you the button, only one, but this was the biggest button in my collection. So there it is finished in time for the oncoming winter, and we know what that means don't we, I can buy some more fabric, or a pattern or .......... Tee Hee and Away!

If you want to follow the development of this coat here are the links in this blog to the posts.