Saturday, October 19, 2013

Autobiography: Life of a Kitten-Heeled Mule.

Yes, a kitten-heeled mule is a shoe - but, picture it...  a mule wearing kitten heels... or a kitten wearing mules.  Just imagine... Mule With Kittens, Mule Wearing Kittens, Kitty With Mules... I'll have to draw it for you sometime.  Well-Shod: Life of a Kitten-Heeled Mule.  Kittens Who Run With Mules.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spectral h2o: A Color.

Appearing as a result of random brush-cleanings, this cloudy lavender-blue looks... to me, spectral and mysterious.  When I look at this color, I almost sense a fragrance... like the ghost of a fragrance lingering in an old, ornate perfume bottle.
Spectral h2o... lavender-blue, almost scented.  Toile La La.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sensory Thoughts.

Whether one's olfactory memory is limited - or conversely, encyclopedic - reading about fragrance experiences leans toward receiving a video-link to your relative's superlative vacation.  Perhaps this is both good and bad... while one might long to sniff the good, there's a saving grace in dodging the bad - or, the equivalent... one enjoys the scenery - without the bedbugs and mosquitoes.

Today, drinking my cocoa tea in preparation for an extended session of sketching - "fondness" comes to mind - fondness and memories... how does an experience become special or become etched into one's memory.

Beginning to write "you can mull those thoughts for yourself" - etymologically sidetracked me for a moment.  Think about the similarity of mulling thoughts and mulling cider... there's a process of slow simmering - and hopefully, improvement.  

Reading about mulling thoughts and cider serendipitously led to an interesting preface to discussion of Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.

How about an Autumnal perfume based on mulling spices... good whiff of apple, bit of cinnamon, cloves, star anise, lemony-cardamom, orange zest... but, how to avoid smelling like a room deodorizer... the smell, perhaps of crushed leaves... peppercorn... something leather-y... maybe some chimney smoke.

Back to fondness and memory - and sensory thoughts...  here are things which bring - to me - a feeling of fondness and memory-etching potential:
  • A vision-sight of golden-yellow leaves, blown by a warm and invisible wind-current up and off a cold and slow-moving river - against the direction of other leaves falling down from a tree trailing its fingers in the water below.  Propelling themselves horizontally through the breeze, like the paddles of a riverboat... leaves oval in shape.  The river's brown-blue surface crosshatched with multi-directional current.  This memory, with its movement of leaves and water - feels like calm and stillness.
  • Imagining the smells - good and bad - of fragrances described by Turin and Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide
  • Reading Nick Bantock's books about Griffin and Sabine:  like receiving permission to read a friend's correspondence - with all the good bits... stamps, doodles, enclosed photos, etc.  Some pages even invite you to remove the letter from the envelope - sharing the anticipation of unfolding the paper and perusing the artsy contents.
Eyes glued to the pages of Perfumes: The Guide every free moment of a weekend - while my nose awaited - and imagined - every description with anticipation... the only perhaps-critical observation is this - could someone find a way to include fragrance samples - if not for the actual fragrances, perhaps for the various notes mentioned... as did '80s National Geographic during a smell/odor survey.

I think an experience becomes special and established in the memory when several - or ideally, all - the senses are integrated and utilized at higher capacity. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reading Sewing Patterns for Leisure.

Yes, I read commercial sewing patterns for fun.  Patterns have changed tremendously over the course of time.  Two things of note:  today's patterns seem to be marked in a more user-friendly way - making the construction process easier - but - older sewing patterns showcased designs and construction techniques more closely associated with "fine" sewing.

Certainly, there are fine and well-thought-out pattern designs today - but in comparing patterns old and new... I think the small, careful design/style details are what make the older patterns outstanding.   The simplification of style may have occurred due to a) fashion trends of the late 1960s onward, or b) a shift in the type of people sewing their own clothing, or c) more readily-available and inexpensive mass-produced clothing.

How about you... do you ever read a sewing pattern just for the fun of it, without any intention to sew the described garment?  Have you noticed distinct changes in sewing pattern presentation or directions - or perhaps seen direction features you miss seeing included in the patterns of today?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A DIY Salopettes/Dungaree/Overalls - Pinafore/Jumper Conversion.

Jumpstart your DIY Overalls Conversion by searching for the 80s music video jam-packed with overalls - "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners, then find - in your own closet - or buy, at a thrift store, overalls/dungarees/salopettes with an attractive fit for your torso and with straps that you like.  I visualize the kind with a waistband similar to that of jeans... sometimes there are buttons at the sides.  Cut off the pants part of the overalls - below the waistband... no need to worry about fraying if you cut neatly below the seam. 

Also find or buy a skirt (that fits you) with elastic-waist or drawstring-waist... this will provide the skirt for your Salopettes Pinafore.  Keep in mind - you will be removing the skirt waistband, which means the skirt will then be slightly shorter, so you'll need a skirt that fits a bit longer than you like.  (Another option for this DIY Salopettes Pinafore Conversion, is to cut your skirt from a dress, or simply sew your own skirt with a fabric you love.)

Neatly cut off the skirt waistband.  Cutting the skirt from a dress will work also - either way, the width of the skirt must either be equal to, or greater than, the width of the overalls-bodice.  

After detaching the skirt's waistband, press the fabric.

To prevent fraying of the skirt's waist-edge - finish the edge by turning and stitching, trimming the edge with pinking shears, or using a liquid edge/seam-sealant.  I pink or turn-and-stitch edges, but here's an interesting link in which blogger Shannon Sorensen tests the efficiency of edge/seam-sealant and offers photos for analysis.

Place the skirt's waist against the overall-bodice waist and if the skirt's waist is bigger than the bodice waist, you will now need to gather the waist with basting stitches - by hand or machine.  Distribute the gathers in an attractive fashion - keeping them in place with more basting, pins, or masking tape.

You join the bodice and skirt with either hand-stitching or machine-stitching, but it may be easier to use hand-stitching and take small stitches into the inside of the overalls-bodice waistband.  

At this point, you're on your own... if you need help joining the skirt and bodice, there are online tutorials - search "gathering a skirt and attaching a bodice".

With ingenuity, you can also attach an overalls bib/bodice to pants or shorts.  

Launching your garment conversion with already-existing pieces results in the wonderful realization that half the work is finished!... The hems are there, the bodice straps are there... hip-hip hooray, merveilleux, meraviglioso, wunderbar!... happiness, bonheur, felicita, Gluck! 

For more, see the original DIY Salopettes/Overalls post... the almost most popular post at Toile La La (from the time Toile La La branched into Art Fashion Creation). 


Monday, July 29, 2013

Toile La La F/W 2014-2015 RTW Romantic Souls Fashion Show: Details.

Ideas for the 2014 Fall/Winter collection occurred after rain, thunder, and a rainbow - with a half-moon in the sky... late in the evening, mid-July 2013.  The air - damp, charged, and humming energetically.  The sky - still light, with both sun and moon visible - 7:30 or 8:00 PM.  Some of the colors were right there in the sky:  a grey - blustery and warm, a fierce graphite grey, cloud formations the color of shipsail canvas cloth, matte chalk, smoke or bones, bits of blue sky or robin's egg.  Within my mind's eye were the atmospheric colors of dusk and dawn; the silver and gold of winking stars - or of regimental buttons; blushing colors of love - and the stuff of dreamers. Emerging from primordial nature and hidden between the glowing golden hour and twilight silhouettes - were all the romantic souls:  diggers of dirt, laborers, soldiers, believers, explorers, sailors, peasants, saints, pierrots, cowboys, mimes, builders of steeples, and scholars from vast expanses..., the geisha of skilled subtlety and equanimity.  The resonance of voices, the ringing of bells, the equality of shadows.

Meindert Hobbema A View on a High Road, 1665 - wikipaintings.

Here, the Toile La La Romantic Souls Pre-Show link - to relevant music, videos, art, and fragrance.  The Art Fashion Creation blog link for the Toile La La F/W 2014 RTW Romantic Souls Fashion Show.  Behind the scenes, front row photos, and more - here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

F/W 2014/2015 Toile La La Romantic Souls Fashion Show July 27, 2013.

Toile La La F/W 2014 RTW Pre-Show begins 12:30, Romantic Souls Fashion Show presents 1:00 EST at  
Toile La La Romantic Souls F/W 2014/2015.
  It's all there - now - at Art Fashion Creation, within the July 27 2013 posts and the Fashion Show Extras link in the Art Fashion Creation sidebar Pages.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pop Beads and other Fashionable Thoughts.

I awoke this morning remembering my Nana's Pop Beads, which I used to play with in church.  Her Pop Beads were olive, silver, and copper (this was the 70s) and very much resembled artificial grapes - in size and construction.  If you've ever pulled a faux grape from its vine, you noticed the grape was attached to the vine by a "plug".  Pop Beads plugged into each other and could be attached to form various bracelet or necklace lengths.  Connecting and disconnecting the pop beads made a pop nearly as satisfying as jumping on bubble wrap.

Fashionable Thought 2:  Barbie Doll Clothes - Some of my Barbie Doll clothes had real buttons, miniscule, and there was usually a thread loop opposite the button.  Some Barbie Doll clothes had snaps, which were a little easier to manage - but the buttons made the clothes seem much fancier and real.  I was very disappointed when doll clothing manufacturers began using hook and loop tape.  Hook and loop tape stuck to the flimsy fabric of Barbie's wardrobe, snagging her sheer ensembles - making garments fuzzy - and also creating an unsightly bulgy silhouette at the closures.

Fashionable Thought 3:  Purple Polyester - My mother created for me, when I was maybe 7, a purple and lavender polyester pantsuit... try to imagine it.  This purple polyester pantsuit, which was hot and itchy, was a short-sleeved trapeze tunic over bell-bottom trousers.  My left body and right leg were lavender and my right body and left leg were purple, like a court jester or harlequin - parti-colored.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

DIY Salopettes, Jumper, Overalls, Pinafore, Bubble Suit: Garment Conversion.

Convergence of a 2013 memory of 1980 Salopettes / Overalls with your requests for Do-It-Yourself Style and salopettes patterns - voila... produced a page of overall ideas with a twist.  In the '80s mine were hydrangea blue and we called it a Bubble Suit.

The conversion is for any pants, shorts, or skirt with a waistband.  The easiest way to visualize the bib is to think of a pillowcase (sized to cover a portion of your torso).  Using a fabric with more weight for the bib would eliminate the need for double-thickness and would only require pressed and stitched edges.  In the DIY sketches above, the rectangle (with buttonholes added) is stitched inside the waistband of the existing garment, straps are added... then it's time to customize.

To get nice corners on the bib-front, instead of forming an "L" at the tips - 2 or 3 diagonal stitches are the secret... (Thank you dear Professor B for teaching me this construction technique!)

Straps, Closures, Pockets, and Silhouettes provide so many variations to explore when making your own salopettes, overalls, pinafore, jumper.  Straps are simply long pressed and topstitched tubes of fabric.  Wide grosgrain ribbon would provide nice straps for a lightweight fabric and might work nicely with the knotting technique (keep buttonholes small and vertical).

My "dream variations" include a double-buttonhole "carrier" for flowers - or a stitched-on ribbon for securely tying flowers (muguet de bois - "lily of the valley"), a triple-function pocket with slots for pencils / brushes and flowers, and a stitched-on button securing a pencil - that idea made me so happy I could burst into confetti - like a fancy party cracker.  (Make a loop at one end of string, slip it around the button.  The other end of the string can be tied to a rubber band and wound around the top of the pencil.  Or, string tied around the pencil can be secured by adding a bigger slip-on eraser.)

Throw on a t-shirt (a short and puff-sleeved one with a bateau neckline is charming) and pull on your DIY Salopette, Overalls, Pinafore, Jumper.  Run outside to make the most of your Do-It-Yourself Fashion... because this is a one-piece garment that lends a carefree feeling - frisk about and have fun.  Head to the flower garden - or a florist and find fragrant blooms to add some Petit Trianon joie de vivre and pretty panache!

If you're looking for specific jumpsuit or salopettes sewing patterns, some of the ones I've seen available online are McCall's 6437 or 7581 - both NY NY Collection and from the 90s... with a looser fit - or Butterick 3989 overalls / dungarees from the 80s - or unique 1971 Simplicity 9533 knickerbockers with suspenders.  If you're interested in a garment more like a romper or sunsuit - for easier dressing - try McCall's 6083.  Select this link to see an Art Fashion Creation post featuring one of my practice toiles of a style similar to McCall's 6083 - the pattern was intended for a ballet / dance costume - but lent itself to playsuit variations.  The practice toile for the romper is also here (look for the orange strapless suit). 

Another DIY Overalls/Salopette/Dungaree Conversion here - with a transformation from hitched-up pants to jumper or pinafore dress... plus you get a very cool 80s music video at that link as well!

Here - the miraculous dance-fever powers of a jumpsuit - from Booty Shaking, Pop and Lock, All Night Dancing at Art Fashion Creation.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pencils, Paper, Marker, Glue.

My eyes like cameras my whole life - I absorb visually.  I live and communicate visually.  Editing personal sketchbooks and scrapbooks - looking for style and imagery both seen and imagined within those pages, every jotted note, every image clipped, every sketch and thought recorded represents a moment in time.

I created sketchbooks and scrapbooks during the 80s - because, as an art student, I felt inspired daily by:
  • my own perception of style and fashion
  • color, line, shape... and the way images conveyed feeling
  • music, beat, rhythm, movement
In reviewing my paper archives, I see how artforms of a specific time:
  • accurately represent  a collective mindset
  • interweave - and creativity is cross-referenced
  • are - in a sense - prophetic of our lives in the future

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bookstacks of Art Fashion Creation.

Fashion Bookstacks.
My heart and eyes seem connected when rows of fashion, textile, or art bookshelves come into view:  pupils dilate, heart flutters like the wings of a bird in a hurry.

See more fashion books (and details) on the shelves footing the Art Fashion Creation blog.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

ZiZi Bleu in the Snow.

ZiZi Bleu in the Snow. Photos Toile La La.
Introducing the beautiful ZiZi Bleu... with the soulful eyes of 20s silent cinema actress Zasu and the vivacious spirit of a 40s Zazou, ZiZi makes the perfect model in motion.  Can't you picture her zipping by on a bike - pedals whirring?  

For her debut, ZiZi has made for you - snow angels with flapping wings.  She also appears in the Toile La La Photo Poem Elle Fait La Criniere d'Un Lion.

Full name:  ZaSu Zazou Ciseaux, but just call her ZiZi Bleu.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Elle Fait La Criniere d'Un Lion.

"C'est la fin de fevrier,
Sa peau d'hiver est blanc.
Elle fait la criniere d'un lion 

de fleurs jaune bouton.

Elle capte la chaleur du soleil."

Photo poem by Toile La La - March 6, 2013.  For Nana.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Never-Seen-Before Prom Ideas from Toile La La.

Books:  The New Prom Date - Toile La La February 2013 illustration.

Here's the link to a new prom theme and prom date idea at Art Fashion Creation - also a not-too-sweet 5-word prom poem.  Perhaps it's the February-dreariness or maybe it's Little Augury's "Edward Gorey Catwalk" post, but my long-dormant inner rebel is awake today.

On a day promoting frillier thoughts of proms past, I created an Art Fashion Creation 80s prom post with images from scrapbooks / sketchbooks of that era... you can see it here.

If you're seeking prom / party ideas... here in a roundabout way - is one of the most quirky and interesting party ideas I've ever encountered - courtesy of the Victorians... how they went bananas - for bananas.

Monday, January 14, 2013

All the Early Toile La La Small Pattern Toiles.

Beginning mid-2010 - with a wish to revolutionize my summer wardrobe, I began sewing small-scale versions of sewing patterns - chosen from an older trove.  Trip to the beach - everywhere the eye could see - too much exposure... so I chose another path:  the look of the glamorous resort vacationer of the past.  Within the Art Fashion Creation blog archives - August 3, 2010 - you can see some vintage resort photo inspiration for that wardrobe.

Fabric, time, energy, and money were saved by sewing preliminary test-versions of the garments:  toiles.

Learning of Vintage Pattern Lending Library's 1912 Sew La Mode Illustree Project - in April 2012 - I became a participant - test-sewing vintage La Mode Illustree patterns, with over 750 fellow-participants.  My first La Mode Illustree practice-pattern - coincidentally - began not with fabric and thread, but wire:  it was a Ladies Spring Hat, built upon a wire armature.

Later, Bill Cunningham's "On the Street: Sun Spot" New York Times feature piqued my interest - with its attention to Jil Sander's veiled beanies by Stephen Jones, so it was time for another toile.  For the veiled beanie, I had no pattern and had to create one - with paper, fabric, patience, and the assistance of the patient small-scale millinery model Hattie - and my Number One Good Luck Employee Cat.  Link to the "Sewing a Slouchy Veiled Rib-Knit Cap" post here.

A first small-scale practice toile - McCall's 3232 halter, worn by Hattie.
Bralette and high-waisted shorts small-scale toile, vintage Simplicity 1632.
Hattie wearing small-scale toile for a sarong that was so right - Simplicity 9702.
Small-scale practice toile for romper - from a vintage costume sewing pattern.

Small-scale toile for bloomer-skirt - clever Willi Wear for McCall's 7947.
Fleur's Simplicity 7581 pantdress jumpsuit small-scale toile in progress.  See pantdress at Art Fashion Creation header photo.
Hattie wearing a crown-variation small-scale toile for Vogue 8213 sunhat.
Hattie wearing small-scale Vogue 8213 sunhat with large brim, contrast lining, and added ties.
Hattie assisting with VPLL Ladies Spring Hat test-armature.
Model Mimi wearing test-toile for La Mode Illustree Child's Apron, during participation in Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Project.
Bebe Bouton wearing miniscule test-toile for La Mode Illustree blouse - E1000 - VPLL 1912 Project.
Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Project - E1000 Blouse, La Mode Illustree practice toile in progress.
VPLL 1912 Project small-scale toile for intelligently-designed La Mode Illustree Blouse 0219.
Bebe Bouton in her futurist tuta-jumpsuit toile and Enormous Pompon Zinnia Bonnet.  Bebe was a doll in need of a new body and this starfish-shaped pattern is the prototype.
Slouch cloche-beanie small-scale toile - fit for Hattie at Art Fashion Creation.
At the Wordpress blog Dresses and Hats, there are reviews of the La Mode Illustree patterns - and also a post featuring my Great Grandmother's sewing sampler scrapbook - with vintage small-scale toiles.
Small-scale apron toile in very old sewing sampler scrapbook - created by the Great Grandmother of Toile La La.
If you've test-sewn garments using small-scale practice samples, or have comments about vintage sewing samplers - I would love to hear from you here at Toile La La, just click the comment form below. 

If you wish to read more about the summer wardrobe practice toiles above, see the Art Fashion Creation blog archives - select the July 2010 posts to begin.

If you wish to read more about the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1913 Project or the La Mode Illustree small-scale toiles pictured above, see my dressesandhats blog.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Edwardian Dress Re-Appears.

Toile La La 2010 illustration - Jade in Edwardian Dress.
Edwardian Dresses - vintage image scanned by Toile La La.
See the entire post at this Art Fashion Creation link.  There, you will also find links for paper time travel - courtesy of Toile La La and Art Fashion Creation.  Bon Voyage.