Tag Archives: Mad Men

The Color Blue Dress

There are so very many reasons I’m sad that Mad Men has ended. Number one, I don’t get to look at John Hamm as much as I would like to. I mean, yeah, sure, I can google him, but that’s, like, so much work, and besides he’s not usually in a suit demeaning a woman while concealing his identity and whatnot so what’s even the point? Number two, when people smoke everywhere in my life now, it’s because I am spending time in India, not because it’s charming and the 1960’s. Number three, amazing storytelling, you grow with these characters, fascinating psychological study, blah blah blah, the usual. Number four, serious lack of Christina Henricks in my life! Yes, obviously I watch Another Period and it’s magnificent and amazing and you should totally watch it, it’s Downton Abbey meets The Kardashians and it’s magical.

But is THIS:

Better than THIS?

Again, it’s THIS:

OR THIS:

Once more, with feeling. You can have THIS:

 

OR THIS:

You know which one is superior.

Which brings me to my most sewing-oriented reason for missing Mad Men, and that is, of course, costume porn. Have there been consolations? Of course there have, the world keeps turning. Feud: Bette and Joan, I’ve heard that show Velvet is good, The Crown , although the British are so damn dour, aren’t they? and that reflects in their clothing, lots of great tailoring, but you aren’t going to get anything close to this kind of thing, right:

Sigh. But the saddest thing about the end of Mad Men, other than the fact that we never got to watch Paul Kinesy get hit in the face, or watch Harry Crane get hit in the face, or just a whole list of white dudes get hit in the face, is that the Mad Men Copy Cat Challenge is no more. Sigh.

But if it HAD happened this year, I can assure you, this would have been my entry:

This is my first iteration of the (rather controversial) Rue Pattern from Colette Patterns. It’s really a lovely pattern, at least, I like it, and I appreciate the changes the company made to it after it’s release, allowing the side panels to sit under the bustline. I still found the armsyc a little tight, but that’s probably because of my sick guns, so…

I really love this print, but it totally does obscure the design lines. AH well. So what I did for sizing was not..the best way to do this, but, yeah. I cut a size 16, which was WAY too big everywhere but the bust. I graded down in the waist, but when I ended up trying it on, I think I took out about 5 inches or so out of the waist. I will say that the bust first beautifully, so I can’t really complain, but I think next time I would go to a 10 or 8 at the waist but stick with the 16 in the bust because although Colette patterns drafts for a C cup, I’m a D, and I think going with the fullest bust measurement is always the best way with Colette Patterns. For this skirt option the hip is sort of irrelevant, honestly, so that doesn’t matter.

Let’s talk about the skirt, actually, while we are here. I honestly think this skirt is sort of whatever. I would totally make this again, but honestly, this pattern is worth it for the bodice, not the skirt. Next time, (I have this mint gingham all ready to go!) I’m thinking of changing the skirt to a circle skirt, and it would be great with a pencil too, but the design options included are just okay, in my humble opinion. I mean, I like it fine, large pleats, what’s to dislike? but it’s nothing to write home about.

A little back view for you. I do love the back bodice, that little dip is so nice!

I had to doctor the color of these photos a lot because my friend Rakhee (hi, Rakhee!) took them late in the afternoon and they all ended up sort of blue toned. Ah, well, fits the fabric…

And it fits the title, which is a reference to the Mad Men episode of the same name. How DO we know that the blue I see is the same one that everyone sees? I don’t know, Ms. Farrell, you were like one of the least interesting people Don has ever slept with, SEE ya!

A little bodice close up for you. There is something just so charming about the bust tucks, seriously.

This fabric, a cotton from, of course, my new favorite place, Thakur, was about 1.40 a meter in USD. WHAT? Yes. But that’s actually great because this dress is a real fabric hog. I thought this fabric would be so appropriate for the pattern, and can’t you just see Betty Draper rocking this? Ah, Betty. I think I miss you least of all.

I didn’t line the skirt, but I did line the bodice, and apart from taking in the waist, as mentioned above, I made no changes.

It is a little hard to swan about all 1960’s like in Mumbai, of course, but I made it work. I mean, if Joan can do it….

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns

The Dynamic Duo Outfit

Some things just go well together, like steak and fries, or Barbie and Ken, or wine and I, or bacon and …everything (shush, I know I’m Jewish, you let me worry about that, I had a nice long chat with Elohim and he was like, Yaweh or NOway, and I was like, yes, but try this, and he was like, this is amazing, what was I THINKING when I made this trafe? And I was like, we all have our off days. And then we ate ALL the bacon and laughed and laughed and laughed and talked about how everyone in the Torah was in bed. Spoiler alert, Issac was pretty kinky. Sigh. How I wish this was true…. maybe I will write this, a la Salman Rushdie, and have a fatwah put out on me. That’s how you know you’ve really made it, when large groups of people are calling for your head. Joan of Arc was, like, so famous.) Combinations are important, I believe. As a child I always loved this plastic plate my mother got for us that had little compartments for different parts of the meal. I still love this, to be fair, show me a bento box and I will love you forever, this is a fact. I know it’s all the same to my stomach but I am a segregationist when it comes to food. But when it comes to making things, that’s another story.

So, a few years ago now, my, how time does fly, I saw this outfit on Mad Men:

jane-hollowayI love this, and not just because of Christana Hendrick’s super sassy expression, but because it’s such a lovely outfit, and in a lot of ways is super modern, couldn’t you just see this in a modern office? I loved this image and I filed it away as inspiration to some something similar. And then I….didn’t.

The thing is, some outfits inspire you not just because of the individual pieces, but because of the combination of factors. Why must all things be a choice? Why are we suffering under this oppressive yoke of election? Can’t I have everything at once? Can I have bacon AND Judaism? Why do I have to limit myself to one piece of inspiration or the other? Can’t I copy an entire outfit without feeling like a loser? Well, regardless of how I felt, I still made an imitation outfit. So step right up and judge me, internets, I don’t even care, because I love this very much:

DD 2Obviously it’s not quite as Joan as Joan can be. First of all it’s a faux-wrap top, which I made from the Hope Dress Pattern, a free Burda Style download (FREE PATTERN!), and Girl Charlee fabric and it’s lower cut than Miss. Holloway’s top, which is funny, I don’t think I’ve ever been LESS modest then Joan before… Not that I’m casting aspersions on her honor, here, I love Joan, I respect her, I’m not a Jaguar executive (ooooh, it’s still too soon to joke, isn’t it? The Other Woman is one of the best single stand alone episodes to television ever. Fact.)  Second of all, it’s a sort of dark teal peacock color (not as it looks in the photos) not red. But that being said, I think the tweed pencil skirt/wrap top thing works pretty well! I’m thrilled with it, anyway.

IITSFOF 2

See my odd grimace? Nothing says happiness like grinding your teeth together so hard you start to feel powder between them!

IITSFOF 3There is sort of a drop-shoulder thing going on with this pattern which is fine, but I don’t know that I would include it next time I make this. I’m thinking about doing a slim-fitting faux-wrap dress in red. Thoughts? Seriously, if you haven’t tried the Hope Pattern, do it, it’s free, it’s one size but easy to size up or down with a knit, and I actually really love the neckline, it’s a nice shape and quite flattering.

To the skirt!

IITSFF 1Oy, that invisible zipper is a little visible. OH well. Whatever. Why did I use an invisible zipper? Because that’s what I had. Factual. The pattern is my beloved pencil skirt, Simplicity 4529, a godsend, a dream, a wonder, the one of 10 darts and one seam and all my devotion. I used a yard of grey tweed wool from the Ebay, and a china silk lining from Mood, so that’s 20 darts in total. 20. Darts. Holy hell, this thing is a dart monster. Worth it! Look at that fit! Love it. I know I’m asking the internets to enjoy the view of my posterior and I don’t even care, such is the majesty of this skirt pattern. Back vent! I think Joan would approve.

The waistband button looks like something off a Sailor’s Peacoat, no?

DD 1I love skirts like this that let you use up all those single buttons in your stash. Delightful.

DD 4Channeling Joan with the sassy pose, though she probably would have preferred a nice pump to the boots I have here, but I can’t be Joan all the time, guys! I have to live my own life!

As you can probably tell, these photos were taken at work by my lovely co-worker, Christopher, who is an amazing sewer and costume design student. And a peach. He put up with all of my demands, like, okay, more, but make me look better, would you?

As a parting gift, enjoy this photo of Cadfael, who is the best part of any combination:

image-2I’m happy to have made a skirt that finally matches him. At least all the cat hair will just blend in this way! Ha, unintentional genius moment, well done, self! And yet, somehow I know he will find a way to assert himself, he always does….

 

 

 

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Medium is the Message Dress

Here it finally is, my Mad Men Challenge Dress. I hope Julia accepts late submissions….Oh, well. As always, I was finished this puppy about a week ago, but the issue was finding some sucker willing to take my photo. Thanks, Laura! Laura is lovely. We got brunch this morning and I asked her if she would be willing to take a few photos of me. And then I made her take 70. I think the trick is just to keep shouting “take more photos!” because the more they take, the higher probability that there will be at least one or two you don’t abhor.

So why that title, you might ask? If comes from one of the final episodes of Season One when Peggy (who is crazy pregnant, but everyone just thinks she’s fat) gets promoted to a Junior Copywriter. She’s understandably excited and asks Joan, who seems none too pleased with this development, if Peggy ought to go thank the partners in person. Joan, without skipping a beat, says, “Well, you know what they say.” (gesturing to her glorious form) “The medium is the message”. CLASSIC Joan.

I did not show up to brunch looking like Joan Harris nee Holloway. That’s too much even for me, and it’s not warm here in Philadelphia today. Instead I changed in the bathroom, startling other diners with my sudden transformation. I tell myself that they couldn’t keep their eyes off my stunning form, but they probably thought, who the hell is this crazy lady pretending it’s 1963? In my defense, however, we met this morning in Silk City Dinner, which looks like it’s been ripped off of the set of Grease, so really, I was quite forward thinking…

As you may or may not recall, I was trying to duplicate this oh so iconic dress:

Hey, I figured, if you are going to go Joan, GO JOAN.

I am mostly quite happy with this reproduction. I think it’s quite close, don’t you?

Ignore the closed eyes, if you would be so kind.

I couldn’t quite figure out how to adapt the Pastille Bodice pattern to mimic Joan’s sleeves. Now that I look again at her dress I can, of course, see how to do it easily and perfectly. My 20:20 hindsight is just wonderful. Oh, well.

The fabric I used, viscose, has a lovely drape. It’s a synthetic fabric, but it breathes very well (I think, I honestly have only worn this for the photo shoot). I lined the dress with silk Sari remnants which I bought when I first started sewing. It’s a bit wrinkled in the photos, ah, well, what can you do, that’s what happens when you stuff your dress in your bag with the eight million other things you will obviously need on for a brunch with a friend. Like a book. And all your worldly possessions.

No, this shoot does not match the amazing nature of Julia’s shoots. (Julia, how do you get such amazing photos? Share with us your secrets! Deal with the Devil? Probably).

Now. I know that Joan wouldn’t really hang out in a diner. But maybe if she was slumming it?

I even tried to do a thing with my hair! Which is not really like me!

It’s kind of a Monet (if you don’t get that reference I really don’t want to deal with you. Hint: You’re a virgin who can’t drive!) but it’s looks good from the front!

Joan doesn’t really smile much in photos. So neither did I. But I’m a fairly exuberent person, in case you couldn’t tell, and I was emulating my favorite character from one of my favorite shows, so I couldn’t COMPLETELY control myself….

Ahhhhh I’m having Rodger Sterling’s BABY! Ahhh! That makes this the second unplanned secret pregnancy in the show! I’m just waiting for Susanne (the teacher) or someone to roll in like, Don Draper? Here’s your FOURTH child. Deal with THAT, Megan. Deal with that. A song wont save you now….

Ahem. Got a little carried away there. Final Joan-inspired shot:

Oh, for a pen necklace.

I have so loved seeing everyone’s Mad Men inspired outfits. It’s such a sad thing that they are moving towards the ugly portion of the 60’s. Sigh. The age of Joan is at an end, make way for polyester and prints. Kill me now. Oh, well, we’ll always have Sterling Cooper!

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Colette Patterns

“Don’t go to the well, Peter, there’s no more water there”

People, sometimes being a planner can be a problem. I’m all about the plan, the inspiration board, the concept. I thought I had this Mad Men Challenge in the bag people. IN THE BAG. The best laid plans of mice and men. Am I right? AM I RIGHT?

Let me start by saying, I am a huge fan of the TV show. Just a really huge fan. I know there are people out there who are into it for the vintage style and the pretty ladies, and that’s all well and good. And I know there are people who don’t even like the show itself, and while I literally can’t understand that, I totally respect your right to not invest in the story. Hey, man, I couldn’t get past chapter 1 of The Hunger Games (but I swear I’m going to try again! It’s such a  disturbing concept…) and I don’t even watch The Wire! So I’m guilty of some stuff. When it comes to Mad Men, however, I am a fanatic. So if you don’t get some of the references and direct quotes coming up, just ignore them, that’s totally fine by me. But know this. They will be coming at you fast and furious. Get excited.

Let me first say that I knew from the very begining that I didn’t want to emulate Joan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Joan. I love Christina Hendricks! I loved her on Life! Remember Life? Great show. Sorry it was canceled. Damien Lewis, please feel free to CALL ME. But I didn’t want to go for Joan. SO mainstream. How can I express my true and complete fandom by dressing like the one character everyone knows? So I thought at first I was going to replicate something of Trudy Campbell’s. Not only does she have the same last name of one of the best people I know (talking to you, Lisa!), but I just adore her. Yes, she has gotten repeatedly screwed (on many levels, HEYo!) by Pete, and yes, she wears some insane hats. But I love her. Girlfriend is a treat. “This is America, you don’t just SHOOT the President!” Fact. Love her. But then I realized that because Trudy is so fashion-forward (read, trend obsessed) she rocks a lot of ensembles that don’t suit my personal taste. Okay, I thought, I have a near-encycolpedic knowledge of this show, let’s do this. I did love me some Helen Bishop! All progressive and pro-Kennedy despite her son Creepy Glen and her scandalous divorce. But she’s clearly an Autumn. And I’m a winter. That’s no good. Megan and I have simular coloring! But she’s a stick. And also more into the late 60’s aesthetic which frankly is abhorrent to me on so many levels. (Mod and I do NOT get along.) Allison is pretty! But she dressed pretty terribly, let’s admit that, shall we? Plus, she slept with Don and then freaked out and took it out on Peggy (and I’m very protective of Peggy) so I don’t want her life. Kitty is cute! But rather garish, though I do love her! And I don’t want to end up married to a gay man. Dr. Faye is super cute! But she’s a blond. That’s not happening.  And I’m not really into the boho thing going down with Madge (though I love me some Rosemary DeWitt). As a Jew and the decendent of department store owners, the Rachel Mempkin thing seemed a TOUCH on the nose, plus her best thing were her suits, which I don’t feel up to right this minute, or this amazing nightgown: Super practical. Where WOULDN’T I wear that? I loved this golden dress Bobbie Barrett wore, but I really have been trying to shop my stash and there is a curious lack of gold up in there: Besides, who wants to emulate Bobbie? Girl had issues. “The full Don Draper treatment”? Gross. I’m not going to discuss Betty and Peggy, because my mom already thinks I dress like a little girl, so those full skirts and florals aren’t going to do me any favors, and besides, I already have a ton of ’em.

So there I was. Sigh. I didn’t want to go there, I really didn’t, but in the end, I ended up with Joan. Still, if you have to end up with anyone as your inspiration, oughtn’t it to be the most gorgeous woman on television? With curves for days and some of the best most silkily delivered insults anyone has every heard? “The last thing I would have thought Paul was was open minded”. GOOD lord. “I’m not a solution to your problem. I’m just another problem.” JOAN. Be my friend, please. Thanks.

So I decided to try and emulate one of her outfits. No big deal, right? Of course not, easy peasy lemon squeezy. I wanted to use Simplicity 4558, which I had bought on Etsy. HOWEVER. When I took said pattern out to make a muslin, I had the shocking realization that this pattern is skirtless. I mean, I’m sure there was a skirt originally included but somehow I had bought the pattern without a skirt. No wonder it was so cheap….

Okay, I thought, I can use a skirt from so other source, no problem. Then I make the bodice muslin. And I just thought, no. This is not good. I do not like this. A. it needs a FBA (god, that’s just going to be my life, isn’t it? How did I get away with not doing them for TWO YEARS?) and B. I just didn’t love it! So what was I to do? Then, like manna from the heavens, I thought, the Pastille dress! I like the pattern, I’ve already adjusted it to fit my frame, I know how to make it, let’s do it! I ditched the pale pink and pulled out a hot magenta viscose I had bought at Mood Fabric all those months ago. It has a great drape and a nice hand (look at me, using fabric words!) and I thought it would be perfect in replicating that amazing magenta dress Joan wears. Of course, it’s a promo dress, I don’t think it ever made it onto the actual show, but you know what? I don’t even care. I DON’T EVEN CARE.

Ah, Joan, you help me stay calm.

So anyway, I’m almost done the bodice and then it’s skirt darts, attach skirt, install zipper and hem. I’ve made a few adjustments to the original pattern that I will outline later in more detail, but I’m just so thrilled to have something that I’m happy with and happy to be making and, hopefully, pays homage to one of my favorite things on television. And I watch a LOT of TV, folks, so that’s a stiff competition right there.

So, what’s going on with you? Are you a Mad Men fan, or do you just not get the hype? Did my Hunger Games confession concern you? I promise, I’m going to try again!

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Inspiration, Sewing

Ba-car-di-Eisenhower

Happy March, everyone!

I’m off today to Puerto Rico for a four-day trip, so I wont be back until Monday evening, but I wanted to leave you with my March crafting plans! Looking ahead, which is what I do, I’m a planner, I can tell that March is, more likely than not, going to be a bitch, schedule wise, so let’s hope I can actually accomplish the list of things I’ve created in my sewing notebook (that charming little covered moleskin featured in my Jump Or Be Pushed Jacket photos)! But at the very least I plan to continue with my Sew Colette challenge (expect a final draft of the Pastille to come, and then it’s on to the Truffle!) and I’m also joining in on the Mad Men Challenge, and I’m using this pattern:

To make a replica of this dress:

I was totally going to go Trudy, guys. I mean, everyone is going Joan, you know? I don’t want to be a follower….But in the spirit of the replica, and in an effort not to buy any new fabric I would rather “shop” my stash and Joan it up. However, in my defense, it’s also reminiscent of this awesome dress worn by Dr. Faye:

Nice, right? Oh, Dr. Faye, you were so awesome. Don, I love you, but you are a stupid stupid man. Megan? Have you seen her TEETH? COME on.

As an added bonus, I may or may not also make this, just for kicks:

Oh! And the lovely Lavender of the delightful Thread Square has gifted me with an award! How lovely is that! This is, in fact, why I think of her as lovely Lavender…(and have you SEEN her Sew Weekly contributions? Girlfriend is on FIRE)

My face is just one giant blush right now. Just one big giant blush.

And now I’m supposed to pass this thing along. So pass it I shall!

According to Lavender:

The Liebster Award is designed to send some love to the online stitching community, and when giving the award, one should stick to blogs with under 200 followers. (Note from Leah: I don’t know how to gauge this, so I’m just going to give it away willy nilly. Just try to stop me.) In other guidelines:

  • You must acknowledge the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Give this award to 5 other bloggers. Please let them know through a comment on their blog.
  • Post this wonderful award on your blog.
  • Bask in the glory bestowed upon you and appreciate all the amazing bloggers out there.
  • Enjoy and spread the good vibes around.

I can totally do all of those things. Thank you, Lavender! So here are my five choices, though I can honestly say that ever blog I read deserves an award! Thank you all for your lovely creations, wonderful stories and awesome advice. Go forth and enjoy your awards!

Cindy of Cation Designs

Misty of Misty Skies Aloft

Natalie of Splatastic

Kelli of True Bias

Leah (awesome name) of A Vintage Thread

Now, I’m off to San Juan, and in my bag I’ve got at least 3 garments to photograph in the hot Caribbean sun. Have a lovely weekend, folks! Anyone up to anything fun? March crafting plans? Upcoming trips? Share is out!

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Filed under Inspiration, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Not Everyone Can Be You Dress

You know how in your mind you may be one person but in reality you are in fact someone completely different? So, for example, in my own mind I’m thoughtful and contemplative, a bit shy, wryly funny, and rather ironic. To others, I think the irony and wryness shines through, but I doubt the other things take center stage, if I’m being honest. So just like I would love to be, long to be, crave being Joan Holloway (or Harris, take your pick) from Mad Men (like you don’t get the reference) , I know that in my heart of hearts, I’m Peggy.

And you know what? That’s really okay. After all, Peggy, despite her few enormous missteps, is actually doing quite well for herself. Girl has a job and an apartment and a cute radical boyfriend. She asserted herself with her boss, and she does something that makes her wildly happy. She even seems squared away with job and the Catholic Church, which is cool, if you’re into that kind of thing. She’s actually getting her life together. Joan, on the other hand, has her crappy sexual-assault prone-husband away in ‘Nam, she’s keeping Roger’s baby (spoiler alert), she gets no respect for her considerable talents at work, I mean, come ON. Still. She’s awesome. And I would love to be a Joan. But sometimes you just have to face the music, and dance. I’m a Peggy.

Still, a girl can dream. Or even be a Peggy with Joan flare, every once in a while. Just like Peggy herself did when she was trying to impress Playtex/assert herself as a woman. As Joan said, “stop dressing like a little girl”. And so she did:

And it was awesome. Peggy looks great in this shade of blue. But Joan, well, she rocks royal like it’s her job. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

Heh. This is from Nixon vs. Kennedy and they TOTALLY read Paul's one act play and it's amazing. This show. Always zigs when you think it's going to zag.

Or here:

But most of all, best of all, here:

I wouldn’t dye my hair red. I don’t really smoke, and I would feel a bit odd with that pen necklace, I think. But a royal blue dress? That I could do. And so I did. I used this pattern, McCall’s 7362, a vintage 1960’s darling from this etsy seller (thank you!)

And I used some royal blue wool purchased at my beloved Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet, bought at the PRINCELY sum of 14 dollars a yard (insane, for me, but WORTH it) to create this:

I took these photos with a mix of flash, which obliterates detail, and no-flash, which achieves an odd pink hue. I color corrected in picnik, but still. Sigh. First world problems.

The color is more like this:

And I love it. LOVE. IT.

The pleat detail is pretty cool, but it doesn’t really photograph all that well. But it looks a bit like this:

Cute, right? I like it. It’s less dramatic then on the pattern envelope (isn’t it ALWAYS?) but I like it. And the fit is lovely. It’s a touch big, but very comfortable and the sleeves fit really well, which has been a problem for me in the past. And with a belt the room in the waist is in now way noticable. Score.

I really like the slash neckline. It’s not lined, just faced, and I ended up hand stitching portions of the facing to the inside of the dress, just to make it lie flat and not re-assert itself.

This photo was altered using a setting in Picnik called Orton-ish. I don’t know what that really means, but I love it.

Yes, I’m feeling like a pimp, so I go ahead and brush my shoulders off. I made this dress over a month ago, but circumstances conspired to make me unable to photograph it until tonight. So there you have it, my blue wool “I want to be Joan but am Peggy but maybe just while I wear this I can be Joan” dress. I have to say, I should really make more of these. You are never going to be from Peggy to Joan on dreams alone. It takes really cute clothing. And accessories. Which I think I did well:

Which match:

This set belonged to my grandmother. I’m trying to wear more brooches. Don’t ask me why.

And there you are. Most of the time I may be a Peggy, but in this dress, I’m a Joan. Powerful. Sexy. Ready for anything, and wearing the shoes to match. How did I get so tied to a fictional character? Something to ponder, while I look AMAZING

 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Filed under Clothing, Fabric, McCalls Patterns, Sewing

You say Tomato, I say Shibori!

I need to let you in on a dirty little secret. I hate tie dye. Like, with a passion. I think it looks silly and messy and reminds me of summers spent in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains where I attended horse ridding camp, like you do. And those summers were great, honestly, except for the tie dye. This isn’t a Grateful Dead revival, people, come on. And I think that it actually does look good on a lot of people, boho chicks with huge bags (to be fair, my own bag is huge, but not all fringey) and long hair and toe rings look GREAT in tie dye. Blake Lively, or as the Fug Girls so aptly title her, Boobs McLeggy, would look amazing in a floor length tie dye business with a braided belt on, like, a horse or something. I feel like I’ve even seen that sort of thing in a perfume ad, “Wind Swept Hippie” by Dior.

But I live my life along the lines of WWJHD (What Would Joan Holloway/Harris Do?). Don’t get me wrong, I love Peggy, I do, but girlfriend has made some BAD decisions. (DUCK PHILLIPS? PETE CAMPBELL? COME ON, Peggy, shape the hell up!). But while bad things have happened to Joan, Joan in general makes really great life choices, and therein lies the difference. Generally, I say, generally, because Greg Harris is the worst, even though the actor who plays him is DREAMY. SEE? But the point is, would Joan wear tie dye? Or would Joan turn up her nose and utter something cutting, cigarette in hand? I think we all know the answer to these questions.

So all of this is here to explain the fact that the craft project I did last weekend was not, I repeat, was NOT tie dye. No, not at all. It was Shibori, the Japanese art of dying with indigo that dates back to the 8th century. See, it’s historical. It’s cultural. It’s foreign. It certainly isn’t tie dye. Agreed? Agreed.

I got the idea from the fantastic ladies over at Honestly…WTF, who post amazing tutorials as well as fashion tips and inspiration photos. If you’ve never been over there check them out, they throw beautiful photos and ideas up there all the time, I love this post on miniature worlds. And they published this lovely and helpful tutorial on Shibori dying, which seemed intriguing to me. You see, I have this FREE PATTERN from Burda Style, the Naomi jacket, and I wanted to make it but I couldn’t find a fabric that I thought would be perfect for this lovely and complicated kimono inspired jacket. So I thought, I’ve got some sheets lying around, why not just MAKE a fabric that works? And so I did. Any then I went a little crazy and dyed myself and my mother and my father some items so that we can all look like Japanese nobility of the 8th century. Like you do.

So I bought this kit:

And followed all the instructions so kindly supplied by Erica and Lauren on their DIY tutorial. I prepared my vat of dye as instructed, which put me in mind of the witches cauldron from Robin Hood, Men in Tights (a highly undervalued piece of cinema, I must say), and the smell is rather terrible, but I let it sit and had a murky bucket of green-yellow dye on my hands. Indigo turns blue when it oxidizes, which I find endlessly cool. Go, science. Here is my vat:

This was a gift I got for my older brother, like, five Hannukahs ago. It was a cooler, but I removed the Styrofoam, so now it’s just a bucket. He left it here when he moved from Philadelphia, so I just assumed he knew I would someday need it for dying purposes. Thanks, brother! The box says this is a group activity, but literally none of my friends had any interest in doing this with me, and my cats, well, they don’t have opposible thumbs, so…they did this instead:

I really loved the Arashi or Storm technique so I thought I would do some experiments with that for the bedsheets turned material:

I folded the fabric in two difference ways and bound it with twine and rubber bands and then dyed it twice. I’m pretty thrilled with the results:

This is actually three different sheets I dyed in different ways. The left and top portion were bound and the bottom right was just wrapped and dyed in a weaker dye solution, giving it a gently ombred effect. The box says the vat will last for days, but in my case it grew significantly weakened after one day and had to be thrown away after my second dying attempt. It probably oxidized too much, oh well. Here is a view of the most Arashi effected area:

Stormy, no? And I ran to H and M to pick up some white garments for my family to get all indigoy. I made a t-shirt using the Kumo method in which you bind the fabric with found objects, in my case pebbles, and wrap twine or rubber bands around it:

And it makes little spider like circles:

And then I did a little Itajime, ” a shape-resist technique”. Basically you fold up the fabric or clothing item and bind it with wooden blocks or boards and see what happens:

This photo is cool because you can kind of see it turning from green to blue. And the results?:

We are clearly a gorgeous family. But I can see now why shibori masters train for 15 years at least to master this art, it’s hard, people! But fun. So if anyone wants in, I’ll give it another go this summer! Any takers, fellow Philadelphians? I’ll even, gasp, take a Jerseyite, but you have to bring wine, that’s the rule.

 

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Filed under Dye, Fabric