Working title June 10, 2019

Finally finished both prototypes, a wrap skirt and a deep v backed top. Both made entirely from repurposed fabric.

Details: back stitching the seed stitch fabric to the stretch denim sleeves. The mitered edge and criss cross embroidery stitch. Then by poking holes in the fabric I did a single crochet stitch waist. This piece was practice for a whole dress. For the dress the skirt would be knit down by picking up the edge of the crochet waist piece.

The wrap skirt was made from different denim jeans pieced together. I machine sewed the basic construction and finished the raw edges with a real tight and wide zig zag stitch on the machine. I then hand topstitched every seam.

This slip dress is being made out of an old shower curtain liner that we then used for a painting drop cloth. I’m been brainstorming and playing with different paints, wondering how to embellish it. This is one of the art show garments.

Latest inspiration board. Stella McCartney, Ulla Johnson and Katharine Cobey. Ms. Cobey’s knit creations are out of plastic garbage bags and wire.

Another source of inspiration are music lyrics. Like Brian Setzer’s song The Footloose Doll: ” Just look at that chick in the silvery dress. She’s got a cool tattoo and her hair is a mess, but every single guy in the joint is just watching her dance!”

And Walk The Moon’s song Shut up and Dance: “A backless dress and some beat up sneaks. My discotheque, Juliet, teenage dream.”

I like to create myself into an image of the women described in songs.

I leave you with a quote.

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. LIFE IS ART.”

-Helena Bonham Carter

Devastating Lovliness

Standing by the door

frequently crave this darkness

swathes me like a cloak.

-J G BRYANT

“Finished” the corset dress and the lace wristlets just in time for our Valentine’s dinner date.

Shot on site of the Bryant Stove Works Thorndike, Maine. Also, finished my Japanese dress made from old bed sheets.

The Sun’s all fire

Sun’s love intense for the Moon

The Moon’s like Water

– J G BRYANT

I need to now get serious about pieces for an art show and work on my proposal. I also have the Knitmaineia fashion show to get ready for. A friend’s voice asking me, “when will you have a show here”? Keeps echoing in my mind.

My mom was into macrame back in the day. This except from one of her instruction books has unique bead ideas. She made exceptional bread dough beads. I thought these may be utilized in my art show which is fleshing out to be about fashion and material sustainability; turning trash into treasure, reusing raw materials instead of always producing new.

There is nothing quite as romantic as a Hemlock grove.

A secretive, shadowy grotto.

By little bubbling steams and moaning,murky ponds.

Their elegant,slender needles on boughs that shroud the landscape like dark lace.

– J G BRYANT

Working title February 3, 2019

Immersed in poetry. Lyrics and music by Hozier, prose by Atticus and Jewel. Writing my own in my head during my walks, then making their way to paper. Ultimately a resurgence of creativity in the atelier.

Finished enough French seams to add the beaded neck binding.

Came up with a new outfit idea inspired by AnyOldIron from Nashville, Tennessee. I was thinking of buying one of their sequined jumpsuits during my southern pilgrimage. Alas, that price is a little prohibitive, but…I can make something similar!

Born under the sign of Cancer

I am drawn to sparkles

They resemble

Sunlight on water.

– J G Bryant

Sash making. What I find both frustrating and interesting when using repurposed fabric is dealing with and working around flaws. Take these holes for instance, I embroidered over them. Little details like these only add to the character of the garment.

These Frame denim jeans are handcrafted in Los Angeles. I purchased these at Nordstrom Rack in Boston for a RIDICULOUSLY low price. But, the time has come to customize. Flares will become skinnies. Then they need a dye job. Patching and embroidery may become involved. I’ve contemplated “punking” out one pair with randomly placed repurposed zippers.

I stand naked in front of the mirror

Squinted eyes scrutinize

Every detail like an art critique.

This is soft and squishy

I wish my breasts were better shaped

My ankles are nice.

Am I beautiful? Do I think so? Does anyone think so? Do I even care? Why do I care? What is beauty anyways?

My inner woman’s consciousness monologue to my inner psychologist.

I feel the stares

Do they think I’m ridiculous?

But nobody laughs, nobody scoffs, nobody says anything.

– J G Bryant

A new year of rare and precious beauty

I’m scared of stupid stuff. Like putting in a zipper, zippers intimidate me. Knitting fairisle short rows also makes me quake in my clogs! So I should devote this year to create garments that incorporate these very elements and do a lot of it!

I love these sweaters! But I shudder at the thought of even starting. But, I want to be that woman; I mean, just look at her! She looks so peaceful, confident, and free, enjoying every second of the beautiful day.

I’m into rad knits, fringe and tassels. I’m not sure I want to add any bulk to my short, little body though. The Honeycomb Henley is designed by Norah Gaughan.

I am going to knit (and model) this sweater (out of the book Loop-d-Loop) for the next Knitmaineia fashion show. One of the reasons I haven’t written so long is because I’ve been busy spinning the yarn for this sweater, and that takes time away from knitting and sewing! I plan on this being the project I work on while traveling in the south this March. I could never be brave enough to wear it with nothing underneath like the picture.

I have managed to get some done on the black corset dress for NOLA. I have decided on French seams to protect my skin from the scratch of the sequins. I am literally sewing each seam 3 times! But it is so worth it. I’m also thinking about creating a reverse hi/low hem line. As in, slightly above the heels in the back and almost kissing the ground in the front. I believe it will give the illusion of a ball gown but I will be able to walk without the risk of stepping on the hem. Something to fiddle with. Then there are the black lace fingerless gloves that go with it! I had to go down 2 needle sizes to achieve the look I desired but I’m happy with them now.

I bought a poetry book for my husband for Christmas hoping to encourage more romantic dialogue, well….. instead there was a lot of eye rolling and bland expressions. Oh well, I like it. In fact, I would like to embroider one line on a top, like the one above. This quote is very popular for tattoos.

Plans in the making for Christmas and New Orleans

Fitting for my Christmas outfit. I haven’t even put the waistband on! I just love the leg of mutton sleeves on this jacket. the back of the jacket is real patent leather embossed crocodile skin pattern.

My family and I are embarking on a southern pilgrimage in late March. The major destinations being Florence, Alabama to visit The Factory of Alabama Chanin, then to New Orleans, just because, but possibly in time for NOLA Fashion week. Here are my journal entries for the two new outfits to wear there. The first is a navy tube top, black handkerchief hemmed dress with a cap-sleeved or sleeveless leather bolero embellished with silver and gold.

Outfit number two is a maxi length corset dress out of this incredible black and red fabric with black lace fingerless gloves.

Discovered a new jeweler at Common Ground Fair this year. Boyd Johnson of Augusta, Maine. He has an Etsy shop: QuimbySt. His practices and philosophies are really commendable and inspiring. I ordered a pair to wear for Christmas.

For the love of lingerie

I’ve been dragging my heels regarding this confession. But here it goes…[deep breath in….gusty exhalation]. I love lingerie. I mean, I may as well wear a tee shirt that says, “will work for shoes and lingerie.” I pay bills, contribute to our retirement accounts, some groceries and gas for my car, but every extra cent is saved for shoes and lingerie.

“Real elegance is everywhere, especially in the things we do not show.” -Christian Dior

“Lingerie is NOT about seducing men. It’s about embracing womanhood.” -Dita Von Teese

“Without foundation, there can be no fashion.” -Christian Dior

There are four lingerie companies that I feel passionate about, Cosabella, Aniela Parys, Fleur du mal and Cadolle.

Aniela Parys, originally from Portland, Oregon is now based primarily out of Barcelona, Spain. She hand makes many of her articles from dead stock (leftover fabric that goes unused by the mill or brand that fabricated it. Be it because the fabric turned out blue when it was meant to be purple, the brand ordered more than they could use or they simply decided it wasn’t right for the piece for which they intended it, deadstock fabric is any textile that’s sitting around as a leftover without plans for future use.).

Now Cosabella is more mainstream. An Italian couple relocated for work from their homeland to Miami, Florida. While her husband was away at work, Valeria needed something to do! She started exporting a selection of Italian made garments to sell in Miami. As other European companies started outsourcing their manufacturing to cheaper countries, Cosabella began producing their own line of lingerie (thus eliminating the middle man) in Italy. Where they are to this day!

Fleur du mal is about dressing up and undressing (that’s their tag line!) . A little edgier then the other two, an e-commerce business with a studio in Soho NYC. I also love their description of goods, “Feminine, chic and slightly subversive.” The founder, Jennifer Zuccarini used to be the design director at Victoria’s Secret before going off on her own. I have never bought a piece of hers yet, but I like looking at them.

Another company I draw inspiration from is Cadolle. Cadolle is THE Parisian lingerie house, Herminie Cadolle literally invented the bra in 1889.

“Lingerie is a woman’s inner, secret glamour.” -Alice Temperley

This is the start to my exploration in lingerie making. There is so much specialty “equipment” ! Look at those tiny pins (game changer right there). I found sewsassy.com as a resource for special elastic, stretch lace, stretch satin, hardware and software. I picked a few things up at Joann’s but selection was limited.

Alabama Chanin baby doll top. Imagine this in different materials: leather, satin, lace trim, a black sequined bodice with a light weight flowy leather “skirt”.

“The first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night, make it good!” -unknown

Collaboration and proposal

Now that the outfit for the wedding is just about finished, its time to gear up to work on the pieces for an art show proposal.

Here is the fabric I will be working with.

Here is a sketch of the outfit. A plaid spencer jacket with leg of mutton sleeves and alligator print leather back panel. I may use the stainless steel washers as some sort of fastener. Hand dyed maroon denim covered with hand dyed gray lace for skinny jeans. And a vintage fascinator to top it all off. There will be more, but that’s a start.

A couple quick sketches of clothes that came to mind on my morning jogs.

Seeds are being sown for a possible artist collaboration between myself and Lesia Socher, the creator of the above multimedia paintings. Last night, that proposal was delivered and met with enthusiasm, and she took photos of some of my work that she would like to paint. Something is evolving, and I’m very excited!