Friday, June 13, 2008

June Showers and Pink Flowers

It has been a week of studio work and wet weather. I have been preparing some new patterns (stay tuned) and organizing for two weeks on the road, but in the meantime Mother Nature keeps putting on a spectacular show! Rain and rumbling sky have been predominate for days, contrasted by sudden splashes of sun.

The peonies and irises are in their glory and the roses are just starting to bloom. Both iris and peony were transplanted from our tiny city yard and have finally settled magnificently into their new surroundings. And, of course, filling our home with fragrant bouquets.

So this week has been a celebration in PINK! Yes, pink, the color that I sneered at for years...
that girlie color. But I have had a change of heart and now I believe that it is one of the most extravagant colors on earth. Pale pink, especially, can take my breath away!

Of course, our fabric project for the week is pink, too! I have been looking for the perfect smock pattern for years, when I discovered Indygo Junctions Classic Coverall designed by Secely Palmer. It is a happy combination of nostalgia and style. The great front pockets make it very practical, plus the ties at the waistline make it flattering, too. 

In this first version we have used two Hothouse fabrics. The dots almost look like a psychedelic animal skin. The contrasting pockets, ties and collar are highlighted with a pastel jungle motif. This could bring out the pussy cat in any girl.

Next, Fair Claire swings into summer in another coverall of Hothouse pastel willow leaves and accented with diamond checks from a few seasons past. 

I think this combination is really pleasing. This pattern has great potential for mixing and matching fabrics. It would make a wonderful housewarming or wedding shower gift. Next time I plan to line it to give it more body and perhaps narrow and shorten the ties, so it could become less of an apron and more of an everyday work outfit.

You may want to check out for this and other interesting "in the pink"patterns. Thanks again to Susan for her skill and vision!

Friday, June 6, 2008

ReFashion Rejuvenation

Our family has always enbraced recycling and reusing. Initially, it was out of necessity.... the realities of self employment. But eventually, reusing evolved into a passion and an art. My husband, especially, has a refined instinct for thrift shop treasures, alley castoffs, patinaed
artifacts and found objects of all kinds. And it is reassuring that a new generation has embraced "refashioning" as a responsibility and a creative outlet, too*. 

Roberta Morgan is one of the many who have recognized the importance of recycling clothing and has transformed its potential into inspiration. I met Roberta during my visit to the Raleigh Capital Quilt Guild this spring. She was wearing one of her wonderful recycled and rejuvinated outfits with applique, embroidery and a bit of bling. Instantly recognizing that this would be a perfect use for the bags of Sassaman scraps that I can't bear to throw out, I asked Roberta if she would like some fabric to embellish her future projects.

A few weeks later a treasure box was delivered to the studio. WOW, WOW, WOW!! Each enhanced garment was a stunner. I was really tickled because she specifically sought out resale jumpers, obviously she was familiar with my teaching uniform... seven colors of the classic Nordstrom's jumper! 

The first jumper has been enhanced with a spray of flowers and fronds fussy cut from two Hothouse fabrics. Perfect on this cloudy spring morning.

This cotton jumper is the most dramatic of all! Roberta has skillfully dissected the spirals from the Tree of Life fabric and rearranged them into a colorful graduated motif. I like the simplicity of the composition. Then on the back, she has used the printed selvedge as a "designer" label. Eat your heart out Ralph Lauren!

This comfortable jumper is practical and stylish. Just the ticket for visiting the farmer's market on a Saturday morning! Wonder if I could order this in seven different colors?

Next Fair Claire models a casual jacket which has undergone a striking transformation. Roberta applied a spattering of color with Color Wash spray paints from Ranger before adding the tumbling leaf motif and the solitary butterfly to the collar.

Thanks to Roberta Morgan for her vision and enthusiasm! She has introduced us to more possibilities for using Sassaman fabrics, both handsome and practical. Hmmm......
I need a party dress for the upcoming cruise... perhaps a trip to the thrift shop, a little applique and a handful of crystals may just do the trick! 

If you enjoyed these garments and are smitten with refashioning, you may also enjoy Belle Armoire and Altered Couture magazines.

 *Also recommended is Selvedge magazine, Feb. 06 issue, The Cycle of Life- Ecotextiles: The past, present and hopes for the future. An enlightened and sobering essay about the impact of textiles on our environment.