Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Finishing Dance

As I get my sewing groove back, I thought to finish one thing before starting another.
I know, who would have thought of it? I had made the bodice half of a ball gown and had all the moving parts for the rest. After giving myself a pep talk, I finished it.
Now, it wasn't a straight line, I floundered and thought up other designs with other fabrics. Actually made a different underskirt. Haunted the thrift stores for easy make-overs and found a great linen duster that just needed a sleeve adjustment for "Room With A View" ramblings. Changed the buttons and added darts to a blouse, easy useful stuff.
Yet here it is.
I used all the blacks, velvet, satin and organdy.
It is smoother IRL, the flash is not helpful to velvet.
The overskirt is a vintage silk organdy with a velvet flock I call 'chain-link'.

The satin underskirt has the scalloped hem I currently love.  My American Duchess shoes will finally have a chance to dance
 I will call this the black chain link dress and love it, until I don't. I'll put it through it's paces this Saturday at our Spring ball.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I Made Do and Mended

Or re-purposed or did-over.
Scant sewing going on over here but I have been keen on the re-fashion. I find it fun, like a practical puzzle one can wear.
I found a nice wool 90's era pants suit at the thrift. Great detail and lovely construction, it did have a few issues in the design which tagged it as mid 90's. Looksy

I loved the bias detail but hated the length.

High waisted pegged pants, oh so 90's.
I thought the pants had enough fabric to turn them into a skirt and I was right!
I cut out the lining and opened the leg seams.

I made a center front seam by cutting down the ease.

Here it is laid out flat, I cut off the bottom of the leg below the knee.

I love the bias detail on the side seam. I thought I would need a gore on the cb seam but the pants were wide enough, so no need.
Full disclosure, I took the jacket to a tailor to have cut down. It really is beyond my skill set and I didn't want to risk ruining it just to be thrifty. I wish I had more tailoring chops, it's a different animal.
All tricked out with gloves, a repro hat and a tiny "V" for victory pin.
Side seam detail and I need to stand up straight.
I'm slowly coming around to a few actual sewing projects. Time will tell.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Bleak December

I used to think that E.A. Poe should have a counterpart. Well heeled, happy, a ray of sunshine called Edgar Allan Rich. A combination of both Cherryble brothers and Mr. Fezziwig, but handsome.
It's such a dumb, cheerful idea.
Mr. Rich's powers of gladdening have failed me after a disheartening November. Politics, sudden death, a sad but dutiful trip to the Pacific Northwest (no shade to my Washington pals). The land of Sad-squash. It's so bleak, all hope is lost and your dreams are crushed. Not a fair assessment, I know. It may have been the funereal aspect that caught me.
Black velvet inspired by the picture on the lower right. And a 3/4 sleeve dinner dress in a brocade that has been languishing. It may languish longer.
 I did make a few half-hearted attempts at sewing, I started and abandoned a couple of ball/evening dresses for our annual Holiday ball in Pasadena, then opted for something from the closet. Because why try.

Look petticoat has a border! I call that progress.
I did find enough bon ami for raillery with my London friends. I'll pull up my socks and go onward to The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. Because I need a little Christmas, right this very minute.

Every Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

(Mostly) Thrift Store Anne Bonny

 And finally, pirates.
Scallywags, buccaneers, they even have their own talk like one day. We all have favorites and I want not to forget the ladies.  As the final thrift store personage from history, I give you Anne Bonny.
Copper plate engravings add 10 pounds.

We are guessing at her appearance so here goes!
Properly warned be ye says I!
Is this impression a little stereotypical? Sure. My apologies to Pirate Americans.
Stand back lubbers, he's mine.

Lets break it down.

This fab coat was given to my by Loren, I was to have been part of a Costume College Disney villain group  a few years ago, but was too sick to make it. Captain Hook represents!

Retrimmed Halloween store hat, American Duchess Pompadours and 99c Store striped socks.
Skirt, belt and shirt thrifted from various stores.
Astrolabe? Sundial? Sextant? Not sure but it's adorable. Fancy pomander which opens for the storing of poison! 
These thrift store treasures are collected throughout the year, honestly it's a numbers game. You just have to go regularly, sometimes you score, but mostly you don't. Still thrifting means I can buy shoes. American Duchess and Remix are my two favorites. Here's a link to the Pompadours-

Happy Halloween, may all your fun-size be Snickers and may black and orange taffy never clutter your stash.
Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Monday, October 24, 2016

Thrift Store Frida Kahlo

We know her.
The mono-brow, the flowers, the braids, the folkloric aesthetic. Fierce painter, wife of Diego Rivera, life long communist (which now seems so quaint).  Style icon.
Would she be pleased that we can distill her down to a few shorthand pieces? Who knows.
It's the hallmark of the original.
Frida's Vogue cover portrait.
And my humble homage.

Monkey is optional.

Let's break it down.
Indian cotton skirt, cotton blouse with embroidery and random white skirt used as petticoat. All from the thrift.

Fake fur mustachio cut down and used for mono brow. This is a 99c Store treasure.

Snaky belt from deep inside the closet.

Floral headpiece also from the 99c Store. One flower came on each headband, I bought 5.  Monkey looks right at home.
Remix "Balboa" shoes and jingle-jangle bracelets from the bottom of the drawer. 
Now work it, baby!

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Senorita Brilliantina 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thrift Store George Sand

Halloween time.
Not a time for amateurs, sure the costume muggles may buy party store sexy nurse in a bag, but my patience with the lack of imagination gets thinner every year.
Honestly, if you want a sexy costume why not branch out? Sexy Supreme Court Justice, sexy Settlement House worker, sexy Huguenot?
You will ask, "Why sexy"? It's not the sexy I object to as much as the abysmal poverty of imagination. The sexy will go the way of all such youthful excess, let 'em have it.  
To that end I present-
Miss Brilliantine's Gallery of Thrift Store Historic Personages!

Thrift store George Sand
Merle Oberon, Judy Davis and of course George Sand, herself.
Authoress, muse and scandalous flouter of conventions, she lives in our imagination not so much for her novels as her determination to live by her own rules. Frankly, she sounds like a nightmare, but we don't have to invite her for the Holidays and listen to her sob stories, we can just enjoy.
Here's my version-
Bad case of "Resting Authoress Face"
Let's break it down, The whole impetus was finding a Macy's I.N.C. brand jacket at the thrift. It had all the things, length, color and even flap pockets at the waistline. It is modern so no actual waist seam, the thing that makes a frock coat, frock.
I just changed the buttons, because ugly plastic
  Frilly cotton blouse and trusty brocade vest made up the rest. Both came from thrift stores, the blouse recently, the vest so long ago it's been very kind of dress-up. The plaid pants are from my current closet, they look cute with boots and a sweater.
Ruffly shirt says "Dandy"!
And nothing sells an impression like accessories.
"Pardon me, can you direct me to the acetate ascot department?"
Robert Land boots, from the olden days, Laura Ashley hat, because who knows when it will come in handy? And pencil watch fob, nothing says "Authoress" louder.
There you have it. Will the unenlightened ask if you are Willy Wonka? Sure, but if you are like me you'll detain them with a lengthy history lesson, that'll learn 'em. Now add attitude and have your fragile lover write you a couple of sonatas, hopefully by moonlight.
Next up thrift store Frida Kahlo.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Every Day I Dye a Little and Shoe Confessions

Where was I?
At the intersection of too many choices and indecision. It was time to dye the un-dyed.
My American Duchess 'Dunmore' shoes had been languishing for lack of color. First I made a false start with aqua. I had visions of 'go with everything' deep Caribbean blue/green depths. Not to be. Then this happened across the Facebooks. Holy Cow!
SO much beauty....
 I ordered the dye from American Duchess and set to work. The dyes go on great but two tone colorways are a bit tricky.
I let the coral pink dry for a few days, screwing up my courage to add the black. I used junk drawer duct tape to tape off the pink, it worked fine. You need a steady hand and a few fine tip cotton swabs in addition to the cotton daubers and defiantly more than one coat of dye.
 Are they as pretty as the originals? Hardly, but I still like them, which is good. They will be worn with all the dresses.
The walking dyed
 Not surprisingly, I also had a pair of  'Tissot' dance pumps in need of color.
Orphan Tissots, alone and palely loitering.
 I had enough black dye left to give the Tissots a few coats. Super easy, this dye goes on smooth and the cotton sateen is very absorbent. They will all need a fix of Scotch-guard before wearing or my stockings will tell the tale.
My dragon's hoard of buckles, the shiny....

Now which to use? I confess, I like a sparkly buckle.
I wish I had ordered another pair of Tissots before they sold out, they would look smashing in a pale champagne color.
'Dunmores' come in dye-able cotton sateen and black wool, here's the link

She has a new boot called 'Balmoral' which comes in black leather with black cotton sateen uppers. I'm hoping for a dye-able version with the same black toes and heels. Dreamy.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine