Friday, July 26, 2013

Blue Willis

Years ago I bought a pair of brown corduroy trousers at the Westin at Hilton Head island. 

The manufacturer was a company called Blue Willis. It is one of those brands you find a specialty stores and I must say, the store at the Westin was one of those.

From the first day, I love them. I wore them and wore them and wore them out. Last year they were too threadbare to wear any longer. I mourned the loss and thought about remaking them, a la Kenneth D. King's method on,  but when I brought up the subject, it was hinted strongly that they had not been the most flattering fit on me. Most likely due to the loss of stretch in the fabric. That said, it was decided that there would be no remake for them. Just darn and I have the perfect fabric! Oh well.

I couldn't just throw them away. Too much sentiment.  On the last trip from the States, I brought a pattern back with me from my childhood. A Simplicity pattern I had bought as a child. I made the red dog, without the protruding nose out of red flannel. It was stuffed with small cut up foam pieces. I remember it smelled good. 

The original pattern is long gone, but after years searching, I found it on Etsy. To test out the pattern, I first made it for my nephew. It is constructed using fleece and is stuffed with small cut up foam pieces. Like the original it has no protruding nose. When I made it I figured out why I had left if off the first time. The face of the dog is too long so when the nose is added, the nose looked out of place for the animal.

I wanted one for myself and now I had the perfect fabric. Scissors were taken to the trousers, cutting around the well worn areas. Where possible the grain of the fabric was used and some of the pieces were contrasted to give the dog interest. Interestingly  the corduroy had no nap So there was no problem cutting in either direction.The face was shortened by 1/2"  right above the nose dart and the nose was made smaller to fit the face. Lastly the label from the Trousers was unpicked and sewn onto the rear area of the dog. 

Blue as his name will be has blue eyes, The fabric used for his eyes is the wrong side of the fabric. If you look close at the picture you can see the trousers had a slight blue hue due to the back side. I do not have cut up pieces of foam here in France, but I did have a much hated memory foam pillow that was about to go to the equivalent of Good-will. Instead of being a solid piece of memory foam, the pillow was stuffed with cut up pieces of memory foam. As a bed pillow, was is not terrific, but as stuffing for the dog it would be great.

It is time to present Blue:

He sits up nicely

And he lays down well too.

The memory foam make a fantastic filler adding good weight and malleability for the dog.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Les coiffes catalanes part two, the completion

Remember this?

With the top completed of les coiffes catalanes, it needed embellishment and, well sort of quilted. The word quilting is used loosely since it is more like tacking and stab stitching. The piece is thick and comprises of many layers. Backing, stabilizer, a thick fabric cotton fusible, batting and then the top. The extra stabilizer is there since it will be a wall hanging and I want it to lay flat against the wall.

If one were to just use a backing, batting and then the top, this could happen. As you can see, it has happened to things I have made in the past. I hate that!

It is not pretty and several attempts to get this wall hanging to lay flat have failed. It is near a window and when the window is open air gets up behind and does this. No amount of weight on the bottom will help fix it. I have tried. Now I just smooth it out before company comes.

But enough of failures from earlier days, Onward to this new project.

The backing fabric is akin to Vichy but it is not. It is a local fabric which is used mostly in Alsace, but quite a bit here in the Lorraine region of France. It is a thicker woven with dyed threads as opposed to a dyed printed fabric.
Now for embellishing and completing my piece. As usual I have an assortment of things I can use. I have buttons, beads, trinkets and a variety of threads. 

I love taking this type of photo. All of the pretty things all in one place. The grey buttons on the card a bakelite. I still have not found the perfect project for them
I started with the beads. Recently Tess, a woman on one of my newsgroups, posted a picture of a mantilla that she had made. The lace is similar to one of the laces I used and she told me that the lace will tell you where to put the beads.  Here is her Mantilla:
 If you look closely you can see the seed beads and the pearls she used. Just Beautiful!
Taking her idea, I used little crystal seed beads and placed them where similar lace told me they needed to go. Hmm, not bad!

I have a magazine, Mon Ouvrage, from June 1952. On one of the last pages there is a pictorial article on embellishing little girls dresses and collars with buttons and embroidery. Here is the one of the ideas from the magazine:

Here it is on my piece.

I modified the idea just a little.

My buttons had four holes not two. I also had a long and narrow piece to fill. The thread is vintage silk I had in my stash.

Continuing around the wall hanging, Pearls were added.

My favorite second hand store had a pack of these vintage beauties. Part of the top design, a pivoted corners of lace was used. It was nice to be able to leave those pivot corners intact.

The pivots made a nice corner for some of the lace pieces and worked very nicely on the corners of some of the pictures. Best of all, the lace designed had flowers which cried out for the use of some of those pearls.
Continuing around the wall hanging, on one of the bottom open areas, bugle beads, buttons, pearls and silk ribbon worked well to add some interest.

There are a couple of open spaces left. they will either stay that way or maybe someday I will add to it. Right now I like it just the way it is.

Finally, it was bound using vintage lace that reminds me of footballs (American Football) It was sewn over the binding. The back has top and bottom hanging capability and it is a nice weight so hopefully it will hold itself agains the wall.

Here is the final result:

It's a keeper!