Saturday, August 16, 2014

Circus Time!

On September 6, Wellington is the lucky host of the inaugural Winter Vintage. What is it? It's circus, it's market place, it's entertainment, madness and silliness. Based around a 1930's circus theme.
And Constance is the Ring Master.
During the day anyway. At the evening ball/dance/event, I'm reading fortunes!
Naturellement, the big question is, WHAT TO WEAR?? Fortune telling I have nailed already, thanks to Big Fat Gypsy Wedding silliness
It's amazing what an upside down sweet jar and a wreath of hair flowers can do ;-)
But Ring Mastering is a bit more of a challenge. We do love a challenge here at Sent from my iRon!
We could wear this little ensemble from our dressing up rack, but we fancy a new outfit. :)
I want something that looks like it has been handed down from generation to generation of circus folk, with changes made en route. Because I suspect this would be very common And fun!
Inspiration pictures include:
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE this image. I love that neckline - SO Victorian, so Circus. The onesie/combination look is not for me overall however.
 This image was spookily like what I initially wanted - 1830s-1850s mans frock coat in red.
 A bit more predictable, and she is channelling Constance's hair, except Constance isn't channelling her figure ;-)
A bit mad. We like that.
So, we have a very feminine lacy neckline and a red velvet frockcoat-like silhouette. Add big gold buttons, lots of gold braid and I think tassels, and I think we have a plan.
Unlike several of my posts lately about starting projects, as this one has a deadline, it WILL be made. Alas the poor brown velvet frockcoat has to take a back seat while I do it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Midas Touch...

Upcycling doesn't always have to be about clothes. I really enjoy overhauling old bits of furniture picked up because it is somehow not deemed sexy enough to be pricey. I have a chair bought off TradeMe (NZ's eBay alternative) that is super pretty but was painted by some dumb ass, thus reducing its value considerably, as stripping it back would be an excruciating process.
This is where Rub'n'Buff comes in. Rub'n'Buff is a permanent paint that is a bit like shoe polish for solid surfaces like wood. It comes in a little tube, has the consistency of toothpaste,and you just squeeze it out and rub it in with a cloth. Then you buff it, it gets shinier, and it dries like paint, no rubbing off. Hence the name! And it means that instead of stripping the chair back, I can apply the gold to the bad paint job and transform it.
Here's my pretty chair. With ugly brown paint and ugly weird upholstery. I've left this on for now, to protect what is underneath from the Rub'n'Buff.
Here's one leg done and one leg to go. It is so easy, just squeeze some of the creamy stuff onto an old cloth, and rub it on. I feel like Midas!
Here's the back all done - showing how it has a nice old looking patina and leaving the grooves in the design still dark. I like that.
Stage one complete!
 The whole chair only took one little bitty tube. The one on the right, in case you were wondering! The colour I used is European Gold.
Midas' rubber gloves and cloth in the aftermath.
Next step - a jolly good buffing to bring up the shine, and a reupholstering. This chair is not for us so I shall consult with the intended owner on fabric.
How easy is this! I've got my eye on some lampshades and other bits and pieces, with the other tube. I've also got my eye on the composite gold leaf in the shop. This gilding business is quite addictive...
This is also about trying out the products we sell. I remember Rub'n'Buff from the 1970s so it is not a new discovery, but nothing has replaced it in simplicity, affordability and effectiveness. Yes, I am a fan!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Adieu to a Comic Genius

I heard the news of Robin Williams' suicide while out driving today. My immediate reaction was as if I had lost a friend.
I have always loved his work - so warm and engaging and funny. I seem to be one of the few people who liked What Dream May Come, a  movie about the impact of tragic death on a family and I guess his family are suffering hard right now.
 Stand up King
 Hamming it up for Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry Be Happy video
 Good Morning Vietnam!!
 Patch Adams
 Dead Poets' Society - Carpe Diem!
 Just being
What Dreams May Come.
Precious moments indeed. RIP Robin, I am sad you are gone.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Middle Ground

Sometimes these days, I find myself talking about Constance in the third person, because it makes more sense. She is me but I am not her, you see. Sometimes she talks about me in the third person on stage and is not always very polite about her overworked dressmaker! HRMPH!
And yet, we are rubbing off on one another. I pretty much wear a big bumpit in my hair every day now, because I LIKE big hair! And sometimes when I go out, I want to have her glamour but stop short at the crazy eyelashes.
Tonight was such a night. Acharmofmagpies and I had our regular date night (because if we don't make it a Thing, life gets in the way and we miss each other after five years of working together every day!) by going out to dinner and then to see Caburlesque, Steampunk vs Rockabilly.
Joy went Rockabilly in the gorgeous pink leopard dress in the link above. Wow. So, I went purple/pink Steampunk.
MrC took this pic of me before I headed out. I put a grungy frame on it in Pixlr and it went all cross processed. Cool eh!
The flower necklace is the work of the Embroidenator. Isn't she amazing? I have worn it every day this week. It looks great with a merino top too.
The goggles I made last night. Had I not been in such a hurry and a bit annoyed as I spilled a glass of red wine over everything, I would have taken progress shots.
They started off as a christmas cracker inner tube, a 40mm gold grommet set, some scraps of gold fabric, buttons and trim, elastic and a fob watch from Camden Market that never worked. I busted open the watch and split it between both lenses- face and cover on one side, dome and back on the other. They are quite cute and blingy but most importantly, they are very lightweight, and don't make my hat topple like my Glastonbury metal ones do :) They are also entirely held together with E6000, the wonder glue.
A little less makeup, smaller eyelashes and not overextending my lips, and I look like both of us.
So yes, integration is possible. Plus, I THINK I was mostly in charge!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fabric Acquisition...and first world problems!

I know I have cupboards of the darned stuff, but there's always room for another dress length isn't there?
The Fabric Warehouse is having a 40% off sale. I don't get out there often but I love the place. The owner Stephen Shaw, has been in the trade for over 40 years. I bought my very first piece of fabric off him 38 years ago. At 11, I bought some white cotton with red flowers on it to back a quilt I was making - I think it was 20c a metre.
By the time I was 16, I was buying 10 fabrics at a time, getting them home and realising 8 of them were red. We are what we are.. :)
Anyway, yesterday's buys are lovely!
On the left is a glorious purple sequinned black net. It is subtle but intense and I bought 4m. For Constance. She is so spoilt! On the right is a buttery soft viscose with a cottony hand, and a slightly brushed texture. I LOVE IT. What you're seeing is a border that rocks its way in a sine wave along both borders. I spy another maxi dress for summer. Because, well summer!
But before summer I am going to have to haul out all of my summer dresses and take them in, they are hanging off me. Partly because I tend to make things a bit big, but also because I am svelting out a bit especially through the top. This is good for my health I suppose, but tedious for my wardrobe as I dislike adjusting any clothing let alone my own!
Note lacing of jacket is considerably closer in the second photo, and is even closer now. Not bragging and definitely not looking for compliments - I do NOT buy into the whole getting excited about other people's weight fluctuations thing so do spare me. But it does make sewing easier, and trickier -the former because now my mannequin is my size, and the latter because of alterations required to extant makes and my sense of my own spatials. La di da, first world problems eh!
Anyhoo, MrC and I had to head out there again today to get a 95% cotton or viscose or silk weave with 5% lycra to line the brown velveteen frock coat I started oooh, two years ago? I am determined to nail this damned coat this week, to wear to the Caburlesque Steampunk vs Rockabilly show next Saturday!
So wish me luck!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Born Before '74, We Did It!

  It was short, sweet and fun. Here are some photos:

 Gold for starters...
 Michael and Emma singing at the piano.
 Me and MrC - another singer friend was meant to be in the show but when he couldn't do it. MrC stepped in. It was fun pretending to be married to my own husband!
 MrC and Jan Bolwell from Crows Feet Dance Collective getting their dance on. MrC was sitting in the front row when she went to grab someone from the audience, and he is always up for a laugh :)
Me in the WTF coat.
Miss Moxie Fizz  - every other photo I have of her act gives away the whole punchline of a truly hilarious act!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Refashion: The WTF Purple Coat

This purple taffeta evening coat has a life story more exciting than many novels. I bought it on sale - the tag said $127.50 but it turned out to be $217.50. This caused a storm of grump. I was happy to pay the higher price as it was still a great price, but annoyed at the store's attitude to it all.
Anyway, not a great start. I've worn it a lot - to give out prizes at the Plain English Awards in my previous life, to weddings and even to work. However its unique combination of length and short waistedness, and my tendency to go in and out at the waist have meant it wasn't as fab as I thought at first.
 Plain English Awards 2010. The pic on the left I feel shows the biggest issue, which is how the skirt is cut, with the bias at the front and the straight at the back, so it swings forward oddly. But it was fun to wear anyway. Don't I look intelligent in my glasses!
At a family wedding with Mum and DadRon. It was VERY hot and middle aged ladies and synthetics and hot days = grumpy. ;-)

So, when I needed a second costume for a show recently, I hauled it out for a makeover. Attaching some purple boa around the neckline and centre front gave it some OTT kudos:
Except that I still wasn't happy with it. It isn't flattering, for a start, and I look like a barmaid from the Rovers Return circa 1970. Not that I care particularly, but it LOOKS like it ought to be flattering. For some reason this bugs me. And in a photo shoot recently I found out that it is the wrong length to wear with the mermaid skirt.
So, with a long held, quietly simmering passion for peplums to honour, big scissors and a mirror, I lopped most of the skirt off to turn it into a jacket with a peplum.
I cut it off across the front just below the Point of No Return, and tapered it back to just above the original length. The strip around the bottom I cut off, split lengthways, folded lengthways and applied as a hand pleated finish, to help the bottom stick out.

 Hand pleated edging about 2.5cm/1 inch wide, giving the bottom some body.
The inside of the pleated edge, showing black lace enclosing the raw edges of the seam tidily.
Pretty, and a much better shape, but BORING. Then a brainwave. Remove the silly feather trim and reapply to the hem! Because less is more, said no show girl EVER! You can see the feathers in the photo above, already pinned before I thought to take the photo.
Still not exciting enough, so I was over the moon to unearth a bag of bling I dyed from turquoise to purple a while ago (I cannot find the photos of this anywhere!) and these plus some extra purple sequin trim finally tipped the balance.
So here it is:
It still rides up at the waist but it is much more glamorous and silly, which is very important when you are as OTT as Connie!