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Friday, May 25, 2012

New Bonnet-tall silk regency plum hat


Here is a new bonnet for a client going to a Regency event. My client requested a tall bonnet in a deep purple shade. This piece is hand sewn from theatrical buckram. The outer silk taffeta is a deep purple shade, and lined in green silk taffeta. My client liked a chartreuse feather on a previous hat, and requested the same for her piece. I ordered the feathers and was surprised at how small and feeble the plumes were. I could not find a good ostrich plume in the shade or size required by this bonnet's proportions. I decided I would make my own using antique dye from the 1920s. I tried to dye it with an ombre type effect to make the plume seem more aged-as many antique plumes were treated back in the day.
This one is a deep green chartreuse at the base which graduates to a more golden green at the top.

It is hand curled and shaped.

I prefer to use antique trim and ribbons when possible. I think it adds a more unique element and links the piece to the past. Many trims are not sturdy enough for clothing use. They are better suited to millinery work, which is not stressed through body movements.

These antique silk tassels are really unique, I can't figure out how they were made with that spiral effect.

This antique silk ribbon is in wonderful condition. The piece was just big enough to form into a bow. I added a dainty metal lace trim to the center. Woven in golden green and olive green shades, it ties in with the feather.

The front of the bonnet has a vintage millinery violet spray in rich purple velvet. I inserted it into an antique metal lace rosette. Vintage gold millinery spray dangles and antique metal lace trim hang below.

The purple and silvery ribbon piece behind it is also antique.

Antique metal trim is layered over green silk satin ribbon at the center. The ties are new silk, which is usually a better choice for the wear encountered with tying and untying.
The brim is finished with hand sewn bias binding in the same silk taffeta.


There are little bias tape makers from Clover which help hold the bias to be ironed. This is very helpful when trying to match fabrics to bias. Modern bias is usually a poly blend, which is not appropriate for this type of hat making.
I am thinking of making some more feathers in unique shades...I will share when I get a chance to get some made.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A French style screen




The search for a French style room screen has now ended!
And no, that is not my priceless antique pictured above...I had to find one in another way.
The idea was to provide a backdrop for doing photo shoots with my antique mannequin/dressform (Claudine.)

The real French screens can run well into the thousands.

I asked my friend Brad to make one for me that I can cover with silk. I sent him some photos for ideas-

I wanted a middle panel that was wider than the side panels, and hinges that swing both directions.

This is the back of the door showing the thin wood mounted to the wider pieces. These doors also swing behind and become completely flat against the back. Silk will be mounted to the interior and tacked around with these brass tacks:

The antique brass scroll piece will serve as a place for hanging clothes hangers once I figure where to place it. I have antique dresses and lace hanging over the edge right now, but would like a proper place to put them.

And yes... that is an early 19th century blue silk Regency era bodice hanging there!
I will post more photos later once I get work going on the screen.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Painting inspiration-Abbott Fuller Graves photoshoot


I have always liked this painting of roses in a green bucket.
The artist is Abbott Fuller Graves, (American 1856-1936.) Perhaps it is his use of light and complementary colors that makes me like the piece. I am not as wild about the detailing of the roses, however, as they are more impressionistic in design. I prefer a bit more detailing of the individual rose breeds-a la Redoute or Fantin Latour. This work is serving as a still life painting set-up piece.
Using his painting as inspiration, I hunted down an antique wooden bucket:

It is missing its wooden handle, but is otherwise quite nice, with old green paint worn through.
Here is an example with a handle, which I could always paint into the scene

I gathered roses that had similar colors to the ones in the painting

I began to load my morning's rose cuttings into the bucket...but they suddenly dumped over due to their weight.

I had to resort to the Martha Stewart tape trick:

I don't know what Mr Graves used to keep his flowers in the bucket, but I doubt it was tape!
Here is the photo shoot. My format is more square and I was not able to get long enough rose cuttings to stretch the format wider.

Overall, a fun idea for using old ideas for new paintings. When trying to understand what makes for good paintings, it helps to study the works of other master painters.
A few more examples of his work: