"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Red Bolero...Completed

I have decided that this is as far as I am going to go with this bolero. I added gold metallic thread around the binding, and down the stem of the stencil design, and I added red beads to the dots on the pattern. I was going to add more stencil to the back, but decided I'd rather move on. I have two ideas I want to try on the next bolero, or maybe, since it is already getting cooler here, a long-sleeved T-shirt. In the meantime, I have a riding costume to finish, and about fifteen archery targets to draw for a mounted archery competition coming up Oct. 5-7.

So, here are the last shots of The Red Bolero.

The red beads on the stencil dots are kinda hard to see, but show up okay outside in better light. These were just the color I happened to have on hand. You can also see the gold metallic thread, which shows up nicely, and really looks sharp outside. I love the way it looks, so will use more metallic thread in the future.

The back.
Me, posing out on the deck, the day I wore the bolero into town. Got many compliments, and when I told folks it was made out of recycled T-shirts, they were amazed. I love that.

The back view. And yeah, the design is a bit off center, but since it's on the back where I can't see it when I wear the bolero, I don't care. LOL Doncha just love my bright deck chairs?

Ta dahhh.... Now to move on to the next project.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A week or so ago, I posted pictures of the first bolero I made using the Alabama Chanin pattern. At the time I started it, I didn't have any fabric paint to do the stencils with, nor did I have a stencil that I thought would work, so I went ahead and made the garment, figuring to stencil it later.

Found a stencil at Home Depot (a good source for so many things), and bought some inexpensive fabric paint at JoAnn's. I'm not spending big bucks on either stencils or paint while I'm still in this learning curve. However, I think the results came out rather nice. Only thing left to do is some beading, and accent stitching.

Here is the front, showing the stencil I used. The tuna can I used as a weight to hold down one end of the stencil sheet while I applied the paint. Very handy things, tuna cans. It also shows why I bought a rotary cutter, which will help clean up the edges of the binding strips.  Trying to cut them with regular scissors works, but not very well.

Closeup of the stencil pattern, and my not so great embroidery stitches.

Back of the bolero.

I really like this stencil design, and if I'd had it before I started the bolero, I probably would have made it an all-over pattern. So, that's something to play around with for next time.

Also, just for fun, I am going to start adding my own garment tags to the inside neckline. It will be the same cartouche design I use on my drawings and paintings.

These tank tops and boleros, made from freebie pet food promo T-shirts that my husband brings home, are really fun, easy to make, and great little canvasses for all kinds of embellishments.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Riding Costume Project

A week ago, while trolling Pinterest looking at costume sites (a very dangerous pastime for a costume junkie), I came across an outfit that literally knocked my socks off — or would have, if I had been wearing socks. The original designer, Brielle's Costumes,  called it a pirate costume, but my first inner vision was of a Highwayman shouting "Stand and deliver!" I got really fired up, and wanted that vision to be me, on my horse. So, my brain went into hyper-drive. I wanted to make that outfit, and adapt it to riding. Minor setback? I had no sewing machine. My 30 yr old White had finally died about six months ago. So, there I was, raring to go...and basically dead in the water.

Flash forward a week. I bought a sewing machnie ( I really needed one anyway, even if this costume hadn't turned up to excite me), dug through my stash of fabric and discovered I had a lot of what I needed already, then headed to the fabric store to buy what I didn't have. Luck was still with me, as the linen I liked was on sale (as had been the sewing machine). Another minor set back? My iron had been packed away in storage, and only Robert knew where the box was, buried in our storage unit. He is on the road, which means I won't get my iron until Saturday. However, in the meantime, I can cut out the shirt pattern, and work on altering the jacket pattern I have into the jacket design I need.

I have no desire to copy this outfit exactly, which would be cheating and an insult to the original designer. I will use it as inspiration, changing things, and adapting it for use in riding. The only thing I wish I could have changed was the color, as I really wanted to do it in dark green. However, the choices of green linen at JoAnn's Fabrics were all pretty icky, so I went with brown.

The jacket in the picture is made of leather. I can't do that, nor did I want to. If I was going to be wearing it around horses, and during the summer, I wanted something that would breath, and that could be washed. Linen is perfect. I also had some dark green linen left over from the pirate frock coat I made about 5 yrs ago. I will use that for contrasting collar and cuffs on the jacket. I already had the mid-weight muslin for the shirt, and the vintage lace. I wanted to add a bit of pattern to the outfit, so the cincher will be made out of one of the brocades shown. They are fabric sample squares, of which I have four big bins full, since where I used to work they would throw them away when the pattern was discontinued. I had six stores sending them to me, until they wised up and started selling them for $2 a piece. Now I think they sell for almost $5 each. Did I mention I have four big Rubbermaid tubs full of these things? Yes, I think I did. SCORE!

So, that's the plan. I absolutely love this costume, and with a few alterations I can make it rider-friendly and totally washable, except for the cincher, which will be lightly boned and couldn't be washed anyway. I will also make a pair of pants to go with this, or wear my black riding pants, since riding in a skirt is a pain in the butt, but I really like the look of the skirt, so will have to have both.

 After all, this outfit is just too damned cool to only wear while on a horse.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Archery in the HOT Sun

I don't know that I've mentioned it here before, but my husband and I belong to the SCA, better known as the Society for Creative Anachronism. It's an international medieval reinactment organization. Last weekend a nearby branch of this organization held a three day event along the Umpqua River, at River Bend Park. We went up on Saturday to shoot archery, and hang out with friends.

First thing we had to deal with was the heat. It was predicted to hit 102 degrees that day (it did), and we were shooting archery out in a mown hay field next to the river. So, not only was it bloody hot, it was humid as well. As per usual with SCA events, we were supposed to start at 10:00, but didn't actually start shooting until after 10:30. It was already in the high 90s by then. But we battled on, shooting what is called a Royal Round = targets at 20,30, and 40 yards, then a speed round at 20 yards.

An hour in, I was standing behind Robert between shoots, as he was the only shade. We both drank gallons of water, and I never had to pee the whole day, 'cause I was sweating rivers.

That's me at the end of the line, looking like a twelve-year-old next to those bigger guys (The river is  right on the other side of those trees). Also, I was using the cheap $30 kiddie bow I bought to practice mounted archery with, so I made them all promise not to laugh at me before I started shooting. Robert decided to just spot arrows for me instead of shoot (I think he just didn't want to use that silly little bow), which was good, as the arrows were really hard to find, slipping under the grass and hiding so well that a some folks lost a few that day. I had fun, barely hit anything, and probably sweated off five pounds...which I didn't need to lose.

As a reward to myself, after the shoot, I headed to the grassy area of the park, where the big Rainbird sprinklers were going, took off my boots and socks, and went in to play. You know what, it's just as much fun as it was when I was a kid. It also saved me from passing out due to heat stroke!

We stayed to watch the fighting—heavy weapons and rapier—then headed for home at around 3:30, as it was an hour's trip and we needed to get back in time to clean stalls and put the horses up and feed them. When we arrived at our place, the temp gauge on the deck read 105 degrees, in the shade! 

Robert and I both had fun, wished we could have stayed for the festivities taking place that night, and decided it was time to get out my 30+ year old Browning recurve and see if it was safe enough to restring and shoot ground archery with (which it is, as we just had it tested, and were told it was fine and good to go). I'll keep using the kiddie bow for mounted archery until I get better at that, and won't worry about dropping a $160 bow and having my horse step on it. Actually, the Browning wouldn't work for mounted archery anyway, as it is too long.

Now we just need to get Robert a bow, and we will both be able to shoot. Hopefully, if it's as hot as it was that weekend, there will be sprinklers we can play in afterwards to cool off.