Poiret Preview

Today I am proud to preview my latest experiment–a recreation of a 1923 Poiret Cocoon Coat! I have yet to get the button closure on it, but I am terribly excited about where this is going… I have longed to do something elegant and drapey like this for a long time, and think that my floral painting might look really good on it, especially around the hem up to the sleeves. This was made out of black velveteen using a pattern: Folkwear #503.



There are some adjustments that I would like to make to the pattern, as well as some alterations and piecing that I would like to do… I am not thrilled about using someone else’s pattern for things–I’d like to adapt it to my own, so I’ve got some thinking to do… If you had your druthers, what would you do? I’m thinking there is a way to make it more contemporary. Just haven’t hit on it yet. : )



But here it is, sans center front closure. I would love to have some feedback if you’re willing… Perhaps some vertical panels in the front and one in the back? Hmm…



Until next time, Live Life with Relish!


Growing, Friends, and Inspiration

I got two more garments done today, as I sewed the buttons on two vests that I will be posting in the next couple of days to my two online vending sights.  Here’s a couple pics as a preview:
Vestredfrontpreview Vestredbackpreview
Interestingly, the way to make sure that more people see your stuff is to not post all of it at once.  A wise online entrepreneur using Etsy and Artfire and other handmade-centric merchant sites won’t post all their inventory in the beginning.  One trickles it in, because the merchant sites all have “recently posted” features.  The more you spread out the posting of your items the better it is, because then you show up more often in that mechanism and more people see your post.  If you post everything all at once, you’ve sort of wasted a lot of opportunity to be seen over an extended period of time.  So I’ll be posting these new vests over the next week, but not both together.

I managed to put together a new “Page” to my Facebook profile, which is centered on Relished Artistry, and sent out a mass email to all the people on my friends list (regardless of how I knew them) so they could join as “fans”, and not have to be constantly peppered with business-related posts through my own personal profile.  I’m gonna try really hard to keep the two separate and distinct, as I don’t like the idea of using my friends to promote my business.  My ethic is this:  I do what I do and I have what I have.  I don’t need to push it to within an inch of it’s life on all of my friends who don’t really care.  That’s not cool in my book.  I’ll share new stuff once in a while, but I want to keep my friends not lose them to capitalism.  I’m excited about the Page–we’ll see what happens.

I was told through my partner that my greenery looks like grape leaves.  I think I’m gonna run with that… I am gonna start practicing bunches of grapes and see how they look on velvet.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m also exploring pushing the “medieval” feel of things, and considering using “illustrated manuscripts” as inspiration for artistic expression.  We’ll see.  I’d like to figure out something to actually say with that style, not simply decorate stuff.  I’d like to incorporate some kind of statement that’s fun and interesting, as well as artistically expressive to wear, but we’ll see.  I have some thinking to do about that.

Okay, more later!

Live life with Relish!

Process Report #1

For this next project, I’m going to walk you through the steps that I use to create an original piece of wearable art.  As the 1950’s coat is created, I’m going to post photographs each step of the way.  That way, you all can see how I get these things created.

The first step is “Inspiration”.

People are inspired in lots of different ways by lots of different things.  For my previous projects, I was inspired by my great-grandmother’s china paintings of roses and such, and wanted to be able to replicate that feeling on a piece of fabric.  I’m still working on capturing her essence, but it will come with time.

This garment was inspired by the color of the velvet.  I had not worked on an obviously neutral background before, and I am realizing that I paint in a much more “free” manner when I am not burdened with representational realism in the subjects I paint.  So I was looking to create something that was a bit more abstract, and the grey velvet reminded me of rain and fog filled drab and dreary days.  What could spice up those kinds of days but something beautiful to look at?

I chose a 1950’s pattern because of the idea of using abstract painting.  And when I think of abstract art, I think of it really starting to come into it’s own in the 1950’s for some reason.

The type of abstraction… Hmmm…  Well, I had completed a project for a play a long while ago that had a velour robe inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.  I really enjoyed creating the swirls on that robe, and I had received so many compliments regarding it, I thought I might try something like that.  (In actuality, the experience of the robe had inspired me to create a wearable art company and continue painting on fabric for Relished Artistry in general…)

ProcessStep1 msnd090a_171_big ProcessStep3

I took these two ideas, and tried a painting sample on the fabric.  I use Jacquard Fabric Paints–Neopaque, Lumier, Textile Traditionals, and Dye-na-Flow–all by the same company. After experimenting with these thoughts and trying to exploit the metallic nature of the Lumier Paints, I concluded that the colors and the application could come across as quite complimentary to the neutrality of the velvet.  The cut of the coat would simply enhance it’s “period painting” quality.

And so, I transfered the “medium” size to a 50# craft paper (so I wouldn’t need to cut up the pattern paper itself), selected a button closure and a lining, and now I am going to cut the fabric out and start painting.


And now, all there is left to do is dive in!  More soon!

Until then, live life with relish!

“Autumn Relish” Preview

Tonight, I started on my next project.  It dawned on me that I didn’t tell you all about my previous one…

I am expanding out of the realm of roses… hehe…  I tried some autumn leaves this time on some beautiful auburn velvet.  It’s a short jacket, sz. 20, without a lining.  Since it’s velvet, it’s just a shmata, really, but the collar is a bit heavier so it will provide a tad bit of warmth around the shoulders.  It’s not completed yet, but here’s a few pics.  The leaves cascade down in curls to the hem, and they look rather muted straight on.  But viewed from an angle, the color really pops.  Rich oranges, reds, golds, and metallics make the leaves rich and bright!

I also decided to start putting a “pseudo-watermark” on all the pics, just in case.  Since I haven’t found anything like this, and I’m sure the idea will get lifted eventually by someone, I’d rather not make it too easy for ’em.  Haha!  : )

Next up, a vintage recreation of a 1950’s women’s coat.  Grey velvet with some abstracted designs around the hem, ala Van Gogh, but not quite…  I’ll find an artist that does similar stuff to it between now and when I get the preview pics up.

Until then, live life with relish!




Dress Forms Arrive!

Well, the dress forms are here!  I ordered, according to the shipping invoice, a size 8 cover for a medium form, and a size 12 cover for a medium-large form.

What I got was two of the (apparently) same size forms, and two covers labeled size 8 and 12.  The 8 was way too small for one of the forms, and the 12 was way too big.  So I took in the 12 and let out the 8.

Now I have two dress forms of exactly the same size.  <groan>  Both have identical measurements of 45 bust, 36 waist, and 45 hips.  Now how on EARTH are either of those even approaching a size 8 or a size 12??  They’re both size 20.


This isn’t bad.  Frankly, I’m gonna hold on to them because I want them, and making clothes for women who didn’t have model figures was something I want to do, so it’s not a bad investment.  I’m just a tad… Frustrated.  Either those foam forms are supposed to squeeze down to within an inch of their lives, or they actually have no idea what it is they’ve sent.   Or they do know.  They just don’t care.  Regardless, I will be ordering some smaller forms in the future, just not right now.  I have to worry about an iron first…  I can crush down the forms with wide elastic and sports bandages, so I’m not worried too much.  I need to get an iron first, but after that I’ll invest in a new dress form that’s a tad smaller.

On a side note, the average women’s size in America is 14.  I’m sorry, but I guess I don’t know many women that fit into a size 14.  I look at that dress form and think it looks normal.  But seeing as how I’m used to fitting women at the university for the last 10 years that were size 2 and 4, I guess my eye is a bit askew.  Regardless, they’re here!

And the upside is that now I can take some pictures on forms, which I have provided.  Whew!  More where they came from coming soon!

Life life with relish!









The “Midnight Trellis” Handbag

Good grief!  Never make this purse out of thick cotton velour!  Argh!!!  My fingers will never forgive me, and  my poor poor sewing machine…  I swear I was sewing through so many layers my machine probably felt like it was hammering through metal…  <sigh>  But it’s done!

I think I may pursue a different kind of approach when making these handbags in the future.  I learned a LOT from constructing this.  First, I  learned that the first one will always take longer than the rest.  Haha!  I made so many mistakes, and then had to backtrack over and over, that I feel like I have a perception of the purse-building process that will come in handy in the future!  Second, make sure that you know how the purse is going to close before you even start.  The closures have to be inserted early early early in the process.  Third, never make just one.

I guess that goes for everything–if you’re gonna make one, go ahead and make two or three at the same time, just to get the “process” down in your head.  There’s a lot that can be learned not only from the construction of things, but the process in which one constructs multiples together.  I see that making more than one of these purses at the same time is actually a more economic way of spending time.

But it’s done.  And today, I make one for the first coat I made…  The one with yellow roses.

Until next time–Live life with Relish!


Another Sample

I have this “chenille double-sided velour” (it’s actually upholstery fabric) that I am using for a lot of my pieces.  It’s gorgeous stuff, and quite luxurious to the touch. I’m now making a jacket out of it.  But I wanted to try out making some shawls, just to try the painting process, and see how they turned out.

I got it done, and here’s a couple pics of the first in a long line of shawls that I’m gonna make.  I will be working on developing more painting skills (interestingly enough, painting on a light-colored pile using black velvet techniques doesn’t quite work), but I’m loving how it turned out. It has a Victorian/1960s vibe to it that’s funky and fun.  And its quite a heavy fabric. It’s not some flimsy affectation that some shawls are–this is actually substantial and will provide a bit of warmth.

I need a few more pieces and some better photography before I post these on any sales sites, but this is a sneak peak.  : )



Live life with relish!

A Body of Work

So I’m sitting in my Garage/Studio sewing some satin lining into the velour wrap I’m working on.  I’m listening to a podcast that’s talking about how many pieces is appropriate for an exhibition/show.  The host of the podcast is very smart, and says it depends.  But she mentions that regardless, when we feel we have accumulated enough pieces around a theme or technique, we will know when that body of work is ready to show.

And that got me thinking about bodies of work.  And samples.  And just exactly what it is that I need to have prepared.

I was wasting time late last night wandering through Etsy and Artfire, and looking for other sites that were similar (which I found: Winkelf and Shophandmade) and started to discover just how many pieces each vendor had for sale on these sights…  They range from single pieces to sometimes hundreds.  There were some that I thought didn’t qualify for “hand made” items (like this one company in China with over 100 employees that posted it’s stuff on Etsy) and thus had more than a hundred completely different garments for sale.  None of the items came across to me as particularly reflective of individual creativity, and certainly none of them looked like they had been “manufactured” with an artistic sensibility.  It was yet another clothing line, and the company was just using Etsy as a storefront.

But that got me to thinking–my “body of work” will have certain pieces that will be individual, unable to completely reproduce ever again.  I like that.  That’s what makes them unique.  I can not mass produce these items in any large scale any more than an oil painter can reproduce hundreds of the same still life.  Yes, it’s possible, but none of them will be exactly alike.  And I’m thinking they shouldn’t be, frankly…

So today I finished my first piece–a heavy velour winter cape with black satin lining, embellished with hand-painted garlands of roses along the hem.  A black satin band running around the neck and center front provides an oriental feel, but the overall feel is rather Spanish.  I’m quite proud of it.  It’s the first in my “body of work.”  I’m calling it “Rosey Warmth No.1”, I think.  : )  Here’s pics!



Until later, live life with relish!