Friday, February 19, 2010

Vending Season Is Upon Us

February has been the deadest month for sales so far as long as I can remember. But Im looking at it as either the end of making Fluffie Rufflies and moving on to something else, or people are going to get realllllly tired of not wearing fun stuff soon and will need to loosen their purse strings soon in order to keep  new stuff appearing for their shopping perusal! I dont take it personally. Almost every business is in bad shape right now. But we must keep spending on a certain level to keep the economic flow going. I remind myself of this all the time. We just have to be very careful.

But on that note.....the festivals and venues are popping up again as spring approaches!
Some of my friends have formed a new dance collective and will be hosting the Rakkasah after party to celebrate 30 years of Rakkasah. 30 Years! Wow!

L'Anonyme Collective presents:
L'Amour de la Danse
March 13, 2010
Oakland Metro Operahouse
Oakland, Ca.

Lots of wonderful entertainment!
Salome's Suitcase will be vending!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gothla 2010

I had such a great time at Gothla last year, that I decided to do it again! So my lovely assistant, Amina, and I will be heading down early next month with a trunk load of goodies from KathleenCrowleyCostumeCouture and Salome's Suitcase!

These next couple weeks will be filled with sewing, sewing, sewing so that I'll have something fun for your perusal and happy shopping experiance!

Hopefully I'll see you there!

March 6th-7th
Bronco Student Center
3801 West Temple Avenue
Building 35
Pomona, California 91768

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1860's Skirt Turned Inside Out

I showed the bodice earlier that goes with this skirt. I turned it inside out to show how it had been constructed - by hand.

Here is the matching skirt turned inside out. It is attached to a lined waistband using the cartridge pleats that enabled so much fabric to be sew onto a small waistband. Much smaller than our normal waistbands today - as a rule.



The polished cotton used to flatline the skirt body is a common one that Ive seen used frequently then.
There is one long pocket at one side. And there is a an open section on the other side of the lining. Maybe there was supposed to be another pocket? Maybe an inner unattached pocket tied around her waist - I dont know........



A little hem was turned up at the floor, over the lining.
A little piece of fabric is falling off at the hooks on the waistline.
All sewn by hand.

This has little to do with garment construction - but it is about proportion. I hear smaller women complaining all the time that they cannot wear things that a larger woman might be able to wear. Wide legged pants for example. This is all about proportion and how you cut the garment to work on your particular body. A smaller woman wouldnt use as much fabric - the pants might be cut a tad less wide  for her size. Its also how you would wear them and with what. Take these bell shaped skirts and pagoda sleeves. These were generally worn by smaller women - but they are proportioned to be worn in a flattering way. A corset and petticoats, a corset cover, a bonnet. This is a lot of stuff to haul around. But the cut of the jacket and the shape of the skirt are very lovely on.

Now I, who am almost 6 ft. tall,  can look like a moose in a skirt when I'm wearing this style if Im not careful. I take up an awful lot of room. I still love this era and love to dress up, but I don't usually make my skirts quite as full - so as not to run everyone over when I walk around. Well, sometimes ........but its all about the proportion. And I feel a little strange when my dress is way huger than everyone else's. (unless thats my goal)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bland Land

I dont usually pay much attention to the goings on of NY Fashion Week because it is generally boring. Maybe boring is too controversial. SAFE would be the better word. But nothing new there. America does not like its fashion over the top. I dont know why that is. Corporate Darkness?

Because the passing of Alexander McQueen has overshadowed the fashion world during its most important time of the year, I thought I would search a bit online while having my morning coffee and see what pops up. I thought I would give us a chance - it didnt seem fair to let a design hero's death outshine what everyone else is trying to achieve.

All I got was this.

So dont get me wrong. I love Betsty Johnson and I always will. Ive always worn her clothes. I used to be  compared to her. This is way cute, but its just so.............tame. Come on America. You can do better.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thank You Alexander McQueen

In spite of this awful week, and perhaps despite it, Im feeling love in my heart for everything creative. When Lee Alexander McQueen left this earth, a huge hole was left for us to fill. And it is going to take all of us to do it.

A friend of mine and I were talking yesterday and he said that it is not our duty to find happiness in our personal lives, but to create something in which to leave behind for others when we die. And this rung true for me. Perhaps we think too much about ourselves and our personal needs and not about making the world a more beautiful place.  It has been seeming so for an awfully long time.

And if we did concentrate on our creativity - and leaving that behind when we die - other than children and things  and debt, perhaps the next generations would be spurred on to do the same.

Well, it was just a thought. But I did see where I have been focusing on the wrong things. Or just plain useless, meaningless THINGS. Mr. McQueen is in a better place now with the ladies he loved. We still have what he left behind to inspire us. And let us not forget all the other wonderful designers out there who create amazingly wonderful feasts for our eyes. He cannot be replaced, but let us not forget them now in our sorrow.

Back to business at hand. Today I will be doing my laundry and cutting out yards and yards of fabric for new items to make and sell. New garment pieces  to hopefully add a little joy in someone's day. Perhaps something frivolous. Perhaps something that isn't completely practical. But in the world of increasing Corporate Darkness that is fed off of the Mundane, it will be my tiny little contribution. I love you. Thank you. Happy Valentine's Day. Do something today that fills your soul.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


This one hits me especially hard. The world is a gray place for me today. Life goes on, but it wont be the same again. Its always sad when genius flys away.

I have been planning to participate in a fashion show this spring and this new Alexander McQueen collection - the set - the vibe really turned me on. It gave me inspiration that I needed and now I just feel devastated. RIP.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Victorian Bodice From The Inside Out

So here is my Victorian bodice that I scored for a song in Albuquerque - turned inside out! And Im showing this inside out, so that you can see how this was made. We take for granted our sewing machines and clothing made for pennies in China. This woman didnt even have a sewing machine. She made her outfit by hand. One stitch at a time. Or she was a costumer over 50 years ago and was striving for historical accuracy. Somehow I doubt that though.

Ive looked extensively for examples of vintage garment construction online and it is either treated as some kind of guarded secret, or Im just not looking in the right places. There are tons of books out there now on this subject, but I still find that actually looking at the garment tells you loads more. Im sure most old dresses are just too delicate to be turned inside out like this, but I did it anyway and the dress is fine. It really does look like it was just pulled out of the closet. The sales tag said it was from the 1860's. It could be a bit earlier. It could be a costume that someone made, but the fabric is so old, that I think its the real deal. I can tell by the lining. Someone chime in here if I'm wrong!!!!

I just love the old hooks and eyes!
There are 5- 4.5" bones in the front of the bodice. One is placed at the very front, over the "eyes" at the waist. The very front bone is encased in the same polished cotton as the lining. The remaining 4 bones are encased in the front darts. Whenever possible, the selvedge was turned over onto the inner lining as a facing. All seams are hand sewn. There are little almost invisible basting stitches in the seams. and some of the darts were stitched so that they would lie flat.

I'm sorry for my poor quality photos - a new camera is much needed! 

The cobalt blue silk facing was flat lined with the polished cotton. Ive seen this cotton used as lining many times, I just dont recall seeing things faced this nicely. But this is obviously just me being ignorant. As my friend Monique Motil say's........."if they coulda, they woulda". 
This facing is stitched down so nicely - I had to double check and make sure that it hadnt really been done by machine. Nope. All. By. Hand. And it was pieced as to use the fabric wisely and not extravegantly.

The seams are all whip-stitched to cut down on fraying. And at first I thought that this was just a simple little costume. But the pagoda sleeves are inset with a teeny tiny piping - as is the neckline! This is such a lovely finish and adds body and dimension to the overall effect. 

Also, I thought the buttons were made from the same cloth, but they are not. Nice match!

I'll post the inside of the skirt next. Im sure most of us have seen petticoats up close and personal, but I'll show that too, for fun! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Funny Valentine

I received this in the mail this morning after being on the phone - on the street - for 2 hours - trying to get At&T to let me out of my contract because of the horrible, horrible service that I get (or I should say, service that I dont get) I live in a dead zone, but thats another story. This made me laugh so hard that I ended up a good way!

I had posted on Facebook a while back that I am upgrading my expectations in a man to a more Sir Sean Connery type.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Im taking this as a thumbs from the universe!

(thank you, Shelby!! XXX)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Victorian Score

I mentioned in a post earlier that I had found a dress and petticoat in an antique store that is dated as having been made in the 1860's. The corded petticoat and 2 piece dress were a steal. I thought it had to be a mistake and picked it up and started carrying it around. Then I thought about it and put it back. It couldn't be real at that price. Then I showed it to one of my friends and they thought I'd be nuts to not get it, so I figured that even as a good replica, it was a great score!

It was probably someone's good visiting  dress, I'm sure. The gown is in almost perfect condition. The outer and inner fabric looks barely worn. Usually the silk linings are shattered from the weight of the garments and the environmental conditions it was stored in. The outer fabric doesn't look faded at all.

If this is about 150 years old, its in great shape - maybe the fact that it was in the desert of New Mexico helped to preserve it. It smells like that good old fashioned trunk-in-the-attic mustiness. Its got the old hook and eyes, boning, and little tiny stitches - all done by hand. Only a die-hard costumer/preservationist would attempt this now. These are the stitches that I try to emulate when I do handwork. But even I, who loves to sit and do handwork cannot replicate these. Ive seen much finer stitches on the nicer garments......but still.......

This dress is way too small to fit even the smallest of my friends, so I had to drape it onto my mannequin the best I could. I thought I would take some photos of the inside, as well, to show how it was made. I'll do this in several posts.

So this was a super fun find for me and a lovely example of good old fashioned everyday dressmaking!

Pardon my poor photography. This camera just flew out of my hands and broke the other day - so I guess its time to upgrade!

I'll post pictures of this turned inside out soon!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Waffling About

Again, I should be sewing, but I love this:

Third Coast Or Bust

My pictures from Third Coast Tribal mainly suck. I was using my iphone camera indoors in low light. That wasnt my most brilliant move - but I had misplaced my real camera and this had to do. Most photos didnt turn out, but I just want to show how pretty our space was.
Thats one reason I love our little collective.........we make our booth pretty and interesting - and we work well together. Our goods are high quality and we like things to look interesting and a cut above the norm. So we are always moving stuff around on the racks and tables and freshening up the look and feel of the booth. And then we take notes and figure out how to make it better next time!
~Rose taking notes in her new winter 5 & Diamond jacket~
We were right up against the stage at this venue, which was pretty, but maybe not the best area all in all. The lighting was poor and since there were workshops on the stage, shopping had to be kept at a minimum - not the best place to put a vendor - but we made it work and everyone was so nice. I met women who had purchased from me on Etsy - and that was so much fun! I just LOVE meeting people who buy and wear my things. Call me crazy...........but its such a huge compliment!!!!! And then of course, we got to watch our stuff in action on the stage in the workshops.


So we made it. We got there. We had fun. We financed our trip.........and thats what matters! 

I Left My Tooth In Oklahoma

I have always had a thing about wanting to go to Oklahoma. I dont know why. Maybe its because of the musical. Ive costumed it twice. Ive sung every song. Ive got friends from there. Ive heard all about it.

But the reality was: I was freezing. I thought I was gonna die. I saw mostly gas stations, frozen prairie, and empty towns. No Curly. No Ado Annie. I was cranky and we couldnt find propane. I broke a tooth. We visited a Walmart. 

And that was it. I dont think I'll be returning. 

But the guy in this conveniance store was really nice and boiled some water for us so that we could fill up our hot water bottle. (no heat in the rv - cold snap - Misery) 

Picture: Kathleen, Lee, Rose of Salome's Suitcase