Desperately Seeking Susan Skull Case – Bigger WIP2

Work continues on the case. :)

I have given the whole case a base coat of matte black paint in preparation for the eventual white skulls and dancing skellies. To do this, I masked off the locks and handle, hinges and feet.

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Then I painted her up! Looks better already.

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After that all dried overnight, I began to mask the not so silver hardware for it’s new silver coat of paint. I used this Chrome type paint…

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Foot painted, hinge, not :) I’m very happy with how it looks. (The foot, not the hinge!)

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What a difference, and, it looks even better in person!

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Locks too!

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There was, of course, a little overspray, which I have painted out with a brush. It’s noticeable now, but it won’t be when I seal the entire case after the stencil painting.

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It’s beginning to look like it should :)

I have ordered some lovely pink silk for the interior. I couldn’t find any of the right colour in my neighbourhood, so it’s on it’s way from San Francisco. Hope it hurries, lol! Although it’s not as though I have nothing to do while it travels here!

Next up will be the stencils, finally! Can’t wait to get to that fun part :)

There’s one more thing I want to try to address and that is that the case is a little stiff to open. I want to try and loosen that up a little for ease of use in future. I’ve been mulling that one over and I have a couple of things I’m going to try. We shall see what works….

Next time – Skellies!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

~awsumgal

 

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Desperately Seeking Susan Skull Case – Bigger!

Well, it was bound to happen at some point. I’m making a case like Susan’s only this time, it’s not for a doll, it’s for an actual human!

Now for those of you who know me, this is extremely unusual. I work small, smaller than Barbie small. I like to work tiny and get caught up in ridiculously small details. Not this this time. This time it’s big! About 15 inches wide big :)

I’ve bought a vintage lockable round case in black (of course) and will be refurbishing it, cleaning up the hardware and the handle and refitting the interior in pink silk and of course painting the skull heads front and back and the dancing skellies around the sides.

Here is the case before.

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It’s in pretty great shape as it is. It has no markings, so I don’t know how old it is or who made it. It shipped from France but I don’t know if that’s where it originally came from. The hardware and the leather layered handle make me think 50’s maybe 60’s but I’m not really sure.

The handle will need some love :)

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The first thing I did was give it a cleaning. I just wiped gently with a damp cloth initially to get any dust and light dirt off. (Honestly, It didn’t even look like it needed even that!) I did notice some blacking on my cloth which made me wonder if someone had touched up the colour at some point, but it made no difference to the colour of the case, so I’m not concerned about that :)

The stitched edging had lost some of it’s blacking as well, it’s even more pronounced in the pic than in real life, so I’ve redone that and it looks much more presentable!

CaseUntouched2w

I tested the locks and springs and they are in great working condition but they have lost their chroming and shine, not surprisingly. I thought I might be able to shine them up by just cleaning off the metal of rust and dirt, but the shiny silver was of course a coating long since gone by the wayside in whatever travels this case has enjoyed in the past. A dull grey is all I’m going to get going that route. I considered replacing all of the hardware, but it was a fruitless search. Different styles, slightly different sizes, and different finishes :(

The hardware, feet and locks and so on, are all riveted through the case. This means that the replacements need to be the very same size as the originals. No small feat I can tell you! Different hardware would necessitate more rivet holes through the case and since the original holes can’t be plugged or filled, the new hardware would run the risk of migrating into the old holes and wide up being loose and wiggly. Not what I envision at all.

Chrome type paint to the rescue!

I’ve been working on the stencils. It’s hard on the hands because I am cutting through a bunch of layers, but the front (and back) stencil is all cut.

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The side stencil is not cut at all, but here it is helping me visualize placement, size and the like :)

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Off to clan up that hardware now!

Have a great day and thanks for reading :)

~awsumgal

 

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A Lady of the Court Wip 2

I’ve been working on the toile and all of the tiny pleats. I was a little (pleasantly) surprised that despite how random and complicated they appeared at first blush, when they’re all sewn up, they finish quite nicely. There is reason and logic in their placement. Don’t know why I ever doubted that lol!

Here’s the skirt with all it’s pleats sewn up:

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Then on to the bodice and the overdress. More interestingly placed pleats and tucks :) Here are the two sides of the over dress bodice portion… Excuse the many pins! This bit had to be hand sewn in place.

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There is a lining for the bodice as well and the center stomacher portion I backed with felt for more rigidity. In the final version, the silk stomacher will have lots of embellishment (such is the plan!)

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I got to the sleeves. So flouncy!! I like these flounces, although I will need to decide how to finish the silk edges. Not sure that faced versions will work. I’ll have to think on that. Hopefully something will come to me before I get to that stage!  In the finished version I’ll be adding even more flounce, lace etc. I want the sleeves to be super opulent and frilly :)

Woot!! Here’s the whole thing, though not sewn all up yet…

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Just a little more work to do. Sew the sleeves in, put the rest of the bodice lining together, finish all the edges and then, if it all looks good, I can feel confident cutting in to the silk. Can’t wait!

When I started this and was faithfully plotting out all of those pleats and darts etc. onto my fabric, I envisioned that it would be difficult to keep them all straight and wondered if it was all going to work when I was done. As I went along though, it pretty much built itself, lol!

When I stopped for the day, I found a treasure in my mailbox. My Pompadour biography arrived!! I know what I’m reading tonight, lol!

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Same portrait on the cover that drew me to her originally! There are no coincidences ;)

Thanks for reading!

~awsumgal

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A Lady of the Court WIP 1

Hi doll folks!

Here is my muse :)

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Anyone know who she is?

I didn’t at first when I saw this perfect image online and it wasn’t labelled or captioned. I didn’t know who I was so taken with! This was the very image I had in mind  and I was so very excited to find her. I wanted though to add details into the project that pertained to this particular person so I dug a little further and realized to my delight that it is none other that Madame de Pompadour! Born Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, here painted in her younger days by Francois Boucher. I love this painting! The lady herself is no less intriguing. A companion and trusted advisor to Louis XV, she was a major influence in many high level matters of state, but chiefly the arts and culture of France. Voltaire was a dear friend. She ran the household for the king and remained an important member of the palace until her death in 1764. A most interesting figure!

I realize of course that she is not wearing blue in this painting, but historically, the blue is quite ubiquitous during the time period, and I am not copying the painting you understand, just being inspired by it! (Although she may need a little lap dog ;) We’ll see what other interesting details emerge after I read her biography that is on it’s way here.

I hope to add some period appropriate accessories and furniture for her as well, but I’m getting ahead of myself!

I’m continuing with my project. Satisfied with the dye job on the silk and the trims, I moved on to the pattern. I’ll be doing a Robe a la Francaise. It’s a complicated business. I’m working from Janet Arnold’s fascinating Patterns of Fashion book. It’s a study of period clothing examples from 1660 to 1860. It’s dry and technical and just my cup of tea!

Of course, much adaptation and altering needed to be done to fit my little lady. I’m hoping to make this project historically accurate or at least plausible and believable. That means lots of research and learning new things! I like a project I can really sink my teeth into.

I’ll be figuring out the construction procedure as I go because my resource isn’t a “how to”, it’s a study. There aren’t any instructions. I will make a toile and that will give me practice before I cut into the silk I have dyed for this gown.

One of the interesting challenges about this gown will be the insanely tiny pleats throughout the petticoat front and back and the overskirt. They are numerous, precise and like I said teeny!

Pattern chaos ensued lol! My doll seem to have fainted!

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Yikes what a mess!

One of the ladies looks on….

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The pleats needed to be carefully marked otherwise I won’t be able to keep them all straight!

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Three down, 35 000 000 to go lol! Thank goodness for magnifying glasses :)

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I put the ruler in the above shot to illustrate just how minute and close together they are. I got half of the front petticoat done and had to take a break! Ah well, I’m sure it will be worth it when I’m finished.

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I hope I can figure out how to construct the back of the gown. All in good time……

Until next time, thanks for reading!

~awsumgal

 

 

 

 

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Embarking on a new project!

It’s always exciting to start a new project and seemingly doubly so for me this time as I’ve been sidelined for some time. Getting back into the studio is like being able to take a deep breath again. I’m breathing deeply and feeling in my right place :)

So, away I go. First off, I have a picture in my head of what I would like to achieve and as usual it’s rather specific. I won’t reveal my real space sketch yet, but not because I’m being mysterious, just that I haven’t had a chance to digitize the drawing out of my sketchbook yet! Soon though I will get to that :)

Being forced to be off of my feet left me with less to do than I am used to and I had to find things to keep myself engaged and interested. So, of course I’ve found something I could research and get my teeth into. Researching the period, and the my muse has been fun and I’ve only just scratched the surface.

I’ve chosen to go with a colour that is indicative of the period, though it’s not the favorite colour of my muse according to historical records…

I searched high and low for the colour I wanted in silk. Of course, as I often find, the very thing I want doesn’t seem to exist. Why? Oh why? Maybe I just have weird taste or something. I mean, I just wanted light blue silk for idol’s sake!

Fine, whatever, be that way,  can’t stop me, lol! There’s more than one way to skin a cat! I’ll just dye white silk the colour I want.

I had a periwinkle sort of slate blue and a bright turquoise-y blue and I felt that my color was likely somewhere in the middle… So I prepared two sets of testing bits – silk, lace, silk fiber, and silk ribbon.

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So I after the first two test sets were in the dye, I feared I wasn’t getting what I wanted and made up another set of testing bits with a different dye ratio. And then there were three…

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When all was said and done and the dyes were set and the bits were rinsed, sample number two was my champion! So, hell yeah, big piece o’ silk into the sample two dye ratio! Mixed up a batch and set all the bits into the dye bath.

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Until next time….

~awsumgal

 

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