Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty

If you want to be inspired, view a wealth of techniques, that you will not see assembled ever again in one location, if you appreciate Couture embroidery, and Victorian inspiration translated into 21st Century gowns, do not miss Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Avenue. (Due to copyright law, I'm not able to show any of his gowns.) There is no way to describe the genius of Alexander McQueen. Every inch of the exhibit exceeds all expectations.

 The book produced for this exhibit will certainly become a collectible. From the hologram cover to the very last page, I inhaled the book.

The staff at the museum are seeing an additional 4,000 people a day, due to the exhibit.  I had the taxi drop me off 20 minutes before the museum opened, and the line was already inching it's way down Fifth Avenue.

 You can see the body of Kate Middletown's gown reflected in several designs. Embroidery on burlap, silk fabric or Scottish Tartan, embellished with Victorian French Jet beads or crocodile heads; his gowns have it all! And then some. There are a variety of Philip Treacy hats on display as well as the famous Armadillo shoes that launched Lady Gaga's fashion creativity. Have to sneak in one more visit to the exhibit!

New Rayon Tape Selections

With summer finally here, I've been dyeing ribbons in brighter colors inspired by  the  colors of Bucks County. The lime shades are my favorites! I'll begin to add these to the Etsy site. Now to find time to stitch. This rayon tape is wonderful to ruch.

Wool Bodice close-up

This is a close-up of the bodice. The woman that wore this piece, had to have had a place in society and lived in the City!
Patterned velvet collar, patterned silk fabric surrounded by metal tri-cuts and French metal sequins. This bodice had to be so admired!

Wool Bodice construction featuring stays and fabric

Isn't this great fabric? The inside of the bodice features a printed silk with a feather stitch design. Notice how the bone stays are stitched into the bodice. Look at all those seams! Perhaps a 19 inch waist wore this piece!

Wool bodice

This wool bodice is in poor condition but a treasure for the construction inspiration. Someone had harvested the buttons of the piece, naturally.  I've taken my brother to New York many times to acquire couture beads from my "bead man's railroad in lower Manhattan"; that when he saw the bronze metal tri-cuts trimming the bodice, he purchased it simply so I could harvest the metal beads and metal sequins. It's very rare to find a bodice with a printed floral velvet collar and printed silk fabric. The silk fabric, probably French, is in the process of shattering, but a bit of the pattern can still be appreciated. The bodice is wool.

Kid Wedding Shoes - Edwardian

Aren't these a stunning pair of Edwardian Shoes? These were a Christmas gift.
I've traced these back to a 1910 Boston, Massachusetts dry goods store.
They surely were white when purchased. They are still in excellent condition for their age. They would have fit a very narrow size US 5. I can only imagine the lady that wore these slippers on her wedding day.

 I am blessed to have someone that knows how much I love vintage apparel. He's watched me "melt" over the construction of a piece that may be in a poor condition; but am still able to see how grand it must have been a hundred years ago. I have to admit that most of the Victorian bodices and flapper gowns I have  in my collections, have all been given to me by my brother. I've hauled him to auctions, New York Vintage shows in the blazing heat, small Texas towns, and through the East Coast countryside to flea markets, thrilled simply with the excursion. I don't need the acquistion to appreciate the beauty and artistry.

Kid Wedding Shoes with view of heel

This is a profile of the Wedding shoes.

Kidd Wedding Shoes

This is a close-up of the beading on the toes of a pair of kid wedding shoes.
Some of the #15 beads are missing among the design, which does not take away from the beauty of these slippers!

Ballet Gown with couched tulle

One of the easiest methods for creating movement in a piece is "Couching". I learned about the value of "Couching" when earning my certification in Couture Embroidery at the House of Lesage. It is a basic stitch used often in couture embroidery. This gown was embellished with a festoon of tulle netting couched in 4 inch intervals.

Ballet Costume featuring folded fabric roses

Isn't this a stunning? Folded ribbon roses in satin and organza.

Ballet Costume Folded Rose

This is a detail of a folded rose at the bottom of a ballet gown. The leaves are also made from folded fabric.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ballet Costume Bodice with pink rosettes

Ballet Costume with Pink Rosebuds

Ballet Costume with Sequin Bodice

Isn't this a beautifully sequined bodice?

Ballet Costume in ivory and pink

This costume has a rose pink silk over skirt and tulle netting.

Ballet Costume in ivory with pink roses - bottom of gown

The front of this gown features rolled ribbon roses made from organza strips, folded in half, and rolled into roses.

Ballet Costume in ivory with pink roses

Layers of tulle netting are embellished with pink rolled satin ribbon roses.

Ballet Costume in Blue - Gown hem

This ballet costume features a hem with an overlay of lace motifs with blue rolled roses stitched to the motifs.

Ballet Costume Blue Bodice

Blue Bodice with rayon motifs.

Ballet Costume in Blue

Inspired by the 1920's.

Ballet gown Rose Pink Bodice

This is a great technique! Deep green velvet ribbon was shredded on the edges, attached beneath the bodice and green satin cord was  then couched over the frayed velvet ribbon. Great method for creating movement.

Ballet costume rose pink bodice

This close-up features couching on the bodice using lime green satin cord. Beads were added on eiher side of the cord.

Ballet Costume Deep Rose

Took this shot a few hours ago in our hotel in New York. Each ballet costume is housed in a glass case opposite the elevators. The hallway is dark, but think I caught some of the techniques in the construction of each gown. Hope some of these costumes will inspire.
They were worn in 1986 and designed for the American Ballet Theatre.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Woodland Santa

Meet "Mr. Woodland Santa", a fabulous St. Nick designed by Stephanie Novatski. Please visit Stephanie's blog at The details of Stephanie's dolls keep us all captivated. Her patterns and dolls were the hit of the AFIC show in Ohio and while there, Stephanie gave me this treasure. Stephanie's dolls have faces filled with expression and I still do not know how she captures, such tiny, expressive fingers for her dolls. Both accomplishments are difficult to attain. Stephanie knows how much nature, old things, antiques, wood and dark colors are some of my favorite things. Mr. Claus will be the king in our Santa collection. He wears a small pack on his back filled with golden leaves. He has a small bird house in one hand and carries a bejeweled walking stick. He has a bit of a tummy which is subdued with a small brass buckle kept warm by his embroidered coat. And he wears suede boots, a must for all the walking in his future. I have a stone ledge set into a mocha wall in our stairway. Woodland Santa will now reside in this special spot. Stephanie, I am grateful indeed to have one of your dolls!

Blog Winner for our May Give-Away

Sandi, from Minnesota, won our blog give-away! Congratulations! Sandi, hope you enjoy your new stash of ribbons and trims. Each month, we will offer a give-away with a variety of trims, ribbons and embellishments, in hopes of showing appreciation.

I wish Spring could last and last here in the North East. Even with the rain and weather extremes, every day is appreciated. The rhododendrens are blooming at the moment and this is a shot looking towards my Victorian garden, that needs lots of work. After my EGA lecture on Wednesday, will tackle the garden and all the lush poison ivy that abounds!  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

French Wire-edge Ribbon Rose Pillow for Hideko

This is a pillow I'm creating to send to Hideko in Sendai, Japan. Please visit Hideko's blog at  Hideko plans on having an auction in the fall.
I started this pillow at 10:30 last night. Any creating I do, happens at night, after all the animals are tucked into their stalls in the barn and the studio lights are turned off.  I then carry tote bags to the house filled with bits. This pillow has a few more hours of embellishing before I can add the fringe. The image is 5" x 10" and is a print of Morning Glories from an 1880 seed packet. I've fused the image to dark emerald green velvet.
I've begun to add  one-wrap French Knots in Glitter-edge RibbonRuffles in Monet, among the roses. I used a #13 chenille needle and stitched the knots loosely. I will finish the piece by adding ruby rose montees, beads and crystals. Wire-edge ribbon is easy to use. Create free-form roses and flowers simply by gathering on edge of the ribbon. Hope to have the pillow on its way to Japan this week.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Free Shipping this week!

Free Freight on all RibbonSmyth orders of $25 or more!
Your order ships via first class mail with delivery confirmation.
Free freight deduction automatically taken when order is placed.
Great time to stock up!

Blog Give-Away Ends May 21st!

Please leave your email address with a comment, just to say "Hi" and you will be entered in the give-away.
The winner will be picked via random generator on May 21st.

The give-away includes 12 yards of lace, 50 yards of silk ribbon in 7mm and 4mm, twelve yards of hand-dyed rayon tape and rococo lace, pack of embroidery needles, satin flowers, 5 boxes of beads, and more embellishments.

Spring at Shrieking Tree Farm

Spring has to be the perfect time of year! This is a shot of one of our gardens. A few pansies, snap dragons and begonias changes everything. I'm not showing photos yet of the acres of weeds I have waiting for me!
Beyond grateful to be outdoors without a coat!

White Wedding Block Kit - Vintage Elements

There are only twelve of these kits, so grab one while we have them! I love assembling kits with vintage elements. I'm fortunate to live in an area filled with antique stores with an abundance of quality linens. And it's time to begin cleaning out the totes I have filled with linens! I will also begin to load linens, beads, crockery, books and bits on the etsy site - Oldelements.

Each Wedding Block Kit contains: One  10" or 12" Damask dinner napkin, 6" square of a rayon motif  from a wedding gown, 6" square of green embroidery on organza and the embroidery includes mint green bullion embroidery with bead embellishment on top of Tambour worked leaves, 1 yard of iridescent lace, 1 yard of ivory rayon gimp braid, 1 yard of 1/2" wide rayon braid, 3 ivory roses, 8" square of white velvet, 10" square of muslin fabric for the base,  3 yards of variegated 7mm buttercup silk ribbon, and a color print of this block. The kit is $15. The items in the kit also can be dyed in vintage tones using our RibbonSmyth Rainbow Dyes. This block could be used for a bridal purse or a bridal pillow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mermaid Seascape in Quilting Arts

Quilting Arts 2001 CD Collection

My Mermaid Seascape, featured far left was designed for Quilting Arts Magazine, during their first year of publication. This piece along with other embellished pieces are now available through a newly released  CD.

The seascape was a pleasure to design. I made tiny clay shells for ears and used vintage silver sequins, stitched in layers for her tail. The fan on her tail is made with vintage French wire-edge ribbon. I made small stuffed velvet pods for the ocean floor and the trunk was created from vintage brown paisley fabric. The fish and seahorses were created from techniques I featured in my book "The New Ribbon Embroidery". How nice to see Quilting Arts showcase techniques from 2001!