Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Cycles of Fashion"

Featured Artist-

Chalkies's Bazaar

We are now going to travel to an Etsy Shop in France this lovely milliner creates hats and headwear.  Lucy is the talent behind all the creations in her shop.  She started creating and drawing at a very young age.  She not only creates and runs her own shop, she works in a hat workshop during the day! 


"A hat is an extremely powerful image-maker. Whenever someone chooses to wear a hat, a personal statement is being made about the way that person feels, would like to fee, or would like others to think they feel Simply by donning a hat a person can seem to become sophisticated, playful, solemn, authoritive, daring, glamorous, or virtually anything. In Gone With the Wind, Scarlet O'Haràs wide-brimmed, flowered hat define her as a very feminine, romantic figure. In contrast, the black widow's cap worn by Mary Queen of Scots, presents her as a somber, serious woman. Imagine what the effect would be if these two women exchanged hats. Throughout history, in every culture from primitive to modern, headdresses have been used to enhance character and create moods. "

The above exert is the beginning of Denise Dreher's From the Neck Up An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking.

In modern times, a milliner is a person who designs, makes, sells or trims hats. Fascinators are a style of millinery used for brides, weddings, and other special occasions.


When asked what she is inspired by she responded:

"I would say everything inspires me! You have to be curious and interested in everything! "

Various periods of fashion attract her.  She stated that each have their own interesting element. 

Her interest in modern day fashion:

"I like creators such as Gareth Pugh, Viktor & Rolf, John Galliano...they all have a very strong vision, a theartrical presence."

Ensemble- House of Dior-John Galliano 2006

Creative Process

She has an amazing creative process:

"Sometimes I'll have a clear idea of what I want to make. I'll maybe do a quick sketch and jot done some notes but I'll just get right down to it! Other times I'll play around with fabic (or some other material), experimenting, to see what effects I can get. I also keep a little sketch book which is good for writing down ideas and such for future projects."

Simple green & white hat- Chalkie's Bazaar

Chanel- Late 1960s

Of course I had to include here Sherlock Holmes hat! I love how she transforms this classic into our modern day!

Pink Sherlock Holmes Hat- Chalkies Bazaar

Sherlock Holmes-first appeared in publication in 1887

Etsy Shop

Lucy opened her Etsy Shop over a year ago, previously she had not heard of Etsy before, she was talked into it by her brother. 

"Making hats is my day job (I work in a hat workshop) and in the long run I guess I would like to have my own workshop and brand so I wanted to see if my own designs would interest anybody. It always nice to hear that some complete stranger appreciates your work!

Wow! I continue to encounter wonderful talented people on Etsy! 
Make sure you stop by Lucy's shop and take a look at her lovely White Lace Headband!  And to follow her in projects and adventures in the millinery world take a look at her blog.  (Just click on the word 'blog' and it will take you there!)

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

This Past Week...

So for the most part, this week I felt as though I was holding my breath. Mainly because of the Craftzine Swimsuit Cover-up Contest. I was also a little down about my "Cycles of Fashion" posts. This week I was busy working away on a handful of projects I had to complete and deliver.

The Contest

Two days have passed since the deadline, still no results. I am waiting patiently. I was impressed by how creative so many of the entries were. I also found it interesting that the sewing level ranged from beginner to advanced. I am so excited to hear the results!

As I mentioned previously, I desperately need a new machine. When we moved to Italy, I could not bring along my machine. After several months of living here, I purchased an inexpensive Singer. It is a model for beginning sewers, it has taken so much action! All my projects are made using that machine.

I continue to cross my fingers, my thoughts are with that grand prize of a new Singer!!

Cycles of Fashion

After a month or so of writing my Thursday posts of "Cycles of Fashion", I decided to stop writing it. Responses to my posts were not as good as I thought they would be. I am in love with history of fashion! I thought it would be an excellent way to present and feature fellow Etsians.

Sad to say, I think I spent more time conducting the research for my posts then I received from people reading them. Next week will be my last post for, "Cycles of Fashion."


At the end of last week, the beginning of this week, I had a handful of projects to complete and deliver before the end of the week.

A client of mine had a beautiful vintage cotton batiste which she wanted made into a nightgown.  Another person had started the project for her but never completed it.

The body and hem of the gown were already complete.  All I had to do was make the top neck, back, and arm portions and attach the body to it. 

For the armscye, I finished it off with a hand-rolled hem.  It was fun matching and stitching the white and yellow trim. 

She is now ready for those hot Italian summer nights!  (It is very hot here, reminds me of Texas!)

Custom Dress

Next up was to make sure everything was to the satisfaction of a young family friend who was to celebrate here eighteenth birthday.  She is a very talented young lady, she came to me with an amazing design already sketched! 

Above you see the dress, I also made a matching draw-string purse, with pocket inside.  I always think pockets inside a bag or purse are a little more practical. I also made a cuff, using some fabric from my wedding dress for the roses, and fabric from her dress as well.

And last but not least, for the mid- to end of last week (after my photos for the swimsuit cover-up were posted) I had to make sure a package to Texas was on it's way.

I constructed a black with white pin-striped newsboy hat for a good friend of mine.  It was cutie! I hope her son enjoys wearing it in style!

Now What?

I have a short break from projects for clients, I am excited to work on some hats, and cuffs for my Etsy shop! 

 Off to the workroom!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

This Thursday!!

This coming Thursday is the last day for the extended deadline for the Singer/Craftzine Swimsuit Cover-up Contest! I am in great need of a new sewing machine, which is the main prize! I am keeping my fingers crossed!

This is the first cover-up that I made. I thought it would be more of a challenage if I converted scarves into cover-ups. The characteristics of these lovely summer scarves are just want I was looking for. Something, fresh, and wispy!

This was the first cover-up I constructed for the contest. I used a pleated sheer scarve and a silk square one with a floral print. I entirely draped this one, I used the printed floral scarve on the bias, to stay close to the body. I was also able to play with the printed design as well. Here you can see the front view.

Back View

For easy wear and removal, I used a separating zipper on the right side seam. All the hems are finished off by a hand-stitched rolled hem. I love how it just flows!

This are the two scarves used for the second one:

The first one is made of a linen-silk blend It contains lovely stripes to play with! The second I just thought was amazing. I had to incorporate it into my cover-up! It is a lovely silk scarve with asian crain motif. I think most likely printed then hand-painted, I purchased it for two euros at the Saturday morning mercato.

Here you can see the front and the back. I flat-patterned the top, which then determined what the skirt portion would be. It is a wrap cover-up, the ties come from the sides and tie at the front. This again contains easy wear and removal.

On the top portion I wanted to play with the stripes. The bust pieces match up perfectly with the armscye pieces. It contains and open back.

So those are my two enteries! It was a very enjoyable project!

We shall see what happens this week!

P.S. Oh! Thanks so much to my wonderful model. It does wonders on a person rather than my dress form!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

"Cycles of Fashion"

Featured Artist-

Belle Noelle

This week are visiting an Etsy shop in Illinois, USA! Janelle is the designer and creator of Belle Noelle. She has been designing for over ten years, she is a wife and mother of two, wow! She actually began creating as a helper to her step-mother twenty years ago.

Her creations are clean and classic! What first grabbed my attention was her use of pleating and her smooth clean designs.


Previously living in New York she was able to watch the garment district and friends for inspiration.  She now has to "focus on what will make a woman feel pretty and comfortable", living in the midwest. 

Creative Process

When creating Janelle from a design or from a thought in here head she first thinks, "What do I want to wear?" Her designs must be practical for an everyday woman, mother, and wife. One of her favorite steps in her creation process are choosing the fabric, buttons, etc.

Christian Dior- "New Look"

As Janelle says, "I love the fifties which is cruel because I have no waist. I love how well the women were put together, the hats..the gloves..all of it."

 A Stroll in Time:


Dior's brought us "The New Look", it was the symbol of the new life style and hopes of the people.  It was a wonderful period in which women would never think of leaving their home without gloves and a hat!  Classic.

Donna Dress- Belle Noelle

Simplicity- 1950s
From  1837-1901 Queen Victoria reigned.  In 1841 cartridge pleats began to be used, to pull up the skirt fabric.  Flat pleating would add to the overall hem width and fullness of the skirt. 

Mia-Blue- Belle Noelle

Afternoon Dress- 1873

Etsy Shop

"I decided to open my Etsy shop in 2006 after selling to my friends for two seasons and having people ask me to make them things. I was looking into the whole website thing and came across Etsy. I don't remember where...maybe Craftser? and thought, "well before I make this into a big production this would be a good place to test out the waters."

After starting her shop she had to take a break from her career because of relocation and giving birth to a new child. Identifying with Janelle as a mother and creator, I am always curious as to how other mothers do it! It's always wonderful to have the support and understanding of the other half of the team!

As Janelle says:

"It's madness! I don't sleep. At least once a week, I tell myself that this is the stupidest thing I could ever do, trying to be a one-woman sweatshop and a mother, but I keep doing it, because I love the high of seeing someone in something I created and getting positive feedback. I love it. My husband and I juggle the kids. He encourages me in whatever I do. He races home from work when I have fittings scheduled, stays up late with the baby while I sew into the night, rearranges his schedule so I can get things done and doesn't flinch when I have to shell out money and invest in my business. He's a saint. "

Wow! Talk about a Super Women!! To learn more about this amazing designer and creator, stop by her blog! Or click on one of her creations to visit her shop!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Please Excuse Me!

Please excuse my late post.  I try my best, and usually succeed to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week.  This week I have missed my goal of Tuesday, so I have to post today. 

The weather has been amazing!  And I have been keeping busy.  This past week I began working on something I had never thought of attempting.  I began making lovely feminine cuffs!  I have continued to work on a dress, and I just completed two swim-suit covers I will be photographing this afternoon to enter into the Craftzine/Singer Contest.   

Next week I will be delivering a dress to a girl who will be turning eighteen.  The dress is beautifully constructed from her own design.  I thought it would be wonderful to make something extra for her.  So using left over fabric from her dress I made her a lovely cuff! 

Cuffs/Fabric Bracelets

I am not much of a jewelry wearer, but sometimes when I dress-up, I think it would be nice to wear an accessory, something beautiful and feminine! 

So using  clasic millinery techniques- for the decor, and drafting minature corsets- to fit perfect on the wrist, I have been having so much fun constructing cuffs or decorative fabric bracelets.

So this is the first and the gift that I made.  Using remains of the fabric from the dress I used a velvet base bound along the edges with a bias.  And included two lovely butterflies, since the person receiving the dress and the gift is so keen to buterflies!

For this beauty I was inspired by the wonderful summer day!  And I had also received my wonderful order of ribbons from a fellow Etsy shop- The Stitch End.  They have a lovely assortment of ribbons and buttons!

I began with a fucshia base and using classic millinery ribbon techniques I constructed the decor.  The ribbons were so inspiring!

These sequence pieces had been in my possession for a short time time, I knew I was saving them for something.  The grey silk shantung is ruched and then attached to the three piece base.  I used a lovely ribbon for the flower and a velvet vintage black leaf to finish it off!

This one is made of a vintage linen base.  It is from a curtain my husband remembers having in the house growing up.  We are not certain how old the curtain is but as far back as he can remember it was there. 

I had a open-weave ribbon that fit perfect for a classic cuff.  This cuff contains a lacing for a closure.  I thought it would be nice to combine the classic with the flirty!

This one I constructed after watching a 17th century Italian movie.  I wanted to incorporate some of the techniques used on the women's dresses. 

I rouched a one inch piece of purple silk, with cording along the edges and attached it on the orange silk shantung base.  I then added box-pleats using the red ribbon, and used decorative hand-stitching to attach it on the the base.  Of course I had to include some frilly ribbon, using more of the ribbon from my newly acquired pieces! 

Swimsuit Cover

And here I have included two of the scarves used to make one of my swim-suit cover.  I enjoyed challenging myself and creating them using only summer, wispy, see-through, scarves of linen and silk!

I will keep my fingers crossed on the wonderful prize of a much needed new sewing machine!!!


I will  post my creations next week!!



Please Note:  Other photos of the cuffs can be viewed and purchased in my Etsy shop- Monjio Creations

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Cycles of Fashion"

Featured Artist-


I am always so excited to feature a Etsy Fashion Creator in my Thursday posts. This week I am especially excited to feature an amazing artist. Zy Han is located in Malaysia, she creates the most stunning hand painted batik fabrics.  She began creating more than three years ago!

Visiting her shop I think the first thing that jumps out at me is how stunning her fabrics are! They contain wonderful colors, and easy lovely flow, and they express such beauty.

"Natural environment.Flowers,birds,wind,ocean..Everything that surrounds me are magic!", this is her inspiration! She is drawn to contemporary and reto periods of fashion.


It is traditionally and antique Indonesian art.  A batik can take from one day to three months to complete, depending on the number of colors, the sun, and the fabric stability.  To produce a batik a wax-base is used in the process.  The wax is used in a liquid form in a cantin, which is a wooden pen-like tool . 

There are about three thousand recorded batik fabric patterns. 

The Process:

1.  The fabric is washed, dried, and pressed so that the wax and dyes can be absorbed evenly.  The design is then drawn onto the the fabric.  This can be done from memory, free-hand, or tracing the design on to the fabric over a light box.

2. Using the cantin, the wax is applied in broad strokes. Where the wax is applied, determines the areas that will resist the first color to be applied. 

3.  The wax is removed with hot water and left in a cold water vat for an hour.  The fabric is then dried in the sun, to help remove some of the residual wax which can then be scraped off. 

4.  All other areas except the ones identified for the next colour are waxed over again.  This process if repeated for every colour in the design, there is no limit to the number of colours.

5.  When the final boil and rinse has been done, the fabric is dried in the sun. 


In the past I tried my hand at the wonderful art of batik, but I must say I did not produce something of this complex or beautiful. Zy's process for creating begins with a preliminary sketch of her design.  Before beginning with the delicate hands on process, she has a collection of designs in a sketch book that she refers to. 


Blue-Purple Abstract- haannh

Dress Panel- 1900

Royal Blue- haannh

Emilio Pucci- 1966

Mocha Roses- haannh Chanel- 1920

Bronze Stripes- haannh

Dries Von Noten 2009



"I found Etsy almost a year ago while google some hand made stuff.I fell in love and open my shop instantly!Then I try to get use to the features,and mix up with fellow etsians. I became addict to Etsy about 6 months ago..and still addict to it!"


Zy Han also has a bead an sequins Etsy shop soon to open! For now, take a look at her violet wrist corasage, it is a beauty!

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Monday, July 6, 2009


This weekend I saw so many images of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Of course it made me recall over three years of commute to work, I always had to pass down that street.

I also had to recall that night so long ago that I waited in anticipation, as almost everyone did, for the premiere of the Thriller video.

Now the Staples Center is the location for one of the most anticipated events of the year for one of the most amazing performers to ever exist.

Living out of the States, we have felt some of the aftermath of the death of Michael Jackson.

The below image is an amazing creation, it is a wonderful, classy goodbye.

In Remembrance of the Amazing One and Only King of Pop!

Maide Spats

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Thursday, July 2, 2009


Thursdays are designated for my "Cycles of Fashion" posts. The Etsy sellers I feature, and my research are huge inspirations to me. This week, as I was conducting my research on Tuesday morning. I was completely side tracked.

Sorry, I am slacking this week, but I spent more time then I care to tell in the Metropolitan Museum, "Works of Art The Costume Institution" website. I love that site! They have an amazing collection Database!

Here are some images which simply inspired me! I thought I must share!

Enjoy the images!!

Beret- Coco Chanel-late 1960

Something about the classy beret! I just love the wool, the texture that this beret is made of.

Wool Jacket- Dior- 1940's early 1950's

Not sure why this Dior coat struck me so hard. Something about it is so lovely!

American Bonnet- 1840

So lovely and delicate! I love the detail, just beautiful!

Base turban-1960's

What struck me about this turban is how light and fluid it is!

Bonnet- 1880

This bonnet if just lovely! All the care and detail that one took to make bonnets long ago. Wow!

Please excuse the change in schedule, "Cycles of Fashion" will be back up next Thursday!

Hope you enjoyed!!

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