Friday, July 22, 2011

red leather jacket and my weak sketching skills

I had a black leather jacket from the late 1960s or early 1970s when I was a teenager in the 1980s (kind of like the one at right)—one I bought at a thrift store near St. Mark’s Place (not Love Saves the Day, but someplace similar). I loved it. The lining was fraying a bit when I bought it, and it was in very sorry shape by the time I was in my early 20s and still wearing it. I had to give it up as the whole thing came apart, and not along the seams.

I’ve been in search of a replacement ever since. Unfortunately, such “vintage” jackets now sell for more than I have been willing to pay—but I have also not found the right one. I did find one in a vintage clothing shop on the Lower East Side in February 2010: black leather, soft, almost the same, but not quite. The original was not so soft and was almost shiny. And the original was more hourglass-shaped. The new version is boxier than I would like, though it fits well and looks good with a colorful, long scarf.

This week, I found a red leather jacket at an antique (junk?) store in Milbridge, Maine, for $25. It is different than my original—not only is it red (actually more a Doc Martens’ oxblood color) but also shorter, a deficit I will have to consider. But I bought it.

I am thinking about a Victorian thing—in keeping with the skirt found in Ellsworth, Maine. I am not sure what color of mod-ish fabric would work. Lime green? Grey? Purple? Yellow? Orange? I need to see it more clearly.

And I definitely need to work on my sketching skills.

Monday, July 11, 2011

for today

My favorite things for today are:

1) A so-labeled “Victorian slip” that I bought at an antique stall at the Big Chicken Barn in Ellsworth, Maine. Its button holes are clearly machine-sewn (I therefore doubt it is actually Victorian), but much is hand sewn, including the hemming, darts and loving lace repair. I will have to do more repairs.

2) A small Wedgewood plate from my mother-in-law’s house in Steuben, Maine. I cannot track down the pattern name, but what I have found indicates it may be pre-1930s. I want to grab the set of eight of these for myself and take them home. 

3) A needlepoint by my grandmother-in-law, who died long before I could meet her. I love the textures and the pinkness. My mother-in-law gave this to me for my 40th birthday this year, but it feels wrong to take it off the wall in the Maine house, though I want to. If I can find something else to put on the wall, I will do so. 

I have creative plans for the slip. I must fix the plain cotton upper tiers, which are full tiny holes; the material feels weak, brittle. I may fully cover the top with another fabric, instead of replacing or lining it, to hold the skirt together. I plan to trace a pattern that matches the top pieces to create this new upper level, and the bottom lace will show. I may use a 1960s-style birdcage print for this new top layer. I have a vision of a one-of-a-kind maxi-skirt.

The mix of Victorian and Mod appeals to me. The romantic with the edgy. The soft with the abstract or geometric. This may be what I like about the Wedgewood plate, too. The soft flowers are framed in solid, dark red lines with a geometric background of blue and white. And the needlepoint? Totally 1960s, or maybe a holdover of style into the 70s. Soft, floral, yet also flat and abstracted.