Saturday, February 28, 2015

Collage Pillow 1, plus "Ieri, Oggi, Domani"

Film and fabrics:

This week I watched Vittorio de Sica's film "Ieri, Oggi, Domani"  , a trilogy of short films within a film starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. I was struck by the colors, patterns, and textures in the clothing, architecture, props-- everything so beautifully thought out.  

It's a comprehensive approach that brought to mind the diverse group of fabrics in my collection, which span a wide range of time periods, various family members' personal tastes, functions etc.-- interesting to think of each group of fabrics as a scene, a place, an event.  Some of the fabrics in the collection, such as the green and gray windowpane plaid shirt-- a rag which I recovered from my dad's work shed--  are from around the same time period as the movie, mid-sixties.  

I love so many of these shots!    

Love the Lipton boxes and other products, the pop of turquoise in the doorway.
Note the occurrence of blue in this series of market scenes.

.. and the geometric patterned dress that strolls through.

LOVE this one-- the linear structure and use of shadow to reinforce it, the texture of the wall at the back, the pop of orange amid grays and beiges.

Is that a pile of giant lemons?

You can't miss the yellow in these frames.

So small that red license plate, but what an impact.

and a pop of red again in this one.

Crazy colored cabinets!  Note the blood-red pot with the turquoise bowl back left.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pants pillow

Pillow made from 1960's? cotton corduroy pants that belonged to my brother-in-law's grandfather, 1920's (or earlier) wool tapestry , 1960's cotton curtain fabric, assorted silk, linen, and cotton scraps, a vintage tape measure, and catfish line (a nod to the time his grandfather spent in the Louisiana bayous.)

construction project

interior of pillow front showing applique stitching on old sheet, and white cotton pants pockets at bottom

.. plaid lining of the pillow back... I resorted to hand-stitching in places at the side seams where my machine couldn't sew over the thick pocket-seams in the pants.  One aspect of working with a garment-- something I've been wanting to try-- is working around bulky seams. Using the pants was an opportunity for me to do that and to make something for my brother-in-law and sister that has personal meaning, but the process was cumbersome, so I think I'll call this experiment a one-off.

no-label pants

The corduroys were one among several "no-label" pairs of pants, including these chinos, which appear to be professionally made.  The quality of construction details, while beyond  amateur sewing, is nowhere near the finish level of fine tailoring.  A guess is that his grandfather regularly ordered up sturdy and serviceable pants from his tailor and said  "make it fast".

thinking of...

The Peruvian artist Jorge Eielson who made art with old clothes-- this is Camicia 1964--  came to mind.

 Also the Gee's Bend work-clothes quilts, like this one by Lutisha Pettway    The dark spots indicate pockets that were removed prior to sewing, possibly to avoid sewing over bulky seams?


....the return of Tillycat 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New, old, ancient

 New pillow made from vintage fabrics (1920's- 2013) which include a 1930's blue cotton flour sack,  1950-60's gray floral-print cotton (my grandmother's curtains),   green woven 1960's cotton (our den curtains growing up),  1980's plaid wool (my sister's pants), and newly bought yellow burlap and digital print silk from my scarf .


I think the oldest fabric in the group is this red woven wool which was in a box with some other upholstery scraps and a receipt dated September 1926. The color and weave brought to mind ancient South American textiles....

like the one I sketched when I visited the "Wari: Lords of the Andes" exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum in Aug 2013.

Referencing the photo in the exhibition catalog, I pulled together the other fabrics to complete the color palette.


the main idea was to showcase the pattern and weave of the red wool. 

thinking of a color-blocked composition like  Hans Hofmann 's painting "Elysium" 


The blue wool plaid reminded me of  Japanese boro textiles  
and since I wanted to use up some scraps that were already in strips, I sewed them, along with other darker cotton scraps onto an old bed sheet.   

 Then I cut that textile into strips...

and sewed those strips in layers to make a textile.  The white sheet pops through in places and accentuates lines and texture.

the scrap of digital print silk was added just before I sewed the pillow together.


Here, the right and wrong side of the curtain fabric are sewn together to make a new pattern. The matrix of raised, stitched lines is the result of sewing with a double needle.  The curtain fabric is old and tears easily in places; sewing it onto a lining not only reinforces it, but creates another texture, a map-like effect, which I really like.


The handwritten label sewn onto the pillow back is made of the cotton lining of the curtains.