Vintage Splurge!

Good Morning my fashionistas!!!

I found my new happy place!!! Saturday we got up bright and early so that Shenlei, her mom, and I could all go out to tag sales and vintage shopping.  We set out and found some local garage sales that were going on, if you call it going on, being that it was pouring cats and dogs out. I was so not about to go out and start rummaging in the rain.  We called off garage sales as everyone else felt the same way. We ended up going to the Salvation Army to look for old prom and wedding dresses to cut up and make new things out of (these would be especially perfect for our handbag line).   They didn’t have too much actually, and the stuff they did have were still too overpriced for being in the condition they were in.  However, right about half way through, we found a beautiful black beaded dress that we are going to take apart for its trimming and beading.  It was only $10 and so we thought it would be well worth it. We get up to the cashier and he announced that during Saturday and the rest of the weekend, there was  a half-off everything sale going on. So we got our awesome beaded dress for only $5. The trim itself you couldn’t get that cheaply. SUCCESS!!!!! WE WILL NOT PAY RETAILLLLLL!!!!

Victorian-styled headwear - It's Actually a Replica!

After that wonderful little piece, our tastes were still not satisfied for our thrill of deals.  Shenlei said she was going to take us up to Hyde Park, about a 10-15 min drive up Route 9, and show us an exquisite little antique place.  THIS IS MY NEW HAPPY PLACCCEEEEEEE. This place, the Hyde Park Antiques Center, is AmAzInG!!!!!! Its a beautiful old building that has many many MANY different rooms in it, each room is a different vendor. Each had just the absolute amazing articles collected throughout the ages.  I was in awe with the amount of old vintage books and other additions that were being displayed from many many years ago.  I was just sooooo happy to be there.   The amount of fabrics and textiles that were for sale was awesome.   We found a bunch of old crocheted lace all over, many different mink shawls with the actual heads still attached (thinking very hard about going back to retrieve one), Many different Victorian outfits and hats and accessories!!! I fell in love with one Victorian hat I found which I believe is a riding hat back in victorian times. It was soooo beautiful and I was on the verge of splurging on it when Shenlei said that this could easily be replicated. So she promised to give me a day of lessons to replicate it. We took a couple of pictures of the style and materials used so we can come as close as possible.  Shenlei found an awesome little treasure chest assortment of old jewels and messed-up pearls that she was looking for for only $5.  All sorts of little goodies in there including an actual boy scout pin, vintage crown matching cuff links, and much, much more.   ( it was the pearls she was after though.)

The EverReady Diner

Towards the end of the shopping trip, I stumbled across a pair of perfect condition vintage ladies hand gloves.  They were a lavender/gray color, very tiny but a perfect snug fit for my hands and made out of a very very thin suede.  I showed Shenlei, she said they were sooo under-priced and I needed to splurge…I paid all of $3 for these perfect treasures!!! lol Her mom finally caught up with us and brought us back to reality after playing dress-up when she said we’ve been there for almost a whole 2 hours…in 1 shop!!!!  and that she was getting a little hungry. So we scurried over to the cashier, trying not to look at all the wonderful new things we missed around us.  I found some old vintage books and these wonderful gloves that I can’t wait to put an outfit together for. I’m sure they’ll go great with my Sleepy Hollow Shadows Collection as well :)  They were such a steal.

After overwhelming experience of our vintage shopping, we headed to what is very common around here, an old-fashioned diner. Now, I’ve never really been to one before, but it was toooooo cute! It was a real old-fashioned diner that was all metal and very very 50’s.  Just look at the pictures!!!!! These are found all over the place here. This one is known as the EverReady Diner located in Hyde Park.  The chef is actually from the CIA. No, not the government program but the Culinary Institute of America which is actually located only about another 5 minutes or so up the road. (That’s pretty majestic itself, looks somewhat like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. Shenlei suggested we plan dinner there sometime!!! :) ).  The food was absolutely delicious at the EverReady and I actually wolfed down the whole Greek Gyro I had ordered without realizing how hungry I was from all the excitement of the vintage store.

Inside the EverReady: Note the Chrome Trim!!!!

It was a really fun day and I really can’t wait to go back. Shenlei mentioned that in the winter when business is slower, they have cuts in prices so well definitely have to go back then and see what else we can find.  I know there’s a really old pair of vintage cat’s eye (hot green) sunglasses I want there, but the price was too high for them. Keep your eyes out and let me know if you find a good pair! That’s my new obsession is vintage cat eyes. I would accept remakes or modern versions as well :)  Anyway, go around town and stop into one of these cutesy little stores, you never know what kinda treasures you can find!!!!

My New Crocheted Monokini!!!

Oh! and one last thing!!!..THE MONOKINI IS COMPLETE!!!! :)  Im going to have to add some triming on the sides to spice it up a little more but hope you like the design!!! Im already working on a couple more crochet tops I have in my head. Hope you enjoy the pictures and I’ll be in touch soon!

Hugs and Kisses!

Britt*

This Week’s Festivities!!!

Sleepy Hollow Imagery For Sleepy Hollow Collection

Good Morning All!

Well, I’m half way through my first full week working with the most FaBuLoUs Shenlei and I have compiled a whole bunch of things to work on for the next couple months.  I’ll keep you updated little by little with each upcoming project. I hope you enjoy the trip :)

After being completely hooked on my new found addiction to crochet, Shenlei had to pull me away from mid-completion of my monokini project (pictures soon but only of completed garment!)  I first got back to work on my vintage handbag collection.

Morning Glory Painting!

Still working on the Miser Bag, I got started painting a beautiful scene of Jessamine, Sorrel, Forget-Me-Nots, and Morning Glories.  We worked over and over on construction paper, and I was having difficulty on the shading part of the Morning Glory.  (I think I was still coping with having to put down my crochet shaky hands lol)  I finally got the hang of it and proceeded to the actual fabric of the bag dun dun dun.  Shenlei was happy to see that the Morning Glory looked like…well…a Morning Glory :)  I have included some pictures for you to see.  I have one more flower to work on and then the painting part will be complete.  All that’s left to do is then construct it and then BAM!…1 down and 15 more to go :)

My Tree Design in Fashionable Grid

The next thing we began to work on was a content catalog project for the FRI’s inventory in the virtual world.  This was done through OpenSim and more importantly on FRI’s private grid called the Fashionable Grid.  Here, Shenlei showed me a bunch of beautiful sculptured trees she had created and it was my job to replicate these in all the different kinds of trees out there. She first gave me  a basic sculpty (sculpture of trees) for a single tree, a very large tree, and a patch of trees.

She then gave me different kinds of what are called textures that create the different kinds of the trees.  It was my job to take these textures and apply them to the sculptys to create many different species of trees.  For example, I started with the large tree.  She then gave me a group of textures labeled “pine trees”. Inside contained 12 different pine tree textures that were all different colors of the pine trees that occur throughout the season.  I then replicated the sculpty 12 times and to each, applied one texture. When I was through, I had a whole forest of all the different kinds of pine trees there are. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! I have included a picture of the Autumn Trees I also did.  These will be used as inventory for future work.  I still have  a bunch more trees to go but will keep you updated.

More Handbag Painting!!!!

The next day, Shenlei had given me what she calls “time practice sketches”. I was to do 50 ‘pencil roughs’, which are really fast sketches, in under 2 hours of different suit designs for our upcoming Dawning collection which is corporate women’s wear.  These are very rough sketches with only basic sketches and designs. From there we then sat down to examine which designs had  most potential and which were best to represent our company.  Shenlei picked out 12 of her liking and now it is my turn to go back and do three more versions of each garment she picked.  This process allows me to slowly evolve our collection using fine details because this is a couture line.

I saved the best for last!!! My newest and favorite project right now is the development of my Sleepy Hollow collection. I sat in with Shenlei and the rest of the interns in SecondLife on Tuesday for our weekly meeting and we all had a chance to come up with and develop some inspiration for a new virtual fashion collection.  Missy already got a head start and came up with a beautiful concept board for a virtual swimwear collection called “The White Queen.” She had the most beautiful imagery and some of her first attempt garments were just absolutely stunning.

Pencil Roughs

I decided I wanted to do another virtual collection mirrored in real life again like I did for my Senior Collection at Buffalo State College.  I have entitled my collection “Sleepy Hollow Shadows.”  It is going to be a mix of Victorian bridal wear and modern day silhouettes.  What’s really exciting is that in my real life collection,  I am going to be playing with a fabric called Tyvek. YES! this is the stuff you use to line houses with and other crazy things like hazmat suits for chemical work.  BUT, we found that when washed, it drapes very nicely and is going to give an absolutely killer look for the imagery.  Right now we’re trying to do some sourcing for it (although we can find it at Home Depot, we’re hoping to not pay retail :).  A friend of mine’s father works at DuPont and said he would be willing to lend me a couple of different sourcing options that may be willing to donate material for our project.

So first what I am doing is creating a concept board for my collection.  I am taking a lot of imagery from all the shots I took at the actual Sleepy Hollow Cemetary and then a couple clothing images from the Tim Burton film of Sleepy Hollow and combining them for my inspiration.  I will incorporate all my elements and motifs I wish to use and really show them off in my board.  After, I will draw out colors for a color board. I am thinking a gradient scale from black to white as well a rust color.  Tyvek unfortunately cannot be dyed, so I must work with its white base BUT!!!! we can SPRAY PAINT!!!! :)  very exciting.  I also have this killer idea for the dresses but that will have to wait for now because it needs a lottt of preparation work.  Stay tuned for that!!!

I will then develop a material board which contains the fabrics and notions I wish to use for the collection.  Remember that all the garments I make it real life will also be replicated in virtual life, down to the very last broach.  After my concept board is complete, it is then time to start sketching my first 12 garments in rough sketches.  Shenlei said we are going to take a couple more field trips for this collection to different antique shops and flea markets to find more inspiration and possible fabrics and notions. That I am really excited about.

I will have more pictures for you later and keep you updated on all that is going on here in my little palace :)  I am off to paint and possibly pick up some more yarn that I ran out of. GOING THROUGH CRAZY CROCHET WITHDRAWAL RIGHT NOWWWWWW….so I’ll have a finished pic of my fabulous monokini design shortly for you.  Thanks so much for keeping in touch!  Loving the comments about loving my blog.  Thank you all!

Hugs and Kisses!

Britt*

Beginning the Journey Back in Time

Good Afternoon Faire Ladies and Gents,

I come to you today with much to tell!  We have officially begun to construct our vintage handbags.  I have chosen to start with a basic linen bag with an overflap for closure.   The bag itself is dated back to the 1880’s and is called a Miser’s Purse. A Miser is a person who saves their pennies for rainy days and the sunny days, too!  The flap is a hand-painted closure that is framed by real antique lace.  Although we do not know how old the lace is, Shenlei has been collecting antique lace for quite some time now and she says it’s probably Edwardian.

We first needed to wash the lace. Being that it is antique, we had to do this very carefully as you can see in the pictures.  We had bought Ivory® soap and then grated it with a cheese grinder and added just a little bit of water to create a paste.  We then filled a bowl with warm water and let the lace soak in it for about 10 minutes. Then, a little bit of soap paste was added to the water and the lace was soaked in that for another ten minutes. It was then rinsed and the process was repeated about 3 more times.  After, we let it out to air dry until just a little damp. We then ironed it lightly further press it out and block it to shape.  The lace came out much more beautiful and whiter than before!

We then started with the cutting out and then spent a while on transferring the initial design over to the flap closure.  We do this with what is known as transfer paper to the sewing world.  It is  a slightly tacky paper with colored chalk or wax on one side that is laid color side down to the fabric.  You then lay the design (pencil side up) over the backside of the transfer paper and use what is called a tracing wheel (similar to a miniature pizza cutting wheel) to go over the design with pressure. The design is then transferred over to the linen with a dust-like tacky substance.  This can easily be washed out or brushed away as desired and will not harm the fabric.

After the design was placed, it was then time to hand paint!  I had printed out a couple pictures for color and shading references for the flowered design we chose.  I then had gathered our paints and practiced outside for the natural light on sketching paper (thick enough to act as both a canvas and a palette).  I have included some pictures for you to see!  Shenlei is going to work with me later on better shading technique before we continue to the actual linen. 

I’ll have more to catch you up on later after our session.  Enjoy the pics thus far! :)

Hugs and Kisses,

Britt*





Greetings Fashionistas!

Welcome to the official Fashion Research Institute Apprentice blog page!

A vintage handbag collection is the 1st of many new projects I am taking on as the newest apprentice of the Fashion Research Institute.  I am very excited to be working closely with Shenlei Winkler, CEO of the Fashion Research Institute on this collection for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, this collection is being put together along side the publication of a book being written about vintage handbags throughout the ages, expected to be out as early as December 2010.  The book contains 16 handbags, each paired with a historically based story.  The handbags date back from late Victorian to the early Jazz age.  Included in the book will be a short history of the bag, “how-to” guides, materials lists, and much more for the reader to follow!

What is keeping me so interested in this project is I will be creating the prototypes for each bag you will see in the publication.  Not only will I be learning first hand many different couture techniques, we will also be creating a mass market version of the couture bags, as well as virtual goods to be found in Second Life, combining all three different layers to complete the collection.

Yesterday, Shenlei and I sat down to go through the 1st drafts of the publication. This included patterns, illustrations, and a short story to go along with each bag.  After she was finished, it was my turn to interview her on the different couture techniques being used on each handbag and to get a better feel for what is about to go into this collection.  We also did some sourcing through old scrap ruminants of fabric as well as some sourcing at the local Jo Ann Fabrics and Michaels Craft Stores.  Today, we decided on the three patterns that I will be working on simultaneously.  I was able to cut out both lining and fashion fabric for each of these three.  Tonight we will be doing some more sourcing for embroidery ribbons and paints to start the construction this week.  Saturday is a possible trip into the city (NYC) to find any remaining sourcing we have yet to do.

I would love for you to follow my journey through this collection as I will keep you updated daily with pictures and much more!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Hugs and Kisses!

Britt*