My good friend Amy of Amy Prats Photography came over last week to document The Hair. You can see a few more shots of our boy here and, while you're visiting, find some great tips on getting better results with your own photography. Bonus!
I don't really consider myself a huge Disney fan, not like some people (I know one 30-something man who hits the Magic Kingdom 3 or 4 times yearly - without the wife and kids), so when this exhibit came to town, Rich and I thought we'd take the kids for their sake, not so much for our own. I guess we've become jaded by the commercialism and general gagginess of our princess-saturated market, to the point that we forgot just how much genius went into making the classic Disney films so, well, classic.
Okay, so we were wrong and you should totally go check it out if you're anywhere near New Orleans while this exhibit lasts and you have an interest in the creative process. It was great.
I was already a fan of the fabulousMary Blair, so seeing her original sketches and paintings up close and in person was a treat. (By the way, Disney has recently released Blair's iconic concept art in the form of storybooks retold by current authors - Cinderella, Peter Pan(those mermaids!) and Alice in Wonderland.)
Even better, though, was discovering Eyvind Earle, background artist and creative director for Sleeping Beauty. Okay, so I've seen Sleeping Beauty at least half a dozen times and never really noticed the scenery all that much. But, again, seeing those hand drawn cels in person! Dreamy. I especially love the botanical details (me = former plant geek). Earle had a modern sensibility that made his art really striking for its day. (From what I gather, that didn't win him the affection of some of his more traditional fellow illustrators. Boo.)
This is something I've had on my mind for a while now since I've got a growing collection of cast off, button-up shirts crowding my craft closet. This project totally appeals to my craft pack rat sensibilities. ("I could do something with this" is a phrase often heard in our household.)
The starting point, one of Rich's dress shirts (thanks, hon!):
First, I flipped it over, back facing up, and cut off the sleeves and collar.
Next, I tried the shirt on and decided where best it would fit across the chest and under my arms. On me, that required raising it up about 3 inches. I had to cut new shoulders and neck openings, fortunately under the back yoke, which I removed completely. I made the neckline lower in the front than the back by about 2 inches. (For the back neck line, I ended up cutting about 1.5 inches above a button. I'll show you in a sec how I finished that off.) I also drafted new side seams to fit my form a little better (but not too much - it's still a fairly loose fit). Here it is, right sides facing and basted:
I tried it on again to check the fit before sewing the seams. To finish the arm and neck holes, I applied a water soluble hem tape to the wrong side edges and turned them under twice, topstitching 1/4 inch from the edge.
In the back I added a new button hole and a covered button in one of my favorite fabrics. I don't love how this part turned out, but it's rarely seen, so I'm not stressing. Ignore the sloppy stitching.
On to the embellishment! From the leftover sleeve material, I cut three strips, approximately 3 inches deep by 20, 18, and 16 inches wide, respectively, then serged the edges...
and used my ruffler to pleat the pieces.
Finally, I eyeballed their placement on the front of the blouse (formerly the back of the shirt), pinned and stitched them down along the ruffle seam line.
So when I mentioned to my friend Neva that I'd made this blouse out of one of Rich's old shirts, she immediately responded, "Rich had a Puffy Shirt?!" Um. No. I was both flattered and chagrined. It's nice that she just couldn't imagine a pretty, feminine blouse having once been a regular, old men's dress shirt. On the other hand, she apparently thought that my husband might have, at one time, worn something like this.