Ms. January

I’d like to introduce you to Ms. January aka Beth Nordlund. We became friends years ago when she wandered into a quilt shop looking for a long arm quilter.

Here is Beth wearing one of my THE MOD sweaters. The colors look great on her which is part of why the Queen of the North will be wearing blue.

Here is Beth wearing one of my Mod sweaters. The colors look great on her which is part of why the Queen of the North will be wearing blue.

Beth practicing some runway moves.

Beth practicing some runway moves.

One of my goals this year is to create a new line of sweaters made from felted up-cycled old sweaters. I started this project last October, and thought I would be done by now. HA!

The new and more realistic goal is to work with one model a month to create a sweater that compliments her body type as well as works with her fashion aesthetic.

I would say I am a good seamstress when it comes to garment construction. I can follow a pattern and make minor design changes which typically result in things I can actually wear. But before this sweater project, I had never created my own garment patterns. I am slowly learning to create my own designs just like I have done with my quilts.

Since October,  I have successfully designed one sweater style.

I call it the MOD. As it is directly inspired by my collection of vintage sweaters. You can read about those sweaters here. Here is a version of THE MOD in red. The fronts of this style are all the same.

I call it the Mod. As it is directly inspired by my collection of vintage sweaters. You can read about those sweaters here. <http://mariacshell.com/2013/01/01/the-year-of-the-sweater-2/&gt;

While the fronts of the mod sweater are all the same, the backs are all different. If you look at the sweater Beth is wearing you will see what I mean.

While the fronts of the mod sweater are all the same, the backs are all different. If you look at the sweater Beth is wearing you will see what I mean.

I will eventually post a story about how the MOD came to be, but right now Ms. January is waiting.

This month, instead of designing a sweater, I will be designing a garment made of up-cycled felted wool for Beth to wear in this year’s Object Runway.

Object Runway is Anchorage, Alaska’s response to Project Runway.  The event is sponsored by the International Gallery for Contemporary Art and held at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub.

It is not your everyday runway show. Artists from all media put their work on the human form.  The body becomes a foundation for three dimensional art made from found objects, wood, and cardboard. Last year there was a dress made of tea bags as well as one made of girl scout cookie boxes.  It is an amazing event.

This is the fourth year for the show, but it is the first year I will be participating. Walt and I have attended every year, and every year I say I’m going to make something. This is the year.

My inspiration for Beth’s dress is QUEEN OF THE NORTH. My notion of what that is has evolved since I first had the idea.

Right now I’m thinking ice as in glacier.

Ablation is a quilt I made about ice. I love this color palette.

Ablation is a quilt I made about ice. I love this color palette. This small quilt measures about two feet by two feet. Every bit of color is an individual piece of fabric.

And I’m thinking BAD ASS as in of course the Queen of the North would be a hunter and a warrior. Shooting a moose–no problem for this queen.

I’m also thinking I want Beth to rock the runway in something that looks incredible on her.

My hope is to make Beth look as great as she does in her regular clothes.

My hope is to make Beth look as great as she does in her regular clothes.

And I’ve got a week to do it, and I kind of sort of know what I am doing. YIKES. And to make things even a little bit more interesting Beth is in Washington DC attending the inauguration. She will be back in Anchorage on the 24th. So that’s a little crazy.

How close am I to making this happen?

Well, about fifteen years ago, I made this dress out of some vintage drapes. I have always liked the cut–it is a great dress for dancing.

Does anyone else out there make clothes out of drapes?

Does anyone else out there make clothes out of drapes?

The pattern called for a back zipper, but I made it without--the fit is a bit looser than I think the original pattern intended.

The pattern called for a back zipper, but I made it without–the fit is a bit looser than I think the original pattern intended, but I like it.

I managed to find the original pattern in my stash.

That pantsuit is sooooo 1990s.

That pantsuit is sooooo 1990s.

I started with the original pattern pieces and used them to create new piecing lines as well as alter the pieces to fit Beth’s torso. Then I exaggerated the collar and modified the bodice to fit the sleeve I have been using to create my sweaters.

Here is the front of the dress. I plan to do even more patch work within the individuals pieces.

Here is the front of the dress. I plan to do even more patch work within the individuals pieces.

The interesting thing about working with these felted sweaters is that they are NOT yardage. You really have to think about adding lines of piecing into the garment and those lines must to be attractive.

Alright-I’m off to my studio to piece the first version of this dress. Wish me luck!

This entry was published on January 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM. It’s filed under ArctiCouture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

13 thoughts on “Ms. January

  1. Sue Tague on said:

    Good luck..Sounds like quite a challenge

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  2. The sweaters are sweet Maria, and I love the new quilt! xoxo

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  3. denisefromkansas on said:

    fun to see what you are doing and how you get there–I like everything I see here!

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  4. denisefromkansas on said:

    my current favorite thing to sew with is old cotton sheets–I can cut them up with abandon, dye them, make them into any number of things–placemats, quilts, rag rugs, just made a quilted vest–I love their “hand” and they dye like a dream

    I’ll probably come home from the thrift store with some drapes now–more big pieces of fabric!

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  5. Wonderful project! I recycle, upcycle, reclaim and reuse just about any and all fabrics. I haven’t purchased fabric in a store in about 5 years. It’s a great practice & I have lots of fun.
    Love your sweaters!

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  6. Great Project!
    I reclaim, upcycle, recycle and reuse all kinds of fabrics. I haven’t bought fabric in a store in about 5 years! It’s great fun to be on the lookout for “new to me” fabric.

    Lovely sweaters!

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  7. Pingback: The Making of the Mod « Maria Shell

  8. Pingback: Ms. February | Maria Shell

  9. Pingback: Prelude to a Spring Frock | Maria Shell

  10. Sounds like a great challenge. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    Like

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