Sunday, March 22, 2015

Left Unfinished

When I paint it usually means something to me, there's always a bit of therapy that I get out of it.  I've reached a rather philosophical point in my life where I think too much and do drastic things to reach new plains. Here's an earlier post ( Letting Go ) that's a good example of what I'm talking about. I'm always trying to understand my existence and be at peace with what life throws at me. I try to handle it with grace and refinement and try to find some deeper meaning or some lesson out of it. But honestly, some of life's little tricks are just plain unfair. Those are the hardest to resign myself to.

The concept for this painting evolved when I found a little toy anchor in a pile of garbage. I had been feeling sorry for myself at the time. See, I was going to be forty and I wasn't married, I didn't have a boyfriend, I didn't even have any prospective opportunities coming up. I have always wanted children, but I've seen how difficult being a single mom is first hand and that's not t he direction I wanted to go. I wanted to have a traditional arrangement before the children came. Unfortunately for me, I've never been all that good at luring the opposite sex into my vicinity. I know it sounds silly, and I don't understand it myself, but Men don't seem to like me much. Oh they like me fine as a friend or someone to have an intelligent conversation with, but when it comes to wanting me around permanently it just doesn't seem to stick. And it goes the other way too, some of them I didn't want around either. And I know what some of you are thinking, but I promise, if I liked Women I could have been married with a family long ago. Sometimes I wish I could swing that way, but I just don't. There's a point to this back story, really.

Now it's almost two years later and nothing has changed except the inevitable pre-menopausal signs have started. I've had to come to terms with the idea that children from my own body aren't going to come. I actually finished this panting once. The little anchor and the original painting (which I didn't take a picture of) represented letting go of those unseen babies. I painted a nude figure surrounded by beautiful colors of magenta, copper, and a variety of vivid blues. She is underwater, holding her breathe, watching all the magic happen around her. But, basically, she is drowning. It's absolutely gorgeous down in the world that she doesn't belong to, but if she doesn't let go she's going to die. To add a bit more texture, I added a tulle layer and the glue I used didn't behave and ruined the whole thing! Arghhhhhh! It's alright, the painting (therapy) did it's job, Children will not be born to me, I've let go and I'm OK.

I spray painted the whole thing black, it was a clean slate and the mood I was in. This picture is not all that great, but you if you look hard you can see the anchor with the figure blocked in above it. I got to this point and thought about what else I needed to drop so that I could float to the surface and breathe?  Men seemed the obvious choice. I could tell story after story of disappointment and WTF moments, but it's pointless and there's no sense to be made of it. When ever I meet someone that I'm attracted to I have the courage to let them know of my interest. This isn't happening because I'm shy, I'm a diplomatic person and only a bitch when absolutely necessary. I'm not broken from a previous devastating relationship. I have so much to offer and so much love to give. I'm emotionally healthy and I'm a grown up. That's why this is so unfair. I'm not perfect to be sure, but there's nothing seriously wrong with me. I thought that in order for me to be happy, I was going tho have to give up on the idea of being loved. (On a side note, I am loved by many wonderful friends and family and I cherish them all).  However, now that the new theme was decided, I was stumped. I haven't been able to do anything else on it.

It would seem that I'm not quite ready to give up hope yet. Hope is pretty painful at times but so is loneliness. I think I would rather hold the hopeful pain then resign myself to the pit of lonely despair.
 So I still have a painting that sits on my shelf with blurry lines, it does however have a rock solid theme. What if I made it represent the desire for things unattainable in general, like being able to breathe underwater or like becoming the first Queen of Mars? Maybe it just needs to be a shift in focus, like realizing who I am and what I really want. Or maybe it could represent being carried with the currant to new and wonderful places, trying and seeing new things.  I wonder if I just need to make it into a textured underwater scene with no meaning at all.

I wonder if I'll ever finish this painting.

And I think it may be to late to change what it really represents to me. Somewhere in the murky water is a man who is looking for me. I may let go and come up for breathe from time to time, but I keep swimming back to the anchor.  Hope glorious hope horrible hope.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Corset #3 or I found my waist

Understanding your body shape is so important and it's been one of my biggest difficulties ( though I totally rock other people's figures). While making the FR contest mock up I realized the waist tape put pressure on my hip bones, so I moved it up 1 1/4 inches and voila, I found the squish I was looking for. I also discovered that my pelvis tilts so my back waist is higher then the front. I took all of my new discoveries into account as I drafted my new under bust pattern.

This is what my mock up looked like for the last two under bust corsets I blogged about.

This is the new one. Quite an improvement in both shape and comfort.

I wanted to use up the rest of my black cherry silk , I'd used it for some of my final Etsy designs and thought that I'd put some of the pieces with this project for a whole set. I didn't have that much left so I cut this pattern down to make a cincher instead of a full under bust.

I decide to use a different method of construction on this one as well. It's called the flat felled or the welt method. To get started I put my layers together and positioned the waist tape in between them and then sewed in my bone channels.

This is the fashion side.

This is the inner side and strength layer.

This is a look at all of the layers used. I have the cherry silk backed with EK 130 interfacing (I like the tiny bit of stretch it allows). I put an inner layer of cotton sateen in to have a barrier between the silk and the heavy canvas (which is the third layer) so the bones have a more reinforced channel.

With the front panel done, I sandwiched the seam of the next panel by sewing the fashion layer on one side and the strength layer on the other. So it's basically finishing the seams by encasing them inside the corset. Every thing is attached this way, nothing is floating.

I added an invisible channel here.

Then I folded it over and roll pinned so that it would be smooth. This method allows for turn of cloth, so that the under layers don't bunch up when the corset is on the body.

I attached the next panel the same way and followed the process to the end. I also top stitched a channel into the seams as I went, thus creating the flat felled or welt seam.
You can see the felled seams that act as channels here.

I'm trying to use up some of the odd pieces of boning I have laying about, so the bones are in all different sizes. Some of them fit well and some of them are too long. I secured them with really ugly stitching so that I don't get any movement when the corset is done. It's not pretty but it's going under the binding any way.

The corset was now complete and I thought it was so pretty at this point, I took a picture. I love the way silk behaves under light and I love this color.

While sewing the binding, I skipped over those long bones and then went back and hand stitched between the machine stitches. I just caught the outer layer to the bias strip so that when the bias was folded over it looked right.

Then I pressed it to the other side and hand stitched the binding down. I like to hand stitch the binding, I think it's a cleaner finish, I don't like the way a machine stitch looks on the fashion side of the corset.

The last step was to put the grommets in and I was all done.

I laced it up and it didn't fit. I used drop cloth as my mock up material, it might have to much stretch in it. I think I need to start using the heavy canvas for mock ups so that I can be extra extra confident in the finished size. Also, stress makes me blow up like a balloon. Ha! We've all been there, I'm not to worried, and when life settles down I'll be less swollen. It's pretty and eventually it will be wearable.

Ok, so the things I'd change. In the front I think I cut it down just a little too much. Others might like it, but for me personally, I like it to be up to my bra line. I know that technically that's not a cincher. and I did only have a small amount available, so it was necessary to cut it down. I might need to work on this one a little more to get a shape I like. I think I'd also put some boning on the center front line.

The side view is dramatic and I like the slope. If I change the height of the front I might not. The side seam is too bulky for my taste and I know the pulling there happened because of that. If I use this method of construction again, I'm going to need a better strategy for the side seam.

I like the height of the back and I think the lower back works well with the frilled panties that I like to put with everything.  

I have to put flowers with everything. I love them, they're cute, and I think they're essential to my aesthetic. I put a matching flower with a slight contrast with this cincher. I think it looked better then one of a different color.

I made this to go with my shelf bra and sided frilled panties.
 It will be a fun set for ......well, anything really.

I'm not completely happy (ha! ridiculous perfectionist talking here), but as I've said before, I'm still learning and I think I'm getting there.