Fabric: Natural cotton duck, red cotton lining, white cotton all from stash and 2 yards cotton lace
Pattern: Self drafted, based on 18th century jacket
Notions: 4 bottles of paint, 2 red and 2 blue; blue paint tape, paint brush and foam brushes
Time to complete: 12 hours give or take an hour
First worn: April 2013
Wear again? Yes but only for Special Occasions : )
Cost: $10.93 for paint, $3.26 for lace so $14.19 total
Ms. Tempest Devyne challenged us to make something “Bowie” inspired this month, so I decided on the Earthing jacket that Alexander McQueen made for him for his 1996-97 tour. Apparently he opened the show with his back to the audience, like this:
I had exactly three photos to try to figure out how the jacket went together, this is the second one:
I found all three of these images on the same blog, exshoesme.com. It’s fun!
Let’s first be clear – I am NOT a 5’10” lean male. I have boobs so I knew the front of my coat and his were going to look a *little* different to begin with and that’s ok. I did BRIEFLY consider binding my boobs but nixed that idea about 2 seconds after I had it. From there on it was full speed ahead with the cutting and painting.
The back was the easiest:
Blue paint-tape taped off all the edges. For the record one of my LEAST favorite colors EVER is paint tape blue. It means something is unfinished and usually gives mediocre results. It worked decently enough on the fabric BUT you can see the way it puckered here, when it got wet with the acrylic paint I used it bubbled so as soon as everything was painted I pulled the tape off, I didn’t let it dry. That worked fine. I had a little bit of bleed-through but not nearly as bad as I do on walls.
It took about 5 days to paint all the parts and pieces, the biggest challenge was the “butt flags” that make those nifty back skirt pieces. I figured Mr. McQueen had used the straight edges of the flags and set them into the side seams, that way you get that triangular-ish piece. I painted a whole lot more flag than I needed and Miss Chloe decided to play with the excess one night : ) I think there may be an instagram pic of that.
It took a LOT less time to sew everything together than it did to do the painting! Let’s face it, there are really only a few seams in the whole thing – 1 center back, 2 shoulders, 2 sides, 2 seams for each “butt flag”, 2 seams in each sleeve, setting each sleeve in and the collar. The entire jacket is lined so I essentially made 2 jackets and then sewed them together around the outside edge. Done. I did paint the collar to match the red of the stripes:
And then trimmed it down and put it all together. I got VERY lucky to have almost the same exact red-colored cotton in my stash, VERY LUCKY, so the whole coat is soft to wear. The painted duck is stiff, at one point I was stitching the center back lining down to the vents and the coat stood up all on its own : ) The cats were FASCINATED.
Ashton liked the paint:
He and Stuart left me little presents, I painted around this one : ) That’s why, when you look at the back of the coat, you can see a white circle on one side and not the other. Not very McQueen but it is cute.
Once everything was put together I noticed in the second and third pics Mr. Bowie is wearing a denim shirt that seems to have some fancy lacy cuffs. I’m not a huge denim shirt fan, although I did make one for the Forties challenge last year. I decided to add just some cuffs to the inside of the coat for that bit of “fluff” so I headed to Joann’s for blue lace.
Wouldn’t you know it, after decades of tacky blue and rose lace, that I sold to hundreds of women who put that stuff on photo albums and unsuspecting little girls dresses, they’ve wised up and have NONE! I bought a couple yards of standard cotton lace, came home and found some blue dye and white cotton and plunged the whole lot into a bowl. 10 minutes later I had dyed-to-match lace and, as it turned out, hands. Next time I’ll check to see if there are holes in the gloves : )
Then came time to do photos. I had originally wanted to head out to the Delta, we have a couple places that look quite similar to the album cover. Unpredictable weather and a list of stuff to do around the house precluded a 4-6 hour photoshoot : ( But we headed to the open space for grass and sun and lucked out.
We tucked my hair in the coat, I wasn’t about to cut it short and didn’t have an appropriate wig. No makeup for this iteration of Bowie so I think this qualifies as the EASIEST prep EVER for a photoshoot!
Chloe came along:
No, there is no lace around my collar, there was only so much of that stuff I was willing to wear…and I have no super long belt. I’m a girl, one with curves and the less stuff the better sometimes. I’m good as is here : )
Here’s a little closer-up shot of the “butt flags”.
In amongst all my Bowie painting and sewing my daughter (my photographer) hit quite a milestone, her first Art Show : )
I Instagram’ed much of her artwork, but the photo taken of the two of us wasn’t so hot, I had my eyes closed. Fortunately we had better luck with the real camera instead of the phones:
We’re standing in front of one of her pieces and yes, I’m wearing the jacket I made for the Art-inspired challenge last year. I am VERY proud of her, her work was well received! There is one piece that I didn’t talk about that night-
She calls this “The Strongest Warrior” after Ariel. She wanted to call it “11:26”, the time that Ari died but her classmates said it was “too personal”. I’m not sure I agree with that, I don’t see what’s wrong with making art personal. Neither one of us can talk about Ari or that night without a few tears and Saturday was definitely a time for celebration.
She also managed to snap this pic of Chloe today, I think it’s one of my favorites –
And for an added Bowie bonus…
Thank you, Ms. Devyne, for a very fyne time!! Can’t wait to see the rest of the makes. Check out her blog here. It really is fanbloomingtastic.