The Snow Queen

The Facts Fabric: 14 sweaters, all thrifted
Pattern: The amazing Katwise, as well as my own
Notions: Not a single blessed one except for thread (because I forgot to sew the buttons on!)
Year: Fantasy is timeless : )
Time to complete
: 6 hours, give or take
First worn: December 2012
Wear again? Yes, and soon!!

Total Cost: ~$23.00

Oh winter…I know you’re a necessary season but you’re just not my favorite season. It’s okay, it’s not you, it’s me : ) I just don’t like the sadness of the bare trees but I console myself with the fact that they, too, need a break and they’ll have a brand new outfit in a few months. I know it gives me a chance to get things like hard-scaping in my yard and plant bulbs but right now I’m envying the beach-going ways of our southern hemisphere sisters!

That being said, I wanted to make the most of “Winter”. Winter is cold, wet and tends towards monochromatic. I grew up with my mother referring to a certain shade of off-white as “winter white” and that was at the forefront of my brain this whole challenge. Since discovering Katwise’s designs I have been intrigued by her snowy photoshoot, she in all creams and greys. It just so happened that a trip to Salvation Army one Monday night they were having a “$2 each or 10 for $10″ sale on clothing with a certain tag color. What did I find? 10 sweaters, all in shades of off white : ) Seemed like a sign. (I did indulge in 10 more colored sweaters and am seriously contemplating a coat based on a peacock.) When I spread them out at home I realized I didn’t quite have enough so a trip into Thrift Town in the Mission in San Francisco produced another 4, including the base sweater, that made this project come together. As usual, everything was thrown into the washing machine on almost-hot and then the dryer so there are no cleaning worries in the future!

I wanted something with some kind of embroidery or trimming for the body of the jacket and I splurged on a $5 wool/nylon sweater at Thrift Town. It was perfect, except for the shape:

It was originally a dreaded turtle neck so that was the first to go, then I cut it up the center front and threw it over my Peggy dress on the mannequin and cringed. Lovely embroidery, drop shoulders, large sleeves…hello? The nineties are calling and want their sweater back! I yanked it back off, cut the sleeves off at the shoulders and re-cut the top:

Chunk kitty helped. You never know, it might try to run away… You can see I took an inch off the shoulders, cut a standard armhole and narrowed the sides. Then I re-cut the sleeves:

I shortened the sleeve about 6″ getting rid of the cuff, re-cut the sleeve in a standard set-in sleeve shape and got rid of that excess under the arm. Then I re-set the sleeves and made the skirt. I learned from my last coat that 30-some odd panels are too much, this time I made 25. The center back panel is white and the rest go from the lightest winter white to the darkest beige. I used a variety of fibers; silk, cotton, wool and a couple silk/cashmere blends. I also wanted a dress to wear under it so the base is one cotton/cashmere sweater cut diagonally (to get rid of the lunch stains that sent this to Salvation Army!) and then integrated with a couple light-weight wool sweaters into a cohesive slip-on dress, inspired by the dress Erin made. It’s warm, it’s cuddly and it demands some rockin’ accessories!

While looking through photos on Google of different versions of “Snow Queens” I noticed the one thing I like about each version, no matter the dress, were the crowns : ) I especially liked the beaded tiara a ballerina might wear:

But seriously, I’m not really a “tiara” girl. Crown maybe,  but my younger sister is the tiara girl : ) Then I remembered a little “crown” I had made for a version of “Midsummer Nights Dream” I did many years ago. The director was from Louisiana so he set the show in the south in the 50′s. Tatiana was supposed to be more like a Voodoo Priestess and her court were earthly elements. I made Tatiana a gown out of a specially dyed cotton in reds and greens with a big red macrame’d collar and a rustic crown. I still have these pieces along with the collars I made for the courtiers and Oberon’s large chest piece. While helping go through the costume collection of my friend who died a few months ago I found the chenille wig I had made for Oberon! How Barbara came to have it I have NO idea but it’s back “home” and one of these days I’ll take photos of the complete outfit.

So I had the crown and collar, all I needed to do was pull out my red suede boots, a pair of red gloves, some earrings and we were set! I also decided that since my outfit was all shades of white a certain white creature needed to be included. The morning of the photoshoot it POURED. It hasn’t rained like this in years and this was the FOURTH storm in less than a week. We took off for the Berkeley hills. I figured with the rain we’d have no fog but I was wrong : )

It rained a little but we had swirling, wonderful fog! And Miss Chloe came along because she seemed to be the perfect companion to my “Queen”.

Here we are surveying the forest, making sure all is well.

I’m feeling rather good about the weather, and since this series of storms originated in Hawaii rather than Alaska it’s 58 degrees out here. Not bad, not bad at all…

And of course there was swirling…

AND a hood:

Angie took a long shot of the two of us walking into the woods:

But of all the shots of the day this is my absolute favorite. I think it’s going to be my Christmas card this year:

You can see how wet my feet are here, and I’ve got dirt and mud all over my coat but I’ll just throw it into the wash and it’ll look great! We had one pooped pup when we got back to the car –

And just because, Angie took a picture of me picking up poop : )

For Vicki, an outtake, with me putting my heel down into a tree stump that was hollow in the center:

That’s a face : )

While winter may not be my favorite season this outfit makes it SO much better! It rarely snows here but it doesn’t sound as romantic to say “Soggy Foggy Queen” now does it?

Chloe is the dog we’re fostering, she had the eight puppies that ate my patterns and all but two have found their forever homes. When she arrived she weighed almost 20 pounds less, had lost all her fur and you could count every single one of her vertebrate and ribs.She had been bred so many times her nipples were nearly on the ground and had given everything she had to take care of her puppies. Now it’s her turn : ) Her weight is good, her fur has grown back and this was her FIRST outing to somewhere not in our neighborhood. It was a good adventure for both of us : )


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