Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blessed Are the Seamstresses....

...for they create things of beauty and magic using fabric, thread, skill, and imagination.  Alas, as I am not one, I have the utmost respect for those who are.

For instance, the person who made this jacket.   I spied it, AND the matching skirt,  at the May Court Consignment shop in my neighbourhood.  It was obviously handmade, and very carefully so.

The collar was added separately, and is very skillfully done

as is the hand sewing in the lining

The shape is very boxy, and not particularly flattering, but I was drawn to it just the same.  The skirt, which was priced separately, was straight cut, just above the knee, and together, I think the effect would have been rather overwhelming, and very bulky.  I decided to get just the jacket, which turned out to be half price, and was mine for a mere $6.   I tried to balance out its shape by pairing it with slim pants, and added a pop of colour by turning my sweater cuffs back over the bracelet-length jacket sleeves.

I would love to know who made the jacket and what they were thinking when they chose the faux fur fabric.  Had they seen something similar in a magazine and were trying to duplicate it?  Did they like challenging themselves?  Was it for a special occasion?  So many questions.

faux fur jacket - May Court Shop
turtleneck with ruffled neck and cuffs - thrifted
jeans - Mexx (70% off)
Boots - retail, some store on Queen West in Toronto

And Speaking of Seamstresses...


I was at the Western Fair Farmer's and Artisans' Market on Saturday, and noticed a new addition to the group of craft vendors on the second floor.  The first thing I saw were the dolls...

Each was wearing an adorable outfit made of recycled fabric scraps and knitting with buttons and snaps for decoration, and had a funky hairstyle made of yarn.  Even with minimal facial detailing, there was a variety of expressions.

The colour combinations and patterns in the outfits were cool, not cutesie, and there were no frills or ruffles to be seen.  I would definitely wear the human sized version of the outfit on the red-haired doll in the photo above.

The doll with the cherry red hair and hood (with ears!) was one of my favourites.  The dolls range in  size from 12 - 21 inches tall, and there were also adorable and charmingly odd stuffed animals made from colourful wool and fabric scraps.   I was so absorbed by the dolls that I neglected to get a photo of the woman who made them, who was sitting to the side of her table with her two daughters.  Anwen Sutherland lives in Huron County (my childhood stomping grounds) and this was her second week at the market.  She told me that she wanted to make the kind of dolls that she would have liked to play with as a child, and gets feedback from her daughters on the "play appeal" of particular designs.  She also makes hats, mittens, scarves, and fingerless gloves in beautiful colour combinations, and my friend Heather took home a cozy knit toque in a rich plum colour.

Would I buy anything so practical as a hat?  Of course not - my attention went to these little cuties, in a box of prototypes that were smaller in size, and less expensive than the others.   They are destined for my living room wall, and I've named the one on the left Anna, after Italian Vogue Editor Anna Piaggi, whom she reminded me of.   The other one has yet to be named - any suggestions?

Sutherland sells her dolls and toys on Etsy here, and her knitwear (hats, cowls, and mittens) here.  She is also at the Western Fair Farmer's market on Saturdays, from 8 am - 3 pm, on the second floor.


  1. Well, this is timely because I was just doing some sewing, and I don't like it either. I was getting lots of knots until I read the manual (RTFM) and realized I had threaded the machine wrong! But now I have two tops that fit better than they used to, so it was worth a little pain.

    Those dolls are adorable! I love the one with blue hair and the red polka-dot dress. I bet they're really fun to make. You could name your other one Miley, but she has way too many clothes on.

  2. love your furry jacket, its shape can look boxy but it's also interesting and it fits you nicely with your pants (or a pencil skirt?!), great idea to roll over your sleeves to add a touch of color!
    So cute dolls, I also love that red hooded little lady!

  3. Incredible talent and incredibly talented of you to spot that jacket and snaffle it! It looks fab on you (but what doesn't?) Those dolls rock! xxx

  4. I'm with you! In awe of those who sew, which seems like magic to me. The jacket is a gorgeous creation and its boxy nature reminds me of the 60's. Love how you added color with your sweater.

    Speaking of magic, the dolls sing! I checked out the Etsy site, and there were several pairs of fingerless gloves that were calling my name.

  5. Yeah to sewing! After lunch I'm off to work to make more Regency costumes for our next show(of course, photos will be posted)

    Those dolls are wonderful!

  6. I want to buy a dollie! And I think you should name the other one Estrella... Just because that's what she looks like to me :)

  7. Since I am a sucker for faux fur, I am loving that jacket! Knowing how hard it is to sew well, I too am in awe of the skills required to make items really neatly and beautifully. I do like they way you have turned your sweater sleeves back, and I think the shape is great with a slim-fit bottom half.
    Those dolls are cute, aren't they? Love their little faces. The nameless doll has rather Pippi Longstocking hair, so maybe Pippi? xxxx

  8. Ha, that dolly on the left is indeed Anna Piaggi!!!
    I do love finding handmade goodies when opshopping, they're my favourites! Your new jacket is divoon, very 60's and just lovely! It would be too much with the matching skirt, but never say die! I don't usually like sets, but occasionally, they seem just right!

  9. Those dolls are so fun! However, wow, what a fabulous jacket! I love the faux fur of it.

  10. Yes, I often wonder where thrifted clothes lived before I've brought them home. The detail on your jacket is beautiful. You look great in this paired with your jeans and boots. Unlikely and so perfect. What I love most about the dolls is their use of minimal lines to create strong expressions. Humble Home is a great name for this booth.

  11. Hi Shelley!

    I love it when faux fur is redesigned, they usually do a good job, well the ones i have seen - I often wonder sometimes especially an awesome piece, who it belonged to - this is one of the reason why we like second hand clothes -

    The dolls are so cute!
    Georgy sounds like a cute name for your other doll, what do you think?

    Big hugs


  12. great post! This is just so so chic. I like!

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  13. Absolutely love your style! The boots really add a nice touch and I love your hair!