Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making a pair of Jodphurs

A Pair of Jodphurs
Hallo my precious darlings, I hope this blog finds you well. Let me take you on a journey, I promise it will be interesting, and that you will learn something that you did not know before. It all started with a feeling: 'What I wouldn't do, to need a pair of jopdhurs again".

During my teenage year I used to hunt with the Bay of Plenty Hunt Club. We hunted over the back blocks of farms in the Bay. In this photo I am standing with my Auntie Leonie in front of my Grandparent's house. My Grand parents are standing on the front porch, but unfortunately you do not see them very well in this photograph. I used to love dressing for the hunt, and I remember wishing I had a pair of the elegant leather tan topped boots like Leonie used to wear. We would tie our cravats, and pin them in place with tie pins of gold shaped to look like horse shoes or riding crops. Finally a small bunch of violets or lilly of the valley was pinned onto the lapel of our jacket and we were ready for the hunt.

Hunting in the winter, it was often wet, grey and cold. One of the nicest things to have was a small flask of rum and ginger wine, warming and giving confidence for the chase.

Here I am and finally I had got myself a pair of long black boots. They looked the part but they were plastic, I never got my leather riding boots. I remember hauling these off at the end of the day, after the Hunt breakfast, the long drive home and putting the horses back in the paddock.

I found this photo a while ago while looking for a photo to send to Leonie who was living in England. When I saw the photo again it reminded me of the person I used to be, and that reminded me of the person that I am. It was a good feeling and it strengthened me. This may have been the reason why I wanted to make myself a pair of jodphurs.

So my darlings I thought you might like to know a little of the history of this fascinating garment. The history of jodphurs is intertwined with the history of polo, and of course horses and wealth. Whilst known as the Game of Kings, women were also welcomed. There is a record of the Queen and her ladies, of the Court of King Khosrow II, playing a game against the King and his Courtiers in the 6th century AD. I would love to travel back in time and be an observer at that game. Imagine what Queen Shirin wore, red silk jodphurs perhaps. What a wonderful future project, to design the outfit Queen Shirin would have worn that day, but I digress.

Chinese courtiers playing a game of polo. Polo spread from China where it was first played 2500 years ago to Persia.

And by the 16th century, the Emperor Babur had establishedit in India. The game came down into India along with various Islamic invasions and was played particularly in the North, which is now Rajasthan. The Rajputs are credited with establishing rules, a polo stick and use of a ball. Since the game required superbly trained and healthy horses, only nobles and aristocrats who could afford to maintain stables normally played it.

In the 1850s, British tea planters discovered the game in Manipur (Munipoor) on the Burmese border with India. They founded the world’s first polo club at Silchar, west of Manipur.

Lt.Gen. HH Maharajah Bahadur Sir Pratap Singh (of Idar) (1845-1922)

Around 1890 Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh of Jodhpur started wearing riding breeches tailored for the game. These were cut in a wing-shape and had leather patches between the knees. They became known as "Jodhpurs" and were worn by all polo players within a very short time. Their popularity was probably aided by the fact that the Jodhpur Polo team was invincible at the time.

British Officer, 10th Hussars, Afghanistan, 1878

It was due to the British military officers who served in India, that the game of polo, and jodphurs along with it, finally made their way over to England in the 1860's. In 1869, Edward 'Chicken' Hartopp of the 10th Hussars organised the first game known as 'hockey on horseback' on Hounslow Heath and after some codification of the rules, polo clubs spread across Western Europe from England.

It was this image that really inspired me to want to make myself a pair of Jodphurs, I am not sure of the date but it is after WWI probably the 1920's. The image is of the Australian Polo Team, and I thought they looked so stylish in their jodphurs I wanted to have a pair of my own. Look at the photo on the left of the Indian gentleman also kitted out in jodphurs, having just shot a tiger. How times have changed, but his did not deminish my love of the jodphur.

In the 1920's women adopted men's riding breeches and sat astride horses (and even played the occasional Polo game) and so wore Jodhpurs. The Jodhpurs are now "de rigueur" riding garb. They are cut full at the hips, very tight fitting from knee to ankle, ending in a cuff with a strap under the instep.
So I drew a design for a pair of jodphurs.

Yes there would be plenty of room for my butt in these breeches.

So I set to work sewing and here they are the finished jodphurs. A bit silly I guess,but hey it was fun.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Its All About the Detail


Hallo friends and fellow fashion and costume lovers. There is something about costume that really intrigues, it is the attention to detail that some people take, and this I find sublime, because really darling it is all in the detail for me. Those little details that are sometimes so fine, so small or so subtle, like white embroidery on white lawn, that only when you are close to the wearer, can the detail be seen. It is seen with the brush of a cheek, and a waft of perfume as intimate moments are shared, as souls touch. Oh yes my sensitive darlings, it is something to be sought after, something to crave, and hope that you find.

Well you might be starting to feel from the images in this blog, that I have a certain attraction to buttons. It started when I was young, and I saw my Nana's jars of buttons. She had sorted them into colours, bright reds and greens, and I loved them. When I grew older and my Nana was gone, I remembered the buttons and wondered what had happened to them. I asked but no-one knew, they were lost. I started collecting buttons to replace my Nana's lost collection, and in doing so discovered how wonderful buttons are.

So now I have these, jars of coloured buttons, just like Nana's. Oh but that's not all, I also have these cool leather buttons with leather shanks.

Oh and these.

A whole wall full really.

I have found a few special ones, like these metal buttons with a matching buckle. I am still playing with ideas that this little set inspires.

These glass buttons with gilt decoration, and a diamonte centre are so feminine,I imagine them on the palest of baby blue satins, perhaps with a delicate gold stripe woven into the fabric.

I love this little metal button it is so beautifully crafted, it must be from the Victorian era. The Scotch thistle is such a Scottish symbol I expected the button to have been made in Scotland, but on the underside of the button are the maker's mark and Made in England as you can see below.

These are shank buttons, one with a moonstone centre, the blue one in the middle is glass, and the lower is imitation pearl with a gold filagree pattern around the outer edge.

These buttons were bought by a friend from India, they are an old craft that has been revived by selling these beautifully packaged buttons to tourists. See below:

And now for those patient faithful ones I have saved the tiniest most delicate buttons for you, these are so small I wonder how any but the smallest of hands could use them.

And yet even thought they are so small, some are ornately decorated with pattern and paint, it is like a world on a pin head. Don't you love it, so wonderful. Well my dears now I really must go, there is so much to do and so little time.

Tee Hee and Away.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Movie Costume Designer Name

Virginia Fisher print of Irene Lentz-Gibbons costume design; gown with mink and pearls for Barbara Stanwyck in \"B.F\'s Daughter\" 1947. Niiiice, but I digress.

OK who were some of the greats.

Adrian Adolph Greenberg, March 1903-13 September 1959, (how cool is that he died 10 days after I was born), known mostly as Adrian, was a Hollywood fashion designer whose most famous costumes were for The Wizard of Oz and other Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the 1930s and 1940s. During his career, he designed costumes for over 250 films and his screen credits usually read as "Gowns by Adrian". He designed costumes for over 250 films including Judy Garland's costumes in The Wizard of Oz, Greta Garbo's Matahari and the extravagant creations for Marie Antoinette.

Well thats pretty hot, when you consider that it was designed back in the 1930,s, pretty outrageous really.

And here she is, Greta Garbo as Mata Hari, the Vamp, the forerunner of your kick arss woman, with a touch of darkness. She is almost Gothic.

Oh yeah go Greta, Sexai. So Adrian Adolf Greenburg, so there's a name, he must have been a Jew, and his second name was Adolf . And this was the 1930-40 period, wierd, no that is not going to work for me.

And then there's Cecil Beaton, a fashion photographer and costume designer for film and theatre.

Here is Audrey Hepburn dressed by him in Gi Gi, the Ascot Races scene. Luxuiously beautiful.

And look at these gowns, all by Cecil Beaton, oh yeah, I want one!

But I have to say Givenchy's dress designed for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

and the gown he designed for her in the movie Sabrina, now that is glamour. Gorgeous darling, yes definitely has the gorgeous factor in excessive quantities.

Hubert de Givenchy he does it for me, but how do I get a costume designer name out of that. What about Zho Zho de Venci, oh yeah I like it, what do you think?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just a linen tray cloth with embellishments

A Birthday Treat for Peaches

My sister's bithday was coming and I wanted to make a textile picture for her, to replace one I had given her many years before. I wanted to place her in the context of her new life, and set her free from all that had been before.

My inspiration was a piece of fabric with a historic print on it that I saw on trade me.

I have been collectiong old doilies and tray cloths etc and have about 100 now. I picked out a plain linen cloth with a hem stitch border. This was my blank canvas.

I started by cutting out flowers abd leaves from different fabrics I have and appliquing them on with a fine blanket stitch.

I used fabric paint to paint the balloon with my sister and her daughter sitting in the boat like basket.

Then it was just a matter of embellishing with ribbon work flowers and pennants, embroidery and couching on decorative threads.

The final finished tray cloth.

Do you like it? Sorry about spelling Issy's name wrong, it is her Italian title. I hope that Peaches will use this, it doesn't matter if it gets stained or worn out, the important thing to me is that if you like it and it makes you feel good, then use it. I love to surround myself with beautiful textiles, just seeing them, makes me feel good, they enrich my life.

Happy Birthday darling, love you forever.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Goth / Viktor Coat
Finished 14th July 2010

Today I want to show you the Goth Coat I made for my favourite Goth son. Yes it is finally finished, after over a year. It was such a relief to finally have it finished, as I couldn't start another major project until it was done and now I am free to start something new. This coat is fully tailored, with lots of handsewing and horse hair interfacing, (my favourite interfacing). Getting harder to find a good quality one these days, and pretty expensive so if anyone knows of a good place here in New Zealand, or mail order, let me know.

The coat from the back, showing the box pleat set into the back, and applique details on CB and cuffs of sleeves.

I know he's wearing eyeliner, and he loves that Goth look, and I love him to pieces. Long may you and your coat live, into eternity my love.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Beautiful Dorie's Wedding Present

Wanted to put up some more of my recent work. Recently I fell in love with silk ribbon embroidery. The silk ribbon is so fine, such a delicate fabric,I love working with it. I have been focusing on flowers so far, little roses and they are quite difficult and fiddly to make. The first ones I made were part of a series of little fabric pictures, made for the lovely Dori's wedding present.

This is the whole set below.
And of course there had to be one with buttons.