Tuesday, April 6, 2010

6 April 1956 “Duct-Tape Dummy, Dresses and Unplugged Wednesday”

womansewing A few of you have asked for a tutorial on my duct tape dummy. I merely used this tutorial here. CLICK ON THIS LINK. (I just found this link and have no idea who the people are in the photos, but the tutorial was really helpful.) It was the basis for my dummy, but I differed in it, in that I only used two roles of duct tape. I felt that was enough for me and I have had not problem with it as of yet. I stuffed it with leftover poly-fill from crafts and also a few bags of dryer lint. You may remember that during my week of War Rations, I began to look at all my ‘garbage’ in a new light and saw the waste of throwing away cleaned and screened cotton and wool fibers. I saved it for various things, such as making fire lighting starters etc. So, having had bags of it, I used some of it to fill my dummy. Many people are afraid of the fire hazard of it, but I wonder if that was not started when the ‘fire-retardant’ chemicals were being introduced so we would be frightened, throw away our old toys, and buy new. We have actually come to learn that the chemicals used to make such things (including baby clothes) are actually harmful when breathed in, which infant clothes and stuffed toys often are! But, I digress, you may stuff it with what you like.

I, having not finished my March dress, have come to realize that I actually prefer to sew without patterns. My last two dress challenges involved me making my own way through and having to figure it out. This seems to be the best way for me, so for April’s dress, I am going to try taping out a pattern on my form, draping fabric and making my dress in this way. I think my laxness in my march dress was that I am still fussing about with the pattern and it’s instructions. But, I must learn to follow patterns, I think, but am also happy to make my own and therefore my own designs. Within the framework of what I like about vintage styles, but with my own eye to my take on it and desire to embellish.

You will find the dummy rather easy to do. Simply get a good friend, a garbage bag, two rolls of duct tape and set aside two hours to laugh and giggle at yourself in your taped up armor. I kept feeling a cross between a robot and an armored Opera singer, often wishing for a horned helmet.operasinger

Speaking of dresses, I found these two styles from 1958 very interesting.58dresses The dropped waist has a 1920’s take, but in a very polished crisp 50’s esthetic. As a larger gal, 20’s fashions can be very unforgiving, grabbing a gall at the largest part of her body, but the dress on the right is loose enough, yet looks slightly tucked in at the waist to be both comfortable and very flattering. I could see possibly designing a top such as that and a few pleated skirts with hidden fasteners, so you could interchange them. They would hold like a dress and have a varied look to your wardrobe. I might make this my study for my April dress.

 undergarments2 The undergarment on the left is very helpful for a fuller figured gal, I think. You can see that it helps the tummy and hips and the fullness does not begin until below the hip. This can really help that basic 1950 silhouette for a larger girl, so a look such as this will be more flattering:50sdress1

handstyping We have been discussing various challenges on the Forum of late. We have one of our fellow Apronites who is doing a month of WWII wartime rations for herself. I did a week of the same and was really shocked at how much one saves when there is less around to eat. We are always discussing how to use technology in the modern world and not to be USED by it. So, we have decided tomorrow, Wednesday 7 April, will be our Unplugged day. That means NO computer, no radio (only old music/radio programs but no modern live radio with commercials) no tv. Of course, cell phones may have to be used if one has no land lines, but NO texting and only using it for what is needed not talking for an hour about what you are doing while on the phone.

For me, quite honestly, except for the computer (which I only use for this blog/website and the subsequent research required for it) it will be little different from what has become my ‘normal’ day. But I have had all of 1955 and the beginning of 1956 to get used to it.

I am excited to see how others fare. And I am hoping we could make it a weekly or possibly twice a month occurrence. Then we could continue to discuss what happened and how we fared on the forum. I like this ideal of social experiment to challenge oneself and to really form new conclusions about our modern world and our roles within the system that currently exists. It might be a way to continue to grow our independent strengths and to use to bend technology to our needs and not feel so dependent upon it. We shall see how we all fare.

I love that our community is growing in ways that though we all live so far from one another, we can still be a network that challenges our minds and concepts and encourages our own personal, artistic, and homemaking growth.

50'sgirls with radio For me, as an artist, music was always such a part of my day. I would have the iPod docked and playing music all the time while painting, creating etc. Then when not doing that I would often be watching TV or surfing the net. After a few months in 1955, having to ‘listen to the radio’ by playing cd’s of old music and radio shows, I began to realize my love of old vinyl. My old record player does not have the option to stack up multi-records to continue to play (available in 1955 to some) so I would let a record play through and then find, after a few hours, I had been simply humming along to myself or really just thinking more.

I began to regain my thoughts. My inner dialogue and thought patterns were returning to me in a way I had not experienced for awhile. The music, as well, seemed to have more of a pure joy to it, when it was dished out in small increments of one side of a 33 record. And the act of holding the big black circle and that first crackle of sound as the needle hits the vinyl, was a very tangible moment of experience. Again, those actions made it more real and therefore more enjoyable to me. Yes, it is nice I can just press one button on my iPod and play days and days of music, but then it all blurs and blends into the background. The act of a cup of tea, feet up, an old magazine and the music, or sitting with your eyes closed listening to it or even the joy of it as you bop along to your housework all made it more of an event or moment. There being a very definite end to it (without my pressing a stop/pause button) somehow makes it seem more meaningful to me.

I have often thought of the Grandmother in the 1940’s House reality show. After the experiment, she was never the  same. She began to budget and make shopping lists. She would only buy food to prepare and shop in local shops and found she ate better and spent 1/4 of her old food budget. She also found writing again and would journal and write letters. She had thought that due to aging she had lost her ability to form sentences or recall more complex words, but found it was simply from lack of use. I, too, have felt that through my writing here (and in my actual pen to paper writing which I often do now as well). I found that I had let the ease of the modern world actually rob me of bits of ME. My thoughts, and patterns of speech and then subsequent actions in creative endeavors as well as conversation had been lost to the media.  I could barley utter a collection of sentences without a pop reference to the Simpsons or some ‘old show’. There is nothing wrong with that, but merely regurgitating others phrases is not as enjoyable as having one’s own thoughts.

Much of what I have come to just consider the pleasures and the rights of my day, to be unplugged, are really not things a modern person does. We often find ourselves bombarded with constant noise, music, advertising.  I have a friend whose TV is constantly on, even if they are using the computer or playing video games. The noise almost robs one of their own thoughts. The incessant ads and commercials playing out in the background. Even surfing online is an exercise in dodging advertising. Again, technology and advancement is not bad, but I think it can be harmful if one allows it to completely color their day to the point that it paints out a persons individuality.

So, any of you who have not found us on the Forum, or would like to have a go at it, tomorrow is our first UNPLUGGED day. If you do it, or even if you want to try it on a weekend day when you are not at work, do so and then let us know here how it worked. Did you hate it? Did you hear your thoughts for the first time in a long time. Were you anxious, bored, scared, mad, happy? Let us know.

Well, happy day to all, and happy homemaking.

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