Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gothic dreams

Inspiration comes when we are listening gently to ourselves and is sometimes a surprising companion.   We cannot see where we are going, or why something is important to us...but we follow anyway.

I found this fabric in a warehouse store, deep in a pile of cast off polyester remnants.  Peeking out of this unloved grouping was a bit of gorgeous color with lovely black outlining.
I pulled, thinking "What a beautiful scarf this would be".  I pulled some more and saw some odd splotches of pink, then some houses, trees, and perhaps a piano?  
An open doorway appeared, though it was tagged with some shocking red paint. I pulled some more, and my idea of a scarf was gone.  This was an unlovely but striking piece of art. Dark in places, and sweet in others.  Filled with the details of a neighborhood on the edges of a forbidding wood.



My mind said "WTH?" while my heart said "Buy this".  It has been with me for about a year, slithering its polyester way around the fabric closet.  This weekend I found the perfect pattern for it-this caftan by Butterick.  


Here it is on my dressform, still needing hemming. This caftan will be a workhorse in my loungewear wardrobe, especially now as we are suffering 110F.  

I can slip into this after a shower and pad around the house in comfort.  










More than a caftan though...while working with this fabric I was lost in memories.   I heard the slow cadences of southern speech, and smelled the wet decay under the azaelas.  I had vivid flashbacks of visiting my stepmom's family in the south-knowing the "wrongness" of some people, even while they were showing gracious courtesy.  The titles below came to mind...the McCarthy novel is one I have not read and was written before he moved west. Sanctuary is a must read, as is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Southern gothic fiction is mysterious, gritty, dark, and almost always set against a backdrop of decaying Southern manners.  Happy sewing and reading~Mary

23 comments:

  1. Great post, Mary! and that caftan pattern is on it's way to me!

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  2. 110' must lead to some dark imaginings.
    Thanks for the book suggestions - I'll save them for fall.
    Your caftan looks stunning.

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  3. Beautiful caftan! Your book references are noted, thank you.

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  4. And you are at a slightly higher elevation than we are down in central Tucson. Love that caftan pattern. I'm going to look for it next time JoAnn's has a Butterick sale. I need a cover up for the swim suit since I've decided to go back to swimming.

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  6. I love your caftan. I think I need one too. That fabric is perfect for it.

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  7. For those of you who like the pattern, try Butterick 5477 in place of the 5361 above. 5361 is OOP but the See and Sew 5477 is indentical though doesn't include leggings.

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  8. Thanks for the reminder of Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil - read it years ago, time to read it again!

    Beautiful caftan - stunning fabric...

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  9. It's fun to find a "buried treasure", isn't it? Pretty fabric & good way to use it.

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  10. I like this a lot. Nothing like a cozy caftan and good reading!

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  11. I'd love to have heard more about the fabric and the images it conjures, the memories it recalls. Fascinating. I like the fabric and what you have done with it. Southern Gothic fiction is not a genre I've tried but I will note these books and try them. I won't manage the heat, though - our summer max is about 35 degrees less!

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  12. I'd love to have heard more about the fabric and the images it conjures, the memories it recalls. Fascinating. I like the fabric and what you have done with it. Southern Gothic fiction is not a genre I've tried but I will note these books and try them. I won't manage the heat, though - our summer max is about 35 degrees less!

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    1. I love it. I bet it will be super comfortable to wear. Put a belt on and you can wear it as a dress.

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  13. Beautiful post and caftan.. How nice to have the sewing experience be so evocative.. One more benefit of creating what we wear. Enjoy wearing it.

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  14. Kudos for using a fabric I would have passed over. It makes a beautiful caftan for you. I think I've read all of C. McCarthy's books and not a one of them ends well. I usually feel old and stooped from carrying the weight of his words and his characters around with me long after the book has been shelved

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  15. Fascinating fabric -you might end up seeing all kinds of objects in it. I' ve only managed to read 2 novels this year and I love reading ! I am considering making a caftan for a 70s party but perhaps it will get more wear than that.

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  16. Oh wow. what gorgeous fabric. Reminds me of The Scream, impressionism art...lucky girl! I read McCarthy's The Child of God and No Country for Old Men this summer (love the movies, books are wonderful). And agree with you about Midnight in the Garden - can feel the humidity, everything slows down...

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  17. Wow this post and your gorgeous caftan sum up what i love love love about sewing...sure you end up with something comfy and pretty to wear but the way one object can weave together so many memories and ideas about peoples, times, places, books is the real heart of the magic.

    I especially love those herons. You must look beautiful and mysterious in this caftan. Enjoy!

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  18. p.s. 110! oy, we're at 104F here, then a small earthquake on a long-dormant but super scary fault this morning....mother nature! Sending cooling thoughts your way, how that is going to work from this hot place beats me! ;)

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  19. I just ache for the temperatures you are dealing with. However, I am well aware of being conscious of regretting what you wish for.
    Your caftan looks absolutely perfect - no matter what the temperatures.

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  20. Hee for that polyester slithering around your fabric stash...I hear you on that !

    Can't imagine what 110F feels like.

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  21. Outstanding…always love reading your blog to see such amazing work! sewing patterns

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  22. Lovely! I love big interesting prints but I am a teeny bit afraid of them - What to make? How will they look on me? etc.

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