Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sew What?! A 1940's Sun Suit

Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that I am decluttering, stash busting, and overcoming the hoarder in me.  In actuality, I am usually doing quite the opposite - only making things worse by enabling the same terrible behavior in Mary.  The overwhelming "need" to rescue things from trash barrels, thrift stores, estate/garage sales is a monkey on our collective back.  And if we can't get rid of the monkey, at the very least, I would like to train him to recognize awesome vintage scores and to haggle like he's in a Baghdad bazaar.  I will admit that I am improving (the first step is admitting that I have a problem, right?) but when, on a road trip through Albuquerque, NM, I saw chenille sailboats peeking out from a rack full of unremarkable thrift store clothing, it was immediately obvious that this piece was not going to be abandoned to whatever fates the scorching desert sun offers to pink and purple, chenille sailboats.

This vintage, chenille beach cape languished in a closet for the
last couple of years waiting for me to figure out an appropriate
 ensemble; purple/salmon/lavender is a difficult color story to replicate.  

Our recent adventures on Catalina Island didn't begin and end with our friends' wedding; we made a long weekend out of it and that, of course, proved the perfect opportunity to bring the sailboats out of dry dock.

As we took the photo of Mary with the statue,
 this baby sea lion was perched on the rocks immediately
across from us.  He was not about to be outdone by some
crummy, old statue! 

Using a pattern that Mary created, I made a gathered,
halter-style bra top with a keyhole cutout.  The shorts
were altered from a contemporary pattern and then
given the Mr. Tiny treatment with a sailboat based on
the cape's design.

Using a satin stitch in varying widths, I machine-appliqued a
 sunset and sailboat on the shorts of Mary's sun suit in colors
coordinating with those on the beach cape. 

I call it a "sun suit" because, while it was technically safe to submerge in
 water, the two-piece set doesn't really have all of the desirable wicking
qualities and ultra-snug fit of a proper swimsuit.  Wanting to dive in,
 Mary was a little wistful at the water's edge.

Looking not unlike the bathing beauties for which Catalina Island
 was so famous in its heyday, Mary strikes a pose for the fine folks
of Avalon, CA.
(photo by Amber Foxx)

Mr. Tiny, Mary, and our pals Damien & Allison.
I like the fact that we ran the gamut of styles and levels of dress/undress.
White pants?  Don't mind if I do!
(photo by Amber Foxx)

Having done more than my fair share of sewing, planning, packing, performing, and preparation, I was ready to use our Catalina weekend as an excuse to relax and enjoy our sunny, Southern California weather.  While Mary sauntered around the tiny town of Avalon, Mr. Tiny was sitting...er, swinging...pretty.

The new album cover - "Mr. Tiny Swings in Avalon"


Cheers!

Mr. Tiny

36 comments:

  1. What a fabulous outfit! I love vintage play suits/beach wear.

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    1. Thanks Peter!!! Me too! I am a wimp and really only like to sew things that are "easy" - shorts, peasant tops, gathered skirts, etc.

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  2. i'll take that last photo as a panorama to hang above my couch! what a great view! and of course, that sun suit looks great! i love how you made the appliqué match the cape. gorgeous!

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    1. Hahahaha!!! I'm not sure how long you could live with a picture of Mr. Tiny on a swing; your guests would get scared!

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  3. I'm always in awe of your sewing projects, great sun suit & cheers for rescuing the fabulous cape from the thrift!

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    1. Thank you!!! I couldn't believe it when I saw the cape. I grabbed it and hung on to it for dear life; it was one of those moments when I thought someone would tell me that it wasn't for sale or the price was marked incorrectly.

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  4. The outfit turned out fabulously! Love it.

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  5. Feck me, that's a fabularse outfit!!! The BEACH CAPE has me swooning......!!!
    Clever possum!
    Bugger decluttering, repeat after me: it's not that you have too much crap,you just don't have enough SPACE! X

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    1. Hahahaha!!! Thanks Helga! You leave the best comments!

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  6. I love it adorable outfit. How could you even think of abandoning that chenille!!!

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    1. Thanks LV!!! There was just a split second of "We don't need one more thing," but then I saw all those boats and grabbed it before anyone else could!

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  7. What a fabulous outfit! I do love chenille.

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    1. Everything kind of begins and ends with chenille doesn't it? I love it and will never forgive myself for not buying two very-inexpensive, matching southwest/cowboy, twin, chenille bedspreads because I didn't have a room with twin beds. I should have BUILT a room for those bedspreads!!!

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  8. First of all: the photo of you on the swing is one of the BEST things I've seen in a long time, I love it! You look like you need to be on a vintage postcard!

    Second: the sun suit is absolutely fantastic, and I love how it matches the sailboat-emblazoned chenille. The applique is just a perfect touch! You two are quite a pair. :)

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    1. Uh oh...you didn't say a pair of what... Hahahahaha!!! Thank you so much! When we found the swing, we spent the better part of the afternoon doing a swing photo shoot - so much fun and such a beautiful view. I wish I was there right now!!!

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  9. You and Mary always have a wonderfully stylish time! Your pictures always look right out of time, I love Mary's sun suit, and Patricia does too! It's the small details you do like the sailboat on the shorts that always make us giddy!

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    1. Thanks Mick!!! I am the least stylish out of our group of uber-stylish friends; I always feel like I'm dragging the cool quotient down. Hahahaha!!!

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  10. when you print off the panorama for rae and frame it...make 2...because I want one too. Also, I suddenly feel like a sassy sailboat beach cape has been missing from my life for 30 years. Damn you, mr tiny!

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    1. At least the photo would be a conversation starter at your parties..."Uh, Kimmie, who is that fat man on a swing?" ANd then you can make a sordid and fascinating back story for me. I think everyone needs a cape - red satin, chenille sailboats, or otherwise!!!

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  11. Pink sailboats for the win! Loving that ensemble!

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  12. What an outfit! I love the sunsuit and that cape - wowee! I do admit that I've never seen a chenille cape but thoroughly approve - and the fabulous sunsuit that you crafted to go with it? I wouldn't expect any less from you! Holy moly, that last photo of you swinging could be one of the best photos ever. Yes, a wall mural should be made post haste.

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    1. Thanks Eartha!!! From the first time I saw one, I have been a bit obsessed with chenille capes and am always on the lookout for them. They don't seem to be too common but there are a couple the Mr. Tiny archives. Oddly enough, the other one is purple and white??? I know Rae and Kimmie said they wanted the photo in their homes, but I'm not sure how committed they are to a wall mural. It would have to be a pretty, dang big wall!!!

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  13. I agree with Helga: not enough space! (and I have pretty much filled a WHOLE HOUSE) And I totally feel your pain: I can't BEAR to leave anything cool behind that's being tossed out; my mother was absolutely MORTIFIED with my childhood habit of scavenging the neighbour's trash! I still remember a set of ANTLERS I found in the one neighbour's trash; they ALWAYS seemed to be throwing out the coolest stuff! The local thrift stores all know me by name, and I frequently come home with stuff bungee-corded high on the back of my tricycle (a second hander, natch!) I'd never bother with a regular bike any more; one can't carry stuff home from garage sales on one of THOSE).

    That sun suit with the cape has some major snazz going on there, and of course Mary wears it with her customary pizzazz! I swear that that black and white photo looks authentically vintage!

    Speaking of capes I scored a Afghani mirror-embroidered elbow-length wool circle-cut capelet in pretty much that very violet shade; I had one in black with white stitching around the mirrors but a former roommate STOLE it.

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    1. Thanks Sufiya!!! For a cape like that, I would hunt the roommate down!!!

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  14. I saw this one in the flesh last weekend - another amazing creation by Mr Tiny! Oh how I wish I had someone to create such wonderful, one-off pieces for meeeeeeeeee! *Sob*!

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    1. Thank you!!! You don't need me; you always look amazing!!!

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  15. I said it last time you did a sewing post..Mary is a lucky gal and the outfits you create for her are just perfect! That cape! Those shorts! And you on the swing is the picture of relaxation...

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    1. Thanks SQ!!! I wish I was on that swing right now...so much fun!

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  16. Love the darling outfit! Mary looks so cute! I also love the pic of you swinging! Swing on!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks RS!!! I wish I was on that swing right now. There is nothing I love more than a good swing...except maybe rolling down a good hill!

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  17. Replies
    1. Thanks HRF!!! Sorry I didn't make to Viva this year. Hopefully we'll cross paths next time!

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