Monday, April 20, 2015

Sew What?! Santa Clarita Meets Santa Maria

Please stop me before I've gone too Chico's.  There is a fine line between bohemian/folky/ethnic chic and a full-blown Southwest nightmare - and I'm having to learn where to draw it.  Not that there is anything wrong with Chico's; it's only that Mary is just barely twenty-two and not quite ready to ride off into that great sunset of Santa Fe-senior sophistication.

Santa Maria in Mr. Tiny's Mexicali Folk Couture
Nevermind the blue wristband...check out those cool, cowgirl gauntlets!

This past weekend, Tiny & Mary were thrilled to be part of the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival where we shared the stage with our pals Deke Dickerson and the rip-roarin'est kings of the Hollywood honky-tonk, The Lucky Stars.

File this under awkward family photos.
Dan, Mary, Tiny, Russ, Sage, Pappy, Andy, Djordje,
with Deke front and center...but where's Wally?!?!!

As the event landed within a few days of Mary's birth, she was definitely entitled to one new outfit, one that would hopefully work for our performance.  Ours was a daytime affair, so instead of going the rhinestones and fringe route, I opted for something a little more casual, a little more sultry, and a little more inspired by looks found south of the border.

Our little Santa Maria is still "on the fence" as to whether this looks
artistic or like the climax of an old-west melodrama.  Or maybe both?

In the steadily-reducing fabric stash at Mr. Tiny's Workshop, I discovered a remnant of multi-colored, woven fabric of indeterminate origin (my best guess is Peru).  The oddly shaped piece, garnered at an estate sale as part of a bin of fabric, had already been cut and used by its previous owner (a seamstress and lover of ethnic textiles); there was so little usable material left that I almost put it in the rag bag.  Mary rescued the remnant and it became the top of this two-piece entry into Mr. Tiny's Mexicali Folk Couture.

On the balcony with a balconette top.
I rather inappropriately think of those decorative accents at the neckline as
"eyebrows;" some perfunctory internet research indicated that tops of this nature
can be referred to as "balconettes."  Help me out here, vintage sewing pals???

Because I had only enough to barely eke out the bra-top, I began the hunt for fabric in a complimentary style.  I drove to nearly EVERY fabric store in the Western Hemisphere, even perusing the stalls at that lovable, little tourist-trap known as Olvera Street, to no avail.  I was not looking for a match.  In fact, I was happy with the idea of an altogether mismatched set.  Nothing I found, however, had the same weight, the same richness, nor the same quality as that damnable little scrap of fabric with which I began this whole mess...until I remembered that there was another, much larger, woven textile found in the same tub of fabric at the same estate sale, a piece I had looked at every day during my search but had tuned out because it was being used as a throw over a chair.

Using every last inch of the material, I gathered it into a long,
patio-style skirt, using solid black for the alternating tiers.

After the show, we went to explore the festival grounds, situated on the historic estate of William S. Hart.  The 1927 Spanish-Colonial mansion, the cactus, and the slowly-sinking sun were an ideal backdrop for a few photo-ops.

But maybe the sun had sunk a little too low for this picture...
Nevertheless, the view from the Hart mansion is 360-degrees of beautiful hill country.

Justifiably unsatisfied with my pitiful photography skills, Mary
set the auto-timer on her phone and captured this photo of herself.

As this was our first time at The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, we were unsure of exactly what to expect.  As it happens, the festival is a full family affair with activities for everyone.  Next year, I plan to make a long weekend out of it and listen to some of that cowboy poetry, hear a few more bands, rope 'n ride 'n wrangle, and get there well before all the barbecue is sold out!

Happy to finally be standing next to a real cowboy/frontiersman,
Santa Maria thought this guy was Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and
Buffalo Bill all rolled into one!

Well, what do you think?  Have I strayed too far into the land of metal lizards and copious amounts amber jewelry?  Are this ensemble and this guy haunting your desert dreams?  Fortunately, with this photo set, I think we're giving neither Chico's nor any of our photographer pals need to worry that were moving in on their territory!

Mr. Tiny & the wacky tacky adventure team say, "'Happy Trails,' until we meet again, Mr. Hart!!!"

"Happy Trails" - Roy Rogers & Dale Evans


Mr. Tiny


  1. I've said it before - Mary is such a lucky lady to have you on hand to make these lovely ensembles for her. It's all gorgeous!

    1. Thank you!!!. I'll have to remind her just how lucky she is!

  2. i think it turned out great. that top is so cute and looks perfect on Mary!

  3. Details! Can you give more details about the cowboy festival? What was it like? Is the town very interesting or can you zip thru it all in under an hour? Any salacious stories? I read that Quentin Tarantino shot Django there or was that at a different cowboy ranch? There are supposedly 10 movie ranches in S. clarita. Was there enough to see and do for 2 days? What was the most surprising thing abt the experience of participating? Thanks. I love your blog. It's cowboy and kitsch and fun.

    1. Thank you! The town/festival is very cool and should be given at least a full day. Usually, the festival is held on the grounds of Melodyland Ranch, but there was filming so it was held in and around old town Newhall. The bulk of the festivities were on the grounds of the Hart Ranch & Museum, with poets, musicians, food, demonstrations of life in the old west, and guys doing rope tricks. We spent most of our time at our show but definitely plan to go back next year for more. I hope we'll see you there!