Sunday 1 April 2012

The Hem-isphere Project: Round 2 'Parisienne' Packages

As you may know, this year I am undertaking a sewing-related project with super-talented sewing blogger Cecile from Sewing and so on. (By the way, have you SEEN her new nautical dress?! I'm currently crippled by envy.) Every two months we will send each other a package of goodies, some or all of the contents of which will form the starting point for a sewing project. In January we sent each other these packages and by the end of February we had produced these garments.

The last round (Round 1) had no theme, but we intend to attribute a topic, idea, film, song title, quote, or whatever else to each subsequent round to inspire the choices of package contents. I was nominated to come up with the theme for Round 2, and I came up with 'Parisienne'. Cecile lives in Réunion, a French province in the Indian ocean. With the linguistic and cultural links to France, I was really interested in what she would come up with. Paris is also a city I am fascinated and inspired by and am lucky enough to have been a few times.

So what does 'Parisienne' mean to me? Each time I've been to Paris, it's been cold, grey and often raining. And very beautiful. The ornate, stone architecture is so stunning, and the awesome cafes are so inviting. But I am also aware of a coldness and aloofness; of decades of luxury, privelege and elitism.

And luxury is so evident: understated but always visible. Paris expects the finer things in life, everyday. Where else could you enjoy such incredible Art Nouveau iron work free of charge, as part of the metro system no less?! Why not make your daily commute a more beautiful experience?

So how did I translate that into my choices for the contents of Cecile's package?

My package to Cecile:

It contains a piece of beautiful cotton sateen that's been in my stash for years. I never came up with a use for something as fine and subtle as this! It's background is dark grey, which nicely reflects my memories of soggy Paris pavements. Plus it has an ivory print that is both geometric and floral, and some of the shapes I feel happily resemble some of the Art Nouveau iron work curves and shapes that form those Metro entrances.

Along with the fabric, I've included a length of delicate vintage lace and some small mother of pearl buttons. To me, including those elements reflects the kind of 'subtle luxury for everyday' that I sense in Paris. The kind of mentality that might ask 'Why use cheap or poor quality trim or buttons on a garment, when something timeless and special is available?'.

Cecile's package to me:

She has sent me a lengthy of lovely, drapey white fabric with fine black stripes, a cute 1970's tunic/dress sewing pattern and some faceted black faux-jet buttons. I'm really excited about the contents and, having dwelled on it for a week, I know exactly what I plan to do with this project!

Look what Cecile also sent me:

To commemorate the first round of this project, she made a darling collage of herself in her handmade outfit, featuring the top that was born from the first package I sent her!

Let Round 2 commence....


Tilly said...

Ooh la la! Lurrrvely goodies, mesdames. That stripey fabric is so you Zoe, I can't wait to see what you make with it.

Totally adore Cecili's drawing - she could sell those on Etsy and I'd buy one. xx

K.Line said...

I love this series! And your description of Paris is so apt.

theperfectnose said...

This is such a great idea. Exactly what I mean by 'sewing socially'. Can't wait to see what you guys make!

Frau Tipmatic said...

What a wonderful project!

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