Hoard Couture: Decorative and Collections Pieces

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Muslin, paper lunch napkins, thread, sharpie marker, hem binding, tassels, buttons

The Doodle Napkin cape is hand-stitched from the lunch napkins my husband finds in his bag every day and that he remembers to bring home. They are a form of communication between us so he remembers what I have going on that day or how I feel. I have been using lunch napkins for garments since the small scale sculptural dress series that started my journey of Hoard Couture. This one is garment number 7 of the Daily Doodle Series. The Doodle line has proven to be very popular both on the runway and in exhibition. As long as my husband keeps working, there will be napkin creations on my agenda.

Rock-a-Billy CD Dress – inspired by the 1950s

Fabrics, thread, CDs, sequins

“Remember those 45’s? Yeah baby, half of you don’t! But this 50’s inspired skirt and jacket are rock-a-billy reimagined for the modern girl. Crinolines and saddle shoes? Check! However, our jitterbug baby grew into a jive dancing diva…..even though those CDs are so old school now too.”
Above is the commentary read while this garment walked the runway. My scene assignment was to capture the 1950s. I wanted to reflect on the importance of the 45 record and how we passed through a similar phase with the CD. How to feature them and deal with the weight of over 100 of them was my challenge. The first skirt layer is hologram silver stretch fabric over several layers of tulle slips and petticoats which built up a firm base. The black skirt is actually felt pockets stitched together to hold the CD, then flipped down on the front half and held in place with a jewel. The tank top is the fabric skin of a beach ball which just so happened to the same pattern as the skirt but on a smaller scale. The crop jacket is my own design to accommodate the remnant fabric from my inventory. The pattern reminded me of the kitchen floors of that era with their alternating block color. Held at the neck with bow which felt very “country” to me hence the title.

Positive from a Negative, Skirt and Cape

35mm film negatives, embroidery thread, slide casings

I am of the pre-digital photography era so we have thousands of printed pictures and their film negatives strips, always saved in case we wanted reprints! I feel guilty throwing these strips away but know they are also completely useless. The perforated edges once used to wind the film onto a developer spiral have always appealed to me visually. I experimented with sewing them together. I learned that the “material” is not very flexible or forgiving so the resulting skirt was not as originally envisioned. My big ball gown lighted from within was not to be. Instead there is this slim skirt and rather jaunty cape, my challenge and my solution to recording the era of pre-digital photography for those who have never seen such things before. Thousands more strips remain in storage so a lighted garment may in time be added to the collection. As far as the faded pictures, many were cut and burnt for use on the garment “We Burned….” also on exhibit in this show. Perhaps I should have made a picture frame hat…

The Peacock Gown

Shiny fabric remnants, foam, netting, graduation gowns

This gown was inspired by the twelve foot wide prop wings I had constructed for the 2019 Aultman Hospital Angel Auction as part of our theme décor. Three sets of wings consisted of hundreds of individual “feathers” similar in design to the ones you see here. Sorting my scrap fabrics, I found enough shiny textiles to make over 240 “feathers” of different colors and lengths, whose size and total number was based upon how much fabric was usable. Each feather is three layers of fabric, quilted and appliqued. The length and width of the skirt tail was determined by the number of feathers available in each color, so essentially the final design layout was a random circumstance. The base dress is mine from the 1980s while the lower foam skirt and under-tail are made from Jackson High School 2008 and 2011 graduation robes.
This ensemble disassembles into four separate units that are connected in such a way as to distribute the weight of the skirt. The matching hat is for the runway.

All of Ellie’s Hankies

Vintage handkerchiefs, a table cloth, buttons, thrift dress

This garment was created to display the hundreds of hankies owned by my Mother-in-law, Eleanor Krew (1925-2021). They were embroidered and tatted by her mother, Anna Drotleff (1894-1978). Only her plain or white hankies are used for this piece as a substantial quantity of multi-colored ones will be used for a future design. Very few of them share the same lace edge design, 95% are unique. The base dress was a $10 online find due to extensive beading damage and requiring time to repair. A cotton slip lace edged by Anna D is unseen underneath the dress supporting the weight of the hankies. A single stitched button holds each hankie to this slip so that the hankie itself has not been altered or damaged. The cape is made from an antique tablecloth that has been pulled up and reinforced to create a 1920s silhouette. It can be bustled up or worn down and long, ready for a spontaneous picnic! The vintage hat was found stuffed inside one of Eleanor’s many bins containing linens so I repaired the damage caused by time and critters. It is beautiful as is and adds to the theme of honoring her handiwork.

Under the Sea, dress and cape

Snail shells, fabrics, crocheted boas, yarns, thrift belt

My inspiration for this piece arrived on the shores of Nobles Pond, the local water feature of my neighborhood. Hundreds upon hundreds of snail shells, in a variety of sizes and colors (most of them empty), were just lying there waiting for repurposing. I filled several bags with them and walked back home. After a long bleach bath soak and some unfortunate extractions, the shells were then roasted, dried, and in some cases spray painted. Months later, when I had happened upon three bags of what I thought was yarn at a thrift store, only to discover a few dozen crocheted boas, did the vision fall into place. The boas reminded me of coral. Currently there are 32 boas and counting….
The base fabric was from my inventory so the dress is made from scratch in a simple tank style with a decidedly underwater feel. The placement of the hip line was determined by the length of the boas, most doubled. An inventory belt with a clam shell buckle enhances the fit. And those shells? Well over 600 of them became a cape, each having to have a hole drilled into it and be hand tied one by one to the muslin base. The cape is lined, detailed with another boa and weighs several pounds. Walking this garment causes the boas to flow and sway as if underwater and the snail shell clatter along in harmony.