Monday, April 05, 2010

History finding its way into my work...

Many years ago, I was at the Stormville Flea Market and I spied a very old dressmaker's form. I had to have it. I bought it for $20 and had to carry it from the very far end of the flea market to my car, where I wasn't sure if it would fit in the back seat. It did and I have held onto it fiercely since my husband has never much cared for it.



It's made of metal, I believe the very heavy stand is painted iron. A brown cloth covers the mannequin portion and the size can be changed by loosening and tightening the wing nuts inside the form. A painted label on the metal neck announces that it's a Hall Borchert Dressform Company made in Hoboken, New Jersey. The form is an Empress 1. There is a paper label with dates beginning in August 1903 and ending in 1915. Seems to fit. The style of the dress form looks very Gibson Girl.

As a sewer, I was very attracted to the dressmakers form. I learned to sew at age 4. Yes, no kidding, I really did. I used to carry a needle and thread and fabric scraps around in a fabric covered cigar box to sew clothes for my Barbie doll. I sewed my first Maxi Dress in 1968 while in the 4th grade. I sewed all my own clothes until it became cheaper to buy them myself sometime in the late 1980's.

But my sewing background popped up in 2005 when I used my wire and glass beadmaking skills to make these miniature dressmaker's forms....


My history had found a way into my beadmaking. I'd like to do more of these just for me - maybe try to personalize the dresses a bit more. I can vividly remember that first Maxi dress. Hmmmmm.....

Has something in your history found it's way into your work?

10 comments:

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Cindy, those are AWESOME! and I'm envious of your dressmaker's form - I had a wicker one and it went the way of things when I sold the Texas house, but I miss it, her name was "Matilda" - will you be naming yours?

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Lynn!

Oh too bad you had to let Matilda go, I'm sure she was very proud and happy to be with you.

I believe she has a name, "The Empress" which I think suits her well. I've been a loyal subject and made sure she has her own space in my humble abode ;-)

She says to tell you thank you for you admiration of her! ;-)

Cindy

mairedodd said...

love that dress form! i found a miniature at pier one - and while it isn't vintage, it gives me that feeling... degas' le petit danseuse has infiltrated my work! little did i know that when i 'met' her in philadelphia 25 years ago she would make such an impression upon me...

EmandaJ said...

Hi Cindy,

I love your vintage Empress dressform! And your dress form beads (would love to have one of those!!) I have a dressform too, but she has been religated to the garage -- not the best place for her. I started to sew at 5 when my mom taught me to embroider little lazy daisies and the chain stitch. Later I learned to use her ancient Singer sewing machine (at age 6).

Emanda

Davinia said...

Poor Barbie, she get's a bad rap but I also learned to sew, knit and crochet using Barbie as my model. My mum also had a dressmakers model but I'm afraid it just became a static clothes horse for all sorts of odd things. Hats, scarves, school uniforms and anything that was in thequeue for mending.

smArtee said...

Those are so unique...how gorgeous...Thanks for stopping by..Im glad I cam over..!

Sabine said...

My goodness! That is an amazing dress form. I used to have a vintage mannequin that I wish I still had.
Great beads and I love the forms that they sit on.

Pretty Things said...

OMG! I love them! What a dichotomy!

fanciful devices said...

Wait. You got that amazing thing for $20? I'm burning with jealousy! Really unique beads, wow,

Jeannie said...

hmmmmmmmm, not yet, but it's a beautiful thought.
I think sometimes we get too caught up staying in touch with current trends.