Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Completed Project: McCall's 6387 - Rainbow Brite Dress

I have a confession to make:  I rarely have time to sew for myself, let alone for anyone else, so sewing things for other people usually falls very, very low on my list of priorities.  However, a couple weeks ago I found several amazing scraps of vintage 1980s Rainbow Brite fabric panels at a thrift store in Black Mountain for a mere .25 cents and my niece Ella's 3rd birthday is July 3rd, so the time finally presented itself for me to make her a dress!  

I used McCall's 6387, mainly because I was charmed by the little detachable "Heidi Style" apron.  Ironically, even though I purchased fabric for the apron, I ultimately decided not to construct it since it was going to partially obscure Rainbow Brite and her horse Starlite which is the main focal point of the dress.

The skirt of is made from rainbow multi-striped cotton quilting fabric which I lined with white cotton.  For the lower fabric ruffle, straps and bodice lining, I used an orange and pink toned batik.

From start to finish, I was able to construct the dress in about 4 hours.  It's a very simple design, but all of those gathers take an eternity!  Even though Ella has no idea who Rainbow Brite is, I think she will love the colors, ruffle and gathers.  Her parents, both children of the 1980s (like myself), will probably appreciate the nostalgic elements of it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Painter Man" - The Strange and Brief Intersection of 1960s Mod Culture & 1970s Disco Culture

The original 1966 picture sleeve single of The Creation's "Painter Man" next to the Atlantic 45 label from Boney M.'s unusually rocking disco 1979 cover of the same song.

I have been a fan of 1960s music group The Creation ever since their song "Makin' Time" was featured prominently in Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore.  They are one of the many "lost" and overlooked bands that emerged during the Beatles-influenced music explosion of the mid-1960s and are most notable for Eddie Phillips playing his guitar with a violin bow (years before Jimmy Page gave it a whirl).  

I have a weakness for 1960s Mod-era British music and an extreme fondness for late 1970s disco-era music.  So when I discovered 1970s European disco group Boney M. while searching for 1970s line dance clips from Soul Train on You Tube, I was seriously intrigued.  This is the first video I watched, an amazing (though lip-synced) performance of "Rasputin."  It must be watched to be believed:

 The futuristic space age-meets disco-meets new wave look of Boney M., circa 1979.

From "Rasputin" I quickly went to Spotify to find anything that I could by Boney M. and there I discovered their 1979 album Night Flight to Venus, an insanely fun disco trip into outer space and beyond.  And when I saw that the third track on the album was a cover of The Creation's "Painter Man" and that it's actually a tasteful and surprisingly kick-ass cover....I had it on rotation all day long.

So it is here, in Boney M.'s cover of "Painter Man" that the brief, strange and wonderful intersection of 1960s Mod culture and 1970s disco culture takes place!  Unusual since Boney M. was probably the epitome of manufactured disco groups of the 1970s, and ironic since The Creation was one of the most original and provocative forgotten music groups of the 1960s.