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New Year – 2020 !

CATHERINE: Who’s hiding behind that feathery cape?

DARQ: Why me, of course!

DARQ: As you can see, they revised the photo opportunity corner of the ballroom at this mountain lodge to reflect the theme of “A Starry Night.”

CATHERINE: Yes, I see all those “stars” on the wall. By the way, you look stunning!

DARQ: Thank you! And, Catherine, you did a fantastic job recreating this ensemble for me from the pictures I brought back from my homeworld. Thanks to your sewing talents, I’ve received almost non-stop compliments.

CATHERINE: That’s great! So — take the cloak off and reveal the dress.

DARQ removes her cloak —

DARQ: This dress is simple, yet very elegant. And I love the way the fabric swirls around me. The train hem floats across the fake snow. Oh, and just look at my shoes —

CATHERINE mutters, “Always the shoes.” then says: Certainly more bling than your Christmas shoes had!

DARQ chuckles, then says: But of course — Oh, my! I have to go. They’ve announced the a buffet breakfast-brunch is now being served!

**************CATHERINE and DARQ: To all who stop by, we wish you a

***What will Darq wear for the Valentine’s Day Ball? Follow this blog to find out or ask to be added to Darq’s mailing list to be notified of blog posts — https://www.catherineemclean.com/connect-with-catherine-form.html

*********Note to Sewers

Darq’s cloak is a woven metallic gabardine that’s trimmed with feathers. The feather trim is topped with a metallic ribbon. The “embroidery” is actually an iron-on decal (like for T-shirts). The dress is light blue satin.

The original picture I used for the dress design was from a 1920’s cut-out-doll’s dress. Unfortunately I drew the sleeve upside-down on my pattern and didn’t figure that mistake out until I had the dress on Darq. Fortunately, the satin fabric allowed the sleeves to fold naturally to what you see. I tacked the folds down with the satin flowers.

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Posted by on January 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas 2019 – Winter Wonderland

DARQ: Despite the weather (way too much snow!), the MIBs (Men in Black) got me to my mountain destination. The week-long holiday event’s theme is Christmas Wonderland. The following picture of my gown was taken at the “Photo Op Corner” of the ballroom—

And, of course, my outfit isn’t complete without a look at my bejeweled and snowflaked shoes —

By the way, Catherine is down on the farm having a quiet Christmas and New Years, but for me, I’ll be waltzing a dance floor, dining on fine food, and enjoying days of winter sports like learning to shred the gnar (snowboarding). I loved the sleigh ride yesterday and even got to do some skiing. This holiday event will end with another charity ball on New Year’s Eve. Stop back then to see my New Year’s ball gown.

Wishing you a peaceful, joyful, and happy Christmas!

**************************NOTE TO SEWERS**************************

Darq’s gown is satin. Rabbit-fur like feather trims the sleeve caps. A bit of the trim-fluff was incorporated into her hairpiece. The feather trim is also used on the top of the hem’s satin fringe. Hand stitching that trim was difficult because the thread kept getting snarled by the soft strands of feather-fluff. Darq holds a rabbit-fur muff in her right hand (way easier to sew!). The idea for this gown came from a coloring book.

I wish you all the best this Christmas Day! — Catherine

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Posted by on December 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Thanksgiving 2019

DARQ: Hello! I am grateful for all who follow this blog and extend to you a heartfelt wish for a Happy Thanksgiving!

CATHERINE: I’ll second that – Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And, Darq, how do you like the 1920’s style gown I made for you?

DARQ: I love it! Especially because everyone can see the shiny bling on my shoes — — —

CATHERINE mutters: You and your shoes.

DARQ: What did you say?

CATHERINE: Enjoy the ball and Thanksgiving . See you when you get back to the farm.

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NOTE TO SEWERS:

Here’s the inspiration for Darq’s gown —

This came from a cut-out book of 1920’s paper dolls. The gown is brown satin with metallic confetti. The contrasting tabs are synthetic suede lined with the same satin as the dress. Sewing all those point on the hem of the dress and sleeves was a challenge. I ended up using tulle for a facing because lining the dress would have made things far too bulky.

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What will Darq wear for a “Winter Wonderland” gown for the Christmas charity ball she’ll attend next month? Follow this blog and find out!

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Posted by on November 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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A Rockin’ Halloween 2019

From and undisclosed residence, Darq video chats with author Catherine E. McLean . . .

DARQ: Hello! I’m having a Rock-n-Roll time at this year’s Halloween Party where the theme is a “Sock Hop.”

CATHERINE: I love the Halloween decor – and you fit right in with your 1950’s Poodle Skirt!

DARQ: I actually stand out in my outfit – very retro as they say, and to satisfy the curious who read last month’s post about what’s under my poodle skirt –

CATHERINE chuckles, then says: A nylon net petticoat – how quaint! And itchy.

DARQ: Not so itchy. That’s because the layers of net are attached to my taffeta underpants, I mean pettipants.

CATHERINE: Okay, put the skirt down. I also see you’re wearing plain old saddle shoes. Considering how much you love bling on your shoes –

DARQ: Oh, ho – not so plain. The black is all glittery. The picture probably doesn’t show that very well. So my track record with blinged-out shoes still stands.

CATHERINE (mutters): except for the one time . . .

DARQ: Hey, Catherine, you won’t believe the party’s food – it’s retro-retro.

CATHERINE: Really?

DARQ: Really-really. You should see the jello. Every color of the rainbow. Some dishes have three layers of color, others have veggies or fruits mixed in – one platter has mini watermelon-looking wedges –

Jello with veggies
Jello wedges

And then there is this –

An elaborately molded Jello.

But my favorite is this one infused with vodka!

CATHERINE: 1950’s food . . . Do they have any celery and cheese whiz? Spam on skewers?

DARQ (chuckles): Yes, those are on the buffet tables. They even have an old-fashioned Ice Cream Soda Fountain set up opposite the bar that offers 1950’s delights like Manhattans, Screwdrivers, and something I’ve yet to try – a Singapore Sling.

CATHERINE: Careful you don’t get tipsy.

DARQ: No chance with the rock-and-roll dances. I’ve already jived to Rock Around the Clock, and done The Twist, flubbed at the Hula Hoop Contest, and I’m on my way to the DJ with this album from the Rolling Stones.

CATHERINE: What’s the tune you’re going to have the DJ play?

DARQ: Heart of Stone.

CATHERINE: Rather a mild rock and roll tune.

DARQ: You think so?

CATHERINE shrugs, then says: I was never a music lover.

DARQ: Pity. I rather like this party’s rock-n-roll tunes. And speaking of parties, I finally have my itinerary of events for the coming months.

CATHERINE (groans): What costumes do you need?

DARQ (flashing a grin): No costume-costume. I need ball gowns.

CATHERINE: Ball gowns? Surly not for every occasion. How many of the events are themed affairs?

DARQ shakes her head: None are themed. I take that back. Maybe the overall theme is simple elegance.

CATHERINE: Elegance? As in, Erte and haute coutour fashions?

DARQ: Well, maybe one or two can be Erte-esque. As always, I’ll leave the designs to you. Just make me look sophisticated and lovely as always.

A voice booms out over the loudspeaker: Number 52 – Bring your song!

DARQ: That’s my number. I have to go. See you when I get back to the farm! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Where will Darq be for Thanksgiving?

What kind of ball gown will she wear?

Stop back on Thanksgiving Day and see!

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NOTE TO SEWERS:

Making the poodle skirt brought back memories of the 1950’s and wearing one!

The skirt is felt (as was the original Poodle Skirt).

The poodle on the skirt is a purchased applique, but I embroidered the leash using crewel cotton, then laced the leash with metallic silver embroidery floss.

The saddle shoes are white felt with adhesive backed black glitter art foam. The laces are pearl cotton. (It wasn’t easy to tie those little bows!)

I sewed layers of orange, black, and green netting onto Darq’s taffeta pettipants.

I was going to add a belt, which was usually part of the costume, but the felt proved too bulky to be cinched in, so no belt.

SPECIAL NOTE – I took the inspiration for this costume and diorama from reading Liz’s post at the blog Vintage Inn . You might want to indulge in a bit of nostalgia there – https://www.vintageinn.ca/?s=hold+a+sock+hop+party

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Posted by on October 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

October 1, 2019 – Darq Returns!

CATHERINE: Welcome back to the farm Darq! My but you look like a weary traveler.

DARQ: I am a weary traveler, mostly because of the stormy weather delaying air flights to Pennsylvania — and spending way too many hours in waiting areas. I’m feeling as rumpled as my traveling vest!

CATHERINE: Such a pretty vest with all that embroidered applique work.

DARQ: It’s a Wysotti design vest I bought on my homeworld. There’s a bigger applique on the back. Take a look—

CATHERINE: Wow, that’s gorgeous. So is your hairpiece.

DARQ: The hair decoration was a gift from both my sisters. Such medallions worn in the hair are the current fad on my homeworld.

CATHERINE: And speaking of fancy, turn around and show me your shoes.

DARQ turns around —

CATHERINE: Definitely bling-worthy!

DARQ: By the way Catherine, the flowers are for you. I know how much you love wild flowers, so I brought you some from my homeworld.

CATHERINE: Aren’t there laws against bringing real flowers and plants to Earth? Didn’t the MIB [Men in Black] tell you that?

DARQ (chuckles): Even though these flowers are an accurate depiction of the flowers of my homeworld, they are fakes. Synthetic materials. No pollen, no scent, no bees, no seeds.

CATHERINE (sighs with relief): Thank you for the flowers! Now, what’s on your schedule of appearances while you’re here on planet Earth?

DARQ: First up will be a Halloween Party at the end of the month.

CATHERINE: And the party’s theme?

DARQ: A Sock Hop.

CATHERINE: Oh, what fun. Rock-n-Roll, Poodle Skirts —

DARQ: I’m to wear a skirt made from a dog’s hide?

CATHERINE (laughs): No! Poodle skirts are made of felt. The skirt has an applique of a Poodle dog on it. (Catherine smirks.) And, oh, my dear, just wait until you find out what you have to wear under that skirt.

DARQ: What?

CATHERINE: I’m not going to tell. You and this blog’s readers will just have to stop back on Halloween to find out what your Poodle Skirt looks like and what’s under it!

DARQ: Sounds like a plan.

~~~~~~Note to Sewers~~~~~ I hand embroidered the symbols on Darq’s vest and then machine appliqued them to the fabric. I used my sewing machine’s stitch features to put the feather/leaves onto the garment. The vest fabric is corduroy with a neon blue metallic lame lining. The rest of her outfit is a polyester blouse over linen slacks. Comfy clothes for traveling!

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Stop back on Halloween to see the Sock Hop reveal of Darq’s Poodle Skirt and accessories !

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Posted by on October 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Heading Home . . .

DARQ: Well, Catherine, and all you have dropped by this past year and in previous years, it is once again time for me to go home to my husband and children. As the sign indicates, I’ll be back October 1 to resume diplomatic relations with Planet Earth. Of course, the running joke with this blog is that I’m a shoe-aholic and love bling. The above photo is misleading. There’s plenty of bling on my shoes. Let me just lift my pant legs a bit —

So I’ll see you all come fall! Have a great summer, Catherine.

CATHERINE: Have a safe journey home!

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NOTE TO SEWERS: The fabric is faux-suede. The “flower sprays” are iron-ons. The larger daisies are sewn down. The blouse is a cotton print. Nothing fancy, but all of it is comfortable wear — and very travel worthy!

Stop back October 1 and greet Darq when she returns for another season of fashionable outfits and gala events!

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Posted by on May 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Easter 2019

DARQ: I’m running a bit late due to rainy weather, but I am posting this quick –

Happy Easter !

CATHERINE: And the same to you, Darq, and all who drop by this Easter Sunday.

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Of course the running joke with this blog is that Darq is a shoe-aholic and loves bling, so here’s a look at her Easter Shoes –

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NOTE TO SEWERS – the jacket is a circle folded back and has arm holes. The flowery trim is a self-adhesive I found in a bargain bin – and I used all three yards on the spool because the trim went on the inside and outside of the jacket. The pants are linen. The purse opens and is actually a charm that could have gone on a bracelet.

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Darq will be returning to her homeworld on May 1, so drop by to wish her a safe journey home. She’ll return come fall.

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Posted by on April 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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