Design Inspiration: Shisha Mirrors, 1950’s Day-Glam, and Hemp

The Chef-chos are long finished, I hope to get a chance to photograph them tomorrow.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the inspiration for the next piece in my Summer 2011 wardrobe.

I have a large piece of bottom-weight white hemp which I earmarked for a long, full skirt.  When I saw the Indian mirrored trim and the shisha mirrors at the Brisbane Craft Show, I knew I’d like to include them in the skirt.  How?

I have an ongoing picture inspiration file, so I trolled that and google images for “1950’s border skirt” and variations.

This type of border treatment predominated.  I like it, but what else could I do with the trim?  I remembered a skirt I saw months ago and I re-found it on Vintage Pattern Wiki:

Neat!  It’s a full circle skirt, cut in two pieces like this:

Image courtesy of Sewing for Bellydance

The straight edges are aligned with the border print, so it “bends” across the front of the body.  If I cut a circle skirt and placed the trim in a similar position, I could achieve the same effect.  Mirrors instead of roses.  I could then scatter the shisha mirror appliques over the skirt, as the roses are scattered in the drawing.

I found a similar example of the border treatment at Susan’s Diary.  Her blog is full of gorgeous pictures, I’m so excited to have found her.  I also found a gorgeous page of full skirts from a Sears catalog page posted on Debi’s blog.

I saw this cut for a circle skirt on a fantastic designer’s reference site and started to wonder if I could pull off the asymmetrical hem, the full skirt, and the mirrors combined.  I see women wearing this cut constantly when I’m out, so I think I could get away with it.

What do you think?  I could line the skirt with a pale aqua or pink cotton voile, which would be visible when I walk.  Too much? Just enough drama for mixing with simple basics?  Should the trim then go around the top as the floral border skirts, or straight down the middle?  Hmmm…  It’s a fairly firm trim, mounted on several layers of organza.  It definitely won’t curve around a hem very well. It might or might not drape the way I want it to.  The hemp is also fairly stiff, though long experience with the fiber tells me it will soon become soft, firm and fluid.

I also like the idea of using a similar cut to this Vintage Vogue 1172 reprint skirt and stitching the trim in several rows across the insets.  It’s basically a 4-gore skirt with very wide godets.  The center of the godet lies across the bias.*

I’d be thrilled for any and all input, especially links to border treatments… I have some time to get into the sewing this weekend, we’ll see what develops!

By the way, I’m updating all my internal links.  Are old posts showing up in anyone’s reader?  I do apologize for any hiccups.

Don’t forget to enter the Pretty, Sparkly Giveaway for a chance to win your own Shisha mirrors!


*Edited to add: Actually, I think I wrote that incorrectly.  The center of the godet is the same as the straight of grain…?  Bother, I can’t find my notes.


  1. I love the idea of the bending border, and I love the asymmetrical hem skirt, and I love the loose shisha mirrors (so thats what they are called!) but I do not love the shisha mirror trim. At least not with a full skirt. I just think it’s too bulky and stiff.

    I’d go with something like the yellow & black skirt on Simplicity 3560 – using the loose shisha mirrors to create an pattern, or with the asymmetrical hem skirt with shisha mirrors scattered on it.

    You could use the shisha mirror trim to hide the rust stain on your Kate dress. Talk about drawing attention as you walk!

    • I like the big print (applique) on the other skirt, too… I’m saving that for the crustacean skirt (a la schiaparelli).. The husband has been too busy to paint lately, but I’m willing to wait for his work.

    • I’d like to “dress” you sometime, Nic.. Remember the swap days? I still have some of those pieces… And I have the stuff of mine you “saved” when I moved.

  2. I love the idea of combining all that! But the stiffness of the trim worries me. I’d most certainly say bending border if it works with the trim. Is there any chance of taking out some organza layers from the trim so it would fall more smoothly? I would also suggest using different colours for a lining. White and red AND pale aqua or pink? In my opinion it’s not the best colour combination. I would go with navy or yellow or black if you’re not so much into the marine look.

    • You’re so thoughtful… I ripped some of the organza off last night, I’m going to baste it in and see what happens. If I put the skirt together and it’s not working, I’ll take it off.

      The colors are my palette for a summer casual wardrobe… I have plenty of perfectly tasteful separates, I’m trying to inject a little color and fun into my clothing choices.

  3. Pingback: Finished Object: Ambivalent Guachos « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  4. Pingback: Shisha Mirrors and Summer Snowflakes « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s