The Magic of Stone (2): Hoodie Dress

And that’s it. The stone dress with elephants. Body armour for bad days.

Fake Pockets

fake elephant pockets
No. It’s not fake news, I cut out circles left and right to the waist and placed the lining in as design element and to make it look like pockets.

Of course it needed a hood.

Hood details with elephant lining
The lining for this dress is a maxi skirt I bought in ASDA. It looked horrible on me so I just cut it up, because I loved the elephants, and used it for lining.

and bell sleeves

I have a thing for bell sleeves
and as the original pattern’s arms were way too short for me anyway, I thought this was my chance to add some bell sleeves. I also placed more elephant lining into the bell part of the sleeve for a nice two colour effect.

Oh yes and sleeve extensions for long arms.

bell sleeves
You can see the sleeve has an extension just before the bell part. This was a mistake from my side I didn’t realise just how short the original pattern was, but it turned into a nice design element. I created the hood in such a way that it looks like a wide collar from front and the elephants create a visible contrast

Too short?

Do I need to make these dresses longer?
My friend today pointed out one of my dresses might be on the short side; and I realised they are mostly the same length. But I don’t want to look like my great-auntie either. Hm. Maybe adding a hand-width but keeping it above the knee? Length below the knee looks horrible on me, I tried that before.

It’s all about details

Adding little details brings everything together. It’s not quite straight though.

Sleeve details
I added some details to the dress

I am using the selvedge details as design element

selvedge details
The fabric has some really interesting selvedge details so I left it as it was and used it as design feature for the dress

The original pattern was a pullover.

I used a jumper pattern
and extended it with the French Curve. Hence the long darts that look like seams in the back, they came about during the final fitting.

The Magic of Stones (1)

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I always had an affinity for collecting stones; and so do several other members of my family. When I was a child my late dad would often take me to the nearby quarry, on the quest for interesting stones, which were carried there by the last ice age. I remember we found geodes, agate, all kinds of quart (the workers found two mammoth teeth in said quarry). He created an impressive rockery from the finds*.  My mom and I are particularly keen on worry stones, and the stones you find in the fields that show human impact, such as flint that was worked for blades. To my shamanic-self stones have ‘mana’ as much as the trees in our garden, or the deer passing by the kitchen window.

*It was like a stone rescue mission this way they did not become ground up into sand for cement

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In shamanic (in the widest sense of the definition) cultures objects, plants, animals can become sacred. Hierophany, is mainly determined by the shaman—apparently at random (Eliade, 1992). Shamanic cultures are not the only ones assigning sacred or spiritual meaning to stones. If you are more familiar with the bible, than anthropology, in Genesis 28:17 Jacob placed his head on a stone, had a dream (vision) of God and subsequently consecrated the stone. There are coronation stones representing rightful kingship, in a time where kings were still considered as ruling by divine right. Here in Scotland, in Kilmartin Glen—an area brimming with ancient history—we find standing stones, cup-stones, cairns and stone circles. If this stuff is too big for you: there are rune stones used for divination, and energy work, or healing crystals. So across the world, across times, across cultures, people have assigned the sacred or spiritual to stones.

I have a collection of pebbles from the coast, from rivers, and mountain tops. The sometimes smooth, sometimes sharp edges are calming and grounding. I made a dress (The Magic of Stones (2)) that has the colours of Scottish pebbles. When I wear it I think of our hikes, of the raven circling below, the smell of rain. On a bad day wearing this dress is grounding.

The lining of the dress are elephants, symbolizing inter alia strength, power and longevity.  So to me both the stones and elephants are symbols of permanence, of peacefulness. In stressful and chaotic times a dress which symbolizes permanence and strength can feel like wearing armor. And maybe somehow, when making my clothes, I sew into cloth my own sacred meaning—making a shamanic dress?**

**but this is a whole other story
elephant Washington Zoo
As far as I remember this was in Washington (DC) Zoo. And I thought this is probably the happiest elephant I have ever seen.

I see you still have your eyebrows raised. Go look at the first two photos in this post, as a keen hiker, I encounter people building small cairns, on tops of mountains, at holy wells, at ancient sacred places, or somewhere in the middle of the woods. Every time I pass one of these constructions I wonder what compels us to participate in their creation. Yes, on top of mountains they are likely a mark of achievement, but the two I posted above were in Kilmartin Glen and the other at Lindisfarn Castle (Holy Isle). Are they more than simply a tourist activity? Maybe we have the urge for a shared history—a shared narrative? For acknowledgement that ‘I was there’, ‘I belong’, with the tribe of everyone who was there before me, and who will come after? Maybe it is a silent prayer? An offering, acknowledgement to something we cannot craps? Maybe it symbolizes our want for something that is bigger than just our selves? A collective self? And we participate in this small ritual, and maybe all it does is make us smile for a moment, and pause for a moment, and hold silence, before the mobile phone buzzes again. But for me, my stones are mnemonics with mana.

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