Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY: Turn Him Loose, Jill!

Oh, you know. Just another day of wranglin' those wild and wacky children in the art room.
Well, howdy thar, partner! It's yer Cowgirl of Suburbia here to show off my latest embroidered ensemble. I finished 'er off with a lick and a promise. Wanna hear how? Well then saddle up, 'cuz yer in for a hog-killin time. This weekend, I decided to quit beatin' the devil around the stump and finally finish the dang thang. Now lemme stop shootin' my mouth off and tell ya how I did it.

(So you too can annoy your friends by speaking in cowboy slang, visit here: )
Turn Him Loose, Bill by Frederic Remington, late 1800s
This latest embroidered venture began with a rather ho-hum dress I picked up a Target several years ago. It had been sitting in my Give-to-Goodwill-or-Restyle pile for quite some time. After my embroidered pin-up girl sailor dress (seen here: ), I was inspired to create another stitched look. With it's raw-hide tan color and collared style, I thought this dress could easily be cowboy-ized.
My Sweethearts of the Rodeo.
With that in mind, I began pinteresting and googling  "pin-up cowgirls". Which produced nothing. So I tried "vintage cowgirls". Nada. Then "cowboy rodeo"...and this amazing painting by Frederic Remington popped up. I loved it and I knew I wanted that same image across the bottom of the skirt. But with cowgirls.

So I began sketching out the scene replacing the gents with the ladies. Once I'd settled on a design I was happy with, I traced my drawing with sharpie. Using my light table, I redrew my design in pencil onto the dress. A big embroidery no-no. I think you are supposed to pin a tissue paper drawing to the fabric, embroider through that and then, once finished, remove tissue paper with tweezers. All that sounds entirely too pro for this cowgirl.
My spin on Remington's painting which I've titled Turn Him Loose, Jill.
I usually only embroider when I'm traveling. I like to have something to do while sitting for long periods of time. But this weekend, I experienced a craft fail (more on that in a later post) and needed something to keep me from finding solace in a tub of Blue Bell. So I pulled out my cowgirls and decided to finish them off.
One thing I did differently with these girls is I used one strand of embroidery thread to create the eyebrows and eyes. This gave me the ability to really capture their expression. I also added a tiny stitch of white for the reflection in their eyes. I think this girl's my fave.
During my embroidery breaks, I decided to do a little research on the cowgirl. These women were so strong physically and mentally. After reading about several of them, I choose my favorite three and christened my cowgirls in their honor. Without further ado, lemme introduce to you Lucille Mulhall. This cowgirl was once described in a 1900 New York article as "only 90 pounds, can break a bronc, lasso and brand a steer, and shoot a coyote at 500 yards. She can also play Chopin, quote Browning and make mayonnaise." Wow. I didn't even know  you could make mayo.
Okay, this gal has a bit of a nose on her, doncha think? She's my Barbara Steisand Cowgirl.
Cowgirl Bertha Kaelpernick (aka "Jill") was most famous for entering a horse race after all the menfolk refused due to the muddy track. This amazing cowgirl managed to remain in her saddle despite the conditions and put the men to shame. Later she went on to compete and often beat legendary cowboys of her time.
I've decided I need three items added to my wardrobe: spurs, a pair of cowboy boots (these Frye one's I snagged off ebay are too big), a vintage cowgirl dress. With fringe, of course.
Following in Bertha’s footsteps was Prairie Rose Henderson. She had to force cowboys to allow her to ride and compete with them. She's actually my favorite cowgirl as she's most famous for her affinity for all things tacky-tastic. Her faves were dressing in bright colors, sequins, and ostrich plumes over her bloomers.
Best compliment of the day: "You look like a Cowgirl Art Teacher!" Sounds good to me!
Can you believe these incredible cowgirls?

Well, little doggies, I'm about played out. Guess it's time for me to skedaddle or I'll be paying through the nose tomorrow! See ya's at the ranch.


  1. Dear Cassie, I like your cowgirls, the real ones and the embroidered ones. Fantastic idea!
    I wanted to follow you but I couldn't find how. Can you tell me?

  2. Love western motifs and especially bronco's so this is a huge, huge spurs up for me. Great idea. Perfect dress for the project. Super cute.

    Watch out cuz you're gitt'n pinned!

    Found thru the ufo/stash busting project by the way, so hopefully I will get to see more of your work.

  3. Once again, perfection!!! I simply adore these embroidered dresses you have created!

  4. Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations.Objects Embroidery Designs You’re doing great work. Keep it up.


Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.