Sunday, February 14, 2016

DIY: A Mondrian Coat

So I'm currently reading this great self-help book called Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It's all about forming habits to help you become the person you wanna be (which, in my case, means less lazy and more do-y with a splash of grown-up like.) But before she gets into the habit-forming department, she explains that you gotta know what kind of tendencies you have to aide in developing habits best suited for you. She's decided (and I totes agree) that there are four kinds of habit-y folks in the universe: Upholders (who uphold both their own obligations and those they've made to others), Obligers (who uphold obligations to others but not to themselves), Quesioners (those who question what is being asked of them and follow through if they find it legit) and Rebels (those who can't be held accountable for internal or external obligations because they don't like being told what to do). 

So. With EXACTLY one million obligations to others (presentations, papers, writing, you name it) and EXACTLY one million new habits I've promised myself I'd form (exercising, eating better, getting more sleep), guess who decided to throw all that out the window and make this here needle-felted Mondrian coat?! 

That's right. This rebel. 
 Hey. It's all good. Draper approves. 
Did I mention that I'm currently on a Mad Men marathon bender? The hubs watched it all when it first came out and I kinda fell off the wagon when the show slipped into the mid-60's (let's be real, I was only in it for the fifties fashions). But with our onslaught of snow days, I'm now polyester-shift-dresses deep which is totes perfect cuz this coat is all kinds of Mad Mod 1960's. AND it also allows me to get all Mad Men gif-happy in this here post! 
Yep. I've already gotten this look when I wore the coat out today. I'm rather used to it. Joannie, don't hate. 
But before we go any further, I suppose we should give a big fat hairy shout out to the man who inspired my coat: Piet Mondrian. Born in 1906, this Dutch dude began fiddling with this grid style of painting with primary colors after the World War I while living in Paris. 
In 1940, Mondrian moved to New York City where he really seems to explore his ideas of simple abstraction. It's interesting to me that a little over 20 years later, his artwork became a part of the mod movement with it's strong lines and bold colors. His work looks every bit of arts and crafts movement as it does mid-century mod.
I love this dress by Yves Saint Laurent. Has anyone watched the movie about YSL's life? I think I'll have to check it out after I'm done drooling over Don Draper, er, watching Mad Men. You can find patterns for this dress in etsy-land and ebay-ville for a pretty penny. It's been on my dress-makerin' list for a while. Tho the closest I've gotten is this...
I found the fabric online and busted out this bad boy last year when it was Snow Day Central in these parts. I love the fabric but the styling is not mod. I mean, I'm no Marge, 'kay?
I suppose a girl can dream. BTW, I need those shoes, Marge. NEED. 
So I think I told you on Wednesday when I shared with you my needle-felted paint-splatter coat that I snagged this coat at the thrift store with the intent of artsifying it. Knowing that I'll be at an art teacherin' convention in Chicago in March (and knowing that I'm freakishly cold-natured), I can only assume I'll spend 99% of my time coat swaddled. When I realized that, I decided I'd better set to work on some super cute coat-ness. Because, again, I'm a rebel. All obligations were kicked, shoved and bootie-bumped out the window for this top-priority.  
Now I will confess that after the paint splatter coat, which was super fun with it's no-fuss organic shapes, doing these redundant vertical and horizontal lines and shapes was a little dry. There might have been some grown-up grape flavored drinking to help pass the time. Which got me very close to making the back of the coat look like a Pollock. 
Yes, Peg. Apparently so. 
But it's done now. And like all pain-in-the-arse crafts, I often forget the unpleasantries when I'm left with something I'm proud of.
Here's something I found interesting along the needle-felting way: I've never really had the hots for Mondrian or these paintings of his. But since working on this coat, I love those works of art! I don't know if it's the primary color palette or the vintage/Mod look to the work but I'm totes a convert. The back of the coat is my fave. 
Because I've shared so many needle felting DIY projects with y'all, I didn't think you'd wanna see one million how-to step photos. So I took exactly ONE. Sorry, y'all! If you follow this link, you'll find oodles of details along with how-to videos.  I've created many thingies via needle felting that, if I wasn't so stinkin' lazy, I'd create a link-able list for y'all. However, if you google my name and needle felting and hit image search, you'll see it all a whole lot faster. 
Oh, did I mention that this glamous 1980's coat came with white buttons and shoulder pads? I swapped out the buttons for red vintage ones from my stash. The shoulder pads stayed because they make me feel like this...
BAM. Shoulders of a quarterback, y'all. Deal with it. 
When I put on my finished coat and showed it to el hubbo, I got the usual response...

And there you have it! A Mad-Mod-Mondrian coat that gets a big ole thumbs up. I can't wait to wear it 'round the Windy City doin' my best Pegg-the-Boss impersonation. Hope to see y'all there! Now, lemme get back to better-habit-forming (bwhahaha, ahem). 

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  1. I L-O-V-E this coat!!!! I am crazy about Mondrian. His work is truly addictive, if you start copying it/embellishing upon it. And his personal story is remarkable. Bravo!

    1. Thank you!! I don't know much about his bio, I'll have to do some digging :)

  2. Rock on, Sista! It is fabulous! :)

  3. This is fabulous! And those shoes! I NEED those! You've also inspired me to get a needle felting machine. :)

  4. Coat came out great! And I love all the Mad Men gifs! By the way, those Marge Simpson pilgrim buckle shoes are totally available on etsy. I searched for them one time and there were tons on there.

  5. LOVE!!! IT!!!! I nearly painted my house in Mondrian.

  6. And what about the ultra fab matching boots?! Sounds like you don't live anywhere near Palm Springs, but I wish you could join me there Thursday for the Mad Men afternoon (including set and fashion design) at Modernism Week!

  7. Anonymous9/04/2016

    It is gorgeous!

  8. Amazing look
    Your lessons are fantastic
    At day two on plate weaving and the kids all react the same to my sample. They gasp for joy when I say we will be weaving. Thanks for the inspiration

    1. Awesome!! You just wait, the boys will FLIP over weaving, they love it!!

  9. Rock on, Sista! It is fabulous! :)

  10. Excellent and very exciting site. Love to watch. Keep Rocking.


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