Threading the West

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Welcome to my blog!  I’m just an Arizona cowgirl treading the West with my sewing machine and a passion for costume design.  From my daily design work in my private studio here in the historic town of Tombstone, to my costuming work on the set of movies,  please join me as I bring my musings to life through fabric and thread.  With the help of my incredible husband, film actor Craig Hensley, and my sweet Golden Retriever, Coosa, I look forward to sharing with you the amazing historic places we love to visit,  the amusing and sometimes hilarious ventures we pursue, and all that inspires us here in the Great American West.  We’ll talk Western fashion and its evolution from the Old West to the New West and we’ll take you behind the scenes of our fashion shoots and film projects. We”d love for you to come along with us as we tread (“thread”) the West. See the pun I did there? 🙂 Thanks for visiting my Wild West world!                                                  – Jenna Miller, Designer, Ravenna Old West

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The Beguilement of the “Indigo Rosa” by Jenna Miller, Designer

There are those magical moments when you happen upon a fabric that “calls out” to you from its place on the store shelf. You know, the ones that actually “beg” you to take them home and turn them into an incredible garment? The ones that cast a spell on you?  That is what happened in the case of my “Indigo Rosa” design.  A gorgeously sleek and striking blue velvet with a perfect drape beckoned me to take it home one day last year. In trying to be the sensible business owner, knowing that I already had a ton of fabric sitting untouched at the studio, I very reluctantly left the store without it.  It then haunted me day and night like a blue velvet ghost.  I absolutely couldn’t get it out of my head.   I knew it had the capability of becoming something magnificent and soooooo… I went back and purchased it. The temptation was too great and the possibilities with such a brilliant fabric were endless.  I was ever so grateful it was still there, rolled up on the store rack still waiting for me to snatch it up.. 

My mind immediately started concocting the design visual in my head.  Something with a Spanish influence that would consist of bright primary colors worthy of complimenting the rich blue velvet. Something with lots of ruffles and draping and fullness and detail to show off the shaded contours of the velvet’s soft pile.  And as with most all of my designs, Victorian era influence certainly played a part in the Indigo Rosa’s final composition. 

As a native Arizonan, I usually try to stay true in my designs to the cultural influences that have surrounded me my whole life,  and with the Indigo Rosa I wanted to celebrate the gorgeously bold, rich and colorful designs of the Spanish style I so admire here in the Southwest.

I drafted the Indigo Rosa in 2017 and then unexpected circumstances and a major surgery forced me to sadly put the blue velvet away on a shelf until I was finally able to pull it out again this summer – a whole year later.  Not knowing if the magic would still be there,  I held my breath when I pulled the velvet back out of its dusty dormant shelf life;  it was as exquisite as I had remembered it.  To a designer it was like opening again a long lost treasure and just like before, it spoke to me. 

I am excited to say the Indigo Rosa is now finally finished.  This great velvet passion project has finally been taken from being just a thought in my head to being a reality!

The next time you’re in a fabric shop and a fabric speaks to you, listen.  It “whispers” of the magnificent things it can become if only someone will mold it, shape it; skillfully transform it. 

Below is a “behind the scenes” video of the making of this costume and the transformation of that gorgeous blue velvet that so beguiled me that day.

Please click on the “leave a reply” button below to share with me your own stories of the times a fabric cast a spell on you and photos of what you transformed the fabric into.  I’d love to hear from you!  

Introducing the “Indigo Rosa” by Jenna Miller of Ravenna Old West… 

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