July 28, 2013

Sewing Machine Woes

 Due to unforeseen circumstances, my blog this week is very short. I spent most of today (my regular blogging day) driving 142 miles to pick up a different sewing machine and returning the 142 miles. Pretty unproductive, but the bonus was getting to see and have lunch with my daughter.

The machine is one I gave her for Christmas two years ago.  I asked to borrow it  back because my Elna (below) is acting up. She had a spa treatment back in April and all was fine but I decided to do some of the fancy stitches with the cams the other day and NOW she won't even ZIG-ZAG!!

The nice guy who halped me out two weeks ago with a new needle plate (used but fine) took a look and had no quick fix and I will have to leave it with him for at least a week. Waaaaah!  So I called daughter and she who basically only hems,  agreed to loan it if I came and got it. No problem. I like to drive and it got me out of cooking all day.

So here is the Baby Lock Creative Pro which I have been eager to sew on and run through its fancy stitches.  I am making little bags of various kinds for some craft shows and I wanted some small inexpensive items that did not require fitting into someone's decor. 

 Selecting the colors and patterns is the most fun. The insides are really fun to play around with on these that zip up.
I should be able to make a few hundred with all this stash. Only a small amount of each fabric is required. The hard part is finding the right zippers for the "taco shell" bags.  Excuse the bad ipad photo. It is getting late. 
I will probably put some of these in my Etsy shop eventually.

July 21, 2013

Erie Inspiration

 An invitation to spend the afternoon at a cottage on the shores of Lake Erie prompted me to make this pillow as a housewarming gift. If I had been in a thoughtful mood a bit earlier than the night before I would have done a
 better job and used a nice piping edge of even have made one pillow with the anchor (image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy) and a second pillow using the lighthouse fabric instead of just this one with no wrong side!
I grew up not very far from the location of this cottage and although I wasn't lucky enough to live right on the lake, I was near enough to spend a lot of time on its small beaches and cliffs. I attribute my good sense of direction
on the fact that I was always able to orient myself to the lake as north.
I found myself spending much of my time there pointing my camera at the water, rocks, plants and sky instead of sitting on their great cliff side gazebo sipping wine and chatting.
The Lake Erie waters are not comparable to the fabulous colors of some waters I have visited like:
From aloft in Key West, Florida

Early morning in Tolo, Greece

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Bermuda Beach
But these beautiful places are not embedded in my memories of childhood nor are they within easy striking distance.
Texture and color
In the coming days I am hoping to use some of these images directly or indirectly in creating some more of my fabric creations.
Since we had an hour ride home, we left before sunset. This was our last view.
When we got near home and stopped for gas and turned to the west, this was our view.
Now, I regret not wanting to drive home in the dark. This must have been spectacular over the lake without signs.
Question: Are you attracted to water?  Where? Please comment.
If you find any of these pictures interesting, you might want to visit my photos on Panoramio which maps the locations on Google Earth. Click here for more.

July 14, 2013

American Fashion

This week I am stepping out of the sewing realm into the fashion world. I have always been interested in beautiful clothes and my fantasy was at one time to BE a fashion designer. Thus, my fascination with dolls and paper dolls especially. I spent hours tracing their paper bodies and drawing outfits in colored pencils.  My ideals were the designers of the forties and fifties whose clothes I saw in the magazines during this period.

When I found  my bookseller friend (Garrison House Books) had this book I HAD to have it. Today I am going to show you what I love about the clothes of the era.

 Adrian (Adrian Adolph Greenburg) was a designer for theater and film before stepping into business in 1941. America had been cut off from Paris due to the war, thus the timing.

An Adrian suit was the "uniform" of the day

The puzzle-like arrangement of stripes is a tour de force.

Subtle and timeless

The taffeta prints were also designed by Adrian and printed by Bianchini

Born Main Rousseau Boucher he pronunced his "stage name" Maine Bocker.
Polka-dot chiffon 1932

This is a white pique jacket over a silk organza skirt

Maibocher designed the wedding dress for this famous woman but I like this dress much more. Do you know who
she was and why she is known by anyone of a certain age? Answer at the end.

From the 1930 collection when he introduced the strapless evening gown. The fabric of cotton plaid and Lurex was also innovative.
He did costume but never ready-to-wear.

Finally a woman!

Claire McCardell brought  the AMERICAN LOOK with sportswear that stands the test of time.

The less daring could rope it in with the belt the
model is holding.
Wouldn't you wear these today?

A dress that can go almost anywhere

          From Claire's last collection but with the same ability to adapt to the occasion as the dress above.

1949 Revolution turned Classic in wool jersey

1956 spring and summer evening look with a skirt of cotton calico.

Norman Norell began as an assistant to Hattie Carnegie who visited Paris each year and bought in all the custom salons and his task was to translate them into "American terms".

 In the early fifties he showed master tailoring

He called this the "little overcoat".

Do you love this coat as much as I do?

 I'm always a sucker for a classic nautical theme.
Notice the photographer's name on the lower left. He didn't find these on the street!
The last collection in 1972 in all beige, grey and white.

Every one has a quirky side.

Another great female designer, Pauline Trigere was born in France but never a "French" designer.

A signature town coat

Tweed done well in 1965 and wearable now.

I can't stop admiring the incredible lines and tailoring.

Fuzzy pic of a great dress. Not real sure about that scarf at the waist though.

Oh, how I wish this was in color.

Trigere's quirky looks

A picture of how to use plaid in a flattering way that won't make you look like a circus.

And now for the finale, my favorite item to look at and in which I imagine myself swirling about the room.

That is, if I were this model's height instead of barely 5 feet.  But it IS a dream.

Now, what designer do you like out of this group?
Do you think these are timeless or am I just living in the past?

The answer to who is this woman: Wallis Simpson who was the woman whom the Prince of Wales abdicated the title of King of England for. Later known as the Duchess of Windsor.