Miss Imperial by Patti Hallock

Patti Hallock Miss Imperial

Patti Hallock Miss Imperial – 

Please visit Patti Hallock’s website for more of her work.


Inspiration from the SPUN Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

SPUN Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

SPUN Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

Parov Stelar music to sew by

Parov Stelar

Parov Stelar

I just read SewVeraVenus’s latest post and thought how lucky she is to be going to White Mink.  Which got me jumping to Parov Stelar and thought you all might like a listen too.  What do you think?  Amazzzzing.  

Advanced Style


Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style

Getting back to writing has been like getting back to working out after a bit of time off. Slowly and with much procrastination.  I’ve really enjoyed my time offline, A LOT.  Got a lot of reading, sewing done and just not being online was refreshing.   One lovely book that got the creative flow going was Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style. (Thanks, Santa)  I’m sure you are all familiar with his style blog Advanced Style, highly rated and well worth a peek if you haven’t visited it.  This blog showcases the women and men of a certain age who really know how to dress with style, fun and joy.  This book would make a great gift for any fashionista young or old, but great for that woman who might be celebrating a certain birthday with a little melancholy.  Sure to give them a lift and a good lift at that.  Below are a few of my favorite ladies and their inspiring quotes on aging, fashion and having fun with it all.   

Here is Alice Carey

Advanced Style

‘You don’t want to look crazy. The object is to look chic.’

Beatrix Ost

Advanced Style

‘In your body is a good place to be’



Linda – from Advanced Style

A great quote from Valerie and Jean sums it all up.  

‘Young woman you’re gonna be an old woman someday.  Don’t worry about it don’t sweat it. Don’t worry about getting older. Every era, it builds character.’ Amen!

For the new year whether we make it ourselves or buy off the hanger may we all do it with style and flair.

What’s your favorite era for inspiration?

Judge Magazine 1926

Judge Magazine 1926

Probably my favorite era for fashion is 1920’s.  Check out this colorized video of 1920’s fashion and the music is really the bee’s knees.  There is an orange coat that is stunning and could quite easily be copied. The coats have amazing linings.  Love the hats, the music the fashion.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite era for inspiration?

Born on this day – Edith Head

Edith Head – Costumer Designer Extraordinaire

The blogosphere will be popping with plenty of tributes to the Divine Miss H. She worked on almost 500 films and dressed the biggest stars in Hollywood.  For me it would be impossible to pick a favorite dress or movie.   Here is my small tribute with a few favorite sketches, quotes and a bibliography where you can slowly drink up all the talent, controversy and inspiration that is Edith Head.

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Ieva Uzkurataite – Lithuanian Fashion Designer

For inspiration check out these amazing designs by Lithuanian Ieva Uzkurataite.  These designs are beyond convention and ordinary.  The designer says of her latest work –

Collection was inspired by excessive mannerism of XVIII century culture. The story object is a woman-bird selected not by coincidence – she resembles features of that period- posh gardens, ornate architecture and, of course, a precious woman of those times. Long graceful limbs and oversized ornate body reminds of ladies in those huge luxurious XVIII century dresses with a modern twist. 

I love her use of felt.  What do you think?

ieva uzkurataite


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It’s only a paper dress sailing over a cardboard sea

The obvious comment would be – Don’t get caught in the rain wearing one of these.  Check out these lovely dresses made out of paper.

Dress by Scott Paper Company

The Scott Paper Company created a paper dress that was sold by mail for a 1.00  in 1966.  Done has a promotional stunt women all over the country sent in for the dress.  And really, think of how easy it would be to hem.

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Wild about peplums

I missed the peplum for spring, probably because I was too busy picking out patterns with peplums to make.  But, the peplum is here to stay at least until a New York minute passes, but for once I’ll be somewhat relevant this fall.  I love the flounce on jackets and blouses, it gives a nod to the vintage styles that I love, yet is modern and fresh.   Plus, there are many ways to wear it whatever your body shape.  Here is a look at a few of the ways designers are showing this cool trend, plus vintage styles too.  Which one do you like?  Are you wearing the peplum?  You can check out the one I made here.

Bottega Veneta Fall 2012

Lanvin Fall 2012

Zac Posen

L.K. Bennet – Designer

Vintage peplum style

Dressy peplum

Crazy about old Broads

Yes, that’s Broads with a capital B.  I’m crazy for old Broads with style, advanced or otherwise.  Check out these amazing ladies who have style in spades.  Beautiful, cheeky and chic.  All that I aspire to.  Aging, from what I hear sucks so you might as well have as much fun as possible.  Fair warning, these ladies rock grey hair, canes and plenty of wrinkles.   See below for an interview with the designer.

Image from oldladiesrebellion.com

Controchic Acapulittico - 2012

Image from oldladyrebellion.com

Image from oldladyrebellion.com

Old Ladies Rebellion is a line of clothing aimed at “pensioners” or as we here call them, old people.  OLR started by Fanny Karst a French design student she dares convention by designing clothing for the older set making fun clothing that addresses certain issues of the older body yet remain stylish.    Here is an interview with Miss Karst.

And for more photos go to Old Ladies Rebellion.

Are you a fan, or should the older set go back to their rocking chairs and take a nap.

Jazz Age Lawn Party


Has anyone heard or gone to this?  New York of course.  Oh, how lovely.  Here are a few photos from the event.  Sounds and looks dreamy.  What a wonderful way to celebrate history.  Check out the schedule of events, awesome.

Video pick of the week – The Great Chanel

Here is a wonderful look at vintage Coco Chanel.  This clip is a remix from several years.  It’s rather long and you can hear someone in the background mixing drinks, ripping paper  and breaking glass and quite possibly doing some drywall repair (right around 2:49)  Seeing the true Chanel in action is always mesmerizing.  Although legend has it and by models themselves that working with Chanel was no picnic.  She ruled with an iron glove.  Enjoy.

Remembering Anna Piaggi

Photo by David Bailey

Legendary Fashion Editor Anna Piaggi died on Tuesday August 7th.  Fortunately she left behind a great legacy of fashion and style.  Her eclectic sense and personality will be well remembered.  Click here for a great interview and photo spread of Anna.  

Madame Gres – Sculpture as Fashion

Get your tickets to Belgium. The Mode Museum or MoMu will be showing the exquisite designs of Madame Gres in Anvers this fall from September 12, 2012 – February 10. 2013.  Madame Gres is noted for her sculptural and architectural qualities in her designs.  These photos don’t do the gowns justice.  Unlike the YSL exhibit that was in Denver apparently viewers can freely take pictures of her gowns, just don’t flip that hem.  

Here are a few dresses from her later period.  And for a better look check out these photos too.  

For more here is a New York Times article on Madame Gres and her beautiful designs.  

Photos from Yagi Tsusho current holder of the Gres name/brand.

50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death – August 5th

Seems like only 25 years ago doesn’t it?  If you notice more Marilyn Monroe related posts, photos and retrospective’s popping up, well the big 5-0 is the reason.   There are new “never before seen” photos of Monroe being brought to daylight everywhere.   Salvatore Ferragamo is having an exhibit in Florence, Italy of the clothes and shoes she wore. This exhibit is one where it presents Marilyn as fine art which in itself is a refreshing take.  There are countless Marilyn Monroe film festivals going on all over the world and look-alike contests with both men and women. Always interesting.  Publishing houses know this is a golden opportunity to sell actual REAL books.  (Can’t image a book on Marilyn on a Kindle.)  My favorite pictorial peek at the divine Miss M is this beauty –  Marilyn in Fashion: The Enduring Influence of Marilyn Monroe.

I think this is such a brilliant way to showcase Marilyn.  From the beautiful cover photo to the last page it shows Marilyn as a style trendsetter rather than  tragic movie star.  It celebrates her style, the designers who clothed her and the wonderful era of the 40’s and 50’s.  50’s fashion is well-known for the Dior “New Look”, full skirts, nipped in waists and so on.  Marilyn’s look was far more sexy and bold and you see it  in what she wore on camera as well as off.

It’s easy to overlook Marilyn as a style icon but wholly as a sex symbol, larger than life ‘Movie Star’.   Written by well-known fashion historian and expert Christopher Nickens along with George Zeno they lovingly showcase her lasting influence on fashion.  They give us a look into the early years through the end when her style had established itself as more sophisticated and sexy look.  All the big numbers are here; the dress from 7 Year Itch, the gowns from How to Marry a Millionaire to the Zowie! dress she wore for President Kennedy and so much more.  My favorite if I had to pick are the costumes from Niagara.  I love watching this movie just to see her wear those clothes.   What I like is the use of color and the noir camera work (Joseph MacDonald) especially in the bell tower scene.  The Lucite box handbag, the Chartreuse hanky, the white blouse.  It’s all perfect.  And, so was Marilyn in all her imperfect, glorious, Technicolor mess.  

Have you experienced any Marilyn Monroe retrospective’s or viewed any of her films?  What do you think of her as a fashion icon?  A term that is bandied about with much liberality in my opinion.  Please let me know your thoughts.

Meet the Designer and Sew it Forward Day

Rae Marie @ Denver Art Museum

Did it again.  Spent most of the weekend sewing, thinking about making dresses, listening and watching people design beautiful things oh, and sweat a lot.  Saturday Rae Marie of  Fashion House of Rae Marie held a lecture/demo at the Denver Art Museum.  If you have not gone to one of these it really is a fantastic way to get a look at the design process for fashion.  Rae Marie used her time quite interestingly.  She takes you along from concept to finished dress. So the sketch, the draping and so forth is presented to the audience.  We got to see the design move from drape to I believe what is the  flat pattern. She took the muslin and began making the pattern pieces for the skirt part of the dress.  She had already finished making the pattern pieces for the bodice at an earlier time.  She fielded questions from the pesky home sewist sitting in the front row (me) very politely.  In addition to seeing the entire dress completed I would really like to see a detail of the curved seams that she is planning on doing as French seams.  This seems mind boggling.  I can’t  evenly do a rolled hem on an armhole nicely for a sleeveless top.  It comes out all twisted and unseemly.

Next the Denver Sewing Collective had its Sew it Forward Day at Fabric Bliss on Sunday.  From 11-4 we sewed and sewed and sewed comfort care  pillows for the organization Cuz We Care.  And, to be honest if I do not see another comfort pillow sleeve or even a sliver of fleece for awhile I will be happy.  However, I am really thankful for all the people who showed up.  Plus Aurora of Fabric Bliss brought up 3 trash bags full of pillows that were created by her customers and adoring fans. Thank you so much!  All this and I wrote bad directions on how to make the pillows.  Note to self:  Double check directions!!!!   Arrrgh.  Even with that I was surprised to see so many people help out.  But,  then again was I really that surprised?  No. We are talking about sewers who love to spend time doing what they love not matter what it is they are sewing.  And, fortunately, they are smart and figured it out too.

  This was my first charity event and I learned a lot and can’t wait to get started on the next one.  I think dresses are in order.  But would love to hear from you and any organization that you know of that can benefit from a sewn item for those in need.     So, I’m home now sewing up that silky blouse, ’cause I hear the heat is here to stay.  But, I’m keeping the iron off.   Below are a few photos of the event.  Yea!!! 

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The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann and the beautiful 20’s

Vicki Lester (name might ring a bell for some) writes the blog Beguiling Hollywood, offering  glimpses, analysis, and juicy tidbits on old and new Hollywood.  She mentioned that the new Baz Luhrmann The Great Gatsby trailer is out.  The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. Take a look below.  It looks like Baz is certainly giving it his touch. What do you think. It’s coming out in December.

I think this resurgence for the delicious  and de-lovely clothes of the 20’s is a wonderful thing.

Here is a look at Dicaprio and McGuire in Brooks Brothers suits.

The Great Gatsby 2012

The men’s costumes are designed by Brooks Brothers.  The women’s costume designer, which from what is presented in the trailer are stunning.  The designer Catherine Martin Baz’s wife and collaborator is an amazing costume designer creating costumes for Moulin Rouge. Here is a great interview with Catherine Martin regarding the costumes for MR as well her design ethics and process.  Gossip around the w.w.w. was that Mucci Prada and Ralph Lauren were all thought to be the designer for the movie.  So I wonder if Ralph Lauren did the collection as a nod to the 1974 movie or maybe there was something else going on.

You may know that Ralph Lauren was the costume designer for the 1974 version directed by Francis Ford Coppola.   Fashionistas will  recall the 1920’s inspired Spring 2012 RTW collection by Mr. Lauren.  Below are a few examples. Plus I have more on my Pintrest if you are interested in looking at this beautiful collection.  And, I have a ton, a TON I say of images on the Tumblr site The Blue Thread too.  Love that period.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 RTW

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 RTW

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 RTW

Any opinions on the remake?  Are you a stalwart fan of the Redford/Farrow version.  Do you think it did justice to Fitzgerald?  DiCaprio as Gatsby?  McGuire and his monotone voice is not making me happy but then it was only 2 minutes of video.   Regardless I think the gorgeous costumes will lure me in.

What do you think?

Another skirt to add to my summer line up

Found a few wonderful things at the local thrift shop.  Two silk skirts from Banana Republic, a gorgeous fedora from Paris, and soft modal white t-shirts.  Just some basics.  The skirts needed to be taken in, which was super easy and they look great.  I also whipped out another skirt to add to my summer skirt collection.  I used a New Look Pattern #6730.  Very basic as you can see.  I did line it with a black stretch which gives it a perfect weight to it and it’s not see-through at all.  I love making something up fast and it looks great.  This is especially nice when you are working on something that for myriad reasons just becomes time consuming.  I can see making one for every day of the week.   I would make it a little longer next time, maybe by an inch or so.  As you can image even with the lining this finished up fast.  I am working on a silky blouse and had every intention of finishing it up today but then I felt the need to make this skirt.  Perfect day today.  Awesome thrift store finds, sewing, hanging out with an old friend, nothing better.  And, there is still Sunday!

Super summer skirt

100 Unforgettable Dresses

Must have

Not sure how this gem escaped my radar but I saw it at the local library recently and quickly took it home.  And, it is a wonderful read.  Hal Rubenstein the fashion director of InStyle and created the classic Egg magazine (of which I have two copies hanging around, still).

Rubenstein writes with charm and lightness and of course with a deep sense of fashion history to back up his choices for the title of Unforgettable. Although I do have one misgiving of that Julia Roberts red dress from Pretty Woman but that probably has more to do with my not caring for Miss J as an actress than the dress itself.  Well, no I don’t care for the dress either. I also enjoyed that some of the dresses in the book I have on my tumblr blog.

Edith Head illustration

One in particular is the dress designed by Edith Head for Bette Davis in All About Eve (Awesome movie, rent it.) That beautiful chocolate-brown, so daring to make brown sexy and bold. And, then of course Bette herself in it. Wow. Hal offers a little backstage gossip/history on the dresses which is icing on the cake. Just looking at the dresses would be good enough. I think I would be hard pressed to pick one of the hundred as my all time favorite.

Chinoiserie Gown Galliano for Dior

I love the dress Nicole Kidman wore to the Oscars in 1997.  Designed by Galliano for Dior it really does have a place in history as the dress that turned the Oscar’s red carpet into a haute couture runway.  The color, the embroidery, Nicole, just beautiful.  But, then I love vintage and have a hard time picking modern over just about anything designed by Edith Head.

The book is a lovely read and a visual feast for anyone who loves fashion, sewing, art and design.  All the greats are here, Dior, Chanel, Ford, Prada and Yves Saint Laurent.  Plus, there are lesser known designers like Norman Norell, Sorelle Fontana, Roland Mouret and Omar of Omaha (Phyllis Diller’s designer no less) all represented. One that I was sweetly surprised to see in this book was Claire McCardell.  McCardell is probably best know for creating wearable dresses for the American woman, the homemaker and the working woman.    As Rubenstein notes in his section to her, McCardell’s  influence in fashion was in creating clothes that were tasteful, wearable and comfortable for the women of the time.  McCardell actually created a wrap dress as early as the 1940’s, well before the great DVF.  She liked using men’s fabrics for the durability and easy care fabrics because being a mother or housewife is messy.  She loved the use of  belts in her dresses and promoted the growing popularity of pants for women.  Below is a photo of the lovely Dovima wearing a McCardell dress.

I hope that Mr. Rubenstein gives us the pleasure of an additional 100 unforgettable dresses soon.

Ad for McCardell dress

What’s going on?

Me not sewing

A lot is going on.  Over the weekend I went to the Denver Design Incubator’s Open House on Saturday May 19.  I met Janet White of JM Designs and it is  always nice to see her and chat.  I met Holli Gibson of LamanBlu.  I had actually met her at another function in January but this time I got to talk a bit more with her.  I am in awe of all that she gets done with work, family and non-profits.  Briefly talked with Rustin of DDI and he told me all the great opportunities at Denver Design Incubator, not just for designers and instructors!   Next, it was a visit to the Denver Art Museum with the lovely Miss Annie.  We went to see the Madeleine Albright exhbit of her amazing pin collection.  Be warned this is an extensive collection.  We looked at every single pin, there must have been a couple hundreded or more.  Not quite planned was our stop in the fashion  studio at the DAM where we met Stephanie Ohnmacht or Stephanie O. Stephanie won this year’s Frock Out design.  At the DAM she was doing a draping demo and discussing her career and how she goes about the design process.  I think we could have sat and talked with her all afternoon.  I love hearing about how people get from A to B in their careers.  Plus, she had a lot of insider/professional knowledge of how patterns are made and how we get clothes made and of course how to drape, albeit a brief over view.  I really wanted to just get sewing, draping, playing with fabric – doing what I love.  But, duty called, had to plant the carnations and snap dragons before they met a brittle death.  Help a small person with a history of the Roman Army project, check baseball schedules, make dinner, unplug the sink and get ready for the Memorial Day weekend.  So, what is going on with you?

Photography that makes you think

I’m sure you’ve all come across an image, a photo, painting  that was so beautiful you just couldn’t get it out of your head.  I found the photo above on Facebook and for whatever reason was instantly mesmerized. I thought the person where I found it took the photo but realized that she just got it somewhere trolling around on the internet.  This bothered me.  Not knowing who created it and how maddening it must be for an artist to have their work out ‘there’ but nobody puts your name to it.  So, I began my search to find the artist which took some time.  Googling woman-white dress- water does return an  unbelievable amount of images.  I finally found the photographer on Tumblr.  When I saw the photo I was sure that it all was a clever photoshopped image.  However after locating the artist/photographer,  Phoebe Rudomino , she does in fact conduct the photo sessions underwater. She is a underwater fashion photographer, talk about a niche.  She uses a studio especially built for underwater photography, (Pinewood Studios)  has divers in scuba gear assist the models (many look like dancers the way they point their toes) and has everything in the set weighted. The studio located in England  has the only permanently filled underwater studio in the world.   I could not find where this image was first presented or if it was for a company/product.  Still I find this photo one of my favorites and I’m glad I searched out the photographer to see her other beautiful work.  Peeking behind the curtain to see what goes on in the making only adds to the photo.  Love it. 

You know you love sewing when…

You know you love sewing when you

  • Carry sewing patterns in your purse and look at them during work
  • Can make a joke about unsuitable diagonals
  • Know how to pronounce armscye and know what it means
  • Love it when someone asks where did you get that and reply “I made it”
  • Realize if you never bought a pattern or another yard of fabric your own personal stash would allow you to sew uninterrupted for a minimum of three years.
  • Have more self control with a gooey chocolate 1000 calorie goodie than a beautiful yard of fabric
  • Even though you have 2 sewing machines you still really need another one.
  • Before you go on vacation you google all the hot fabric and sewing shops along the way
  • Your kid’s friends ask what mom does and they reply “sew”
  • You have more sewing books than any other kind and frequently fall asleep with a sewing book or pattern in hand
  • You need a second job to support your habit
  • And, lastly you know you love sewing when no matter how frustrating it gets you still keep coming back.  That’s love.

What crazy things do you do for love?

Stage 1 of my diabolical plan for perfect pants

Me after I get my new pant pattern

I am always on the look out for ways to sew more, sew more efficiently and sew better.  Secondly, I’ve been longing to tackle making pants and having them fit really well thus avoiding the ready to wear nightmare of pant shopping.  No more shame in the dressing room as my muffin top spills out over pants made for a tweens body.  Gone will be the  inseams the length of a super model.  Auf wiedersehn  low rise pants and cheap fabric.

So, in order to sew more and sew more efficiently I’ve decided to have a pant pattern drafted to fit my body.  This will eliminate the frustrating hours of fitting a pant pattern by myself.  Eliminating those hours will free me up to sew!  Insert diabolical laugh and there you have my plan.

Today I met with the lovely and talented Diane Breen who is drafting my beautiful pant pattern.  Diane has many years of experience in sewing, sewing instruction, pattern drafting and the like.  I met her online when I put a ‘call’ out to find someone who could draft me a pattern.  I have come to realize that there are those who might draft a pattern here or there and then you meet those few individuals who truly love drafting patterns.  I felt that about Diane, that she really loves not only sewing but drafting patterns and I think that this is important when choosing a person to draft your patterns.  I met with her today and we talked for about an hour and took measurements.  I brought in the fabric choices I want to use when I make my pants, plus photographs and actual pants that I like.  She took all the measurements and BAM in a week I will go in to fit the muslin.

Is this crazy?  At face value I’m paying a lot of money for a pant pattern. I could save the money and bumble through pant fitting, take a class, and  keep working on getting a commercial pattern to fit.  But, to date I’ve made four attempts at getting a commercial pant pattern right.  With still more tweaking needed.  It’s maddening really.  Then you add in the time factor and the stop and start style of sewing that I do and I’ve spent about two years trying to get this right.  If this works, I should have a pattern ready to go with very minimal fitting required. What’s not to love about that.  What do you think?  Have you thought of getting someone to draft you a pattern? What’s stopping you?

The look I love

If it’s fashion it must be Thursday.  Here is a look I love and it is so classic from Lyn Devon.  With the right fabric, can be worn through out the year.  I would not be caught dead in gladiator sandals, (with my corpse like skin tone?) but ballet flats, cute sandals etc would be perfect.  I love the light weight turtle neck but I don’t have a flat stomach to show off. It could easily be worn with a non-midriff baring top.  This look is so classic Audrey.  This is a look that can be so easily translated to my fashion sense and sensibilities.  Love it!

the look I love

Here is the very lovely Roony Mara in a similar look.  The photo did not state as to who the designer was but it has to be from Lyn Devon. The one with Roony the fabric looks more like cotton, linen etc.  The one above is more fluid like a crepe, silk etc.  What a fabric piglet like myself could whip up! Line the skirt with a contrasting fabric and have it just peek out.  Love the shoes that she picked too.  This is probably going to be a popular look for spring and summer.  Perfect for any age.

Translation please

love it!I love this pre-season look from Vera Wang.  I love a lot of looks from designers but find a hard time translating them into  my un 20-something, rail thin fashion model look.  Any suggestions?  I love the knee highs but for anyone over 21 that could look something very  old lady like.