Gotta have it! – Martin Bjornson’s Spool Chair

How would this be in your sewing studio?  You can sit on it and store stuff in it as well.  Pretty neat.  I’ll take 2!  From Designer Martin Bjornson.  

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?

Sewing and crafts for the WPA 1930’s

From the Library of Congress

Love these old posters from the WPA.  As with anything the government does the WPA had its share of controversies as well as successes.  I find the idea of training, educating people to learn sewing and handcrafts to be pretty darn cool.  Many participants of the WPA were women.  Women of the time still did a lot of their sewing by hand.   WPA classes taught women how to sew with machines, pattern drafting, knitting and more.  Some women were put to work making bedding, clothing and other items for hospitals.  This sewing skill would come in handy during the war years with women going to work in factories making various fiber items for the war effort.

What A Way to Go indeed! Edith Head’s costume designs

I’ve been reading one of Edith Head’s biographies and have come to her work on What A Way To Go with Shirley MacClaine and Robert Mitchum as well as Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, Paul Newman and Dick Van Dyke. This 5 minute clip will give you a quick look at a few of  the fabulous costumes from this movie.  Apparently Mitchum and MacClaine were having an affair at the time so their constant I-love-you’s might not have been all that hard to utter.  And, yes this is a movie for which her work was nominated for an Oscar for Costume Design.  If you love costumes, Edith Head or just a silly movie this fits the bill.   Check it out!

The Secret Life of Sewing Machines and Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a little dose of history.  It’s over 9 minutes long but it’s quite interesting.  At around 5:30 watch the human sewing machine!

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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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How sewing can change your life

With ads like this I’m surprised there wasn’t a mad rush to the local sewing machine shop.    I just read up on the madness/genius of Stan Freberg from the wonderful blog The Automat.    If you are interested in zany advertising campaigns check a few out  here.    Sure to elicit a giggle or two.  The announcer in the Singer ads is Walter O’ Keefe, and his fast talking and irreverent humor  reminded me of Freberg.   Is the 21st century ready for ads like this?  

And here is one more.

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

Ieva

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Items you won’t find in my closet.

Get a ‘Like” and get a big ass

Melissa Kit Chow has designed a coat that actually inflates or “hugs” you when you get a “Like” on Facebook.   If this ever moves beyond concept I may just unplug my laptop,  build a self composting toilet and go underground for a very long time. You? 

Scary Beautiful

Scary Beautiful Shoes

Artist Leanie van der Vyer has created a pair of shoes like no other.  Yes, these shoes are without a doubt ugly and quite scary. However her message is poignant and compelling.  The video below is haunting and just a little uncomfortable to watch.  Leanie says of the shoes they are an  ‘… illustration of what lies beyond this aspirational perfection”.  Which in my mind would be pain and discomfort.  

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“Humans are Playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.” 

What do you think of the video, of the shoes, of fashions quest for perfection.

For more on her thesis and photos click here. 

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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The Pin – a short history

Photo by Mary Harding

  As seamstresses, quilters, crafters we use pins without any thought.  Always at the ready, sitting in our little magnetic dishes. Only cursing them when we find a point stuck into a calloused toe like a small cocktail sword.   They are used everyday we sew and are vital to making great garments, crafts and quilts.  Here are a few things about the pin that you may not know. Continue reading

Prabal Gurung and the concept of aging gracefully

Prabal Gurung

Originally from Nepal Gurung now resides in the United States and has made a big entrance into the fashion scene (He’s dressed the First Lady several times).  His designs are edgy yet feminine with amazing tailoring. The prints and graphics are breathtaking.  I not only love his styles but his outlook. He is heavily involved in charities that aid women and children forced into slavery and prostitution.   When asked about trends he would never like to see come back this is his response. Continue reading

Not your grandma’s sewing machine

Sewing machine of the future?

  This sewing machine is created by Sarah Dickins who won the James  Dyson Award for her design.   She finds her generation frequently tosses clothing in the trash rather than mending it.  Most sewing machines have a steep learning curve and can be complicated machinery.  Often times one needs a set of classes just to learn how to operate it.  

Dickins set out to design a machine that was user friendly and could do general mending and could be used straight away.  I have not tested the machine but would love to. It has a beautiful design and shape to it and I certainly would not want to hide this machine in some dark corner.    You can read more here on her award and design process.

Would a machine like this keep you sewing?

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.