My Conversations With Edith Head

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Girl can pose!

Last night I had the opportunity to see Conversation With Edith Head a one woman show starring Susan Claassen.  This is a wonderful look into the world and mind of  Edith Head.  And, for a 90 minute play with no intermission time really flew.   Continue reading

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!

Knitting and World 2 – American Red Cross

Knit your bit!

The government calls on women and children all across the country to get knitting for the boys and the war effort.  Socks wore out fast and men needed to change them frequently if possible. Cold, wet feet were not only uncomfortable but could cause a host of problems if not addressed quickly.

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.

Fashion and Sport

Following sport fashion trends is nothing new.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the twenties loved to watch the ladies of the court not just for the athletic prowess but, and sometimes solely for what and who they were wearing.  Long before Serene Williams assaulted our eyeballs with this

Gladiator meets Can Can Dancer

There was Suzanne Lenglen’s  tittilating view of ankles and  thighs.  Lenglen was known for her dominating athletic style and no holds barred athleticism.  Her tennis outfit was designed by Jean Patou who was instrumental in elevating sportswear to new heights in the world of fashion.

Suzanne Lenglen

Suzanne Lenglen

Prior to Patou’s truly revolutionary designs for women athletes women had to lumber around in this

Victorian tennis costume

Now if Serena ever dons on something modest well that might be revolutionary.  We’ve certainly come a long way.  Maybe too far in some cases.

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

Make Do and Mend campaign of World War 2

Here is a clip from  World War 2 showing English women how to refashion clothing and in turn support the war the effort.    In England this campaign was called Make Do and Mend.  In this clip the audience is treated to a fashion show of refashioned clothing.   This Make Do and Mend idea is popular once again as consumers want to save money, reduce their footprint and/or want to release creative energy by way of up-cycling and refashioning.  So, what do you Make Do and Mend?  

Knitting and World War 2

Knitting and World War 2

Poster from the WPA during the WW 2 years. The original is in the Library of Congress. Many women knit the boys on the front socks and other items.

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?

Jazz Age Lawn Party

baigneuse


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.