musing on fashion & identity

cotton & silk awaiting a decision on which pattern to use

! ! ! FLASH ! ! !

Over the weekend the Washington Post had an interesting article about a couple of new on-line companies catering to everyone in the real world who isn’t size 000S to 12.

Which, as Tim Gunn pointed out in an editorial in the same newspaper is the majority of consumers. He further commented, “Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up… Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer…”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

When one isn’t sewing, one tends to think about sewing. At least this one does.

And thinking about sewing reminded me of several things I’ve been reading lately, all of which may influence what gets sewn next. The first is a book:  Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers.

Before deciding whether to purchase or wait eternally for a library copy from out-of-state, I went on-line and read some reviews. Which is how I discovered, “Looking good was a metaphor for Not Giving In, Not Giving Up…”   The Telegraph.

“Keep up the morale of the Home Front by preserving a neat appearance.   The Board of Trade, 1940”

“… a determined effort to bring as much cheer and charm into our life as possible. This, we are convinced, is the best contribution we can make to national defence. This was the attitude, widely celebrated after the end of the war, that came to be known as the Blitz spirit…”   from Fashion on the Ration: Style in the Second World War, by Julie Summers, (pp. 1 and 18). Profile Books. Kindle Edition.

A-ha! So fashion was considered important enough for governments to get involved during World War 2.  Hmm. I downloaded a copy, which I hate doing as I’m a tactile book lover. However, its fascinating and I highly recommend it.

At some point I did my monthly look at Marcy Tilton’s blog and saw this about a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit she’d seen:

     “Clothes carry an energy of the maker and wearer… O’Keefe was always aware of current fashion, adapting it, simplifying and minimizing and paring it down to fit her own sensibilities and style. Her aesthetic remained constant and cultivated throughout her life with a dedication to simplicity, naturalness and sparseness in her art, her clothes and her home.”
“In later years O’Keefe had clothes made by dressmakers and purchased ready to wear. She was clearly aware of American fashion trends, was always of her time but in her own style. When she liked an outfit or garment she would have it replicated by a dressmaker, and in some cases would take it apart to make a pattern.”

This month Lizzie (The Vintage Traveler) did a double-post review of the same exhibit, now in North Carolina. Then I came across some interesting tidbits on ageism over at Style Crone.

This Autumn I’ve got a whole stew of ideas simmering slowly on the back burner. . .  However, one thing’s certain: Those cooler weather clothes I got out lately won’t be needed over the next couple weeks … high 80’s are forecast.   😮  Aw, rats!

long sleeves & long skirts will hang around until (if?) Autumn temps finally arrive

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remembering esther

does your parchment paper begin to burn even below 400℉ as sides of mine do?

Every Labor Day I remember a neighbor named Esther. A dear and very talented woman, I once asked what she did on Labor Day.  I always labor on Labor Day, she said. And now, so do I, in her memory.

edible, but not too…

Had been telling myself all week that it’ll be September soon and time to bake scones again.

Yeah!

Labor Day weekend’s goal was peppery olive oil scones with Parmesan cheese (from this book).

NOTE added 5 Sept.: This recipe is made specifically for olive oil, not butter. It is not a simple substitution! Read remarks in Alston’s introduction, available here as she specifically discusses substitutions!

Remembering I’m not fond of whole wheat (wholemeal) flour in this recipe I used plain, and decided to try Greek yogurt instead of soured-with-lemon milk.

Big mistake because Greek yogurt isn’t nearly as runny as buttermilk or plain yogurt and the dough wouldn’t form into a ball.

I added milk several times, albeit in tiny amounts. That overworked the dough.

rather dense . . .

I used a different combination of herbs, and didn’t get enough to add much flavour.

The just out-dated flour and baking powder probably didn’t help.

At least they didn’t burn!   😳

Neither did the loaf of wheat bread I threw into the machine this afternoon. Mind you, I almost forgot the salt. And the paddle – an essential if you expect the machine to do any mixing or kneading.

Ah! Home-made bread to toast in the morning.

On the sewing front, am making progress with the winter fabric, washing and loading into large zip plastic bags. Now just need to do a bit of a sort and it should be done. Unless I find another pile in some deep, dark corner . . .

he-he-heee!

using up yarn.
still.

fabric updates

the green collection
1 & 3 are silk
4 & 5 rayon viscose
2 is a blend with slight stretch

I was contemplating where to begin sewing The Green Collection (left) when everything halted for the move.

Unpacking led to relocating bits & pieces used for packing, which led to…

Deciding I really need a casual green duster to accompany numbers 4 and 5, currently thought of as dresses. Which led to…

Ordering some swatches from Vogue Fabrics, two-thirds of which are to hand and none will do… which led, whilst awaiting swatches, to. . .

vogue swatches Lt to Rt:: double knit, cotton gauze, 2 rayon viscose

Making more order amongst heavier fabrics (a.k.a. winter), which led to . . .

Me realising I’m not sewing heavier fabrics because the climate’s too hot to wear them.

Ooohhhhh.

Oh me oh my.  Horrors! 😱

Does anyone else buy impractical fabric??

my very appropriate penguin copy

books
Am delighting in the latest Durrell volume, My Family and Other Animals, because its lyrical, hysterical, and utterly charming.

     “We had agreed that we would not invite a lot of people to the party; we said we didn’t like crowds, and so ten guests, carefully selected, were the most we were prepared to put up with… Having unanimously decided on this, each member of the family then proceeded to invite ten people. Unfortunately they didn’t all invite the same ten…”          From “The Enchanted Archipelago” chapter.

Am wending my way through Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series, watching each episode after reading the book, and using both as antidotes for summer heat.

Finally have gotten a copy of Julie Summers’ Home Fires and couldn’t put it down. Although quite different from the PBS programmes, a very enlightening read!

 

books that keep on giving

click to go to amazon listing

Summer heat is here ~ time for gentle thinking and reading rather than activity. And so this book has come out of hibernation.

Clambering languidly up on my soap box, herewith a favourite para for your consideration, or not, as you choose. . . 😉

“Like home economics, dressmaking is traditionally a womanly endeavor that can explode gender stereotypes. Scientists say that the average man has a better capacity to imagine a three-dimensional object than the average woman, but how can this be true of the dressmaker starting from scratch? She not only imagines the dress, she also makes a blueprint of the pieces to achieve the shape she wants and figures out the steps to put the whole thing together. Dressmaking is a form of engineering. And in order to make the final product look good from the outside, a dress is put together inside out. Show me a bridge builder who’s been asked to do that.” The Lost Art of Dress:The Women Who Once Made America Stylish, by Linda Przybyszewski, p. 282

And,

“…the American Association of University Women issued a report in 2010 about how to get more women to succeed in fields of study that were traditionally dominated by men: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–the STEM subjects. One of their recommendations was to teach girls to work with their hands in grade school and junior high. They suggested encouraging them to draw and play with construction toys.” Ibid., pp. 282-3

Then she goes on to write about Mary Brooks Picken, who was weaving and sewing at five, founded a national mail order dressmaking school, authored decades of sewing books, and was the first woman trustee of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

I decided to check out details and found the report mentioned by Ms. Przybyszewski here.

The sections I felt specifically applicable to the quoted passages are cut & pasted below.

Typical summer heat and humidity, reminiscent of walking through warm treacle, has slowed me down enough to troll through happy memories of my own mechanical tendencies.

And to interesting blog posts written by many of you, Lovely Readers, who hack up patterns or design your own, clean and repair your own old and new machines, and share your experiences on-line with words and pictures.

Examples include Mel of The Curious Kiwi and Linda of Nice dress! Thanks I Made It!!.

At $100 or more per service, I sure clean and oil my machines regularly, and have been known to take out screws and clean a few gears.

What about you?

Ever thought about yourself as an engineer? Know anyone you’d consider an engineer!

monday snaps

A few photos of what’s been doin’ round here lately.

Caution!  If you’re hungry, have a snack before continuing. 😉

click any photo to read full captions