july/august ~ calm before storm

my latest bookshelf bookfrabjus eye candy!!!
my latest bookshelf book
frabjus eye candy!!!

I’ve been having great fun reading.

Ever had a week when you just didn’t want to face WordPress writing?  I did, but curiously it didn’t stop me from putting this together.

Recently purchased a Kindle app version of Elizabeth Hawes’ Fashion is Spinach, and it’s keeping me eyeballs glued to the screen.  That means a lot of interest, as I don’t like to read books on screens.

But that was the most economical way to ease the niggling thoughts created whilst reading snippets from Lizzie’s The Vintage Traveler blog that made the book sound sooo interesting. (Thank you, Lizzie!)  See here, here, and here!

Hawes’ writing is as up-to-date as tomorrow’s internet posts. However, she misses the point about home sewers.  At that time many/most women sewed, or knew someone that did!  (Remember my fav Mary Brooks Picken?)

Currently almost half way through “Spinach,” getting to the part where Hawes is about to leave Paris and go back to New York City.  If you’re at all interested in fashion versus style, or Paris fashion houses in the 20’s, this is a great book to start with.  Hawes was an excellent writer!

  • “Fashion is a parasite on style”
  • “Style in 1937 may give you a functional house and comfortable clothes… Style doesn’t give a whoop whether your comfortable clothes are red or yellow or blue… Style gives you shorts for tennis because they are practical…”

That’s what I’ve been realizing this summer, whilst contemplating my nearly-empty closet, my fabric stash, and pattern collection.  Have said it before: heat & humidity are my least favourite things, and it’s always been tough for me to decide what to wear.  Wouldn’t matter if I didn’t sew (gasp!) and just bought – horrors of a different sort!

The other book I’m also reading on-screen is a free download of a dissertation on American sports clothing’s evolution, When the Girls Came Out to Play, by Patricia Campbell Warner.  Boring?  NEH-vah!!!  Here’s another excellent writer who’s dug up plenty of tidbits from history and managed to weave everything together in a quite readable style. Again, I thank Lizzie for the information on her post here.

Feminists shouldn’t be put off by either book, as they are compatible.  When the Girls is both the history of the women’s movement in the United States and the ramifications on their attire whilst becoming more athletic (equated with a more healthy lifestyle).  Typical for a thesis, Warner includes lots of footnotes for further research.

In Spinach, published in 1937, Hawes was writing about what she did in the fashion industry in Paris and New York, as an emancipated woman in the 1920’s and 30’s.

paul poiret, mantle. yellow wool with black chiffon lining. french, c. 1913. might be my fav from Lussier’s book
paul poiret, mantle. yellow wool with black chiffon lining. french, c. 1913.
might be my fav from Lussier’s book

Then I bought the icing on the cake, so to speak:  Art Deco Fashion, by Suzanne Lussier.  A beautifully illustrated and way-too-small sampling of fashions in the late 20’s – early 30‘s, my favourite era.  Again, after much soul-searching and scouring local libraries I decided to purchase a good used copy. (I think Lizzie had also written about it, but a search with “Lussier” didn’t yield a match, so you’ll have to take my word for it!)

The photo I’ve made and included here illustrates to me that Orientalism was influencing fashion much earlier than I’d originally thought.  No wonder there were so many kimonos being worn in that British mini-series, The House of Eliott. I think Lizzie had written about it, but a search with “Lussier” didn’t come up with anything.  So you’ll have to take my word for it!

All-in-all, July’s final week wasn’t quite empty of fashion, despite my not posting loads of finished garments.

Am now thinking about it as the calm before the storm.  More on that anon.  🙂




10 thoughts on “july/august ~ calm before storm”

  1. Ooooh, that book looks terrific, I’ve never heard of it before! And, Art Deco?? Yes, please, one of my favourite eras in design.


    1. Thanks for your comment!
      I hadn’t realized that Art Deco began toward the end of the 20’s, the style I’m drawn to.
      This has been a revelation as well as an inspiration. Highly recommend it!


  2. Blimey O’Riley I can only be honest Del else I would be a pants buddy …. For me the print is way too much for something like this, the colour is so very bold. Personal opinion of course but I’m still with my thinking cap on with regards THE fabric. Dont be harsh on yourself though my lovely, every one of us has bought a fabric from the old tinternet and when its arrived the colour is, shall we say more lively than expected. There will be a practicle us, just not homed in on it yet. The mustard is fab, treat yourself in a lovely green hue 🙂 xx


    1. Thank you, Lovely! Can I use “tinternet”?
      It’s a great descriptive word for what we fabric people try to decipher online whilst purchasing fabric!
      Gotta love it! xxx


    1. You know House of Eliott too?! It’s been a fav for a long time. I’ve got all 3 yrs of the series, and watch at least once a year. Am considering a mustard (in the print) fabric for either jacket or blouse, to solve that prob. Waddya think? xxxx


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