Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Leather Backpack + Chalk Paint = Facelift

It's summer 2015 and I keep seeing the cutest,
brightly embellished bags in fashion magazines...

So I couldn't resist and went out and got me one !

Well, actually I just went to my closet and pulled out my 
old drab leather backpack from a thrift store.

And then dug out the chalk paint that I raved about last year when 
I used the paints to successfully paint a leather belt. 
( post July 6, 2014 )

Next was the nerve racking free form painting directly on the leather
WITHOUT any outlines or stencils or sketches...

Just kept painting having faith that I could keep it balanced and not flub.

Went to bed at this point knowing that the layout was not quite right...

A new day brought a fresh perspective and I quickly finished the design.
Last step is spraying a leather shoe protection product over the paint and leather.

And my drab old thrift store backpack has a bright new appearance !!

Chalk paint is really amazing. 
It has been almost exactly one year since I used the chalk paint 
and it was not at all hard or changed in texture.
The chalk paint on my leather belt has not cracked or flaked AT ALL.

Am now busy trying to think of something else to paint with this incredible product!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

High Style, The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection

On a beautiful afternoon in San Francisco 
I had the pleasure of going to the phenomenal  

Legion of Honor
( )
in Lincoln Park
to see the wonderful exhibit

High Style
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection
March 14 - July 19

The 125 piece High Style collection represents
three centuries of European and American fashions from the late 1700s to 1990s.

This exhibit is a small sampling of the 24,000 women's and men's garments, accessories, hats and shoes from the Brooklyn collection that began in 1903.

1925 silk crepe evening dress by French designer J. Suzanne Talbot

The exhibit is not arranged in chronological order but,
in 7 thematic groupings;
Prewar Europe, Elsa Schiaparelli, postwar Europe,
American female designers, American male designers,
Charles James, and accessories.

1937 ivory crepe-back silk satin summer dress by Elsa Schiaparelli

There are numerous garments and accessories by one of my favorite 
early 20th century French designers, 
 Elsa Schiaparelli.

She was a surrealist with a wit and originality in all her designs.

1938 clear plastic with pressed metal bugs necklace by Elsa Schiaparelli

One of Elsa Schiaparelli's close friends was artist Salvador Dali.
I can picture them brainstorming their iconic images and ideas.

1958 silk surah cocktail dress by French designer Yves Saint Laurent
This trapeze shape dress with it's loose waist was a huge departure from the 
previous silhouette of a fitted bodice and tiny waist.
It was part of Yves Saint Laurent's first collection for the House of Dior after 
Christian Dior's sudden death in 1957.
This design was acclaimed for it's modernity and youthfulness.

1970 organdy and beaded silk jersey evening ensemble by American designer Norman Norell
This ensemble marks another significant fashion development;
pants for evening wear becoming acceptable.

1944 rayon crepe evening dress by American designer Madame Eta Hentz
My daughter decided this was her favorite dress in the exhibit.
The dress was created for a 1944 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled
" The Greek Revival in the United States "
The silhouette is based on a Greek chiton but, the beading and body-hugging form
definitely modernizes this dress.

1939 prototype for an evening pump by French designer Steven Arpad
The accessories room at the High Style exhibit is fascinating.
It seems modern society is pretty dull and conforming in our fashion choices 
compared to the over-the-top inventiveness of prior generations. 

1936 fur felt and rayon jersey hat by American designer Sally Victor

1962 woven straw and wool felt appliques by American designer Sally Victor
I am a little disappointed that there are only about a dozen hats on display.
Most are by the American designer Sally Victor...
it was a sad day when women no longer completed an outfit with the perfect hat.

1953 muslin of "Four Leaf Clover" ball gown by American designer Charles James

The last two rooms are dedicated to Charles James, an American designer from 1920 to 1954 that also had great success in London.
Charles James had no formal dressmaking training, instead developing his own methodology based on mathematical, architectural, and sculptural concepts.

Video showing the construction of Charles James Four Leaf Clover ball gown

Fascinating videos continually play at four of James masterpieces that deconstructed the gown into pattern pieces and then assembled them on the body.
To anyone that sews these videos are priceless. It's one thing to look at a beautiful gown but, so much more to see the shape of the pattern pieces !
These videos are easily the best thing I have ever seen at a designer showcase.

1947 muslin for the Bustle dress by American designer Charles James

Another interesting and unusual part of the Charles James pieces are the 1/2 muslins.
These are how James worked out and developed his increasingly complex designs 
before he cut into the final fabric.

1955 silk taffeta "Tree" ball gown by American designer Charles James

The final Charles James gown is this " Tree " ball gown designed for the very wealthy
Marietta Peabody Fitzgerald Tree.
This is also the gown that adorns all the publicity for the High Style exhibit.

The detailing on the "Tree "ball gown

The " Tree " ball gown is an amazing example of Jame's
 lifelong fascination of reshaping the body through corsetry. 
The accompanying video that shows the many underlayers and structure is fantastic.

Charles James and his wealthy patrons became very active in donating his works to 
the Brooklyn Museum. 
 Dozens of gowns, sketches, and more than 75 patterns were donated over many years creating a very thorough archive of his work

I recognized the name Charles James but, after viewing his work I am awed by his talent.
I really like the way his mind works.

High Style
The Brooklyn Museum Costume  Collection
is certainly one of the best 
fashion exhibits I have seen this year;
these photos are just a small sampling.

Thank goodness someone in Brooklyn had the insight 
to begin this wonderful collection that 
showcases the ingenuity and great fashion design through 
the centuries.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I'll Have the Scallops, please.

Del Mar Quilting, Sewing and Crafting Festival; 
another sewing festival
another opportunity to purchase novelties.

This time I was seduced by a scallop ruler/template
along with a heat resistant pusher for ironing.
All created and demonstrated by a highly entertaining 
Janet R. Platt

You simply place two fabrics right sides together
and outline the scallops and the pivot points.

Next you carefully sew 1/4" inside the drawn line 
and pivot each time you reach a point.

Then the drawn line becomes the line you follow to cut away the extra fabric

Carefully and accurately snip to each pivot point WITHOUT cutting through the stitches

Cut about four snips around each curve and then 
cut right down the middle of only one fabric.

Turn your scallops right side out and at each scallop insert the pusher to 
really help create and hold the scallop shape while you press with iron.

The pusher is the key to uniform, well rounded scallops !

When you've pressed all the scallops one side still has a cut slit down the middle 
( how you turned it right side out ) 
and then the other side has no cuts or markings..

Fold the scalloped strip in half lengthwise 
with the middle cut slit inside the fold.
When the scallop strip is folded both fabrics will show
so it is a nice effect to use two different fabrics.

The idea is to do many strips of the scallops 
and overlap
the strips to maybe
 cover the front of a pillow
or the yoke of a shirt
or the bottom of a skirt 
or the bottom of a curtain
or what ever floats your boat.

This scallop technique was pretty quick and easy
and someday I may need this exact thing but,honestly
 Janet R. Platt was just a really good saleswoman :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Where's the Button?

Looking for the perfect button to finish a project ?

Pretty sure this is the opportunity to find that button...
plus probably zillions more you don't even know you want !

I am beyond sad that I will be out of town during this event.
But, my bank account is pretty glad I can't attend :)

Go find your button !!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Finders and Keepers; Super Buzzy and French General

Discovered two GREAT  sewing stores in So Cal this month !!

One was Super Buzzy on Main Street in Ventura

The other amazing store was French General in Los Angeles 

superbuzzy, 1794 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001

Super Buzzy has a fantastic selection of; 
unique, beautiful Japanese fabrics,
Japanese crafting supplies. 
lots of purse/bag making items and patterns,
notions, dyes, books,
ribbons, ribbons, ribbons
AND felting supplies !! 

Many items I have never seen before and I throughly enjoyed the 90 minutes looking
at every aisle and item in the store.
Plus, being a privately owned store the owner and her lovely family were present 
and eager to answer all my questions of
  " what's this ? "

French General 2009 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90039

French General is a few blocks from Dodger Stadium 
in a part of Los Angeles called Frogtown.

This store is as far from a traditional retail store as possible.
It is an epic treasure hunt of 
vintage buttons, ribbons, trims, 
papers, quilting supplies, fabrics,
 notions, horseshoes, misc antique items,
and zillions of old apothecary jars full of beads, beads and beads.

French General has its roots on the East Coast
started by Kari Meng and her sister Molly. 
More than a store they wanted to share their wonderful finds
from France and England.
And an important goal is creating an inspiring workspace
so there is a wonderful selection of classes and activities.

You must ring the bell to be admitted into this 
wonderland of inspiration.
And be prepared to spend some time
if you want to search every nook and niche 
at the wonderfully original French General.

Here is what I could not resist at Super Buzzy;
fabric, felting supplies, buttons and a unique seam ripper from Japan

French General has the best branding I have ever encountered...
everything is beautiful from the products to the store displays
to the packaging. 
I could not resist buttons, ribbons and jewelry bits.

The two things that Super Buzzy and French General share 
are  female proprietors that love their stores, fabulous cute exteriors
and wonderful unique items inside 
( oops three things ! ) 

I would definitely describe these two stores as destinations.
Generic items may not be found but, 
with an open mind you may find treasures you didn't even know you wanted !!

Happy Hunting

Friday, May 1, 2015

Introducing Iris Apfel

There is a new documentary about an interesting fashion icon:
Iris Apfel
93 years young.

Iris is part of the new Spring ad campaign for Kate Spade.
But, she made her fortune and reputation owning a textile company with her husband Carl.

Textiles also allowed Iris to travel the world and amass 
an unbelievable treasure trove of oddities and artifacts.

In fact Iris has so many unique clothes and accessories
that in 2005 the New York Metropolitan Museum did an exhibit 
of some of her  outfits with accessories.
But, she doesn't take herself or fashion too seriously.

and if you can believe it there is even a Halloween costume of her !!!

The documentary Iris is not earth shattering but,
after living for 93 years she has 
many fashion insights and observations 
that make you smile