Thought for a lifetime

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Great Fashion Video on Youtube

This is a very entertaining 2 minute video that models 100 years of fashions.
The look for 2015 is not in my wardrobe :(

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Felt So Right in Easthampton, Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the first stop 
of my 2015 summer hat classes !

Took a red-eye into Boston and 
landed just as the sun was rising.

Just wanted to show off this awesome pic I snapped out the plane window

My felt hat class in Easthampton didn't start until the next day 
so I got to explore Boston...

450 Harrison Ave #67, Boston, MA 02118
and chanced upon a wonderful hat shop in the
 SOWA ( South of Washington ) artsy area of Boston
named Galvin-ized Headwear.

Marie Galvin
Galvin-ized Headwear is the store front and studio 
of the amazing Boston based Irish milliner,

Marie Galvin

Marie has a wonderful selection of all original hats 

in different shapes, sizes, and materials.

2009 Hatty Award hat by Marie Galvin
 Marie was extremely nice even though she was very busy making hats for custom orders.
She asked me not to photograph her inspiring studio work area because she felt it was 
in disarray.

Meeting milliners always inspires me and makes me envious.
Marie Galvin is making beautiful hats
and I'm still learning. 

A quick stop for cannoli in the North End of Boston 
at the world famous Mike's Pastry 
helped lift my spirits.

Two hours and 30 minutes east of Boston I finally found 
the quaint, little town of Easthampton where.

84 Cottage St. Easthampton, MA 01027
my hat felting class was at New England Felting Supply which is located in an old theater.

New England Felting Supply has a cozy, cute storefront and I thought 
"Egads, THIS is what I flew across the country for ?? "
 And then I walked into the back and entered a felting oasis !!
It was awesome and inspiring.

The classroom area had beautiful, fanciful felt hats everywhere I looked

 and the hats were all the work of an extremely talented 
fiber artist from Michigan who specializes in 
" exceptional, fun, out-of-the ordinary felt hats ";

Dawn Edwards
Felt So Right

Shopping at the wall of Merino wool was like being in a dream
Dawn is a wonderful teacher and genuinely nice person.
She freely shared her techniques, ideas, and tips for felting success.

Something Dawn shared was a technique to add character to any hat during felting.
Of course I had to try it...

I kept soaping and wetting and agitating...

until it was all successfully felted. 
And then I cut it open to reveal...

a giant flower growing out of the side of my hat!

My flower is pretty hideous but, the technique I learned 
has lots and lots of possibilities.

My new friend from class also made a flower grow out of her hat :)

After felting and laughing and talking for two days we all were friends.

I definitely know that felting will 
be a big part of my millinery process.
Art hats are not my goal but,
Dawn taught very valuable techniques 
that will greatly improve my future felting.

First hat class of Summer 2015 was a success!

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 :)