Saturday, March 2, 2019

The color blue

Those of us who work with color have probably been mystified or frustrated by colors in our imagination that just cannot be duplicated in life!

I used to see beautiful, vivid colors that might occur in nature but do not seem to replicable with dyes, paints, textiles, or other media.

Sometimes it's evident that color is elusive...just hover around the paint counter at your local Home Depot long enough and you'll hear frustrated customers who cannot find the right shade of white, or husbands and wives disagreeing whether a color is blue or green.

So when a "new" pigment is discovered and released for commercial use, its pretty exciting!
Crayola held a contest to name the vivid color, and the winner was "Bluetiful." (The scientific name for the pigment is YInMn). 

By Mas Subramanian - Mas Subramanian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

In my fabric life, there's a silk chiffon waiting for a beautiful creation...use code BLUE for 30% off your blue fabric purchase through 3/4.

Do see color or patterns as you fall asleep? There is a name for them: Phosphenes. They are thought to occur because of the natural electrical charges that occur from normal body/brain functions. While we are awake, the inputs to our eyes and brains just distract us from perceiving them!

The Metropolitan Museum
The University of Oregon
ArtNet News
Exquisite Fabrics

Monday, February 25, 2019

2019 Oscars, the 91st Academy Awards

I hadn't watched the Oscars for years, and I missed the red carpet arrivals, but there was plenty to see during the awards portion! A nice little break from doing taxes.

This morning the stories were all about "pink" as the dominant color on the runway. That's okay, but what caught my eye are the fluid silver numbers!

As usual, Jennifer Lopez wore what many people would consider "the" dress, made with what looked like broken mirror pieces. The mirrored bits reflected the red carpet nicely too!
Embed from Getty Images

Other silver dresses (I love silver) were worn to perfection by Brie Larson (and complimented by Samuel L. Jackson in classic form)... Embed from Getty Images

  ...America Ferrara...
  Embed from Getty Images

...Lily Aldridge...

Embed from Getty Images

All images used by permission.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Threads magazine shares a lace top pattern!

This looks like a good idea to me.  A nice lace top would be good to wear to the Fourth of July with jeans.  (Where I am going, I don't know. Could be the Castleton Festival or maybe Graves' Mountain.  Or Ida Lee Park.  So many choices!)

This top takes a yard and a half of lace.  One hint in the directions says not to cut the front and back pieces separately, but to leave the pattern pieces joined at the shoulder.  There's an error in how that is expressed--that shoulder join is referred to as "the vertical seam."  In fact it would be a horizontal seam.  Glad I could clear that up for you before you get started!

Your finished top will be a little less than 27" in length in front and the same in back.

Ready, buy the lace, get the instructions, and go!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sewing UFO's

In the world of sewing (and maybe other hobbies too) this means "Un-Finished Objects."  In the course of my past career, there were many times when I had to put away an in-progress project and it got forgotten or the seasonal usefulness of it had passed.  In other cases, maybe I was unable to solve an "issue" but was unwilling to throw away the project (I just love the fabric too much).   Then there are the alterations or ideas I had to change the garment to update it.  All in all, I have a space dedicated to "UFO's" now....It's hanging space about the width of a washer (because it's in the former upstairs laundry closet).  I'm a little bit proud that the whole closet is not filled.

Anyway, I retrieved a jacket in progress from the closet last night and started to study it.  I taped and did pad stitching on the hair canvas and a mock welt pocket way back then, but never turned the collar.

It was meant to have had awful rounded peaked lapels (Remember those--what was it, 1969 or something?  What was I thinking?) and the front is slightly cut-away.  The back is gathered into a sort of peplum.  I guess it's supposed to resemble one of Ralph Lauren's hacking jacket-like creations. It's no doubt too small, but my girth alteration is easy--just add onto the sides seams if I have some of the fabric in my stash (or lose weight)..

So I started to finish this thing.  First order of business was correcting "something" that was wrong with the cut of the upper collar and the way it joins the lapel.  Then I whacked away the beagle-ear shape of the lapel peak.  It's still a bit of a peak, but not so wacky.  Looks pretty good.

A remaining problem is that I don't have pattern pieces or envelope anymore and don't even recall how the pattern was supposed to look.  So making a lining is going to be trial and error.

So far, here's what it looks like:



If you love beautiful classic woolens, zoom in on this.  It's a camel's hair and wool blend houndstooth with charcoal gray and camel.  The only way I can wear camel.  :)


And here's another long-postponed project:  I had the pattern and fabric together and ready to go for ages, then discovered I didn't have enough fabric (I would have had enough for the contrast, must have interpreted the pattern envelope wrong).

This one was made with a rayon and silk woven check, paired with a tropical weight wool gab for the contrasting bands.  It was a very fun pattern to make!  It's a little short on me in the back, despite the fact that I made a muslin and adjusted the pattern.  But, I wore it with jeans the other day (black ones) was pretty happy with it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Potential sewing room

Certain things are present, but the room is not organized yet.
This is the "fabric annex", a space under the eaves that hubby had finished for me (his idea) so I can stow my guilt-inducing tubs of fabric (there are 16 of them).  A project has to be to go through the ones that have been jostled during the move, and re-fold the fabrics.  Maybe even document my yardages!  The space has two access doors, lights, and a light switch inside each door.  It's finished off with plywood and spray painted white.  Now all my friends want one!

Monday, July 8, 2013

New sewing room!

I get to set up my new sewing room very soon!

I've been having trouble deciding whether to get all new, fancy sewing room furniture (Arrow, Horn of American, Koala,  Kangaroo, and a couple of other companies offer some pretty elaborate setups).  I couldn't find anything that really looked like I would use all the features (they are bulky, and they are VERY expensive). I almost wanted kitchen cabinets instead.  I've seen some people use Ikea kitchen base cabinets for storage.  I even have cabinets from the kitchen remodel that I could use.  The shape of the room reminds me of Martha Stewart's sewing room, even down to the dormer windows.   And I am a big fan of the green.

You can tour the room on this page:  MARTHA'S CRAFTS ROOM

And, you can even buy furniture like what is shown, in that wonderful green!

Martha Stewart Living 42 in. W Rhododendron Leaf Craft Space Eight-Drawer Flat-File Cabinet

But, I don't do the kind of crafting that requires drawer after drawer of paper, glitter, or other little objects.   The only thing I feel I am lacking is an extended flat sewing surface, and I think we can engineer a regular table so that my machine can be dropped in (I'll lift it out when I want to access the free arm).

My most important consideration is to keep my fabric hoard clutter out of my sight, because all that fabric makes me feel guilty (I haven't had much of a sewing life for about 8 years, and it's funny, the less time I had to sew, the more fabric I collected...gave me a sense that I would come through, somehow).   I used to have 3 commercial/re-purposed sets of  chests of drawers with 4 drawers each.  The thing is, I have so much fabric that the drawers became very heavy, and they were probably not made for that much weight.  They collapsed downward, leaving me only access to the top ones unless I wanted to haul out, unpack, and repack every time I wanted to find something.  So, I did the thing that I dreaded...I transferred everything to 16 big plastic tubs.  Sigh.  I was able to keep them out of sight in my long basement cedar closet, but like I said, no sewing life for a few years anyway.  As I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, my hoarding tapered off.

Hubs decided that the thing to do was to finish off a space under the eaves, and give me two access doors (because the space is long and narrow), lights and everything!  The whole thing is finished with plywood which is spray painted white.  So it's kind of like a dedicated fabric attic.  It's a brilliant solution that has my friends busy hiring handy men to do the same thing...thanks hubby!

Yesterday was the big moving day, so my antique sewing machine (gg grandmother Elsie Hill's) and a few other items that I hadn't moved previously made it to their new room.  I have my old library table with its single drawer, where I keep my bobbins, tape measure, shears, seam ripper, etc.  There's a shelf on the bottom where my pattern pieces can rest while I still need to consult them.  The machine goes on top.  My office desk goes in there, too, as does a reclining chair that I will use for knitting and hand sewing.  The big cutting table that I thought I wanted for the center of the room....I don't know.  I really want something I can access from at least three sides, if not four, so I'm considering a movable top (maybe two pieces of plywood) that can rest with the desk on one end and the library table on the other.  I do also have a drop leaf table.  That way I wouldn't have to have a permanent big hulking piece of furniture...unless I decide to become a quilter of course!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Logo rebellion

Lesley Stahl's piece on Luxottica, the Italian eyewear manufacturer and distributor, made me think that back in the 70's and early 80's Luxottica was THE luxury brand in eyewear.  Our neighbor at our original location at the Watergate complex was "Watergate Opticians," where owner Nancy Glick purveyed fashionable eyewear that could not be found elsewhere.  I didn't even need glasses yet, but any visiting relatives would head next door to find the latest styles.  It was BEFORE prestige logos were a was all about (mostly) tasteful design.  I think that Diane von Furstenberg and Luxottica were the top of the line brands for eyewear (maybe Givenchy and YSL were available too, but I can't quite remember--and it wasn't about the logos).  Somehow, "design" must now be tatooed with a prominent logo in order to be relevant in the marketplace.  When did that happen?  Luxottica says that its first prestige deal was with Armani in 1988 (that would have been the "power suit" era, and Armani's suit was kind of the power power suit).

I remember a first trip abroad when I was 20.  I was abroad for a month, for work.  My goal at the end of my assignment was to stop in Paris, buy a pair of purple shoes for fall, and get a haircut (yeah, I know, nobody believes I ever get a haircut).  I didn't have much time, and I didn't then and still don't speak French that well (I tend to say things like septente instead of soixante-dix, which means I speak better Swiss than French).  Anyway, I bought some fabric at Rodin (surprise!) got lost (which was fun), bought two dolls for my younger sister, and some Godiva (which must have still been a Belgian company at that point--you bought the candy by grams at a sidewalk stand instead of in the famous gold ballotin in a suburban shopping mall).  I ate quiche (which was not very good after all).  I opened an account at Credit Agricole.  Saw the most beautiful display of purple shoes on the Champs Elysee (so many shades of purple, magenta, plum, so many finishes, perforated suede, leather, I could not have chosen--so I just carried the image around with me ever after).

The Dior boutique had just been redone in shades of gray.  Celine was kind of fading into obscurity. I found the tiny Balenciaga boutique, where racks of perfect, fluffy silk dresses were being wheeled in the front door (back from a private showing, perhaps).  I was able to pick out a tie for my husband.  Afterward, I climbed part of the way up the Eiffel Tower, which was less than a dollar.

I was saturated in fashion by the time I left, and there was nary a logo to be seen.

Now, logos are annoying.  In certain quarters, a logo-soaked fake Vuitton bag is more "valuable" than a plain Calvin Klein leather bag (or a plain good quality leather bag of any kind).  Some people who can afford or almost afford an upper echelon bag (or watch or scarf) won't even buy one because they'd rather buy ten knock offs.  Others won't buy an authentic bag because they don't want anyone to mistake it for a knock off.  These perverse logo madnesses have totally displaced good design, and they certainly don't convey "prestige."  Didn't Pierre Cardin teach us anything?

A Vogue or Harper's Bazaar magazine from September 1979 would be fun to have.