Tag Archives: design

A passion for (1920s) fashion

I’ve spent my convalescence, which I am now ready to admit was from the flu, catching up on television that I’ve neglected.  Downton Abbey was first on my list and I am happy to say that it has completely revived my passion for early 1900s fashion.  I mean, just look at it:

Promo shot for Downton Abbey

Promo shot for Downton Abbey

The lace! The beading! The draping! The fabrics!  I love it all.  I wish I could be more eloquent about it, but I just can’t.  All is what I love and all is all I can say.

I think my passion for it started with a show I used to watch when I was in highschool, living in London: The House of Eliott.  It’s about two sisters, Beatrice & Evie, who own a couture design house.  There’s an element of the upstairs/downstairs feeling of Downton Abbey, but the girls are not as well-to-do as the Crawleys.  Being business owners would put them firmly into the middle class.  At any rate, it’s been years since I watched it, so I don’t remember as much as I like. I remember one of their employees couldn’t stitch straight and it turned out she needed glasses…and that Beatrice’s beau’s name is Jack and that he was quite handsome. I’ve had it on my Amazon wish list for ages, but nobody seems to think I want it that much. :-)

The House of Eliott - title image

The House of Eliott – title image

Having nothing to do with the roaring 20s and everything to do with couture design houses, in 2005 the Sundance Channel aired a miniseries called Singé Chanel which followed Karl Lagerfeld, and to a larger degree, the women who do the real work of sewing the dresses, from start to finish through a couture collection.  I loved this show as much, if not more than The House of Eliott.  I speak not a lick of French (deux baguettes, s’il vous plaît!), but I have poured over the episodes so many times I don’t even need to read the subtitles any more.  It’s too bad the show is no longer available in the United States.

Screenshot from Signé Chanel

Screenshot from Signé Chanel

Which brings us up to present day in which I, somewhat obsessively, watch Project Runway. (I watched it before it was cool, yo.) My favorite, if you had any doubt, is Uli, who I hope will win, but we shall see (If I’m honest, I think Anthony Ryan is going to take it).  Given my passion for 1920s fashion, is it any wonder that Uli is my fav?

One of Uli's amazing designs.

One of Uli’s amazing designs.

Can you lend a hand?

Have you heard of Kickstarter? If you haven’t, you need to check it out.  It’s where folks like us can support other folks like us by backing their projects and helping them to get off the ground.

I bring this up now because I was directed to a Kickstarter for Sara at Sew Sweetness that I really want to see backed – Sara designs beautiful handbag patterns that are available for free, but she would like to start designing clothing patterns for sale.  She needs to purchase pattern drafting software to do so and that stuff is pricey.  For donating just $25 to the cause, you’ll get 2 sewing patterns once she’s up and running.

Nearly a quarter of the money needed has been pledged now, but there are only 28 days left to back her Kickstarter: I hope you’ll consider helping her out!

Farfalle Baby Quilt

Do you know what Farfalle is?  It’s the pasta that’s shaped like a bow. You know, this stuff:

Farfalle Pasta

Did you also know that “farfalla” is Italian for butterfly? Neither did I…

ANYWAY…this weekend, I made a flying farfalle quilt as a well-past-due gift for the baby of some friends.  (The baby is now 4 months old, so it’s not THAT far past due…)

Farfalle Baby Quilt

What a fun quilt to make!  I love how this turned out…well, most of it.  I love the wonky triangles and the colors.  I’m not usually a pink girl, but every once in a while I like to let my girlie flag fly. Plus I think the grey and other wonderful colors mitigate the glaring pinkness of it all, even if I did use hot pink thread to quilt it. ;-)

Speaking of the quilting, that’s the one thing I really don’t like.  I love my little loop-de-loops that I normally do and knowing that I was on a bit of a time crunch, I should really have stuck with them for this quilt.  But I wanted to try something different and ended up with this loop-de-loop-de-loop design. I guess the results are good, but this little 40″x40″quilt became such a BEAST.  My arms were completely exhaused and I think I started to develop tennis elbow. Add to that my basting spray refused to perform it’s proper function and hold the layers together…UGH!

Farfalle Baby Quilt detail

Still pretty. In the end, I don’t think I can be too unhappy with the results – what matters is that I made a special gift for some special friends and their beautiful little girl. Amiright?

I’ve been trying to find a tutorial to direct you to to make this quilt and I haven’t seen one. Maybe I’ll write one up myself. You’ll be the first to know if I do.

On my sewing table right now:

I’m trying out a new (to me) free motion quilting design on this baby quilt. It’s called “Trailing Spirals“. What do you think?

Trailing Spirals