Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jacques Tiffeau -- Master of Modernism

While reviewing the gowns worn to the Academy Awards I realized that there's nothing more attention getting than elegant simplicity. (Case in point, Angelina Jolie) Some designers just get it. According to Diana Vreeland, Jacques Tiffeau was "in tune" with designs that created heightened visual impact based on color, cut and design. Jacques Tiffeau (1927-1988) was one of the more popular designers in the heyday of the miniskirt. His design to the left (a vintage 1960's pattern from McCall's) is stunningly simple. It's constructed of six panels with a bias fold-over collar, pockets in the side seam line and a zipper in the back center seam line. Plain and simple, yet modern , easy and elegant. He said, "The secret of good clothes is to keep taking off, simplifying, trimming down—yet to capture the shape of the human body." As tastes changed in the 1970s Tiffeau was accused of merely "rehashing" his old styles and was never again able to regain the spotlight. He ended his days quietly as a fashion design instructor.

Embroidery for Your Home

Who doesn't love the look of vintage hand embroidered linens? While the cost of vintage linens is sometimes out of our reach, there's nothing to prevent you from duplicating these designs. Learn a few easy stitches and you'll be hooked. Literally. Start with an easy project and you'll be amazed at how quickly your skill level develops. The art of embroidery is also soothing for the soul and a perfect airplane, bus, train, at the beach activity or half-watching t.v. activity. Search out patterns and designs that inspire you and soon you'll be inspiring others with your new and artistic skills.
A tremendous resource on the Internet is http://www.needlenthread.com/, a site maintained by a hobbyist-expert in needlecraft, Mary Corbet. Beautifully organized with tips for the needleworker, from beginner to expert, you'll find a whole range of tips, references and resources, including a fantastic video library of stitches.

Photo from Embroidery Inspired By Wrought Iron Designs, Coats Sewing Group Book No. 1024, copyright 1968. (Tuscany Refectory Cloth. )

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Go Back in Time to Sew Something Fabulous

I love to reach back into the past to sew something just a little different. This swimsuit cover-up has beautifully elegant lines that put those customary tunic cover-ups to shame. With a little ingenuity you can create a magnificent wardrobe by using vintage patterns. . Sizes for vintage patterns vary and while patterns can be adapted (if you know how) it's easier if you just know your own measurements. So go back in time and search out those vintage patterns (I might mention here that I happen to have a whole growing selection on my etsy site). You'll be happy you did.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's Time to Take Up Sewing

If you can read, you can sew. I was one of the fortunate few, before major education spending cutbacks, who had exposure to 'home economics' with a strange but creative teacher who taught me how to make fruit salad and sew the ugliest pair of pajamas I have since never worn. She made us use ugly fabrics and repulsive sewing patterns that would have stunned a fashionista into a permanent state of schizophrenia. Somehow I graduated with the knowledge of what not to do and decided what I would do: teach myself how to really sew by the only means available, by the book. Yes, you too can learn to sew via the learn from a book method. The book pictured is from the 1950's and is a valuable resource for those who need and want to learn more. Buy one new or used or borrow one from your local library. Just get sewing!