Betty’s Stash

Can another person truly appreciate the collections of another? I’ve been contemplating the answer to this question.  Each time I climb the stairs to my attic, I transcend the reality of down below.  Surrounded by bins full of color, texture, and print transports me to a reality all my own.  Will someone else be able to share my reality or create their own?

I own three Singer sewing machines, two Bernina sewing machines and one Bernina Funlock machine.  My first Singer was given to me by my parents as a Christmas gift, the second was given to me by my husband when I was expecting our daughter, and the third I bought from a co-worker who needed the money.  The Bernina I purchased for myself and the second Bernina was given to me after my mother-in-law passed away.  Each machine, as silly as it sounds, represents a stage in my life. They are a part of my history.

Which brings me to the reason for this post…I didn’t think I had much in common with Betty, except for her son and granddaughter, my husband and daughter.  Well, that was until I inherited her sewing machine, fabric and notions.

Betty's Stash_1_1

Rarely, did I see Betty wear color, but her thread collection reflects a different story.

Betty's Stash #2_1

The Stretch and Sew pins bring back memories of the Stretch and Sew knits http://www.asg.org/files/hall/2004_Person.pdf.  I can’t part with her collection of hotel sewing kits, especially the one from a hotel in Sri Lanka.  Betty was a world traveler reflected by the stamps in her passports (which I’ve got for safe keeping).  Her collection of silk from Thailand and India, and batiks from Bali.

I appreciate Betty’s love of travel and culture, narrated by her gifts to me.

Lanvin at 125: Marie-Blanche de Polignac

An interesting blog on the history of fashion.

PatternVault

Lanvin's 1950s pattern, Vogue 1120, photographed by Richard Rutledge Vogue 1120 by Lanvin, Vogue, October 1950. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

This week, the second post in my series on Lanvin sewing patterns. (See my post on Jeanne Lanvin’s interwar patterns here.)

Born Marguerite di Pietro, Marie-Blanche de Polignac (1897-1958) was the only child of Jeanne Lanvin and her first husband, Italian aristocrat Emilio di Pietro. Marie-Blanche (who is sometimes called the Comtesse Jean de Polignac) was director of Lanvin from her mother’s death in 1946 until the appointment of Antonio del Castillo in 1950.

1940s

From the earliest Vogue Paris Originals, Vogue 1052 is an elegant, short-sleeved dress with a waistcoat effect:

1940s Lanvin dress pattern - Vogue 1052 Vogue 1052 by Lanvin (1949) Image via eBay.

Clifford Coffin photographed the dress in Paris for Vogue magazine:

Lanvin dress pattern photographed by Clifford Coffin for Vogue, March 1949 Lanvin pattern Vogue 1052 in Vogue, March 1949. Photo: Clifford Coffin.

According to Vogue, this strapless evening dress design was “sketched by David in Paris.” The…

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Mod and Marimekko

I learned how to sew before I picked up a crochet hook and a pair of knitting needles. During the 60’s, the clothing industry did not design clothes with the “chubbie” girl in mind. I was fashion conscious and my parents were dollar conscious, so my mother taught me how to sew on her Singer.  Proudly, I modeled my first sewn dress at eight years old. Flashback to the 60’s brings forward the visual memories of Twiggy’s large eyes and long eyelashes, the Mod tunic, psychedelic concert posters, and the peace sign.  A world of bold organic and geometric shapes detailed with color as bold as the design.

On a recent trip to Eddie’s Quilting Bee  http://www.eddiesquiltingbee.com/ in Mt. View, CA, I was drawn to the bold graphic design and color of a bolt of fabric from the collection of Etsuko Furuya.   After selecting a pattern and purchasing the fabric I cruised on down the freeway excited to dust off the cover of my sewing machine and began to sew.

Mod TunicMod Tunic #2

The more I manipulated the fabric, memories of the 60’s emerged.  I was remined of Marimekko (meaning Mary’s frock) of Finland.  Marimekko, a woman-owned company, woman-operated Finnish fabric design house that dominated fashions of the 60’s and 70’s.  The company was founded in 1951 by Armi Ratia, the wife of a failed oilcloth factory owner.  Armi had to have her husband secure a loan for her new venture because during the 60’s it was uncommon for a woman to attempt such a thing.

Jackie Kennedy chose to wear Marimekko for the U.S. Presidential Inauguration in 1960. The following website has an interesting post regarding Jackie Kennedy’s collection of Marimekko. http://irenebrination.typepad.com/irenebrination_notes_on_a/2013/01/spirit-of-a-dress-kennedys-museum.html

Jacqueline Kennedy and Marimekko