Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beautiful Sewing Machine

So beautiful it was a show piece in the owner’s home, and why not it is very attractive with the ornate decoration and cabinetry. Though looking at the piece on display at the historical society, it would seem to me that the owner didn’t use it too much.

This machine was custom made for Mary Wheeler, whose husband was co-founder of the Wheeler and Wilson Manufacturing Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The machine was made in the 1850’s when the company had just moved to Bridgeport and went on to become one of the city’s largest manufacturers in the decades that followed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Costuming a Drama for Television

I have been watching a show on Public Television called 'Indian Summers', about British expats in India in 1932, which is on the cusp of change as it fights for independence.

The series is set in India, but filmed in Malaysia and some of the places used were hacked free of vegetation to be brought to life for the series. That in itself is a feat, as the results on the show are beautiful, but what of the costumes? As with any period piece, the costumes are authentic to the times and I was surprised to read that rather than raid the stocks in some film/television costume warehouse, the costumes were especially made for this series.

The costume designer, Nic Ede, took sketches, and everything from the main characters to the extras in the crowd scenes was made in Penang, including the shoes, made by a shoe maker who taught Jimmy Choo! The fabrics were sourced locally too and lengths intended for saris were turned into beautiful dresses for the woman in the series. The men's traditional items, pajamas (yes, that is originally an Indian word) and dhotis were bought in Mumbai, India from shops which are government owned and still loom the textiles today as they did in the 1930's. 

Here is the link to read more about the costumes and the show:

As with any series, it is wonderful to watch, not just the story, but the history, costumes and scenery and especially nice to see warm weather when the chill of winter is approaching here in Connecticut!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Last Issue of SAGANews

for 2015 is in the mail!

That grabbed your attention, didn't it! So, SAGANews Volume 36 Issue 4 is now in the mail. Please don't stalk your mail carrier as it can take up to 6 weeks from when it leaves the printer before it appears in your mailbox, but it is on it's way. Something to look forward to.

Here is the cover for a little teaser as to the projects in this issue.

So, let me know when you receive yours and if you like it.

And don't forget to renew your SAGA membership before December 31, 2015, otherwise this might just be your last issue of SAGANews!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Window Dressing Props

New York is a constant source of items for this blog! I am always amazed at what I find on the streets or in shop windows or see just walking around.

This vintage hankie was tucked into a recent window display at Berdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue. The window was designed to represent the movie Crimson Peak which was due to be released within that week. The window was full of debris and very dark, but tucked away in that debris was this little piece of white- a hankie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baroque Music Lady

Maybe this post should have gone out on October 31 for Halloween, but then maybe this lady doesn't look spooky to some of you!

She was singing (!) and dancing with her partner in Central Park, New York. They were under an archway near the lake so the music(?) echoed making it even more interesting (?). What attracted my attention was her lace dress. 

Just sharing it with you as it was rather pretty. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

History on a Pattern Piece

I recently purchased a vintage Simplicity pattern at a textile show. The pattern is a cute blouse-slip and jumper or sundress with panties. I see lots of possibilities for using the pattern and it has cute lambs to embroider or applique which made me smile! However, there is no date on the pattern envelope. You can guess at the era by the design and the packaging-somewhere in the late '50's or early 60's. (Did I say vintage-what does that make me?!)

On opening the pattern to check the pieces were all there, I discovered that the panties pieces were missing. Oh, well, the rest of the pattern was there, along with hand written notes about what to add where and dates for 1961  and 1962. That is a help in dating the pattern, but then, folded with the pattern direction sheet, I found a panties pattern-well it was copied onto pieces of newspaper. As it turns out, not the pattern pieces that were in the original pattern, but obviously one the maker thought worked better for her purposes. It is an all-in-one piece and again, has hand written instructions and comments on it, but what was interesting to me was the fact that the newspaper helped date the pattern-very accurately.

The paper is the New York World Telegram (and Sun) and dates from July 18, 1961, which was a Tuesday, by the way. The headline proclaims "Kennedy Warns Kremlin of 'Grave Danger' in Berlin". The inside page shows refugees from East Germany lining up to be processed after escaping to West Berlin. A piece of history.

Oh! and by the way if you wanted to buy a Pontiac Tempest it would have cost you $2156.63, and it is shown pulling a folding tent/trailer all ready for the summer vacations!

Other interesting items from the news columns:

It was 90 degrees in New York.

The Space Administration were planning on launching a manned Mercury space craft that day as weather had improved. It would be the second manned space flight. It had been postponed the previous day due to bad weather. The astronaut was Vigil I Grissom who, the article says was known for his ability to relax under pressure, as on hearing the news, he yawned and went back to sleep!

So I not only bought something very usable today, but also a history lesson!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Central Park Brides

While on a recent visit to New York City (acting as tour guide to a SAGA friend who had never visited the City before) we were in Central Park and were surprised to see a large number of brides every where.

Turns out, many were on fashion shoots for bridal magazines, stores etc. But at last one was a 'real' wedding photo shoot.

This bride wore beautiful lace shoes with an accent colour showing through. Her bouquet contained flowers with this colour, so I guess that was the 'wedding' colour.