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Inspiration

  • Inspiration

    Inspired by conversation

    After a heady weekend of enjoying the finer things in life, which for me include: coffee, wine, the company of good friends, and illuminating discussions on art and life, this week I find myself inspired by the alchemy of conversation. Talking about reinvention. Goals. The spark of creativity. I will not be ashamed to admit …

  • Inspiration

    Britex notions online!

    Having lived in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, I’ve had the privilege of shopping is some pretty darn good fabric stores. But my favorite fabric store of all time is Britex in San Francisco. It’s four floors of gorgeous, top-quality fabrics, notions, and trims. It’s where I bought the gold Italian 4-ply silk …

  • Inspiration

    Make Do and Mend

    In Sarai’s previous post she very sweetly expressed that she enjoys vintage sewing books because ‘They give a glimpse back into the daily lives and skills of everyday women’. Recently I have been reading a book on Make Do and Mend, the skills and techniques employed by women in the UK during the Second World …

  • Inspiration

    Books: The Art of Dressmaking, 1927

    I have a small but growing collection of vintage sewing books. I treasure them not just because they showcase wonderful techniques that are less common today, but also because they give a glimpse back into the daily lives and skills of everyday women. I thought it would be nice to share some of these books …

  • Inspiration

    Inspired by cobblestones

    This week I am inspired by walking on cobblestones, of wearing a swing coat while passing by a glamorous palace-turned hotel in Istanbul. On my blog, Love, Rose, I describe a walk along the Bosphorus last Sunday and what I saw. Like an earlier post on being inspired by locations, knowing I was to have …

  • Inspiration

    Barkcloth

    Seeing as I spend most my time either sewing or thinking about sewing, I’ve decided to attempt to fill in some gaps in my sewing related knowledge. I plan to take a closer look a different types of fabric, starting with the favourite of many vintage fans: barkcloth. The term ‘barkcloth’ refers to the nubby texture of the …

  • Inspiration

    Fabric Finds: Biba-esque prints

    I have a real thing for London fashion in the 70s, especially all things Biba. That combination of 70s glitter and 30s glam that was personified in the “dollybird” is still so inspiring. I don’t know if I could pull off the bold patterns in these silks, like this fuschia one above, or this amazing …

  • Inspiration

    Vintage Embroidery Transfers on Flickr

    I just came across this lovely set of vintage embroidery transfers on Flickr. I do a little embroidery from time to time, and this set is sparking a few ideas. I’m especially in love with the little delicate flower motifs. Not long ago, I came across a pair of vintage tap pants in an antique …

  • Inspiration

    Inspired by 2010

    Goodbye 2009, hello 2010! Are you happy to be making the leap to another year, or eager to turn the page to start afresh? These days I’ve been thinking a lot about maps, and how I’ve looked to my past, including being inspired by vintage family photos like the one above, to understand my present. …

  • Inspiration

    Books: Metric Pattern Cutting

    If you make garments (and chances are you do, seeing as you are reading this blog) you may already be on familiar terms, however if you are not, allow me to introduce you to Winifred Aldrich. She is the author of a series of books on flat pattern cutting, and on this subject she is …

  • Inspiration

    Vintage details: A curvy trim

    I am loving these unusual details on this dress from Violetville Vintage. It trims the pockets and back of the dress just perfectly. Even though the dress is a quintessential 50s style, to me the trim could also read deco on a different garment. This looks to me like it’s probably done with strips of …

  • Inspiration

    Prints and Patterns: Vintage Wrapping Paper

    This last year and a half has seen the opening of a new flock of internet-based businesses which offer affordable digital fabric printing. The possibilities these have opened up for home sewers is immensely exciting and virtually limitless. Since I learned about them and investigated their services to research an article I wrote on the …

  • Inspiration

    Visual Inspiration: locations

    This week I am inspired by the idea of locations, and how the right setting requires the right dress. Or maybe even the perfect couch inspires the dress? The illustration below is one I made for a short story about an artist couple living in New York. While I was writing the story, I realized …

  • Inspiration

    Color and texture: Primaries and black

    I came across this adorable picture of Amelia when Sue of Giant Dwarf tweeted it (that’s one of Sue’s gorgeous fascinators, of course). I was really taken with the mix of primary colors with black. Something about that combination really says 1930s to me, primaries (plus green here) are such a sweet and feedsack-esque colorway …

  • Inspiration

    Inspired by Challis

    Flipping through books on textile patterns is one of my favorite ways to draw inspiration and to see how some vintage patterns become popular again over time. One in particular that I find just lovely is Challis, a floral introduced in 1832. Described in Textile Designs as being made from “deep and brilliant colors new …

  • Inspiration

    Vintage details: Hand painted buttons

    Last weekend I headed down to my local flea market with the intention of hitting the bargain zips bins. With my mission completed, I took a glance round some of the second hand stalls. I was not expecting to discover much but happily found my eye drawn to these beautiful vintage buttons featuring hand painted boats (pictured above), which …

  • Inspiration

    Handmade Pledge

    Are you guys taking the handmade pledge this year? I must admit that most of what is on my list this year is not handmade goods, but that’s because they’re things like books and bicycle components. But I usually buy handmade or make things myself for the holidays, so I don’t feel too bad asking …

  • Inspiration

    Color and texture: Tweed and velvet

    Tweed and velvet are such a classic combination, and perfect for this time of year. This gorgeous vintage dress from TimelessVintageVixen is a really stellar example, and the wine velvet is such a gorgeous alternative to the usual black. Just add a bit of rhinestone sparkle, and you have the ultimate holiday dress. {above: (1) …

  • Inspiration

    Vintage Details: Fan appliques

    There’s a lot to love about this dress from The Church of Vintage. The shaping looks divine, the color is so soft and beautiful, and the perfect contrasting lining on the sleeves is a wonderful touch. But check out those amazing appliques! Though it appears a detail like this would be incredibly difficult to incorporate …

  • Inspiration

    Beautiful tools and supplies from Sajou

    There are so many beautiful sewing (particularly embroidery) items available from the amazing French haberdashery Sajou, I had a hard time deciding what to post! These tartan scissors are particularly adorable. There are matching tartan cases, thimbles, and thread winder.

  • Inspiration

    Colour inspiration: Antique tiles

    Vintage clothing appeals to different people for different reasons. For me, I love to think about the woman/women who wore the garment previously. What was their personality like? How did they enjoy spending their time? Why did they buy or make this garment? Where did they go in it? In many ways it’s the same …