Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dressing Grace Livingston Hill

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"There was nothing about the plain brown rajah silk dress to which Hilda could object as being showy or too grand for one in her position, for it was simple and dark, and rather plain in its make, but it had an air of distinction, as though made by an artist in clothes, and designed purposely for her. The cut of the long, lovely lines on her slender figure, the exquisite pressing of the perfect pleats, the curve of the transparent sleeves, the finish of the girdle and neck, all proclaimed it's high origin."

The Red Signal - Grace Livingston Hill - 1919

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"So Elizabeth went to the picnic in a cool white dimity, plainly made, with tiny frills of itself, edged with narrow lace that didn't shout to the unknowing multitude, "I'm real," but was content to be so."

The Girl From Montana - Grace Livingston Hill - 1908

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A lovely co-worker of mine somehow found out I was a huge fan of antique clothes and just gave me these old things of hers. She had purchased them at an auction as part of a lot with some old table linens and had no idea what to do with them.

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As soon as I opened the bag I gasped with delight - truly well done, immaculately sewn, and carefully crafted clothes from the late Victorian period and early Edwardian era! They reminded me of the clothes that Grace Livingston Hill's characters are described wearing - simple but elegant things in fine silks, laces, and careful handwork.

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These three shirts and single skirt have all those qualities about them, from french seams to seams that are whipstitched down. They are certainly treasures and are worthy adds to my collection of antique clothing.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall 2011

Early this summer I was invited to participate in this local Denver Fashion show.

Fall/Winter 2011 sneak peak
The very first picture of my nearly finished collection!

I wanted to finally announce it to world today and give you a tiny sneak peak of the dresses I've been working on. I still have one more to do today and I have a fitting with my models tomorrow which should be interesting because I've never used real live actual models before for anything I've sewn.

Since I've been working on this collection, I've been reflecting a lot on my ability to sew, my ability to grade and design, my time management skills, and all of the rest of the things that come with being a clothing designer and this experience has taught me a lot about myself.

Over the years I've done many things with my sewing abilities - I've designed and created historic dresses, I spent this past summer restoring historical textiles professionally, I've had the chance to dig through the suitcases of my friends who have traveled far and wide and copy their clothes for my own use but I have never, in my life, done something quite like this. Creating an entire cohesive line, even if it was just six pieces, with graded patterns, that I was happy with has been tough!

I hope my work will speak to my aesthetic and abilities and that I will be able to use this experience - dipping my toe into the water of fashion design - to launch bigger things in the future.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Well, I walk upon the river like it's easier than land...

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Every Friday night I play bluegrass with a few other teachers.

Bluegrass and folk are two genres of music that I've never really listened to on a serious level until I started playing it on a weekly basis. I'm finding it to be very gentle and very calming and comforting, sort of like this coat.

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This coat has been incredible and indestructible, always ready to wrap me up when the seasons change. It's the first coat I pull out in fall and the last one I put away in spring.

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I bought it when I was in high school at a store called Yellow Jacket that no longer (to my knowledge) exists in Milwaukee. I remember how much it cost - it was twenty dollars even. It has six beautiful art deco buttons which I slowly lost one by one and eventually had to replace. It's a little big but I won't take it in because I wear sweaters and layers under it.

There's something timeless about a good princess cut coat and something that makes me smile when I think about being seventeen and picking out something I still wear almost ten years later.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We all change in our own pretty ways...

a million sunday afternoon pictures for you -

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Spent the day sewing and fitting and sewing and fitting...

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My Pfaff and I are well acquainted.
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Painted my nails early in the morning.
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Finished a dress...
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Somewhere In Between

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Summer isn't done and fall hasn't fully come.

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We're in this strange in between place here in Colorado where you can see your breath in the morning and by noon you need shorts and sandals...

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...which makes it strangely satisfying to end the day in shorts and a cashmere sweater.

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Sweater: BCBG Max Azria
Shorts: Diane von Furstenburg
Shoes: Born

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apricot

I found this subtle, beautiful short film this morning and watched it at breakfast.


The soundtrack itself, scored by Basil Hogios, is worth a listen unto itself.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Up up up...down down down

Cycling in Colorado gives you one of two options: Up or Down.

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If you're lucky you get to ride a pretty sweet mountain bike while going up and down...

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By the time you get to this point though...after going up, up, up...

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...you sorta look like this.

If you look at the second picture you can see the trail cutting down, down, down across the mountains. Right after that last picture was taken I got my reward - riding down.

PS: JR thinks this is just about the cutest picture ever taken of us!

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday Mornings

I've been trying to pay more attention to what I wear to lounge around the house.

I had a moment the other day when I looked down and realized that I was wearing bleached stained mountain dew jammer pants, an old painting shirt of my husbands. I looked exactly like I dodn't ever want to look.

I got very embarrassed because I have a closet full of soft cotton house dresses, comfy jeans that pair with fitted T-shirts, mules from Morocco, and vintage negliges and I wasn't wearing any of them.

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I pulled this pink 1950's quilted house coat out of the back of my closet and I've been wearing it around the house since the weather's cooled down a bit here. I bought it in college and used to wear it to class when I was under the weather and needed to wear my version of pajamas out and about, but it's just sat in my closet since then.

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It's warm, classic, durable, and comfortable so there's no reason to not upgrade my loungewear!


Saturday, September 03, 2011

...


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Of the three or four journals I keep on any given day this is my favorite journal. I picked it up at the SF MOMA one day when my heart was feeling achey and I was walking around for hours every day staring at a beautiful city and wondering why I felt like my life was tumbling to pieces.

I wrote a few simple words in it - I sorted out my heart and my brain and suddenly I found my feet back on the ground. Writing seems to do that to me.

I don't date the pages in this journal. It's not a record of my days, it is more of a compass for my heart. When my heart needs to tell me something I write it down in this book and today on this most wretched Saturday I was reminded of this:

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