As I was listlessly shlumping through the grocery store yesterday, (because I’m a sewing enthusiast, not a cooking enthusiast) I spotted a new edition of the “Best of Threads Magazine: Designer Techniques” series tucked among the quiltin’ and craftin’ magazines.
As I leafed through it, my eyes bugged out, because it’s FULL of great articles by, first of all, the two Godmothers of Haute Couture I wrote about recently, Susan Khalje and Claire Shaeffer, as well as numerous other articles about vintage designers and their techniques, all from the Threads Magazine archives.
For example, there’s an article by Susan Khalje giving the play-by-play of her method of constructing Chanel-style jackets, which I used in my research to construct my jackets:
The magazine also includes articles by Susan about making muslins and creating her version of the couture little black dress. (Note: if you’re thinking of making a Chanel-style jacket using Susan’s method, I would hold out until later in the year when she releases her video series.)
There’s a large section about various vintage designers and their techniques, including articles about Scaasi, Galanos, and Valentina, all written by couture expert Claire Shaeffer.
My favorites were two articles about how Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Gres manipulated fabric to create their geometric designs, which included drawings of how Madame Gres’ jersey wraps were constructed:
Let me tell you, I wanted to skip making dinner and run into my studio to muslin the red wrap made with one seam on the right.
Throughout the magazine there are pages of clearly-illustrated sewing tips demonstrating vintage and haute couture construction and finishing methods. So worth the $9 price tag! And it made my trip to the grocery store bearable!
The magazine can be ordered from the Threads website, in either hard copy or PDF download form here: (Best of Threads Designer Techniques: Make It Couture). Check it out!
Before I left Boston, I did a little window shopping on Newbury Street as I was on my to Starbucks to get pastries for breakfast (avoiding the grocery store again). Valentino had just been renovated, and there were a number of interesting fabrics and details in the window:
Love that embroidered fabric. And check this out:
A little black dress trimmed at the neckline and cuffs with multicolored feathers!
In the window of the Italian luxury store Loro Piana, they were showing a short fur Chanel-style jacket, which I guess is what you wear when it gets chilly on the yacht:
In the 70s we used to call that style a “chubby.”
The outpost of the upscale Swiss brand Akris, known for it’s simple designs made from luxury fabrics, had this pretty black knit dress and some of their classic bags in the window:
Chanel was getting festive with a pink boucle 2.55 bag crafted out of tweed (how long is that going to last?):
as well as, shall we call it a “bedazzled” 2.55 bag covered in crystals, along with a plastic cuff bracelet with the “Double C” logo in faux pearls:
Give me a break, Karl.
Also on this high-end street is a new branch of the a vintage-repro company called “Bettie Paige,” named after the 50s cult pin-up. It seems like a strange place for this store, but they do have some cute designs:
Perfect if you need costumes in a hurry for a revival of the musical “State Fair.”
But soon it was time to pack up the car and head for the Martha’s Vineyard ferry. When I got to the island, I saw that the roses were blooming:
The barn swallows have two nests under the eaves this year:
The peach tree we thought had bitten the dust was miraculously budding fruit:
And my summer sewing space was there, patiently waiting for me to unpack: