Monday, March 19, 2012

Sew Lingerie

It's been a while since my last blog, forgive me. My world has been jumbled over the last few months, moving to a new city, starting a new job, and having the workspace aka the basement of my current home go under serious construction. Luckily I can tell you that those days are coming to an end and the completion date is near. As far as acclimating to my new lifestyle, it's all a process, a process that has taught me that I severely need to practice patience and meditation....but more to come on that topic. =) 

Thrifting in Spokane, WA (the new city where I reside) has been an adventure, my neighborhood is surrounded with treasure shops and with every visit there is always something new to comment on. My lust for vintage, guilty passion of finding something one of kind, the act of shopping for it, revamping,  and giving it a new home is something I am constantly anticipating for on my days off. 

Stegosaurus & human skeleton made of scrap metal outside of Area 58.
At my first visit to this eclectic little shop called Area 58 on Monroe I found a plethora of goodies that sent me in a predicament of "Okay Caetlyn, do you really need all of these books? You need to put something back." Hate it when that happens. I did find myself getting lost in the little corner that lodged vintage textiles, how to sew books, painting, arts and crafts supplies, and other domesticated subjects in book form. I found this awesome book Sew Lingerie it's easy here's how by Kerstin Martensson, printed in October 1969. From my consumer, designer, and crafting stance I have always wanted to make my own lingerie. Lingerie to me is a very personal, feminine expression of one self, similar to a costume I would say. Enacting the sexual persona one has of them self and expressing that through mediums of lace, silk, nylon, and satin, I find it very beautiful, theatrical in a sense. 
Sew Lingerie cover
Author Kerstin Martensson (right) and one of her successors. Love the bouffants.
Seems like we all could learn a lot from this woman.

Chapter 8: Nylon Novelties, showcases a number of obsolete nylon accessories that are no longer needed for this day and age. Luckily the book includes patterns for each of these expired doo-dads so that the option of recreating these fabled wonders is still on the table.  Maybe even an opportunity to bring them back! I tried taking close up shots of the pattern names and the illustrations accompanying them. I like how the lines are so simple yet detailed enough to really convey the spirit of the 60's domestic housewife. 

The hair-do saver frightens me and I'm sure doesn't respond well
to those who are claustrophobic. Maybe if you live in a windy climate or
drive a motorcycle or convertible. I don't picture many women as seeing

 this is an accessory must-have.

No woman should ever need a makeup cape for her daily beauty regimen. Unless she's performing in a circus or is a contestant in a beauty pageant. This is just another one of those fuddy-duddy gadgets that I don't view as necessary. At least this serves a purpose as a protective shield for your garments.
Hosiery Savers: accessory used to wash or put on nylons.
Hosiery Saver pattern. If you know anyone or seen anyone use one of these in REAL LIFE I would love to hear about it. I have only learned of this accessory's existence from this book.

Roller Bag: the beauty about this is that bags are multi-purpose. I do rock hot rollers for those special occasions, although I must confess I haven't been in a situation where a roller bag would come in handy,
but if I didn't have a case for my hot rollers, I'm sure that a roller bag would be my hero. 

Elegant nightgown. Rockable if made with the right textiles.
Someday I will try to re-invent something similar with a modern twist.
Beautiful nonetheless.

I love the little floral appliqué's on these undergarments. Very dainty and cute.

This scarf was then called a Smoke Ring. Sounds French chic, but now with the alarming information
that cigarettes are bad for your health, it is now referred to as a Figure 8 Scarf. 

I'm not saying that wind scarfs are a thing of the past, but I do think that they are highly functional
towards keeping one's hair in tact, as well as serving as a protective device of the ears. Very elegant, chic, and Thelma and Louise. Comes in handy after a wine night with the girls and a pair of dark sunglasses. 
This little book has been very insightful as far as how to make your own lingerie at home using simple sewing techniques, and a low standard of sewing equipment. Awesome for me since I'm still saving for my dream Janome machine, and my sewing equipment is very standard at this point in time. The content and design of the lingerie as you can imagine isn't exactly sultry, but classic, tasteful, and exhibits fine lines. There are lots of pictures and detailed instructions for those wanting to recreate the looks offered, but with some of the sewing terminology used I would say that these directions are written for the experienced sewer. Hope you enjoyed this little blurp as much as I did sharing with you this vintage treasure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Great Expectations: directed by Alfonso Cuaron

A movie I know that I can always turn to when longing for a 1990's surge, is Alfonso Cuaron's Great Expectations. A spin off from Charles Dickens classic novel. The film is set in modern day NYC. I must admit that I have not read Dickens classic...but it's on my list of future 'to-reads.' 
Finnegan Bell's portrait of Estella during their teenage years.
All of the paintings and artwork shown in the film are works of Francesco Clemente.
(Source link)

Francisco Clemente is a contemporary Italian painter, whose career embellished since the release of Great Expectations, ever since then his work has received recognition on a global scale. He is renown for working with artists such as Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Bassquiat.

Francesco Clemente's portraits posed as Finnegan Bell's in the film.
Truly this is a beautiful story. Romantic if you will, quite sultry, but also provides a sense of adventure and mystery. Orphan and protagonist Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawk) falls for the oppressed rich Miss Dinsmore's (Anne Bancroft) niece, the beautiful Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow). Miss Dinsmore hires Finn to play with her niece while she visits her in Florida during the summer. Since Estella was born she was raised to make men weep, twirl them around her finger, without investing any emotions of her own. Finn was an exception, he was an artist, light hearted, good dancer, and would do anything for her. But this could never be enough for Estella. This is a story about a boy who loved an unreachable girl.

Water fountain kiss. Young Finn and Estella.

First dance lesson.
Love Estella's adorable ballet shoes and Rapunzelesque locks.
And then it begins...
A mysterious benefactor makes it possible for Finn's dreams to come true as a famous artist. This person is not revealed until the end. Making it so that Finn is no longer just scraping by, but is now an up and coming NYC artist with a to-die-for artist's loft on the Hudson River.  
Sexy-streetside-kissing in the rain scene.

Estella in Finn's loft.

The roots of the film was set in the late 70's Florida gulf so the imagery is very nautical, and lush with a twist of fruit punch. Aside from the beautiful artwork and cinematography of the film, glamour-puss, basket case, Miss Dinsmore rocks a swanky, gypsy-like style where wigs, rouge, excessive eyeliner, and Iris Apfel style necklaces aren't out of the norm. Always with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. This lady has some serious s-t-y-l-e. Chica boom! Dancing to the beat of her own drum, I secretly aspire to acquire this level of sass when I am a woman of her age.
Dinsmore: "Do you feel that?"
Finn: "Feel what?"
Dinsmore: "That!"
Finn: "Um your boob?"
Dinsmore: "No. My heart..and it's broken."
"Feel it!"
Cuaron uses a primary color scheme of deep green, which is evident throughout the film. Miss Dinsmore and Estella are always dressed in rich jade and juniper hued frocks that makes their relationship between one another and Finn very symbolic.  Miss Dinsmore's wardrobe defines her character to a tee; a lonely old maid, who was left at the altar on her wedding day, who hasn't left her home in decades, saucy, and bitter with sadness, with no one in her life except for her darling niece Estella. Miss Dinsmore has a burning hatred for the male sex ever since her wedding day and her role as a sporadic guardian for Estella has taken it's toll on Estella's perception of Finn. 

On top of the film's A+ cast, cinematography, and wardrobe, it also has a killer soundtrack. Some serious zeitgeist reppin' the 1990's. Portishead's "Life in Mono" was made the theme song of Great Expectations during their trip hop period. The sound acclimated gracefully to fit the film like a puzzle piece. Another reason why this is a must-see.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012: quick blurb: nonsense banter

Hope that you all had a wonderful new years! and were lenient with your new year's resolutions. I have come to the conclusion that I don't believe in them. Whenever I decide to attempt to follow one they never last longer than a couple of weeks. I mean naturally after the holidays and cold weather, when people have been pillaged inside stuffing their faces with whatever is around them, they will want to attempt a path in the healthy world, which is where New year's resolutions are the most effective. I totally promote them for this reason. For the human species, we should always be striving to do better, live happier, healthier lives, establish goals, and to promote good in the world. A start of a new year, what better time for people to share this attitude.