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Apr 18, 2010

The Color Pur -- no, I won't say it!


The journey begins: behold the six-panel skirt of Hollywood pattern #1471.

I originally thought this purple fabric was rayon but it's definitely a blend -- a frustratingly mysterious blend.  It's a little spongy, hard to cut (it shifts under my pattern weights rather than lying perfectly flat), and tends to ravel.

I did a burn test:


I think the melted appearance suggests polyester; I'm thinking maybe microfiber.  It's hard to get a pin through and it takes a lot of pressing to get a sharp crease.  I ended up throwing the whole piece of fabric into the washer and dryer to prep it.  It didn't shrink as much as I'd expected it to but the edges sure frayed a lot.

Whatever.   I've cut it, I'll interface the pieces that need sharp creases (like the pockets and collar) and likely serge the raw edges.  It should be done no later than Monday afternoon so stay tuned.

And speaking of Hollywood...

The most wonderful book arrived for me yesterday, purchased on recommendation from reader Toby.  While I hate obvious puns, the superb quality of this book makes up for that title.


This heavy coffee table book was written by actress Marsha Hunt.  Largely forgotten today, Marsha was a popular young actress in the late Thirties up until the early Fifties when, an outspoken liberal, she was blacklisted.  While this basically destroyed her film career, she would continue acting on the stage and on television for many decades to come.  Marsha is still with us today -- a vibrant ninety-three!

Marsha started out as a dress model before working first at Paramount and then at MGM, and was considered one of Hollywood's most elegant actresses.  She shares a lot of insights into how fashion (and modeling) has changed through the decades.  This book is full of beautiful black and white photos of portrait sittings and film stills, along with excellent commentary.

Take a look (click on pics to supersize):



I just love this kind of stuff and with my 1937 Hollywood dress project underway, it couldn't be more timely or inspiring.  You have a new fan, Marsha!


Moving right along, I want to thank all of you who voted in Friday's "What pattern should I tackle next" project poll.  The purple dress was the clear favorite with 74% of the vote.  Either roses are not as popular as I thought or the coffin-lining comment I made last week threw you off.  Regardless, it's probably next.

I'm on a dress roll it seems and cousin Cathy couldn't be more excited.


That's all for this Sunday, folks.  I'll be sewing away most of the day so if you need me, just yell -- loudly.

9 comments:

  1. How dare you sew so speedily. And when do you find the time amidst all those other things, like cleaning, washing, ironing, walking, cooking?
    A dress finished by Monday afternoon???
    I'm soooo jealous. My coat is almost finished but it's been more like a couple of months than a couple of days .... lol

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  2. Cleaning? Have you ever looked closely at the background of my photos? LOL

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  3. Did you know there was a special edition fashion doll of Marsha Hunt? It was done by the Gene doll line a few years ago. I don't think it really looked much like her. The Gene doll is supposed to be a movie star of the 40's and 50's with a full wardrobe from those times. The doll has been around for awhile but is ending this year. It's kind of neat--vintage fashion in miniature.

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  4. Hi Peter, congrats on having your picture in the NY Times!

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  5. You are on a roll. Sorry your fabric has an attitude.
    -
    That book is fabulous and I am inlove with the banded stingy brimmed hat on the bottom left of the top pic. It's straight ballin'!

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  6. Hi Peter,just wanted you to know your fan base extends up here to Canada.
    I'm always excited to see what you're working on and especially love your "thrifting" as that's my thing too.
    Happy times to you!

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  7. What a great book! So much inspiration in those pages!

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  8. For knits that are hard to get a normal pin through, I recommend THESE extra-fine pins:

    http://www.blackberryquilts.com/home/bbq/page_257_38/clover_quilting_pins.html

    They go thru like buttuh :o)

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  9. Ooooh, the purple is amazing!! Whatever the type of fabric it looks like a good choice, the skirt hangs beautifully.

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