Apr 29, 2011
We like to stay up to the minute here at MPB, so I must opine on the dress: it's beautiful. But then again, I'm a sucker for a lace overlay!
Which provides the perfect segue into the book I just received the other day, Susan Khalje's classic, Bridal Couture.
I'd first heard about Susan Khalje and Bridal Couture from Robin, who attended Susan's week-long Couture Sewing School in March. Kind Robin even offered to lend me her copy of Bridal Couture, but friends, I like to know I can take a book into the bathtub with me and not worry. Not that I would ever take my copy into the tub, given that I paid about three times the original price (the book is sadly out of print though a CD copy is available on Susan's website). Since used print copies can go for well over $100 these days, I'm OK with the $79 I paid (a birthday present to myself). Still, for me, that's a sewing machine.
I'm going to be honest here: when I opened my mailbox to find the book folded inside and realized this was a softcover book, and not a particularly thick one at that, my heart sank. Then I opened the book. Friends, I love Bridal Couture -- and I'm not even getting married any time soon!
Bridal Couture is so clearly written, so well organized, so beautifully illustrated -- it's a must for anyone interested in sewing evening wear, and not just wedding gowns, though that's obviously its primary focus.
Would I have preferred if it had been a how-to guide to recreating Rita Hayworth's wardrobe from You Were Never Lovelier? Absolutely! But I don't think the techniques are dramatically different.
It pains me when something so worthwhile is currently so expensive, though again, a CD copy can be had for much less. I've posted more pics from Bridal Couture here and am even thinking of attending Susan's next workshop in Baltimore in the fall, though I'm not sure what I'd make. Something to think about...
I have more great news, patient readers -- my Featherweight is working at last!
You may recall that after I replaced the missing loop guard screw, Rain discovered that the original hook had tiny burrs that were snagging the thread, burrs he lacked the tools to remove. Fortunately I was able to find a full hook assembly for sale on eBay for what seemed like a reasonable amount ($38 with shipping) given the original cost of the machine (about $225 with shipping). This meant the whole loop guard screw replacement drama was totally unnecessary, of course, but that's life.
In addition to my original damaged hook, Rain had taken my bobbin case and bobbin back home with him to test and clean, so to make the machine work I needed to pick these up and it didn't seem fair to make Rain come to my place yet again. I also wanted Rain to install the hook assembly.
Now I know you're curious -- I was -- so I will share that Rain lives in a huge, semi-industrial space (whose location I cannot reveal) bursting with vintage Singer sewing machines in various stages of restoration -- mainly 221's (Featherweights), 201's, and assorted 15 models. There must have been five different workstations set up for him to work on his machines. I even got to revisit my 15-90, which Rain has already converted to a hand crank. This guy is something else.
Anyway, the Featherweight now stitches beautifully; I still have to polish her up a bit.
Like Bridal Couture, this is another item that consistently receives raves so effusive, it almost made me not want to like it. But I do, and I totally get why so many people collect Featherweights with a passion.
Finally, readers, even more good news!
After I-don't-even-remember-how-many months, I finally emptied the cat litter out of my stinky vintage American Tourister luggage set (not including the cosmetic case, which still needs help) and vacuumed the insides.
I let them air out on the balcony for a few more days and I can say that 90% of the smell is gone. I made lavender sachets to tuck inside and am now using the luggage to store fabric as well as some of Cathy's endless accessories.
Don't you love a happy ending?
Speaking of Cathy, I should also tell you that my poor cousin was unable to attend the show and party last night (for which I originally was going to make her another taffeta cocktail dress) and I went in her place. Cathy had been looking forward to it and was going to wear her Twenties flapper dress, but pooped out at the last minute. It's just as well: we could take the subway (Cathy insists on cabs) and save ourselves some cash.
Friends, that's it! Believe me when I tell you that the only royal wedding I care about is the MGM one with Fred Astaire and Jane Powell (and even that's a bit of a yawn), but you have to admit, a lace overlay gown is tops.
I'd love to get your initial impressions. How do you think it compares to this?
Maybe it's the times but, lovely as it is, Kate's dress is rather sober-looking in comparison to Diana's. Thoughts?
Happy Friday, everybody!