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Apr 9, 2020

Window Shopping on Fifth Avenue During a Pandemic


Readers, today I went running up to Central Park and on the way I stopped to take in some store windows on Fifth Avenue.

Needless to say the stores are all closed.  A few are actually boarded up, but most are not.  Some windows--the jewelry stores in particular-- are empty of merchandise.  But many stores left their window displays up.

Versace was not only closed, it was completely cleaned out.

The streets are nearly empty of people and there's very little traffic.  It's like having the city to yourself.  Passing by the shells of famous old department stores like B. Altman and Lord & Taylor, I couldn't help wonder if there won't be many more empty shells in the near future.  This pandemic is going to have a devastating effect on retail fashion for lots of different reasons.

The old B. Altman department store on 34th & Fifth.

The old Lord & Taylor flagship on 38th & Fifth.


Rockefeller Center

I actually saw some very pretty things.  I was struck by a lot of styles with an early Thirties feel: flowy fabrics and bias-cut satin.  That said, there's no single dominant style.  You see things reminiscent of nearly every decade of the Twentieth Century!

The Columbian designer Johanna Ortiz, in her own Fifth Avenue store.  These flowy crepe dresses could be from the late Twenties or early Thirties.
This playsuit ensemble from Guess has a Forties-Fifties feel.


Bias-cut satin gown with back cowl by Carly Cushnie at Saks: very Thirties Hollywood.
More Johanna Ortiz (from Saks)

Moving north, I saw some really lovely things at Longchamp, Valentino, Ferragamo, and Armani.

This summer dress made with inverted pleats at Longchamp caught my eye but what an ugly mannequin.
Also at Longchamp, this summer dress is entirely shirred at the hip and then releases into soft gathers.
I loved this silk pullover men's anorak at Ferragamo.   I could make that.
Modest white summer dresses at Valentino have an almost Edwardian feel.
At Armani, an elegant double-faced wool women's coat.
Classic Armani women's suits: these remind me of his Eighties stuff.
Poor Bergdorf's: their parent company, Neiman Marcus, is nearing bankruptcy.  Hopefully someone keeps this landmark store open.  The windows are a mishmash of every sort of style, but that's fashion today.


That Paco Rabanne silver chain mail dress looks like it's from 1968.
This Burberry ensemble has an animal print dress topped iwth a coat lined with leopard.  To me it feels like Seventies Yves Saint Laurent.
This Rodarte dress feels Thirties to me.  I really like the fabric.
I forgot who the designers are here but we're deep into late Sixties Carnaby Street territory.

A few more photos of this very empty-feeling town.

Outside the Plaza hotel looking south toward Bergdorf's.

Looking north toward Central Park on Fifth.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: desolate.
Times Square, deserted.



In closing, I hope you're all doing well and staying healthy.

If you're sewing--and I hope you are--happy sewing.  Any of these styles strike your fancy?


Apr 1, 2020

Muslining a Vintage Swimsuit, New Shoes, + More Movie Links!


When I'm self-isolating I indulge myself in ways I otherwise might not.

Mar 25, 2020

Holding it Together (with WONDER CLIPS) + More Movie Links!


Friends, when I read that Amazon was holding off on shipping orders of non-essentials, I assumed this bag of 100 generic "Wonder" style clips I'd ordered last week would be delayed for who knows how long.

Mar 19, 2020

Let's Go to the Movies!


Friends, I don't have anything sewing-related I want to share today so let's talk old movies.

Mar 17, 2020

Sewing-related (and non-sewing related) UPDATES


Friends, it's hard to believe our MPB Winter Frolic was only nine days ago--New York City already feels like a very different place.

Mar 8, 2020

MPB Day WINTER FROLIC 2020 -- Keep Calm and Buy Fabric! 



Friends, I certainly don't want to make light of the serious global health threat represented by the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, not to be confused with Product 19, the popular Kellogg's breakfast cereal of yore.


Mar 3, 2020

What Shall I Wear to the Winter Frolic?


Readers, I can hardly believe it but the MPB Day Winter Frolic is this coming Saturday, March 7th!  (Details can be found here.)

Feb 23, 2020

Sewing Machines on Craigslist: The Good, The Bad, and the Rusty


In my experience, Craigslist is an excellent resource for sewing machines, vintage or otherwise.

Feb 17, 2020

The VEST of Everything


Readers, until last week I had only ever sewn one men's vest (above), which I created as part of a men's pattern drafting class I took at FIT three years ago.

Feb 9, 2020

Wearable Muslin MADNESS: My Davy Crockett Shirt in Microsuede!


Readers, every once in a while the test version of a new (to me) pattern exceeds my expectations.

Feb 3, 2020

Whatever Happened to the Davy Crockett Shirt?


Friends, do you ever get Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone confused or am I the only one?

Jan 30, 2020

Amazing Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Joins the Family!


Friends, something wonderful happened to me last week: I purchased a vintage sewing machine that has stolen my heart.

Jan 26, 2020

10-Year Blogiversary + 5 Reasons I Still Blog


Friends, last week marked my 10-year blogiversary.

Jan 19, 2020

The 1980's Jacket Project


It's always interesting to me to trace the origins of my sewing projects.

Jan 12, 2020

Mismatched Plaid -- YEA or NAY?


Readers, last week while I was walking my dogs I captured the back of what I thought was a very unusual plaid coat. 

Jan 6, 2020

The Environmental Impact of Home Sewing: Should We Care?


Readers, hardly a day goes by when we're not reminded in the media about the environmental crisis.

Jan 1, 2020

Saying Good-bye to the Chelsea Flea Market


Friends, it's never easy to say good-bye to something or someone you love.
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