Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tap Dance Tuesday

If memory serves, my first ever Tap Dance Tuesday post was of the Nicholas Brothers (it appears said video has been taken down, so there's no point in my linking to it).  Anyway, I was looking into other tappers from the era to share with you, but I kept feeling that I wanted to be watching these guys.  Of the several clips I could've chosen, I went with this one as I'm huge fan of the vocal stylings of Dorothy Dandridge.  This number has all the acrobatic flair you would expect of the Nicholas Bros including those mental leaps that end in the splits (as someone who has never been able to do the splits even as thirteen year old dance team-er, these fill me with both awe and horror).

Friday, 25 September 2015

What I've been up to

I truly wish I could tell you that I've been busy sewing away on beautiful vintage inspired patterns, but it just isn't true.  Maybe it's because I've discovered several new (to me) sewing blogs of late and have been voraciously devouring them (any one else out there guilty of going through six years of archived posts in one sitting or is it just me?) that I feel I too should be making up muslins and tweaking flat patterns.  But here's the thing: I have a small handful of my pattern collection here and an even smaller selection of my stash fabrics and somehow the two just haven't been clicking (I'm only two weeks away from a trip home though, so I fully plan on bringing back a suitcase stuffed with fabrics I haven't seen in awhile - that should remedy the situation).  

Anyway, I haven't been completely idle.  As it happens, I have been indulging in two rather old school pursuits, the first of which I will share with you today: patchworking (hopefully to be quilted in the not too distant future), and not just any patchwork. Like a true depression era housewife, I've been breathing new life into my husband's old jeans.  

This is proving to be a rather slow going project  - aside from being my first real attempt at quilting, sewing together squares of fabric really doesn't have the same excitement factor for me as sewing garments does.  Still, I'm very happy with the results to date, so perhaps in another year or so I'll have new quilt!

Stay tuned and I'll tell you about my other new crafting enthusiasm, which is truly archaic . . .

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Jumper Suit

Have you heard about the new "Jumper Suit" that's all the rage in Paris this season? . . . no? . . . Well then let the good ladies of The Needlewoman tell you all about it. 

Isn't the sweater at bottom right amazing? Sadly there is no pattern available for it, but I bet some of the more advanced knitters out there could figure it out (and if you do, please send me a copy of your pattern - I would love to make this!).

Saturday, 12 September 2015

New Acquisitions

I don't really buy old needlework magazines so much anymore.  They're just too expensive and hard to find these days and going to down the eBay rabbit hole is not something my budget is prepared to take on.  However I do get lucky every now and then as was the case with these copies of The Needlewoman.  I uncovered them at a very reasonable price at a bookstore on a recent trip to Wales and ran to the cashier as though some other vintage knitting collector was going to pry them out of my hands at any moment.  

I'll do my best to get some scans up for you in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Tap Dance Tuesday

Tap classes start again next week and I have to say I have not been as productive a dancer as I had hoped to be this Summer.  I had rather ambitious intentions of practicing for an hour every day, but an injured foot at the beginning of the break made a very good excuse for not doing so.

Anyway, here is the "Queen of Tap" herself showing us all how it's done.  I'm not sure where this footage is from or what makes it so rare, so if you do know, please pass this info along to me.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

"Colour and Your Clothes"

The following passage from Beauty for Every Woman touches on two things I am a bit obsessed with.  First is the idea of having a small, but perfectly coordinated wardrobe that you can conjure all sorts sartorial magic with, second is colour combining (I actually used to keep a small notebook with all my ideas for good colour pairings).  

    "The most economical and successful scheme is to adopt one or two colours as your own.  From a beauty point of view this plan will help to emphasise your personality, your colouring, and your type, whilst from the point of view of economy it is the greatest possible saving.  Everything you have will match or, at any rate, be interchangeable, and with only two outfits you will be able to ring the changes nearly every day.
    Here, for example, is what can be done with just a few well-chosen garments which all go together.  Supposing brown to be the main colour you have chosen, then you could have a brown overcoat, a brown matching skirt, a light wool skirt in a tweed or check pattern combining the same shade or brown with beige; two blouses or knitted jumpers, one in plain material to match the plain skirt and one to go with the patterned skirt. 
    One day you could wear the plain skirt and patterned blouse.  On another the plain blouse with patterned skirt.  Then the plain skirt and blouse and the patterned pair can also be worn together with a 2" wide belt of the material at the join of blouse and skirt, making them look like one-piece frocks.  So that with two blouses and two skirts you can have a complete wardrobe with a long coat which will go with all these changes, completing your outfit.
    Girls with fair hair and fair skin can wear white, all the pastel tints of blue, pink, yellow, and green, and black in the evening.  For day wear they can choose deeper blues and greens, brown and black.
    Brunettes should choose more vivid colours for both day and evening.  Clear reds, blues, and greens, black relieved with white, beige or pink.
    Red or auburn hair looks at its best against black, white, pale green, pale yellow, and brown, but pink, orange, and mauve should be avoided.  
    Having decided on the colours you are going to wear, you will find the following list of colour schemes helpful in the choice of accessories and trimmings: black with white, oyster, beige, all pinks, pale blue, pale green, bright green, clear reds.  Brown with white, beige, pink, bright green, coral pink, and turquoise blue.  Dark green with white, primrose, beige, and lighter greens in the same tone.  Bright green with white, beige, and brown.  Dark blue with any of the colours which go with black.  Mid-blue with white, primrose, and brown."

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Delightful Drawings of Miss Margaret Agutter

I recently came into possession of a 1948 edition of Mary Thomas's Knitting Book.  I must admit that I've been aware of this book for quite awhile and have not been all that interested in it.  Dover reissued the book in 1972 and as far as I can tell it has been in print ever since.  My sole objection to it was that it didn't have any actual garment patterns that I could day dream over.  

The cover of the reissue boasts that it features 248 illustrations and this is true - there are 248 illustrations diagraming how to do things like turn a heel or sew a seam.  What it doesn't mention is all the other absolutely charming illustrations by Margaret Agutter.  When I came across this book at one of my local used bookshops, I think it was those little drawings that convinced me to buy it (that and a price tag of £1.50).

I'm afraid I may have gotten a little carried away photographing them for you . . .