Monday, January 8, 2018

The Jazz Age at the Cleveland Museum of Art

This past October I had the pleasure of visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art to view their Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s exhibit - absolutely marvelous! Often, it seems, when American eras of excess and opulence are referenced in the scholarly discourse, the 1880s and the 1980s are the decades of choice. Let me tell you, notwithstanding the '80es and all their splendor, the 1920s brings something quite sensational, energetic, and fresh to the discussion of cultural decadence and transformation. Yes, there was 1920s Berlin, 1920s Vienna, 1920s Paris, and 1920s London - all wonderful, all great cities with a new generation pushing against and redefining old mores. But, it was the United States which became the leader in architecture, interior design, decorative art, fashion, music, and film. The American nouveau riche transformed the global marketplace and a new order emerged from the old, driven by innovation and the audacity of youth. 

So, powder your arms and rouge your knees, the 1920s has crashed on the scene...


Piccadilly Roadster, Rolls Royce, 1925 (Manufactured in America)

Cord 812 Phaeton Roadster, Auburn Auto Co., Indiana, 1937


Glass and brass chandelier, designer George Chevalier, 1925

Mirror and console table, designer Paul Feher, Hungarian, 1930

Gilt and lacquered wood screen, designer Armand Albert Rateua, 1922

Iron, silver, and gold screen, designer Paul Feher (Rose Ironworks, Cleveland), 1930


Tea service, silver and ivory, d. Peter Muller-Munk, American, c. 1931

Cocktail set, silverplated brass and Vitrolite glass, designer Elsa Tennhardt, American, c. 1928

Zeppelin Airship cocktail shaker and travel bar, c. 1928

Owl cocktail shaker, silver, designer Peer Smed, American, c. 1931

The Savoy Cocktail Book, c. 1930

Fashion & Textiles

Evening wear (gowns on loan from Kent State Museum of Fashion)

Silk and silk velvet afternoon dresses, Mariano Fortuny, Italian, c. 1930

Pineapple Textile, silk jacquard, Charles Martin, c. 1923
Falcon Hunt textile, silk and metallic satin brocade, Herman Elsberge, c. 1920s


Gold, sapphire, garnet, and enamel set, D. Meta K. Overbeck (Tiffany & Co.), American, c. 1920

Enamel, pearl, diamond, onyx, gold, and platinum compact, Mauboussin, French, c. 1925

Platinum, lapis, onyx, coral, jade, and diamond brooch, Boucheron, French, c. 1925

Bracelet, diamond, emerald, sapphire, ruby, and platinum, Lacloche Bros., French, c 1924

To view additional photographs of the Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s at the Cleveland Museum of Art, please visit my Pinterest page.

Happy New Year! Blessings and happy sewing!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Blue & White Stripes, Part I: 1940s Utility Dress & Shirt

I don't know a dressmaker who doesn't collect fabric. I almost never buy fabric for a particular project, but for a future imagined project of some sort, usually born from a romantic and harebrained notion that I may create the ultimate costume from the respective textile which has captured my attention and sparked my desire to have it (It's shiny, it's wooly, it's silky, its weavy, it's on sale, etc...). You do it, too, and I'm glad you do! I'm all about enabling a passion - whether mine or yours - even if dozens (maybe hundreds) of yards of that passion are stored snugly in plastic bins for later. Always later. For these three lovely cotton fabrics (above left), later came this year, twenty-years (yes, that's 2-0) after I bought them. They've been hanging out at the bottom of my big green bin (with wheels!) since 1997, fabric I bought when my girls were eight and four-years old. These fabrics were inexpensive, of good quality, and utilitarian. I could use them for a number of projects.

Those projects were a long time coming. It began last year when I bought this pattern from an Ebay seller...

...and stored it safely with my other vintage patterns. Did I make an association between the dress on the right of the Advance pattern cover and the fabric I had stashed? No. The fabrics were long forgotten and weren't recalled until I went digging in the big green bin (with wheels!) a few months ago. "Oh!" I said, when I rediscovered them. "I have a 1940s dress pattern I can make from these." I pulled the fabrics from the bin and the pattern from my collection and set them on my work table. Wait, I thought. Doesn't Kent State Museum have a late-Victorian beach dress made from similar fabrics? They did, indeed! I pulled the picture from my photo archive. Oh, OH! I remembered that there was yet another dress using these fabrics in a 1912 spring issue of The Ladies Home Journal. Whoowee, a dressmaker's delight!

From Advance pattern #3029, here is the first of three blue and white striped garments - a utility, or work dress, from 1942.  

To view construction photographs for this dress, please visit my Flickr page. Blue & White Stripes, Part II, coming soon...

Happy sewing, love, friendship, and blessings for the New Year!