I’ve heard about the trick of shopping in the boys department, but this gal has taken thriftness and resourcefulness to a whole new level. Her jacket looks designer, but in truth she snapped it up at a garage sale, and sewed on some new buttons. Athena approves! See more of The Glamorai’s stylish tips and projects.
The Sweet Hong Kong Finish … By Hand March 30, 2009
I just love the way a Hong-Kong finish binds a raw seam edge, and it’s a perfect alternative to a lining. But by machine, it can often end up looking clumsy. Well, I learned a better way in my FIT Haute Couture Sewing Techinques class … by hand. First cut 1″ true bias strips from silk (raw or charmeuse). Then align strip with the raw edge of fashion fabric, right sides together. Chalk line 1/4′ seam line, pin, baste and machine stitch. Next, being careful not to twist bias, wrap the strip around the raw edge and finish with a svelte running stitch variation. Bring needle up from wrong side through the “ditch” formed on right side by the bias strip and fashion fabric seamline. Then bring needle back down through ditch in same spot to wrong side and jump needle forward 1/4″, coming back up to right side. Repeat this modified prick stitch as you work down the raw edge, wrapping the silk strip. Unlike the machine-sewn counterpart, that hand stitch will disappear invisibly into the seam. Doing this by hand gives you the control to make the sweetest of finishes. Note: Machine sewers will often trim off excess bias on back, but in a hand sewn finish on a couture 1″ seam allowance, you don’t. You can press lightly, but couture tries to minimize overworking the fabric, so go gentle with the iron.
Queen of the Night Regine Choukroun March 29, 2009
Long before Studio 54, Regine Choukroun built her nightclub dynasty starting with Chez Regine in Paris in 1956 with what was called the first discotheque. Catering to an international jet set of royalty and A-list celebs and offering gold membership cards and the invention of bottle service, the flaming-red-haired Regine went on to brand herself and open 19 clubs all over the world for the next 50 years. Now in her 70s, she’s focusing on her music career, but from her abandoned orphan beginnings and her career launch as a hat-check girl who persuaded a Rothschild to finance her first venture, Regine so far has lived the life. If nothing else, you gotta love a woman who grounds a Paris/Miami flight for refusing to put her cigarette out. Read more.
Second City Style March 28, 2009
Here’s a great shopping site, with a sense of humor: Second City Style. There’s also a companion Second City Style blog with multiple daily updates. My favorite is the WTF post from March 20, but almost everything ediminx Lauren writes up has a little tongue in chic.
The headboard solution March 26, 2009
Beds are expensive, there’s no doubt. When I was out shopping for furniture recently on Route 110 in Long Island, I discovered a neat little trick. You don’t have to buy the whole bed—you can just buy the headboard, for a fraction of the price. It’s a little best-kept furniture store secret. Plus, you don’t have to deal with a bulky bed frame or footboard. We put a bench at the foot of ours and it’s a built-in stair case for Chipper. At Pottery Barn, they dispense with the formalities and just sell the headboards flat out. Lots of them. This is the one that I want—only $300.
The Couture Dart March 25, 2009
I just learned a beautiful way to make a dart, and while I can’t go into the whole shebang in this post, I do have some wonderful gems to dispense. First, chalk dart line, then “loop-baste” the dart—thread-mark dart by sewing a running stitch with loops on one side and then open dart to snip threads. Pin along the marked thread line, then baste one thread width away from the pin and baste to below point of dart. Remove loop-basting, and machine-stitch dart starting at wide end. Just before you get to the point (2-3 stitches away), curve in toward the fabric edge and run those last few stitches along fabric edge. Voila! No more dart bubble!
What’s a girl to wear? March 24, 2009
Fashion magazines are pretty and pretty expensive, so whenever I want to get an frugal idea of what the average chic gal on the street is pulling out of her closet, I turn to The Sartorialist. This blog is simply brilliant—the author just travels around taking pics of well-dressed women, often at Les Tuileries in Paris, where all the it girls hang. But what’s best is that the outfits are all completely attainable, with a bit of recessionista pluck. When I’m feeling my finger slip off the fashion pulse, The Sartorialist puts me right back on it. See more.
I heart William Carlos Williams March 23, 2009
I’m having a poetry fit, remembering all my favorites, like my old crush William Carlos Williams. I found this great poetry site, Poetry Foundation, that has a pretty comprensive bio on Dr. Williams (yes, a real doctor). The more I read on Williams, the more fascinated I become by him and his double life of working M.D./working famous poet in a small New Jersey town. Here is my favorite William Carlos Williams poem.
Poet David Clewell: King of American Arcana March 22, 2009
David Clewell was my first real writing teacher, back at Webster University in St. Louis 25 years ago. He’s a working poet and taught me to love William Carlos Williams and poetry for life in one fell reading of “To a Poor Old Woman.” Isn’t it reassuring that Professor Clewell is still teaching at Webster University and passing on a real-life passion for poetry. He’s a wonderful poet in his own right, but enough of what I think. Here’s what Billy Collins thinks: “David Clewell is an exuberant, inexhaustible poet and an insider on such diverse American arcana as forgotten Hollywood actors, flying saucers, CIA shenanigans, comic books, cereal favors, beatnik kitsch, and jazz. His unstoppable narrative energy and his multi-layered curiosity are almost enough to drive this poet out to the far right side of the page. His elegy for a federal agent who jumped out a window on LSD is alone worth the price of this collection of Clewell at his best, his most Clewellian.”—Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States
Learn more about David Clewell.