Saturday, November 22, 2008

Behold the Fast Phat Ascot

Sometimes I fire things out onto the internet just to be sure they're kept in a safe place where I can find them again.  Such is the case with these easy-as-pie directions for a homemade ascot, which I've now had to make for more than one dandy Hudson antique dealer. Each time from scratch without plans.

It's so easy anyone could make it in under an hour.  I should be churning out a bunch for Christmas ...

These plans are really just for me to jog my memory for next time, so if it doesn't make sense and you need better details just email me.
Start with two pieces of fabric 8" x 56". Silk or rayon. Have angles for pointed ends start at 3" from end (see top of my sketch below).
  If you want more drama make that 4" (ascots aren't always tucked in, after all).  
Draw in those angles and trim away excess. Sew right sides together all the way around  leaving 6 inch opening to turn right side out. Press, keeping seam allowances at opening folded, and sew it closed.
 Hold tie lengthwise and divide width of tie into 3 sections. Use a ruler and chalk, or wing it like I do.  Then divide each third into thirds again.  Think: three three-lane highways all along side each other (refer to my sketch again, bottom part). 
Pleat each 1/3 section of tie into thirds and press.  The two outer sections should be mirror image of each other, do them first. Then do center section and press it all down. Make sure the pleated sections lay along side each other and don't bulk up on each other.

Sew down at center, and again 6 inches from center on either side. 
Viola, guess what, you're done.
From here on out you're on your own...see Wikipedia on how to tie the thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Helen Shaw: First Lady of Fly-Tying

I'm pretty much a sucker for clothing with interesting provenance, and will usually gobble up any history I can get on the garments I find. These opportunities are sort of few and far between-but fun when they happen.

Last week I went on a house call here:

a little cottage in the woods by a stream, where Helen Shaw and her husband lived for some 35 years.
This is Helen in the left of this photo

Helen was known as the First Lady of Fly-Tying.  Originally from Wisconsin, 
she was an expert fly-tier.   She and her husband Herman, who was a photographer and art director for Field and Stream Magazine, collaberated on a few popular, ground-breaking books on the fine art of fly-tying.
Herman died in 1993 and Helen died just last year at the age of 97.
A major auction house got all the fly-fishing stuff and sold it all on ebay last week;
I got access to the clothing in the closets.

Judging from their wardrobes alone, I would have liked to have known these two.
They were artsy Manhattanites who had moved to the country in the 70s. Down-to-earth sportsmen, but with fashionable good taste.  Brooks Brothers, Abercrombie and Fitch, Saks Fifth Avenue.  Labels with fishies jumping off of hooks and such---and all very wearable.  And--- a big yummy necktie collection that Helen carefully stashed away with home-made sachets ...

This is one of Helen's fly -fishing ensembles, with all these gizmos on it for I-Don't-know-what:And this is one of her silk cocktail dresses:
An olive green suit: and a wool lounging gown with gold embroidered paisleys:
I like to think my customers are as interested in provenance as I am, so I decided to make some special price tags just for Helen's stuff.  When someone buys one of Helen's pieces, they get a little herstory with it.  A photo of a beautiful, talented woman, who once wore this...

I think it would be fun a hundred years from now to buy an old anglers jacket at a flea market, take it home, and find a picture of Helen in the pocket that says ---"this once belonged to Helen Shaw....the First Lady of Fly-Tying."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've Been Discovered

Five and Diamond Vintage, appearing now, in the December issue of LUCKY Magazine!  THE magazine of Shopping and Style.

"Charmingly shabby....always freshly stocked..."

The people at Lucky were extremely nice and very thorough... they restyled half the store for interior photos, but didn't use them--- so you will just have to travel to Hudson and discover what's inside yourself. I am buried here under mountains of fresh merchandise... Here's a few new arrivals that are not sold yet.....

This week's model, Lucie, walked in on Friday and said she needed a dress to get married in. Not a wedding gown, a dress to get married in---the next day. Here's the dress (and boots) she bought for her ceremony at City Hall.   Perfect....
and Congratulations!