meeting Tom Tierney

Look what I found today! Paper doll books featuring the work of designers you know!

Even better, I got to meet Tom Tierney, the man who created them. This happened by chance at the Texas Country Reporter festival in Waxahatchie.

Mr. Tierney has illustrated hundreds of paper doll books for Dover Publications. They range through all kinds of historical costumes, to a series on our First Ladies, to these that focus on designers and decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since he has done so many of these, he has had a lot of lattitude in picking new subject matter. One book he showed me had a famous voodoo queen as the subject. It must have been fun researching that one!

I asked him what he was working on now, and he said that his latest book was on stewardesses. This one has kind of a storyline, because the costumes represent clothes the gals bought during layovers in exotic lands.

These books are lots of fun, but there is actual research involved and some nice notes included. For instance…

In the 50’s books, there are notes on the foundation garments worn with the outfits.

Here’s a page showing clothes for these two models…

There are lots of details – The fabric that the originals were made in, notes on any extra padding and accessories, historical significance, etc. In the YSL book, the two dolls were based on his favorite models, and there is also a doll of Yves himself.

I had a great time chatting with Tom, and told him I would tell you all about it.  You can find him and his gazillions of books at his website. And check it out – he was nice enough to personalize all my books for me!

No, I will not be cutting them up.


Stash Closet & Buried Treasure

A few weeks ago when the really freaky weather seemed to have the whole U.S.A. inconvenienced, I was iced in for four days. We really are not prepared for winter storms here in Dallas, and here I was on top of a slippery icy hill.

One day was challenging because we had no power and (with temps in the teens) no heat for 15 hours. I wanted an activity that would keep me moving but that wouldn’t tire me out enough that I’d want to stop moving. So I decided to do something about this:

stash closet before

And that wasn’t all of it…

You can tell that I treat work spaces as work spaces, and neatness is not necessary for me to work!

I refolded all my fabric, put away my books, organized my patterns, and found many buried treasures that I had completely forgotten about.  Some examples…

An almost complete quilt top! Some old friends are serious, serious quilters, and about 15-20 years ago I used to make the occasional quilt. Here’s a Lone Star that I never finished. You may not be able to tell in the picture, but the large blank areas were meant to feature some fancy quilting and are plain muslin. I’m thinking that I’ll finish this quilt top and send it out to be machine quilted, but my tastes have changed. I’ll replace that plain muslin with a tone-on-tone print, and probably add a border of some sort to bring the quilt up to some standard size.

An old needlepoint panel! Long before quilting, I used to dabble with needlepoint. I made this for a decorative pillow in my very first apartment, and used it for years. The animal interlace was my own design, but as noted, tastes change! I got tired of the pillow but kept the top. I might do a little restoration on this and put it under glass. I like it more now as a rememberance.

A naked lady! I’m sure I bought Dolly because I wanted to make her an antebellum outfit. It would still be a fun project to reproduce a look from Godey’s Ladies’ Book for her. Maybe someday.

Dressmaking-themed fabric! There’s about 3/4 yd. square of this poor distressed fabric. I’ve enlarged a detail so you can see the print of thread spools and dressforms. This must have been my mother’s and it is in really sad shape. Besides the discoloring, the fabric (must be cotton) has some weak spots where it was folded. I’m really unhappy that I let anything of Mom’s fall into this state. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to restore and/or use it? The non-folded parts are strong enough that they could be made into something. I really would like to make this into something that could be displayed in the sewing room.

And in the end, when everything was refolded and put away, there really wasn’t as much stuff as it first appeared. This is my total stash:

stash closet after

Fabric piles, from left to right….first pile is wools, second silks. 3, 4 & 5 are linens and cottons. 6 is knits. The last pile are bottomweights: cotton, hemp, and blends. Patterns, old copies of Threads, & etc. are in the file boxes underneath. Linings, muslins, patternease and a few upholstery fabrics are on the top shelf. It doesn’t look like so much when it’s all stored neatly, and I’m glad to have found that out.

On the other days of my involuntary incarceration, I traced all my Cutting Line Design patterns so that I’m all ready to sew some casual summer clothes.

It was fun to find so many things I had completely forgotten about. Some of this stuff I have dragged from house to house for 30 years, but haven’t bothered to look at it or enjoy. And it would have remained undiscovered if it hadn’t been for nasty weather!