Theatre de la Mode, Fashion Dolls: Survival of Haute Couture

Ann Williamson Design today blogged about the Maryhill Spring Tea — Maryhill is an art museum about 2 hours east of Portland OR, on the hills of the Columbia River. Among the various collections is one of note to anybody interested in fashion / haute couture: Theatre de la Mode — an amazing collection of 27″ wire frame dolls clothed in designer garments from just after World War II. Paris was still the centre of fashion but without the supplies to do runway shows, the designers, in conjunction with other artists and designers, created this amazing display to showcase their collections.

Evening wear:
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Day Clothes:
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And accessories (these shoes are to scale: ~ 2.5″ in length) constructed with amazing accuracy
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If you’re ever in the Portland area, it’s worth the side trip to see this collection!

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Estate Sale Fabrics

These are the fabrics I purchased at the estate sale – I haven’t actually counted how many pieces are in the pile but there are quite a few and they’re a good size – certainly enough to get 8″ quilt blocks out of, or pieces for building other kinds of projects like hand bags, maybe even a jacket – who knows…

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I also have another piece (approx. a yard and a half) covered with sashiko designs – which will make something interesting.

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Trip Home

I took the early shuttle to the Portland Airport. Once through security what should I see but a display of Dana Pinkham’s hats!20130624-110913.jpg
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She has a couple on display hung at different heights with a mirror behind so you can “try them on”. I did that, but didn’t take a photo.
The trip was uneventful – Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax – arriving at 2:00 am. I knew it would be hard getting a cab at that hour so I arranged with the driver who took me to the airport to pick me up; even sent an email early on Saturday! No Show, however. I was one of the last two at the airport to get a cab after having to wait for more than an hour. Got home at 3:30 – wide awake. So I unpacked, watched a TV program I’d taped while away before finally falling asleep at around 6:00 am. It’s going to be a slow day today.

Last Day In Portland

Today is the last day of the Portland Sewing Trip. The morning began with a useful session with Marla (who did the pattern fitting session Tuesday) – she offered lots of useful tips for modifying patterns and fine finishing techniques:
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Afterward, we returned to the estate sale – the deceased, who passed away two years ago, was a quilter. She collected about a ton and a half of fabric all carefully sorted and stored in plastic bins. There was some amazing stuff there. I came away with three pounds of manufacturer sample sized Japanese fabrics for the grand price of $4 / pound:
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Next a lovely lunch at a seafood restaurant, then a trek to Fabric Depot. Oh wow! Huge. Wonderful quilting fabric selection, lots of very nice garment fabrics. Too much to choose from when I’m limited by what I can pack. I ended up with two half-yard pieces from the “outdoor warehouse” to complement the Japanese fabrics – for $2.50!

To end the afternoon, Marla and I returned to Mill Ends to see if the piece of silk I had walked away from on Wednesday was still there – it was – I guess it had my name on it.

Dinner at Salties on the Oregon bank of the Columbia River, then home to pack.

It’s been a great week – the shopping, the classes, the designers, the sightseeing – I enjoyed it all.

Home tomorrow and back to my normal retired life.

Designers’ Studios +

We began the day with a visit to an estate sale where the woman had been a collector of fabrics and sewing supplies – turned out to be the wrong day – not until tomorrow! The house did have an interesting feature though: an espalier of some kind of evergreen along the roof edge – I’ve never seen anything like it:20130621-183910.jpg
After a stop for coffee we made our way to Ann Williamson’s design studio. Her silk jackets are exquisite:20130621-184134.jpg
The detail is very fine, her choice of fabrics amazing. Since 2003 she’s been using mainly kimono silk, from kimonos she’s taken apart as well as new kimono silk from Japan. She has a large stash of 14″ bolts of kimono silk:20130621-184515.jpg
We spent more than an hour with her, talking about technique, and seeing samples of her work.

Next stop – Josephine’s Fabrics. She specializes in “fine” fabrics – and although the selection isn’t large I came away with a Liberty cotton print for a shirt as well as some lovely reversible grey and off-white woolen fabric which I can see making into a pieced reversible jacket of some kind.

Then lunch at the Portland lunch carts: 20130621-185254.jpg
There’s a big choice of food, and after you’ve purchased what you want to eat there’s a small square nearby where you can sit and eat:20130621-185454.jpg

Our next stop was the Button Emporium. I was too busy looking for buttons to go with the purple fabric I bought Wednesday to remember to take photos of the wall of buttons! I also picked up three bits of lace and entredeux for heirloom sewing (not much of a selection in Halifax).

Around the corner we visited a designers’ consignment shop – lots of interesting ideas there.

One last stop at another small fabric outlet where I thought I might find more swimsuit fabric but they had little in the way of interesting lycra prints.

Finally back to the hotel, something to eat, and now for a quiet evening.