A Colourful History: The Textile Colour Card Association of the United States

A Colourful History: The Textile Colour Card Association of the United States

Decades before Pantone’s colour of the year, the Textile Colour Card Association (TCCA) led the way in the standardisation of colours and colour names. Established in 1915, the TCCA provided American textile industry and dealers with “indispensable guidance in the manufacture and ordering of colours.”

January Blues (and Pinks and Yellows)

January Blues (and Pinks and Yellows)

Today is “Blue Monday” - so called because of a pseudoscientific calculation that it is the most depressing day of the year: Christmas is a fading memory, the days are short and grey, everyone’s still broke and payday is still a week away. Along with many others, I experience Seasonal affective disorder, so to combat the instinct to hibernate the month away, I like to focus on planning and action, looking forward to the year ahead. I know that resolutions aren’t for everyone, but I find setting out plans and goals to be a really positive exercise for me.

20th Century Fashion Eras

20th Century Fashion Eras

One from the archives! I first published this post back in 2011, and it proved one of my most popular reference posts, and my most pinned/reposted images and content. My original aim was to provide a quick-reference guide to the key features of 20th century fashion eras to illustrate the evolution of style through the years, and to encourage a system of categorisation thinking outside the decade-by-decade box.

Introduction to Colour Theory

Introduction to Colour Theory

Colour gives me life. So much of the available reference material showing fashions from the early to mid part of the 20th century - such as photographs, magazines and catalogues - are in black and white, but life was colourful! I love discovering the colour palettes that were around back then, colour-printed style features; the advice in magazines on the latest fashionable colour combinations; and “this year’s colours” in mail order catalogues.

Put Your Best Face Forward (Yardley 1942-43)

Put Your Best Face Forward (Yardley 1942-43)

Yardley ran this series of wartime adverts over 1942/3. Each shows a woman engaged in "war work" - Wren, factory girl, nurse - and a patriotic message encouraging women to "work hard and let no weariness appear". The superficial read of course is that a woman’s duty above all is to be decorative — but, if you look at it a bit deeper, what intrigues me about this campaign is the focus on a specifically feminine strength.

Quick Fitted Sweater Refashion

Quick Fitted Sweater Refashion

This simple refashion is perfect for turning a slightly shapeless knit into a retro pinup sweater - and it literally only involves three seams! My original is a wool-blend cardigan from Primark - the design was cute, but the sweater was shapeless (basically just a straight rectangle) and too long for my preference (since I generally wear skirts I like sweaters to hit the waist), plus the buttons gaped at the bust. I’d hung onto it because I like the design and colours, but it just never got worn. Prime candidate for a restyling project!

2019 Make Nine

2019 Make Nine

Okay so I’ll admit, I only technically completed five out of my 2018 Make Nine - two projects were still works-in-progress as of 31 December (but hopefully to be completed soon); one ended up too daunting a prospect (so much pattern drafting!); and the perfect fabric for the planned 1940s suit eluded me for yet another year). But I did also organise a wedding and complete a dozen or so projects over the course of the year, which isn’t too bad. But on to this year’s plans!

The “Betty” Outfit at Goodwood Revival

The “Betty” Outfit at Goodwood Revival

Introducing the "Betty" outfit. One of my #2018makenine projects and a long time in the planning, this has been on my list since I saw the 1944 movie "Pin Up Girl" with Betty Grable. This year's #sewingthescene challenge on Instagram finally gave me the push I needed to bring it to life. And when I was invited to attend the Goodwood Revival I knew it was the perfect place for its debut. 

The “Carmen” Dress

The “Carmen” Dress

I’ve written in the past of my love for Victorian glasshouses, but the palm house at Kew Gardens is surely the queen of them all - it’s one of my favourite places in London. My Kew membership allows me to take advantage of later opening times in the summer to stroll through the gardens on my walk home from work, but the glasshouses and galleries close before I get there most days. For just a few months during the high summer though, they stay open an hour later on Fridays. Getting there after the day’s crowds have departed (and away from the madness of the weekends), I often have the quiet majesty of the palm house entirely to myself. 

It seemed fitting to debut my latest make, in a tropical-themed novelty print, on the final late opening of the season. And a delight to find the great glasshouse empty, silent except for our footsteps and the droplets of water splashing to the floor from lofty palms. The golden hour light, diffused through the condensation-fogged, curved glass, just added to the magic.