Friday, July 25, 2014

National Costumes

I've always had a bit of a 'thing' for folk costumes, particularly those from European countries.
There's something about the unrestrained use of colour and pattern I find appealing.
My dear Ms. Prue brought me a vintage book to see that she knew I would like: National Costumes - designed by LePage-Medvey and published in 1939.
The book is a portfolio of colour plates of illustrations of ethnic costume from Austria, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Because the printed illustrations have spent most of their 75 years within the closed pages of a book, they were in extraordinarily good condition and the colours!! The colours are as bright as the day they were printed and just make me drool!

The subjects all happen to have very rosy cheeks but I guess the fresh country air does that.
It's incredible that in the last 100-150 years so many of these costumes are not seen anymore, at least on people. Wouldn't it be sad if these magnificent clothes were lost to jeans and t-shirts for good one day :(

I love the fact that it was perfectly acceptable for men to wear flowers and lace, there aren't many men brave enough to wear such finery today! The highly starched linen headpieces and neck ruffles that feature in this book are stunning as are the hand made lace aprons and exquisitely embroidered garments.

Here are some of my favourites for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Something different...

Lately I have been obsessed with Russian designs (again). This time with posters and graphic design used on advertisements, especially those on vintage matchbox labels and stamps. These pieces are available on eBay for just a few dollars, and are lots of fun to collect.

I have been busily collecting mid-century graphics on ephemera such as these, and boy is it addictive!
The simple, bold and somewhat abstracted designs are just perfect for transferring to quilt design.
I have also been wanting to appliqué text to quilts for a while and this project is the perfect opportunity to give that a go!

Mid-Century Soviet Russian Matchbox Labels, these are a collection of folk toys
My choice for transfer to quilt design - I think the word means dolls,
anyone know?
sketch up of how to piece the quilt
Applying applique 
the finished block with chain stitched faces

Well, it is by no means perfect but I really enjoyed making this block and am keen to start some more to eventually sew together into a quilt. Have you ever designed a quilt around an object of ephemera?
Do tell me about it, I'd love to hear!