Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Productivity, or the Lack Thereof

It's been pretty quiet over here lately and I haven't been super productive craft-wise either. But neither have I been completely inactive. Here's a summary of what I've been up to. ;)

I've nearly finished the back for a new cardigan. This pattern is very straightforward, hardly any shaping, so I'm hoping I won't have any nasty last minute surprises like with my grey cardigan.

I'm using Cheval Blanc yarn and the pattern is found in the Saturday Afternoon booklet by Classic Elite Yarns. It's the Renaissance Basket Stitch Cardigan designed by Kathy Zimmerman - the red sweater in the photograph. I really love the back of that green sweater next to it, but the front is terribly boring. If it's not doing the model any favors, I'm sure not going to attempt it.

Other than that, I recently started an art project. It looks like a giant mess still, but here's where I am with it. You might recognize some of the fabric from my various projects.

A close-up on the embroidery:

I'll explain what it's supposed to be when I'm further along!

And finally, my sewing class has started back up again so I'll be picking back up with my wool jacket. Other jacket patterns have been tempting me, but I need to finish this one first. In short, I need to get it together and finish up some stuff!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Madrigal, or What I Found in Paris

I realize it's been a while since my last post! This was not intentional; I've just been out and about doing other things. Most recently I was in Paris for half a week with my friend who flew out from the US. I dragged her to the St. Ouen flea market, where I found this beauty:

It is Madrigal, a French ladies' weekly periodical with sewing, knitting and embroidery patterns, plus juicy stories. I believe my particular copy comes from 1953. There is no date listed anywhere in the magazine, I'm just estimating 1953 based on dates for other issues that I found on-line.

Here's a site where you can look up and purchase old journals, magazines, and such-like, called Journaux-Collection. I have edition no. 227; the link shows similar editions for sale at 15 euros; I got mine for 3 euros. Of course, my edition does not come with the sewing pattern supplement. I can look at the pattern illustrations but that's all.

Here's the back cover: Oh, Polka Dots!

While I originally bought this to look at the fashions, now I'm really fascinated by the stories in the magazine. Here's an example of what they look like: Je Défends Mon Amour.

In this particular story, Daria is an lawyer who is defending a childhood friend accused of pushing his wife to commit suicide. She falls in love with him (Maxime) and breaks off her engagement to Geoffroy, a judge. In this scene, Geoffroy is perhaps trying to black-mail Daria into coming back to him by giving her damning evidence about Maxime.

While the storyline is a typical love-triangle, I find it noteworthy that Daria is a criminal lawyer in 1953!

The format is like a cross between films and comic strips and each story lasts over many magazine issues. Apparently this genre emerged in post-WWII Italy and is called (in Italian) fotoromanzi. Sophia Loren (then known as Sophia Lazzaro) was a big star in this genre before starting her cinema career. You can see an early picture of her here.

I had never heard of this; I found a couple sites discussing this format, here's one in French and here's the French Wikipedia page. Sorry, I don't know what this is called in English so I don't have any English language sites. Maybe somebody knows? In French it's apparently called le roman-photo sentimental and existed in periodicals up until the 1980's.

For those of you who are interested, I will scan the rest of the stories for this issue and put them up in a later post.

And now back to the fashion, here are some of the styles represented in the magazine.


The tom-boy style (or garçon manqué, in French), which only seems masculine to me because the women are wearing (gasp!) pants:

Some tops and skirts:

But this magazine wasn't only about sewing. There's knitting and embroidery too. Here are some embroidery motifs so you can decorate your hankies:

Here are some handy instructions if you want to knit your daughter underwear (culottes):

And that's not all. For those of you who like to do home-dec projects or are into cooking, there's something for you too: you can reupholster kitchen chairs and read Maria's explanations for preparing fish.

I am really kicking myself right now for having only bought one issue. There was an entire store dedicated to this type of magazine and I could have easily bought the entire store. For a while I was tempted to get one magazine from each decade represented, but then I told myself that was not reasonable. So I only got one. I think that too wasn't not reasonable! Clearly I will have to go back. I feel an obsession developing...