Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Sheila Skirt

 Tule fog or no, i've been spending productive time with my Bernina the last few weeks. I just finished a straight skirt in a linen/rayon blend on Sunday morning, and wore it for errands and walking in Berkeley that afternoon. Success! Between the shape of the skirt and the wonderful rusty-red tones of the brown, i started calling this one 'The Sheila Skirt' before i even knew what i was doing.

While wearing my skunk skirt (what can i say, the name just stuck) in total comfort, i realized that the 'base' on which i'd applied the ruffles is simply your basic straight skirt, cut off just above the knee. It occurred to me that with the addition of a modest slit, this silhouette should work well for a comfy, workaday item. The beauty of the straight skirt is it's un-fussiness, ability to play well with just about any jacket shape, and low fabric needs. There's some times when you don't feel like dealing with a lot of fabric, from the psychological as well as financial perspectives. I'm very tickled that this pattern has worked out so well, and look forward to whipping up a couple more skirts along these lines.

Saturday i had a 'blogger meetup' of sorts. Ilegirl invited me to check out the local American Cancer Society thrift shop's vintage extravaganza when she received their e-mail notice of this event. Of course i accepted and we had a great time. However, ilegirl and i have known each other for going on thirty years now, and have gotten together for shopping, dining, and basically hanging out literally hundreds of times before....does it still 'count' as a blogger meetup in those circumstances?

The most enjoyable part of the day for me was getting a look at the labels in some of the vintage items.  So many were from old, venerable San Francisco institutions that i remember frequenting with my mom as a girl. I had a blast getting photos of all of them to share with you. I've never heard of FANYA before, but i loved the graphic on the label of this mint-green silk shantung suit.

I remember when we were little and our mom would take us to Union Square in San Francisco for a little window shopping. When it was time for a 'rest', mom would take us to I. Magnin. This was old-style class and glamour - green marble rooms for each 'throne', gold-plated faucets, a nice big lounge with couches, coffee tables and mirrors. How sad when I. Magnin went out of business!

 And how strange when the most disparate areas of your life turn out to be intertwined. Years ago i listened to the 'grande dame' of conspiracy researchers, Mae Brussel, who broadcast her radio show 'World Watchers International' every Sunday afternoon from down the coast.  Her programs were bristling with information you'd be hard pressed to find addressed anywhere else, but mostly i loved her larger-than-life, joyful, and raucous personality. She'd been dead for over a decade when i learned that she was a scion of none other than the venerable Isaac Magnin himself! If anyone could floor you long after they were dead, it'd be Ms. Brussel!

At least Gump's is still around. And with the opportunity to market and buy specialty items on the web, and the availability of all types of style inspiration from street style to couture coverage to do-it-yourself tutorials, access to great style continues forward. Isn't it funny how many memories can be triggered by a couple inches of ribbon...

Jacket: Issey Miyake for Vogue Patterns, made by me
Sweater: Royal Robbins
Belt: Betsey Johnson
Skirt: own design (in tribute to Sheila)
Scarf, Earrings: own design
Over The Knee Socks: Target
Shoes: Bass Lacey Oxfords


  1. First, I want to thank you for your sweet comments about my break in! The blogosphere is so sweet and supportive...I kind of wish the theives had made an appointment with me so I could leave the key for them...the window they smashed is turning out to be a major expense and not easy to replace...right now it is covered by a board! I would love to see the rest if these vintage items they look fabulous! What a fun event to attend! I am hosting a Vintage Inspired Contest on my site...come on over and register. I love your looks today and your hair...it looks great!

  2. Aw, I have a skirt named after me! Thank you so much, Steph!

    I love all those old labels.

  3. The new skirt turned out beautifully. And, yes, the outing can count as a "blogger meet-up". As I read your post, I found myself thinking about the fabulous lounges that existed in many department stores as late as the early 70s. Some stores even had tea houses where a famished shopper could eat their lunch.

    Must check out your conspiracy lady.

  4. I'm wearing a Sheila skirt today too. Great minds Steph, great minds. And on a spooky note, I was discussing I. Magnin with my eye doctor this morning. Yep, spooky.

  5. Skirt is so cute. I like a straight skirt in theory, but I can't seem to pull it off. I'm in awe of those who do it effortlessly!

    I had fun Saturday. The shots of the labels turned out fab!

    I liked the I Magnin in Oakland. The building is still there, right near the Paramount Theatre. It's beautiful inside and out. Like us, of course!

    That sweatshirt dress/tunic thingy at Bonne Nuit ... tis on my mind. Do you remember the maker?

  6. Great skirt. I think you are making history naming it after a fellow blogger.

    I love vintage shops, vintage clothes and yes, vintage labels. I used to collect them, but who knows where a bag of old labels are these days? It sometimes feels that everything was better made "those days," pre-days of "fast fashion."

    You look fab as always, Dash.

  7. Hi Pam, thank you for stopping by! i am glad to hear you are doing okay. & you are turning into the 'giveaway queen'! giveaways intimidate me, i don't know why, and you seem to do them very well.

    re: hair - the humidity brings out the curl, but lately i've been using bumble and bumble creme de coco shampoo and moroccan oil. both expensive, but with both a little goes a long long way and they make my hair look consistently great! it's amazing! both brought to me by Mr. E, too.

    Yes, Sheila, of course you have a skirt named after you! (see Bella below - we may even be making history). (which just cracks me up). i was emboldened to post these labels since you always showcase yours with interesting comments & i learn a lot.

    Hi Terri! i knew someone would know! :) yes, high-end shopping used to be luxe all 'round in the olden days. *sigh* and you're brave to check out Mae! she's not for everyone. i love listening to wacky stories told kookily, so gotta love her for that.

    but - she also did a lot of digging 'behind the headlines': why is this story being pushed now? who's pushing it, what are their interests and connections, their history? what's being presented as the logical next step or 'fix' for this new 'problem'? what are the sources for this info? and so on. so no matter her conclusions, the commitment to critical thinking, evaluating sources and deciding for yourself is always important, to me.

    Hey Bev, we had a 'Sheila Salute Day' without even planning to! it's Sheila's innate power to influence the fashion world - resistance is useless!

    Hello P! my guess re: u & straight skirt is you'd have to get the hem and waist indication just right. we could play around with it sometime (i'm guessing waist around hi hip and hem 2-3" above knee, but that's just a guess). i'd forgotten the old I Mag building is still up in oakland - next time i'm around there i'll try to get some pictures! and of course i don't remember anything but McPlanet, but if i'm downtown i'll see if i can check it out.

    oh Bella, that tickles me pink! 'my mark in history.....' well, if you find that bag you know we'd all like to see what's inside! and i do think that well-made and designed items were more available at all 'price points' in the olden days.

    on Sat. ilegirl showed me a hi-end consignment shop in walnut creek with prada, valentino, armani, etc. items that were very nicely made. very. used blouses selling for $189, etc. so it's out there, but only at the very highest price tags. & thank you!

    take care all! steph

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