Lipstick? What does that have to do with sewing? Well, everything, as it turns out, especially with sewing for 2023. LIPSTICK is the word I have chosen for 2023 to guide my sewing aspirations. And because sewing is so much a part of my life, the word LIPSTICK will undoubtably become a reminder and guide and focus for so many other aspects of my life as well.
How did I ever decide on such a word to guide me through this brand new year? First of all, I am not finished with PINK, my focus for 2022. Truth be told, I’ll never be finished with pink – the color or the joie de vivre it inspires in me – but certainly I wanted a new, expansive word for what I hope will be a year of great optimism and promise and accomplishment. So, pink led me to think of lipstick, with its many pink and red and coral and orange hues – and all the ways a gorgeous shade of lipstick can enhance the colors we wear, be they black, navy, white, green, yellow, brown, etc. But lipstick is more than that.
For me, lipstick is instant confidence. Lipstick adds power to a smile with a simple swipe of color. Lipstick tells the world one is ready for something special, even if it is just a simple trip to the grocery store. Lipstick is feminine and fun and frock-worthy.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here is what some notable people have said about lipstick (and pink) over the decades:
“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” Coco Chanel
“On a bad day, there’s always lipstick.” Audrey Hepburn
“Lipstick is the red badge of courage.” Man Ray
“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.” Audrey Hepburn
“If there was [sic] no more pink lipstick un the world, I’d be useless.” Nicki Minaj
“Start each day with your favorite lipstick and a beautiful smile.” Unknown
“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” Elizabeth Taylor
“I believe in pink.” Audrey Hepburn
“You can never go wrong with a little pink … a lot works for me.” Dana Dalgetty
“Just have fun. Smile. And keep putting on lipstick.” Diane Keaton
“She has a way with words, red lipstick and making an entrance.” Kate Spade.
Making that entrance is where our love of sewing and feeling beautiful in our clothes comes into play. This year, for me, promises to have a number of occasions where an “entrance” has the potential to be made (parties, events, significant milestones, hopefully lots of entertaining). So – what do I have planned to wear to those occasions?
I am dreaming of a dress made from this pale pink plaid wool, buttery soft with a little glimmer to it.
This navy blue cotton sateen will either become a mid-calf length full skirt or a long-sleeved sheath dress. Thoughts, anyone?
More blouses are in my sewing queue, one in orange cotton and one in pink and green gingham.
Being carried over from 2022 will be a long-ish skirt made of this glorious silk twill:
My love of coats continues, as I hope to make one wool boucle coat (if I have enough fabric – shown below) with coordinating silk dress – and one pink floral linen coat with coordinating linen dress.
Two jackets are in my plans, a classic French jacket in black boucle with orange and cream accents (which is currently waiting to be finished), and a black cashmere jacket (at present underway) to wear with this dress and others.
A fancy silk party dress in fuchsia? I hope so….
As long as my granddaughters seem to enjoy wearing the dresses I make for them, I will keep sewing for them – 3 each again this year? I hope I can manage that.
And who knows what else? I will let my inspiration and time (!) guide me. No matter what, I’ll be aspiring to enhance every outfit with the perfect lipstick and its promise of living beautifully, day in and day out, in the easy times and over the long haul.
So, dear sewing friends and readers, put on your lipstick and have a sparkling new sewing year!
My Sewing Fairy Godmother
Time away from home – as in a vacation and/or a trip with a specific purpose – can hold many possibilities and promises, including treasured time with family and friends, new adventures, a change in routine, and, of course, exposure to new and different places, people, and history. For me, and for many of you, it also means a forced hiatus from sewing, which is a change in routine that is not always welcome.
Thus, after returning earlier this week from 30 days away, I felt a great sense of calm and happiness when I went into my sewing room after such a long absence. It took a few days to start a new project, but now I am cranking away at Fall fashion sewing, littering the floor with scraps and threads and pins. My room, which I had left neat and tidy and clean is now scattered with patterns and muslin and fabrics – in other words, it is back to normal.
I have come to know, however, that references to, and examples of, sewing and fashion seem to show up in the most unusual places – even on vacation (or “work” trips) when you least expect it. It is like my “Sewing Fairy Godmother” is looking after me with these charming and fascinating bits of whimsy to keep my focus sharp and my sewing homesickness at bay.
Consider that these two charming dress forms, both size 4, adorned one of the rooms in the spacious and lovely house located high (very high) in the massive and stunning peaks of Colorado (USA) where we just spent the past month.
One form was set in each corner of the room.
To make this even more meaningful for me, the forms were the perfect size for our 4-year-old granddaughter who was with us for part of our stay. Wouldn’t one of these be a nice addition to my sewing room!
Other fashion vignettes were found throughout the house, such as these glove forms tucked into a corner cupboard.
Do you see the needle and thread hanging on the hand at the right?
And among the art books on display was this volume which I read cover-to-cover, only wishing there had been more photos of my favorite best-dressed women throughout the ages (such as Babe Paley, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Coco Chanel, Mona von Bismarck) – and where was Bunny Mellon? Despite its shortcomings, I found it a fascinating synopsis of fashion and its leading ladies from 1940- 2002.
“The Best of the Best Dressed List” is the focus of this book, with a foreword by Eleanor Lambert who started the International Best Dressed List in 1940.
So when else has my Sewing Fairy Godmother been looking out for me? She must be tenacious, as it took almost two years for her to prove her existence to me. It all started over two years ago, when in a weak moment I agreed, after much consideration, to be President of my Garden Club from June of 2015 – June of 2017. My biggest concern was that my duties in this role would greatly impact, negatively, the hours I could devote to my sewing. And, this turned out to be correct. I had many frustrating hours when I was in meetings, planning for meetings, hosting meetings, running meetings, doing all sorts of unimaginable things for the Club, all of which meant I was not sewing for big chunks of time. However, I persevered, tried to keep a positive attitude about it all, and do a good job.
Then – I had a Eureka moment when I was on a “business” trip for the club early this past May, attending the Annual Meeting of the Garden Club of America. Among the perks of this Annual Meeting is a wonderful multi-vendor boutique, which is set up in the host hotel. One of the vendors specialized in French fashion jewelry. Although her jewelry was lovely, it was one of her props that caught my eye – a wooden sign, with the phrase “COUTURE MODE” spelled out in stylized block letters.
When I approached her about it, she told me she had purchased it in Paris several years ago and it was “not really for sale” – but she would think about it. She gave me her card and told me to stay in touch. Well, did I ever! By the beginning of June, she had agreed to sell me the sign. It now hangs in my sewing room, where I enjoy it daily.
A focal point of my sewing room – I love this sign!
If not for being Garden Club President, I never would have been at that meeting, and I never would have found this sign. So, thank you Sewing Fairy Godmother, for knowing better than I, that opportunities and inspiration are sometimes long in the making or found in unexpected places.
Filed under Dressmaker forms, Fashion commentary, Love of sewing, Uncategorized
Tagged as fashion sewing, love of sewing