I received my first subscription box from Needle Sharp. Now those that know me, know that I do not need any more fabric or patterns (my family will tell you so!).
Anyway, as you can now see, I don’t need any help buying fabric or patterns (or so I thought). I really enjoyed getting the box in the mail. The Kielo dress was right on target for August weather, the rayon is cool and comfortable and great quality. And because I don’t use Instagram for my sewing inspiration, I was unaware how popular and flattering this dress is on all ages and body types.
Ok, now for another confession. Although I had just cleaned and organized my sewing/office, I totally forgot about the box contents other than the fabric and pattern. I just reached into my interfacing basket and grabbed thread off the thread wall. Not until I finished the dress did I realize I had forgotten the thread, interfacing and bias tape were still in the box!
The interfacing was my favorite type, and I have already used it in my another sewing project. And I had a yard of the rayon floral left over, so it is going to become a top in my Seamwork Fall Wardrobe collection. I plan to wear the Kielo dress as a jumper with a long sleeve top this fall too.
Reasons I love Needle Sharp:
You can preview the box selection and choose among several fabric types
You are in total control of your subscription: Join for one month, 3 or more. Skip deliveries, too!
Mary is out there scouring New York wholesalers and the internet for trendy and wearable patterns and fabrics.
Check out my Kielo dress sourced from Needle Sharp:
The Kielo dress was drafted for a 5’8″ figure. I am 5′ 4.5″. Using Joi Mahon’s fit method, I added 3/4″ from shoulder to apex. Cutting and adding through the armhole. Note that the bust point and the armhole are nicely marked on the pattern. I needed to decrease from apex to waist 1.5″ (again waist and hip nicely marked on the pattern) And I decreased another 2″ divided between above and below the knee on the skirt length. I didn’t need any back adjustments, just the skirt length. Easy Peasy, I will make another soon. The only additional change I think I will make is to scoop the center front neck a bit, so that if I make one more fallish to wear as a jumper there will be a little more breathing room at the center neckline.
The pattern has only 3/8″ seam allowances, so I chose to serge the edges (and I was lazy) instead of french seams. Nice heavy color card on how to do french seams was also included in the Needle Sharp box.
There are two posts on this adventure. A travel log (Sioux City, Iowa) and sewing class review (Joi Mahon’s Sewing Holiday).
Joi Mahon’s tagline is “Your source for REAL fitting solutions and practical sewing knowledge” I am a believer!
I own both of Joi’s books. “Create the Perfect Fit – Measuring and Pattern Fitting for Real Sewing Solutions” and “Designer Joi’s Fashion Sewing Workshop”.
But this was my first class with Joi. It was the 4th year for her “sewing holiday”. The holiday was broken down into specific classes that you could pick and choose which ones to attend. There was a two day quilting class, a two day leather handbag class, and 3 one day classes on each of these subjects: Fitting, Transforming Woven patterns into Knit, and Draping. I signed up for all of the one day classes. There was a one large prize and several small ones each class day. And at the closing pizza party, a Baby Lock Imagine serger, a Baby Lock Jane sewing machine, and a Baby Lock embellisher was given away. With the small class size everyone had a great chance of winning something!
One of Joi’s sayings is that learning is in degrees. That is you can learn a concept, but you can continue to learn and hone that skill and expertise. There is no way that anyone can teach all there is to know about any subject in a day.
Draping was my favorite. Instead of starting with a paper pattern, we created our own patterns by “draping” fabric on a dress form. Everyone in class had their own dress form. Some brought their own, some used full size, some used half scale. The class had a wide variety of participants – costumers, garment sewers, and a teenage girl learning to sew. We first draped a sloper bodice front. For those not familiar with the terms, it is a close fitting top with a bust and waist dart. With Joi’s fitting method, you can make any size pattern fit anyone. Next we created a princess line bodice. A princess line top has two pieces – a center front and side front. Then we created an asymmetrical top. It was fun to see the individual creativity.
Moni working on her half scale dress form. You can see the class did not have fun!
In the fitting class day we adjusted Joi’s McCalls’ pattern M7280 to fit ourselves. The dress in person is so much more beautiful than it is in the envelope picture. The details are amazing on this ensemble. The fabric is from Chanel, and the jacket sleeves are cleverly cut on the bias.
In the woven to knit pattern class we used McCalls 7659. Joi wrote an article for the March 2018 Threads magazine, and this top is featured on the cover. I learned that you can add all of the shaping (back and shoulder darts) you like to a knit garment, just like you would in a woven one. What you take into account is the degree of stretch of your knit and you adjust the ease accordingly. Check out the Threads issue to learn more!
Here are the current patterns Designer Joi has created for McCalls :
Besides sewing we had fun cooking and shopping together!
Checking out the samples at Palmer Candy Company!
And of course let there be cake!!!
You too can learn about all of these sewing techniques by following Joi
There are two posts on this adventure. A travel log (Sioux City, Iowa) and sewing class review (Joi Mahon’s Sewing Holiday).
Travel notes first. If travel highlights don’t interest you hop over to the sewing class review.
This was my first trip to Sioux City. I was a math whiz in school, not geography. I didn’t realize that Sioux City ( pop. approx 83,000) borders Nebraska. Actually just across the Missouri river is South Sioux City, Nebraska. And if you are a tourist like me, maybe you too will start singing the words to Oh, Shenandoah every time you see the “wide Missouri”. It is also about 1.5 hours from Omaha, Nebraska. So you can either fly into Omaha or Sioux City, which has the clever airport designation of SUX. And you can buy a tshirt with Fly SUX. I didn’t, but was tempted.
Sightseeing Highlights –
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Quick history lesson – After President Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, he sent scout Meriweather Lewis to chart the territory. The goal was to document the territory, the flora and fauna, and find a water passage to the pacific ocean. Lewis, along with William Clark and his slave York lead a team of 31 men. They were guided by Sacagawea (the spelling and pronunciation are debated) who carried her infant son on the journey. Now that is one tough mama! The dog Seaman got to be in the statue. I will just leave that for you to think about.
The only fatality of the expedition occurred near Sioux City. Sgt. Charles Floyd died of what is presumed to be appendicitis and was buried along the river. There is a monument as well as a street and river named after him.
Trinity Heights A memorial garden featuring giant statues of Jesus and Mary. There is also a life size wood carving of the last supper.
Palmer Candy A very sweet stop on the trip! I had my first “bing” which is like a cherry mash (chocolate and nuts over a cherry concoction) Besides antique candy making equipment, they have a selection of made in Iowa goodies, and will give you a free bing if it is your first trip in the store.
Jolly Time Popcorn Not one but two foodie snack places in one town!! The coated popcorn here is fabulous. I brought home 4 different flavors, all of them amazing. Check out the virtual museum on the website.
And if you visit – I recommend Linda Sue Manor I spent every evening on the wrap around porch, wine glass in hand enjoying the lovely summer evening!
PatternReview.com is a 16 year old online sewing resource website created by Deepika Parkash. There are currently over 430,000 users across the world. I recently attended my 4th Pattern Review Weekend. Deepika is the featured speaker at the July 2018 national ASG (American Sewing Guild) convention.
And before I talk about the event, I want to share with you a note about Deepika from the website.
Deepika Prakash is the founder of PatternReview.com – A site she started in November 2001 when she couldn’t find any sewing resources online. A lover of fabric and patterns she has a simple goal. “Everyone should sew!” and with this goal in mind she decided to teach her first video class right here on PatternReview.com. “Anybody CAN sew“, she says.. “You are only limited by your own desire to learn”.
Deepika has been a contributor to many sewing publications over the last few years like Threads and Stitch. She is currently designing easy to sew patterns for all body types. She has also been featured on It’s Sew Easy TV series.
PR Weekend is a 2-3 day event that is in a different location every year. This year for the first time the event was held in and around Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
The event is limited to 100 participants, and is totally organized by volunteers.
The class was on how to take better pictures to show off your sewing. She has a section on her blog if you want to check it out.
PRweekend always includes a pattern exchange. Attendees can bring patterns to swap, and even if you don’t bring any, you are welcome to take home as many as you can carry.
The day also included sewing demos from the Jalie Pattern team of Emilie, Jean and Mel. Jean is the creative designer behind the patterns and she is so much fun, as well as being Emilie’s mom) They also introduced their latest pattern collection with a discount. (https://jalie.com/) I added Clara and Julia to my collection.
The evening included a camp shirt contest that honored recently deceased member Kathi Rank. A pajama contest was also on tap. We were even entertained by organizer Connie Bontje’s ukulele band.
Saturday was non stop shopping bus tour to Hamilton’s Ontario street (home of Beverly Johnson’s Bra Lady store), Ann’s fabrics and Lens Mill in Woodstock. We ended the evening with the Fabricland store in Stratford staying open late for our group. Before the late night shopping our bus had purchased 700 meters and bus two 680 meters of fabric. A meter is 39”. Many stayed after for shopping and sightseeing in Toronto.
Next year – Portland Oregon. I will be there!
I met and/or reconnected with so many amazing talented folk. Here are a few with great blogs:
These mittens give you warmth and the flexibility to type (or to sew!)
Turn your sweater ( any type but cashmere is especially nice) into a quick and thoughtful gift for you or a friend.
Check out thrift shops for a soft sweater. If it has moth holes or stains, just make sure you can cut around them.
I wash my sweaters on delicate. Note that cashmere does not felt, but wool will compress and get smaller.
For this example, I found a small purple sweater at a thrift shop. The neckline had been cut – otherwise I would have been able to make 2 pair of mittens. I will just search for a complimentary color and make a pair that mixes the body of the mitten and the thumb. I have enough for one more mitten.
Print off the pdf pattern by clicking here : fingerless_mitten pattern– be sure and select actual size on your print menu. Making sure your pattern measures 1″ in the sizing square. You will need to tape together the mitten body at the join line.
Cut two mitten bodies and two thumbs right sides together. If you need to cut each piece individually – make sure you flip the pattern so that you get a right and left mitten. Cut with the greatest stretch going around the hand and the body of the mitten.
I cut this pair utilizing the lower edge ribbing. You do not have to have a ribbed edge. Simply serge the lower edge after you cut out the mitten body to keep the edge from curling. The top edge (fingers) will curl slightly and doesn’t require any serging.
Sew with a narrow long zig zag stitch. On my machine my setting was a width of 1.0 and a length of 3.5. This gives the seam a little stretch. You will be sewing the seam above and below the thumb circle on the body of the mitten.
Because the sweater is bulky, I suggest you use a scrap of the sweater to start off your seam. Butt the doubled scrap up to your seam, be sure to backstitch or lock the mitten seam.
You can try on the mittens at this point and make sure they are snug to your liking.
You will sew the thumb piece using a 1/4 ” seam allowance 3/4 of an inch down from the top.
Again, use your scrap piece to start your seam smoothly.
Press all of your seams open. I used only the tip of the iron and steam, but not pressing the sweater loft flat.
Turn the thumb seam to the inside. Place thumb piece inside glove piece so that right sides are together. Now match the thumb seam and the finger seams, match the notches and match the lower seam to the point on the thumb pattern. Start and end sewing at the thumb seam using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press this seam open and viola your mittens are complete! I trimmed my notch and a little of the seams to lay flat and be more comfortable.
To recap instructions:
1)cut 2 mitten bodies and 2 thumb sections right sides together
2)if not using ribbing section of the sweater, zig zag or serge lower edge
3) Sew mitten body above and below the thumb opening right sides together, check fit.
4) Sew thumb section seam 3/4 ” from top edge right sides together
5) With right sides matching pin and sew thumb section to mitten body matching notch, thumb seam with top of mitten seam and point of thumb section to lower mitten seam.
I was so lucky to be able to see the exhibit Christian Dior, Couturier Du Réve at the Les Arts Décoratifs Paris. Beware this blog post is photo intense, be patient as it takes less time than the flight to Pairs. The exhibit runs through January 7, 2018. This is a must see wonderland of couture. But to avoid the long line, book your ticket online in advance. The link is here: http://billetterie.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/gammadn/adnnet/ it is only in French, but it is well worth the time savings. This is a very popular exhibit so the crowds are capacity controlled. Also most of the exhibit is dark, so unless you have a camera that does well in low light, your ability to take photos will be limited. However, if you can’t make the exhibit, the exhibit catalog is available as a “coffee table” book. It weighs over 7 pounds! The book is available in multiple languages, the English version is sold on Amazon. Even if you attend the exhibit the anniversary book adds so much additional history and photos it is well worth the purchase. Just buy it here as it is way to heavy to transport in luggage!
Let me just say that I am not one to be on the designer bandwagon. I don’t buy products (handbags, eyeglasses, perfume) just because they have a designer’s name emblazoned on the product. But I was overwhelmed in this exhibit by the creativity, the beauty and the skill of these creations and of the magic of the exhibit itself.
The theme is the anniversary of 70 years of fashion by the House of Dior. The exhibit spaces is over 3200 square feet and includes over 400 haute couture garments by Dior and his successors. It is one of the only exhibits I have attended where there were audible gasps of wonder as attendees walked from room to magic room. There are original sketches, art borrowed from museums around the world, photographs by all of the leading fashion photographers, lights, music, video clips all of it blending to the experience that is this Dior exhibit. The best part of the entire exhibit – if I were forced to choose – were the demonstration by Dior ateliers. My first visit, the demonstration was on the inner construction of the Bar suit. The iconic cream peplum jacket that epitomizes the “New Look”. The suit is the first thing you see when you go to the 2nd half of the exhibit. A later exhibit features all of the Dior designers, but to give you a quick timeline: Christian Dior (1947-1957)- Yves Saint Laurent (1957-1960), Marc Bohan (1960-1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989-1997), John Galliano (1997-2011), Raf Simons (2012-2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016- ).
The exhibit starts with a history of the House of Dior, and then the history of Christian Dior the man behind the couture house. And then moves to a large room where huge famous photos disappear and the dresses are displayed. Princess Margaret on her 21st birthday in the 1951 haute couture evening gown designed for her; Richard Avedon’s Dovima with Elephants – transitioning to the Fall-Winter 1955 Soirée de Paris dress and ‘Zemire’ modeled by Dior house model Renee. Paris, 1954. Photograph by Regina Relang with Eifiel tower in the background. (the dress is red)
The next section is probably my second most favorite – everything arranged by color. Scaled garments, handbags, hats, perfume, jewelry, drawings,footwear – all falling together forming an amazing color wheel. The crowds in this section where packed (and it was hot!) visit now when Paris is cool and tourists are hopefully back in their homes.
Yes there is so much more – stay tuned for more beauty!!!
Two different short trips to the capital of England and the UK. I think this was probably my fifth trip to London, so I did skip the top of the tourist list spots. While walking in Hyde Park (Home of Kensington Palace and the Diana Memorial Fountain) we discovered the Food Night Market. I love this description of the event from the Evening StandardWalkways festooned with lights lead the way to a covered, cloistered seating area, with a clear plastic roof for starlit nights, and a multicoloured “umbrella roof” for earlier in the day. Around the market, red telephone boxes are decked out as powder rooms and takeaway libraries, while scattered Eden Project-style mini domes make the perfect reclusive date spots.
In true London fashion, it rained. Not the Texas “frog-strangler” type of rain, but drizzly, chilly Texas fall weather rain. It didn’t dampen our hunger, or the fun. Especially considering we signed up for the Kettle One Bloody Mary master class. In addition to making one of those we finished the class with a chocolate creme coffee vodka cocktail.
Be like a local – dress in layers and always carry an umbrella!
It is kitchsy, but I did get a picture with this pretend bobby.
Unlike the tight security at Buckingham palace changing of the guard. Notice the real police force with machine guns politely shooing (not shooting) tourists that wander too close to the gate. With recent events I did see a greater police presence in London and every European city. Here is the schedule to see the event for your self. Realize that there will be a crowd and a fence, so go and enjoy the beautiful park and your small glimpse of the action. Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace encompasses colourful spectacle and British pageantry. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes between 11.00-11.45am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from January to March, weather permitting.
When visiting any where, I always compare – what is the same at home, what is different. I LOVE the walk sign in Trafalger Square. Nope, equality isn’t something you see on our street corners.
I did find an amazing exhibit of a tapestry commissioned by the weaver’s guild. This artistic collaboration between artist Chris Ofili and the guild was simply breathtaking. See the huge tapestry as well as a close up of the weaving that re creates the texture of the original watercolor.
Fabric shopping this trip has no pictures to protect the guilty. But I did bring home some Liberty London cotton, and some bargains from Goldhawk Road. While in London be sure to catch a play or performance in the West End. We saw Motown the Musical, it was fabulous. The Victoria and Albert is not to be missed, there is almost always a special fashion and/or culture exhibit. For easy transport around the city, get a tourist Oyster card. London is an easy city to walk and access via the “tube”. Just don’t forget to “mind the gap”.
Visiting New York again – this time with my sewing sisters. If you have just started following my blog, let me just say that I sew. It is a passion, a creative outlet and a boutique business for me. And there are makers out there that share my passion. You will find them in the online community located at www.patternreview.com. Launched 16 years ago by the fabulous Deepika, the site has an international community of over 450,000 members. You can find reviews of sewing patterns, books, classes, stores, and machines. And once per year, some of these enthusiasts get together for a weekend of sewing fun and shopping.
First up was a tour of the New York office of the McCall Pattern company (McCall/Butterick/Vogue/KWIK SEW patterns). We were not allowed to take photos past the entrance, due to all the secret designs coming soon. It was amazing to see how much creativity is generated by so few employees. It requires planning and coordination among departments and teams.
We visited the fabric library where swatches are cataloged by color and type. Learning how Pantone and garment color trends influence the fabrics that are chosen for the pattern sample garments.
One of the most surprising things to me was the reverse engineering that is done to create the Vogue designer patterns. A team of experienced and talented makers receive the garments from the fashion houses. Then they create both patterns and instructions with out taking apart the original garments.
We also visited the photo studio, where next season’s shoes were lined up awaiting the models for the next catalog.
The first official day we had a great panel of sewing experts to answer our questions and give us their ideas on the state of the home sewing industry. The panel featured actress Marcy Harriell known for her blog oonaballona; Meg McDonald, social media manager of McCall pattern company Deborah Kreiling, design development director, Simplicity creative group; and Karen Groner, professor of fashion design, FIT.
Day two was fabric shopping!!! As you can see from my suitcase packed to the 50 lb limit, I had a very successful trip. Swatch, the famous dog from Mood fabrics (taken on thehttps://bymarkita.com/diy-cord-organizer-travel/ previous New York trip). Marcy gave us the tip about AKN as a source of wax prints. I also made purchases at Elliot Berman Textiles and Purl Soho (both opened just for our group); Pacific Trimming. Going shopping in New York? Drop me a note and I can share some stores and addresses for fabric fun.
This year the PRweekend “contest” was to create a travel accessory. Yes, I won the contest with my black and white hair on leather handbag and travel organizer for chargers and cords. How to make your own
I love the sewing community created by Pattern Review – where I hang out until the next PRWeekend!
I visited this exhibit before I traveled to Japan. I had some preconceived notions of Japanese fashion and culture, a lot were outdated or even wrong. After spending a week in Toyko, I do appreciate this exhibit and the designer much more. And Japan has become my favorite country to visit. That experience in a future blog post.
Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese born fashion designer. She created her label “Comme des Garçons” (French for “like some boys”) in 1973 in Toyko creating women’s clothes adding a men’s line in 1975. In 1982 she opened a boutique in Paris and started exhibiting at Paris fashion week.
The 74 year old designers fashions are often described as deconstructed, unfinished, anti-fashion, and avant-garde.
This photo of visitors to the exhibit and the gift shop gives you an idea of the wide range of people attracted by her work. The young Asian devotee embodies the fluidity of gender, form and function of the exhibited art. Because you constantly ask yourself is this fashion or is it art or does it really matter what we call it?
The exhibit is in an all white space. Pieces are arranged by number, in groups of “In-Between”. I have included my selected photos from the exhibit. Heads and wigs created and styled by Julien dYs for this exhibit.
1:Absence / Presence
The first “In-Between” features a jacket and skirt of red polyester felt from Autumn/Winter 2012-2013 (left in the photo)
The middle two are both from the Spring/Summer 1997 collection and are titled Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body. They feature red stretch nylon and polyurethane plain weave padded with goose down.
The garment on the right is titled Invisible Clothes constructed of red cotton velveteen and PVC Spring/Summer 2017
2. Design / Not Design
This photo is part of the second “in-between” . Another garment included in this section is a dress of brown paper styled with a wig made from curly wire.
The garments titled Crush are fashioned from off-white cotton canvas.
Patchworks and X features a top of off-white cotton knit appliqued with off-white cotton ribbon over a dress of off-white cotton muslin and white rayon satin.
The garments exhibit the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. In the book Living Wabi-Sabi, author Taro Gold states “In today’s Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to “wisdom in natural simplicity”. In art books, it is typically defined as “flawed beauty”
3. Fashion / Antifashion 4. Model / Multiple 5. High / Low
5.1 Elite Culture /Popular Culture (left)
A close up view of the black leather jacket over a skirt of black tulle. This section compares the “high” culture of ballet with the “low” culture of bikers.
5.2 Good Taste / Bad Taste (right)
Dresses of white tulle with black elastic trim. Using textiles considered cheap, and tacky (nylon and polyester) and the culture of street style, the designer changes the view of what is good taste. The front dress is my favorite in the entire collection.
6. Then/ Now 7. Self / Other – includes 7.1 East / West 7.2 Male / Female and 7.3 Child / Adult
These three garments are from Male / Female fusing types of clothing typically associated with men and women – such as trousers and skirts – into one outfit.
8. Object / Subject 9. Clothes / Not Clothes
I included this selection from 9.1 Form / Function because of the inventive heads and wigs. All of the heads and wigs for the entire exhibition were created and styled by Julien dYs
Nothing can make me happier than a whole day wandering at my pace at any major museum. This adventure found me at the MET
I took a free guided gallery talk “Fashion in Art”.
The guide set the tone dressed fashionably including beautiful walking friendly shoes.
The first stop on the tour: A Roman sculpture (copied from a Greek sculpture) of a women with a basket. She is wearing a chilton, which is rectangle of cloth folded, draped over the body. These were probably made from linen. A peplos was made from heavier materials, usually wool. Want to make your own? Check out how at the Kentucky Educational Television site.
Note that historians are convinced that the clothing and the statues that document them were actually brightly colored. Not the white sheet toga party garment that comes to mind.
Ancient Greek and Roman clothing continues to inspire fashion designers. This essay and images of clothing in the MET’s collection (see below link) show how these designs elements have been incorporated throughout western fashion’s 600 year history.
Materials: wool, silk and gilt metal thread Dated to 1440-50 Location south Netherlandish (contemporary Belgian Flanders)
Fashion pointed out in this tapestry:
The rolled headdress of the woman. Fashion dictated showing lots of forehead, sometimes enhanced by removing hair from the forehead and eyebrows. The head was topped with a padded roll, sometimes decorated with a veil or jewels.
Men’s jackets became shorter in this time period and were worn with hose. No knitwear was available so they were cut on the bias to give the ability to stretch and mold to the leg.
Take a close look at the man’s shoes. These long pointy shoes made from leather or fabric are called poulaine or crackowes. Historians believe that this fashion moment was inspired by Richard II’s Polish wife Ann of Bohemia. Extravagant fashion of the court were copied by men and women.
Bronzino’s oil portrait of a young man painted in the 1530’s gives us two fashion items.
First the flat soft brim hat depicted was on of several types of men’s hats worn during this period.
Paris, France. This painting depicts a new fashion of women’s dresses created from imported fine white cotton. This fashion inspiration comes from Marie Antoinette and her pastime of dressing as an idealized common milkmaid. The sudden increase in this gauzy cotton brought about a decrease for French silk. During this time up to 20,000 silk looms in France ceased to operate, leading to joblessness and discontent. Did this change in fashion contributed to the French Revolution?
Also in fashion during this time for both men and women – powdered wigs. Powdered wigs become popular when King Louis XIV of France and his cousin Charles II King of England started wearing them. Wigs were popular during this time to hide hair loss due to syphilis. In addition, shaving the head to make the wig fit also made it easier to control head lice. Ewww, I almost wish I hadn’t learned those facts!
And finally on this fashion in art tour, Madame X.
The description of the painting is as follows by the MET.
Madame Pierre Gautreau (the Louisiana-born Virginie Amélie Avegno; 1859–1915) was known in Paris for her artful appearance. Sargent hoped to enhance his reputation by painting and exhibiting her portrait. Working without a commission but with his sitter’s complicity, he emphasized her daring personal style, showing the right strap of her gown slipping from her shoulder. At the Salon of 1884, the portrait received more ridicule than praise. Sargent repainted the shoulder strap and kept the work for over thirty years. When, eventually, he sold it to the Metropolitan, he commented, “I suppose it is the best thing I have done,” but asked that the Museum disguise the sitter’s name.
Virginie was know to use lavender colored face and body powder and to color her hair and eyebrows with henna. She was known not only as a beauty but for her her extra-marital affairs. When the painting was shown society felt that Singer Sargent was flaunting her overt sexuality with the flirtatious pose and the virtually strapless deep v neckline of her dress. Both Virginie and her mother asked for the painting to be removed from public display, and because of the scandal she was forced to retire from society. And when donated, the painting became Madame X to protect her name.
I hoped you enjoyed this virtual accompaniment of my tour of the MET. Next up the Rei Kawakubo exhibit.
I am happy to answer any questions about this New York visit. Photos not from the MET’s collection were taken with my Samsung Galaxy 8. All photographs not credited are the property of ByMarkita and are copyrighted. See copyright page for details.