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Enchanted By Sewing The Podcast

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ench By Sew-010 V&A Fashion Gallery Tour (In the Moment) - London Victoria and Albert Museum- California Sewist seeks inspiration at the V&A

A modern Alexander McQueen dress
I nearly missed that duck feather tail!
Towards the end of Part 2
Come along and tour the Victoria and Albert Fashion Gallery with me- the two-part July 2013 "Enchanted By Sewing" Podcast is available in the pod-o-sphere!

California Sewist seeks inspiration at the Victoria and Albert

In the June Enchanted by Swing podcast I shared some of my favorite sewist sights in London: Tana Lawn fabric at Liberty, street fashion and a trip to a special exhibit at Buckingham Palace.

In July, before the show returns to a California August sewing scene,  I take you along with me on a tour of the Victoria and Albert fashion gallery. It's just like we're walking the floor together looking at all the details dear to a sewists heart.
And yes - we do take a tea break too ;-)
 Did you see that cuff? How did they make those roses? What is giving that bodice it's structure? 

Yes, the sights and sounds (even some of my camera clicks) of the gallery are all there. It's an in-the-moment show.

Two Ways to Listen
i) Listen Right on the Web

You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on the following links
Part 1
From Miss Heather Firbank's wardrobe
I chat about her clothes in the noisiest part of the
tour, towards the end of Part 1

You can also read Miss Firbank's Pink Linen Cuff

ii) Download the show to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.)

Download this podcast free from iTunes, to play on your favorite mobile device/mp3 player (like an iPhone or an Android), by clicking on this link to iTunes. (note it's a two part podcast)

Important Note. This is a two-part podcast. Yes, technical difficulties are tedious:-( You'll want to make sure you download them both.
Did I miss any links? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me at,  EnchantedBySewing AT gmail

~~~ Show Notes Links ~~~

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
Visiting London? This wonderful museum is free to visit. It's just across the block from two other free to visit museums I never miss. The Natural History Museum (gorgeous architecture and ornamentation) and the Science Museum.

Hard to decide which was my favorite
post-War retro look
In the second part of the cast, you'll
hear me chatting away with a local
mother and daughter about this dress,
and other fifties styles,
and accompanying undergarment
Search the V&A Collections (yes - it's free from your own home, or when you're abroad. If you have an iPad or similar mobile device with you on a trip, you may enjoy searching on site using the in-museum wifi.

Looking for a quintessential pot of tea and a scone, or slice of British cake? Don't miss the Cafe at the Victoria and Albert Museum. (And since museum admission is free, you could pop in any day for refreshment alone!) Wander through all the rooms, because you won't want to miss any of the decor, and find a spot in the Morris, Gamble or Poynter Rooms - Go ahead and ask people with a spare chair (it's a popular place, you're not likely to find a table to yourself)  if you can join their table, many people just plunk themselves down and don't even ask - but we visitors should! You may even end up having a lovely chat with locals or people visiting from other lands, if you and your table mates are so inclined.

Here are some conversational gambits I've used - if the people look like they might want to chat -

* May I ask what the beautiful language you are speaking is?
* I just love those blue and white Arts and Crafts tiles! I wish I could have just one to hang on my own wall/Don't I just wish I had a whole room tiled like this!
* These scones are so much tastier than what I had at Starbucks yesterday!
* This is the perfect break from looking at all those beautiful things in the museum. If this continues into chat I can then ask -
    * What are your favorite galleries?
     * Oh you come often? What would you suggest I not miss? What other museums and places would you not miss in London if you were me?
* If you and the other person have children with you, you might ask about parks and other areas and attractions where their children like to play

Edwardian styles and the modern woman of the 30's jersey bathing suit, reminded me of Agatha Christie's Autobiography. A wonderful read! Dame Agatha makes many references to clothing, style and culture from the Edwardian Era of her childhood as well as the major changes in fashion and women's lives after WWI. There's also wonderful detail for the traveller, as she describes her own trip on the Orient Express and wanderings in exotic lands to the area where she met her second husband, Max Mallowan, on an archeological dig at Ur (I always stop in at the Ur exhibit at the British Museum in London and wonder if one of the pots on display is one that Agatha helped to reconstruct, as she often did.)

Heather Firbank's clothing, especially her Gibson Girl blouse and beautiful linen suit, reminded me of the movie "Room with a View". That's a favorite movie of mine. Helena Bonham Carter, as Lucy Honeychurch, is such an enchanting and funny ingenue. I often wonder if she and Maggie Smith chatted over old times in this Merchant Ivory film when they worked together again in the Harry Potter films.

Coco Channel's Pantsuit  evoked images of the movie "Witness for the Prosecution"  with Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Powers. This movie is based on a popular Agatha Christie play. It's very dramatic and has, for many people, a quite surprising conclusion - as do other of Dame Agatha's plays, like the Mousetrap - I'll never give that ending away either! The Mousetrap, as you may know, is the longest running show of any kind and is still a kick to go and see on a visit to London.

Mrs. Minniver and Mrs. Tim Christie
would have carried their gas masks too, when they
went to the market in their tailored-to-fit
tweed suits during the war
(WWII that is)
But they wouldn't have made the mistake
this designer did, since regulations
required no more than three buttons on
the jacket.
The "Tailored to Fit" - World War II and post war clothing-rationing section of the gallery, reminds me of one of my favorite movies, "Mrs. Minniver" with that wonderful perfect model of a well brought up English woman, Greer Garson

D.E. Stevenson's set of four "Mrs. Tim Christie" novels harken back to a time in England when a gas mask was a fashion accessory you might not be able to live without.

A link to the Balenciaga exhibit I saw at the DeYoung in San Francisco. Books for exhibits like this can often be found at discounted prices once the show finishes touring the country. Abe Books is a great source for used books.

Designer Alexander McQueen (see the duck-tailed dress, the first photo in this posting) has some stunning garments in the last, and most modern, section of the fashion gallery. This wonderful designer passed away in 2010.