Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Bottle of Sunshine!

Summer has definitely come to Western New York this past week.  It has been HOT!  I've spent the past few days doing nothing but sit and sweat in front of a fan.  It's important to stay hydrated in such heat and the perfect beverage for sunny days is Sun Tea!

I scrubbed out a large juice bottle, filled it with cold water and added four teabags.  I set it out in the sunshine for a few hours and voila!  Refreshing sun-brewed tea!  Poured into a glass with a few ice cubes it is the perfect beverage for beating the heat!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Patriotic PJs

Well, he did it again!  Another pair of my husband's pajama pants with a huge hole in the knee!

They desperately needed patching, but since these pants were a red-white and blue plaid, I decided to make them "patriotic"!  Using some of the leftover blue plaid from my first pajama project, I made star-shaped patches.

For the large star over the knee I used the same reverse-applique technique that I used for the Father's Day T-shirt.  This time however, I used a zig-zag stitch in addition to a straight stitch to add some reinforcement.

The zig-zagging will also keep the fabric from fraying apart and creating another hole.  For the little decorative stars I simply sewed them onto the top side of the pajamas much like a traditional patch.  In keeping with the rustically casual feel of reverse applique, (and because I'm lazy) I didn't bother to turn under and hem the raw edges of the little stars.  Instead I just zig-zagged around the edges.

Sewing stars onto pants turned out to be much more annoying than I thought it would be!  Because the pant legs were narrow they kept bunching up around my sewing machine.  As I turned the pants to sew the sides of the stars the machine kept catching material that had folded up underneath the seam!  I'd then have to rip out a bunch of stitches and start again.  I sure learned the value of going slowly on this one!

But hey, they turned out rockin' anyway!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fun Stuff: Paper Fashion

For most people, the idea of wearing paper clothes brings to mind awkward doctors visits and drafty, shapeless smocks that rip with the slightest movement.  However, during the height of "mod" style in the mid 1960s, paper apparel was on the forefront of clothing innovations! 
These garments were made out of paper-like cellulose reinforced with nonwoven rayon so that they would be more rip-resistant and hang naturally.  They were easily trimmed to fit or painted to achieve a customized look.  Best of all, they could be simply thrown away if they got ripped or stained.  No laundry was necessary!  Young people loved the convenience and saw disposable paper clothing as a step closer to the space age of the future.
The Scott Paper Company unexpectedly began the trend in 1966.  For mailing in $1, they advertised, housewives could receive coupons and a simple yet colorful "Paper Caper" dress.  When over half a million orders came pouring in did they realize what had been started.
Red Paisley "Paper Caper" by the Scott Company

Soon, soap companies and department stores alike were selling lines of paper garments.  The Hallmark company created "hostess" dresses that coordinated with paper napkins and tablecloths. 
"Holly" Party Fashions Dress by the Hallmark Company

Kits were sold that allowed housewives to make their own paper clothes with just a few simple seams.  High end fashion designers created couture paper looks that sold for as much as $1000!  Pop artists such as Andy Warhol were also quick to embrace paper clothing as it was yet another facet of mass consumerism. 
"The Souper Dress" by Campbell's Soup, inspired by Andy Warhol

But as quickly as the trend began, so it ended before the 1970s.  Not only were the paper garments fire hazards, but the hippie movement was turning attention towards environmental concerns.  As cool and "space-age" as disposable fashion had seemed at first, the novelty paled when the reality of wastefulness set in.
However, paper garments did maintain their appeal in several fields such as medicine.  While not quite as fashionable, paper hospital gowns and surgical garments are still being made and used.  Recycled materials and "greener" processes make them more environmental friendly while still offering convenience and quick disposability.
...perhaps next time I have to go to the doctor's I'll bring along a marker and draw a can of soup on the paper dress they give me...