December 16, 1991 |
Treva Wire held a bundle of finer-than-human-hair silk fibers under a dryer, turning it and observing the color she had just dyed it. "You have to have a good eye for color matching," said Wire, head of the dye crew at Blue Bird Fabrics Corp. "You have to be able to formulate colors right. Do you need red mixed with a little orange or a blue tinge, maybe even a green tinge?" Proper dying is only part of the process silk goes through at Blue Bird, a family-held and -operated firm whose products are made into expensive neckties, women's wear and upholstery.
August 13, 2004 |
It's a wrap! As in wrapping a series of Biscayne Bay islands in 6.5 million square feet of bright pink fabric. Yes, the artist Christo - famed for his giant site-specific installations - is at work, and the Maysles Brothers are there to document him. This weekend, five films about Christo and his collaborator, Jeanne-Claude (whatever happened to last names?), unspool at International House. Famed documentarians Albert and David Maysles (Gimme Shelter) have followed the Bulgaria-born artist around the globe these last 30 years, and their Christo movies capture the controversial, funny and hugely ambitious artist as he conceives, coordinates and constructs his massive pieces.
May 28, 1999 |
Walk into most children's rooms in America and you'll see the same thing - plain-old vanilla walls, pink or blue bedding and maybe some Disney-themed decorations. Booorring. No wonder junior sleeps so much. Why not jazz things up a bit? Go for the unexpected. The adventurous mix. That's what Andrea Heffler of Andrea Lynn Interiors did when she recently decorated a nursery for her infant nephew, Justin Gelfand. Instead of going the traditional route and choosing a quiet pastel, she went with a surprising turquoise blue leopard print.
November 10, 2006 |
The plaid silk is a showstopper, bold blocks of fuchsia crisscrossed by bands of black and kelly green. "This is a drapery fabric," Susan Stapler said. Then she unfurled it and grinned. "But imagine it as an evening gown. " She's got the Stapler eye for color and texture and - above all - possibility, a gift handed down from her grandfather, Charles. He launched the family fabric business from a pushcart on Fourth Street, and over more than a century, it grew into a supplier of fine textiles with an international clientele.
January 25, 2008 |
With handmade goods more and more available, the options for beautiful pieces seem limitless. Philadelphia designer Lauren Rossi's Wing Chair is covered in screen-printed fabric aflutter with tropical color ($3,400 for the chair, $192 per yard for fabric alone). Available from the designer at 215-510-5061. Hand-painted, screen-printed graphics adorn FluffyCo's Wall Mount Bottle Opener ($34). Available at Art Star, 1030 N. Second St., and www.artstarphilly.com . The Japanese- inspired Zaishu Cloth Stool ($320)
April 8, 1997 |
When it comes to business, Karla Plastek and Sharon Habina are high fliers. Their handmade kites, stitched from bright triangles and trapezoids of ripstop nylon, rise on the breeze and tug on leashes of string like frisky puppies. The idea for the enterprise came to Plastek about a year ago. "One day I tried to fly my kite, and I was missing a [support rod]. " Unable to find or fashion a replacement, she decided there must be a better way to make a kite. Plastek posed the problem to Habina, a friend and West Pikeland neighbor, and they agreed that this was the business idea they had been seeking.
October 13, 1999 |
Quilting has been a part of Dot Howard's life for as long as she can remember. As a girl, Howard watched her grandfather work with her grandmother on quilts in upstate Pennsylvania. "I think he taught her," she said. Howard, a Thornton resident who still has some quilts made by her grandparents and great-grandmothers, has passed the family tradition on to her grandchildren. She hand-quilts her colorful designs after piecing the fabric together by machine. This weekend, some of her work will be on display at a judged quilt show presented by Undercover Quilters at the Brookhaven Municipal Center.
October 9, 1992 |
Take it from a recent convert: If you want to be your own interior designer, save tons of money on redecorating, indulge your creative instincts and at the same time do something that is instantly gratifying and surprisingly therapeutic, get yourself a sewing machine. For male converts, it can rank right up there with the circular saw and the cordless drill. You'll marvel at what a remarkable instrument a sewing machine really is. Veteran sewers, of course, will find this laughable because they have known it all along.
January 2, 1996 |
Weary of slacks that develop "knees" of their own after a brief wearing? Annoyed that your skirt no longer fits after only a few (well, maybe a dozen) holiday cookies? Dismayed at how fast your child grows out of clothes? Bent out of shape because your expensive cotton sweater is so bent out of shape it's no longer wearable? Help is not only on the way, it's already here. Welcome to the wonderful world of "stretch fabric," which really should be called "bounce-back fabric.
October 17, 1999 |
The bustle, it seems, is back. Not the bustle of dusty costume collections, facsimile Sears Roebuck catalogs, and dioramas of Victorian life. Nor the bustle of female oppression, a contraption designed to shape women's silhouette so as to emphasize women's derrieres. No, this bustle - by Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Girbaud, and Alexander McQueen, among others - is fluidly draped, ironic, and above all, modern. These designers' bustles, like their predecessors, exaggerate parts of the body by enlarging the fabric that covers it. In the 1870s and 1880s, bustles were undergarments, constructions of braided wire or horsehair that extended the silhouette, with skirts that fit on top. The so-called Langtry bustle collapsed when the wearer sat down and sprang into place again when she stood up. That image of bulky, inconvenient prostheses may not be exactly what designers today intend to evoke.