Friday, December 19, 2014

Feature Friday: All That Plaid

Starting today, every Friday will feature a "fun facts" entry highlighting a different item, fabric, or tools used in garment construction. Today's blog post focuses on plaid!

Plaid is an American/Canadian word used to describe tartan, a pattern consisting of crossed horizontal and vertical bands in two or more colors in woven cloth. It is derived from Scotland, being that Scottish kilts are mostly plaid. 

However, the word "plaid" in Scotland actually means a tartan slung over the shoulder, or a blanket kept on a bed. So if you are ever looking for a plaid print in Scotland, make sure you say tartan - or they may give you a blanket!

According to aesthetic, plaid first made its mark on fashion in the late 17th century as a signature in Scottish society. It eventually became a symbol of rebellion against England which resulted in it being banned for four decades.Wearing plaid after the Scottish rebellion in 1746 was forbidden. Plaid still holds as a symbol against society in general.

The 1960's brought plaid in skirts and shirts for women. It was used a lot for service and labor-orientated jobs as well. Outdoor men, like lumberjacks, became synonymous with red flannel plaid shirts. (Think the "Brawny" paper towels guy!)

The 1990's saw a huge increase of popularity for the patterned print as well. Commonly associated with the grunge decade, members of rock bands sported the plaid nearly all the time! Not all plaid popularity in the 90's was grunge associated though, it was still popular in jackets and skirts for women - think of the movie Clueless!

How many plaid prints are in your closet?


Friday, December 12, 2014

The Most Popular Colors in Fashion this Winter Season

Have you noticed a lot more of certain color garments at the store this year? I have too. I visited the website, We Connect Fashion, and got a list of the top 10 colors this winter season.

Are you ready? Here goes!

Color 1: Crimson

"Crimson sets a darker mood for the season with deeper casts of red, offering the most dramatic take on red this season."

Color 2: Cranberry

Cranberry presents a warm and bright cast of red, which serves as a lighter alternative to wine.

Color 3: Teal

"Set to blue-green undertones, teal adds diversity to a line-up of jewel colors."

Color 4: Orchid

Set to either purple or blue undertones, vibrant casts of orchid become the purple hue of the season.

Color 5: Honey Mustard

"Honey mustard is the most season-appropriate yellow hue with golden casts."

Color 6: Blood Orange
"Although orange isn't quite as powerful as its been in recent seasons, the major expression this season becomes a bright, saturated blood orange with red undertones. Featured especially in New York and London collections, the hue remains a must on head-to-toe looks and is often leveraged with sport reference."

Color 7: Cobalt

"Cobalt pushes forward as a seasonal must-have across all major runway cities. The bright and sometimes electric jolt of color has proven to be a commercial hit that remains relevant."

Color 8: Toffee

"Although not a widespread base color, toffee offers variation from camel tones with golden brown undertones."

Color 9: Dusty Rose

"Dusty rose offers a more subdued alternative to pastel shades."

Color 10: Peachy Nude
"Warm casts of peachy nude move forward from last season, becoming an easy-to-wear soft neutral."

What do you think about the results? I personally own every color except orchid. The specific shades of blue and purple surprised me on the list! 

Source: F/W 14/15 Women's Color Seasonal Guide

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Christmas is only 20 days away; how did that happen?? If you're like me, you probably still have a lot of shopping to do. Some people it's so easy to shop for. Others? It can be a challenge. Sometimes you just need something unique, an item that stands out, and is also one of a kind.

Here are some great gifts we offer here at the studio:


A scarf is something that never goes out of style. It's a great fashion accessory and a cozy comfort. We have several different colors, fabrics, and styles for your choosing.

This scarf is made from 100% silk, we also have knitted scarves as well & ones with pockets!


Much like a scarf, these will never go out of style and can do wonders for an outfit. This featured scarf can either be worn as a wrap or scarf. We also have a matching skirt, if you want to wear a set!

We have a variety of styles and lengths to choose from. We also have unisex ponchos in green & white and orange & blue!


Do you have a dinner party coming up? Or do you know someone who is having one? These Christmas-themed Martini glasses are perfect for the occasion!

We also have Christmas napkins and Christmas aprons too!

Newlywed Gifts

Know a couple having a winter wedding? Unsure of what to get them? We have numerous bridal gifts at the studio. A "Just Married" apron, Mr. & Mrs. Towels, Duffle bags,  Custom Mugs, and more.

Other Gifts

We also have beautiful blouses, shrugs, jackets, sweaters, and dresses!

Custom- Made Gifts

Aside from our existing items in the studio, we also do custom-made projects like pillows, quilts, jackets, and more. If you have a great idea in mind for the perfect gift, give us a call and we can make it for you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Most Popular Fashion Icons

Last month, TIME Magazine compiled a list of the top 100 fashion icons in five categories: Designers & Brands, Models, Muses, Photographers, and Editors & Stylists.

Here is a preview of the Top 10 from the Designer & Brand, Model, and Muse category:

Designers & Brands


5. Iman
10. Twiggy


To view the full list for each category, click here

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The 100-year history of the modern bra

Did you know that on November 3rd of this year, the modern bra turned 100 years old?

Me either!

The first patent for the modern bra was issued in 1914. It was created by Mary Phelps Jacob when she was just 19 years old.

It consisted of two handkerchiefs sewn together with straps that tied around your neck. The look was similar to a halter top bikini. It wasn't as conforming, but it was much more comfortable than the metal corsets women had previously worn.

Jacobs, who later changed her name to Carasse Crosby, sold the patent to Warner Brother's Corset Company in Bridgeport, CT for $21,000.

Sources: TIME Magazine

Below is a timeline for the complete history of the bra. Click HERE for a larger view:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#smallbusiness Saturday - November 29, 2014

A few weeks ago, the studio shared that we are officially part of #smallbusiness Saturday on November 29, 2014.

What does that mean for you?

All customers with a registered American Express card (call the number on the back of your card BEFORE November 29th to register) can get up to $30 back on any purchases made at a small business on that day. This includes purchases made at the studio!

All you have to do is use your American Express card to make a single, in-store transaction of $10 or more, and you will receive a $10 credit on your next month's statement.

Visit for more information and to register your Amex card before November 29th. Or call the phone number on the back of your card. If your card is not registered before this date, you will not receive credit.

We look forward to seeing you on November 29th!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A History of Women's Clothing Sizes

Our workroom supervisor, Brittany, 
e-mailed me a great article today from TIME about women's clothing sizes in history.
Here are some interesting facts I gathered!:

- True sizing standards didn't develop until the 1940's
- Initial sizing was based on a person's age, so a child of the age of 8 would wear a size 8. (How did that work??)
- U.S. manufacturers wanted a change in the sizing system when it was estimated that they were losing up to $10 million a year
- The National Bureau of Standards re-analyzed the sizes of women's clothing by basing the measurements of women who had served in the Air Force, this created a sizing scale of 8 to 38 with height indications of tall, regular, or short.
- There were no size "0", let alone triple zero as we have today.
- The original 1940's sizing standards were withdrawn in 1983 because of vanity sizing, thus numbers started to get smaller.
- In 1958, a size 8 corresponded with a bust of 31 inches, a waist of 23.5 inches and a hip girth of 32.5 inches. In ASTM’s 2008 standards, a size 8 had increased by five to six inches in each of those three measurements, becoming the rough equivalent of a size 14 or 16 in 1958. We can see size inflation happening over shorter time spans as well; a size 2 in the 2011 ASTM standard falls between a 1995 standard size 4 and 6. (Slate)
- In the 40's a model was a size 16, in the 60's a 12 - which was the size of Marilyn Monroe.

To read the full article, click HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Flashback: Bridal Gown

Whenever the studio re-designs a garment, (and gets permission to post the photos, of course :)) we will feature it on our "Flashback Friday" entry with the original garment and the re-designed one so you can see what's going on in the studio!

Today's first "flashback" features a client from a couple weeks ago who used her mother's wedding dress for her wedding day. She and her mother graciously gave us permission to show the beautiful dress' "before" and "after" to you!


Monday, October 20, 2014

The top 20 Halloween Costumes of 2014

Halloween is around the corner and we've been getting lots of client requests for custom made costumes. So I got to thinking, what are the most popular costumes of 2014?

According to Yahoo, this year's top 20 most-searched Halloween costumes are:

1. Ninja Turtle Costumes
2. Pirates 
3. Star Wars Costumes
4. Poison Ivy 
5. Superhero Costumes
6. Catwoman 
7. Monster High 
8. Olaf Costumes
9. Frozen Elsa
10. Tinkerbell
11. Pocahontas
12. Minnie Mouse
13. Alice in Wonderland
14. Little Red Riding Hood
15. Great Gatsby
16. Minion Costume
17. Maleficent Costume
18. Wonder Woman
19. Frozen Anna
20. Katniss Everdeen Costume

To read about other costumes that made the list, click here. They also compiled a list of the most popular kids costumes, costumes based on recent movie characters, and classic ones too!

Monday, October 13, 2014

10 Interesting Facts About Sewing

1. Archaeologists believe that people used to sew together fur, hide, skin, and bark for clothing as far back as 25,000 years ago.

2. Early sewing thread consisted of thin strips of animal hide that were used to stitch together larger pieces of hide and fur.

3. The sewing machine was invented in 1790 by Thomas Saint.

4. The Singer sewing machine was patented by Isaac Merritt Singer in 1851.

5. Singer's patent was the most dominant firm in the industry compared to other competitors.

6. Early sewing needles were made of bone and ivory.

7. "The whole nine yards," a common phrase, came from the fabric that was needed to make the fanciest coat for a man of fashion.

8. In the 20th century, more than 4,000 different kinds of sewing machines were made.

9. Women began forming sewing society's in the 1860's where they would gather together and make quilts to sell at church bazaars.

10. The 1950's are regarded as sewing's "golden age" because of a strong focus on fashion sewing, designer patterns, and copying Hollywood looks.

Sources:, sewmuchmore,biz,,,,

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hello Again!

Apologies for not writing in a few months! We've been keeping very busy! And now that it's almost Halloween, we're going to be even MORE busy which we love!

We have a ton of costumes and clothing to choose from at the studio. From medieval to superheroes, from sports stars to famous icons, we have all that and more!

Here's just ONE of our new costumes channeling Marilyn Monroe in her iconic scene in The Seven Year Itch.

Still not sure who you want to be this year? That's okay! We will be sharing more costume photos over Facebook for the next three weeks before Halloween. 

If there is something specific you would like us to create or alter, send us a message at or call us! We also have rentals as well so even if you just need one last piece to complete your costume, we probably have it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

June 6th Silk Scarf Paining Party -A Look in to the HIstory of The Silk Road

Marilyn Johnson Sewing Design Studio is having a Silk Scarf painting party June 6th.  Examining the history of the The Silk road is an interesting way to see how different cultures use the silk fiber.   Rhea L. Combs' article Combs, Fashion at the Silk Road Festival states the Silk Road stretched from China east to Korea and Japan also to India and then South to Turkey and Italy.(Combs, 2008)  The Silk Road was the bridge between western culture and eastern Culture.  In China silk was used to clothe the emperor, fishing nets, paper, and musical strings.(Kurin, 2014)  discussed the fashion history of scarves and how they were used. One example of historical uses, in ancient china warriors used their scarves to identify their military ranking. (Rachel, 2011) Women did not start using scarves as fashion accessories in Europe until 1800s.  The fashion trend for summer of 2014 is Hand painted silk scarves in bright colors. Based on the silk scarves add elegance, grace, and color to the wardrobe. What makes our craft party experience unique is the people who participate design their own silk scarf and leave with one of a kind fashion accessory .  

Work Cited:

Combs, Rhea L. Catwalking through Culture: Notes from 2002 Smithsonian Silk Road Festival, 2008 Journal of American Folklore 121(479:112-123

Kurin, Richard , The Silk Road Connecting People and Cultures. 2014 Smithsonian Institution.

Rachel, History of the Trend:Fashion Scarves Bulter University 2011