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Old Sewing Show on PBS
Soolip
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Date: 10/25/08 0:45 AM

Does anyone remember a sewing show on PBS, more than 20 years ago, that was done by this old guy...? He had grey hair and wore his glasses on a chain. He claimed to sew for old movie stars, and a lot of the subjects on his show were about old details and costuming. He had no use for fancy equipment -- I think the machine he used on the show was an old industrial -- and there were no product endorsements to speak of.

I want to say the show was called "by George!", but I'm not certain about this.

Can anyone shake my memory?

Ambimom
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In reply to Soolip


Date: 10/25/08 9:42 AM

Yes, I do!but it was more like 35 years ago. I used to live in DC and sometimes could get a signal from Baltimore. I used to tune him in on Saturday afternoons from a Baltimore PBS station. I never forgot a show about selvedges. I haven't a clue what the show was called but he really taught sewing skills that everyone needs, based upon garment industry practices. His goal was well-made, wearable garments that fit right.

He was ahead of his time. That's why I love Project Runway. It shows that sewing can produce wearable, beautiful clothes, not the crap that is featured on most of the sewing shows on cable these days.

Shirley Adams (who I liked) Nancy Zieman, Sandra Betzina, Sue Haussman et.al. push their sponsor's useless sewing notions or overly expensive "super" machines that few can afford. Worse the stuff they make is usually unattractive, pointless loving hands at home "costumes," I dare not identify their projects as clothing anyone would actually wear in public.

Nancy Zieman used to teach skills like inserting zippers and gathering elastic but she hasn't done that in years. It's a shame.

Ody
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In reply to Soolip


Date: 10/25/08 9:48 AM

It has been some time ago---maybe last year there was a thread on him, and it included links to some videos of him with his black machine. Do a search and see if you can't find it on here. I don't have time this morning, but if you spend some time you may be able to find it. It was a great show!

------
"Sewing should be fun; make it that way!" Margaret Islander
Flying through life by the seat of my pants and hoping I get my crotch curve right.
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Everyday Sewist
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Date: 10/25/08 10:19 AM

I remember Shirley Adams leaving her TV show and saying she was doing it because PBS only wanted the shows to be based on products (i.e., sponsors) rather than techniques.

I don't think she's on TV anymore, is she?

mastdenman
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Date: 10/25/08 10:21 AM

Shirley Adams is no longer on TV but she does do shows. Editing to add sewing shows like the former Fall Fair in Costa Mesa.
-- Edited on 10/25/08 10:23 AM --

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Marilyn

January 2009 to January 2010 81 yards out and 71yards in January 2010 to the present 106.7 yards out and 146.5 yards in. January 2011 to the present: 47 yards out and 69 yards in.

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Date: 10/25/08 11:05 AM

I'm sure this is it!
Sew What's New starrring George W. Trippon" He's delightful!

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Soolip
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Date: 10/25/08 1:31 PM

That's him! George W. Trippon -- thank you.

Ambimom, you're right about the sewing shows today -- and this is also true of cooking shows -- they seem to exist to sell products, not teach.

I did a little research on the guy. He did, in fact, design and sew women's clothing for the Hollywood studios, before and after WWII. He had a design school in Hollywood called The Trippon School of Design. His TV show, "Sew What's New", was made and aired over a period of about 20 years, starting in 1970. He wrote and published two books in conjunction with the show: "Becoming a Dress Designer: What Every Designer Should Know", and "Let's Design, Cut, Sew, and Fit With George W. Trippon". Both books are rare and difficult to find.

His partner James died in 2006. They were together for 64 years -- how many marriages these days last that long? He wrote a book about their life together called "Ode to Jimmie". He also wrote a book about his childhood called "Pidgeon Hill" both are available from Amazon.

He is still alive and strong, 93 years old, and living in Southern California.

Who knew? I love the internet.

CM_Sews
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In reply to Everyday Sewist


Date: 10/25/08 2:42 PM

Quote:
I remember Shirley Adams leaving her TV show and saying she was doing it because PBS only wanted the shows to be based on products (i.e., sponsors) rather than techniques.


I suspect that PBS isn't so much interested in promoting products, but rather what PBS wants is to NOT pay any production costs for the shows they buy. That's what a sponsor helps do; defray production costs. Producing a TV show can be very expensive. If you do have a sponsor, of course the sponsor is going to want you to use their products. I note that Bernina appears as a sponsor of quite a few sewing/quilting shows, and the sewing instructors are all sewing on their Bernina's and mentioning Bernina feet by the Bernina numbers, etc.

In my discussion board wanderings, I read a post from someone who met Sharlene Joregenson, who does a quilting show Quilting from the Heartland. The person who posted on the discussion list had chatted with Sharlene at a sewing/quilting convention. Sharlene explained that PBS pays for the completed series of shows, but Sharlene has to pay all the production costs - up front. Sharlene does not have a product to sell PBS (or other broadcasters) unless she's got an entire series (13?) shows already completed and "in the can" -- an expensive proposition. Note that Sharlene uses her own products (templates) on her show.

As for Nancy Zieman showing basics, like how to install a zipper - yes, good basic stuff, but she's been doing TV shows for (what?) 25 years now. How many times can you install a zipper before viewers get bored and turn off the TV? I think it must be difficult to find a balance of sewing show content that appeals to both beginning and advanced sewers, garment sewers vs. quilters, etc. With garment sewing, the older shows can become dated. For example, in the current Sewing with Nancy series (25th year), she's been showing clips from her old shows, and making embarrassed comments about her hair styles and makeup in the 80s.

CMC

-- Edited on 10/25/08 3:14 PM --
Cat MacGregor
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Date: 10/25/08 3:03 PM

I found copies of the Becoming a Dress Designer on Alibiris and Abebooks - for about $30 each. I anyone wanted a copy.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=george+trippon&sts=t&x=53&y=14

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Soolip
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Date: 10/25/08 4:02 PM

CM, these are all very practical responses to the complaint of too-much sponsor propaganda and too-little content. I think these comments were made more in the spirit of comparing the old versus the new learning shows.

I think what George was able to give his viewers that the newer generation of programs don't is an "industry insider's" view of the craft. He had years of experience "on the floor", in sample rooms and as a designer. His garments had complicated details, but they always looked professionally made -- and he effectively communicated these techniques with a "hands-on" approach. Most of the show focused on him in the act of sewing, and you were able to learn how to use the machine in a variety of situations, rather than how to supposedly make basic tasks easier with various products. To this day I hear him telling me to trim off loose threads as I sew. It's excellent, practical advice.

I admire Nancy Z. as a business person. And you're right, basic clothing construction hasn't changed in years, so there's little point in re-making the same show over and over. And yes, technology is making life easier for the home sewer. I don't do embroidery, but home sergers have made life better (for the last 30 years or so). Has anyone gotten fusible interfacing to work? I don't use it anymore, unless it's something that has to be dry cleaned. Anyway, there's just not much new on offer. So....

Why not re-run Sew What's New? Much more entertaining and informative than anything out there now. Frankly, I have the same thoughts about The French Chef. I learned more about real cooking from Julia Child than from anyone on the Food Network (well, maybe David Rosengarten comes in a close second).

Also, I think what George and Julia gave us was their great personal styles. They are (or were) characters. People adore Julia Child, and her shows are re-run and available on DVD. I don't think that George Trippon was in the public consciousness to the same degree, but if he was he would certainly be regarded on the same level as his cooking counterpart.

-- Edited on 10/25/08 4:03 PM --
-- Edited on 10/25/08 4:30 PM --

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