Wednesday, October 27, 2010


If the people around me could hear my thoughts  'what a bitch' would sound out loud and clear.
I go to Starbucks, the grocery store wherever, I look at what women and men are wearing and how they are wearing it. Maybe it's leftover from my pants fitting  journey, but I look at what people are wearing  and I make judgments.  Silently of course unless I am with someone and then I'll comment out loud.   Guys, you look really tacky in muscle shirts.  Both women and men, dirty flip flops are not  attractive at all.  I don't like flip flops really at all but dirty, falling apart?  Get a pair of shoes!  Ill fitting clothing abounds and mom jeans, well there are a lot of those out there.  Women, these are not flattering!  Too short, too tapered and wear them with sneakers?  Bad.    Ill fitting t shirts are another biggy that I see.  Especially on older women and they often have awful designs printed on the front.  Men seem to like the advertisement t shirt.  It doesn't fit them well either.  It's also ugly.  When I see a well dressed man or woman, well what a treat.  At Starbucks on Saturday I saw a man wearing a nice long sleeved knit shirt and great fitting pants.  Nice shoes too.   One in a sea of  badly dressed men.  I did see a couple of women who looked good.  Clothing fit, shoes or boots were clean and polished and not worn down at the heel.  Nice haircut and light makeup.  They looked good without a lot of effort.  It doesn't really take all that much time to look good.  You don't have to spend  a lot of money either.  
It used to be that if you were a feminist you weren't supposed to care about clothing or how you looked,  but to me it says  that you lack self esteem.  It is particularly prevalent in older women.  Hey, just because we are past menopause doesn't mean we can't look good and feel good about ourselves.  I really think that these things go hand in hand.  You have gained some weight?  Baggy clothing doesn't hide it.  You are still worth it.  You can still look and feel good about yourself.  I turned  60 this year and you know what?  I like myself a lot better than I did at 20.  I enjoy dressing well, putting on makeup and having a great haircut.  It's not what I wore at 20, thank goodness, but I look good for the woman I am now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am and what a pleasure it is.  I am even keeping it cleaner, though how long that will last is debatable.  I finished a pair of trousers, in fact I am wearing them as I speak.  No pictures yet, because lets face it, they are the same as the last 3 pairs I made.  When I finish the rest of the outfit I'll post a picture.  Actually, they are a little different in that I used David Page Coffin's book, Making Trousers for the waist treatment.  I've just been sewing straight waistbands and using the usual hand sewn hook and bar.  They actually look very nice having learned to use a buttonhole stitch for sewing them on and a waste knot so that they are very neat, but Coffin recommends the non sewing type and I bought some.  I am not in love with them. I think that they make the overlap thicker than when I use the sewn on type.  I used his method of facing the band with petersham ribbon and pressing open the waist seam so everything is thinner and flatter.  It also has a split back band which is best if you ever need to adjust it.  You need to use 2" wide petersham which is not widely available.  I found mine at Pacific Trimmings in NYC,  but it's not on their website and they don't do well with phone orders.  The other place to find it is Judith M a milliner's site.  Theirs is a cotton and rayon mix which shrinks up as you watch when you put some steam to it, so buy extra.  This is the one Coffin recommends and its stiffer than the all rayon ribbon from Pacific Trimmings.  If you are a woman and using this technique, especially if like me, your hips curve out right below the waist, you have to steam and stretch the outer edge so that you have the extra room for your hips.   There are other waist band treatments in his book that call for lining instead and I may try that on the bias next pair.

I don't usually make a fly shield when I sew pants, but I made one for this pair and then ripped it out.  It's just too thick for my taste, even made with one fabric piece and one lining.  The fabric  I used, a wool blend tweed is maybe a little thick for this.  I think I'll stick to leaving them out unless I am making jeans, if I ever get to them!
Next up the knit top to go with these and then the cardigan.

Alex is coming home from Korea  December 2 and I am counting  the days.  We both really miss her but she won't be living here again.  She'll be with us for about 2 weeks and then we will drive down to Roanoke so that she can finally meet her nephew and meet up with her boyfriend.  Then it's off to Austin for them where she will be living.  She is dreaming(literally) of the brick oven Italian bread from the local Italian food store because it doesn't have milk in it(it's also fabulous bread that gets trucked out from Brooklyn 7 days a week) Bagels are on her list too and she wants a bagel and lox waiting for her at the airport.  I'm sure that her father will be happy to oblige her.

I haven't posted a picture of Jakob in a while and he's 9 months old already, can you believe it?  I am counting the days until we see him again too. He and his parents are coming for Thanksgiving.  Seth even found a high chair at a garage sale for Jake.

He's got 4 teeth now and loves feeding himself, especially if it's from Mommy's plate.  Of course I think that he's the most gorgeous baby.  Edited: Apparently I've lost count as he is now 10 months old.  He'll be walking before we know it.  He lets go when standing, so far he still lands on his bottom.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How I Spent My Weekend

Sewing room before move
Edited 10/19.  I removed the captions so that the photos would enlarge and lost some of the text in the process.  I added some photos and rewrote the text.  But, why blogger if you use the caption function do the photos no longer enlarge!?  PITA!!  Well this was only partly successful and I give up.  I will never use the caption feature again.
 Not sewing that's for sure.  Last week I moved everything in my studio and sewing room around on paper and this weekend we did it for real.  I switched places, sewing space/room  now all in the studio and studio all in  the sewing space.  I say space and not room because it's all connected in a loft that surrounds and overlooks my dining and living room.  This is what my spaces looked like before, also before I acquired two vintage machines to add to the  crowded feeling.  I moved the computer to the sewing room even though I use it for work but I was able to fit the printers on a bookcase at the back and free up space on my desk.  The eaves really restricted the height of anything that I put on the end of my desk before.

This was how the studio looked before.  I rarely  used the second drafting table, it just became a dumping ground for pattern pieces and my main work space,  Now it's the  base for my ironing station.  The drafting table on the left and my reference books behind made me feel like I was crowded into a tight space and the sewing room  felt the same way.  Considering how much room I actually have it was in serious need of rearranging.

 Studio after move

My sewing counter and ironing station to the right.
Looking from my sewing side towards the cutting table.  The ironing station and my gravity feed iron are in the foreground.  All of my pressing tools are now easily seen and right at hand.  I have had my pressing ham and seam roll for 30 years at least.

 Looking into the sewing room from my studio

You can see the flat files that I use for my work drawings and for storing paper on the far side.  Just visible to the right of them are the bank of file cabinets that I use to store my patterns and Burda magazine patterns sheets.  They are stored by year in folders and the magazines are on top in holders by year.  You can see it below.  Alex, see how organized I am. 
I display fabric I want to use in the current season on top of the bookcases next to my cutting table. Yeah, like I am really going to sew everything here this fall.  I can always dream.  But, seriously it's good to have it displayed so that I remember what I have that I'd like to use.  I am cutting out a black tweed cotton blend for pants and a cardigan and top next.  Easy sewing where I don't have to stand too long.  My foot is still bothering me unfortunately, but it is getting better.

There are still bits and pieces to put away but it's usable.  The sewing counter, ironing table and my cutting table all have clear surfaces.  I worked in my studio today and it's really a pleasure not to feel cramped.  I have lots of clear surfaces to lay out photographs and catalogs.  Heavenly to have so much space.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Strange Midi Revival

Some years ago and I don't remember exactly when but it was probably at least 20 years or more  ago, designers decided that the maxi skirt/dress was the thing that women should be wearing.  It was a retail disaster.  Women were not interested.  Apparently this is the year that women are going to love it and make it a  retail success.  I regularly troll the retail sites for rtw inspiration and I am on Shop Bop's website mailing list. Yesterday I got an email featuring this maxi look.  Anywhere I go needs a car and I can't imagine getting in and out of the car in this look.
Admittedly I am not the target customer for Shop Bop and street pictures have shown hip young things in this look for summer, but even the Sartorialist didn't photograph very many of them in this look.  It's cute for a long summer dress but are you wearing this for work?  Going up and down subway stairs in this look, with packages?   Some of these are so long that they drag on city streets.  Of course that may be because the HYT can't hem a skirt.  Some of the looks offered look more like evening to me which is a major change from the the short, tight exposed look that's been the norm of late. 
Judge for yourself Shop Bop
Would you wear this look in any of it's incarnations?  The one pictured  is not necessarily a 'young' look.  There is no exposed skin but is this flattering on anyone larger than a size 2 and shorter than 5'10"?  Or older than 25?  I might wear the longer skirt for going out to dinner or at home entertaining, but every day?  Not happening.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Do You Know Any Sewers in Person?

Melissa of Cheap and Picky  commented on my  Meeting Melissa post that she doesn't know anyone in person who sews, but like me she has made lots of friends on the internet who sew.  I know exactly one person here on the island who sews garments, but she isn't exactly next door and we've actually only met in NYC and not out here.  But, how did I meet her?  Through her blog.  I am lucky in the sense that I live near enough to a fabric mecca  that lots of people pass through and because I work for myself I can usually schedule a visit to the city.  It's so much fun to be able to talk sewing and fabric without anyone's eyes glazing over.  Lindsay T wrote that she is mentoring a new sewer.  I'd love to do that.  It would be  wonderful to pass on my  love of sewing to a new sewer.  Of course I am talking garment sewing.  No quilting or home dec sewing is going on here!

On the sewing front can you believe I'm still cleaning up and putting away patterns? In my defense I have had a busy work week  and I can only stand for limited amounts of time because of my foot.  I really let the patterns get out of hand. I had hung  a lot of them up and since  they are mostly Burda I have to make up envelopes with sketches of what they are before I can put them away.  Then I got the bright idea that I should switch my sewing  area with  my work studio.  It's much larger and I am taking up half of it already with my cutting table and filing cabinets and the top of my second drafting table.  My new vintage sewing machines are making the sewing room/space really cramped.   This entails not only cleaning up all surfaces but making a scale drawing.  Seth will not move any furniture ever without a detailed drawing.  Seems a small price to pay for free help.  But I am itching to sew and I keep telling myself that I can't until it's all cleaned up.   So, off to finish cleaning.  I probably won't  exchange spaces until the fall season is over and I have more time though, so I'll get some sewing in before that.
Have a great week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Burda Style

Over on Burda Style they are featuring 4 Burda magazine patterns for those who want an edgy piece to add to their wardrobe. However click on the patterns and the website is temporarily out of order and under construction.  Dare we hope that we might find both the patterns that they've chosen to offer as down loads,  and an index or preview of Burda Style magazine or even the envelope patterns.  They've got a picture of a summer issue with a blurb about the magazine.. They don't even call it  Burda World of Fashion, but go back to the name of years ago,  Burda Mode.  Or is this the name of the German edition?  They do say that it is published in 99 countries in 16 languages which is pretty impressive. But considering that English has become the global language according to an article in the Times a couple of months back, we are certainly not being given our due.  I know, chauvinism here, but it really has screwed up all the Burda reviews on PR.  Lately the French site's link gets you an error message.  They are trying to make it very difficult to remain a loyal subscriber.

With all the encouragement I've been getting, I need to get working on my trench coat.  I really have to talk myself into starting this as there are umpteen pieces. I haven't counted as that would be somewhat discouraging.  It's not that I  can't do it, it's just such a big undertaking and I need to psyche myself up for it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


On Friday I took the train into NYC to meet Melissa Fehr of Fehrtrade a great sewing blog.  She and her husband James were spending the last part of their honeymoon in NYC and she scheduled a day for fabric shopping.  We met at Global Leather and that is definitely a place worth visiting, but like many shops in the garment district it is only open Monday -Friday.  I wish I'd thought to take my camera out because they have a huge selection.  She bought enough for 4 projects and knowing Melissa they'll be done sooner than later and you'll get to see them on her blog.
This is the only picture I took.  We were rather wet and bedraggled as it poured off and on for most of the day.

Lindsay T joined us for lunch and then a trip up the street to Botani Buttons.  They've expanded lately, in fact they are still a work in progress.  They've added an Italian line of zippers and their trim section is going to be huge when they finish.  They also have the largest and maybe the best handbag findings I've seen.  Want to make a frame bag?  I've never seen a larger selection.  Quite amazing.  Melissa bought some findings for the leather bags she has planned.  She also bought all the  details she needed for her trench coat.  I finally have everything I need for my trench coat so no more excuses!  I bought buttons with a gunmetal edge and a matching buckle and eyelets. By the time we got to Mood she had pretty much spent her budget but she did find a wonderful trench gabardine.  On our way to the train we returned to  Bottani to buy her findings and buttons for her trenchcoat.

I am still cleaning up my studio and putting away patterns.  What a mess I let it get to be! I am not a naturally neat person, but I can't stand working in chaos so I really have to work at putting things away.  I do have places for everything so I don't have to work on that as well.
But, next up is tracing my trench coat and wool jacket and making muslins for both.
My foot is still bothering me and so I am taking frequent stretching and icing breaks.  
Sewing will not be going on until I get everything cleaned up.  I have enough work that I really need to get my second drafting table cleaned of patterns so I can put some work on it!
Edited:  A comment asked what I am using for my trench.  A few years ago, and it's going on 3 years I think, Michael's Fabrics in Baltimore had real Burberry laminated raincoat fabric.  There's a waterproof layer between the outside cotton twill, black btw, and the striped wrong side, also cotton.  I have a rayon lining also bought from Michael's that's from Burberry, not their plaid, but a stripe in their colors.  I also bought red wool and cashmere for the button out lining, from Banksville Designer Fabrics,  which I am binding in ready made cotton binding.  Ann Rowley who has a Burberry raincoat was kind enough to photograph the details a few years ago.  I am, as you know making a single breasted coat because it's more flattering for me as is the lapel neckline.  I was getting ready to combine patterns when I found the  LMB trench pattern.  Melissa bought some water resistant twill for her trench when we were at Mood and they poured some water on it to make sure that it was water resistant, which is not a bad idea when you buy your fabric. 

Monday, October 4, 2010


Burda Style has teamed up with Mood Fabric to offer a 30% discount for fashion fabrics ordered online from Mood's updated website.  I got an e mail from Burda Style  this morning addressed to members, but  it did say to pass it on to your friends, so I'm passing it on to my readers.  Just enter the code burdastyle30 at the appropriate place at checkout.  Burda Style says that Moods online site encompasses their stores inventory.  No, not even close!  But, something I saw in the store on Friday but didn't want to pay full price for made it's way into my virtual shopping cart, and no I'm not telling what I bought..  No scolding Alex!  Not all the fashion fabrics are covered as I discovered when I added some stretch silk charmeuse to the cart and it didn't deduct the discount.  Fabrics starting with the code PV aren't covered by the discount.  Ah well, I can always get it anytime. 
Have fun!  It's a good deal.  Oh, it's good til October 6th.