Monday, February 18, 2013

For Elizabeth

Send for disaster relief!

Who seems to think that she has a messy sewing space.

Messy, meet catastrophe.

Problem here is, I'm a natural slob.  I rarely tidy between projects, and sometimes not between months.  Add to that the fact that I'm currently working on several projects that are using up remnants, scraps and recycled odds and ends of clothing, and there's just no hope.

Not sure if you can see the iron on the table, but it's there.  Of course the only ironing board within reach (and uncovered) is the sleeve board.

Yes, I am.  I am pressing my seams on a sleeve board right now.  But at least I'm still pressing.

Until the iron disappears.

Why yes, that is a cat eating dinner on my table.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If there's a cure for this

I don't want it.

Ah, the lingering effects of Alexander McQueen.

How long has it been now since the Savage Beauty show at the Met? Doesn't matter, I'm still feeling it.

Andrea and I went to that show together, and anyone who has seen the two of us together - or even Andrea alone - knows how rare it is for there to be silence.

But silence there was after the McQueen show, all the way back down 5th Avenue to Penn Station, we barely talked, our minds still spinning with what we had just seen.

There were hardly any pieces in the show that didn't stop me in my tracks, but for some reason the tartans, part of his Widows of Culloden collection, really did me in.

Wonder what it could be?  Painstaking plaid matching?  Ruffles, beads, sequins, tulle, petticoats, bustles, drapery and attitude?

I guess it would be more appropriate to say how could that portion of the show not have gotten to me?

Ever since then, there's been a dress percolating in the back of my mind that has elements of several of these pieces.
The bits I like best:  the first dress in the photo at the top, and the third here on the left - the sharp V down the front of the plaid, the lace appliqued at the hem.

The modified sweetheart necklines on several of the dresses, although I don't have it in me to even try to duplicate the gorgeous dark red beading and embroidery of the dress with the sheer sleeves below on the right and center.

For the dress with the actual tartan drape, I love the attitude, the belt and the tulle peeking out from underneath.  And the boots.  But I'm trying not to think about shoes here; I'm thinking about tartan. Or at least I'm trying to.

The next dress on the hit list here is the second sweetheart neckline, shown at the front in the very last photo.

On that one I don't like the plaid as much - I prefer the sharper points down the front of the first dress - but I love the black beaded lace around the neckline and the bust and the curves of it over the hips.  I also like the discreet tulle ruffle at the neckline, wrists and hem.

It also helps that I have about 5 yards of ivory cotton tulle that I scored at Metro Textiles during last year's NY PR Weekend.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but it was beautiful, it was soft, and it was in the remnant bin.  I split it with Claudine, who I believe has used some if it already.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Patchwork and Ruffles and Color, Oh My

I have to say, despite my love of fashion, I'm not one to spend much time perusing the fashion sites, looking over the various designers' collections and making notes of things I want to knock off.

It's not that I don't admire the artistry, the fantasy, the complete ridiculous luxury of the couture collections; I just generally look at it as moving art, not as something I can distill down into something wearable by me in my everyday life.  Lately my sewing has been about filling gaps in my existing wardrobe, not concocting fantasy items, but this . . . now this is different.

This skirt from Jean Paul Gaultier's 2013 spring couture collection hits me in so many ways it's not even funny.

Maybe it was my early exposure to Cher (back in the Sonny-and-Cher, Gypsies-Tramps-and-Thieves days).

Maybe it was my mom's closet, where there was a black curly wig and loads of hoop earrings and jangly bracelets to parade around in.

Maybe it's my love of Victorian crazy patchwork, which was well formed even before I inherited a silk crazy quilt from my great grandmother, a piece so gorgeous - and fragile - that I don't often take it out of its tissue paper shroud.

But a gypsy-inspired multi-colored patchworked and embroidered wonder of an almost-flamenco skirt?

Oh, be still my beating heart!  I literally got a little bit dizzy when I saw this thing.

I saw one photo on the blog Plays with Needles, and it led me on a search to find the whole skirt, and in the process, the whole of Gaultier's spring 2013 collection.

Which was lovely, I have to admit, loads of eye candy for any fashion lover, but after 47 photos, this skirt was still my favorite.

And even though I'm not thinking about making anything like this right now, I have to say that this is actually a couture piece that I could see adapting into a wearable-by-me item.

Obviously it can't be floor length, and those lovely flamenco ruffles would have to be modified, but you get the idea.

And on to more mundane things, like the bad weather.  Which we did not get.  Honestly, I'm getting so tired of the snowpocalypse forecasts that I've stopped listening.  Since when is a foot of snow a national emergency?  It used to be called an excuse to go sledding.

Besides which, we got about an inch, and most of that melted and turned slippery.  When I went out at 6:00 a.m. to feed the chickens, I expected to find snow.  It was cold, and there was a little crust on the back steps and the coop tarp, but other than that,  it didn't look any  different than it did on Friday.  I fed the girls, gave them some fresh water and put their coop warmer in the microwave for 5 minutes and went back to bed, assuming the worst was yet to come.

Three hours later, I got up again.  Still no snow.  It must have been worse further north, because most of the farmers didn't make it to the market today.

The worst effect of WinterSuperstormNemo on my weekend?  No kale for the soup I made this afternoon.  Oh, the humanity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mojo Rising

So Tuesday I took the bus up to NYC. Elizabeth was in town and we spent the day catching up, visiting the DG Expo and fondling fabrics and notions, eating, drinking and, of course, buying a little fabric. We visited Mood, but I held back (I have a gift certificate that I forgot to bring, and I'd always rather spend someone else's money than my own). I picked up a few jeans buttons at Pacific Trims and fantasized about all their ridiculous trims that I have no use for (and no clue how much to buy, since there's no specific use for it), and of course I had to visit Kashi at Metro Textiles.

Message from Kashi to all Patternreview members and sewing bloggers out there: He misses you. Business has been down since Hurricane Sandy, though he can't think of a link between his business and the weather, but he has lots of goodies and no women to buy them. Visit the man. You'll be glad you did.

 I was very well behaved at Metro, despite Kashi's insidious offerings of fabrics he knew I'd like. (There are some killer silk twills right now, in a rainbow of delicious colors). I ended up with 2 yards of ivory pre-fused boiled wool and 2 yards of poly charmeuse for a lining. I actually bought an entire project in one visit - excepting trim or buttons, of course, but I can probably manage to trim and/or button about 20 jackets with what I have in stash.

Of course I could also make 20 jackets and line them with what I have in stash, but that's another story. I don't have an ivory jacket, I don't have any ivory fabric, I love working with boiled wool, I hate fusing fabrics and will always happily buy pre-fused if I'm lucky enough to find it, and while I could have lined it with something I already have (and still might, if the charmeuse decides to be something else), I couldn't resist that lovely green flecked fabric.

 Hey, it made me want to sew. Isn't that reason enough?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I'm not who I was five years ago, at least according to my  recent recommendations.  At least they still know I sew . . .

Farm Innovators TC-3 Cold Weather Thermo Cube Thermostatically Controlled Outlet - On at 35-Degrees/Off at 45-DegreesFarm Innovators TC-3 Cold Weather Thermo Cube... 
The Thermo Cube is a unique, patented electrical device that plugs into a standard 15 amp electrical outlet and turns power on automatically according to outside air temperature, saving money by using ... Read More
Learn more
Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and UpdatedCouture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated 
The world of haute couture is a place where only a privileged few can ever hope to reside, right? Wrong. Fashion historian Claire B. Shaeffer opened the door to this exclusive realm in her ... Read More
Learn more
Farm Innovators 1-Quart Heated Bowl QT-1, Green, 25 WattsFarm Innovators 1-Quart Heated Bowl QT-1, Green, 25... 
This 1-quart heated pet bowl is thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary. Great for small animals. Sturdy twin wall anti-tip construction. A heavy-duty "anti-chew" cord protector ...Read More
Learn more
Allied Precision Ind HRB32 32-Ounce Heated Rabbit BottleAllied Precision Ind HRB32 32-Ounce Heated Rabbit... 
Farm Innovators, Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of quality products for the Farm, Ag, Pet, Lawn & Garden, Pond, and Wild Bird Industries.Specialists in manufacturing quality ... Read More
Learn more
Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator CookbookMary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook 
by by Mary T. Bell
Far from being a fad, food dyhydrating is one of the most ancient, effective, and nutritous ways of preserving food. Now, at last, there is a book that teaches absolutely everything there is to know ...Read More
Learn more
K&H 3093 Extreme Weather Kitty Pad with Fleece CoverK&H 3093 Extreme Weather Kitty Pad with Fleece Cover 
The Outdoor Heated Kitty Pad is an essential source of warmth for any cat that spends time out doors. Its internal thermostat keeps the surface nice and warm even in the coldest of temperatures. Place ... Read More

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Way back in late October, before the craft show madness set in, before my recent - and current - malaise kicked in, I made a pair of pants.  I started them in October, left them hanging around my dress form's neck for a month or so, then finished them near Christmas.

They were worn a good while back, but the first time I forgot to have photos taken and the second time they were done at the end of the day, so I'm looking rumpled, wrinkled and like I've been done in by lawyers (which by that point I have).

They're my standard side zip BWOF pants pattern, and the plaid, although it's not visible at this distance, has threads of teal, green and dark red in it.  Perfect for about half my wardrobe.

The sweater is worthy of comment for 2 reasons.  First, it fits better than that, I just didn't see how it was pulled when I stood still, and second, it came from the load of stuff I pulled out of my aunt's apartment.

There was an entire closet full of clothes at her place, most of them not even worthy of the thrift store.  There were, however, 2 cotton cardigans in the back that had never been worn.  Because my aunt liked her clothes oversized, and because she had the old-lady-hunch, she bought things big and let them hang.  These sweaters were 2X.  My aunt, at most was a size large.  But no matter.  One sweater was the lovely green here, and the other one was a dark teal.  They were huge, but they were unworn cotton sweaters in colors I liked.  They came home with me.

Eventually I got around to washing them.  New they might have been, but they smelled like Ben Gay and lavender sachet.  A good washing took them down a size.  I cut them apart at the seams and dug out my KwikSew cardigan pattern and put the pieces on top.  The main difference, other than the size, was in the shaping.  The sweater now tapers in at the waist, whereas the original hung straight.  The shoulders are reduced, and the armholes cut way in.  I was able to use the existing band on the hem and sleeves, along with the button placket.  Though I would like to replace the buttons with something more interesting.

Because of the stretch of the cotton, the sweater still seems a bit bigger than the KS medium it was cut to, but that's okay.  I want it for over top of things, and all in all, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.  It's clothing recycling, which I like, it's a nice cotton knit, and it's in a shade of green that I just haven't been able to find.

I'll get around to the blue one eventually.

Oh, right.  The shoes.  The highlight of the entire outfit, actually, are the shoes.  My favorite, or near-favorite (it's hard to tell, every pair is my favorite when they're on my feet) Fluevogs.

They are ridiculously comfortable.  And they seem happiest with the loud stripy socks.

BTW, I actually sewed last night.  It's probably going to snow now.