Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feminine Bugs.

Do you say “ladybug” or “ladybird”?  In my family, we say “ladybug”.  My husband’s family (being English) say “ladybird”.  I have to say, I think that’s much prettier (if somewhat oddly inaccurate).  We’re just going to ignore the whole “all my bugs have two X chromosomes” thing.


I had about a yard left of this very odd linen print fabric that I got several years ago from FabricMart.  Unfortunately, they neglected to mention that the print lot was flawed and what looked like white background actually turned out to be splotchy misprinted pale yellow.  This is only noticeable in bright natural light, of course, so the last time I used it I didn’t realize it was blotchy until I went to pick up my daughter at daycare at the end of the day.  Still, the print is SO CUTE that I decided to just go ahead with the new dress.

M5695 photo M5695 lines

I wanted a sleeveless dress for summer, since I’m pretty sure TLo’s new metabolism is going to make her absolutely miserable in the summer heat.  I decided to adapt McCalls 5695.  This worked out pretty well, but I made quite a few alterations to the original pattern.

1) I took off the sleeves (obviously). 

2) I drafted facings for the lower half of the armscyes (since there were now no sleeves and the yokes only covered half the armscye).

3) I added a slit-with-a-continuous-lap to the back to accommodate the two yoke pieces.  McCalls has you do some crazy convoluted impossible  piece of sewing to get the two yoke halves to attach to the single back panel.  I thought it was ridiculous, so I just cut a slit and lapped it.  Much easier.

Here are the all the photos with close-ups and interior pictures.

M5695-front front

M5695-back back

M5965-interior-armscye_facingarmscye facing

M5965-interior-facing_yokeinterior back yoke with slit and continuous lap 

M5965-back-detail super-cute ladybug button with 1/8” elastic closure

Unfortunately, this fabric wrinkles if you so much as look at it funny.  I pressed this before I picked up the camera.  By the time I took the photos above and got it on TLo, it looked like this.


Good thing my kids always look like their clothes came out of a laundry hamper.  This will fit right in.

One summer dress down.  A whole wardrobe to go.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In Which I Whine, Complain and Generally Am Unpleasant. Yes. Again.

OK, so I know (I know) that I have had very little positive to say lately.  About anything.  Chalk this up to winter sunlessness and the perpetual case of flu that I seem to have  acquired this year.  You can also add stress about money, work, children, spouse, er... everything.  And also living in a place I am rapidly coming to hate with a passion usually borne only by serial killers and religious extremists.

Or you can just be honest and declare me a real pain in the ass.  I am completely and totally aware that lately I have been a bit of, shall we say, a downer.  And I totally and completely intend to cease and desist (well, I intend it).

Except for this small excursion to a little place I like to call "WTF do they teach in school these days??"

We are now on our third (third) assistant who is not capable of forming the past tense of the word "to bind".  In English.  I mean, ok fine, if we were asking them to do it in flippin' Lithuanian or something... but English for Pete's sake.  Their first language!  These are high school graduates.  Actually they're freshman college students. 

Honestly.  Bind, bound, bound.  Not hugely difficult.  If you are in third grade.  But this is the third or fourth young person who has said to me, "The customer wants this... uh... you know... uh... binded?"  BINDED?  Really??

OK, fine.  That's not really past tense it's.... what... future perfect?  Or something.  But my point is a native speaker of English, by the age of 19, should really be able to compose the following sentence without having to think so terribly hard about it:   "The prints for the new Taco Bell should be bound."  Not "The prints for the new housing at the army base should be binded." (See this link for associated rant on the excessive building of Taco Bells and army housing.)






So what should we discuss tomorrow?  I vote for something about daisies.  Or maybe fluffy kittens.  Yes.  Definitely fluffy kittens.  Playing with daisies.  And cupcakes.


EDIT: And, yes.  There is a split infinitive in my post title.  What’s it to ya?  Huh?

EDIT v.2: OK, MaryNanna has declared my infinitives unsplit.  Whew.  I am so glad.  I have no idea why I can’t keep it straight in my head what exactly a split infinitive is, but at least I did not create one.  Good thing I don’t rant about grammar all the--  oh.  Right.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


When my husband says "I found the perfect book/game/food/life-saving-medicine", my first reaction is "How much does it cost?"  When my friends say "These are the cutest shoes that were ever created!" I say, "I think I can get them cheaper somewhere else."  When small chicks chirp "cheep cheep cheep", my kids say "Mom, they're talking to you."  I am, as I like to call it, "thrifty".

So you would think, wouldn't you, that I shop at "thrift" stores all the time, right?  Wrong.  I mean, I used to thrift shop with the best of them (starting in high school when most people around me didn't even know what a thrift shop was, I might add).  I could turn a 1960's velvet cocktail dress into a work-appropriate jumper quicker than you could say "recycle".  And then, we moved here.   Bizarro World: the place where thrift store people think a holey, pilling, twenty-year-old polyester sweater is worth $20.

After hearing gushing stories from fellow bloggers about "I got a designer sheet for 45 cents and some Prada shoes for $2!" or "Look at the twenty yards of silk curtain I got for 25 cents and a handful of beans!", I decided that maybe I should revisit the whole thrift store idea.

Apparently I still live in Bizarro World.  I hauled myself down to the local Goodwill store to see what they had going in the way of second-hand sheets or possibly some extra-large shirts in cute fabric that I could cut down for the kids.  I swear on my mother's (non-existant) grave, here's what I found:

1) a sweater from 1993, acrylic, pilling, neon orange.  $6.00.
2) a woman's blouse, circa 1999, rayon, ugly olive green floral and bamboo print.  $4.50.
3) a duvet cover, date unknown, polyester blend, dishwater grey. $10.00.

Nothing in that store cost less than $3.50, their minimum clothes price.

As a comparison, here are some NEW items that I found at Walmart the next day:

1) girls' polo top with puffed sleeves and ruffled placket. $3.00.
2) woman's blouse, white cotton blend poplin.  $4.98.
3) man's button-down plaid shirt, cotton.  $4.98.
4) twin sheet set (flat sheet, fitted sheet, pillow case), cotton flannel.  $19.95.

Given the choice between a $5 worn, used blouse and a $5 brand-spankin' new blouse, which would most people choose?  Which would you choose?  I'm pretty sure what I would choose.  I think this question is pretty well answered by the fact that besides me, the only other people in that Goodwill store that Saturday were a young couple looking for cheap baby toys and a gaggle of college girls who were "going to a White Trash party" that night.

You heard me.

So.  Feeling utterly and completely disgusted with the options (read: “the cost”) in this place, I finally decided to purchase one thing.  Based on the fact that it was something that I couldn't make myself for the same price at home.


woman's cotton batiste skirt with matching underskirt and acrylic embroidery, size 10


I figured I could cut this down really easily and make a cute little summer skirt for one of the kids. 

And that's what I did.  I measured the length I wanted down from the waistline and trimmed both layers of fabric.  Than I reseamed them as they were before (right sides together at the waistline) and then made two buttonholes and a channel for elastic.  I strung the elastic through and stitched a piece of matching ribbon on each end.

Ta da.  Embroidered summer skirt.


Of course, it's not all that hot.  And I paid $4.50 for it.  But whatever.  I finished the stupid thing and maybe one of my kids can wear it.  Maybe. 

It's kind of dumpy-looking on TLo and it's too big in the waist for The Big One.  I think I'll probably shorten the elastic and give it to The Big One, though.  Which is kinda sad for TLo, as she literally has one shirt left that will fit her for summer.  I guess she gets a new wardrobe.  I don't think it will come from the thrift store.



EDIT: OK, I should probably say a few more things – I was trying to keep to under 5000 words, but oh well here they are:

1) yes, there are a about five other stores in town (typically with very small stocks) and I am going to check them out this weekend.  However, based on previous experience, I have low expectations for anything different than what I experienced at the other store.

2) yes, I know that the whole point (apparently) of the Goodwill store is that you are (apparently) contributing to Goodwill and you get some stuff in return.  As opposed to that they are providing stuff that you are getting for cheap for your own benefit.  But still.  One has to wonder who buys this stuff, since patently you can get nicer stuff for the same price from discount stores if you are a thrifty shopper, and if your goal is simply to donate money to a charitable organization then why not just give them the money and skip the junk?  You got me.

3) it’s entirely possible that the bulk of “good” stuff that is passed through these stores actually gets turned over to those who really need it right away, rather than relying on selling it at a low price to them through the store.  Which is fair enough, if that’s what really happens.  I have no information regarding this.  I hope that’s what happening, at any rate.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Book Review: Design-It-Yourself Clothes

OK, first off, I’m going to tell you right up front that this is a crazy long post with no pretty pictures.  So if you don’t feel compelled to read long, drawn out commentary about books you might not even own, skip ahead to something else now.  Trust me, it won’t hurt my feelings (because I know you all think I’m so sensitive and all).

A few weeks ago I jumped on the bandwagon and bought “Design-It-Yourself Clothes” by Cal Patch (because on top of being emotionally sensitive, I’m also a follower).  Frankly, I have some trepidation about books aimed at beginners that purport to teach them how to “design” anything, be it clothes or gardens or houses.  Generally speaking I find these types of books to be a bad combination of assuming too much ability in the reader on one hand and on the other being unable, in such a limited format, to teach complex design skills.  I just don’t care for them much.  But then, I have had extensive years of training as a designer, so I’m probably a Design Snob.  Just in the interest of full disclosure.  (So let’s see, that’s: Emotionally Sensitive, A Follower and A Design Snob.  Wow.  Lotta labels.)

However, knowing that I have this prejudice and always endeavoring to overcome my shortcomings, I decided to go ahead and give this book a try (especially after seeing Angie A.’s great first-run results with her pants muslin).  I would really really like to have a t-shirt pattern to use as a TNT and I’ve been meaning to rework my old one for months now.  Maybe drafting my own from scratch would be the solution.

Things did not get off to a good start.  In the introductory instructional section, the author walks you through the body measurements you’ll need to take to complete the patterns. Measurement #1 (emphasis is mine):

“BUST: To measure your bust, wrap the tape measure around your chest at it's fullest point.  Be sure that the loop you’re making around yourself is roughly parallel to the floor, and that it’s not dipping up or down as it wraps around you.  This number should be the same as your bra size.”

Um.  No.  No it should not.  Unless you are a man.  Even an A cup bra wearer will not have their full bust measurement add up to their bra size, unless they are wearing someone else’s bra.  Now your high bust measurement, that should be your bra band size.  Try it sometime.  For instance (and sorry but here we go a little number-crunching crazy):

My under-bust measurement is 32”.  You add 4” to this number to get my bra size, which is 36.  My high bust measurement is, not-so-coincidentally, 36”.  My full bust measurement is 41”.  There is a 5” difference between my high bust measurement (or my band size) and my full bust measurement (41” – 36” = 5”), therefore based on these calculations I should wear a 36 DD bra.  Which I do.  I do not wear a 42 bra.

Now this quote of the author’s could totally be a typo.  But I think in a book aimed at beginners, this is a sort of a big problem and will cause no end of confusion. 

From there, things got more difficult.  At no point does the author suggest taking an high bust measurement and then adjusting in some way for the full bust size.  I think that if you use your full bust measurement to draft your pattern, you will end up with batwings under the arms, because you haven’t allowed for boobs.  This is just my (somewhat educated) theory.  Saying that, I only drafted this on paper and didn’t try it in a muslin, so maybe I’m wrong about that.  Regardless, I think the confusion about the bra size/bust measurement thing alone would be hard for a beginner.

Or maybe not.  The intention of this book is pretty clearly focused mostly on the ability to produce your own designs and only nominally to have them fit you based on your measurements.  Which a beginner can probably achieve with the given information.  This is in the opening paragraph:

“You know exactly what you want and you’ve got the sewing skills to pull it off, if only there weren’t that one, teensy-weensy recurring problem: the pattern.  Even the best seamstress needs one, but a pattern for the vision in your head just plain does not exist. Yet.”

With this system, you can make your own patterns but they won’t fit extraordinarily well without some standard alterations, if you don’t fit into a fairly slim mold.  A really slim mold.   But they will be your designs and maybe that’s all that’s important.

I did make the pattern exactly as described in the book.  Then I made the pattern again using my high bust measurements instead of my full bust measurements.  Here’s a comparison, the original pattern on the bottom and the high bust pattern on top.  The bottom one is actually .25” too narrow at the bustline because I mis-measured, but still you get the idea):


Next I did a standard Full Bust Adjustment on the pattern that used my upper bust measurement.  I ended up with a pretty good approximation of my existing sloper, minus the alteration for my sloping shoulders (the author suggests an average figure for factoring the shoulder slope, which was not nearly steep enough for me since I have very sloping shoulders— I think I can add a shoulder slope body measurement to my list and adjust for it in the flat pattern.  I’m going to investigate that later).  

Here’s the comparison of the high bust pattern (on top) and the FBA pattern (on bottom):


This new pattern, along with the back and sleeve draft, made a skin-tight t-shirt that I would call a sloper since I don’t ever wear clothes with zero or negative ease.    It did fit relatively well, with just a few fitting issues around the armscye relating to the sloping shoulder adjustment that I haven’t made yet.

So after all that, I may be able to add some ease to this and just perhaps I’ll have my perfect t-shirt after all.   But I don’t think I could have done it without knowing about the FBA beforehand.  Plus, because she has you draft the front and back identically and I did that humongous FBA, my side seams were off-center by about 2” (which isn’t surprising since my FBA was 2.5”).  So if I want my side seams to be in the right place, I’ll have to readjust both the back and the front patterns.  Frankly, I’m not sure how that will go.

Sheesh.  I think I could have just used my existing sloper, but I can’t get that vision of the Perfect T-Shirt holy grail out of my head so I think I’ll keep working on it. 

I will say that I like the attitude of this book and the chatty style of the writing.  And I think on the whole for pants and skirts the drafting will work pretty well for most people.  But I’m not totally convinced on the shirt thing unless you are a very slim, very small-busted person.  There’s a reason all the models in the book look like they wear A cup bras.

Saying that, this will be a great way to draft things for the kids, since they obviously don’t wear bras at all yet.  So that will be interesting.  Plus, I finally broke down and bought the pattern drafting book that Judy loves so dearly, so I guess I really will be drafting my own kids’ patterns in the near future.


And now I say, “Wow.  If you read all that, you are a much more patient person than I am.  You get another gold star!”  And yes, at some point I will actually sew something and write about it.  And my next two posts will consists of nothing but pictures.  Honest.  Pretty pretty pictures with no words at all.  Well.  Maybe a few words.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


What do you say when someone sneezes?  My grandfather says, "Gesundheit!"  My mom says, "Bless you!". My grandmother used to say the very very old-fashioned, "Opchee!"

Yesterday after a long day of working, cooking dinner, reading to the kids, fending off mysterious interrogations by men in black, I decided that I had no energy to deal with my pattern fitting.  No energy to plan a summer wardrobe for the kids.  No energy for much of anything.  But I felt sort of guilty about it.  What to do? Crafts, of course.

You've seen my fabric collection.  Well.  Actually, you've seen my garment fabric collection.  I didn't show you the tubs and tubs and tubs of quilting fabric I have stored in the garage.  You see, I've been quilting for over 20 years.  And my fabric collecting propensities are hardly a new thing.  So it's fair to say I have some stash.  Of course, my quilting stash is a bit less unwieldy than garment stash, since most of it is in 1 yard or less lengths.  Still.  It's there.

So last night I thought I'd do something to use up a teeny tiny bitty little chunk of it.  Eight charm-pack squares worth, to be exact.  Which is laughable if you're aiming to reduce your stash, but fun if you're aiming to make something cute. And I made this:

tissue FRONT fronttissue BACK backtissue FILLED Tissue Holder with tissues in it

I got this pattern from Angie A's tutorial.  It's super-duper easy to make.  Even I, slow-poke that I am, finished this in less than half an hour (that time included at least ten minutes spent trying to figure out what fabric to use and then trying to remember where I had put it).  Of course, I managed to sew my pieces together in the wrong sequence, despite several sessions of careful trial-and-error layout, but whatever.  It's still cute.  And practical! 

Tissue, anyone?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Please ignore the previous post. 


This post does not in any way represent a commentary, of any sort, on any government agency, of any kind.




Nothing to see here, people.


Have a nice day.

A New Series In Our On-going Program

Today we begin a new little series I like to call “Things I Have Learned (But Wish I Hadn't)”.

When the United States Federal Government and/or the United States Army Corps of Engineers are required to perform an activity, there is an infinite band of time stretched out before them to complete said task.  Regardless of their own self-imposed deadlines.

When someone else is required to perform an activity for the United States Federal Government and/or the United States Army Corps of Engineers, those entities believe such an activity should be performed within a time-frame that defies the laws of physics.  Unless you happen to own an army of robots or perhaps some sort of time machine.  They are not interested in the details. The things they ordered today?  They want them delivered. Yesterday.

And no, pointing out to the United States Federal Government and/or the United States Army Corps of Engineers that they failed to meet their own deadlines three times and therefore all other deadlines are now off kilter will not cause any sort of impression on them.  At all.

The United States Federal Government and/or the United States Army Corps of Engineers are quite possibly the largest crack-smoking entities I have ever encountered in my life.

Thus concludes today's episode.  Next time on Things I Have Learned (But Wish I Hadn't): "Human Beings Do Not Come With Two Left Legs -- No Matter How Much You Try To Tell Yourself They Do After You Cut Out That Pair Of Pants.  And No, A Six-Year-Old Will Not Wear Them Anyway".

Saturday, March 13, 2010


So, in the interest of not doing anything product—I mean, in the interest of providing vital, useful information to you, I decided to take some photos of the sewing room/office.  My husband, who was sitting in the adjacent living room watching a rugby match, appeared to come to the conclusion that I finally lost what little was left of my sanity.  “You think people want to see that you cleaned up??”.  No, I don’t.  But pictures I did take.  Vastly interesting, right?  Exactly.


Of course, the real reason I didn’t do a picture when I posted about my miraculous day off, is that while this room most definitely is an improvement on it’s former state, it’s still what most normal people would call, well, “a teensy bit messy looking”.  Whatever.  You have to take what you can get in our house and this is what you can get.  The fact that four people (and I’m the most tidy of the bunch) use this office space for “work” (i.e. messing around with junk) makes it a bit overwhelming to keep more than nominally straightened.

And just to make you feel much much better about yourselves, here are pictures of my fabric habit—I mean, collection.  You can’t see all of it in the corner of the closet (it extends another “pile width” behind the wall), but I think you get the idea.  The other image is the Fabric Cube which you see covered in the right corner of the room.  I have 2.5 shelves open in that cube and a “pile slot” open in the closet shelves.


Even I can’t quite justify filling those up.  This is truly ridiculous.  I guess there’s nothing like the cold hard truth of photos to make you accept the grim reality.  And so on that note, I guess I’d better get back to my t-shirt drafting now that I have finally measured every conceivable part of my body.  Oh, the humanity.

EDIT: The reason we have this lovely dedicated space is that we force TLo and The Big One to share a bedroom at the back of the house.  Saying that, it’s the largest bedroom of the three we have and they have bunk beds, so it gives them a lot of space to play.  Which of course they almost never use, since that would require, you know, being in a different room than us.  Still, in order to facilitate the office/sewing area, my husband and I took the smallest bedroom (which isn’t unreasonably small, it’s not like a cell or anything) and agreed that I could have this space.  Well, of course by “agree” I mean that I said to him when we moved in “The girls have the big room, we have the small room, the front room is the office.”   To which he replied, “Uh.  Ok.”  And yes this house has great natural light in all but the back bedroom, because natural light is at the very top of my “must have” list in a house.  I’m pretty inflexible on that point.  Makes for a toasting hot house in the summer, though, and it wreaks havoc on the fabric if it sits out (hence the covered Fabric Cube).  There, you now know WAY more about someone else’s home than you ever wanted to.  I’m quite proud of you for reading all this.  You get a gold star!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Am Spartacus.



Yesterday I was home on a day off from work.  Which was a miracle.  Actually, it wasn’t exactly.  I was supposed to work this Saturday and so my boss asked me to take a day off in the week in lieu.  (Which actually has worked out well for me, because the job for Saturday got cancelled so now I have that day off too.)    Still, I was free.  FREE!

My original plan to use up this unaccustomed time alone was to start drafting a t-shirt block from my newly acquired, de rigueur book "Design-it-yourself Clothes" by Cal Patch.  But when I got home from taking the kids to school (and getting a desperately needed haircut), I looked around at my sewing room and with heart-sinking realization decided that this space was totally and completely unusable in it's existing state of disaster-zone chic.

To be completely honest, I've been putting off rearranging and resorting in the whole sewing-related area for... well, let's just say "a while" and leave it at that.  The problem with this mess, besides making it difficult for my easily-diverted mind to work properly, is that the sewing room is visible from the living room, which is where we spend about 95% of our time.  Yuck.

So instead of sewing something for myself (yet again), I decided to Clean Up:  I picked up the tottering piles of miscellaneous fabric, the unfathomable stacks of altered patterns and pattern envelopes, the mountains of arbitrary pattern magazines and the herd-like mass of half-empty thread spools that careened around every available space.  I cleaned out and rearranged three separate closets to facilitate this Great Sewing Room Revolution.  I was unstoppable.  I moved shelves.  I refolded and reorganized fabric.  I destroyed whole families of dust bunnies.   It took six hours.

And you know what?  Not only do I have a crisp, clear, organized new space to work in, I now have a whole shelf of unused fabric space!  A WHOLE SHELF!

This means I get to buy fabric, right?  It’s like war booty.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh How I Hate, O-hi-o State.

I love Kent State, however.  And here is why: The Kent State University Museum.   It is the only reason I can see for wanting to visit, let alone live in, Ohio.  (Please send all hate mail regarding the blatant slander of the state of Ohio to: 1234 University of Michigan Drive, Ann Arbor MI 12345.  Go Blue!)

The Kent State Museum has an astonishing array of textiles and clothing.  A-ston-uh-shing.  There are many a book and CD collection dedicated to it (none of which I own).  They don't have a searchable image database (as far as I can tell), but they do put up some images of their exhibitions. They did a particularly thorough job with their recent "The Art of the Embroiderer" exhibit, which was on view for over a year.  I seriously considered going to Ohio for the sole purpose of seeing this exhibit in person.  Then I recovered my senses. 

I will warn you: the large number of online images could be due to the fact that this exhibit only just came down.  I’d get a gander while you can, because once their new exhibit goes up, these images may be gone.   And what images they are.  Here’s a tiny fraction of a sampling:

veiw of embroiderer exhibition

18thC_jacket 20thC_coat 1920's_dress


The website also has images from some of their other exhibits, both past and present.  For example, this lovely little series is a part of the "Mood Indigo" page.

go to Mood Indigo exhibition views




And of course, any place that has the genius to create an exhibit by combining E.S. Curtis photographs and shoes is just about perfect in my book.

Native Americans through the Prism of Culture: Edward S. Curtis & the Legacy of Collectors

go to Native Americans exhibition views


Oh yeah and the website also has a bunch of you know words and stuff and I suppose you could read all about these exhibits and their intentions and meanings and value to society and whatnot.  If you like that kind of thing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I want to say one word to you. Plastics.

So my last post about poor Zoe Saldana (Yeah. Right.) and her rather badly fitted and bizarrely designed dress naturally got me to thinking about… “Things Made Out Of Barbie Dolls”. 

Yes.  That is natural.   So here you go:


Barbie Toilet Paper Cover.



Barbie Cake.



Barbie Ax-Murderer Jewelry.



I had another picture to show you, but decided against it.  It relates to a story about this guy who shared the rent of a big warehouse space with my dad and a few other car-restoration type guys.  Apparently one day my dad was surprised to learn he couldn’t get into his part of the garage because the ATF had locked down the whole building.  Pending an investigation of the arrest of said co-renter for the production and sale of illegally altered fire arms (i.e. he was converting semis to autos and selling them to “hunters”).  Said gentleman was also discovered at that time to have a booming side business in the sale of online Barbie S&M “porn” which he manufactured on the same premises. 

Yes.  You read that right.  Apparently there is quite a market for it.


EDIT- Venus de Hilo said: “I think those earrings would be even better with little plastic Barbie shoes on them.”  Which is a totally great idea.  And since Barbie feet are after all interchangeable, you could accessorize your accessories to your heart’s content by adding your very own Barbie shoe collection at whim.   If you have a really good collection of Barbie shoes (or a really odd collection of You shoes) your earrings really could match your shoes every day.  Too funny!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Do Not Watch The Oscars. This is why.


Zoe Saldana in Givenchy.



Turkey Dressing Skirt from Dana Made It.

go to DanaMadeIt.com


I know which one I’d rather have, but you decide for yourself.  Go ahead.  You I-love-a-dress-that-looks-like-a-lavender-toilet-paper-cover-my-grandma-made-in-1962 freak.


(“So,” you say suspiciously. “You don’t watch the Oscars?  Then where did you get that photo of Zoe Saldana? HUH?”  To which I reply, “Ah. Quite easy.  I stole it from Angie A. at Quality Time.  So there.”)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Reader Mail… oh just sit through it already.

Well, color me surprised.  The crack-smokin' fashion ladies from MyShape.com very politely made a comment on my last post, in which I pointed out the horror that is Adrienne Vittadini and might have possibly, you know… just possibly, called the good MyShape.com people crackheads.  Yet they graciously ignored this slur on their characters and decorously acknowledged that they do indeed plan to add a thumbs-up/thumbs-down feature to their site.

Now I know the suspicious and pessimistic amongst you are probably saying to yourselves, "Oh sure.  Someone gives them a perfectly good idea for free and they immediately proceed to say 'Oh yes, we have all sorts of plans already in the works for just that very thing!'."  But alas, I have to give them credit and admit that if they were clever enough to think up their very clever website, they were probably clever enough to think up this little thumbs-up idea too.  It's amazing what crackheads can accomplish these days.

The fact that they obviously sit up late at night, 50th double-cappuccino in shaky hand, furiously scrabbling through the internet to find mention, any mention at all, of themselves… well.  Let’s be honest.  We’d do that too, right?  Oh you can shake your heads “no” at your screen people, but we all know what really happens at 2 a.m. when you suddenly feel a need to check your hits or google yourself.  You can’t hide from the truth.

Anyway, now we have something to look forward to.  Because honestly, while I'm not totally sure how Pandora.com's music-mapping thing works so as to allow them to almost always choose accurately for your musical tastes, it seems to me that this will be even more difficult to achieve using garments.  Will it be based on color, designer, style, fabric?  I think the answer will be quite interesting to find out, don't you?  Almost makes you wish you were a statistical programmer, right?

I said "almost".

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perhaps They Were Right After All…

Yesterday I had an entertaining conversation with Big In Japan, in which I questioned the addition of certain Facebook friends to her list.  My question was, “Is it mean, churlish, just plain b*tchy to ignore friend requests from people who I barely remember but who feel in some way compelled to add me to their friends list simply because we happened to graduate from the same high school in the same year?”  We decided that no, it wasn’t.  I mean, we are talking about people I barely remember the existence of.  I have also not set foot in the town of my graduation for at least 16 years.  So no. I am not going to add as a friend the person who, based on my admittedly very hazy recollection, had one thing to say to me in all four years of high school.  Which was to tell me I was a stuck-up b*itch.   So, no.  I’m not mean.  I’m just not interested.

Then I was sitting here sniffling and hacking up a lung (because someone at work brought in a vile illness last week and then generously gifted it to me) and trying to think of a new post topic and I wondered whether I am after all a bit of bee-atch. 

Because all I could think to say was:  “I hate Adrienne Vittadini.”

Which frankly is a teensy bit, well, unkind.  I mean, I don’t even know Adrienne Vittadini.  But I can honestly say I have hated her for years and years and years.  You know how I said I love Anna Sui?  I hate Adrienne Vittadini the way I love Anna Sui.  She is my anti-girlfriend (because no, Angie A., Anna Sui is not your fashion designer girlfriend).

go to A. Vittadini at MyShape.com

Here is a classic example of the monstrosity that is the Adrienne Vittadini collection (as shown by MyShape.com).  Apparently the crack-smokin’ fashion ladies at MyShape think that I would like to put this garment on my body.  They are seriously mistaken.

You know what would be cool?  A thumbs up/thumbs down button at MyShape.com.  You know, how Pandora.com has that feature so that if they play you a song that you loathe, you can thumb-down it and they promise to never ever ever play that song again?  For a month?  That feature.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Someone get a hold of the crack-smokin’ fashion ladies and let them know.  I won’t even take credit for it.

go to Jessica Howard at MyShape.com

On a more positive note, the crack-smokin’ fashion ladies also recommended this Jessica Howard dress (despite my own shape being the only letter not attached to it) and if I could get into it I would totally put this on my body.  So there’s some hope for them after all.

See.  I’m not so bad.  No.  Really.  I’m not.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Shameless Plug For People I Have Never Met

I will say up front and immediately that this next installment of "Eye Candy: A Splendid Way To Waste Your Not-so-valuable Time" is not a museum collection or picture archive.  It is, in fact, an actual store.  Yes.  A store.  Which means, among other things, that not only do I feel compelled to warn you about this as potential advertisement but also that you can buy this stuff and have it for your very own.

The mind boggles.  Yes it does.  Boggles.

This company used to be called "Charles Rupert Designs", they're now called "Historic Style" and they're based in Victoria, B.C..  I have personally purchased items from them (albeit about 5 years ago under their old name) and so I feel I can say with some confidence that the quality of their products is lovely.

Still, even if you have absolutely no intention of wallpapering your home in a William Morris print or covering your couch with a C.F.A Voysey linen (and if not, what the heck is wrong with you, anyway?  Oh wait, it costs how much?), you can still enjoy the beautiful images.  And now they have fabulous tiles, hardware and other cool stuff.  They also have a very small selection of Charles Rennie Mackintosh fabrics, which are harder to come by than William Morris prints.  Unfortunately for us, their fabrics are intended for interiors so they have a somewhat limited use for garment construction.  They make for some interesting options in the coat-designing department, though.  And there are a few lighter-weight linens and some voiles that maybe have some potential for clothes.  You can order samples for a fee.  And yes, their yardage is crazy expensive.

Mostly I just like looking at them.


go to HistoricStyle.com - C.F.A. Voysey

go to HistoricStyle.com - W. Morris

go to HistoricStyle.com - C.R. Mackintosh

Do you ever get the feeling that you were born in the completely wrong time?  I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be born in 1864.  In England.  And very wealthy.

But then, who wasn’t?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Like Weeds.

I am very very very disorganized.  I know.  Shocker.  If it makes you feel better (it does me), I’m pretty sure I have ADD.  I know I have dyslexia.  I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder and… oh yeah, I know.   A terminal case of over-introspection.  Or: I am very very very disorganized.

Which is a problem.  In terms of my trying to be organized, that is.  It’s not so much a problem in terms of, for instance, world peace or global warming.  However, it could result in my children running stark naked in the streets.  For midgets, my kids sure do seem to grow a lot.  How is that possible?  It’s like some sort of quantum physics zen riddle thing: If the children continue to grow out of their clothes on a weekly basis, how do they remain midgets?  Uh…  (The answer is “42”).

I’m so disorganized that I just realized that I forgot to make a post about TLo’s shirt from three or four months ago.  Oh yeah.  That shirt.  That I said I was going to post about two months ago.  Right.   So what the heck, here it is.  Despite the fact that she now won’t even wear it and it’s probably too small.

1-2009-18-line Ottobre 1-2009 #18

This top has two sleeves that are attached at the armscye, so you have the option of using one or the other or both. I used the long sleeve.  Right off the bat I’ll say that this shirt was made from an old Cacique sleep-shirt that I have no idea how I acquired.  I mean, don’t you find that a little disturbing?  I do.  It’s very odd.  Do random pajamas just appear in your house?  And I have two of these.  Two!

Anyway, I bring this up because this was not a very good fabric choice for this top.  It’s very flimsy, very stretchy and very hard to work with.  Plus, I didn’t quite have enough fabric so I had to cut the front yoke in two pieces.  I decided to do the front rather than the back, because I figured I could attach some decorative buttons on the front in a sort of faux placket concept (without actually bothering to make a faux placket, of course). 


Voila!  Decorative buttons.  I thought this was pretty clever, especially since the original shirt came with about fifty buttons so these matched perfectly.  If only that made up for the crazy warped seams and stretched out smocking.  I used some FOE I got in Portland for the neck binding.  I also used the curved hem on the existing shirt rather than making a hem.



I keep meaning to make more of these for TLo in a better fabric but now of course she’ll need a bigger size, which means retracing the whole thing.  Which to my mind sort of defeats the whole purpose of re-making something.  Plus Ottobre will persist in sending me new issues of their magazine, chock full of new patterns that are so appealingly… new.  Who do those people think they are, anyway?

1-2009-18 wearing