Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Sailor Cycling

April 26th, 2012 20 comments

I cycle, and I like to be as visible as possible.  Bright red, screaming orange, and hideous yellow-green, yes,  ma’am, you’re my friends. But a boxy, horrible utility vest?  Not so much.  So I got a hold of two IKEA Patrull safety vests like this one:

and turned them into this:

It appears darker than the IKEA vest because it’s just one layer, and on a darker background (my dummy, that is).  And I took the photo indoors, apparently in bad light.  Photography is not my strong suit.

I’d been thrashing around the internet for a while, looking for inspiration when I stumbled on this:

The photo is on a site called {frolic!}, and it’s actually a reflective cycling vest.  Too cute, right?  Apparently it was sold by a UK firm called Bobbin Bicycles, but they’ve since gone out of business.  Or at least become impossible to find.  (The {frolic!} post is from 2009.)

Let me be the first to admit that mine isn’t nearly as cute as this one.  I love the nautical look, but the BB vest is too small, and too somberly colored for day use, as least in my view.  Also, my vest needed to do four  things, above and beyond being nautical :

  1. It needed to be bright.
  2. It needed to be large enough to wear over anything I’d put on while cycling.
  3. It needed to be cool on very hot days.
  4. On very hot days, it needed to allow me to wear only a sports bra under it, and yet appear in public somewhat modestly-clad.

Bingo!  My vest does it all.  Plus, it’s a bit kooky.  I like kooky.  The back is pretty tame (forgive my duct tape dummy, who is both lopsided and a lot larger than I am now):

I used a size L IKEA vest, and a size S.  First, I removed all the reflective strips from the IKEA vests.  Then  I took two pieces of the IKEA reflective strips, and sewed this trim on top of them (I used the middle-sized one):

adding velcro at the ends.  (The trim is “iron-on”, but I don’t do iron-on, especially on poly knits.)  Then I cut side panels out of the S vest, and cut replacements from breathable mesh (that’s the black fabric).  Here’s what the base vest looked like with the mesh pinned in place:

I  put the reflective strips into the back side seams between the yellow vest and the black mesh, and sewed it all together with my coverstitch machine.  The belt allows me to cinch up the vest when I want to, and let it fly when it’s too hot to wear it neatly.

I cut the nautical collar from the size L, using Burda 2424, an adorable pattern that never came to the USA, and altered the slope of the shoulder to conform to the size S vest.

The collar is a completely different style from the inspiration vest, but that didn’t matter.  They’re both adorable.

I cut the IKEA reflective strips in half to make the striping for the collar, and zig-zagged them in place.

You can see the holes from the IKEA stitching, but this is a utility vest, not haute couture, so it’s nothing I’m concerned about.

I lay the collar over the S vest, drew a line in chalk where the S vest needed to be trimmed, and attached the collar.   I probably should have used a facing, but this was a quick-and-dirty job, done very much on the fly, and I wanted to keep the weight and bulk down.

Uhh, maybe what I mean is “I wanted to keep the bulk in the collar only”.

Then I did the messiest job ever inserting an invisible zipper in the front, and finished by covering the collar seam with 1/4 inch twill tape.

Finally, I added the ties, because I’m a responsible cyclist, and there’s no wind in my hair, due to the helmet on my head.  Instead, I have flying ties.  Not a bad trade off, I’d say.  The loop that holds the tie together is sewn to the edge of one of the ties:  I couldn’t sew it to the front of the vest without making it impossible to open the top, yet I didn’t want to knot the ties.  Here’s the final result, once again:

Special thanks to Prachtstueckwerk!

Categories: Fun, Gifts, Tops Tags:

A Tale of Two Dummies

April 17th, 2012 6 comments

Now that I am finally the size I was meant to be (and was, for what were previously the healthiest years of my adult life), I thought it would be interesting to compare my “dummies”.  I haven’t been the same size as my Duct Tape Dummy for a long time, but it was still a shock to see the difference between the two:

Miss Bedelia, the My Double dress form, is set at my actual height.  My unnamed Duct Tape Dummy is higher, but it’s still possible to compare the shapes.  You can see that they are essentially the same; the DTD is just, well, thickened everywhere.

There are only ten to twelve  pounds difference between those two dummies, but on someone as relatively small as I am, that’s a big difference.  It’s probably closer to an extra 20 or 30 pounds on someone with a larger frame and larger bones than I have.  Here’s the back view:

When I was a young girl, I took one semester of classes at a very good dancer’s school in San Francisco.  (Childhood wasn’t so competitive then; they’d let anyone in.)  All I remember from that course was my report card, in which the instructor had written something like “Noile must learn to pull in her derrière”.

I had to laugh when I saw these dummies side by side — it’s not so obvious in the well-padded DTD, but, oh, yes, there is that derrière!  Though my upper body posture has improved in the last few years, I’ve clearly still got some work to do when it comes to tucking in that backside:

Can we say “swayback”??  Yikes!

Fitting the My Double dummy took two of us; it’s virtually impossible to do it alone.  (We’ve done it twice, now.)  Mr. Noile pinched, pushed, and pulled very patiently, and then we unsnapped it and sprung me from the carapace.

Mr. Noile was impressed when we were done:  “The amazing thing”, he said, “is that it looks just like you!”.  He’s right; it really does.  Or rather, it would if I were made of wire mesh.

When I reassembled Miss Bedelia on her stand, I checked the waist against my own measurement, and quickly realized that she was about two inches larger all around than my own body.

That made sense.  You can’t really press the wire sufficiently into skin in order to replicate a body perfectly.  However, you can get the basic shape, so all I did was evenly pinch out the extra inches where shaping was not an issue (mostly, that is, in the sides).   I checked every measurement carefully against my own as I worked, and soon Miss Bedelia was ready to go.


“My Double” Instruction Booklet

Miss Bedelia: My New Dress Form

Replacement Rods for “My Double” Dress Form

(Yes, the weight loss was deliberate, and very slow, over many months. I decided that I didn’t want to age with the burden of additional weight damaging my joints, affecting my coordination, and limiting my ability to be active and flexible.

Yes, it’s a pain.  Yes, it requires constant attention, and a complete review of what “portion size” means to those of us who live in the abundant USA.  But it is worth it.  It’s also worth doing it very slowly.  Unless you change habits, no “diet” will prevent weight from returning.

No “diet” here, by the way.  Just eating reasonably healthy food, recording everything I ate — accountability makes a huge difference — and  controlling portion sizes without fail.  I used the budget plan — so many calories a day to “spend”, and nothing eaten after that total was reached — three meals and a small snack, and no eating after 7 PM.  If I stayed up too late and wanted a snack, I reminded myself that I’d have another chance to “spend” calories tomorrow.  This is the lifetime plan, not the get-skinny-for-the-next-event plan.

The trick was finding out what worked best for me, long-term, not trying to adapt to someone else’s idea of what you might find satisfying.  The difficult part for me was identifying which tastes I love; I had a hard time, at first, learning what I enjoyed tasting, since I used to eat without paying much attention.  Then I gradually began slipping these new, enjoyable, flavors into my diet, and training myself to notice and enjoy them.

Oh, also critical for me:  identifying non-food rewards.  If over-eating is how you get through the day, it makes a big difference if you replace detrimental choices with other interests or diversions. Just eliminating bad food choices usually isn’t enough, long-term, for people like me who, for instance, tend to think of sugar as the food of the deities.  It’s really important to replace bad choices with good ones; just trying to eliminate the bad choices/habits usually doesn’t work too well for humans.

By the way, a fascinating book about related issues is “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  It’s a great read for anyone who wonders why habits are so hard to break.  However, I think the oft-mentioned Target anecdote — it’s about a teen pregnancy — is probably apocryphal.   Just my opinion.)

Categories: Fun, Tips, Tools Tags:

Whimsical Purse Mod

April 13th, 2012 2 comments

I love Baggallini purses; there’s one for (almost) every occasion, and I own way too many as a result.  Usually I want a purse that can be used as a shopping bag as well as a handbag, and Baggallini has plenty of those, but sometimes I want the most minimal thing possible.  That would be Baggallini’s surprisingly well-thought-out Teenee Baggallini.

What I don’t like on this small bag, though, is that metal plate on the front.  It snags inside my purses when I use the Teenee as a wallet, and it adds an unwanted few ounces when I’m wearing it cross-body.  So I remove them.  This is tricky, but possible if you’re careful.

First I take a small, thin, screwdriver and carefully lift the plate from the front of the bag.  Then I cut a very, very small slit in the lining behind the nameplate and gently pull the logo support from the back, on the inside.

This leaves two holes in the front of the bag, and a small slit in the back.  I use a bit of clear repair tape over the slit in the back ( you can buy it at camping/recreational supply stores).  Because these bags are kicky and fun, I cover the two holes left in the front with an embroidered patch from Demeritwear.

Here is the cookies and milk  badge for my orange bag:

I choose this one for the color, of course, but I also for the whimsy of the motif.  The embroidery is bright and clear; the patches are meant to be ironed-on, but I hate ironing stuff, so I just stitch them in place.

If you don’t know Demeritwear, you should!  They make cheerful, kooky, silly and yes, even dippy, little “merit badge” patches for all occasions.  (Theoretically they are “demerit badges” — maybe because scouting has the originals all wrapped up? — and there’s a story, but it’s not necessary to go into that here.  Check out the website if you’re curious.)

These nicely made embroidered badges would be fun as faux buttons on tee shirt shoulders (or amusing faux epaulet-like decorations) , as identifiers on kids’ back packs or lunch bags, as logos on jackets, hoodies, or sweatshirts, or as a decorative touch on rear jeans pockets.  I use them on and in my packing system, too, so that I can tell what’s in my packing cubes.

Other ways I’ve used these badges:

Case Mod

Packing Cube ID

Disclosure:  Please read it a the bottom of the Case Mod post.

Categories: Accessories, Bags, DIY, Fun Tags:

Packing Cube ID

February 3rd, 2011 2 comments

I’ve been using packing cubes forever; I love the way they organize my traveling life, even though I often forget what I’ve packed in each cube.  Since I generally wear black while I travel, everything looks the same inside a packing cube.  This is a bit inefficient.

I’ve now solved this vexing problem by sewing Demeritwear badges onto my packing cubes.  Here’s the badge I’ve sewed to the shoe cube (there’s a high-heel patch for those  who are less utilitarian than I):

This one’s for the “tops and bottoms” cube:

This for the outerwear cube (hoodie, jacket — stuff for in the environment, hence the “earthy” patch):

This sporty one is for specialty gear (workout clothes; bathing suit; silk  longies for winter):

And this badge is for  the “dainties” cube (Demeritwear calls this a “tanning” patch, I think, but it gets the point across):

(Got a shadow across the bottom of the “tanning” patch.  I’ll try to post a better image when I get a chance.)

It doesn’t hurt a bit that these patches make me grin every time I see them.  Sometimes a weary traveler just needs a bit of whimsy along the way.

Note:  I think all Demeritwear badges can be ironed-on now, but I always prefer to sew.

Disclosure:  Please read it a the bottom of the Case Mod post. It doesn’t amount to much, but I want to keep the FTC happy.  That’s our job as citizens, don’t you think?  Keeping the government happy?

Categories: Adventure/Travel, Fun Tags:

Case Mod

January 1st, 2011 1 comment

Apparently my mania for adorning my suitcase is unstoppable.  I’ve added little, personal, “de-merit” badges to the cover to complement my “destination” souvenirs:

The three small circular badges running across the center of the picture represent (left to right):  storms at sea; rum in cocoa afterward (incredible!); and snow, glorious snow — three totems of my favorite travel experiences.

These quirky badges are from Demeritwear.  I love the clarity of their designs, and the quality is also really impressive, which isn’t something you can say about a lot of this type of thing (see Budapest badge, above, for example!).

Demeritwear shows only a few uses for their clever embroidered patches on their website.  They suggest adding them across tee-shirts, or to baseball caps, and they’ll even sell you the shirts or caps in question, if you like.  I probably wouldn’t use them this way myself, but I’ve managed to find a few things to do with them.   If, like me, you don’t own an embroidery machine, but sometimes want a little something along those lines to spruce up a project, you might like these.

Disclosure:  As a result of a communication unrelated to this or any other blog, Demeritwear added several unsolicited patches to an order I made with them, along with a great note.  It’s easy to love a company that responds to suggestions with appreciation and a positive response, but no one at Demeritwear knows that I have a blog (at least not yet!), and, as I’ve been crazy about these quirky little badges for years, I can affirm that I haven’t been successfully bribed to say good things about them. Thanks to the FTC, though, you can draw your own conclusions about that!

RelatedHow To Find Your Bag Anywhere

Categories: Adventure/Travel, Fun Tags:

Felt Gift Bags

December 25th, 2010 14 comments

Just in time for Boxing Day — that is, if you’re doing nothing else today — are these felt bags, shamelessly copied from ones Starbucks sells every December.  (Or, at least, for the last few.)

The Starbucks bags are much smaller, made out of much denser felt, and have a slightly elasticized ribbon as the closure.  Apparently, it pays to have a factory at your disposal in China.  (The Starbucks bag, which I bought, sells for only $4.00, so I’m guessing they’re not made by union labor in Seattle.)  I had to make do with plastic bottle felt and OTC ribbons.

The overall design has a nice retro feeling, and the contrast is so much fun:

Fortunately, plastic bottle felt comes in a huge number of bright colors (that’s about all it has going for it!), and is very, very inexpensive (and 60 inches wide).  Each of these bags cost well under two dollars to make, and are a lot less offensive to the eye than the horrible (and pricey) paper holiday gift bags that are ubiquitous this time of year.

Here’s the pattern (yeah, I use the fancy “freezer paper” method):

Drafting this is incredibly easy:  Decide what size you want, draw the front, add quarter-inch seams, then draw the base to fit, and finally, the triangle for the sides.

Stitching is likewise fast and easy; I used the side panel color for thread, and made sure to stitch with the contrast color up so that the stitching line was as even as possible where it was going to be most obvious.

I made myself a little scheme so that I’d remember what buttons I’d planned to pair with what bags:

Do note that there are some more somber combinations here, including a rusty burgundy paired with black, and a dark green paired similarly.  Something for everyone!

These bags were a little too floppy, so next time I’ll double the fabric for the fronts and sides, and stitch around the tops and the handle openings for additional support.  Made more sturdily, these might get re-used, a thought that makes me happy!  Regardless, they’re a quick, simple, and very rewarding little project.

Categories: Bags, Fun Tags:


September 4th, 2010 2 comments

SewStylish featured handmade pincushion doughnuts in the Fall 2010 issue.  (Why do they do this?  I mean, feature Etsy artisans?  Are readers of SewStylish really going to go out and buy stuff they could make??  Of course not; we’re going to be inspired and copy.  It’s not a bad question, is it?)  Anyway, I’ve been needing a pincushion, and, even more, needing a small, quick project that would get me back in to the sewing room.

Fortunately, I don’t like doughnuts, so there was zero chance this would send me to the local bake shop, or even to the kitchen, to overindulge.  If I liked doughnuts, I’d prefer chocolate, so that’s what I made.  It’s made of ordinary cheapy craft felt, but the pliable kind, not the stiff stuff.

I cut a doughnut-shaped piece of plastic and inserted it into the stuffing at dead center so that there was no chance that I could stick a pin all the way through, since I intend to wear this on my wrist.  That should be deliciously ludicrous — but quite practical.

Sniping aside, everyone should go to WoollyDuck on Etsy and see what the deranged and brilliant person behind the shop has done with felted wool.   Absolute genius!   Could I do this at home?  Not on your life.  So maybe SewStylish wasn’t so far off base, after all —  maybe it was just the the focus of the article that was off base, and SewStylish should have been celebrating the craft, not just featuring pincushions.

Mr. Noile has vetoed buying “Fish and Chips” (what’s his problem?!?), but somebody should, because it’s utterly amazing:

Yeah, with newsprint wrapper!

WoollyDuck Fish and Chips

Categories: Fun Tags:

The LBD (Times 365)

May 19th, 2010 4 comments

Uniforms.  It’s what we sewists hate, right?  But what if you only had one dress — say, one LBD, like this one:

Here's the front, with an inverted pleat.

And the back, with a full-button opening.

Sheena Matheiken began an experiment in fashion sustainability in May, 2009.  What if she were to wear only one dress for an entire year?  365 days?

How do you design a dress that can be worn all year around? We took inspiration from one of my staple dresses, improving upon the shape and fit to add on some seasonal versatility. The dress is designed so it can be worn both ways, front and back, and also as an open tunic. It’s made from a durable, breathable cotton, good for New York summers and good for layering in cooler seasons. With deep hidden pockets to appease my deep aversion for carrying purses.

Actually, there were seven dresses, all identical, because, I suppose, doing laundry every night isn’t anybody’s idea of sustainability.

The dress part of the project was intriguing enough, but Sheena and her crew went one step further.  They called the exercise The Uniform Project, and turned it into a fundraiser for a group that educated children in India.  Here’s how Sheena described the other part of her mission:

The Uniform Project is also a year-long fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in India. At the end of the year, all contributions will go toward Akanksha’s School Project to fund uniforms and other educational expenses for children living in Indian slums.

Here she is on July 10, wearing her LBD as an over-dress.  The red trim is under the dress, and then picked up again by the belt:

Halfway through, celebrating the sixth month anniversary of the Project.  The front pleat gave her enough room to add a petticoat beneath.  Add a collar, a satin cummerbund and those great gloves — and wow:

On January 5, with a t-shirt under and a sweatshirt pastiche-of-a-corset providing a burst of color:

On March 24, with just a big belt, a cowl and exuberant tights:

On January 21st, an over-T and a wrap belt:

There’s more, much more at The Uniform Project.  Click through the calendar at the left to see each day’s image.  Sheena is adorable and gamine, but there’s plenty of inspiration for those of us who are neither.

Sheena’s styles get quite wild and crazy; I’ve deliberately chosen the most conservative in deference to those of us who like character, but who aren’t gamine types (or very young women) ourselves.  But every day of Sheena’s project is worth viewing — it’s a real treat.  And, though the Project is over,  it’s not too late to donate to Arkanksha, either, if you like.

For fashionistas, there are notes for each image describing the accessories, etc., all of which were thrifted or donated to the Project.  As of today (May 19, 2010) the Uniform Project has raised $94,742.00, enough, they say, to keep 263 kids in school through the Arkanksha Foundation.  The fashion may veer toward the wacky, but there’s no more down-to-earth goal than educating tomorrow’s adults.  Good work, on all fronts, Sheena and crew!

Categories: DIY, Fun Tags:

PR Weekend Diary

May 17th, 2010 15 comments

Ever wonder what a PR Weekend is like?  Here’s a whirlwind recap of the last few days in Philadelphia:

First, the incomparable Kenneth King put on a wildly entertaining show, hauling out a number of amazing garments from his bright red suitcase and describing how he went about designing them.  He was wearing an ornately embellished blazer he got at a thrift shop or consignment store, to which he added incredible frogs to replace the buttons and buttonholes:

He was very, very funny, extremely personable, and completely accessible.  His presentation was an off-the-wall,  rip-roaring way to start a fun weekend.  There wasn’t much ice left unmelted by the time he was packing up.

He started off by telling anyone who hated fur to just shut up.  So we did.  Kenneth King is a force of nature; you don’t argue with that.  Ignoring the fur part (see?  I’m still not talking fur), the lining on this bolero was incredible.

He started with a photo of trees (with snow on the branches?), used the photo to turn the limbs to shadows, then pin-pricked the pattern, dusted through the holes to reproduce the pattern on the lining, and so on.  I hope I’m describing this particular garment — I may be conflating this with another.  There was lots and lots of awesome “so on”.  If Kenneth King is in town, get on the train!

The topic of the day was embellishment, and we’d all come with kits of goodies so that we could play and experiement.  Kenneth showed us a bunch of useful techniques, and brought along samples, too:

Interestingly, he did not bring any books for sale, owing, he said, to an agreement with his publisher.  He had quite a few tales to tell of working with his publisher, so any would-be authors also walked away with a bunch of information that was likely to come in handy.

I kept trying to get just the right shot of his gadget kit, but, hey, it’s a real tool box, and he was using it, so this was all I ended up with:

I’m pretty sure that’s an industrial-strength cosmetics kit.  Clever, and perfect for the job!

Then we were on our own for lunch in the area; my two companions were almost too-patient with my peculiar food needs, even though I tried to liberate them several times, but in the end we were rewarded when we found Asian Bistro, and bento lunches at a very reasonable price, including, in  my case, miso soup:

Yeah, I know.  No fur, but I eat fish.  Neurological issues; it doesn’t seem safe not to.  (I’d like to note that it’s not easy escaping meat in Philadelphia, whether or not you consider that Cheesesteak sandwiches contain actual “meat”.)

Afterwards we caught the Phlash loop to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a behind the scenes look at the textile collection.

Oh.  My.  We gasped and ooohed our way through a half-dozen garments.  This bodice is from one of the gowns; the flowers are paper, and the fringe is thread.  Carolyn was standing next to me, plotting how she was going to duplicate this amazing finery at home, so I’m counting on her to come up with her version ASAP.

The curator was very accommodating, turning edges and folding each garment so that we could get a really good look at the details.

I’m a local, so I went home at this point (I was up at 5 AM catching the train after only four hours sleep), but dinner at a pizza place near the hotel was included in the weekend fee.  Not pizza, it turned out, but a full-fledged Italian dinner,  with cannoli for dessert (be still, my heart!).

The next morning it was into the big yellow school bus (really!) for a trip to Philadelphia’s Fabric Row.  Lee had her hands full with 39 of us on the bus; she resorted to counting us, largely, I think, because the din was overwhelming, and there was no other way to make sure all the chickens were in the coup.

The driver looked as if he were flying gang colors what with the headgear and the pants, but he couldn’t have been nicer, and, although he got lost twice in New Jersey, he got us back on track quickly.

Philadelphia’s Fabric Row is a little thin if you’re used to NYC, but somehow it looked as if most of us found at least something to buy.  Lines were long at PA Fabric Outlet, where prices were seriously low, especially for lace, trims, buttons, and one of my favorite vices, tapestry-like wide trims.  This was probably the busiest Saturday in memory for them, but everybody managed just fine.

Lunch was on our own on Saturday, too; I ate early (breakfast had been at 5 AM)  at Moaz Falafel, but I won’t do that again.  As I was  munching at the front counter, a guy in a filthy white van pulled up and honked.  A Moaz employee came out of the restaurant,  threw open the sliding door and dragged a huge plastic container — just like the ones I use for clothes storage — across the (dirty, dirty) empty van floor.  Then he replaced the lid, which had apparently popped off while the van was in transit.

The container, obviously not food-grade or anything close to it,  was full of the cilantro sauce I had just put on my falafel.  Swipes someone had obviously made with a cloth or sponge were clearly visible inside the top half of the container.   My falafel was a little gritty; now I didn’t want to think about why.   The employee shot me a very worried look (I was alone at the counter), as well he should have.  Gag.  No more Moaz for me.

Nonetheless, I lived to shop again.  Shudder.

We met back at the bus and headed for London Textiles across the bridge in New Jersey, which is where things got crazy.  London is a wholesale operation, so it’s like a large warehouse.  We were handed a price list, based on type of fabric, but what really got us mobilized were the last two lines:  wool or silk remnants $5/yard, all other remnants $3/yard, must take whole piece.  Remnants?  Must take whole piece?  Honey, take this box of Godiva, and you have to keep it ALL!

It looked as if the locusts had descended.  There were a half-dozen or so deep bins full of fabric, mostly from one to six yard pieces (that is to say, from $3 to $25 for the piece), everyone of them with a crowd of women ducking in and out, fishing for gold.  Some people were surprised to realize that the cost was per yard, not per piece, but this didn’t seem to discourage anyone, and I’d be surprised if anyone left without at least one remnant.  Volume in the bins was noticeably down by the time we left, but there were beautiful silks, linens and cottons from rolls flying out the door too.

No pictures.  That would have required focus that I just couldn’t muster.  Also, I was climbing into the remnant bins along with everyone else.  I was busy.

Thence to Jomar, kind of a Philadelphia sewing institution, and one upon which many of us are heavily dependent.

On the website, it’s the Swanson store, but it’s on Jackson Street, a few blocks behind IKEA, over by the water.  Jomar stores sell huge quantities of junk liquidated goods, but each store also has a huge (and widely varying) selection of cheap, cheap, cheap yard goods.  You name it, Jomar has it:  everything from the most coarse burlap to filmy designer silks to home dec.  Mimi, a PR volunteer, told me that Jomar started out selling returns from places like Garfinckel’s, the venerable Washington department store.  That merchandise would be several hundred grades above what’s currently sold on the first floors, but there are  amazing finds to be had upstairs at any Jomar if sewing is what you have in mind.

Jomar is notorious for very slow service at the cutting tables (if you go, consider a weekday during business hours for best service), but they had been warned by the PR team, and they really rose to the occasion.  The staff was whipping through the cuts as if they were slicing butter.  Because we’d run a little late at London Textiles, we’d all chipped in a dollar to hold the bus for an extra hour, but if people were held up, it was because they couldn’t stop shopping, not because Jomar wasn’t on the ball.

Several of us had trains to catch, and couldn’t stay later, so our PR coordinators arranged with Connie and  Andrea for transportation back to the hotel or to the train.  It was great that everyone was so accommodating, and I was really pleased that I hadn’t had to skip the afternoon in order to get home when I needed to.  Sheila, Elizabeth and I had just enough time for a quick bit at Cosi at the 30th Street station before our trains.  (There was one last joke on the quasi-vegetarian — the Cosi guys accidentally served me a roast beef sandwich instead of my roasted veggie.  Just after I had determined that the portobello I was looking at had a strange texture, they came chortling up to make the switch.  I hadn’t taken a bite, and the veggie sandwich — way under 400 calories, was satisfying and delicious. (Salad, by the way, involved 1.5 times the calories.  Gotta love labels.)

What was the best part of a completely great weekend?  Seeing so many women wearing clothes they’d made themselves.  An amazing number of attendees wore their own creations, many of which I recognized from blogs.  It was so cool to see them in person!  Auntie Allyn’s dress looked great in her PR review, but was even more smashing on her.  (Vogue 8659, here I come, and may  you look 1/6 as good on me as you do on Allyn!),  Connie’s Vogue 1090 suits her to a tee, and I loved seeing Lee’s just-finished turquoise tunic.

Paula McP’s “happy pants”/linen top were so much fun, and her Asian jacket was gorgeous.  (She doesn’t have a sewing blog, so I lobbied for one.  She’s hiding treasures from us!) There were  so many wonderful garments, all of them great reflections of the women who made them, and a treat for the eyes — not to mention inspiration for the fingers.

The garment that took my breath away in its perfect simplicity, in part because it suited the wearer so perfectly?  Claudine’s linen dress with chevrons:

This picture doesn’t do it justice; you have to see it on Claudine to realize how perfectly it suits her.  (In fact, Claudine’s blog pictures don’t do her justice:  She’s always so serious.  In person she has a lovely smile, and is the soul of grace.)

Claudine embroiders.  Really, really well.  What you can’t see clearly on this dress (although there’s a close up on her blog, and a larger image available) are the beautifully worked and placed chevrons at the bodice and along the sides.  Meticulous work, and so perfect for the dress as well as on Claudine.

PR coordinators and volunteers Karen, Andrea, Lee, Kisha, Mimi, Annette and Elaine did a great job coordinating this first Philadelphia weekend, and rolling with the few bumps.  I especially appreciated the booklet we all received with bios, the itinerary, maps, and a list of the stores we visited (includinf contact information).  My only suggestion?  Make sure that everyone’s blog is included in her (and potentially his) bio, as well as their PR names.  I want to keep tabs on what all these creative people are doing!  (Prior to the weekend, I made up this list, but I’m sure I missed someone .  .  . )

Plash photo credit:

I see my shorthand got away with me:  This is a recap of a weekend in Philadelphia organized through Pattern Review, popularly known as “PR”.

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A Sewing Weekend

May 1st, 2010 6 comments

I’m looking forward to an upcoming sewing event — it will be the first time in a long time that I’ve gathered with a group of sewists I haven’t met.

Because I’m awful at keeping people straight, I’m reading all the blogs I can find that are written by those who have signed up.  It’s really exciting to see how varied the attendees are, in every way.  All kinds of sewing styles, abilities, and interests are represented — it’s going to be a fun couple of days!  Here’s the list of blogs I’ve captured, below, in no particular order.  Have I missed anyone?


Lindsay T Sews

Sweet Notions

Adventures in Couture

Sewing by the Seat of my Pants

When Ladies Dressed

Dressed to a “Tee”

Happy Sewing, Happy Knitting

Diary of a Sewing Fanatic

Curtain to Coats (Deepika’s blog; made invitation-only on 4/9/2010)

Miss Celie’s Pants

The Slapdash Sewist


Another Creation

Vacuuming the Lawn

FabriCate & Mira

Nancy K Sews

sewl sista #1

Capitol Sew and Sew


Red’s Threads

The Mahogany Stylist

Mia’s Sewing Room

DD’s World

Sew Tawdry

La Cubanita Cose

Update — two blogs I didn’t catch earlier:

Shiela Crochetz Threadz & Knitz

Sew A Beginner

By the way, a note to Blogger bloggers:  Do you realize that you may be missing out on comments because of your settings?  If you don’t allow name/URL comments, and/or anonymous comments, people who don’t have (or who don’t want) Google IDs or Blogger IDs can’t contribute to your blog, or praise your work!  I often want to leave comments, but can’t because of the settings you’ve chosen.

Since many of you also don’t include any contact information, I can’t even let you know that I wanted to comment, but couldn’t.

By the way, a safe way to write an email address for contact purposes is to put it in your profile and write it out:  sewist [at] sewingblog [dot] com.  That makes it difficult  for spammers to collect your email in an automated fashion for their nefarious purposes.

Related:  A couple of geographically-related Noile posts — Organization, 1798 Style and Early Olfas and, also, Embellishments

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