30 April 2011

A Small--Actually, Petite-Large--Complaint About That Dress

Don't get me wrong: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is a beautiful woman: a spectacular infusion of high quality commoner DNA into the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Windsor gene pool. And The Dress, with its lovely lace assembled by all those nimble, clean and not under-aged ("The RSN workers included existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and students, with the youngest aged 19.") fingers at the Royal School of Needlework, was elegance itself. (I could watch this video tour of the RSN all day.)

The Service


Why did this "level-headed" and "down-to-earth" royal bride decide to button herself into a bullet bra and bodice "narrowed at the waist" drawn "on the Victorian tradition of corsetry?" With padding on her hips, yet!? Did the soon-to-be most copied wedding dress in the world have to be constructed in the shape of a Barbie Doll--and not just Barbie, but the Barbie of the 1950s? I know (actually, I learn from royal wedding coverage) that the corset is a hallmark of "British brand Alexander McQueen" design, but I also know that at least one Alexander McQueen model has passed out on the runway as the result of over-enthusiastic corsetry.

If it was necessary to give the bride a fairy tale figure for the wedding, why not also give the groom a full head of fairy tale hair?

20 April 2011

My First Award: I Am All That! What's It To Ya?

Whoopee! Mary of 3 Loved Ones, 2 Cats and a Bird Brain has graciously bestowed upon me the I Am All That! What's It To Ya? award.

IAAT award

This prestigious honor, created by Beangirl, brings with it the responsibility for answering five urgent and important questions:

1) What size shoe do you wear? If you wear a size 7, can I borrow your shoes?
It depends. Which foot do you want to know about? My left foot is size 7 to 7.5 (US women's) while my right foot is 7.5 to 8.5. Lately I've stuck to buying boots in size 8.5 and wearing them with cushioned hiking socks. You can borrow one but I'll need it back by Halloween.

2) 30's or 60's?
60s. 1960s, that is, although I'm also a big fan of Boudicca.

3) Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have?
Yes, but not as often as I'd like.

4) Have you ever been poisoned? Was it by the girlfriend of the person you kissed?? That is awesomely "Knot's Landing".
I've never seen "Knot's Landing." I do all the poisoning around here, thank you very much.
5) Who's on your "Celebrity Free Pass" list (top 5)?
1. Richard Armitage (the dreamy British actor and "Spook", not the American Imperialist spook and Tool of Big Oil.)
2. George Clooney
3. Sean Bean
4. John Hannah
5. Robert Downey, Jr.

But my heart will always belong to Paul Newman.

Now it is my very great privilege to pass this award along to:

1. Jane of Lempo Bee
2. Jane at Daisy Donut (and Ted)
3. Wearinbeads at I Want To Wear Beads Every Day
4. Peg at Deconstruct, Alter and Create
5. Psycho Sue at Sew Misunderstood

or 6. Button's and the Boy's Mom at Pendle Stitches.

Meanwhile, what have I been up to? I've decided that as long as I'm (re)learning how to sew I should (re)learn how to knit as well. I went out and spent an absurd amount of money on silk yarn and bamboo needles to make the wrap you can (barely) see in the picture:

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And having learned how much yarn can cost, I also set to work liberating the yarn from a dear old shapeless sweater:

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Oh, yeah, and somewhere in there I'll finish off the semester!

18 April 2011

Size Matters

Sorry, couldn't resist. I finished my KnipMode skirt and it is too big.

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I learned a lot making this skirt: it was my first try at tracing a magazine pattern and that went smoothly. I'm not afraid to trace anymore. I even got by on the Dutch instructions, although I had a bit of trouble with the prepositions--is that stitch on the seam or stitch to the seam? I had a good time topstitching it on my old Singer 15-91.

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But I messed up the topstitching by switching from one width for the horizontal stitching to another for the vertical due to complicated thought processes best not reproduced, but I can see that the various pieces come together as they should and would look pretty swell if the topstitching matched.

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But it's huge. This is particularly ironic because I stopped in the middle of making this skirt to whip up another Vogue 8151 top, a size larger than the last one and in a stretchier jersey, but still too small.

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I have concluded, in part from looking at myself in MMM'11 pix, that I should wear more fitted clothing, but I can't very well make them as long as I'm so totally delusional about the size of my body! Oh, well, live and learn.

16 April 2011

Polyglots Impress Me

May I just say how impressed I am by people who blog in multiple languages. CarmencitaB, for example, who blogs from Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (possibly Earth) in English and French; Nowak, whose Nowaks Nähkästchen (Sewing Box) contains all sorts of goodies described in English and German; and Carole Lombard(?), whose blog Irene Bullock brings charm and good manners to the world in English and Spanish.

Irene Bullock

There are many, many more polyglot sewing bloggers including, no doubt, many who blog solely in English even though it is not their first language. My first and pretty much only language is American English. In my defense, I spent most of my formative years in flyover country where the French and Chinese I studied in school withered for lack of anyone to try it on. But now I live in Los Angeles, where I could find someone to chat with in Spanish, Armenian and Moroccan without even leaving my neighborhood. Am I too old to learn?

11 April 2011

Stuff I've Seen and Stuff I've Made

I'm making a lot of progress on the Knip Mode skirt, not all of it forward. So here are some pictures:

First, a couple of things I've seen. This is the front stoop on a home in my little hometown in rural Ohio. I think it speaks for itself, although I'm not sure what it is saying.


And this was snapped on a visit to Toronto. You Canadians really know how to have fun!


Now, some things I've made. I made the dolls who lived in DD's dollhouse (until the real estate market heated up and it was sold) from pipecleaners, wooden beads, fabric scraps and sculpy clay. When the house was full I turned to Lord of the Rings characters because I have been a Tolkien geek since the 1960s. Here are a few I have made and given away:

Aragorn and Arwen








Frodo and Sam (Sam is urging Frodo to eat a little lembas).


Actually, the connection between my geekiness and my sewing and crafting goes back much further than these relatively recent projects, but right now I have no pics. So time for you to 'fess up--do your obsessions collide?

04 April 2011

While You Are Waiting . . .

. . . for pictures of my KnipMode skirt, check out this live feed of an eagle family (and its well-stocked larder) in Iowa, USA.
Decorah Eagles.

Marching into April with Another Try at Tracing

Let's see, I've successfully completed Me-Made-March '11 without, however, much documentary evidence owing to the ridiculous redundancy. Here is the last new thing:

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It looks like an old thing, and a blurry one at that, but it is another refashioned reversible flowered skirt.

Since then I have repaired the blouse I made from the Skirt-of-a-thousand-Repurposes by putting a cowl on the wonky neckline (didn't I match that pattern well! Well, my cat likes it.):

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I've also made this version of Vogue 8151. Nicely done as far as I went but I made it from a tightly woven fabric and It. Does. Not. Fit.

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Now I'm hard (very hard!) at work on this skirt from KnipMode April 2011 (scan nipped from Fehr Trade -- and go vote for Melissa's wardrobe on Pattern Review where she apparently calls herself squirlypoo?):


I'm making the skirt from a sturdy charcoal doubleknit. As I've confessed, I've never traced a magazine pattern before. This dizzying beginning, coupled with terse instructions in Dutch and their alarming Google Translations (Leg de naaden onder de belegband. = Place the band naaden under siege!) and the fact that I've never made a skirt with a yoke before makes this project a real adventure!