29 July 2012

Everyone's A Winner!

I know no one can wait to hear a progress report on my birthday book giveaway, so here it is: In Third Place is Jane of Lempo Bee! Jane purports to be a creative and very productive seamster in Australia with three totally adorable tousle-haired boy children. In fact, Jane's kids are so beautiful, and so reliably delighted with her craft and sewing output, that I am quite sure she has invented her whole life (created it out of whole cloth, as it were) and is really a hairy old man in Arkansas or somewhere. Nevertheless, I will play along and send Claire Schaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques to the address "Jane" made up in South Australia. Congratulations, "Jane"!

Jane's entry was scientifically selected by me reaching into the bag and pulling out the first scrap of paper I found. BO-RING. So to select Winner Number 4 I decided to use whatever number the winner of the Olympic Women's Road Cycling event was wearing this morning in London. Now, this was kind of risky, because there were over 60 entrants in the road cycling event, while only 8 lovely women are competing for my books. Luck was with me, however, and with Marianne Vos of The Netherlands, who won the race wearing number 8. Commenter number 8 was and still is The Perfect Nose! The Perfect Nose is an enchanting, energetic and imaginative seamster whose work was already adorable enough before she splashed paint all over a dress and made total magic this week. Or last week. Or whatever month it is in the Antipodes, where TPN sews and blogs. The Perfect Nose, conveniently, wants me to send her Leather Fashion Design, and plans to make leather jackets for her entire biker gang. I might have that wrong, but I think that's what she said.

I am totally loving running this giveaway, although the logistics have turned out to be a little complicated. It turns out it is cheaper to buy Couture Sewing Techniques from Amazon and have Amazon ship it to "Jane" than to send her my copy, so that's what I am doing. So that leaves 6 books for 7 commenters, which means the point of all this scientific selection is to pick a LOSER, not a winner. Well, that sucks. So I'll figure out something to send to the loser last winner and yes, that means, except for you losers who didn't enter, EVERYONE'S A WINNER!

26 July 2012

More Winning, and Some Thoughts About Underwear

William the cat has completely lost interest in naturally selecting winners for my sewing book giveaway so I've had to devise another method. Tradition has it that law professors grade final exams by throwing them down the stairs, awarding the top grade to the one that travels the farthest, etc. (This belief persists because students are otherwise unable to figure out why they got the grade they got and the exams are seldom returned with useful comments.) Let me make clear that I have never graded exams by this method, but it seemed like it might work for picking giveaway winners so I gave it a try. Here are the 7 remaining entries tossed down my front steps. (It's the San Fernando Valley so there aren't a lot of stairs around.)
IMG 0576

And the A+ goes to:
IMG 0577

Carole Mellin! Who neither chose a book nor left an email address or link, but wisely and wittily blogs at Mia's Sewing Room.

Meanwhile, Amity and I are going to meet on Tuesday July 31 at Michael Levine's Loft (where, I confess, I have never ventured) so I can deliver her grand prize in person and we can shop and talk and eat. We are meeting at 10:30 a.m. so any reader in Los Angeles is welcome to show up and join us. Let me know you are coming and we'll even wait for you.

Don't get any ideas, Carole. I'm not delivering your prize in person to Atlanta (right?), much as I might like to.

And now for something completely different: underwear. I admit it. I get chub rub when I wear a dress. The solution to chub rub (if you aren't wearing slacks, leggings or tights) is underwear extending down one's thighs. Unless one is willing to lose 50 or 60 pounds which, frankly, I'm not and it's rude of you to even mention it. There are lots of ladies' undergarments for sale that extend down the wearer's thighs, but they are almost all what is euphemistically called "shapewear". As if anyone substantial enough to want a lining between her legs is the wrong shape and wants--or, at least, should want--to be squeezed into a smaller, smoother one. The only alternatives I can find are bicycle shorts and pettipants. Pettipants seem to come in two fabrics: nylon and cotton. If I'm going to wear nylon in hot weather I might as well wrap my legs in plastic and leave puddles of sweat wherever I sit, while many dress fabrics cling to cotton.

I have no problem with anyone who wants to wear shapewear. Barbara of Sewing on the Edge wrote a thoughtful (all Barbara's posts are thoughtful) post on Spanx and I agree with pretty much everything she said. (Barbara is too tasteful to mention chub rub, which she probably doesn't have anyway.) I wear shapewear when I want to (almost never) but I don't want to feel like I owe it to anyone who has to look at me and I resent it being the only option for chub rub. Anyway I'd need shapewear to extend from my neck to below my knees or there would be a roll of fat wherever it ended.

This one might do, but does it come in my size? And can I get it with 3/4 length sleeves?
Vedette 350 marcelle firm control waist cincher

So when FabricMart offered silk cotton batiste for a good price (you know FabricMart is selling everything on the site for 35% off don't you? That sale might even still be going on if this post ever ends) I made myself some silk/cotton pettipants. Well, pajama bottoms, really.IMG 0563IMG 0566

I started with the Butterick 6837 pajama pattern because they are almost the only pants I've ever made, and reduced the width a lot. Then I cut off the elastic waistband I had just put on badly and tried another, wider one. That had the effect of raising the crotch which had been too low but is now too high, I think. Not comfortable. But the fabric is better than nylon or cotton knit so it's a start. I may try Evange's bloomer tutorial on YouTube next, but I am open to desperate for other suggestions. I just have this possibly small time between Kotex and Depends to wear something comfortable and I'd like to take advantage of it.

25 July 2012

How Science Selects A Giveaway Winner!

I've seen lots of blog giveaway winner announcements and most of them use some little random number generator that I can't find. I found it once before but I didn't know how to post its results on my blog. (As I age and my brain cells slough off I have to reserve the ones remaining for important tasks like rotating darts and finding my eyeglasses, right?) Anyway, that's dull. So to rank the winners of my Spectacular Second Blogiversary-Hundredth Post-Awful Birthday Book Giveaway I turned to natural selection. I wrote the name of each entrant on a piece of cardboard, folded them up, and put them on the sewing dining room table.

IMG 0570

Then I waited a half a second. Employing his uncanny senses and unerring instincts, William the cat came from wherever the heck he was and knew exactly what I needed.

IMG 0572

In a flash, he had selected the winning entry and pushed it onto the floor. It was a struggle, but I retrieved it before it went under the china cabinet, and the winner is ...

IMG 0574

Amity Originals! Amity reveals in her comment that she is a lawyer in Los Angeles (maybe William wants me to save money on postage and spend it on treats?). A glance at her blog reveals that she is also a skilled seamster and the Pattern Review member known as Spaiyq. Amity expressed a preference for The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff, so as soon as she emails me to confirm that choice or make a different one I'll send it off (or maybe deliver it in person?) and move on to Winner Number Two!

09 July 2012

My Secret Identity and A Reason--No, Two Reasons to Blog

Followers of this blog are no doubt already tired of my search for appropriate old-lady bicycling clothing. Here is the get up I wore to cycle around town yesterday (note superhero pose: when not filling the world with lawyers I fight crime on my bicycle):

IMG 0545

The tunic is Simplicity 3506, sort of,

IMG 0023

and the leggings are McCall's 6360.

90000 81939 product 1464297739 thumb large

Both are made of Dry Flex Knit, described by FabricMart as
90% Hi Wick Polyester/10% Lycra
Dry flex - high performance knit
Antibacterial finish
Moisture wicking
4-way stretch

The tunic is "sort of" Simplicity 3506 because that pattern has a small yoke at the front shoulder which is entirely missing from my version. And here's reason number 1 to blog: I cannot for the life of me remember where that yoke went. And I only made the thing a couple of months ago. It is pretty clear that after constructing the dress I needed to raise the neckline and the armscyes so much that the pinched-out portion swallowed the whole yoke. But could I have left myself a note? A little mark on the pattern piece to show what I did so I could do it again? A blog post with a picture or two? What was I thinking?

Most likely I was thinking that the modification I was making would not work and that I was this close to throwing the whole thing in a scrap bag, so why take pictures? But in fact, this became my favorite cycling dress, when it was a dress, so the other day I shortened it to tunic length and now it no longer gets caught on the seat when I dismount (or try to).

The leggings are a revelation! SO EASY! They are actually a bit too large, because when I am cutting any garment I figure only the very largest size will get around my magnificent rump. But SO EASY! I used Melissa Fehr's tutorial to put elastic in the waist and it worked beautifully! And I haven't done it yet, but the plan is to install a cycling chamois that I got from AeroTech Designs Cycling in a pair of leggings to make real cycling pants. If this works, it will be worth doing, because cycling wear is expensive, it almost never comes in a large enough size for a woman of substance, and it is even harder to find cycling pants that cover the knees. My knees have taken a great beating over the years should be heard but not seen.

And the second reason to blog? I forget what I was thinking when I wrote the title. Obviously I don't blog to share my extensive knowledge of sewing because my sewing is largely driven by bad fabric choices (the Dry Flex knit is an exception--it is very suitable for the purpose) and foolish shortcuts. I guess the second reason is just because I am lonely.

Update: Oh, I remember what I was thinking! A second reason to blog is to enjoy checking my stat counter! I never get very many hits (although every one is precious to me) but I am enchanted by the idea that someone whose ISP is in Toowoomba or Dublin or Rouen or Vevey or Chicago has stopped by my blog. Enchanted!

06 July 2012

Of Books, Dragons and Birthday Giveaways

As you no doubt remember I recently announced the end of the worldmy second blogiversary and 100th post. Well, things have only gotten more exciting around here: I have a Very Special Awful Awesome Birthday coming up Quite Soon. I was born in 1952, the last year of the Truman Administration and a Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese Zodiac. Here is my favorite Dragon, Smaug from The Hobbit, illustrated by the author J.R.R.Tolkien.

Oddly enough, that's a pretty accurate depiction of Casa KC, so as you can see it is high time for a Giveaway.
Since taking up sewing again I have acquired (new) a number of lovely and highly recommended sewing books. Some I use quite a bit, but some just lie around the cave looking pretty. So it is time to give some of the latter away, one for each decade of my life so far, and here they are:

IMG 0535IMG 0536Pattern Magic (in English) by Tomoko Nakamichi;Shirtmaking by David Coffin;Leather Fashion Design by Francesca Sterlacci;The Complete Serger Handbook by Chris James;Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Schaeffer;
The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff.

If you would like any of these books, please leave a comment here. Tell me how to reach you by linking to your blog or leaving or sending me your email address. If you'd like a second chance to win, mention my giveaway on your blog and then link to that post in a comment here. The giveaway closes July 20, 2012 at midnight Pacific Time (UTC-7). I'll draw winners at random and offer each a choice of the remaining books until they are gone. I'll ship anywhere on this planet. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Your mileage may vary. Don't try this at home.

02 July 2012

When Worlds Collide.

The high point of my DS's year is Anime Expo,which has been held in Los Angeles for the last decade right around Independence Day. I gather that Anime is Japanese animation, but whatever else it is to inspire a huge annual convention has completely passed me by. DS, however, takes advantage of our location to gather his internet friends from around the world to crash at my house before and after the Big Event. Ordinarily I avoid the whole thing, leaving town if at all possible, but this year DS decided to attend in costume as Roger Smith, The Negotiator. Don't ask me. This is he.
4 23

And this is our version, a little the worse for wear, made from a thrifted black suit jacket and white shirt, my winter cycling gloves, and a tie made from scratch (that is, from stash and steam-a-seam) by DS.


The slouchy pose does not do justice to my effort to tailor the jacket to produce that muscle-bound shoulder, nipped-in waist of the cartoon, but trust me it was fabulous. Or, at least, DS said it was cool. I don't care what you've heard; I am a good mother.

Kwik ButtMcVogue $1.99 Sale Mystery?

Through July 6 Kwik ButtMcVogue is selling off out-of-print and clearance patterns for $1.99 each, or less if you know the Club BMV secret handshake. I'm only posting this here because I found the sale site to be sort of wonky in a way that's worth knowing about, if it isn't just some glitch in my own machine. When I click on $1.99 Sale on the left of the web site I get a 3-page array of thumbnails from all 4 brands that says it will total 72 patterns over 3 pages ("1-24 of 72"). However, whenever I click a pattern and then go back to the array I see different patterns. So the actual sale includes way more than 72. Every time you go through the 3 pages you see different patterns from the last time. At least on my machine with my browser. YMMV.