Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scary Patterns: Creepy Clowns

What kind of twisted person did the artwork on this pattern envelope? That taller clown is the creepiest, most horrifying thing that ever haunted a Stephen King story.
View 1, lower right corner i plenty creepy as well. Is that lipstick on her mouth, or blood?  Best not to look too closely.
The brave or twisted soul who made this pattern back in the dark ages of the 1970s was so traumatized that She  quickly folded it up and crammed it back in the envelope. She never made it again, ( she had her reasons)and it languished until my sister found it lurking in an antique shop in North Carolina.
Are you brave enough to make this? Maybe you have a dark and twisted evil streak that enjoys scaring small children with clowns, so that they grow up and live in Maine and write multi-million selling horror stories.
If one or both options are true, find it here.You have been warned...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Match Game

Some people take matching seriously. Mr. Hunting Creek and I were cruising through Old Town Alexandria last Saturday, when I spied this car/house combo..  "Look!, Her car matches her house!"  Mr. Hunting Creek looked, then willingly drove around the block again so that I could take a picture. (Normally he doesn't approve of backtracking.) This car matches her house, the doors and shutters. Do you suppose she has that parking pace reserved? I say she, because what Red-blooded American Man, even in liberal Alexandria Virginia, would have a pink car and a matching pink house? No man I know.

I like matching, but lately tie fashion is to Not Match. It actually bothers me to see models wearing black hose and white shoes. Perish the thought! That combination will never be seen on my legs. I don't think necessarily that shoes must match purses must match belts, but I do like it when they harmonize. When I choose fabrics to go together, I like then to have something in common to talk about.I don't want my top and pants or skirt to sit together like two deaf mutes at a funeral. 
I may be too conservative here, but it is difficult to change after a life time of matching. That's why we so often see old ladies with hairstyles from their youth, frozen in time. ( I always wonder, don't those ladies have daughters? Their daughters are slacking! My daughter would march me right to her favorite hair stylist and say firmly, "Fix This.")
What do you think about modern matching, or the lack thereof? Do you mix it up? Would you wear black tights with white shoes? Discuss.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just For Fun

Just for fun, I thought I'd make these little houses for Christmas place settings. Aren't they the cutest?
They only need tiny bits of fabric and trim some Timtex and glue.. Most sewists I know have lots of little scraps that would work. Add cute buttons, sequins, glitter, paint...and they're done. They would be a fun project to do with kids, too.
(Of course I say that so blithely, now that my kids are adults and won't hog all of the prettiest glitter, or spill beads all over the kitchen, or fight over who gets to use the pinking shears..Some people find that making stuff with their kids is like entering a special circle of hell. To them I say, well, maybe you'll be better off making these alone. But really, MY kids liked doing stuff with me. They happily slopped glitter all over everything. I still have the stockings we decorated, and they still have a ton of glitter on them.)
These  little houses would also be fun for a Halloween Party in spooky colors, or Thanksgiving in Fall Fabrics, or birthdays...or - whenever you need an adorable little house.Want to make some too? Find them here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pattern Peeves

 Don’t get me wrong, I love how the pattern companies are issuing some patterns now with pattern pieces for different bust sizes. I love that. I  really do. But it seems like they are only doing the easy ones. The ones I could do myself in my sleep. So we get this one with the bust sizes done for us, 

but not this one,

which I am sure you’ll agree, is more of a puzzler.
In the interests of attracting more sewists to our beloved pastime, I have a radical suggestion to make to the big companies: offer all of the patterns with bust adjustments. And don’t forget our A size sisters, please. Please offer all of the patterns in all of the sizes too. I know you can do this: you offer some of them in size 20-28 and some starting at size 4 and 6 so I know that you know how. We can all agree that people come in all sizes and it would be nice if those multi-sized people could find their sizes easily in pattern land. I have friends who are size zero and friends who are size 26. I don’t discriminate based on size and the pattern companies shouldn’t either. It’s just good business to make more people happy. So what do you say? Will you issue this Vogue pattern with the bust adjustments for us? Because believe me, it’s making my head hurt trying to figure it out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It Runs in the Family

Just minutes after I posted my Mystery Pattern Theater post, both my daughter and my sister told me that they NEEDED the red Chado Ralph Rucci dres I had featured. Vogue 1317 from their Fall catalog. (We also like the same colors, books and must be genetic)
This pattern has some interesting construction features, looking at the line drawing:
MISSES' DRESS: Dress has low neckline slit, close-fitting bodice cut-in-one with sleeves (slit), side back bodice extending into uderarm gusset, lined midriff, single-layer tie ends (wrongside shows), skirt with side front/side back seams, side front pockets/vents, invisible back zipper, stitched hems, and self-bias binding. Topstitching and edgestitching.
FABRICS: Synthetic Suede, Lightweight Double Knit.
Unsuitable for obvious diagonals.

From reading the description, it sounds like the bodice has some unconventional construction features, including a lack of side seams and underarm gussets (shades of retro-fifties dresses!).
I have never done an FBA on a dress made like this, so a muslin is definitely in order. Especially since I want one of these for myself..
(On a side note, do the pattern companies ever say This pattern suitable for obvious diagonals?I don't think I have ever seen that. Diagonal prints can be very flattering. I wonder why they hate them.
The pattern matching n this one would be a puzzle, so I think that's why they don't recommend it)
I'm watching for the next Vogue sale, because this pattern will be mine.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Not to Do

Beginners always start with the complicated. They decide to learn to bake and decide their first project should be a buche de Noel, or a croquembouche, instead of some nice, simple brownies. When they start to sew, they want to make wedding dresses, prom dresses and jeans, instead of pillowcases and aprons. It was always thus. When I was in high school sewing, they made us make ditty bags for PE or some such nonsense, and I couldn’t be bothered. For one thing, everyone I knew did not haul their PE Clothes home in some dumb bag – we crammed them into our backpacks bags on pain of death (you will wash these weekly or get an F in PE.) and always forgot to tell our mothers to wash them until late Sunday night, hauling back damp clothes (if we remembered them at all) on Monday. (I can still hear my mother yelling that “you knew you had to wash these two days ago, why wait until the last minute?”) Anyone who knows how to sew knows that making simple stuff is hard enough. When I get tired of making shirts or blouses ( so many details! So much finishing! Buttonholes!) I make a tee shirt. Tee shirts are easy but I’d never tell a beginner to start there. There is just too much to explain and grasp before we even get to tee shirts. No. Instead, I’d say in a cheerful voice, “How about a nice PILLOW?” The new sewist is full of scorn at this suggestion. They want to make a skirt! They see a burgundy velvet pencil skirt with black piping. An invisible zipper. Lining. Or they need a party dress for this Saturday. Nothing good can come of this idea, but there you go. I freely confess to making party dresses and hemming wedding dresses not only at the last minute, but doing the finishing touches while Mr. Hunting Creek turned the key in the ignition, I am not the best person to ask to teach a beginner how to sew and/or cook. It’s clear that I live for danger. I am the Flying Wallenda of domestic arts. I could teach you what NOT to do. That would be a good place to start. We’ll start with what not to do: Do not make a wedding cake for a friend in the summer in Virginia. It’s HOT. It is against the laws of Physics to set your air conditioning to absolute zero so that the frosting doesn’t melt. Do not get roped into volunteering to host the cheerleader Christmas Dinner. (It started to snow. It was originally going o be a Progressive dinner, with entrée at one house, dessert at another, but the coach decided that was too dangerous, with it starting to snow and all, so she said could I have all of the teams at my house? And all of the courses? Oh sure, I said, weakly, not envisioning the utter overwhelming Extreme Perkiness of 60 plus cheerleaders in one place. Now you know – Do Not Try This at Home. Don’t volunteer to make your daughter’s duck costume for the third grade school play. Because what will happen is, the teacher will see it and then ask you to make ALL of the ducks, because the other mothers are Lazy Slackers…I mean, Busy Career Women who do not know how to sew, in self defense probably, now that I remember all of those duck costumes) Don’t make a recipe you’ve never made before for people you don’t know. It might be a huge success, it might be a disaster. I’m betting on disaster. I of course do this all of the time, but remember, I Live For Danger. I’m the James Bond of Domestic Arts. And finally, don’t give the secret recipe for your baked bean casserole to anyone, unless they swear to never reveal that it consists of Mrs. Bush’s beans and a pound of Bacon. Just sayin.