Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Midwinter Linen Fantasy



It's the end of January. The only thing worse is the beginning of February. Lord get me thru February, the worst month of the year. It is just so cold, snowy, wet and raw and undriveable. It makes one housebound. From the living room picture window we watch our Road Agent, Emmett Bean, go by in the town plow,  keeping us able to get out of our wintery nest. We stay in. We hunker down. We wave to Emmet as he goes buy. We cook. We bake. We read and do all sorts of things requiring little movement and even less excitement. I sew as I can fit it in. As much as I love to sew wools, this depressing time of year, give me some great linen. This annual request has been answered nicely.



At this time of year a piece of beautiful linen is so good for the soul. It reeks of lightness, warm memories, summery days and swishing, dry, comfortable fabric around one's dark legs. Sometimes linen can be a topper, a big, loose Tiltonesque tunic that lets any breeze blow through. Or linen can be pleated shorts, the type that are almost triangle in shape, never letting a bit of summer heat alter their comfort level. Do you remember when linen was a tailored blazer, pressed to perfection, that arrived at work or some other event, looking so horribly wrinkly that you just died of embarrassment? But it was linen, in my best whiney voice.   Tailored linen pants would make horrid crotch wrinkles, baked in by the morning work commute, so awful. I used to be on my feet almost all day with my former career. I would carefully hang my linen trousers in my air conditioned car and drive to work in a pair of PJs, seriously. I would get there way before I needed to, put on my perfectly pressed linen pants and not sit down until later in the day. My linen trousers would manage to look maahhvalous for most of the day and they were so comfortable to wear. Alas, that time of my life has ended and I have moved on to other linen endeavors, somewhat less based on my vanity.



I have found more linen, beautiful linen, in thrift shops. I glean it from the larger women's sizes and it usually can be found in full skirts, pants and suits. The skirt above is clamped in back to keep it up on the form but is a size 18. I can often manage enough for most any garment I want to make for myself.  This could mean taking a suit jacket apart but for the price of great linen, what the hay? At the huge Goodwill I am lucky enough to live near, I recently found an Evan Picone skirt that I would say at most was mid sixties vintage. The cross dyed plaid linen is exquisite and in my favorite colors, a bit of black, some white and a water colored aqua. The deep knife pleats held a huge amount of fabric. The skirt went to the floor on me, hemmed, and was over three yards in length. I remember having a legitimate excuse for not having this ironed for the photos but here it is. After the pics, it was washed, the waistband removed and all the pleats easily pressed out with my Rowenta and a lot of steam. I've got a lot of fabric to work with here.


 I know, not pressed yet, but this is the back zip area. The zip  on this is a beautiful installation. which I have recently found in an old Threads issue.


In an article by Cecilia Podolak in issue #43 you will see the exact same type of zipper installation, hidden deeply behind the pleats and laying very very smoothly. With some ironing in my previous photo it would be entirely invisible. Those old Threads issues are priceless, BTW.


This zip lays as smooth as possible and matches beautifully across the plaid on the exterior, very impressive. Not bad for my two dollar investment, don't you think?

What will this be? The more I think about it, the more I think it will be another swishy and cool summer skirt, but no sharp pleats. I may have pleats but will gather them in as I did on the Cuba skirt. I so love this linen! Are you longing for summer sewing? There is nothing that says you can't start now. Suffering from cabin fever in the depths of February? Go for it! Sew something light and airy that you will enjoy wearing all season. It's never too early....................Bunny

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Standards of Fit, Part Two



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Nice sweater dress fit, without being all body con. 


Why is fit eluding us and why don't we know what good fit is? There are lots of reasons. 

* Most schools do not have garment sewing in their consumer classes, instead, emphasizing utilitarian sewing such as making pillowcases, putting on buttons, etc. You won't learn about fit if you don't learn to sew garments.  If you are blessed with a family member or friend or neighbor who can mentor you,  it is one of those special things that is passed along, like Mom's Pot Roast recipe, but most of us aren't that lucky. 

* Styles often dictate fit. Think of jeans. Some years they are baggy, some years skin tight, sometimes pleated, and so on. All of these changes have a distinct effect on fit. You can know how to make a perfectly fitting pair of trousers, but if the skinnies are in, what do you do now and what is the standard for that?

* We wear generic sizes like Small, Med, Large and XL, 2XX.  and so on. Who even knows what this is? My husband wears XL. He is not overweight or real tall. It is the same with women's clothing. There is no standardization. But what if I am a real size, one that is in between med and LG? I buy the medium and its snug. I buy the LG and it's big and sloppy. I need a size in between for a good fit and it's not there so because it's not there I think that Med and LG are what I am and I can choose to be snug or baggy. I can't choose to have a good fit and it's just not fair or right. This is done by manufacturers as limiting the sizes like this increases margin hugely, really. Read it in the NY Times! 

* Retail clothing manufacturers use NO, did you hear me? NO standardization of sizing. I can wear a size zero in a 600.00 Ralph  Lauren trouser. (That was fun to try on and look inside.) I take a size 6 in a Gloria Vanderbilt 24.00 dollar jean. Gloria does not talk to Ralph regarding fit standards so we need to get over what we think our size number is. It doesn't matter, to them or us, so, no retail size standards exist between manufacturers.

* Sewists, and this is often quite a revelation for our newer sewing friends, pattern size has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the size of clothing you wear in retail, Just get over it. Throw that concept out of the window and start fresh like you never bought a dress before and work with what the pattern is using for measurements for a start. Good fit will always elude you if you pick your retail size in the pattern size. Promise. Oh, one of my favorite "overheards"is "is this pattern true to size?" Wha? True to whose sizing, Ralph's or Gloria's?  I need "sum splainin" on that one, please.

* Another reason why fit is eluding us is our good faith. We take it for granted that the people who design patterns, the companies as well, know what they are doing. We assume they are using trained pattern makers or hiring out for those skills. On the other end of the spectrum are those who never worked in the garment business or went to design school and yet are designing and  selling patterns, sometimes really cute ones.  Do we really expect them to provide great fit?  Do your research and check Pattern Review and blogs for honest reviews. Designer/company FB pages have opinions that are pretty much fangurled for these types of patterns so don't expect to find consistent, honest opinions there.
Overfit? Smooth all over, but can she sit down?


* Another valid reason good fit eludes us - we just don't know something doesn't fit. We are forgiven for this one. Our friends and families don't know either. We float out the door and glide by their admiring faces. They have no clue either and are so blown away by the fact that you just made this dress for the prom. So why bother? Because you have put dollars, effort and passion into making your "perfect" garment and shouldn't settle for inferiority. If you look at the garment on you in the mirror and it fits like a dream you will walk out of the house full of confidence, proud as can be, and ready to start your next sewing challenge. You will look wonderful! Your clothing will look triple the price too!  You will rock the room!  We need to know what good fit is as well as have a set of  Standards by real professionals to explain it. My search ended with a document by the ASDP.




Enter the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals! The ASDP, established in the early 80s,  is a non-profit organization of design and sewing professionals  who provide business training, professional development, networking opportunities and even a Master level certification program. It is for those who have sewing related businesses whether that be designing patterns, making felted mittens or dressing others in custom clothing and  so much more. Here is a link to their website which explains more of who they are and why you should investigate even if you are not a business. They have been very gracious in allowing me to link to their immense knowledge base to help us all understand a bit better exactly what good fit it. This comes with authority and from the eyes of custom clothiers who have worked very hard and long to provide the public with this information. I thank them tremendously for their generosity. Please visit their site and check out their page on Facebook as well. They will be holding their annual convention in Danvers, Mass. this year and the info is there. 

In 2008 the group developed a document, "Standards of Quality for Custom Clothing." It is a 54 page PDF that covers everything a well made custom garment should be, from fit to clothing details to actual design. While we may not think we do custom clothing, every time we pick out a fabric in a color that enhances our own color and in a style that flatters our own unique body, we are making our own custom clothing. Doing this as a business for clients means there are expectations and standards to be met when dealing with them. We deserve at least as much for ourselves. This document is amazing and touches on every aspect of constructing a garment from visual design principles to  technique. I felt like I found the Magna Carta. It is a learning tool for all sewists and may be just what you need as your sewing evolves. There is an entire section on "Quality Standards for Fit." from pages 23 to 31.  This is immediately followed by a great ease chart for every single part of the body. There is a bibliography at the end of the fitting section to further help with fit issues.  I suggest reading this document and keeping it handy on your phone or in a notebook by your machine, to refer to with your next fitting challenge. I would also like to thank the members of ASDP for what clearly is the huge work they put into this. It is here for all of us, newbies and expies (my new name for experienced sewists, feel free to use), a remarkable reference by professionals for all who love sewing. 

Here are just several nuggets:

Darts end approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) short of the fullest part of the curved area. ( This rule kept repeating over and over in nearly every book I picked up.)

* Sleeves - . The sleeve cap usually extends about 1 / 2 inch (1.2 cm) from the shoulder point then drops vertically. 

* Armscye - The armscye is in line with the front arm crease when hands and arms are relaxed at the sides.

These are just three pearls of wisdom for you and there is so much more in the PDF. I know you will appreciate its value and its source. Thanks again to the professionals at ASDP for this and allowing me to quote and to their gracious communications director, Aiese, for taking time to speak and share with me and now you. 

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For a dropped shoulder this has no wrinkles and the armscye lines right up with the arm crease. It is not overfit and looks so perfectly comfy and flattering.


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I also thought I would offer  some of my thoughts based on what I have seen and personally experienced as to what constitutes a well fitting garment. Style trends can have effects on this opinion as in jeans, bodycon dresses, and other styles but for most garments this is what we are shooting for. Keep in mind these are just thoughts that are in my own mind based on what I see out there as well as my own issues. Feel free to add  and share your own. I am not going to repeat the basics that I have seen in the reading I have suggested for you already, just some of my own musings. 

* A well fitting garment skims. No where is it too tight or strained or pulling. See the lovely beige dress above. 

* A well fitting garment glides smoothly over the body. There is ease built in  for comfort in moving. 

* Armscyes are not too low as in low enough to show undies and not to high as to look          uncomfortable. 

* Pants crotches are not to low or long or too short and snugging up into the body creases whether they are trousers, jeans or leggings. 

* Pants back waists do not dip when seated.

* Pants and skirts do not have horizontal wrinkles right below the waistline and above the hips. 

* Hip pockets do not hang open, particularly slanted front hip pockets. 

* Rear pockets are placed equally and are in proper proportion and placement to the size of the bum. 

* Skirt/dress/blouse hems do not ride up or hang down in the rear or front of the body. They are equal distance from the floor all around the body.

* Backs of bodices do not have pools of horizontal wrinkles above the waist.

* Darts end before reaching the apex of the mound of flesh they are providing shaping for.  The larger the bust/hip the further back the end of the dart. Again, this was stated in every single book, vintage or new, that I pulled out. 

What would you add? 

Overfit??? While smooth, the crotch looks high and uncomfortable. 


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I'd like to add a bibliography here that is based on my own experience. I haven't read the Leighty/Rasband book yet or the latest from Kenneth King but will add them here as I know from others they are fabulous. Thank you to those who contributed thoughts on a bibliography and I will pull them all together here for us once again. 

                         Kenneth D. King's Smart Fitting Solutions by Kenneth King, just out

                         Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zieman

                         Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina, many versions published


                        Fashion Sewing for Everyone by Adele Margolis

                        Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A multi-method approach  by Leichty, Rasband
                                  and Steineckert

                        Creative Clothing Construction by Allyn Bane

                        Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations by Sandra Betzina

                        Pattern Drafting, Women's Institute,   an e-book

I hope you enjoyed this series and will add any thoughts you may have on what makes a well fitting garment. Thanks again to ASDP for their help in pulling this blog series together for you. Happy Fitting...............Bunny





                        








Monday, January 14, 2019

Standards of Fit, Part One


It hurts to look at these pants with the tight crotch and waist so tight it is pulling the zip. These must be great to sit in.


I cannot tell you how long this blog post has been simmering. It clicks in my mind NOT every time I see a poorly fit garment but every time I see someone say "I love this top/skirt/whatever that you've made and it fits perfectly"  and it doesn't.  Then there are the  times someone posts a picture of themselves in a garment with their bum having an uncomfortable wedgie, wrinkles over the boobs, inches and inches of horizontal fabric at the back waist and all their friends telling them how beautifully it fits. I would never spoil their proud moment but they are walking away thinking their garment fits and it doesn't, at all.

Let's start by saying this post is not a blame game or a judgement of the sewists and their admirers. It is about a lack of education. As stated, I have wanted to post about this topic a long time and one of the things that hung me up was the lack of information on the subject.  It is not easy to find this info. But let's go back logically even a bit before that. Do we even know there are Fit Standards?


Yes, Virginia, there are Fit Standards. I made it a project to find them. Did anyone teach them to me? Not directly. Did I see poor fit on myself? In the beginning only if it looked "stupid" or felt uncomfortable. I saw a wrinkle. I pinched it out, end of fitting. One suggestion for newbies at this game is to join up and frequent the Fitting Woes Forum  on Pattern Review. It will really open your eyes. Posters with wrinkles and poor fit that they can't seem to understand post their pictures, dressed in the garment,  and then experts kick in with what exactly the problem is and how to correct it. Often we know there is an issue but just what is it? Is it a forward shoulder, dowager's hump, knock knees  or some other awfully named fitting challenge? Members are welcome to post their own pics and ask for help and the group is very generous with it's positive commentary.  Reading this often will help you develop an eye for what is right and wrong. Before you know it you will be standing in line at the supermarket wanting to fix those butt wrinkles on the pants of the person in front of you. But this is just an awareness  lesson, albeit a very good one. If you should decide to post a pic and ask for help know that you should keep it simple with a straight up front, back and side full length picture of you in the garment. No need to raise arms or get in in odd positions. It only makes it harder for the experts to diagnose your issue.

Oh, I saw so many pics that would make my point in this article but did not want to post them for obvious reasons. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I did search retail garments and marketing pics for patterns for examples and that is what is shown.


Pattern Review Fitting Board can be a start but I wanted more solid, proven information and pulled out my sewing books. I went to my two favorite fitting mavens, Nancy Zieman and Sarah Veblen. Their books were typical of the many more I searched through. Great advice on how to fix your specific wrinkle/tight issue. If you knew you had sloping shoulders, large bosom, protruding derriere, here's what you do. But no book,  other than the few I will mention, started with a discussion, picture, or anything about what a well fitting garment should look like, what we are  shooting for in our finished garments.  Is that unnecessary in this age of sweats and yoga pants? Maybe, but even those should fit you properly or you risk the slob effect. I dug further.

Yes, you can avoid the whole issue with clothing that is cut super large but do you always want that look?

My first reference to what she calls "standards for a perfect fit" comes from Sandra Betzina in her book, "Power Sewing".

In a nutshell, she uses one page to tell you that "to fit a garment perfectly start with the high chest area." and gives great tips about the garment fitting smoothly in specific areas, where the shoulder point is naturally, sides seams being perpendicular to the floor in pants and more. This was an introduction to the concept, IMO, but gives one only a taste of what good fit could be. Her key word: "smoothly". She suggests a custom fitting class for yourself as time well spent. This is just one page but on the right path.





I looked through all my books, really nothing in contemporary books about what constituted a standard for perfect fit other than Betzina's words. I decided to look back. Good move. A bit of disregard had to be paid to style trends from past decades but the concept of what great fit is was definitely found in two books and much certainly applies today. The first book is  The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction, revised, C1959. Edna Bishop was the sewing queen of her day and her mantra was grain, grain, grain and how it effected everything done with your sewing efforts. She has a chapter in this book called "The fine art of fitting your clothes" and it is very good. She bullets 16 points that make for her perfect fitting garment. I won't copy those all but will list a few highlights. This book is old enough that I can copy word for word and these are hers. 

* It fits smoothly without wrinkles, strain, or bulges and without sagging. It hangs gracefully and smoothly from the shoulder and the waistline. It should never have to be pulled into place. 
*The neckline should not ride up. 
* The armhole should be one inch below the armpit. 
*Front bodice and bust darts STOP SHORT of the crown of the bust (apex) but are in line with it. (1959 here peeps. Who says vintage dresses have darts to the apex?)
*Hip darts STOP SHORT of the fullest part of the hip.
*Side Seam hangs perfectly straight from armhole seam to hemline.

This is just a gleaning and she provides much more detail in the book. She insists you can't get a good fit without getting the right size pattern, using the best style for your figure, wearing the proper undies, underlining properly and much more. It is definitely worth checking this vintage book out of the library to read Chapter 8. A neat quote from Ms. Bishop: "Fine fitting is one of the main differences between poor and good dressmaking."


Next I reached back for one of my all time favorite sewing books, also vintage, and in my opinion, priceless! This is "Fashion Sewing for Everyone" by Adele P. Margolis. The diagrams in the book are dated to the point of being cute but they are simple and they get her points across very clearly. Best of  all, Ms. Margolis is an incredible teacher. She is very clear, articulate and posesses an amazing sense of humor that is widely seen throughout all of her books. On ease, she says "just the right amount of ease is the goal. We don't want you flapping around like a scarecrow, like June, bustin' out all over." There are great drawings to simply illustrate how grain effects fit and how it must appear in a garment. Some of her thoughts on fit, direct quotes from Margolis:

* The waistline seam of a garment should be about a 1/2 inch lower than the natural waistline.

* All circumference seam lines are curved to follow the natural curves of the body: neckline, bustline, hipline, hemline, etc.

* If fitting your wide shoulders as per the rule makes you look like a football hero in full regalia, by all means set the armhole seam in to narrow the shoulders.

Don't you just love her wit? While Margolis will teach you a lot about fit and have you laughing through it, this still wasn't quite what I was searching for. I wanted a list of sorts, something sewists could refer to when they look at their muslins or basted garments  and don't quite know what is wrong with it but know that something is. I wanted something compact and organized. Most of all, I wanted something that professional garment makers said were the Standards of Fit, a voice of authority. Of course this all had to be in understandable prose as well.  I went back to Dr. Google for the umpteenth time and I think on page three of results on a recent afternoon found the Holy Grail!

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This post has turned into something filled with a lot of info and therefore quite lengthy. I've decided to do it in two parts. Please share your thoughts in the comments and come back for Part Two. Thanks for your patience,,,,,,,,,,,,Bunny.
ETA: I will be away this long holiday weekend back to see friends in NY which I am really excited about. There is also 2 feet plus snow predicted there and here so it could be  interesting! I have been putting the final touches on the next blogpost and it should be up once we get back early next week. Thanks for you patience. May you all be safe and snuggly warm in the cold weather!...Bunny

Saturday, January 12, 2019

So proud!


I am so proud of my grandaughter. She is eleven and we have just started sewing lessons. She is very artistically gifted and loves and excels at all things crafty. She has wanted to learn to sew on a machine for some time. Her other grandmother and I got together and made her birthday special with all that she would need for a long sewing life. Her "Momo" got her a Brother cs6000i and all of it's add ons, the additional table, every additional foot, etc.  "Bunbun" contributed all the peripherals, a great carrying case for her sewing visits, various scissors, patterns, markers and other fun notions we all love.


The machine has been ensconced in my workroom in it's special place next to mine so we can sew together. It was purchased after reading lots of reviews and consultation between Momo and Bunbun. We spent our first afternoon getting it out of the box and putting it through all of its paces for basic sewing. This machine got great reviews on PR. I was very leery of the price range but if you want a great backup this is it. I would not hesitate to buy this machine at all. I think it is an excellent value.  What I like about it the most are the pictures, which you can't see, that clearly show you how to fill the bobbin, thread the machine, and such, right on the machine. I realized also how much I missed sewing with a large removable extension table. It has my Pfaff beat on that one but that was an add on. I LOVE, and so does Carly, the adjustable speed. When I had her doing practice stitching on paper, she would dial down the speed to maneuver the tight curves and they came out perfectly. She took to this like a duck to water. Not once did I have frustration with her managing the machine and Bunbun made her do everything so she could learn. The only issue I have seen with this machine, and the manual is honest about it, is the needle threader. It works just fine, to a point. We threaded the machine with Coats and Clark thread for our project. The auto thread pulled the thread through the hole and it was shredded somewhat. I  read the manual and it said, paraphrase here, "if you are using inferior thread, manually insert the thread into the needle." So, there!!! I will try another brand next time! All in all this is a great starter machine, back up machine, and then some. 


Once we had the machine dealt with our next block of time was spent with pattern work.  We used a Green Pepper pattern  that we found on the spinner rack at Joanns. It is called the Polar Beanie and has several variations. We did the basic Boarder Beanie.


There was a lot of discussion of the envelope, a lesson in how to neatly fold it to get it back in the envelope. This worried Carly as she is VERY organized. Then it was onto grain, selvedge and the actual pattern cutting lesson. This is a great pattern for a beginner project. It goes quickly and teaches the very basics. For fabric, we used the Luxe anti pill fleece in the thinner weight. This was suggested when I asked the associate what the best quality fleece would be. It is nice. Also, , it wasn't a major issue, but fleece is not the greatest fabric to use for your first project. I would suggest a nice cotton knit next time. That being said, I taught Carly how to use a "cheater" cloth piece to start her seams so they would  not get stuck in the bobbin and also taught her about using special needles and such. I actually showed her the difference using a universal needle and a stretch needle made and how to "hear" the difference in the sound so she would know the needle was wrong.Such a quick learner and she mastered the cheater cloth technique perfectly and we had no issues. We straight stitched the seams with a bit of stretch as she sewed and did a triple zigzag to finish. She liked that. Once done, she put her hat on, and wore in my home for the next three hours till her mom took her back to Boston and had it on all through that. She loved her hat and we cut one out in navy for her twin brother.She has it all marked, cut and ready to stitch  on her next visit. Her lessons also consisted, before we started anything, a fun visit to fleece heaven, aka, Joanns, for fabric. I taught about maneuvering the fabric store, looking at bolt ends, the pattern books and table, the coupon app on the phone, and a grand tour. We picked out a pattern for our next project, a cute skirt and she is leaning toward one of those fancy denims. As soon as her brother's hat is done we will move on to that. I am teaching her to work and focus on one project at a time.  For both of us it has been a really positive experience. If there is one word to describe Carly's personality it is "Unflappable". This made my job easy and let her love every minute of the process. She didn't tire, get frustrated or have difficulty with immature fine motor skills. Her retention was impressive as she did the second bobbin winding of navy thread totally on her own and then set it in the bobbin case. We are shooting for every other weekend. Mom and Dad have a second home up in New Hampshire not far from us so this is very convenient. I can't  wait to shop with her for the skirt. I have such fond memories of fabric shopping with my own grandmother.  And so it continues.....................Bunny

Friday, January 4, 2019

Where did they go and why????

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You know what they say about curiosity and the cat. Well, my curiosity just wouldn't let this go. My mind kept rambling over the idea that many people that I began blogging with no longer were doing so or were doing far less frequently. I thought about how life changes and along with it our priorities, interests and responsibilities. Do I dare say passions change?  I doubt they do because I really think one of the requisites of owning a passion is that it can consume you and never let you go. It can take a recess but will always resurface. Those types of thoughts  kept rambling around the gray matter until  curiosity got the best of this ole cat. 

 I have picked three very popular, well known bloggers who have been around for over a decade each. They have large followings and large blog rolls exhibited in their sidebars. No judgies here, just using their sidebars to establish some facts. I then did a spreadsheet with their blogrolls to see if my thoughts held any weight. Here is what I found out: 

Combined, the three Divine Sewing Bloggers had a total of 115 individual blogs listed for following in their blogrolls. I did no overlaps.  Of the 115 blogs researched......

  • 55 are currently and regularly blogging, less than half,   :(
  • 3 of them have not posted for one month, hmmm, that could be me,,,,,,,,
  • 33 have not posted in 6 months, one of which was a business
  • 18 have not posted in one year and 6 of those were businesses
  • 17 appear to be gone forever and I can't even find their blogs

What I am gleaning here is that there is an original bunch that still currently enjoys blogging none of which are promoting businesses. That is how the original blogosphere functioned and was enjoyed. You could click and read your favorites and not be bombarded by ads, popups, demanding links, etc. It was just prime content and substance all about sewing, real meat. I have to add in here a few of my old faves that I sorely miss are the Sewing Divas, still searchable, and Pins and Needles with Summerset Banks. These blogs, and certainly others, were rife with inspiration and quality. Those were the days, my friends..........but with all things technological,  times change. 

Also notable is the amount of bloggers that used their blogs for promotion that have disappeared. I think your heart has to be in to blogging as much as it is in to the subject you are blogging about. I can't imagine disliking writing, taking pictures and then turning it into a business about something I love. Talk about taking the fun out of something. I totally get that cut and run. I frequent FB sewing pages and there has been some buzz here and there by newbie sewists about blogs, real blogs. They are heavily discussing and sharing who has the content and who is worth the time. Here is what I've learned. Newbie sewist/blog readers do not like promoted blogs. They do like sewing content with technique and inspiration. They do not  like self promotion as in wannabe model blogs with no discussion of the pattern, construction, etc. They are tired of blogs by indie designers and find them boring, quoting here.  Again, they are discovering blogs with quality content and passing it on among themselves  as a great way to learn sewing. I love this. In the early days of the indie pattern blitz I saw, as did others, a definite bit of age discrimination. This came up several times on PR. There was no need for it. Now I see a coming together, a respect for what more experienced sewists can share and an appreciation for our newer sewists and where they are coming from with their busy lives and often limited budgets, not that that can't happen to those of us of a different age. I  do want to shout out to Mallory and Zede Donahue of the Self Sewn Wardrobe and their podcast, a mother daughter team that have been machine dealers, teachers and now have their FB page, fabric store, teach, podcasts, etc etc. They really show a love of sewing and sharing between the generations and I highly recommend it to all. They are both skilled and have such delightful and different viewpoints. I think the days of that generation divide among sewists is over!!!!Thanks, Zede and Mallory. 

Also notable, the number of blogs that now seem permanently gone. Thank you for your efforts. If you made it to the blogroll of the three bloggers I used, you were good! We miss you. We know that life changes. I just pray that you are all healthy and getting life's dreams fulfilled and if you still love sewing, it fills your hours.  On the other side of this equation, there are many, many new bloggers I now enjoy that I didn't a year ago. I love being able to click on names in a sidebar or in a link I've found that are new to me. I promise I will clean up my own roll and share them with you.  I have lost my old blog roll, in one of my transitions, but will start fresh. If you feel I missed you and you are currently blogging, PLEASE let me know. 

That is the Where Are They Now spreadsheet. Your thoughts and experiences? Suggestions for bloggers? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Quite a year!

This is the time when sewing bloggers review their year of sewing accomplishments, fails, and appreciation for their readers. Some even report yardages used and yardages bought and such. It is a measure of productivity I guess but I've never quite been into those numbers. I will say that over the past year I have developed the habit of purchasing fabric for specific projects, a new behavior for me. I am happy with it so far. I believe part of that is the lack of quality fabric stores in my life where I can be seduced by color, texture and drape, sigh...........

2018????  It really effected my sewing in new ways. We sold our home and spent the first 6 months of '18 in a tiny apartment and with not one stitch being sewn, just no room. I continued to work full time while our new home, far away, was being Fixer Upped. I thought we would never get here but we did and it was so worth the wait. I sold so much of what was in my sewing room going through each book, notion and fabric with a "will I ever really, really use/sew this?" mentality. Bags and bags were given to a quilting guild that devoured all my garment related "stuff" and asked for more. I accomodated, less to move in the end.

Moving day finally arrived and what remained of my passion found a very large, well lit, dry nearly finished space to accommodate all my goodies. On moving day the comments flew back and forth as what remained of my resources filled nearly half the truck. Luckily my son in law totally supported me, telling all the helpers I was a woman with a passion and I was happy and they were all blessed to have me this way and just keep unloading, please. Rob gets it. He collects Porsches with three currently in the garage. He totally gets it!

It took a while to get my space organized, then after sewing a bit, getting reorganized because now I knew what I really needed where. I am now in a good sewing mode with my new space. I made some things as time went on with Vogue 9305 being my favorite. I hope to make it again shortly in some wools.


In the past year I went from working full time in my beloved Wead Library, in very laid back upstate New York, with the most wonderful women ever,  to being at home, to working a 20 hour a week part time job in New Hampshire, aka, metro Boston.  Let's just say we now know why we left the rat race and moved to that area of New York. We are back in the race. I am working far less and accomplishing the same it seems. I feel like I hardly ever stop and it is a real struggle to get my sewing time in but I am getting better at it. When I say accomplishing, I mean those things I am passionate about. The good thing is my husband and I have spent much time  pulling this house together. We sold nearly all of our furniture as well, which we don't regret at all.That has meant we have spent days and hours shopping in stores and on line, building furniture we've ordered, hanging pictures and drapery, ironing said long drapery, and it continues. In case you didn't know I did interior design for quite a few years and it has made my tastes very simple, and very particular. Nothing comes fast in decorating this house but we have no regrets. Our master is finally done with the addition of drapery this weekend and I love it. So lots of disposable time has been spent decorating.

Another time spender cutting into my sewing has been family and I absolutely love that. After 12 years of being too far away, we are very close  now  and can attend games, races, birthdays, days at the beach, etc. It is wonderful and I wouldn't change it for anything. It is the big reason we moved. One daughter has a second home on top of Plymouth Mountain, 35 minutes away, and we have glorious times visiting up there with all the family, chilling, eating, hiking and all the woods toys, atvs, snowshoes, boat on the lake, etc.

Life is very busy, very good and we are very busy and happy. Now for the future:

I have many sewing goals. I see my sewing changing. My clothing needs have changed. My part time job is a jeans and tee shirt, dress for the weather situation that I need no clothing input to improve or affect.  I can use some more casual supermarket and church clothes so that's what you will see coming up.

*  I will shortly startly seriously teaching my youngest granddaughter to sew. We have scheduled time and lessons. I have, third time, reorganized my workroom again to accommodate her new Brother machine and a special place for her to sew next to me with my machine. I am soooooo soooooo excited about this and will spend as much time as possible with her doing this. The great news is she is just as excited as I am. She asked for the machine for Christmas. She asked her mom if Bunbun could teach her if she got a machine. She is very artistic, crafty and I can't wait. She is also a delight to be with.

* Another sewing goal in process for 2019 is, choke, choke, quiltmaking! I say that because I was a serious quilter many years ago, 70s and early 80s. My first love will always be garment making but I do love a certain type of quilting. When I tried it back then I met a great deal of negativity from the guild I belonged to because it was "different". Back then it was all traditional. I left the guild, my kids were well into their grammar school careers and I went and started my own. Quilting went by the wayside and I had the thrill of sewing suits for years for my work. Loved that! Now there is a huge "Art Quilting" movement that has really appealed to me. I have started a project, fingers crossed. I am not a block maker or a piecer. I actually detest that type of work. I like putting fabric down in a painterly fashion to make a pictorial statement. We'll see how that goes.

* Actual garment goals for the year are to do more tops, perhaps some more artsy things. I have found the most incredible fabric store 15 MINUTES from my home, It is stocked to the brim with garment and quilting fabrics, very high end. Think Marcy Tilton, amazing Japanese fabrics, etc What has really blown me away about this shop are the quality notions. There are threads here that I have only read about and dreamed of owning and so much more.

* Another goal is to get back to smocking. The exquisite embroidery flosses and perle cottons I saw in this store have really inspired me. My fingers are itching.

* Meetups with other sewists are on my agenda. It has been hard with this now crazy, busy life but I hope to make this happen. We have much much more to do on our home. As soon as the weather warms it will be attack the outside.  It needs as much serious work as the inside did. We bought this home as the last home we will own and to be near our children. It is a home I never would have bought ten years ago. It is a mid century ranch with lake front. Everything is on one level and it has all we need to age in place for a long long time. We have roots establishing already. We have plans lined up already to hit the exterior bigtime in Spring. That will surely eat up my creative time but you know, this will not last forever and in the end we will have the home we want and I will sew my heart out.

* My final goal to share with you all is to blog more. I have a too long list of half written posts that I really want to share. I WILL find the time. I value each and every one of you and your comments and visits. I will keep this going. I may share a post or two on furniture refinishing or art quilting but the sewing garments will always continue. I hope the blog will just get more interesting than it has been.

Thank you , to all of you , who have been a part of my journey over these years. Let's continue and may 2019 be our most creative and blessed ever. Happy New Year everyone!


The Periwinkle Linen Dress

The Dandelion Dress served as the muslin for the Periwinkle Linen Dress. I love them both and they  are really both quite different as...