Free your mind and Sew Groovilly


A dear friend of mine gifted me with a wonderful series of books recently- my sewing life is about to be enriched, I feel it.

Holy Man Jam, Boulder, CO  Aug. 1970

Have you ever wanted to sew and felt like ‘the Man’ was keeping you down? Do you ever feel stifled by the institutional strait jacket of fit and structure? Don’t let it get you down and harsh your mellow- The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book is here for you!

son of

I have long envied bloggists that do book reviews so I am very excited to take you thru the process of this marvel of a book that will soon liberate us all from darts, bras and societal beatdowns! Here is a quote from the dust jacket:

‘Yes, here is the straight-out dope on how to make your own clothing. No more mystique, no more sexism.’…’ Homemade clothes should not only be a ‘chick thing’. Does your old man need a new sarong? Has his hemp hoodie worn out? Don’t replace- ‘embroider on a pretty little patch’!hippies

One more stirring quote before I begin gathering my supplies and we get started on our adventure!

‘There’s a thing about high fashion- it’s pretty much a hype. All this raising and lowering of hemlines, these do-dos and don’t-don’t’s seem to us to be just a way for the clothing industry- big business indeed- to keep their thing going. We find Vogue and Bazaar magazines best for cutting up as collages. They are not under any circumstances to be taken seriously.’lsd_hippies

Alright. I feel less uptight already. Or maybe it’s the incense I’ve started burning in the sewing room. Boy, I wish Bruderlein would stop coughing.

Ok, our list of supplies seems reasonable and I already have most of them. Well, except the Raavi Shankar cassette and the copy of Prophet that I’m supposed to have. Well, I’ll pick those up later at the Co-Op I was told to join in the preface.


Now, what to make first.. No, don’t run ahead Anne, that’s a downer. Enjoy the vibrations of the cosmos and read some more Gibran. ‘If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees’. Hmm. This incense is making me really wants tacos..

Basic sewing section:

Casings, clipping curves, elastic, facings, no darts. Wait, what?


‘We don’t use darts on tops because we don’t use bras- they give your clothes a funny shape. If you want to make darts, you can figure out easily enough how to add them to the tops.’2240814610_78345b0942_z

Um, I’ve never really been a fan of the braless ness. My bunnies need a hutch, you know? You really don’t get good cleavage without a bra- I can’t go thru the day lying on my side to maintain cleavage in my braless state?! Ok, chill. This is my homogenized, sanitized, commercial, heavy, repressed upbringing making me sweat this. So I’m going to remove my foundation garments (clearly a man shackle, right?) and my little bracelet that says ‘What would Dita Von Teese Do?’ for this review. Dedication to my craft- I have it. I think I have to adjust my chair now.


Sewing tip:

‘When you first need to have snaps for something you are making, buy a large card full of assorted sizes; then you have them for next time. Same with needles and hooks and eyes.’

Phew! I was really thinking that my hoarding of textiles and such was going to be a problem with this books principles; luckily I will take this as a consumer compromise.

Another handy tip involves using nylon zippers as the metal is cold and scratchy against bare skin. Why must I have so much bare skin????? You know what else is cold and scratchy? My nipples. Sorry for that info, but I’m still a little bummed about not getting to wear my underwire. I’ll try to stop bringing it up. By God I will try.bra

Most of our manuals instructions are for hand-sewing. You can’t always depend on having power to run your big business hype sewing machine and as the landfills slowly fill with Berninas and Singers, our planet dies. I’m now so overwhelmed with images of the rainforest glutted with old overlockers that have become nests for toucans..sigh…

I’m torn- to accurately review this book, I should hand sew everything I make, but, as I would like to review this book within the year, I will break down and use this corporate tool- my Singer. Please forgive my lack of dedication.

The section on embroidery and hand-stitching is detailed and thorough. I can now embroider a butterfly, crescent moon or a peace sign on all of my old mans dress pants. He is thrilled. mermaid

Special tips about fabrics:

Nap- nap feels groovy. Nuff said. DSC08608

Grain- grain is well-defined and explained in the paragraph and additional thoughts on working with bias ‘ala Harlowe’.

Taking care of materials-

‘It’s better to take off crepe clothes before frying potatoes, if you don’t like the idea of having them dry-cleaned.’


‘Constant dry cleaning knocks the hell out of a fabric and gives it an unpleasant, chemical smell. Clean wash smells and feels a lot better. Also, washing cuts down on non-bio-degradable plastic bags which end up over the head of your favorite cat or child.’  Folks at home, I did not make that last part up, I swear. Even I would place a cat ahead of a child, even a favorite

For our next installment, I will cover the section on Remodeling Your Old Clothes. I hope that you have enjoyed this peek into a classic, please stick around for more!

In the meantime, I would like to leave you with a thought from the subject of our authors other works:

“The period between four and six in the morning is called the Brahmamuhurta, the Brahmic time, or divine period, and is a very sacred time to meditate.”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

I think I will go put my bra on and watch Project Runway. Oh, and Father- that was parsley. Don’t worry.


photo credits: google Images, The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book, meadhawg, little me. All images remain the property of their original owners.

New Textiles to caress and croon to….

Back in July, my beloved Aunt Magi gave me a gift card to for my birthday and it has finally been deployed! Help me plot and scheme, will you? As usual, please remember that all sensible suggestions will be ignored.hat

Now, I couldn’t locate the yardstick- I think I didn’t return it to it’s rightful place the last time I threatened the cat with it (I kid! Flannery would hurt me in my sleep) so I will use the Teutonic measuring system to show scale. Dachshund!!! Katze will not reveal her weight to you, but she states that she is perfectly breed standard. DSC08585


I thought this border print would work well with Mccalls 6600- 6600

Next: DSC08584

Perhaps Simplicity 1585? 1585

Or Simplicity 2308?


Hmm…. yes, I know it’s brown, Ma, but I only bought 1 piece of brown fabric, I swear! DSC08587

I’m thinking about Victory Roxanne- 2001

Ok, this is my Red October piece- maybe a Mathilde? DSC08593

These next pieces I just needed, you know- NEEDED! DSC08591


This would be Katze’s favorite, I think- who can blame her? Its pink and snakey?!


Have a lovely saturday everyone who made it thru my rambling- I must go make room in the Chamber of Textile Hoarding for these treasures!

Magi, if you are reading this- I love you and thank you so much!!!!

photo credits: little me, google images, pattern review. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Palette Play!

Gillian always makes me feel like a little kid heading to art class- the best part of the day after graham crackers, of course! Last week after I donned one of my Fathers old shirts to protect my dress, I sat down to read what she had for us now. So this post is about palette creating! This will  not be a tutorial- Gillians post is perfect- I just had so much fun with the idea, I wanted to share my work! Self-Portrait_with_Palette

As a non-tech gal, I found this quite draining- I wrestled with it and of course ended up on picmonkey collaging this bad boy. So here it is: pile-of-leaves

Ok, actually, that’s pretty close. Here is the real thing. Do you think I’m coordinating my clothes to match the dog and cat hair that finely covers it? Perhaps. palette

I was having trouble adding the colors to it, but really, when do I wear solid colors? So I used the seasonal swatches on Picmonkey and other than  wishing for a slightly more tealy green, I’m pleased. Altho a few animal print swatched wouldn’t have hurt my feelings.

Have you done your palette yet? Do you stick to a set color zone or let the muse take you? showgirls_vlv1

photo credits: meadhawg, little me, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

A weekend of avoidance and Pattern Pyramid Plunder!


Ah Saturday- I awake refreshed and stunning as usual. Regardless of what Bruderlein thought, I slept in a bit.Bruder

Don’t call the authorities, he got his kibble! This weekend my industrious husband has a million things on his dance card, just like last weekend. You’d think this would make the sewingroom fairly smoke with activity, right? Well, I’ve been ducking and dodging the parts of Vogue 1343 that I am not thrilled by- it is a bias edge finish nightmare. For me at least- I’m not huge on that task. Last weekend I got the majority of the construction done and now it’s time for all that edging blech!


Who will save me from this fiendish pursuit? Beajay and TwoToast!  I won by glorious default a Plus Size Pattern Pyramid!!!!! Hurrah for me!!!! Playing with these patterns and selecting ones to put back in the mix will help me avoid that Vogue for a good many hours- well it would if I wasn’t so instant gratification girly!  So last evening I laid all the patterns around me on the floor in the sewingroom and welcomed them to their new home. Telling them that soon, they will meld with the richest animal prints and the gaudiest challis! They didn’t respond, but they will come around, I just know it. Want to see? Not the welcome ceremony of course, that’s private and I’ve already put the headdress away, but you can still see the patterns themselves before they disappear into my personal pattern avalanche.


But lets take a moment to reflect on the original pattern pyramid concept and how it all began with a generous gift to a blogger and her wish to share that with the sewing fellowship. This pyramid that Beajay started is very special to me- so many times I’ve passed on gorgeous giveaways because my grading up skills are not amazing, so a pyramids with nothing I can’t use is a wootwootwoot! Ready to see all this? Really ready? Ok~




Here is the special surprise prezzie she threw in for me! Thanks Twotoast!!That bundle has a lovely black lace- sosososo  cute!


Here’s what I’m claimin’

DSC08578 Pretty cool, right? I may blouse up this year! Now, to sweeten the pot (hopefully!) I’ve added these:


Ok, now heres the deal:

THE RULES (As copied – and slightly amended – from Did You Make That)

  • Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight Friday September 13th  BUT you must have an active blog. (Reasons to become obvious.)
  • I will randomly select a winner with much help!
  • Each winner will pick a selection of patterns to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway throwing some new choices into the mix. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to that Person C. Person C will pick a pattern for themselves, host their own giveaway and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person D. Person D will…
  • All patterns are in the plus size category – ie – if the pattern comes in 2 sizing groups, then it will be the larger category. Patterns to go up to at least go up to a size 20 (most go higher). Patterns listed as “all sizes” will include plus sizes. You get the idea!
  • We are taking it on trust that all pattern pieces are there
  • If you’re a winner, I would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the original patterns. These plus sized patterns have been contributed by me in the spirit of the generosity of the sewing community
  • Please engage in a timely fashion, launching your own giveaways soon after receiving a parcel
  • You must be be happy to post patterns worldwide.
  • Brudelein likes to be complimented, so feel free to woo my assistant in your comment!


photo credits: On the Road to Sew where, google images, meadhawg. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Oh, the Humanity!

Ah, me. What to say in the wake of a tragedy……..untitled

Yup, the husband and I returned from dinner to find the ‘Closet of Infinite textile hoarding’ had violently collapsed.  Flimsy shelves with no respect for animal print, says I!  I have it on good account that this is what the neighbors saw: 628x471

So today instead of doing any actual sewing, I’ll be sorting and putting things away- ugh. So not a job for a spoiled creative soul. Where are my minions??? Look at this mess! It makes me want to just run away. DSC08559

I tried to get the dachsies to wear safety helmets, but they are rebels.Arrgh. How did I get all this in one closet? DSC08569

This begs the question- how to sort- by weight, color, breed? DSC08562

The husband has reinforced the new ‘Textile Panic room’ to support 1-2 tons of fabric hoarding. I appreciate his efforts, I truly do, but now that the cupboard is bare, as they say, that closet looks a little small, don’t you think?DSC08564

Wouldn’t it be better, I mean really, I’m thinking house resale and the future of course, to just bust out the attached wall and turn the computer room into a little more storage? Nothing fancy- tumblr_m6yz0iFnuM1raiy98o1_500

perhaps just a little extra shelving-


How about this one?design-f8dec112d6b4070af5c1c6370fe828f5_h

That Dita Von Teese has a nice closet- maybe if I fill half of it with corsets, the husband will endorse my idea.

Well, off I go. If you don’t see my again by Wearable Wednesday, send cookies and a rescue team!

photo credits: google images, little me.

Swingin’ and Swappin’ and gettin’ real merry!


Last year I enjoyed Kestral’s Swap so much, I had to do it again! I was paired with Musings of a Seamstress - go check her out! She is a  gal on a very special mission this year. Her mission wasn’t to send me the perfect fabric, but it could have been! Check out my loot!!!


You all know how I like to be giddy and this almost broke the giddymeter! I wouldn’t have been more pleased if the Swinton had dropped it by on her way to the Planetary Summit. The nappy coral formation fabric is my favorite actually- even tho it’s sort of like a solid color! Strange! DSC08551

I must be getting too predictable. Thats 2 lovelies in a row that threw we some gorgeous beastie prints and tunicy spendidness! I think this suit will be my next make to throw you all off track: V8887

It will be in a sensible beige and I will wear it with nude heels and a sensible slip……… Ok, that was even hard for me to type! Do not send out a search party- I will not do this! I love that I am a bit gaudilly predictable to my webbie friends- who I am very thankful for!mabel-normandkiss

Now I have to go find a special place in


for my new treasures!

photo credits: meadhawg, google images, all images remain the property of their original owners.

June 14, 2013

I just need to share this today.

I’ve Always Loved You Best……..

Dear First Born
I’ve always loved you best because you were our first miracle. You were the genesis of a marriage and the fulfillment of young love. You sustained us through the hamburger years, the first apartment, our first mode of transportation (1955 Feet), and the seven-inch TV we paid on for 36 months. You were new, had unused grandparents, and enough clothes for a set of triplets. You were the original model for a mom and dad who were trying to work the bugs out. You got the strained lamb, the open safety pins and three-hour naps. You were the beginning!

Dear Middle Born
I’ve always loved you the best because you drew a tough spot in the family and it made you stronger for it. You cried less, had more patience, wore faded hand-me-downs, and never in your life did anything first. But it only made you more special. You were the one we relaxed with, who helped us realize a dog could kiss you and you wouldn’t get sick. You could cross a street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married. And you helped us understand the world wouldn’t collapse if you went to bed with dirty feet. You were the child of our busy, ambitious years. Without you, we never could have survived the job changes and the tedium and routineness that is marriage.

To My Baby
I’ve always loved you best because while endings are generally sad, you are such a joy!! You readily accepted the mild-stained bibs, the lower bunk, the cracked baseball bat, the baby book that had nothing written in it except a recipe for graham-cracker piecrust that someone had jammed between the pages. You are the one we held on to so tightly. You darken our hair, quicken our steps, squared our shoulders, restored our vision, and give us a sense of humor that security, maturity, and durability can’t provide. When your hairline takes on the shape of Lake Erie and your own children tower over you, you will still be our baby!!!

-Erma Bombeck, 1971

Thank you so much Ma.