Knit is a 4-letter word (or, don’t hate the paisley, hate the game)

Well, I am full of mixed feelings this morning- not my usual ones regarding which flavored creamer I should overuse, but about my finally finishing Simplicity 2219.  Ever have a favorite dessert that you now can’t look at because your old school  boyfriend broke up with you while you were eating it and now it’s dead to you? No matter how ridiculous you know it is, you just can’t eat snickers cheesecake without a bitter sense of pain and rejection?  Ok, perhaps I overstate it, but Simplicity 2219 is a paisley snickers cheesecake.


She is not a bad thing- she is merely misunderstood- by my sewing machine. This pattern is easy, has lovely ruched details at the bodice and a fully lined bodice- all of these details lost by my unfortunate choice of camouflaging paisley- by all rights I should be stroking it and calling it ‘George’ right now, but the sewing process of making my machine love her has almost defeated me. A simple dress with 10 pieces became a torturous battle armed only with walking foot, ballpoint needle and a dream.  This finished project may always make me wince and it truly isn’t fair to such a lovely girl. She has many outstanding qualities and virtues: I embraced them and wore her proudly yesterday to my Mom-inlaws for lunch. The dress and I were bonding well, we were complimenting each other and feeling very summery/saint Tropez when my sister-inlaw bounced in and shared with me that I

 ‘matched the couch’.

LIttle dress- I think you just slipped me a slice of cheesecake and asked for your Morrissey cd back.


Ahoy! Wearable Wednesday Betsey Johnson Edition

Sew Weekly is Nautically themed this week and usually the closest I get to that genre is eating cracker jack, so I decided to show some salty sea togs  from the Divine Betsey Spring 2011 RTW.

Are they ready to pipe aboard?

Those are two seriously pursed Pursers!

 Is that Evil Knievel humping her feet? I like it except for that possibility.

Cuteness  Ahoy!

Ok, I think I like nautical more than I originally thought. Thanks Betsey!

I declare you all press-ganged into giving opinions!

Photo Credits:

Silky Knit – 1, Sewer- 0

Remember Stretch Armstrong?  Definitely one of the 2nd to 3rd string cartoon characters regardless of his low-cut onesie, sideburns and Studio 54esque eyewear.  I didn’t like him much then and I feel pretty much that way now. For my lack of respect for his powers  is haunting me in textile form.  Sunday I started a little dress- a simple, maxi in a brown and turquoise paisley print- one of the Deanna surprise haul fabrics- I visualized myself in a flowing, flattering frock with large bangle bracelets, a look of serenity and a fancy drink. Sometimes in my fantasies I am a Stepford Wives-era Paula Prentiss. Wry, stylish and unaware of her loveliness. This dress would have brought Jim Hutton back from the dead, I am so sure.

   Now I visualize creating a fancy paisley noose for myself and the sewing machine. That silky stretch material has almost beaten me. I bow my head to its tyranny.

Lets recap the day.

Ah, 2219- you look so easy- the kind of easy that is deceptively impressive to the viewer. Love that.

So I set up the new bobbin, ballpoint needle, silk pins and off I go. Hmm. What is that grinding noise? Why do I keep making the same gentle leading motions as usual as the fabric not only stays put, but attempts to tunnel under the presser foot? At this point in the movie version a montage of jangly music would be playing- possibly to cover the latin terms I was flinging while I sent 3 hours wrestling with this dress, then recutting new pieces to replace chewed victims and the screw driver became more useful than the seam ripper. 

Finally the husband emerged from down the hall and stood at the entrance to the Sewers Bordello inquiring about the need for tourniquets and priests.

Well, a culprit was eventually found. Children, listen to this embarrassing cautionary tale and learn. A giant pressed felt dust bunny was living under the throat plate of my machine and the bun-bun did not like silky stretch very much. I routinely clean out the bobbin carriage area and go thru a gazillion q-tips drenched in oil, but rarely do I remove the throat plate. Amazingly, once I exorcised the fuzzy demon, all was smooth sailing.

Maybe Stretch and I will form a super hero alliance after all.

The Trouble with Hitchcock

Hello, Alfred.

I love Hitchcock movies- I’m a huge Daphne DuMaurier and Patricia Highsmith fan. Recently during the Sew Weekly Hitchcock challenge I’ve discovered once again that  icey blonde in peril just isn’t my bailiwick!

I’m really more of a Thelma Ritter on a Grace Kelly set.

So that being said, I tried to rock a look that was more about mood than strict depiction. So please, be kind as I show you my latest crime.

I like to call this my Hong Kong vixen. Vixens can be chubby! I’m claiming it.

Once more I turn to Burda and 7949 came thru for me.  I’ve added a cap sleeve to keep my cheongsam feel going and made the collar more Mandarin than it featured on the pattern (I think it was a touch Lord Byron in styling)  and the rest- with minor adjustments for waist length -went right to plan. A Devious plan, of couse- just as Alfred would have done.

Am I not a creatureof refined mystery and ennui? If nothing else, I managed to depict vertigo rather well, I think!

House of Holland- RTW2011

Ok, here we go- I love this house- Agyness Deyn and demure textural  craziness! I think I’m a little in love with the cream print and the shapes. What do you think…..Is it Ready for YOU to Wear?

What’s that Ms Blanchett? You feel a strong viseral pull toward this collection and so does your Granny?  Hmmm.


Photo Credits:

Sunday morning adventures with Burda

I’m really loving this pattern- it’s been ‘pssting’ at me for a few weeks now and I happened to notice Mena’s next challenge on Sew Weekly hints at a Hitchcock theme. Hitchcock normally means suicide blondes and fabulous tailoring, but I also think exotic places, women with secrets and gorgeous head scarves.  So I’m thinking maybe a little oriental influence and a hint of retro.

Behold- my current  scheme:

Is it just me or does our model look a bit headachey from these stripes?  Well, this bit of pinned collar is all you get for now- I have a few alterations in mind- I’ve added cap sleeves to make it a little more cheongsam in the styling and took an inch off of the collar height- I still may round it down a bit to a more recognizable mandarin look. If this comes off well it will be a serious bargain coup! $1.99 a yard M’Liss City Signature Hong Kong- a major clearance price! I just love it and there are 2 yards left for a skirt maybe?  Perhaps and sassy tote bag? Oh that means more pattern shopping! Poor me!!!

Don’t worry- I do not stitch alone on this fine morning- my style consults, Liesl and Katze are supervising.

Happy sunday, everyone!

Wearable Wednesday

This week I’d like to show you some looks from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2011 Ready to Wear Line. Leave a comment and tell me if you think you are ready to wear it:

Seems work appropriate- she is wearing hosiery, right?

Those aren’t my hips, I’m wearing jodphurs. Oh, how many times I’ve told the mirror that old chestnut!

Gee, is it me or are the buttons too big? Yes, thats all that bothering me. Not the ghosts of dead muppets. 

Your thoughts?

Fabric Finds

So it’s a rainy evening in a smallish town. What to do, what to do. Go sniff around the Hancock fabric of course.  I’m loosely budgeted this month- darn car insurance! But a thing like fiscal responsibilty should never get in the way of a pattern sale. I was raised better than that!

Curses! She sees me! The Ultimate Fabric Enabler has locked her tractor-beam gaze on me and I was being slowly wooed across the room by her snake charmer powers. Yes, that Textile Vixen is working and I am powerless to resist whater she gently wafts in front of me! What can I say? She has very good taste- it’s similiar to mine and she is so willing to share!

So now I am the proud owner of 4 yards of this most inspiring cotton in a wonderful Harpers Bazaar print!

Do you feel the specialness? Lets see another view:

So what to do? I’m leaning toward a skirt or a dress with a simple bodice, I think a complimentary print is a good idea, oh, I don’t know. Can’t I just hoard it? Maybe just sit on my love seat in the sewingroom, holding it on my lap and whisper gentle endearments to it?

Thats not strange. No not strange at all. Everybody does it. Thanks to Kelly Sue.

In praise of the Lisette!

Lisette- I love you! No, she’s not a french maid- she, or rather it- is a pattern series from Simplicity and I am totally hooked! Below is my very first attempt. A 4 hour marvel! Is she not precious? It’s hard top see in the picture but the front seams come straight down into the pocket openings- I added the hankie so you could hopefully see that detail. Deceptively simple!  I also used her as my very 1st ever Pattern Review entry! I predict I will have several of these in various sleeve lengths and fabric prints and lengths- she is too sweet! For the record, Mr B liked it too. He wasn’t  filled with the level of giddy that I was, but it still was a very positive response.- even tho I interrupted Yardcrashers to ask……

This is such a cutie I can already picture myself wearing this little number for dinner out at the California Grill. Ahhhhhhh.

Secret Confessions of a Dressform……

Twiggy has been in therapy- well, of course she has. What dressform doesn’t sneak off to see Dr Marmelstein now and again? I mean who could blame them? All the scrutiny, the deflected feelings of weight hostility projected on them. Ladies, it is not easy bearing the burden of all of little Anne’s figure issues!

A watershed moment has occured- per Dr Marmelstein, a doctor that has no respect for HIPPA , but looks great in tweed.

Twiggy has decided that she really isn’t Kate Moss-


She  is tired of trying to look ribby, tired of acting like her high school weight is her true self- she wants to release her inner Joan- as God intended!

So this weekend with the help of quilt batting, tape measure and pins, she is getting the remodel she so richly deserves for all of her fine service over the years. I’m still trying to decide what to cover her with- I’ve seen other sewers use a perfectly tailored sheath dress with closed sleeve holes- that would appeal to Ms Holloway (she’ll never be Mrs Harris to me!) but a close fitting t-shirt could also work in a pinch. We shall see.

There- now I KNOW that feels better!