Wearable Wednesday Barbara Casasola

Hmmm…..I wonder what it looks like inside out. Oh, it is inside out. Oopsie.


What does all this do when I sit?


Its like a formal window.


and here it is without shades…


Ok, I’m dry. All I can see is whatever that is that seems to be glueing her armpits down. What the what?


This is interesting, but can she move her arms?


This top is working for me- but maybe it should be in an animal print….of course it should!


Its like a sheer Quaker suit.


photo credits: style.com, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

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 cat..cat

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.

Wearable Wednesday Lindsey Thornburg

I can totally see Jared Leto in the grocery store in this- perhaps with less under-bewb.lt1

Steven Tyler on spa day? Or Elton John incognito?


The bride was a devoted Jerry Garcia fan…perhaps having spin art tables at the reception wasn’t the best idea, but sundae bars are sooooo 2011.


These sandals are killing this outfit- even more than Stevie Rays hat. A hat that possibly weighs more than our model.


Arrg- were these sandals a gift? Come on Kristin Wiig, ditch those orthopaedic horrors! No bunion could be THAT bad!


Surely the hat is padded out to fit her- no ones crown is that large unless they are an alien….life….form…..HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!!!!


Oh, no. It’s like the suspension bridge to wedgy town.


I can see myself wanting to wear this all the time until my husband has the intervention.


photo credits: style.com, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Seren-gaudy Scheming


With great fanfare and dignity, we at the Grievances present the first ever PANT-TONE Color Chart for 2014!!!!!  Whoo hoo!! Your guide for animal print trend selection!

Pant-tone 2014

Yes, I am gearing up for ‘Jungle January 2: Style Safari’ ! I hope that you are too. last year I was amazed and thrilled by the talent and rabid enthusiasm of our trekkers. This year I hope it will be Louder and Fleecier! If you missed it- highlights can be found in the archives here or in the amazing flickr group!

Need some inspiration? How about Vogue 8961 V8961

in a Fabricmart charmeuse?


Even McCalls knows a good idea!


Not sure you are ready to leave the barn yet? How about  Fabricmarts Minky Cuddle Cow!  Large_EF-577

its perfect for cold winter nights in Butterick 4406


Bonus points will be awarded for this little number to wear while picking up the groceries:


Vogue 2962  in a lovely chiffon from Fabricmart


You can even start with a more discrete wearing:


Now remember folks- wearing real animals is not being encouraged- we strive for animal homage on our Jungle Cruise. Animals are for inviting over for tea!


photo credits: Fabricmart, Fabric.com, pattern review, google images, meadhawg, Harpers Bazaar. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Wearable Wednesday Agnona

Sigh… I miss my dishtowel cape. I was my own hero.

What the- is her hip out of joint? Shes like a living wishbone!? Dressed part ad exec- part satyr.


I don’t know where to start- but I think it’s going to be her shoes…..or the wash rag she forgot she had tucked there. Maybe she has a drooly dog.


Looks scratchy and unpleasant, but hey, we’ve been making Pomeranians wear this for years…..ugh, wooly camel toe. Or is it alpaca toe?


I don’t think I’d care for this sloped waist/gut hammock on me. I hope she has an alternate blouse in that bag.


Does the bow draw the skirt up theatre curtain style? Are we going to see a show? Do we have to?


Why she looks saucy and mossy for her first day of school at Thigh Gap Tech.


Isn’t that what George Constanza’s father wears in Boca?


photo credits: style.com, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Perhaps I’m not so cool….but neither is Vogue 8894

lillian g

Yup, thats a shock.  My tastes usually run more toward the festooned than the grungy.  The Grunge Sewalong about had me beaten.


I had absolutely no inspiration. I began to wonder, where was I during the 90’s? Oh. I was working retail. In the South. So I have of course blocked out my conforming null style from that period! clerk

So lets see about what I love about the 90’s grunge era:

perry ellis

Long dresses and sleeves, mixed prints, hard boots….hmm……Ok lets do this. Regardless of my husband saying that he could not even picture me and grunge in the same sentence. This led to a ‘well what is my style?’ discussion that is best left down the rabbit hole where it was conducted!perry 2

More Perry Ellis for you! Yes, I know Agyness is too young to have seen grunge first hand, but a style without an update is just a costume 06c7a9e7184966472419501dc7e86a6f




No. Back to Agyness….Deanna and I figured it out. There was just nothing counterculture or ironic about wearing flannel and boots in the south in the 90’s. It was just another day at Walmart. 684c53a4366fed755ce02009d6681411

Phew! That was close! Ok, I think I have my plan. Vogue 8894. Sort of Boho, but doable. 8894

Get your Screaming Trees cd out, we are going for it!


This pattern needed major alterations, vague darts, odd armpit dog ears, a v so low it was in the cleavage basement……it was like a bad starter pattern that you just kept adjusting and futzing with.grung4

I like this with a little cardy and of course nothing makes an outfit like a Disney Couture Bambi scarf, right? I’m badass. You can say it. That’s why the cameo on the bodice is off kilter. Irony, I has it.IMG_2381

I love the hem, but I don’t think this is a very flattering or well designed pattern. It’s kimono-no-no. I brought the side seams up into the armpit area a good 3 inches and it still just bags under there. Good smugglin’ frock. grung2

Do you remember me long ago
Used to wear my heart on my sleeve
I guess it still shows

Wore my jacket and I wore your sweater

Underneath the bridge it was an indian summer

Purple mascara, safety pins kickin’ the dirt

Took off your jacket took off my sweater

and we made a wish things would never be better

Train whistle blew my wish won’t come. oh no.


Take it to a higher place
Where this world ain’t in your face
You and me, carson mccullers
Take it to a higher plane
Take me where the action ain’t
Open windows
Open shutters


Now, indulge me and enjoy the ultimate 90’s whiplash- Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg covering Cole Porters’ Let’s Do it’ for the Tank Girl soundtrack:

photo credits: google images, pattern review, meadhawg. All images remain the property of their original owners. A special thanks to Courtney Love, Cole Porter and Paul Westerberg for inspiration.

Wearable Wednesday Rhie

I’m getting so jaded- I can almost look past the models obvious suffering, but not today. Where is her butt!?


Her spirit looks as droopy as this pocket-


Even this didn’t cheer her up…


So they sent her to a facility-


But she rebelled-


After being expelled she found work as a shower liner at a sleazy motel.


Eventually finding her way to the Little Sisters of Bagginess Convent


Now she’s a motivational speaker and model. Fashion saves!


photo credits: style.com, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

Simplicity 2774, but no pie….

Greetings from the automat! Wait- where’s the pie? I thought this was like the Doris Day movies….dang.


Oh well, today I am bringing you an action packed pattern review as I mail out my correspondence.  You know how I search for locations that won’t compete with my gaudy business and this seemed perfect. On to the show! 2774_LG_EN_AA_BB.indd

I’ve honestly ignored this pattern for a while now- it’s that lower right picture. Turtleneck strangulation is all I see. It’s almost Burkha-esque. But look at details- lovely darted bodice, lots of frisky tucks. Looks like a job for my Alter ego Boxy Le Smut- the wearer of inappropriate garments!IMG_2299

I love it. It’s actually crossed over into LURVE. The shape is….shapely. Yup. Just that. Now I do have some issues about maxi dresses. Are they super dressy? Too much for work? Do I look like Endora at a PTA meeting? ….and is that so wrong? il_fullxfull_354804700_orgl

The husband admits to the dresses loveliness but thinks it’s too much. Thats pretty daunting- this man endorses my personal right to Loondom like no one else would!


About the pattern for those of you that want to join me at the post office on formal day:

Why do knit dresses need zippers? What would be the point? Had I thought this out more clearly (Lord, how many times have I put that in a review, or a deposition? Anyone? Over 50 at least I’m sure) I would have skipped the back seam. It made my print matching slightly off but I think it’s alright- for a first time  with knit border prints. I’m easing out of my knit fears now that I have found the perfect stitch. Also, if I do this again, the sleeves have 8 tucks. Oops- I wrote tusks at first- well, I am a big girl……anyhoo. These tucks are made separately on each sleeve piece before the shoulder seam is done while watching Boardwalk Empire. IS Dr Valentin creepy hot or what? Ok, sorry, I digress. Could I not sew that shoulder seam then do the tucks to create perfect tucks instead of matching, matching, crying, screaming? Get back to me on that you greater sewist minds.


This really was a joy to sew. I really enjoyed all these little tucks and pleats and details and seeing how the print would end up- I like how abstract it is and am really quite pleased with the end result. Anyone working the maxi or just having  any thoughts about their postal service?maxi4

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