Cymbal Monkeys or….Symbol Monkeys???

I was exhausted.Worn out- like an IUD at the Playboy Mansion- I was near the breaking point. At last I caught up with the daring spy ‘MATA ANNI’ in a small town best not mentioned for anything but ag college foolishness and too many stinking buffets. I’d chased her from Buena Vista to this hamlet and now it was payoff time! I approached her slowly like you would a group of rhino huddled around the produce guy as he unloads the mangosteens…..warily.


‘This is it cupcake- I get my answers now!’ I whispered to her between manly puffs on my snickerdoodle scented vape cigarette.

monkey 1

She turned toward me waving away my fumes with the vigor of a sycophant housemaid waxing the hearth and trying to get in good with a particularly truculant housekeeper. I tried to focus on her tomato red bias edging peeking out from sleeve and interior- but those eyes……


 Eyes so brown and unfathomable I felt like a fat kid in his Easter suit confronted with a pristine puddle behind the rectory. Yeah, I was going to lose my chocolate rabbit over this girl, maybe even all my kinder eggs. But what a broad!

She looked at me like I was the last crab puff on a tray held by a waiter with a bandaid hanging precariously off his thumb knuckle. His tray holding thumb, no less. 

‘New Look 6519, unlined and without the extra cuff panel’ she breathed at me.


Before I could ask the skirt about the dress, she turned to expose the inside of her 3/4 length mandarin collared cymbal monkey duster. She had a way about her- suddenly I saw things I’d never seen before- like a priest with 3 pairs of chinos going into the wrong dressing room at Gimbels-

I knew then that this kid wouldn’t break. I was fighting a losing battle- like an OCD blackjack dealer in a room with 48 cards.


The inside of her jacket was unlined- that was no fiction- but I knew I’d never outlast a dame that had bias bound every seam of a 7 piece jacket with 2 part sleeves- she wasn’t lazy- she was insane. The kind of insane I liked. The kind of insane that made men and sewing needles break to her will and filled a trash can with the tawdry wrappers of 4 packages of bias tape.

Ok, you win, I thought- but then she smiled. A rare smile like seeing Helena Bonham Carter in a pair of coulottes- just as frightening, too. 

I still needed Intel on the dress, but she saw that I was like a cold tray of vegan haggis-totally without the guts.

‘The dress is Simplicity  1059-  3 other agents are handling that situation- I’m just here for the cymbal monkeys, Buster.’


Then she was gone- like the last steamed dumpling at a Paramus bar mitzvah. But I knew I’d see her again- maybe on Pattern Review, maybe in a smokey joint where drag queens go to wail  Air Supply ballads to an out of tune Casio keyboard……….we’d meet again.


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

69 thoughts on “Cymbal Monkeys or….Symbol Monkeys???

  1. Exotic, enticing, entertaining…what a dame, what a coat! No sense in even thinking about searching the local JoAnn’s for red bias tape to trim Christmas place-mats…she cleaned them out until 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Total 50s over-drama! I can just hear the movie narrator. I’m so happy to see your monkey jacket final result, it’s perfect! Love the pattern and princess seams. Very flattering.


  3. Charade says:

    As soon as the smoke hit my eyes, I knew I was in for a treat. No skipping words just to look at the pictures on your blog, ever, but this one is too damn funny! And thanks for that.


  4. Wonderful! To be honest, I’m not a fan of monkeys myself but you are totally rocking the monkeys and the whole outfit. And you are tempting me to buy yet another pattern that will likely sit around for years before I get around to it.


  5. Jehanne Hansen says:

    Joanns? Seriously? Hey! You never know what designer original might sneak into that table.
    My grandkid’s room at my house has monkeys in fezes on their window valences.
    Great jacket! It does you justice!


  6. This is awesome! And you have so much patience to do all that bias taping, hems and armholes are all I ever have in me. 😉 Now I need to pick up a vaping habit so that I can have snickerdoodle smoke too…jk 😉


  7. “….The kind of insane I liked. The kind of insane that made men and sewing needles break to her will and filled a trash can with the tawdry wrappers of 4 packages of bias tape…”

    You’re the kind of insane that I like 🙂 Seriously though, your writing never fails to make me giggle, so huge props for that. I think I have this pattern somewhere, uncut – but I can’t imagine any better fabric than duracell monkeys. Kudos!


  8. I was late to the game, like someone posting to a Twitter hashtag three hours later, but as soon as I opened the post I knew this dame was trouble. The best trouble always looks good from the outside. The symbol monkeys and binding were enough to tell me that she was as safe as a tap dancer on a floor full of dynamite caps. That coat was as slick as a teflon iron and her writing was a sharp as a 70/10 needle.


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