Besides clothing and sewing, I have many other interests which don't get highlighted on this sewing blog. But sometimes, there are intersections! For instance, I commonly read SorryWatch, a blog about the often difficult by necessary act of apologizing. Apologizing is something we all need to do sometimes, but mostly do badly; and, as a major catalyst for reconciliation and healing, it deserves attention. SorryWatch applauds good apologies and the moral courage it takes to make them, while pulling apart bad or weasly apologies and showing why they suck. But this post, about people in the Democratic Nat'l Committee apologizing (or in some cases failing to apologize) for leaked emails, caught my attention mostly because of the marvelous dress that DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz wears in the top photo, from a 2012 Vogue photoshoot.
Right-over-left, that is. In the Western world, women's garments traditionally close right-over-left, while men's close left-over-right. As an example, the Moss Brothers jacket I showed you on Monday is a women's jacket because of the right-over-left closure (as well as the princess seams giving room for the bosom, and the flared hips with slanting pockets for style). That's why I was surprised to find no womenswear on their company website!
My housemate and I like to watch Say Yes to the Dress, a TLC reality show about brides shopping for their wedding dresses. There's a New York, NY version and an Atlanta, GA version. Each has the same format: a bridal shop stocked to the rafters with white satin, tulle and lace; a female head of shop with an extravagantly gay male* assistant; various bridal consultants arrayed in black (so as not to compete with the brides, I guess); and brides who come in with their "entourages" and interesting needs/demands. The brides try on different gowns, people react. There's a vignette about whatever part of the bride's past is most likely to raise a tear, fabricated angst about the mom not approving of the daughter's choice... then piano music, the "bridal moment": the girl gets to wear a veil and cry, and she buys the dress. Oh, contrived, first world problems... such a guilty pleasure.
*His gayness is an important part of the formula, since it's more about his fashion acumen and closeness to women than his sexual preferences. A straight man in the bridal shop is always portrayed as a fox in the henhouse.
To make our guilty pleasure more of both, every time someone says the word "princess", my housemate and I can eat a piece of chocolate! That's our rule. "Princess style", "princess seams", "I feel like a princess"... chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! And oddly enough, one woman's "princess dress" is another woman's dowdy nightmare. There seems to be no correspondence between all the different visions of a princess; the only thing everyone agrees on is the desirability of looking like one.
"The original has pockets... if it's not too much trouble, I'd like at least one pocket," she said. And "You don't have to replace the linings on the smaller side pockets, if you don't want. They're not torn..."
It's funny: if someone has a list of requirements, I meet them, but if someone gives me a bare minimum and tells me that they're fine with "just" that, I always want to exceed their expectations. I want them to be pleasantly surprised.
On May 13th this year, my friend Rosanne and I went to the Northwest Quilters' Quilt show. For me, it was an art show! So much artistry, so much beauty. I want to share it with you!
Re: the pictures... I did not talk to the quilters or get their permission to post these pictures here, but as they'd already made their work public by exhibiting it, and as I was within the rules of the exhibition to take pictures, I think it's all right to show their workmanship here as long as I credit them. If the work is yours and you object to its placement here, Contact Me and let me know, and I'll remove your stuff. Ditto if I've mis-attributed something and you want me to fix it. Thanks!
As always, click on a picture to see it enlarged.
Talking with a family member the other day about how people curate their online content to create an alternate world where they always look nice, their house clean, their work polished, I realized that as much as I value integrity and honesty, I also "put my best foot forward" when taking pictures for this blog. If there's stuff on the table, I move it so you only see my pattern pieces, not my dirty plates. If I take several unflattering pictures and one flattering one, guess which one I post? This is natural, and not entirely a bad thing. (After all, do you really want to see my dirty plates?) But there's a downside to the illusion of perfection. When all our friends and family look so perfect online, we might get discouraged or feel shame for the world of dirty dishes we have.
I never officially learned to darn... I simply figured out my own method after I learned some needlelace. My method is simple: first I used a doubled thread to outline the hole, giving it wide margins. Then I fill this outline with a Corded Brussels stitch. Where there is cloth, I sew the Brussels stitch through it, thus thickening the fabric. Where there is a hole, I just sew Corded Brussels stitch right over it, putting a layer of new cloth where there was none. When I'm teaching someone to darn, I use contrasting thread, but generally I match the sock color.
So remember the romance of gloves? Remember the talk about modesty and how people treat you in different clothes? This post relates to those.
Recently, I've taken to wearing the white mesh gloves I have for summer. At first I thought they'd make me more hot, but not so. The mesh allows air flow and the white actually seems to make my hands cooler. (I'm reminded of Civil War re-enactors of my youth, who when asked how they could bear to wear "all those layers" in blistering summer heat, would respond in character "How can you bear to show all that skin to the sun... you must just be roasting!") So when I have a pretty summer dress and cool summer hat, I also put on the pretty mesh gloves and feel quite put-together. What's been especially interesting, though, has been a change in how people treat me.
For a while, upon the advice of Carole Jackson in her book Color Me Beautiful, I chose camel as my wardrobe's neutral tone. But camel (a kind of warm brown) never inspired me. I tend toward analogous color schemes, so when I wore camel, I would pair it with brown, pumpkin, or tan... which is a perfectly fine look if you're a scifi desert dweller, but not a happy look for me.
A few times, my loving family would say I needed something to make my face "pop"--which is to say that I was melting into a camel puddle. (Khaki gives me the same problem!) I can wear it, but I need to ditch the analogous color scheme and put something bright and contrasting next to my face. However, what's the point of wearing something that doesn't make you happy? Camel didn't make me happy.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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