Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Flannel 2016/1960s

Look at those people! There's my parents! My mom made her own dresses! There's my sister! I'm the goof in the front; I'm the baby! They are so cute! That table top artificial tree! What I wouldn't give for one like that!
 Flannel jammies have been in my family since forever.

My stepgrandmother had one pattern, and she made us new flannel ruffled nightgowns from it every year. It is the only thing she sewed for us. She was not real great with children; she wasn't a bad person, she was a great wife to a very cranky man. I joke that my mother was raised by wolves. They certainly did not let my stepgrandmother raise her, and I know that hurt both of them. There was a certain remove in these nightgowns. More of an idea of what theoretical children might wear.

I am pretty sure that I am wearing the hand-me-downs from my sister in some of these photos.  They never wore out, because they were just too heavy and stiff to wear to bed.
But they did get photo ops.
These are, for the most part, the only photos I have of me and my sister as kids. We just didn't take photos, so my grandmother was the photographer of record on the annual Christmas visit. 

Mmm leopard print slipper boots! And Barbie wigs. And Barbie's speedboat (floor at right) We had Barbie's Corvette and her Dreamhouse as well. Barbie did alright by us.

Yes, I had the same haircut in every photo. 

I prefer to work in a less ruffled idiom, the one piece pajama bottoms.

They have not agreed to be photographed for the blog in pajamas, but I do have previous photos of them in them.

I redraft the pattern every year, though the teen men just get longer, not wider. The spouse is pretty skinny, but not 17/19 year old skinny. 
Nevertheless, they are cut on the baggy side.

College Teen has asked for pockets to be added to his. For his phone when he goes to class in them.
(I had forgotten about that aspect of college)
But I am proud that this is the first pair he'd wear out of the house.
That's kind of an odd compliment, but I'll take it. 

Yes, I bought the bolt. Only 6yds left though, on 44". Shrank to 5 1/2, but very very soft and fluffy
I got two by doing single layer cuts. I milked one more set using the selvage pieces

Button in the front for easy dressing

Three men, three pair. The one here that wore his right away, and asked for it to be washed right away: he's staying in the will.
For a JoAnn's  novelty flannel, it washed up to be surprisingly and absurdly soft and fluffy. I have about 5/8 of a yard leftover, that will appear as a lining somewhere. 
Because fluffy.
And Star Wars.
Princess Leia, you get better soon!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Power Tools

Authors Note: Almost all the sewing this month is for presents, and I'm just not interested in showing my hand on what I made for you guys. This is the only time of year you guys read this thing, so you can read about your grandfather.
I am my father's daughter in many ways. I love to figure out how to fix something. I appreciate good work done well and don't mind paying for it.
Somewhere in the 70s, with coffee. Always coffee.
 He loved tools. And so do I.

I inherited the power tools from my dad's workshop when he and my non-evil stepmother moved into the condo. He had recently purchased a used floor drill press, so that, the table saw I learnt on as a child (the carrot as finger demonstration is ETCHED into my memory, thank you) and the good tools came to live in the house we're still in now.
Dad and NonEvil Stepmother at Pirate Party 2003

I built myself a decent workbench (still lacking a proper vise) and put up a peg board. I have added a metal shelving unit with double shelves, crammed with diaper wipe boxes full of screws, bolts, plastic bits, rocket parts, and a wide assortment of Ikea parts. Because K/D furniture is like Lego for adults. And diaper wipe boxes are my variation on my father's coffee can collection.
A tribute to the brilliance of the diaper wipe container.

I do not have my mother's sewing machine. I had my own Elna SU* when she died, and had always hated her Singer Touch and Swear 601e.

Of course, since then I have discovered the 601e's secret chain stitch powers, and now covet one. I keep finding ones that can't be repaired, but I think I can give up on that quest: I can use the chain stitch on the Janome. Not quite the one thread wonder I was hoping for.

The point of this post, besides thinking about my pops around his birthday, is the best machine for a job is the one that works the way your brain does. 

I discovered late in life that I am a front loading bobbin gal. Top loaders always fail for me. I bring my Kenmore 158 rather than use my pal's Brother at the theater; it won't behave for me and it ends in profanities. She is appalled by my small stitch selection and overly selective bobbin winder (spools changed at some point, the new ones don't fit on the old spindle) 

I miss my dad. He never learned to sew, but he remodeled the house and did iron his own shirts and I give him major props for that. I bought my husband his own ironing board and iron to that end. He stays away from the table saw. Working out so far.

I don't have a photo of my old Elna, this photo from Needlebar and a sweet history lesson on the Elna line. 

*My dad offered me a choice at high school graduation of a new sewing machine or a used car. I went with the machine that cost as much as the car. It ran well for twenty years, and then would not hold a tune up and I got talked out of it. Fool!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tailoring Board - Linky Love Edition

As I read the 'buy this stuff' lists at the end of the year, I can't help but see a friend showing up over and over again.
Sewing Workshop tailoring board

I love my tailoring board.
I do not quite know how I pressed stuff while sewing without it. I surely had a woodpile of things that never quite did the job: Seam opening: 
Point presser...

Okay, it's just sitting there right now. I ran down to take this photo, not to set it up. I ran right back. I missed you. And the coffee was done.

Clapper: you iron the seam, you plop this on top and you put your upended iron on the flat part to keep it there. 

(If you are a 'pounder' with your clapper, you probably already have a hammer you use for this process. And I wouldn't be doing that on my ironing board.)

Will also keep a hot iron from falling off the ironing board. That alone is a money saving device in my house. (also Sugru on the feet)

It has gazumpty billion curves and points and edges for pretty much everything.

No, you can't steam and set a collar on it.
Six bucks? You'd be happy to find it at $60. And I found this photo on the Fossil website. They do not sell sewing supplies. Is this more of that 'we'd have used this to make our products if we actually made them' advertising? Is this like that clothing store that fills its windows with stacks of vintage sewing machines? And how many times has someone you know sent you a photo of those windows with a "Hey, I thought of you!" note? Don't you want to set those machines free?
I know I do. Viva la bobbin revolution!

It does not make coffee.

They exist on eBay. Some fold up. Some don't. I don't think it makes any difference if you never stop using it long enough to put it away. The old ones and the new ones are all pretty much the same. There was no need for a 2K update or a material change or stainless steel finish.

So here are some actual non-icky links, and please pay attention to the last one.

and the piece of resistance (includes sewn pressing tools)

I'll be sewing pajama bottoms all weekend. 
As always, I don't get any money or stuff from these links. I promise they work this week.

I do try to keep links up to date, but if you find one that is dead or messed up, comment in that post and I will find and fix. 

Okay, flannel ho!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A bit of perspective about my home town and me: Linky Love Snow EditionWEATHER

I don't write about myself much because I used to and it bored me.
All sentences that begin with "I" are suspicious to me.

Normally I leave these to  Instagram, but sharing is caring. And linky love is hard to do on Instagram.

In honor of the first potential snowfall of the season later on this evening, may I present to you
First Snowflake Freakout Lady
They should have asked me to pose. My shovel is prettier.

Yup, I'm ready

from a series of pretty much right on target cliche 'trading cards' from a local insurance company

Yup, guilty.


because I can't find the photo I took earlier today, and it's a charming blog

As the author in the post featuring this photo mentions, these signs live year round by the top and bottom of streets that the city will close if it gets icy (that is, streets with a steep grade that are really good for skiing).

But it hasn't done that for a few years, and the signs are still there. Mostly.


Perhaps this week?
I drove up the highway alongside a snow plow, heading north. People honked and waved at it. 
actual citizens moving sign into place, taking the law into their own hands, possibly too late
photo Seattle PI  Jan 11, 2011


None of this is actually funny except that no one was killed. Seattle is a city of hills and tall trees that fall over in the wind and we doesn't have buried power lines because poles are still cheaper than holes (nothing says holidays like a power outage when you have family staying with you)

I have gotten stuck in snow on the interstate, driving home from British Columbia in a freak snow storm that just dumped snow on a steady stream of slowly spinning out cars.
Friends got snowed in to her family's home for a week because it's Magnolia and that neighborhood is defended from snow zombies by two bridges that ice over.
And there was that time where I spun/slid into a drainage ditch a block from my home. Almost made it up the hill. Almost. And yes, I had chains on the car.

We don't get hit the same way Portland,OR does, as we are too far inland from the ocean and the cold wet air does not smack us as hard. Stumptown ices over badly.

What will be interesting if it does get icy is that since the last time it was frozen over in 2011, a lot of new people moved here, who bought the Subaru Outback and the Range Rover and think that 4WD will prevent them from sliding around.
And it won't on a hill. 

Kids, play safe, and put those signs back where they belong!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

YSL at SAM volume 2

I had to go back, if anything to get a better sense of the whole exhibition, not just the little bit I obsessed over

And because I can

Seattle Public Library has a reciprocal deal with a variety of museums and other institutions in town (walking tours and theater tickets show up from time to time), and a limited number of free admission tickets are available each day; in addition, you are limited to the number of visits you get in a 30 day window. And some are really hard to get, like SAM and MoPop (the institution formerly known as EMP: the Experience Music Project). But persistence pays.

Thanks Library! I love you!

There will be a lot of links in this show. I am not an historian by trade, I am not thorough, but I do like to be correct. When in doubt, I'm sending you to people who have more information on this matter. And you can click on the photos to make them bigger.

What I do know is museums.

SAM videos about exhibition

This is a big show, a great 'get' for SAM, with a lot of rooms and dresses and all those sketches and swatch sheets. I've had some time to think about what is in this show you haven't seen elsewhere.

The show opens, as does his career, with the paper dolls.

Teenaged YSL did at least two paper doll 'couture' shows for his sisters, with his designs drawn over magazine photographs of  working models.
There's much good information and more links at Irenebrination on this and much more at the Foundation YSL 

The cover

The program

SAM wall card

The dolls and dresses are laid out on a long counter

They are collaged from magazine photos and oak tag and construction paper. 

At the end, you can move  copies of the dresses over a model to see how they fit. Of course they fit perfectly. I guess they  felt they needed to prove this.

Given the years of materials here, there is something pretty swell about being able to see how a piece comes together. Like the velvet wedding coat from 1970.

We get to see the swatch page for the coat on the wall.

And in the central display, the coat and turban.

The black panel cuts off a view of the work on the back.

The work is a combination of applique and insertion. Satin over velvet.

In comparison, the knit dresses are pieced (some seam allowances are slightly visible through the fabric) perfectly. Not a pucker or a missing stitch (unlike the Mondrian, which I clucked over previously). Since they are all from heavy wool jersey,  I think it might just be an issue of storage.
In couture, the work is always going to be impeccable, but wool is easier to steam into submission than silk.

In the 'muslin/toile/hat' room, the showroom details caught my eye. The Stockmen (the customized dressforms for repeat customers) are paraded on one of the walls.

The pencil drawn topstitching, the attached muslin buttons

a 'stockman' for choreographer Roland Petit's wife, dancer Zizi Jeanmaire (YSL did costumes for Petit)

On this A/W 1981 "Matisse" dress, the embroideries are shown as painted paper, sewn onto the bodice

the toile belt is white suede, not paper

The rest of the exhibit is walls of swatches and rooms of notable dresses

You really can make these bigger if you want, or just slide by them.

1983 A/W, this one for Nan Kemper, from the collection of Hamish Bowles. Go look them up.

Another for Nan 1985 on the left. I love the red gathers on the back of the dress on the right.

The dress on the right was made for the  Proust Ball, thrown in honor of the 100th anniversary of Marcel Proust’s birth in 1971; he did several dresses for that, this is the dress he made for Marie-Helene de Rothschild, who produced the event. 

Of course it ends with the wedding dress. 

This is from the collection from 1995 A/W, a stripped down panniered dress that is more of a callback to the Dior house in the 50s than the style originated in Spanish court dress of the 17th century, familiar in portraits by Velázquez (that last bit from Wikipedia). There are drawings aping Velazquez in another part of the exhibit, but by this time, I'm just too tired to go back and doublecheck the collection dates.
No, ends with the gift shop.
No, this is not the whole shop, just the part I care about. Whose blog is this, anyway?
The silver yardage belongs to the buyer for the shop, and she and I have a deal over this bolt to make when this exhibit comes down.
No, it really ends (or begins) in the lobby with these 

Please don't forget to visit the online archives. They really are splendid.
Foundation YSL
and the 1998 World Cup greatest hits fashion show