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Feb 16, 2010

8 Women

Let me come out now and acknowledge the obvious: my readership is primarily female.

There are a few men out there, sure, their dirty noses pressed up against the window, trying to find an entree into this strange emporium of sewing and satire, drag and dolls that is Male Pattern Boldness.

I am proud that in my own small way, I can try -- with your assistance of course --  to challenge some of the gender stereotypes that oppress us all.  Yet just as I'm congratulating myself for subverting old cliches, an experience like this one quite literally knocks me off balance:

From PR Day in NYC - Feb 15, 2010

Yesterday I spent five hours shopping for fabric on a Pattern Review outing in the Garment District here in New York City.  Catherine, Emory, Cynthia, Ann, Sarah, Mikhaela, and the two Elizabeths -- they are women, much like yourselves; you may even know a few of them personally.

And what fun they are, full of energy, warmth, and good humor!  I felt utterly at ease in their company whether we were discussing maternity wear or full bust adjustments.  The gender boundaries just melted away and I was reminded once again that we are all more alike than different.

Then we started shopping and the regression kicked in almost immediately.  I was transformed into Fred Mertz watching Lucy and Ethel shop for Paris Originals, spitting tobacco bits out of the corner of my mouth, disdainfully.

My eight companions didn't shop for fabric so much as inhale it.  After an hour in Metro Textiles, the place was pretty well cleaned out, aside from a few forlorn footprinty yards of stonewashed denim.

The owner, Kashi, lay collapsed in a corner, a stream of spittle winding its way down his chin, eyes eerily unfocused.

From PR Day in NYC - Feb 15, 2010

I wouldn't say we hit Greenberg and Hammer, the famous notions store, but rather we moved in, tossing our bags and coats wherever we pleased, parking ourselves hither and yon, completely oblivious to the needs of staff and other shoppers.

From PR Day in NYC - Feb 15, 2010

With shopping baskets filled to overflowing, this PR team stormed through the narrow aisles like they were in one of those three-minutes-in-the-supermarket TV game shows.  If it was on the shelf, they grabbed it.  We only left when we heard police sirens in the distance.

After a restorative lunch, just when I thought the worst might be over, the troops aimed their sights on 38th Street.  At the famed fabric dive H&M, bedlam ensued, as these not-to-reckoned-with PR shoppers unfurled bolts of polyester jersey every which way, wrapped themselves up in heavy wool crepe, and ran their fingers over...everything.  A frantic tug-of-war over the last three yards of stretch poplin turned into a bloody brawl complete with kicking, screaming, and hair-pulling until finally at 2:45 pm an anonymous call was placed to 911.

From PR Day in NYC - Feb 15, 2010

How did I respond to this sordid spectacle of estrogenic enthusiasm?  I mainly stood stone silent, making mental notes as the orgy unfolded, and choking down the bitter bile that burned my esophagus.

After nearly five hours, dark circles ringing my sunken eyes, I excused myself.  Oh, I won't lie; I'd made my little purchase: 1 1/2 yards of black polyester fleece for a jacket for my Mom and 1 yard of pink knit jersey for some T shirts.  I doubt anyone even noticed.

I'd spent my $6.  It was time to go home, crawl into bed, take a few aspirin, and sleep it off.


From PR Day in NYC - Feb 15, 2010

23 comments:

  1. Black Monday in the Garment District - hilarious! So, with all you learned about maternity adjustments, will Cathy be welcoming any little ones soon?

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  2. Now that looks like fun! How exciting to inhale the scent of fabrics and notions as far as the eye can see. I hope you are quite recovered now, whipping up that fleece and jersey into something spectacular.

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  3. SO jealous! Sounds like it was a really stellar day! Peter, can you supply information for Elizabeth (on PR, perhaps?) for that gorgeous skirt she made? I'm having a serious case of coveting.

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  4. Debbie, it's possible but unlikely as Cathy is manifesting all the symptoms of perimenopause.

    Sunni, I'm deep into my fleece as we speak!

    Darci, here's Elizabeth's pattern review:

    http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/readreview.pl?reviewnum=47530&readreview=1

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  5. You're a peach, Peter. Thanks!

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  6. How fun! Hope you're feeling recovered after the frenzy. ;)

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  7. You spent a whole six dollars? You're turning into a real spendthrift!!! Hope you're planning to come to the PR weekend in Philadelphia in May!

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  8. Power shopping with a group of fellow fabric affiicianados! It sounds like wonderful fun--thank you for sharing.

    Rose in SV

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  9. I'm so sad that I was not able to make it this time. Glad you had such a good time without me!

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  10. oh I love it! you make us sound so terrifying!

    I hope our sewing talk wasn't TOO lady-centric--I swear I am actually totally fascinated by menswear, too, I'd love to learn to make proper men's shirts, jeans, etc. I keep studying that David Page Coffin book and telling my husband I'll make him a shirt (once I'm done making myself those vintage maternity dresses).

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  11. You are such a liar - oops - storyteller, and you're funny as S&*t and you know it ...

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  12. Oh, Peter, that was hilarious! Good job! I'm amazed that you retained your sanity amongst all that estrogen-fueled fabric buying.

    In your Picasa photostream, you mention that your group also went to another fabric store that had a $2 table. No kidding, in NYC? Oh, please do share the name of that store with us!!! Pretty please with sugar on top?

    Cindy

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  13. Hilarious! Sounds like you all had a fab day.

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  14. omg, that was freaking hilarious!!! I hope you'll be able to sleep!

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  15. I'm so glad I met you Peter! I have loved your reviews on PatternReview from afar and anxiously await each of your blog posts. I was a little disappointed that Cathy couldn't make it though. Hope you make it to the Philly PR weekend too!

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  16. Sounds like you had a great time representing the men! And those fabric bitches will cut you :-)

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  17. I'm always envious when I read these sewing adventures. Not only am I on the other side of the world, but I live in the country, so I have NO contact with any sewers other than online. Next time I come to the US I intend to visit all of these stores!
    I like male influence, advice and insight in what is largely a female arena. Somewhat apropos, I work in the very male dominated field of dentistry. Of the 9 dentists I employ, 5 of them are female. Amidst my 20 nurses I have one male and of the three receptionists I employ, one is male. Things are changing, but slowly.

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  18. Ah, to have such stores to play in. Peter, see I live in Winston, Georgia. It's a podunk little town that consists pretty much of a post office, fire station, and elementary school. And lots and lots of farms. While I like living in the country, I want fabric stores! The nearest Hancock is 28 miles away, through Atlanta traffic. Joann's and Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart are fifteen minutes away in Douglasville. And there are virtually no little independent fabric dives. I know of one, but it's prices are only good if you're after silk, satin, and taffeta. Anything else, you're better off at the chain stores.

    Hobby Lobby around here has crappy service, as does Wal-Mart, so most of my fabric buys come from Joanns and fabric.com. :D And my shopping trips aren't like that. I go with a list, buy only what is on the list, and try not to get sidetracked. At Joanns, I try and have a coupon for every item possible and buy on sale everything that's not possible. The folks at Joanns know me by name.

    Heck, I already know exactly what I'm buying there next--three yards of white cotton broadcloth, six white glass buttons, two packages of white bias tape, double-sided fusible interfacing, and a 1/4 yard of white wool felt. Boring, I know, but my next major project after I finish what I'm working on is a christening outfit for my niece-to-be.

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  19. Ha-ha-ha. Excellent! Wish I was there.

    Vibeke, armchair sewing in Oslo

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  20. Peter, you're such a HOOT!! SURE hope you'll come up North for PR Montreal, eh!! ;) (June 18-20, 2010)
    Warm hugs,
    Rhonda in Montreal (PR)

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  21. Hi Peter - just wanted to let you know that you have an avid male reader and sewist here in Michigan. I've always made clothes for my sisters, and have never branched out into making clothes for myself. After your post on having a 'look', I'm thinking about focusing on me for a change! I've never really had a look, so looking forward to the challenge. Keep up the great work, love your blog!

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  22. Jon, why not enter my cousin Cathy's Makeover Challenge? All you need is one outfit and a before and after pic.

    Go for it!

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