Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!

Aug 6, 2010


Readers, I apologize.  In my quest for ever-larger readership, I have succumbed to the temptation of using provocative blog entry titles to draw those who may be finding us here via adult-oriented key word entries in random online search engines.

Don't be thrown off by titles like I Lived in Sin, or Temptations of Burlesque Girls.  It's still the same old blog and you'll more than likely be reading about my latest shirt.

While my readership is largely free-loving, bra-burning, commando-going, libidinous types, I do have a few buttoned-up, bespectacled librarians who may find such ideas offensive albeit somewhat titillating.  Rest assured there is absolutely nothing SEXY SEXY SEXY about today's entry.


If I sound unusually punchy it's because I am writing this at 3:30 am EST, having been flapped awake by my dog Willy.  If you don't know what flapped awake means, you don't share your bed with chihuahuas.  You know how dogs flap their heads -- sort of a "shake it out" ritual, sometimes to rouse themselves, or to shake off water after a bath?  Well Willy's ears are so big, that when he flaps his head in the middle of the night it wakes me up.  It's like sleeping with Dumbo.

Friends: good news!  There has been sewing here in Apartment 12D!

I decided to make myself a short-sleeve summer shirt yesterday out of some fabric left over from a caftan top project I made for Michael last winter.  Maybe you recall the fabric.


It's nothing fancy, and I really should have been able to complete it in one day (It's the same pattern I used for my last shirt) but I hit some speed bumps.

You see how this vintage shirt pattern includes more than one type of shirt?  Well I am making shirt A but I cut the sleeves for shirt C (a knit).

There's a difference!

I'm sewing the sleeve on and I'm thinking, OK, something is wrong here: the cap is too high and there's not enough sleeve width.  When I figured out what I'd done I nearly trashed the project entirely.  (The fabric is so loosely woven, so shifty and gauze-like, that it's extremely difficult to rip seams.  I managed, somehow.)

I then had to cut two new sleeves, only -- you guessed it! -- I didn't have enough fabric left.  So I took the two old sleeves I'd cut and combined them into one new sleeve which I stitched together, and then I cut one new short sleeve out of my remaining fabric.  Drama, right?

So right now, this is where things stand.

I'll have this finished today for sure.

Oh, and before I forget: There's a new sewing book in my life!

It's "The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction" and I heard about it through a loyal reader (and fellow blogger) "Mainely Dad."

You don't know Mainely Dad?  Oh, you should.  He's a handsome white-bearded gay man with two adult children and two partners (TWO TWO TWO) who lives on the coast of Maine.  It seems Mainely Dad hadn't sewn in years and decided -- just like that -- to tackle a men's wool toggle coat project from one of those impossible-to-understand Japanese sewing pattern books.  Sure, why not?

Readers, LOOK at this work!

This is the coat in the book:

These are some photos of his project:

Have you ever in your friggin' life? 

I know many of you will suspect that I am spotlighting Mainely Dad solely because he lives in a geographically desireable locale and obviously has plenty of extra space in that adorable white-picket-fenced-house-with-a bay-view for guests.  NOT true.  Anyway, first I have to visit my fans in Naples, then Australia, and then someplace in Scandinavia I've never heard of but am happy to visit free-of-charge.  You've all been so generous to open your doors to me!

Please visit Mainely Dad's blog and follow his amazing, somewhat annoyingly perfect coat project.  And while you're there pump him for info about that two partner thing and get back to me.

Oh yes, the Bishop book!  I bought it for a penny on Amazon.  That's right: $ 0.01.  Plus $3.99 shipping.  And it looks like such fun -- dated fun: the best kind.  Here's just a taste (click photo to enlarge):

Do you have the appropriate hairdo for your body type?  Any chub-debs out there?

This is "a blouse for young ladies," otherwise known as a rectangle with two seams but whatever, it's a beginner's project.

An entire chapter on pressing!  It's worth the price just for that.

Seriously though, this is a very well-regarded book and old Edna Bishop's quite a stickler for perfection, or so I've heard.  Do any of you own it?

I feel like I'm rambling.  That's what happens when I write before sunrise on too little sleep.  Maybe I'll make some coffee and just forget going back to bed.  Your comments will come pouring in immediately no doubt so that should keep me occupied for a while.

Oh -- the circus fabric!  I hand-washed it and took out the hems, which gave me easily another five inches top and bottom and maybe two inches right and left, so I may be able to turn this into something more interesting than a tote bag.

Actually, this project from the Bishop Method book, which she calls an "overvest or barbecue apron"  looks kind of neat.  I'd barbecue in that, if I barbecued, wouldn't you?  I think it would look snappy on Cathy with some black spandex bell-bottom jazz pants.

OK, enough stream of consciousness for one dawn.

Do you subscribe to a particular sewing method and if so, does it happen to have your last name in the title?  That doesn't count!

Do you own dogs and do they flap you awake?

Is it really winter in Melbourne?

Should MPB be on Facebook?  Please advise.


  1. I've never been flapped awake but our dog will jump on the bed and scratch, causing the whole bed to shake like a dinghy in a gale!

  2. hi, hope it's ok to contact you here. we would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: giveaway scout ( have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, josh

  3. SEXY SEXY SEXY draws spammy comments like the one above. I NEVER get those.

    (Not Alycia's obviously).

  4. Yes it really is winter in Melbourne. Cold and wintery. So thanks for showing a picture of a coat, it's much more familiar than summer clothes!

    My method of sewing is to think for a while, possibly consult the internets and then gov sit a go. This method g es mixed results but is quite enjoyable!

    I hope you get some slleep at some point. Do you have the chance for a Janna nap today? That'd be great!

  5. Hello from wintery Melbourne!

    I love the look of the Bishop book - what a find. I see my profile and hairdo clearly make me a "Chub Deb" (that is, if we ignore the small matter of my age .... which means much more chub and far less deb).

  6. Ha, ha! I sleep with three chihuahuas! Talk about being flapped awake!! My Charlie has the biggest ears of them all and he's pretty goofy! I LOVE your blog and I LOVE it when you post pictures of your dogs. I love your sewing - you're fantastic!

  7. Yep... it's pretty wintry here in Melbourne!

    Love your blog...especially Cathy's photoshoots :-)

  8. WHAT is a "Janna nap"? (These Australians are so hard to understand.) Liesl? Katherine? Anyone?

  9. I'm Australian and I have never heard of a 'janna nap'! Suspect she may have meant 'Nanna nap'?

  10. (Like I know what a Nanna Nap is...)

  11. I have two dobermans who use the ear toss to tell me it is time to get up in the morning. No kidding! At 5:30 am. If I don't move they come closer to the bed and give the ear toss again--VERY LOUD! I live to serve (two dogs) that is my motto. Also, I have the Bishop Method, now I have to go read it again.

  12. A "nanna nap" is a colloquialism for a siesta. "Janna" on the other hand was a 13th century poet who wrote about sex .... and who may or may not have taken afternoon naps. Maybe Rachel was continuing a theme from the title of this post?!

  13. I don't share my bed with chihuahuas, but I do share with a Jack Russell - Chili- every night and a small hound dog - Dani - some nights (she roams from bed to bed - she's a slut! ... see what THAT does to your numbers). Dani's ears make Willie's look tiny in comparison and she can put forth a mean flap. Chili always has to touch me somewhere when he's sleeping and when he gets an itch, he shakes me awake. I should've come downstairs to read this earlier as I was still awake at 3:30 AM (I note the dogs were soundly passed out), but I did finally drift off until 7:30.

    I have that book too, but haven't looked at it in a while.

  14. No chihuahuas here, just a beagle who can snore louder than a lumberjack. And Peter, your readership includes at least one editor who'd like to point out that librarians who wear glasses are bespectacled ... and if they have a lot of spots, bespeckled, too, lol. Off now to check out Mainely Dad's blog. I have some lovely houndstooth check wool that someday will be a coat, although not toggled. (I'm going to draft my own pattern based on a very simple 1940s one I saw online.)

  15. I have a different Bishop book that doesn't include projects. I picked it up at a used book store a couple of months ago--I now have three sewing books! The funny thing about the book is that it seems to be my Home Ec class. My teacher taught sewing this way. It has a lot of basics that I find many modern sewists don't know, so I think it's a good book.

    The wool toggle coat is impressive. I still have never sewn a coat.

    Oh, and how did you know I'm commando-going (only around the house). Although I was a bespectacled librarian too. (You did mean bespectacled didn't you --not bespeckled--although I have freckles so I'm that too).

  16. Oh ladies, you are so sharp! I'll make the correction now.

  17. We used to have two dogs, but now, sadly, only one. She does wake us up though - if one's hand is too close to the edge of the bed she will grasp it in her teeth - very gently- to say "HELLO!" This wakes me up every time. I don't think how I sew could be decribed as a "Method" - unless making a mess and frequent exclamations of confusion are a method.

  18. Peter, you dogs are so doggone cute, I can't stand it! Our cat wakes us up by standing on us and meowing at the top of her lungs; fetid fish-breath wafting unpleasantly over one's face. Ugh. But she's cute....

    My sewing method is What Granma Taught Me. Do it carefully, do it well, and press, press, press.

  19. I'm thrilled you're coming to visit! Will you help me thread my Brother 1034 when you arrive? I promise to take you for the best pizza/wine you've ever had!
    Grrr. I have Mainely Dad envy. For so many things, two. I mean too. The Bishop book looks, uh, like a catechism for sewers -- apropos. I don't have it, but one one of my treasures is ALL 17 volumes of the Time Life Art of Sewing encyclopedia (for lack of a better word) and the Master Index pamphlet for it -- circa 1976. WIth titles like "Exotic Styling" "Boutique Attire" "Novel Material" and "Shortcuts to Elegance" (and who doesn't need one or two of those), it's such fun to peruse. Perhaps there might be an idea for your circus fabric in the Novel Material volume . . . I'll get back to you on that.

  20. Yes, we Maine folk are TOO TOO TOO cool for words. Seems like you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a polyamorous person here (or, at the very least, a pro-poly person like myself). ;-)

  21. (Obviously not a librarian.)

  22. I have been awakened by the flapping of dog ears from time to time as Jack Russell named Hunter. He is a big ear flapper and it is loud! I should have gotten out of bed to read blogs at 2:45 am too, when I was laying awake this morning! Went back to sleep at some point and was dazed and confused when the alarm was buzzing at 6:00 am. It will be a looong day. ;-)

  23. Ohh, on my last visit to Kinokuniya, it took all the strength I had to resist buying that Japanese men's coat book. That Melton-esque coat isn't the only wonderful one in the book -- not by a long shot!

    Food or Japanese sewing books? That IS the question. I decided eating was more important; but was that really the right call?

  24. My dog Pearl wakes me up by whining sometimes. I can sleep through fire engine sirens, train whistles, noisy neighbors, and the occasional earthquake, but when Pearl cries, I can't help but wake up. She's got me wrapped around her little finger (or paw).

  25. I have an earlier edition of the Bishop book, which I really have to post about! Edna is quite a stickler for details -- you can't read more than a few pages without being reminded about "grain perfection," and she is strict about staystitching everything. I sort of love her. My book has quizzes in the back that make the SAT look like a nursery rhyme. Plus there's no answer key, so I'll never know if I get an "A" in Edna's eyes...

  26. Yes facebook.

    Am I still the only one who thinks this circus print needs to be wall art? Am I so tired that I can't move on? Apparently everyone else has.

  27. I have cats. I don't get flapped awake, but I do get meowed awake, and if I don't get up, I get the paw. On my face. The heavier of the two (15lbs of muscle!) also has an uncanny ability to stand on either a floating rib or ovaries.

    on the multiple partner thing - it can work, it can not all depends on the people involved. I've dated a couple before and it was all kinds of lovely fun :)

  28. Noile, the first time I went to Kinokuniya and had the black sesame frappe I thought I was in heaven; the second time I thought I was going to be sick. I should have bought the pattern book.

    Cherri, we'll revisit the circus print next week, promise.

    Let's leave "Polyamory and the Home Sewer" for next week too, shall we?

  29. Peter, what is the copyright on that book? I could swear I learned to sew with that book in Jr Hi back in the day.

    Re Facebook. I was on Facebook for about 6 months. It started to totally CREEP me out and I no longer go there. People I never heard of and people I heard of but did not want to have anything to do with started showing up on my FB page. Maybe when I signed up you didn't have the options you do now? Also, I do not have time to go through tons of options anyway, to try to get some privacy. I found it a terrible invasion of my privacy and frankly, find it tiresome to be sent there all the time by bloggers and other websites. I know, I know. Most people think it is just SO MUCH FUN. Call me cranky. Oh, btw, I still love to receive a hand written snail mail letter that ever happens anymore? hehehe

  30. Just say to to Facebook or before you know it, you'll be Tweeting about your time in rehab.

    As for TWO!!! TWO!!! I could never share my man.

  31. I received that book a few months ago as a gift. It's interesting. I'm not nearly precise enough for all the rules. I don't think I've ever spent more than one minute getting the fabric on grain, and I don't think any of my creations are any worse because of it. :-) Others may disagree.

  32. how about giving Cathy a F/B page? she has lots of fans who would love to take a voyeuristic peep into her life!

  33. It's 6.27am on a chilly Melbourne morning and I'm online so early because my dog woke me up! Not with ear flapping but with heavy sighs and noisy resettling.

  34. I follow my own sewing rules. First, lots of stretch knits. Second, read the pattern instructions and then toss them. It's got to work for you, or you'll never do it.

    My 250 pound dog sleeps downstairs, thank you. He's too old for the stairs. But if you want to see ear flapping, watch a mastiff!

    And I don't facebook, and after reading some of your comments above, I'm even less inclined to do so. Want some 60s/70s vintage patterns? I have a box I might send you rather than throw out.

  35. Yep, sure is winter, and 4 year old girls can be every bit as disturbing to your sleep - especially on those mornings when a lie-in should, theoretically, be possible. Oh yeah, at least dogs don't usually have the lovely fish breath of a cat............

  36. I have no dog to wake me, but I do have a cold, so I guess, I'm being wakened by my own sinuses? Ick. However, I can report that it's also winter in New Zealand, albeit a mild one this year (which means it's about the same temperature as Melbourne).

    I will say one thing for FaceBook, it allowed me to reconnect with a best friend from 20 years ago. Everything else, I can take or leave, but I'm grateful to have Lynn back in my life!

  37. i love reading all about your adventures in sewing etc. I have something that gets in the way of my indulging as much as I would like in sewing activities, and it is nice to spend some time doing it by proxy.thanks

  38. My lovely cocker spaniel doesn't wake me in the cold cold sydney mornings but the stupid german shepherd does by barking all night!!!

  39. The stupid german shepherd lives next door!

  40. OMG, I bought this book while on a business trip to Michigan a couple of years back. It is hilarious ("learnings" anyone?) but is actually really informative, the embellishments bit at the back is fabulous. Wouldn't have likes La Bishop as a sewing teacher though, she sounds pretty scary. Does anyone have the "Fashion Sewing" book by her?

  41. I forgot to mention my dog is no itsy bitsy Chihuahua. He's a 30kg Samoyed with invasive fur!

  42. Facebook for Cathy!

    And I routinely am flapped awake by the love of my life: ChaCha, my little chocolate brown chihuahua.

  43. A few years ago I picked up this book and forced myself through Mrs. Bishop's torture course in an effort to upgrade my sewing skills. She is a real stickler for grain as I recall, as well as proper inside finishing of the garment. I feel that it did tune me up a bit, but be ready to take some time with it.
    As far as the circus fabric is concerned - my vote is apron. It would really show off the fabric and really, after a bad day you couldn't help but smile as you slip it on to start a nice intimate dinner for two. (or three if you live in Maine!)

  44. I am working on beginning sewing with vintage patterns, so I am using vintage books like, The Complete Book of Sewing by Talbot, 1945.

    As for dogs, I own a pair of Saint Bernards, sisters. When they flap its ears and lips! Very loud.

  45. Winter in Melbourne? It's winter in San Francisco! Tomorrow's HIGH is supposed to be 58 degrees.

  46. It's winter in Sydney too but lately there's a hint of Spring in the air.
    I've never been flapped awake by a dog but I have been awakened by a cat asleep on my stomach. I dreamt that I was in prolonged labour....
    My method of sewing. Moving meditation.
    That's how I like it.

  47. I've only just found you but can't keep away... lovein the coat :)

  48. Yes, Cathy should have a fan page on Facebook.

    I was thinking boxers for that circus fabric, but maybe the print is a little too big. I'll be interested in seeing what you come up with.

    I have an awesome Xoloitzcuintle or Mexican hairless dog (a large one) and he has some pretty big ears, but he's never flapped me with them. However, when he does the head-to-tail shake-out thing, his tail becomes a painful whip!

  49. Marjie, I never say no to old patterns! Email me at PeterLappinNYC at gmail dot com.

  50. My very brief experience with Facebook was that my computer got A LOT of viruses from it.

    Plus Myspace, Livejournal, Facebook and Twitter all started as kiddie sites. I know they claim to have "evolved" to include everyone, but they still have a pathetically juvenile vibe to me. That said, I get why people selling things are all over them.

    Thanks for the doggy pictures!!!

  51. It's winter here in Adelaide too. My cat doesn't wake me up, she goes to bed when I go to bed and gets up when I get up .... lol
    I wouldn't say it's well-trained ... she just loves sleeping! At the moment (1.10pm) she's cuddled under the blanket on my bed, fast asleep. We won't see her till 5pm tonight when she'll come out for food.
    I vote no to FB. The sewing rule that's stuck most with me is to press each seam once you've sewn it. Your dogs are too cute.

  52. It is indeed winter in Melbourne - so our flappy-eared cat sleeps in the bed and flaps us awake all the time.

    Any time I hear 'bishop' I think of 'as the actress said to the ... '

  53. I wouldn't bother with facebook, but purely because people who want to read your blog and RSS MPB will probably link in from other blogs or searches, whereas facebook isn't really used for it. I 'liked' gerties facebook page, but still always go back to googlereader to actually see new posts.

    Also, facebook doesn't give your computer any viruses, nor do weird people stalk you. Well, weird people might stalk you but that depends on who you are friends with in real life. If you have creepy friends.... Not to mention you can restrict the privacy of a f/book profile to within an inch of it's digital life. I'm gen me.....

  54. Would you believe that my dad (Official Garage Sale Shopper of the Everlovin' Universe) found "Fashion Sewing By the Bishop Method" at a garage sale for 10¢ this weekend? When he gave it to me yesterday, I was all, "Oh, Peter has this book!" and then I realized that I have the second book of the set. So far, it's HI-larious. My gloves are hideously dirty. A Bishop no-no!

    And yes, come to the FB. All the sexy people are doing it. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails