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Oct 20, 2010

Meta-blogging for an October morning

Friends, occasionally I like to perform a little blog housekeeping.  Like a fast-paced summer action movie, plot lines here at Male Pattern Boldness can get convoluted or dropped entirely, characters may appear out of nowhere and then just as suddenly disappear, or key scenes get left on the cutting room floor, leaving audiences disoriented.

Or perhaps you've missed a few days -- the metaphorical trip to get popcorn or use the bathroom -- and you no longer know what's going on.

I'd like to take this opportunity to straighten things up a bit, for your sake and mine.

First things first.  Remember the A-line tunic dress I sewed last month for the Burda Westminster Liberty competition?  Well the ten contestant entries are currently on display over at BurdaStyle -- and a lovely group they are indeed!

Here's my entry.

Wise readers of taste and discretion, does something about this photo seem strange to you?  Is anything missing perhaps?

Here's a hint:

Friends, I know Cathy is remarkable in many ways, striking to the point of distraction; the other contestants perhaps a bit less so.  It would certainly be unfair for my entry to get special attention solely because it is being modeled by a professional, albeit one a (wee?) bit longer in the tooth than her competitors.  So I understand why Burda chose this particular image, one of roughly eight I submitted.

Unfortunately, Cathy is not so understanding.  To put it bluntly, readers, she's pissed.  But such is life.

In other news, last week I was sitting on my sofa, staring at my still-unfinished cranberry corduroy suit jacket project (belch) when I saw a vision.

A rainbow had appeared on the on-off button of my Black & Decker Digital Advantage iron!  I thought it was a signal from the great beyond calling me to iron some shirts or....frankly, I had no idea.  It wasn't until I discussed this minor miracle with Michael that he pointed to the glass paperweight on the window sill, which the morning sun had turned into a prism.  Silly me.


My Kwik-Sew Western Jacket pattern has arrived.

I am so tempted to put my cranberry corduroy suit jacket project -- which some of you have suggested is already fatally flawed due to inferior pad stitching -- on hold and move on.  I may even explore some suede resources here in the Garment District.  Wouldn't that be exciting?

Sadly, friends, tailoring is not providing the proverbial "thrill up my leg" I had hoped and forgive the vulgarity.  I feel a bit like the anti-Gertie: tired, still phlegmy and chilled two weeks after my cold, and distracted by all sorts of unpleasantness -- sick friends, the sudden death of an old lover, family chaos -- you name it.  But don't let me burden you with my problems.

Moving right along.

Did you ever hear of a Greist zigzag attachment?  Well I have one!  It actually came with the Necchi zigzagger I purchased on eBay last year, though it clearly wasn't intended to use with that machine.  It does fit my Singer 15-91 perfectly and yesterday I tried it for the first time.

It works beautifully!  Unfortunately, it came with only the template for the blind hem stitch.

Someday, somewhere, I know I'll stumble across the others.  Or maybe I'll just get rid of it; I don't know.  Anyway, it's a fascinating little attachment.

In the next couple of days I'm meeting another sewing friend for a third visit to "Japan Fashion Now."

I'm considering going in full ganguro make up with the aid of Jergens Natural Glow and white lipstick.  We'll see.

Dear readers, there's much more to tell, but I'm afraid we're out of time.  I hope you've found this helpful.  I know I did.

Please leave any questions you have about competitive sewing or vintage Greist sewing attachments below.  Or just say hi.

If you can recommend any good sources for suede and leather in the Garment District, that would be great.

Please direct your questions about pad-stitching to you-know-who.  She likes that sort of thing.

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. So sorry about your blahs, Peter. It's rough to lose someone you have cared about. Thinking of you. K

  2. Hi Peter !

    I AM SO CURIOUS NOW, WHAT IS A GREIST ATTACHMENT?? Please don't leave me like this and give some details!!
    Also, I sent some emails to the lady selling the Elna Lotus in Williamsburg and even set an appointement to see it but at the last minute she said something was wrong with the machine and she would re-advertise it when fixed...

  3. Peter, don't overlook my favorite place to buy suede and leather-the thrift shops! You can buy full length leather coats for a song. I made my brother a crazy artsy jacket from an old 80's big shouldered leather duster. I am looking forward to this project of yours, since I am a fan of the western shirt....

  4. Peter, I do feel Cathy's pain about the photo picked by Burda Style. Um where is her head? When the Burda email popped into my email yesterday, I dashed over to see other's creations as I remembered you making this dress for it. I almost missed Cathy, what with no head and all, not to mention legs and feet. So sorry! That should definitely be fixed.

    And your pad stitching didn't look that bad to me. Though I'm a beginner too. Come now, finish the jacket. You can pat yourself on the back later. You'll love wearing it too.

  5. Just stopping by to say "Hi" As always, I enjoy your blog, but more so, you!

  6. I've popped in to say Hi.
    I too was excited to see the Burda dresses and am definitely curious as to their photo choice. Poor Cathy. How can they snub her so?

    Maybe you need to take a "rest" from the red jacket and get the juices flowing again. I've been doing that a lot lately, but now I have 6 UFOs. Maybe it's not such a good idea after all... (-:

  7. I know what you mean about pad stitching; however, you don't have to do it by hand. You can do it by machine. The best machine to use (in my opinion) is a blind hemmer. It always takes me a bit of time to get the silly thing threaded (not as frustrating as a serger but equally tedious at times) but it will 'pad' stitch the hymo to the garment with little 'blind' stitches. Of course, this is assuming you have a blind hemmer in your arsenal of sewing machines . . . You don't have one. Right? Or did I miss that blog entry?
    Anyway, you can also accomplish a type of pad stitching with a regular sewing machine and we all know you have LOTS of those. Refer to Kenneth King's CD book, "Tailored Jacket". It is excellent on how to quickly (a.k.a no hand sewing) and expertly tailor a jacket. There might be some You Tube entries on this too, but I rarely venture into that universe so I am unable to refer you to any videos. Also, maybe you have stalled on you cranberry (I think it is more of a Pinot Noir) jacket because of the 'bad marriage' between the tailoring techniques you have chosen and the fabric. I think you should have opted for a more unconstructed method with that pinot noir corduroy fabric. However, I don't think you should give up. Finish the jacket. Yes, it will take time but in the end, I think you will be pleased with it and will have learned a great deal.

  8. Hi! (jumps up and down, waving widly, then begins to get dizzy and falls down)

    This does seem to be the most wretched time of the year, doesn't it? I hope things get better for you soon.

    I'm not sure I'd go to Japan Fashion Now as Scary Barbie - maybe more of a classic anmie schoolgirl? Cathy definitely has the legs to carry off a short kilt and Big Sox with platform Keds!

  9. So sorry you have the blah's Peter :( I'm sure it doesn't help but you are not alone... I woke up this morning and realized that I've become my mother-in-law. It's nothing but downhill from there!

    I wonder if your slow progress has something to do with the lack of Monday goals to keep you motivated? Or maybe you need a nice contest or something. How about trying something new or different..... do you make bread? The smell of baking bread could probably make anyone feel better. I found a great Whole Wheat recipe on someone's blog the other day, it's super easy and really good.

  10. Hi!

    Just one little note about that corduroy suit jacket... I TOLD you so... Even if you have the time and patience for it, horsehair canvas and padstitching is really only meant for high quality wool fabrics and fusibles are nowhere near as evil as some fanatics claim they are. I even blogged about it here:
    (and I'm not alone in thinking so, just the the comments to that post)

  11. I'm not a pad stitching kinda gal, it makes my head hurt just thinking about it. I'm sorry about the blahs. I dump projects that aren't working for me and move on to bigger and better things. I second the thrift shop suggestion for leather acqisition opportunities, but I'm sure you've already thought of that. I hope you feel better soon

  12. So sorry you're down. I hope things start looking up soon! Maybe a quicker, easier, non-tedious sewing project is just what you need. Then you can come back refreshed to finish tackling the corduroy jacket.

    I was excited to see your dress on BurdaStyle this morning! I actually looked at the individual project pages (so I saw all your pics) & didn't see the slideshow until after I saw what you wrote here. Cathy has a right to be steamed! But on the up side, when I saw the slideshow, you had the most votes!

  13. Thanks, guys!

    Good grief, Lauriana, can I get a hug with that please? LOL

  14. Sorry dull old Burda has no sense of humour - I'll get over there now to vote for you and your glamourous cousin. They'll have to feature her full gorgeousness when you win!

  15. I thought I was having the blahs --you sound worse. Take a break for a few days.

    That Greist attachment looks more like a blind stitcher than a zigzagger to me. I don't have one so investigate and write it up for us!

    And sorry to Cathy about Burda --I agree, they don't have a sense of humor.

  16. HI PETER!!!!!

    I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Hugs to you.

    I'm available to pad stitch your suit. I need a fix!


  17. just a thought ... maybe they picked that picture because it shows THE DRESS to best advantage? The other photos I saw in your animated montage thingy seemed to highlight beautiful Cathy more than the clothes. Maybe Cathy needs some lessons from Tyra?

  18. Hug Peter. Take a hot bath and do things that make you feel good. I'm just glad your still blogging with all of this going on. We'd miss you. :o)

  19. Feel better. I am so sorry about the death of someone you care for.

    You'll know when the time is right to continue with the cranberry corduroy.

    In the meantime, be good to yourself.

  20. Peter, please tell Cathy that the reason they couldn't show her gorgeous face is that it would have drawn all the attention away from the garments. Everyone would have just voted for "Cathy's face".
    I'm sure cranberry corduroy will have never looked better by the time you've finished. And you will have learnt a lot in the process.
    Sorry for your recent bad news. And thanks for keeping up your ever-jaunty blogging which brightens my days, even when you're not feeling great.

  21. My two favorite places for leather are
    Leather Suede Skins
    261 West 35th St. 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10001

    And Leather Impact
    256 West 38th St. Ground Level
    New York, NY 10018

    I did a blog post a while back ( leather shopping in the Garment District. Those two are my favorites by a lot.

    Have fun and I can't wait to see what you get!

  22. I second the motions about a hot bath and a break from sewing. Sewing is hard work and you need to build up to it like a marathoner. I never sew well, and make lots of mistakes when I am blue or sick. I usually take this kind of opportunity to clean my house and sewing area. A pretty, neat area to sew in makes all the difference sometimes. I need to take my own advice as I have to rip out and start all over again on a jumper I am making.

  23. Have you visited the "eco fashion" exhibition that's on the ground floor above the japanese one? If not i would recommend it, there's some lovely stuff and interesting comments on the accompanying cards.

  24. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss - my condolences.

    On a more banal note, ignore the self-appointed Sewing Police. Is anyone really going to examine your pad stitching, other than on your blog?

  25. Hi Peter,
    Hi. I am sorry to hear of the loss you experienced. And please tell Cathy that she looks lovely in her dress and phooey on Burda for their poor judgement. Frankly, Burda is on my sh*t list ever since they took down the archives. As far as the corduroy jacket, let me repeat one of my favorite lines: Sometimes the best thing you can get out of a relationship is to get out of the relationship.
    If it no longer pleases you, feel free to dump it. Only you can know for sure. Maybe if you put it in the time-out corner, it will behave better in the future.
    Thanks for posting even if things aren't so great.

  26. I am sorry you have illness and bad news.

    I am interested in your lack of love for pad stitching the corduroy jacket. I was asking about tailoring cotton corduroy and velvet on Stitchers' Guild, and your jacket was lauded as a fine example of success in tailoring cotton corduroy.,11097.0.html
    The opposing advice was to use alternative techniques, and to save a first hand tailoring project for a wool fabric.

  27. Hello!

    I am wanting to start my own jacket (I reckon it'll take until next year to be finished!) and I want to see yours finished and accomplished - might give me a bit of a puch in the right direction!

    I am kinda upset about the Burday photo too... what's the problem? Does everybody else feature a head and feet?

  28. Peter - Great post - and great dress. Well, what can you say?? I find Burda to be irritating to find patterns on anyway! Though to be honest I have NOT yet made one of their patters (I own a couple of theirs and two magazines!). They have no constitution in Europe:) So no freedom of speech - or expression. Oh Boo! But great post and I hope you keep going on your jacket - I"m looking to Gertie and you for inspiration!

  29. I meant to say - Germany has broad constitutional protections for freedom of speech (seemingly, expression as well) - but I guess Burda feels they have a license to alter what they display on their site. Again, Oh boo! Sorry for the mistake in the last post. . . too fast typing not thinking. . .

  30. Isn't the pad-stitching against the underside piece of the lapel anyway - so even if you're not 100% happy with it, as long as it helps the top lapel sit properly above it, nobody will ever know? I think it's easy to get lost in the minutiae of a project, especially with something as time-consuming as tailoring. There's a tendency to want every step of the way to be perfect which makes one lose sight of the end goal! I love your suit project and I'm convinced it will look great in the end. And it's excellent practice for that suit you've promised the ever-patient Michael!

    Love all the photos of you and your mother!

  31. Peter, sorry about your friend.
    The horsehair would work without the padstitching. cheat and try some spray on quilter's glue if your feel like finishing the thing.
    Sew what you feel like sewing
    burda are just trying to keep Cathy's identity a secret
    And please do the full white face Geisha thing...or perhaps you could talk Cathy into it
    Intergalactic hug sent your way (())
    But please

  32. I'm offended that I can't see Cathy's winsome smile above your adorable bohemian frock. Boo to that decision!

    I hope you don't abandon your corduroy jacket project Peter, because I just scored the Simplicity 5250 pattern for the jacket Sunni is making, and I was hoping to look to you for lapel top-stitching guidance since you are such a perfectionist expert at top-stitching..

  33. Peter, so sorry about your week, hoping things will look better soon. Can't imagine what possessed Burda to choose a pic without Cathy's head!?!?!?! Can't blame her for being pissed.
    About your corduroy jacket--I tailored a jacket once--the whole pad stitching thing and all I can say is YUK!!! Some people love it and I admire them, but sooooo not for me. I felt a prisoner in my own home (had to do it for a class I was in.)


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