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Sep 24, 2011

Saturday Ditch-a-Palooza + Advice, please!

Readers, how many times have you removed the pillowcases from your pillows and been utterly disgusted by what you beheld?

I no longer use this down pillow, purchased many years ago from The Company Store (Do down pillows have a life span?).  I don't know what turned it this particular shade of mashed potato, but it has been through the laundry, though you'd never know it.   I don't use any hair products on my head for obvious reasons, so I'm not sure what happened.  Anyway, this one is headed to the landfill, and please don't tell me the dozens of clever ways you'd recycle the stuffing.

Moving right along...

This lovely ceramic vase would be perfect for a dried flower arrangement; unfortunately, I have not seen a dried flower arrangement since 1978.  Plus the handle once broke off and though I successfully glued it back on, you can't really pick it up by the handle anymore. 

Anyway, this is another objet d'art that has been collecting dust at the back of my closet for too many years, and it's fragile to boot.   You are the weakest link.  Good-bye!

If you're like me, you're probably wondering how you ended up with a karaoke mixer.  It's a long story and has very little to do with karaoke.

As Dolly Levi says, So Long, Dearie!

Do you ever wonder why you own so many tote bags -- especially those promotional kind you're embarrassed to be seen carrying?

With less stuff, there's also much less stuff to carry around in bags.  Out you go!

Friends, I think that's enough for today.

I realized yesterday -- in a funny way I'll tell you about later -- that I made a highly visible error on my BurdaStyle halter dress.  The instructions were so hard to follow that I abandoned them early on, and I couldn't figure out what was going on with the bodice trim.  I attached it the way I assumed it ought to be attached -- stitching it over the top of the bodice edge as one would a waistband (or double folded bias tape) after the lining was attached, and it looked fine to me.

Yesterday I realized it was supposed to look like this, which would be attached along the front edge before the lining was attached, and hang down over the top of the bodice.

I'm not sure how many people are actually sewing along with me on BurdaStyle, but anyone who followed my directions would have made a mistake.  I think my way looks fine, but it's not the way the pattern was designed.  Whoops!

Now as I take another look at their version, I see my error, but it wasn't obvious to me last week.

I'm wondering how you would handle this.  The dress is done, Leah loves it, and the photo shoot is completed.  I think I need to write an addendum to my last post, explaining my error.   But I don't need to commit hari-kari or anything, right?

I guess that's why you should read your directions carefully before you start sewing a project.  But I also think it's important that directions be written clearly to begin with.  I hope I don't sound petulant.

In closing, readers, do you ever replace your bed pillows, and if so, how often?

If you think the pillow looks bad, you should see the mattress!

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Hm. My dry cleaner replaces the cover when I bring my down pillows in for cleaning - maybe yours would too? I like how your dress turned out. Since you are doing the sew a long for Burda, might not be politic to say their instructions are bad? I wouldn't say anything and let folks assume it was a design decision. Good luck!

    Btw, your cleaning has inspired me to go through my closets to clean - amazing what is in there!

  2. I am not really disgusted by my own pillows, but the pillows used by the Hubs end up that lovely hue you showed above.

    I think men just exude something -- effluvia -- that discolors items more than women. We used to not have a headboard, and the way the Hubs slept meant his arm rubbed against the wall and discolored that too. The guy showers every day and doesn't have a particularly physical job. I have no idea what causes this!

  3. I replace mine when they feel flat or long before the mash potato color. And my hubs' pillow gets way more disgusting than mine. Drool, animal magnetism, who knows?
    I like your dress top better, just sayin..
    The *wings* didn't do a thing for me.

  4. I completely agree with you on the BurdaStyle directions; they are not for the feint of heart! I am assuming it's because they are trnslated from German, and trying to conserve space for the more important stuff in the magasine;) I like the look of both of the bodice finishes. Just call it a "design decision", as they say in costume design school. Good work on the dress, Peter!

  5. I love the dress as-is, and it looks like Leah does, too, so I wouldn't spend another minute thinking about it!

    I found out that bed pillows, even down filled ones, are washable in a front-load machine. I absolutely wash mine if I can, and have thrown them away if they are past the point of no return!

  6. I agree with Valerie ~ it's probably not PC to criticize the Burda instructions on their site. I would write the p.s. to your post, stating that you (and the wearer) preferred it the way that you made it, but it can be made this alternate way as well.

    As for the pillows ~ I replace the ones on my bed once or twice a year, because they are down alternative and get flat. I have a few (too many!) on a shelf in the basement that I really need to toss. i am so bad at the tossing thing, but you are providing excellent inspiration. Thanks for that!

  7. No, I really don't think that you need to commit hari-kari. I think that the fact that you went off on a slight tangent makes the whole sew along more interesting. Burda Style, and their readers, want to see how real people get along sewing their patterns. Personally I really like a lot of patterns in their magazine and have actually made quite a lot of them but I have to say that I find their instructions largely INSCRUTABLE. The folks at Burda should realise this. Also, if I may say so, I rather like your version - it's more streamlined - some ladies might prefer not to have the flaps above the bust that the original version has. So, you have now given people a choice of which way they want to make this dress - that's good!

  8. A dear friend of mine once told me a neat trick for keeping pillows fresher. She always put a plain pillow case on the pillow, turned the pillow around and put the regular pillow case on the opposite way. Nice and neat looking and protects the pillow. On a side note, sorry men, her husband once told me she often put THREE cases on his! What's up your heads guys? So, to answer your question, our pillows look like new. I do have to say I wash my feather pillow once in a while, but not often, and our feather duvet about once a year. I find it much easier to wash these in a front load washer.

  9. the request for clearly written instructions is not being petulant, I would think they would want to know. If their instructions are difficult to understand it is the responsibility of the pattern company to communicate them as clear as possible, as their goal is to sell them to the public, unless they are Marfy patterns who will tell you up front they don't give instructions (I actually prefer that).

    Your dress came out beautifully! and when I look at the photo of the Burda dress, it's not 100% clear to me that the trim hangs out, it looks very clear on the picture of the blue dress you posted, because you can see the contrast. You don't need to commit hari-kari, and don't be so hard on yourself it's not your fault.

    yeah, that pillow is done.

  10. I respectfully disagree on public outing of poor directions. These are commercial patterns, and SOME of us (who shall remain nameless but might POSSIBLY be hoarders)spend a small fortune on patterns. They should be written to be understandable. If they aren't, the pattern companies need to change the way they write directions. I've heard several people say they quit sewing altogether after trying to following pattern directions. (Faint hearted wretches.)

  11. Many delicious tidbits for thought today, Peter.

    Looks like you've got lots of advice about pillows and Burda pattern instructions, so I'll just mention that I'm really benefitting from the Daily Ditch, although I have to say that the donatable discards tend to pile up in my car for a few days at a time. Have to make another run today. I've used several of those idiotic tote bags to carry the ditchables out of here, so at least they were useful once.

  12. Pillow covers help keep the grunge off the pillows. Wash those regularly and the pillows at least once a year. You can wash feathers and down, and dry on low. Just make sure the fabric on the pillow is OK. I washed my DHs feather pillows that had NEVER been washed (took 4 times to be clean, ugh), and, because the fabric was so old, they fell apart in the dryer leaving me scooping a basket full of feathers off everything in the laundry room. Feathers break down over time. That's why people get their duvets plumped up once in a while by the addition of new feathers.

    BTW, if you don't want to dry feathers in the dryer, dry them outside, then beat them when dry to separate the feathers and plump up the pillows.

  13. I replaced all the pillows a few months back. The discolouration - slabbers, plain and simple LOL!

    My mum always does the double pillow slip thing too, but I never bother. More ironing! No thanks :)

  14. I change my pillow two or three times a year when they go flat, and they go directly to my dog's bedding for a few weeks, then I toss them away! I hate flat pillows. But my husband loves his down pillow and I've have washed them and then take them to the cleaners to change the cover. There is a story about a down pillow ("Tales of love, madness and death" by the uruguayan Horacio Quiroga) but you don't want to go there... too scary!

  15. Thanks, everybody.

    Crikey, did I delete your comment by mistake? Sorry!

  16. I put 2 pillow covers on my husbands pillows and then the pillow case. I also have to make new pillow cases frequently out of old sheets. We all should really replace pillows and linens a lot more frequently than we do. I also use Bi-O-Kleen odor and stain remover on those items, a good drenching and then washing with Bi-O-Kleen laundry detergent. Good results.

  17. This is completely off-topic (any of them), but I wanted to add that I miss Cathy and I hope we'll get to see her modeling some vintage-inspired fashions again soon.

  18. While I'm adding unrelated comments, can anyone tell me why my comments come up as "Anonymous" even when I'm signed into my Google account? It's quite annoying, and, I feel, somewhat lurkish.

  19. Anonymous ~ check your Google sign in page and see it the "keep me signed in" box is checked. If so, sign out, uncheck the box, and sign back in. I used to have the same problem, but keeping the box unchecked fixed it for me. Good luck!

  20. I use removable and washable pillow covers under the pillowcases. You can buy them at a linens store. I'm thinking the staining is exactly because you don't need hair products - more skin (and oils) in contact with the pillowcase. Or, Freddy and Willy are curling up there when you aren't looking. ;-)

    Good for you on the Daily Dump (sorry, I still love that name better). I've pretty much been a regular dumper (hah!) - the opposite of a hoarder, but my clothes closet is now out of control with too many sizes. I'll definitely be doing some dumping from it very soon.

  21. I have been using a down pillow that came with our house. It is probably 60 years old. I doubt it has ever been cleaned and I am getting sick to my stomach writing this. Monday morning it is going to get professionally cleaned. Thanks for the reminder...maybe my headaches will go away too. bonus!!!

  22. I've read that washing down pillows removes their natural oils, which is what keeps the pillow fluffy. They definitely have a lifespan. My down comforter has been washed once, and is good as new after 15 years.

    The way the dogs are checking out the totes--watch out they're not with the daily ditch! lol

  23. It helps to put down pillows out to air in the sunshine every now and then, the duvets too if you can manage it.
    P.s. Love the dress (without wings) but miss seeing it on Cathy.

  24. This is why I don't sew Burda patterns. It's a German company, so I assume that they were originally written in German, so they'd be worse than pattern instructions usually are!

  25. Your dress looks GREAT! I hate bad pattern instruction - there's nothing worse when you are trying to make something from a pattern and the instructions are unclear!

    Your ditching has inspired me SO much! Although I haven't gotten rid of anything yet, I have a great list of things I know I will get rid of soon. We need to rent a dumpster for all of the "stuff" we have to get rid of!

    We are about to refinance the mortgage on our house so that we can finish it. Unfortunately, my husband used the unfinished rooms to store 10 yrs of crap and then I came along 3 yrs ago with all my crap. Can you see where this is leading? Along with all this, my hubby is a pack rat - he is LOATHE to get rid of anything! Oh, the junk!


  26. I dumped right before I read today's post and I feel great! I have been looking at my grandmother's old satin comforter and intending to wash it. On closer inspection I noticed how dry-rotted it was and just bit the bullet. The feather pillows I've washed and hung outside during the hottest days of summer and they seem fine-and smell good, too. I cover pillows of whatever filling with those allergy covers with zippers but when foam compresses, nothing helps and I replace the foam ones about every other year. I think the guy-staining-pillows-thing is simply men have thicker skin (literally) than women and the skin cell shedding is just more noticeable.

  27. Everybody feels better after a good daily dump, I always say.

  28. Re: cleaning pillows. According to

    "Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings."

    I prefer ditching pillows to cleaning them.

  29. Lol, the best place to recycle something like your pillow, as it has natural filling, would be in a compost bin. However, not having that option tossing it is the only solution.
    As for the dress- you like it, Leah loves it so put it down to a bit of 'creative license' with the pattern this time and make it as written next time around...but only if you want to :).

  30. "mashed potato"...I'm crying with laughter!

  31. I am now sewing for 4 or 5 yesrs and after the first year I foound out that you have to read all instructions very, very carefully! Your dress is done and it looks great as it is.
    The original look of Burda is more retro like. Your version is more modern andyou can declare it as your personal style.

  32. About Burda's instructions: I do read and speak quite a bit of German (besides my native tongue Dutch), and believe you me - they are unclear in any language.

    I used a few Burda patterns and the fit is very confection-like. I now don't buy patterns any more to sew my clothes - I 'just' trace clothes that fit good onto pattern paper and adjust them to fit perfectly.

    On the daily dump: no comment - LOL

    Jan-Theo / NL

  33. One of the pillow manufacturers here in Australia has just recently introduced use-by dates for their pillows (2 years). Talk about planned obsolesence LOL.

  34. Peter, no it's ok you didn't. I did as I posted under ths ID by mistake. It's my business name so I try not to use it on blogs. I cut and pasted it to the post below it, which was me too :)


  35. I totally agree about the Burda pattern instructions. I'm hardly a beginner any more and they are unfathomable. I think it's quite funny that the Burda sew-a-long leader couldn't understand their instructions either! I must admit I had assumed you had had a meeting with them or something beforehand to go through it to make sure everything was OK!

  36. Yep! Burda instructions can be lacking in clarity. But what is worse...I've found oodles of mistakes in the big pattern companies' instructions, from Vogue to Simplicity and all the others. I feel for beginning sewers who must try to decipher these instructions! But with experience, as you have shown, one can finish a garment to one's own satisfaction, despite the instructions.

  37. As punishment for the halter dress error you should have to carry that google bag around for a week....or make a dried flower arrangement.

  38. I used to dye my hair with henna, so all our pillows are orange - hides the dirt! I tend to wonder how all our tote bags disappear, so no, we have the opposite problem.

  39. Discolouration on pillows? Fake tan maybe....or just plain old drool!
    I think you added your own artistic touch to the Burda pattern, just keep saying that :-)

  40. Burda patterns are notoriously awful with their directions. Blame the translator - you'd think a German pattern company would pay more attention!

    I just finished a Burda motorcycle jacket and I'm ashamed to admit how many times I had to recut pieces after pattern misreads. And skipping steps! If i followed the instructions directly, i would have a jacket half sewed and full of pins.

    Now that I've finished it, I'd use the pattern again, but only because I managed to suss it out on my own. Whew!


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