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Nov 21, 2011

Name That Notion!



Friends, this weekend at the Chelsea flea market I was delighted to stumble upon a big bag full of vintage notions and a trunk stuffed with vintage cotton fabric.  As you can guess, I couldn't resist.

First, the fabric:

I just love these old cotton prints and each piece is at least 5-6 yards long, if not more, at $4 apiece.  I plan to launder them later today.



These two are my absolute favorites:





The bag of notions I bought is primarily kits to make cloth-covered buttons and buckles.  I've never done that before and am excited to try.





But there were a few things I couldn't identify, and I knew I would have to draw on your collective expertise.  I thought it might be fun to turn this into a game/contest, so I've added a few additional "mystery" items just for fun.  Wanna play?

1)  You may have seen one of these before, or something very much like it.  This one was manufactured by Dritz.



Two questions:  a) How does it work, and b) Why is the first visible number at the bottom an "8"?

2. What is this black stuff called and what purpose does it serve?



3. What is this white thingamajig and what is it for?



4. These copper colored items are also stamped "Dritz."  What are they?  (I honestly don't know so if you're persuasive, you may be able to invent something and make the rest of us believe it.)



The winner shall receive...oh, I don't know...how about either a vintage Prims "Cover-your-own" buckle, or "Cover-your-own" buttons kit?  I'll announce the winner tomorrow and I'm willing to mail it anywhere.

Ready to play?  The first person who gets all four questions right is the winner.

On your mark, get set....NAME THAT NOTION!

Good luck, everybody!

69 comments:

  1. You've hit the mother load with the copper items. Those are welt pocket makers and sell for an obscene amount on ebay. Let me know if you'd like the directions.

    The one at the top is a skirt hem marker.

    The plastic thing just looks like a foot attachment. You'd use different feet on it. But, that is a guess.

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  2. Oh, Cidell..."welt pocket makers" -- that's hilarious. ;)

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  3. Fun vintage items!

    1...is a hem marker. You set the desired hem by moving that bar up and down. Lay the arm out flat, and then have the person turn as you mark with chalk or pins. I have no idea why it begins with 8.

    2...Is it stiff? Is it sticky on the back? I'm guessing it's probably some sort of hem tape. Maybe it's for fuller skirts?

    3...I have no idea.

    4...I'm pretty sure those are for making buttonholes. You slide that little spring thing to hold the fabric, and use your zipper foot to glide along the guide to make uniform buttonholes.

    Hope this helps! Have fun with your treasures. ☺

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  4. The black stuff is electrical tape for old sewing machines.lol

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  5. Cidell knew the answers to the one I know- the plastic foot is a zipper foot for a Unique zipper which was an invisible zipper my mother put them in a lot of her dresses in the late 60's- it came with it's own zipper foot included in the package with the zipper

    Sarah C

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  6. Cidell beat me to it about the notions. My mom has that skirt hemming thing, and recently gave me her Dritz bound buttonhole tool (the copper thing). Congrats, Peter, you really did hit the motherlode ... of course, I found an old serger at a yard sale recently (and it works!), so I guess the sewing karma is in full force lately ;-)

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  7. 1. Hem marker
    2. Hockey tape (you use it to tape your stick to make puck-handling easier)
    3. Nipple clamp
    4. Inuit sunglasses

    How'd I do?

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  8. OMG the last pic is of Dritz bound button hole tools; they sell for about $40 each; they are soooooooo collectable. I paid $25 for one a week or so ago after finally succumbing to the cheapest one i could find. You lucky b*st*rd!!

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  9. I needed more coffee. Yes, welt buttonhole is the right name. Not pocket. I do still have the directions though, LOL. Well, actually, I used mine to make welt pockets but now have a massive one about 10 inches long that is specifically for making pockets.

    They were totally reasonably priced until a few years ago when I wrote a post about them. The prices than skyrocketed because evilbay vultures could see the response for them. I try not to post about vintage things like that anymore because the pricing gets insane. i.e. traum tracing wheel, japanese drafting books. Lesson learned :)

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  10. I want to go, of course. I have long been looking for one of these buttonhole markers... I never found.. Besos !!!

    Paco

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  11. 1. Skirt hemming gadget. You determine the hem by its distance from the floor, clamp the fabric inbetween the metal arm and the vertical stick, and you can put pins through the notches in the clamp. It requires two people: the wearer and the pinner, unless, of course, you can make your dress form exactly your own height.
    2. If it's narrow, then it could be draping tape. You tape it onto your dress form to mark bust, waist, hips, centers front & back, and any style lines you want to note, such as the location of the princess line.
    3. It looks like an adpater to use low shank feet with a high shank machine.
    4. Buttonhole guides. If they are big, say 4" wide at opening, they could be welt pocket guides. But I don't think this one is complete.

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  12. Betsy, you got #3!

    Re #1, why is the lowest number on the ruler an 8 (as it is on every one of these I've found, regardless of manufacturer)?

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  13. 1) Hem marker for skirt (Wooden ruler type thingey on metal floor stand). See Sunni's post here: Contraption in Action – The Mini Max Singer Skirt Marker
    . You use it to pin your skirt hemlines accurately all the way around.

    2) Style Tape (Black Stuff on a roll) I believe it's adhesive 'Style tape' - for marking style/design lines & ideas directly onto your dressform and/or musling (toile) during draping to help you develop pattern and design style ideas. See example here: (pics at bottom of Gertie's post on her floral dressform) Draping a Dress, Part One: Inspiration

    3) High-Shank to Low Adapter (the white thingamajig - plastic with x1 metal thummb screw) I believe it's high to low shank (or vice-a-versa) adapter for your sewing machine. See similar on Sew-Classic's store here. Your one seems to be missing one of the 2-screws it should have - the one that attaches it to the sewing machine's high-shank (the screw it does have on it is what you screw your low-shank feet onto).

    4) Bound Button Hole Tool (copper metal Dritz items) - Wow! They are highly covetable bound Button Hole and Welt/Slot Pocket Tools. You use them on your machine - they kind of clip onto your fabric before you sew it. Tutorial by Colette Patterns here: How to use the Dritz bound buttonhole tool | Coletterie

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  14. My mom had one of the first thing. She used it to get a perfectly level hem all the way around. Your victim has to stand perfectly still in the dress and shoes she will wear and turn slowly a bit at a time as you mark the hem on the dress. My dress form can do that.

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  15. So why is the first number at the bottom an 8?

    The tape has a specific purpose no one has mentioned yet. Keep trying.

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  16. 1) Skirt length marker My guess is that they expected the longest tea length skirt to only be 8 inches from the ground. I've never been sure why those exist anyway. My grandmother always said to hang circle skirts overnight and then measure from the waist to get everything straight and even.
    2)I'm guessing some sort of hem tape, draping tape, or an ancestor of tiger tape.
    3) high shank to low shank adapter?
    4) How big is it? Depending on size, it's either a bound buttonhole maker or a welt pocket maker. The bound buttonhole maker is smaller. I need to dig around to find mine to tell you exactly how big, but I'd guess that it's about 2.5 inches long if it's a BB maker.

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  17. The hole in the copper-colored Dritz thing is 2 5/8 inches.

    On the marker, why is the bottom number (it's approximately 1" off the ground) an 8 and not a 1? I still don't get it.

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  18. Peter, I have one of those hem markers too (except with a pin-cushion bottom) and my thoughts on why it starts at 8" is that the metal clamp is 8" long so that when you line the bottom of the clamp at 8" the top of it will actually be 8" from the floor when you put the pins in the skirt (which then means your hem will be 8" from the floor when wearing it). That's my guess, it confused the heck out of me too!

    Also, my heart sank when I saw those bound buttonhole makers you've got there! I almost won one on ebay and keep getting swindled at the last second, drats. I even went to the Chelsea Flea, Brooklyn Flea, and Hell's Kitchen Flea and had that as my top item to find. You could make Cathy a necklace out of them and taunt us all ;) Lucky you!

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  19. Peter,
    I think you've been given correct answers on the ones I know about, but here are the links on how to use two of them:

    1) This one is from Sunni. http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2010/sewing/contraption-in-action-the-mini-max-singer-skirt-marker/#more-690 And if I am not mistaken, it starts with 8 at the bottom, because (maybe) if you slide the bar all the way down and insert the pin, the pin will be 8" from the floor. (I assume that the length of the bar is 8 inches).

    4) This one is from Colette Patterns Blog, but I found it through Casey's Elegant Musings Blog. http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/how-to-use-the-dritz-bound-buttonhole-tool

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  20. I guess someone already found those while I was otherwise occupied. ;-)

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  21. I don't know. But I would venture that if the skirt is worn with heels and the marker is probably used with the wearer in bare feet (for easier turning), 8 inches from the ground could probably be were the skirt hem ends up.
    Also for fun look at this article from 1922 that discusses the 8 inch (from ground) hem: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0C12FD355B11728DDDAF0994DF405B828EF1D3# that

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  22. Re: the hem marker starting with the no. 8 at the bottom... I think the numbers (from bottom upwards) indicate how far the bottom edge of the hem is from floor-level.

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  23. #1 is a skirt marker, but I honestly don't know why the first visible number is an 8 (20 cm.). My dressform starts from the same number, so my guess is that the number denotes the distance from ankle to floor.

    #2 could be a fusible hem tape.

    #3 probably is a shank adapter (although at a first glance I thought it was that Jean-a-ma-jig contraption).

    and #4 is a Dritz bound buttonhole maker (I know because I was very close to buying one off eBay last night).

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  24. Sweet score on the bound buttonhole makers. Yes, I too paid way too much for one, and the pocket version. What's worse is they are still in the packaging with instructions. I can't bring myselft to open and use them. But after the frenzy started, there were a few great tutorials put out making buttonholes and pockets without these. So maybe we actually owe Cidell a big "thank you".

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  25. Oh, Gail -- I meant to thank you for your brilliant insight that even with the Pintastic battery-operated pin dispenser, you STILL need a cushion to put the pins in when you pull them out of your project!

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  26. maybe the first 7 inches of your ruler broke and they shoved it back in at 8 inch mark. :)

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  27. Hiya Peter and all...

    The black tape looks like very old "Tailors Tape", used to reinforce the edges of jackets and coats, and also to shape the roll-line of the lapel...it's applied by stitching...that is if it *is* old "Tailors Tape"... ;)

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  28. maybe it starts at 8 inches (1 inch off the floor) to accommodate 7 inch heels??? hahahahaha. obviously I'm grasping at straws here!

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  29. Are the Dritz buttonhole makers all the same size? They made one for welt pockets as well but I've never been able to find it. BTW I paid $25 for my Dritz buttonhole maker, but it was in an unopened package with instructions.

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  30. No. one is definitely a hem marker used to make sure the hem was even all around. It was more difficult with full skirts.

    No. 2: I have similar tape, but mine is iron-on and it is to mark the collar roll on a jacket front. I use it for other things too, like stabilizing pant pocket openings and such.

    No. 3: Is a shank adapter for sewing machine feet.

    No 4: Is a welt buttonhole maker. Bunches of them. I've never seen one in person, just pictures. Of course, I have a welt pocket maker that is completely unused.

    The covered belt buckles and covered button blanks are the mother lode. You can't get the belt buckles anymore without a lot of time and effort and searching. They make for a perfect belt in both size and color. Now you need grommets and a grommet tool to punch the little holes in the belt. That I already have. It's probably an antique too.

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  31. Your post nearly made me go hide under my pillow. That skirt hem marker was a tool of torture while I was growing up. My mother had me stand for what seemed like hours while she marked the hems of the skirts she'd made for me. Of course, once done, we had to go around again to make sure they were all right... and keep doing it until none of the pins shifted up or down. The slightest shift of posture could change everything. AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!

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  32. Vintage sewing notions are too much fun...and it looks like you scored big on those bound buttonhole things. Thanks for sharing.

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  33. They're all the same size, Nancy. But why would the hole be so big (2 5/8")?

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  34. I'm so envious of those Dritz buttonhole makers. Earlier in the year I was going to buy one on Ebay but wanted to know how to use it. I emailed Dritz not only for some kind of instruction, but to know if they would be brought back for sale--never heard back from them.

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  35. Maybe the buttonhole makers are so big because they were for coats in the era of giant buttons, sometime in the mid to late '50s. I remember my mother had such a coat in the back of the closet, retired after the fashion passed.
    -- stashdragon

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  36. I have black tape like that too, and I thought it was draping tape, but Claire and Bratling already mentioned that. Actually mine won't stick to my dress form, so when you figure out what it really is, please let me know.

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  37. A little tip on the covered buckles...If they're OLD kits, the double sided tape on the pattern is probably dried out. I've used Res-Q-Tape to replace it & it's worked just fine & held up well. I do hand wash my belts though. To Marilyn's Rags...you can buy covered buckle kits directly from Maxant on their website...reasonably priced & shipped fast!

    You can find instuctions for the bound buttonhole maker online BUT if you're in the market for another vintage sewing book (& who isn't?!!!), buy the "Dritz Guide To Modern Sewing" a paperback from the 60's. It's a great basic sewing book AND has detailed instructions for using the bound buttonhole maker (much more detailed than what was on the original packaging)....& a section on covering buckles/making belts. Several copies on Amazon starting at $3.50! You'll love it!

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  38. Hi Peter,

    That black stuff... that is band you iron onto the shoulder with knitted fabrics, then you sew your seam through the fabrics and band. The shoulder will never go out of shape! I use it all the time.
    The first contraption is a skirt hem device, the third item is an presser foot holder, and the last items are somekind of devices to make buttonholes.

    Am I right????

    Marja

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  39. i use what looks like your tape to reinforce shoulder seams or necklines on jerseys or loose knits.

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  40. When you make the covered buttons, they come out a lot neater if you put a little row of gathering stitches around the outer edge of the circle and pull the gathers in than just trying to fold the fabric in as the instructions suggest. It sounds like more work in the first place but saves time and frustration in the long run. If you are using a very fine fabric, you will need to use a lightweight interfacing before trying to cover the buttons.

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  41. 1) hem marker

    2) this looks like design tape to me, to stick to a dressform when deciding where you want to drape. We use twill tape (because its repositionable) at school, but I've seen the sticky stuff too.

    3) I'm not sure, but it looks like a sewing machine foot adaptor or holder.

    4) Bound buttonhole maker.

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  42. *Gasp*! Four welt makers at once, it's almost more than my heart can take!
    You got a lucky haul my friend.

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  43. It starts at 8 inches because the wearer is supposed to be standing on a little rotating platform while the hem is measured. The platforms all had a standard height -- hence the measuring sticks all begin at 8 inches.

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  44. The buttonhole makers were for giant sized buttons that you would find on 60's coats, etc.

    I remember because my mother had a selection of huge buttons, I hate buttons, (its a long story). My brother would chase me around the house with these giant toggles and buttons.

    I vaguely remember my mother making a coat and using one of these devices for handmade buttonholes.

    Josette

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  45. Not only do I remember those huge buttons, but I have some of them from my mother's stash. Some of them are so big they look like little saucers!

    Oh, and did I mention how jealous I am of your incredible find? :) I can just picture those two fabrics shown as dresses with self-covered buttons and belts. They will look very classy! Congrats!

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  46. Well, I'm a bit late and I see that these items have been thoroughly identified, but I remember finding #4, for bound buttonholes, just as they were becoming impossible to find as Dritz no longer made them. I bought two at the time, and they're a treasure. Have I ever used them? No. But that's not the point I guess.

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  47. Pat, nobody has gotten the tape right yet!

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  48. To those frustrated e-Bay buyers - maybe you are getting "sniped" in the last 5 seconds by someone using auctionsniper.com or a similar service. You should look into it - you can decide what you are willing to bid up to and just submit that bid through auctionsniper.com. It's amazingly effective and you don't get caught up in the whole escalating bidding frenzy.

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  49. OK - on the tape, I can't quite tell how thick it is. I am thinking if it's a bias tape, it could be for hems. Or if it has some weight to it like a covered felt or something like that it could be for the top of set-in sleeves on a jacket or other tailored item. Am I even close?

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  50. Stretch waistband elastic?

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  51. Peter, my hem stick thingie starts at #3, not #8.

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  52. Is it the tape used for sewing seams in real fur?

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  53. The tape could be either "hot" tape or "Cold" tape. Both are used in the making of fur garments. Hot tape was applied to the construction edges of coats with a hot iron. Cold was self-stick. It's positioned just enough from the edge so that the machine doesn't catch it and gum up the needle/thread of the fur sewing machine. It's also used in fur repair work. The leather side of fur is stretchy and this keeps it from doing that so the construction seams don't ripple.

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  54. I know that the first one is to measure hems. Not sure why it starts with a #8 :(

    I made a bunch of covered buttons on Friday night for my son's "frock coat" he wore to the Remembrance Day festivities at Gettysburg, PA on Saturday. Now I have to re-stock my supply! You sure found a great haul - those fabrics are fabulous!

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  55. I think the hemmer starts at 8 so you can hem someone wearing 8" heels! Haha ;)

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  56. I could have used that cold fuse tape when I was working on my mink coat last winter! It does look like hockey tape, but narrower.

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  57. Peter:

    What I want to see next is a project that uses all four of these items! A duplicate of the coat Jackie Kennedy wore to the Inaugural Parade in '61 would do it. Big buttons, welted buttonholes, sable trim, precise hem....

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/coutureallure/3212079323/

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  58. I am insanely jealous of those belt buckle covering kits!!!!! I have been searching for those for a few YEARS! Thanks to Anonymous for the tip on finding them.
    I knew the answers to #1 and #3 but was WAY off on #'s 2 and 4! I wish I'd known about those welt buttonhole gizmo's years ago. That has always been one of my Waterloo's.

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  59. A-hah.... cold tape! I've never worked with fur, I had no idea (no surprise there, I'm a ShirtMaker, lol). Thanks Peter!

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  60. I still have my bound buttonhole maker from the early 1960's. I found the same link as Claire (http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/how-to-use-the-dritz-bound-buttonhole-tool ). They work quite well. I made suits using that buttonhole maker, all Vogue Patterns. I wish I still had the patterns, but have no idea what happened to them.

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  61. Okay, then it's definitely the bound buttonhole maker. And the hole is that big because in the course of making said buttonholes, you attach it to the fabric and use it as a guide to sew a rectangle on the fabric. Bound buttonholes are taller than their regular counterparts, with as much as a 1/4 inch flap on either long side of the buttonhole. (I've studied it extensively, but have yet to make one.) I have two, both of which I picked up at bargain basement prices because they were mislisted on ebay. As for why it's that wide, well, bound buttonholes are preferred finishing for coats in vintage-land, and coat buttons have always tended towards huge!

    Welt pocket makers are larger versions. I've never seen one, but I've heard that they're as much as 6 inches long. I have yet to stumble across one on ebay, but I keep trying. (Sewing patterns and notions don't seem to show up in my local thrift stores!)

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  62. Oh! It's number four, BTW.

    And if you've been sniped at the last minute, I apologize, because it might've been me. I don't use the sniper services, because I prefer the rush of doing it myself... and I never bid until the last 10-15 seconds. ;) My goal for winning auctions is to get what I want for the least amount of $$ possible. I get sooo frustrated with people who start bidding days beforehand and just drive up the price!

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  63. I think the skirt hemmer starts at 8 because the company who made it was trying to confuse us and mess with our heads. When an object confuses me that's always my answer.

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