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Jul 16, 2012

Old Projects, NEW Projects!



A new week begins and with it, new sewing projects!  I can't devote my entire life to finishing a linen blazer; there is so much more that needs doing here at MPB, Inc.  Oh, before I forget: what a delight to play Name That Pattern with so many of you this weekend.   I haven't chosen a winner yet, so if you still want to play, please do!

Yesterday I didn't sew a stitch as we rented a car and drove up to some Hudson River towns, where we visited greenmarkets, drank iced coffee, picnicked, and escaped the city for a day.  Sadly, it was hot and humid everywhere we went but river breezes do help!





My mother commented on my linen shorts: she's the second person in as many days to ask, Did you make those? -- which always leaves me wondering if it's because they look like nothing you'd find in a store, or because the workmanship is so poor that they could only have been made at home?  Hopefully the former...though it could be both.

The dogs got to chase balls.  Well, Freddy chases balls; Willy chases Freddy.  He'll figure it out yet.







Meanwhile, I went to the Garment District on Saturday to pick up shoulder pads (I decided the zillion I already owned weren't satisfactory for my blazer) and I also purchased new fabric!  I love this tropical cotton print from Fabric For Less on 39th St. (and I've already found matching floral embellishments).



At 35th St. Fabric (260 West 35th St.), a generic hole-in-the-wall place I visit sometimes because you never know, I also found this black and white floral cotton print which I may use as contrast -- or not.



I don't want to give too much away, but my next project involves this pattern, a cousin of mine in her seventh month, and an imminent four-day vacation to Fire Island.  I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, in blazer land, things are winding down.  I looked through all my many dozens of sewing books and only ONE explained how to line a double-vented (also called a side-vented) jacket.  It wasn't in Roberto Cabrera's Classic Tailoring Techniques (center vents only), or Jane Rhinehart's How to Make Men's Clothes, or any of the tailoring and couture sewing books in my collection.  I found what I needed only in The Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Menswear by Lori A. Knowles.



And here it is:



This probably isn't of much interest to you, but I was very happy to find it.  I do own an RTW double-vented blazer, but I couldn't figure out how those vents were lined.







My lining is slowly coming together with the help of lots of hand basting (with silk thread, la di dah).  I would love to have this finished by Wednesday, buttonholes and all.



And that's it.  We're facing another brutally hot week here in NYC, but I'm expecting to be indoors most the time, which is so much better for the complexion.

In closing, readers, when people ask you if you made what you're wearing, do you generally take it as a compliment, or do you inwardly wonder if it's because it looks like something whipped up in a junior high school home economics class?

Have a great day, everybody!

39 comments:

  1. i take it as a compliment. anyone that knows me well knows i sew, and probably assume i've made something. i've never had a stranger ask me if i've made what i'm wearing (i've been complimented on my clothes by strangers, and then i tell them i made it).

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  2. Most of my friends greet me with 'did you make that?'. I've decided they are either 1) ignorant ( they are all anti sewing and think my 'hobby' is weird) or 2) perhaps more kindly it's harder to tell the difference between RTW and made-by-me than we picky self-critical stitchers think!

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  3. I say, Go for the Gold! Accept it as a compliment to ingenuity and creativity!

    In my hey day of sewing and when I was smaller/younger, people ran after me to ask me where I bought my clothes. I always took it as a compliment and coyly said, "Oh, I have a dressmaker whip up my wardrobe."

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  4. I always wonder if it's because it looks homemade. The best is when a stranger compliments something you are wearing that you made. I used to immediately say "thanks, I made it!" But now I just say thanks and then inwardly feel pretty self-important.

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  5. It's definitely because the items you make are so unique that they could not be purchased as RTW. I very much enjoy telling people that an item was made from a shower curtain, tablecloth, or upholstery fabric leftover. One of the biggest laughs I ever got was when I said "somewhere in Albuquerque there's a couch covered in the same plaid as this skirt".

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  6. Hi Peter,
    You are probably already past it now - but this video shows you how to sewing the lining to the vent. And you get to listen to Colleen's lovely British accent!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV6dNTi6WvU

    Cheers!
    Maris Olsen
    http://sewmaris.com

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  7. I consider it a compliment! I make clothes that are stylish, yet not the same as RTW.

    And I always have people who then comment about how they would love something like that...to which I normally reply, "Sorry, I don't sew for others outside my family."

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  8. Usually it's a breathless "Did you make that??" so I feel confident that it's not because of the 'loving hands at home' look. One particular encounter is stuck in my memory, though; about ten years ago I had made a car coat of which I was particularly proud. A woman stopped me getting off the subway at 42nd Street and said she loved my coat and where did I get it? Upon hearing that I had made it, she reeled back as if I had slapped her, turned on her heel and marched away as fast as she could. I've still not figured out her reaction -- perhaps she thought I was lying to her?

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    Replies
    1. I have just started sewing and to get that reaction is my ultimate sewing goal.

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    2. That was clearly a laugh out loud moment for me. Thank you - I needed that!

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  9. What? When have you ever made something poorly made? Because I don't remember ever seeing anything poorly made on your blog. Unless you're hiding something, It was a compliment! You're fishing for more aren't you? ;)

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  10. I'm still up in the air about this one too. My friends know I make the stuff I wear (it being mostly 40s and 50s and hardly RTW looking). Now they always ask me how long it took. I do get a bunch of compliments when I go out, mostly by older people though. Often a nice older lady will say how smart I look in that dress and how wore she stuff just like when she was a girl. Then I deff say I made it and am more proud by her smiles and hem checking than with anyone else. I think honestly, that more people my own age are weirded out that I choose to wear dresses every day than by finding out that I sew them.

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  11. I know I feel the same way Peter! When I get asked if I made it, I always wonder if it's because:

    (a) It's unique (I use Japanese Fabric mostly), or
    (b) It's so well fitting it must be tailored (from home)
    or
    (c) It's HOMEMADE looking.

    I always hope it's (b).

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  12. I take this kind of remark as a criticism, but maybe I'm too defensive. OTOH, I very very rarely get comments (good or bad) on what I wear so my experience is limited.
    However, your workmanship can not be questionned, so it must be the unique-ness of the shorts.

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  13. Thin on the compliments, I overheard my mother tell a friend you could always tell when I had made what I had on because it fit me so much better.

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  14. I like to think it's because what I've made is unusual/uncommon. I've also been asked that because what I've made fits me much better than standard RTW and it's obvious even to a non-sewist. I don't let myself get away with the "homemade" look--and by that I mean sloppy work.

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  15. If someone knows you sew, "did you make that" can be taken as a compliment. If someone has no idea that you sew and asks the same, OUCH.

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  16. Peter:

    Given that you show your handiwork here in greater detail than the average onlooker could ever detect while you're wearing something you've made, and given that we continually compliment you on the couture-like quality of your seaming, topstitching and finishing...

    I think you're being a little paranoid over nothing. If someone picks up on the fact that something you're wearing is hand-made, it's probably because A) You're right, it looks nothing like something you'd buy in a store, and B) Most people, even today, have fond memories of a grandmother or other family seamstress who could whip up such delights, and they can still tell when someone has gone to such wonderful lengths to have something truly special.

    In other woids, stop ya worryin'.

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  17. Have you seen the quality of RTW lately? I would definitely take it as a compliment. I'm sure when you're done sewing a garment you don't leave loose serger threads, already weak seams, and other errors that seem to be oh so very prevalent on so much RTW these days.

    I always take it as a compliment when someone asks me. Perhaps I'm being a bit naive, but I think I like it that way, at least in regards to my sewing. :]

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  18. I try to take those comments as compliments. I've been veering more towards mid-century patterns lately so usually the stuff I sew isn't found in stores around here. Although I did receive a wonderful comment from a future aunt-in-law about a me-made dress whose color I wasn't completely confident about...that was nice.

    It also helps that my mom and my boyfriend are some of my biggest champions so they love telling people when I'm wearing something I've made.

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  19. My work colleagues have given up asking because it's the same answer - Yes I did make this. Now they check me out when I walk passed and quickly glance to see what I've made next. The looks are now admiring looks.
    My nephew got so excited when I showed him the pairs of coloured jeans I've made this year and he said "Aunty, you should ditch your job and be a designer". That was sweet. He's a budding business man and is always on the look out for a new business venture.

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  20. If the person says something like, "Oh, what a divine skirt/blouse/jacket/suit you're wearing---What? You made it?!" Then, I take it as a compliment. If someone just looks at me and asks, "Did you make that?"--well, then I wonder if it has that loving-hands-at-home look.

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  21. last night a cousin of my husband's came over - haven't seen her in years. I was looking at two dress patterns from my stash and flashed them at her to ask which one I should make. "Sewing?" she asked. "Yes," I replied. "I sew a lot. I made this jacket and the top too." "What's that?" she asked, pointing to the pattern envelope. Apparently she'd never seen one before and didn't know that the envelope contained tissue paper with outlines that are put on the fabric to cut around and that there are also instructions inside on what order to sew the pieces together.
    I didn't know there were people out there who didn't know these things!
    By the way, I still haven't decided: Simplicity 2337 or 2145? And if they say to use a woven fabric, would it be a major problem if I used a knit?

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    Replies
    1. I was in a JoAnn's a few weeks ago buying patterns. The young man who rang up my purchases picked up one of the pattern envelopes and asked, "What is this? I see a lot of people buying these."

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  22. People know I sew so I take it as a compliment when they ask. The question is usually followed by "That's adorable", "That looks really nice on you" or "You're so talented. I wish I could sew". Now, if they looked at me strange and just said "oh" when I said I made something, then I would be worried!

    And my sister told me before that she can always tell when I've made something because I put much nicer buttons on a garment than what's on a store-bought outfit.

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  23. I think they were asking about your shorts because of the unique material.
    Recently I was eager to ask a woman if she'd made her pants because
    1. She was standing in front of me in a queue at at sewing shop and
    2. It looked like an interesting pattern.
    I was afraid of offending her though, so I said nothing.

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  24. Back in the mid-80's when I worked in a big Seattle law office, I mostly wore dresses I had made. One male attorney frequently asked me if I bought my items at a certain store that I had never even heard of. I told him no, I had made them. I used to think he was being derogatory until I went to the store (years later). The store was such a cool place, with very unique designs which I would have been delighted to wear, if I could have afforded them.

    I would take the comments as compliments.

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  25. I have no sewing friends. I do have a neighbor who sews and alters for a living, but that seems to be a different thing than just liking to sew to be creative. People think that it is very odd that I like to go to sewing shows to hang out with others who have the same interests as me. I would love to live in NYC and be able to just go out an find essentially any fabric that I would want. On the other hand, my sewing room is almost unusable from the amount of fabric that I have accumulated. God forbid fabric be more accessible to me. I am always paranoid about sewing compliments.

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  26. I agree with Rebecca; nowadays RTW is such CRAP that IT now has that "loving hands at home" look with threads hanging everywhere, poor finishing, cheap buttons, sloppily installed zippers, ripply seams, etc. I recently went into a fairly high-end store to look at a skirt that caught my eye...it was good looking in a way...a WAY OFF IN THE DISTANCE. What CRAP! It didn't even have a hem; the bottom edge was merely SERGED. And the rest of it wasn't much better in terms of finishing; it looked like something even a thrift store would be embarrassed to have among its inventory! AND they had the nerve to want $125 for it! $1.25 would have been more like it, I tell ya!

    So, like someone else said: if the question comes from someone who knows you sew, then it's almost certainly a compliment. Let's face it: many people sew so they can have clothing that FITS. As for me, I usually wonder if a garment is home-made when I see a GREAT FIT or a clever detail!

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  27. No you see I think it may mean it looks so good that they are not sure if you bought it or not.

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  28. Depends who's saying it! I was recently approached at a party by a non-sewer who said 'is that home-made? Oh yes, I can tell!' And while I think it was meant to be a compliment, it wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear.

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  29. My mother has a particular tone of voice she uses for "Did you make that?" and it never fails to leave me feeling concerned and slightly put out for the rest of the day...

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  30. I toss it off and figure that they just don't get my aesthetic. Your shorts do not look craptastic.

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  31. I'm frequently asked "Did you make that?" or "Where did you get that?". Of course, it's because I'm usually kilted. You won't find many RTW items like that, unless you troll the internet. Take a comment like that as a compliment, and interest in the garment.

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  32. A compliment for sure. I am only asked if I have cut up another tee-shirt and did a redo, or did I buy that. So for me sometimes it is a compliment because it looks high end, or sometimes it is a big FAIL

    Josette

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  33. A stranger followed me around when I was visiting a winery and finally asked where I'd bought my outfit, as she wanted to buy one for her daughter. I told her I'd made it (matching pants & tunic) from a cotton sheet, and added embroidery to the top. She literally gasped and turned away, which I hope was a compliment! Nice clothes catch attention--color, fit, style, finish, effect?

    But when my mother used to ask, there was criticism lurking. Anything made from unusual materials, like too soft a fabric for pants, she thought attracted the wrong kind of attention.

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