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Sep 13, 2012

On Juicing, June Tailor, and Blogger Ethics

Readers, have you ever done a juice fast?  I never have, though I've owned my trusty Omega juicer for more than fifteen years.  I did the Master Cleanse (the lemonade and maple syrup thing) for ten days once, and while my skin was never so clear, I became a very skinny grouch after about a week.  Oh, and hungry, very hungry...

I'm on the second day of a two-day juice fast -- mainly vegetable juice, plus assorted herbal teas -- so it's almost over but I already feel better.  On vacation I'd consumed so much sugar and caffeine that I was buzzy all the time and my sleep suffered.  For me a fast is a nice way to break the cycle: already the thought of a cup of morning coffee sounds toxic.  We'll see how long that lasts.

Here's last night's dinner -- bottoms up!

Meanwhile, yesterday in the mail I received an eBay purchase I'd been eying a long time -- at least since I made my linen jacket.  Can you identify this object?

It's a June Tailor board, meant for pressing collars and other hard-to-press seams, and I'm very excited about it.  I'd seen them around but they're somewhat hard to find and new ones are expensive (more than $50); they sometimes come with fabric covers though mine does not.  I've seen Marta Alto and Nancy Zieman use them in videos (Nancy sells them on her website) and they look very useful.  Of course, whenever I hear the name June Tailor I think of the dancers on the Jackie Gleason Show, but the spelling is different.

My June Tailor board is vintage (sort of) but was still in the original package.

Finally, friends, I read a thought-provoking article in this morning's NY Times about fashion bloggers and how increasingly those street-style shots you see on some of the popular fashion blogs are the creations of branding consultants and product placement specialists.  You can read the article here.  Trivial in the scheme of things but it definitely pushed my "Is anything/anybody authentic anymore?" button.

One of the things I like best about the sewing world is that it's so small (relative to the fashion world) that there's much less at stake for anybody blogging about it.  A blogger endorsing something is usually doing it because she/he genuinely uses (and likes) it, not because they've been paid or given free product.  In my nearly three years of blogging I've received 1) a free Simplicity book on fabric, which I liked; 2) ten free glue sticks, which were a disappointment; and 3) an offer from an online button store for free buttons -- nice, but I already have more buttons than I know what to do with.

Of course, I'd love a Bernina but so far, nothing.

I often mention favorite fabric stores on MPB but believe me, I get nothing in return; they don't even know who I am.  And rest assured, the Omega Juicer company and June Tailor have not had a role in today's post.  To quote Mae West in Sextette, "It's real, honey, it's all real!"

In closing, friends, a few questions:

1) Do you juice and have you ever tried a juice fast/cleanse?

2) What do you think of the amateur fashion blogger as (stealth) brand marketer?  Do you care -- I mean, if you like what they're wearing and how they look in it, does it really matter?  (We know everything in Vogue has been bought and paid for but many of us still look to it for style direction?)  I'd love to hear what you think.

3) What was Mae thinking when she made Sextette?

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Of your three questions, the only one I've ever spent any time considering is (3), but believe me, on that I've spent hours. Mae was a remarkable creasture, but at some point she just plain lost her way.

    It's a testimony of sorts that she could take enough people along with her on her misadventure to sustain the last 20 or so years of her life and career, but that doesn't make the result any less ridiculous. On the other hand, say what you will about Sextette, it's rarely dull.

    So how does one actually employ a June Tailor? From the shape of it, I have no idea at all.

  2. I have just one question, who is (was) June Tailor? If she wasn't one of those dancers who sewed in her spare time, who was she?
    I don't have much in the way of answers to your questions. 1. no 2. I don't pay much attention to fashion blogs (you would know that if you saw me). 3. ?

  3. I have a June Tailor board and love it. I have used it for years and years. Answers to questions:
    1. no, no
    2. I think we all need to have our own style and work with it. What others wear are not necessaryly my style but if it is, I will look at it. I really don't look at fashion blogs.
    3. I can't see Sexette as it is blocked in my country due to copyright. Sorry, no answer there.

  4. 1. Juice fast? I may have tried one when I was a teenager, thinking I was fat. Now I think I just need to eat right and drink plenty of liquids. Lately we've been making "fruit cups" to eat more fruit. I like the way "fruit cups" sounds. We've made up songs.

    2. I am working on this right now! I'm making some outerwear and jackets and really letting my own creativity dictate. Now that I've learned to make patterns, I'm breaking the rules and breaking out my own styles!

    3. You have me wondering about Sexette, sounds like a fun movie as Mae West and Marilyn were really both comediennes!

  5. 1. I used to do occasional juice fasts, but it's been awhile. I really don't need to add a reason to be grouchy to my life. I love love love my home-made juice drinks though!
    2. I don't care - I am reminded of the Meryl Streep's scene in the Prada movie where she talks about how that particular shade of blue was chosen FOR you by the fashion PTB...probably years ago. Someone just HAS to feel like they're in control....whether they are or
    3. I assume that was a later movie of hers? Haven't seen it; don't need to.

    Gee, I sound grouchy already and I'm not even on a juice fast! ;D

  6. Nope, never done a juice fast and I don't need another reason for abdominal discomfort; I already have enough.
    As for the fashion bloggers, well some of them are actually making a living from their blogs so the money has to be coming from somewhere. There are some sewing bloggers who've turned it into jobs and that's totally legitimate. Since I don't take the fashion bloggers seriously it doesn't really matter to me.

  7. Oh, I have one of these boards but mine isn't collapsible like yours appears to be. I use it, and mine came with the covers which, by the way I don't use much. I use this but I use my pointer clapper more.

  8. I juiced yesterday! Picked a beet from my garden, peeled, chopped and mixed it with apples - voila, a refreshing beverage. Today, all is "rosey" in my world (oh, the pigment in a beet - my kidneys must be aglow!).

    Like celebrities spotted "on dates", everything commercial is staged. That's why I love sewing blogs - they're so unbelievably candid, and downright honest (MPB has always been unwavering in its honesty). Laura Mae tells us what works for her, the Selfish Seamstress NEVER holds back on anything, and anyone who writes about a Susan Khalje or Kenneth D. King class they enrolled in, is sharing an exuberance for the art of creating with fabric and thread. In our sewing realm, we're colleagues, not customers.

    As for Mae West, she belongs on U.S. currency, showing plenty of cleavage and rolling her eyes (what better reason to bring back the $2 bill?).

    1. I am not from the U.S. but I like the Mae on the $2.00 idea.

  9. I can only answer the 1st question. I am a regular faster. I fast on juice for 3 weeks every year leading into the Asiatic New Year i.e. the spring equinox and I fast 1 day every week. When fasting, it's the 1st 3 days that are the worst. After that you don't even notice. And everything you do seems better and clearer. Like when you get a new glasses Rx.

    Good Luck and Enjoy!


  10. I love my June Tailor board, but like Nancy K I don't use the covers that much. I don't mind when folks do mention particular websites or products on the sewing blogs with or without disclosure because it can lead to great discoveries such as the interfacing at Fashion Sewing Supply (Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics did say she was not affiliated, just very happy with the quality. She was right.)

  11. I have to say I don't get a lot of fashion blogs. I like Already Pretty, but more so her posts with content and questions about how we percieve ourselves and others over outfit posts.

    I agree that most sewing bloggers when they mention a place, it isn't for personal benefit and it is because they had a really good experience. I also find that it's usually not one person mentioning a retailer or product that catches my eye, it's the repeated content. That is a real sign to me of something I'd like to check out when I hear about it from 2 or 3 bloggers.

  12. I've fasted with smoothies - just veggies, fruit and juices and I loved it. It is more filling than just juice. And I always feel wonderful when I do it. I highly recommend it. And the June Tailor board - do you know the local high school threw a ton of those out last year and I could kick myself for not going over and getting them all while I could...I could have made a fortune on Ebay!

  13. I have the same June Tailor board. Got it from a thrift store years ago. Picked it up not knowing how useful it would eventually become.

  14. 1. No. That's what my liver is for, after all, and I like food.

    2. I find it annoying but I don't really care. If I like something, can afford it, and the manufacturer isn't heinous, I might buy it. If the stealth-vendor gets too pushy, I quit reading the blog.

    3. Never encountered her/one/whatever.

  15. The whole blogger endorsement thing started to get on my nerves about a year ago. I've worked with a couple brands previously, wearing clothes they've sent me and reviewing them. And while some experiences I enjoyed, other felt far more inauthentic. Which is why going forward I've become very, very cautious about who I align myself with. I don't want to become a walking billboard for a brand. I was approached by a certain indie clothing company a few years ago that *a lot* of fashion bloggers (and some craft/sewing bloggers) love, are sponsored by, and get free swag from. But I turned them down (this was like 4 years ago). Why? Because I didn't want to follow the pack and fill everyone's feed reader with the same content as someone else. Not saying that I look down on other bloggers who work with brands like this, but it's just not for me. (At least, not yet. Like you, if Bernina is listening, I'm open to talking... ;) lol.)

    Reading that piece though, I was reminded of some of the tactics designers in the 60s and 70s used that were similar. Their muses (YSL and Loulou de La Falaise, etc.) often sported pieces they had made. There just wasn't this great ability to disseminate information as quickly as we have now. So it's been going on for a long, long time--just a bit more subtly and certainly to a more select crowd.

    I wonder too how long it will be before a backlash starts against heavily branded fashion bloggers? I'm talking about the mega-bloggers (not smaller ones; many of whom I count among my friends!)--the ones who regularly work with luxury brands and fly around the world for photoshoots. I feel like in a way the idolization of bloggers who promote a luxurious lifestyle is in many cases out of touch with the realities of what their readership can afford. While it may promote brand awareness and desirability, how long will it be before the socio-economic gap becomes apparent even in the blogging world? My sister and I were recently talking about the ever-widening gap between rich and the not-wealthy (meaning lower-middle class and below), and that it doesn't look like it's going to get any smaller any time soon. So I wonder how this will continue to play into the work ability of this blogger-brand relationship?

    Gah! I feel like I've written you a short novel, Peter! lol. My apologies. ;) But, it's something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately as I've been spending my early morning trawling through fashion blogs (a girl has to do something at 4:30am... lol.).

  16. I have juiced but now I am more of a smoothie lover. When hubby #1 and I divorced, he got the juicer and that thing was expensive.
    Smoothies are easy to make in the blender.

    I have a June Tailor board and I couldn't live without it.

    I read that article, too and found it interesting. There is such a big difference between fashion blogs and sewing blogs. They buy stuff and that can get to be problematic (like a vice, you know?)
    We make stuff, so we have a built-in brake system. How can you over-indulge in sewing? ha! It is time-consuming. A very healthy outlet imho.
    I am not sure, but I may have wandered off topic?

  17. It's pretty clear to me how honest bloggers should be, the Federal Trade Commision in 2009 published blogger guidelines that are pretty clear: "The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service."
    The full text is here:

  18. I've not done a fast, but I will occasionally swap out a meal for a spinach-based dairy-free smoothie. A little bit of coconut water to help it blend, a carrot, a little bit of beetroot, strawberries, a peach and a dollop of vanilla bean paste. Looks pretty horrid, but tastes good enough that I keep going back to play with other variations on the theme. There is a website I plunder for ideas/recipes, but I feel a bit odd linking it after reading your post!

  19. About 3 years ago, the Wall Street Journal did an article on exactly this issue. You need a subscription to see it, I believe, but here's the link:

    For all that fashion bloggers are on the payola wagon, it seems like "mommy bloggers" were at the head of the line. I've seen some sewing blogs in the last year that have pretty clearly received freebies and not declared such. I've even been solicited in the past by bloggers who have asked me to give them fabric so they can blog about it. I've passed, and thanks to that I ended up putting a company policy in place so I can point to it and say "If you're a 501(c)(3), we can talk. If not, sorry. Read the policy."

    Regarding juice fasts, does wine count? :)

  20. My feed reader is much shorter now that I've pruned away most of the style, DIY, and craft blogs I used to follow. The giveaways, the shilling for sponsors and the blog book tours have turned me off to so many blogs.

  21. Don't have a June Taylor board but would like one.

    Sextette: I've often wondered what Timothy Dalton, Ringo Starr, Tony Curtis etc. were thinking when THEY made the movie...!! When it's bad, it's very, very bad :}


  22. I got a free button offer recently, too. I must be moving up in the blogosphere. ;-)

    1 - Nope. Never. But I know how you feel with vacation eating/drinking. Back to healthy balanced eating is a good thing!

    2 - I'm in an "I hate everyone" mood this week, so I'll happily add fashion blogger fakers to the list. I don't actually read any fashion blogs. In part that's because I perceive them as aspiring fashion professionals rather than the way I perceive sewing bloggers (ie: shared passion, shared knowledge, shared experience).

    3 - Mae on the $2! But never seen the movie.

  23. 1. I've never lasted on any diet for more than 3 hours. Though I like the idea of a fast plus meditation.

    2. I get so disappointed when bloggers get on the free stuff train. I think that the bloggers themselves often don't even notice how changed they are by it.

    I used to really enjoy the writings of one blogger who used to strive to have a very pared down closet, just a few classic items, and add a couple of things per season. These days she is invited to NY Fashion week and recently had a post sponsored by Coach bags.

    I'm sure she has more followers than ever, and I wish her success, but she's no longer the least bit relavent to me.

    As a previous commenter said, the stealth marketing was really spearheaded by the mommy-blogger phenomenon. Is there something about women that makes them more susceptible to this kind of promotion? Women's advertising seems to much more heavily include other 'normal' women saying what a wonderful yoghurt/makeup brand/facial cleanser/product it is. I can't think of any mens products advertised that way.

    3: What WAS she thinking?

  24. My husband did a juice diet for 30 days! Mixed in with some food after two weeks and crossfit he has lost 20 lbs! We watched "sick, fat, and nearly dead" on Netflix and it was life changing! Also, if you haven't seen "forks over knives" you are missing out! It was totally eye opening. I don't eat a lot of meat anyway but giving it up altogether wasn't an option. Life without bacon is a life not worth living.

  25. I will do a juice fast if the 'juice' comes out of my Margaritaville Margarita Machine. That is some good juice. :) Otherwise, no, but thanks for thinking of me.

    2. In a strange way I think of all fashion as fake. They're all telling me what I should wear based on someone else's preferences, needs, opinions, etc. All the world's a stage, right? When you're on stage, you're someone else. Projecting an image. Amateur fashion bloggers are mini ad agencies projecting images of product.

    I <3 Mae West. :)

  26. Well- I think I belong to the "if you're a fashion blogger and I like what you're wearing and think it looks cool then who am I to care whether you're a brand marketer or not?" In fact, I think my default setting is to believe that someone is.

    I like swag. It's nice, especially since I'm poor. But I do mention when I've been swagged, and don't let the swagg-er (I'm the swag-ee) influence my opinion of the product. I see it as a sort of exponential "word of mouth" kind of marketing. I mean... If something is new and interesting, sign me up to try it out. I'm a neophile, that's just how I'm wired.

    And if it's a good new thing, I'll do my best to misuse and destroy it to see how it holds up. And then I'll write about it. I think that has value. It just requires honestly and transparency.

    One little twerk about online sewing blogging that leaves me scratching my head is honesty about construction/fit. I don't care if someone was *given* the fabric etc as a product placement, I don't even really care if they don't mention it.

    But I *do* care if they're showing their work. Like... Yes, please tell us all how much you love your new pants and how well they fit, but where's the back and side views? That's suspicious. Don't lie to me, please. I could go on and on... Sometimes I look at a self-made and wonder how much photoshopping happened. Etc.

    1. oooh! Or the other thing I can't abide- people showing "techniques" or writing "tutorials" and going on and on about how easy something is when it's not. It's a knack. It takes practice. I know it takes practice to acquire the knack and do it well because *I* have the knack. I worked hard for it. Quit giving people false hopes on the sewing techniques front. When someone tries something they saw in a tutorial that they've been told is "Sew Ezy!" (shudder) and they don't do a decent job the first time, they'll blame themselves. And probably be put off their sewing.

      It really, really bugs me and has for years.

      If something's difficult- just say it's difficult! Or that it takes practice but it's worth it! Etc! (not directed at you, Peter, I think you're rad, but I guess you opened up a bit of *something* about blogging honesty... And this is something that pesters me far, far more than product placement...)

      Also- people who purport to know about dressmaking etc who have pointy darts. Visible pointy darts in their photos. Not impressed, me. These are the things that bug me on blogs..

    2. Totally with you on the pointy dart thing. Ive spotted that and other sewing crimes on a few people who Should Know Better!

    3. I wouldn't want to be Too Hard on someone, I know how it is, but when my photos show a flaw I try to use that for constructive criticism... I always point it out and talk about how to improve it. I guess it makes me nuts when people who should know better act like it's ok.

      Once I worked a very large quilting fair and our keynote speaker was a very very well known quilting diva lady. No names. Anyway, it was my job to look after her samples and I was disgusted by the quilting. She's an international teacher and designer and magazine-runner, I couldn't believe she had something so slapdash as her sample. There was a lot of "nesting" on the backside of the quilts, we would never go for that in quilting classes... But I was told to shut it and hold the dang quilt up so I did. But still. Let's have some integrity!

  27. I think Mae was thinking "I still got it." I have never juiced, and I don't care why or how the fashions got on the blog. I assume most of what I see or hear on electronic media is marketing. I resist influence. I am cranky that way.

  28. I haven't done a juice only fast but what I do at least once a year, sometimes twice is a week long cleanse. Day 1 is juice only. Day 2 and 3 are fruit only, day 4 and 5 are vegetables only and days 6 & 7 are rice and miso soup only. It's a great detox but I still get a little grumpy as you've described.

  29. There was an American, Diana Vreeland, who wore free French couture clothes to dos, and thus gave publicity. She had style, and at that time, little $$$. In her younger days. I have a tailor's board, which Hubster got for about $2. at a charity shop. Was it to take off riding boots (???????). Now, it turns out this board does a nice job of ironing linen-like fabric seams, perched on top of a sleeve board. Or you could hang your tailor's mit on it, and create new ironing surfaces. So not only for hard to reach spots. The wood absorbs the heat, and it is then shot into your fabric. As for fasts, had a lot when poor, or pregannt, and with lots of morning sickness.... Hubster no 2 is a terrific cook. Cathie, in Quebec.

  30. I lasted 3 days on the master cleanse, and I can't say I felt particularly cleansed.

    I prefer amateur fashion blogs to be about real people wearing what's actually in their closets. To me, it's fascinating to see how people manage within the limitations of their budgets, size, work dress code, etc. If I want to see product placement, I'll buy a magazine.

  31. I have never done a juice fast, but wouldn't mind if it were mostly carrot. Have always done occasional 24 hour water, tea and coffee only fasts. No noticeable result ever unless you count feeling smug. I once ate nothing but bread, mostly rye. pumpernickle and whole wheat, no butter or toppings, for the entire month of January. No noticeable result. Now that I am older I find that I can OD on salt. Feels really strange.

  32. I love my June Tailor clapper/collar press, makes me feel like a proper tailor!

  33. Might need one of the press thingamies now. Sponsored blogs are dull though, I'm more interested in the person in truth

  34. 1. the only time I've ever fasted is when too sick to eat

    2. I do have a June Tailor pressing board, but mine does not collapse, and also the pads. I think I got them with gift certificates to a local independent fabric store. It's like the steam press - I don't use it often (probably not as often as I should) but when I do, I'm very glad I have it.

    3. I haven't seen the movie, and haven't seen any Mae West movies for many years. For some reason I didn't care for them, maybe it was an age (lack of age?) thing on my part?

  35. Late to the comments here, but I do the detox cleanses in "Getting Well Again, Naturally" by Penny Kelly. You do them in a three month cycle, one each month for different cleansing functions. I recommend these, especially if you are dealing with a serious health crisis. Not exactly fun to do, but not that big a deal in comparison to having good health....

  36. I love juicing, but just as a drink not as a cleanse.

    I don't really going to sewing blogs, this is about the only one I visit and another one owned by Brian. I prefer watching You Tube or checking out the links for crafty stuff from Pinterest. I have got so many ideas about re-designing existing clothing. That is pretty much what I do anyway. Cut out sleeves replace them with something different, chop up tops, add ruffles. The enhancements are endless. I do this for my daughter. For me, I just buy store bought clothes. At the moment I am making some really cool tote bags to carry library books or books in.

    I use to really like, years ago, vintage sewing bloggers but the one I liked doesn't blog anymore. I made a 1960's jump suit for my daughter from a pattern I got off Ebay. It turned out great.


  37. First, what is in the dinner juice? It looks like dark beer! I have a juicer that goes through phases of activity. But never a "fast" phase. I do love ginger in my juices!
    I think bloggers should be transparent about product placement and freebies -- whatever their specialty.
    And Mae, what chutzpah. She thought she as a trailblazer for women. I'm thinking that she won't be the last octogenarian who takes the romantic lead. I mean give Madonna 30 years.

  38. I went to a few shows at NYFW this week as a fashion blogger, can understand garment construction from start to finish as a sewing blogger, and maybe because my day job happens to be in advertising, I'm not biased or think I'm selling out if I participate in these avenues. There's nothing wrong with talking about your free or sponsored swag on your blog, as long as you like it and it's part of your personal style.

  39. I have a question about the June Tailor board. Is this a complete tool for pressing men's shirts, or will I also need other pressing tools such as a clapper?

    I'd like to know, because I'll be attempting to sew my first men's dress shirt soon and I'd like to know what pressing tools I should buy. I suppose it would be nice to have fewer tools to have to keep and store.

    1. I've made a zillion shirts without the June Tailor board -- definitely not a necessity, Mike.

      A clapper is helpful. Most of all you'll want a point presser (to push out collar points) and a tailor's ham (to help press and shape collars). But even these can be improvised with other things.

    2. Peter, thanks for the advice. I have a plastic Dritz point presser, and I'll get a tailor's ham. I'll wait until the need presents itself before I look at more gadgets. I also have some bedsheets from the thrift store for practice - thanks for the tip.

    3. don't forget you can make your own ham, Mike!

  40. 1) I love to juice, but have never done ANY kind of diet... not even a juice diet.

    2)Fashion blogger as stealth marketer... I don't care one bit if they've been paid. Either I like it, and wanna buy it, too... or I don't. And who cares. The sales resulting from that kinda thing are so small... really, who cares? Make me laugh, inspire me, give me pretty things to look at, make me feel its genuine... we're good.

    3) Mae West? I have no idea!

  41. To answer question one, yes I did the Dr. Schultz Incurables cleanse for one month as I was very sick. Only vegetable juice and cleanse products - didn't chew a thing for a month. I wouldn't have done had I not been so sick but it fixed the problem and I would do it again if I needed to. I am planning to juice carrots, beets and kale tomorrow, but will add them to my day, not substitute. If you find you are really grumpy, drink lots more water - that's the toxins talking, not you.

  42. 1) I do a form of Intermittent Fasting a couple of times a week. After dinner, I wait at least 14 hours before eating again. During the fast I drink water or unsweetened tea.

    2) Yes, I think that bloggers who are using their blogs as product placements without disclosing it are dishonest. But as you said, authenticity is hard to find. Corporate heads and politicians are scripted, few say what they mean.


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