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Mar 31, 2012

Jeans: The Dramatic Conclusion



Readers, the jeans are done and I have pants without holes at the knees.  Jeans are work but these came together without too much drama.

I recognize that men's jeans are much easier to make than women's since (most) men aren't curvy.  I am grateful for being, essentially, a rectangle.

Mar 30, 2012

Jeans Update!



Good news, readers!  My denim jeans are underway and so far, so good.  There's not much to see at this point, but one never tires of looking at topstitching -- or is it showing it that one never tires of?

Mar 29, 2012

Jeans, Jeans, Roses are Red....



Readers, the first time I sewed myself jeans, I was over-the-moon excited.  Can you see the look of pride on my face?  (This was early September, 2009, and I had only been sewing for a few months).  I wore those pants to death.

Mar 28, 2012

Makeup, Maternity, Girdles and MORE!



Friends, we're busy, busy, busy here at MPB Industries!

First, I was delighted -- and moved, really -- by your enthusiasm about Cathy's grossesse.  We're in a quandary, however, about maternity patterns.  Do we go with the Lucy look (up top and immediately below), or more of a Jackie pregnancy?  So many choices -- I want to make them all!

Mar 27, 2012

To mend, or not to mend?



Readers, once I settle on a comfortable pair of pants,  I will wear that pair nearly every day (excluding special circumstances when I am forced to change my clothes of course).

Have you known other men like this?  I like to think it's not just a personal quirk.

Mar 25, 2012

Peter speaks: The Singer Toy Sewing Machine VIDEO!



Readers, I received the most wonderful gift in the mail yesterday!  It's a vintage 1920's Singer Model 20 toy sewing machine.  It's in great condition and sews a beautiful chain stitch.  Thank you, reader Mary!

Mar 23, 2012

Maternity Pattern Madness!



Readers, if I told you I was shopping for maternity patterns, would you think I was nuts?

Well it's true -- the shopping part, I mean.  A pretty, young(ish) model we all know and love is....how shall I put this -- in the family way.  Please don't ask for the gory details, just trust me that's it's happening. Meanwhile, we're frantically pricing round trip bus tickets to Niagara Falls.  And thinking clothes.

Mar 22, 2012

Help me fix my sewing machine!



Friends, it will come as no surprise to you that I receive a lot of sewing machine-related questions from MPB readers.  Sometimes I can help and sometimes I can't.  And speaking of emails, I just received this from Virginia, the woman I bought my Pfaff 30 from a little over a year ago:

Mar 20, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy



Readers, where does the time go?   It's nearly 4 pm and I haven't done half the things I'd intended to do today.  Do you make to-do lists?  If so, do you actually do the things on them?

I just got back from my neighbor Irma's apartment down the hall (that's Irma up top), where I helped her get her old sewing machine up and running again so she could alter her husband John's pants.

Mar 19, 2012

Alabama Stitch & the Recycled T-shirt Aesthetic



Friends, sometimes while I'm working on an MPB post, I end up changing my original point of view as I'm writing. Today is a good example of that.

Last week I picked up a copy of Natalie Chanin's popular Alabama Stitch Book at the library.  I was curious.  Gretchen had waxed eloquent about Chanin's Alabama fashion line a while back, and a good sewing machine-collecting friend of mine (no names, please) told me she plans to attend an Alabama Stitch workshop this summer.

Mar 17, 2012

My Buttonhole Attachment Attachment



Readers, do you like vintage buttonholers?  I do! 

Mar 16, 2012

Peter opines on "Bill Cunningham New York"



This has been a somewhat heavy week topic-wise here at MPB, I recognize. 

Rather than plan, I just take my inspiration from whatever I happen to be doing or thinking at the moment and then, in roughly an hour or so, turn it into a blog post.  If my thoughts are sometimes scrambled or unclear,  I look to you, my readers -- many of whom have thought about these issues in far greater depth than I -- to contribute your wisdom in a comment, for which I am always grateful (and always read even if I don't often respond).  Anyway, I hope those who prefer lighter fare will bear with me for one more day.

Mar 15, 2012

"Exotic" Costume Patterns - YEA OR NAY?



Poor Yvonne DeCarlo.  Born Margaret Middleton in Vancouver, British Columbia, her dark hair and smoldering good looks got her pegged as an "exotic" type in Hollywood and she spent most of her early career playing Persian princesses and scantily clad slave girls till she was saved from obscurity in the Sixties by The Munsters, not to mention being cast in Stephen Sondheim's Follies, where she introduced the classic show biz survivor's anthem, I'm Still Here.

Mar 13, 2012

"Sexy" Style -- Empowering or Degrading?



Readers, I want to discuss a topic that we probably won't resolve today.

It's the subject of women (primarily, though not exclusively) being pressured to present themselves as "sexy."  I'm not referring to bias-cut satin evening gowns on the red carpet or the cliched So-and-So Celebrity Reveals All come-on headline on the cover of Glamour.  I'm talking about the relentless marketing of styles and attitudes derived from porn and prostitution.  An adjective one often hears to describe this contemporary fashion/cultural phenomenon is "trashy," and to paraphrase former United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (in reference to pornography), we know it when we see it.

Mar 12, 2012

The Craigslist Sewing Machine Score!



Readers, I'm a nice guy.   Here's how nice:

On Saturday night, I saw the above listing on Craigslist for an "Antique Portable Singer Sewing Machine," only blocks from my apartment, and I immediately emailed the seller to express my interest.  You think I'm crazy, right?  Keep reading.

Mar 9, 2012

Try to Remember...the Nineties



Readers, you know you're getting old when someone asks "Remember the Nineties?" and you assume they mean the 1890's.

Mar 8, 2012

Just an Old Crank



Friends, I must ask your opinion about something (again).  What do you think of hand crank sewing machines and I'm not talking toys here.

Mar 7, 2012

A Penny Saved...


Readers, do you ever shop on Amazon?  I do, often.  One of the things that brings me back, time and again, beside the fact that they sell pretty much everything, is their $25 free shipping policy.  I fall for that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Mar 5, 2012

Anatomy of an Ugly Pattern + Vogue winner!



Happy Monday, MPB readers.  Much to cover today so let's get to it.   First, the winner of the current (April/May 2012) issue of Vogue Patterns with my treadle article in it is...

Mar 4, 2012

Peter Visits the NYC Sewing Machine Museum!



Readers, forgive the somewhat misleading title of this post.  I didn't really visit the NYC Sewing Machine Museum.  In fact, there is no NYC Sewing Machine Museum -- yet.

But I did go out to Queens yesterday to visit my friend Johanna, avid sewing machine collector and knitter.  (Since I rarely leave my neighborhood, this was like a trip overseas for most people; I even got to eat Greek food.)  If sewing machines and knitting sound like a mismatch, you're right, but what can you collect if you knit?  Needles?

Mar 3, 2012

Are you a "Fashion Person" + POLL!



So my brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner last week and I get into something of a -- I won't call it an argument, more like a debate -- with my sister-in-law, when she says that in her opinion, I'm a foodie.

Mar 2, 2012

Vogue Pattern Magazine GIVEAWAY!



OMG, friends, how did I forget to tell you?  I have an article in the current issue of Vogue Patterns!
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