Readers, here's a quote from Tim Gunn from his recent book, Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style:
Look at any photo taken at a nightclub in the forties and fifties; many a flabby upper arm can be seen going to town on the dance floor, no doubt its owner feeling just fine about her appearance. Today we gasp because we are constantly told that unless a body part is toned it should be kept, like the crazed wife of Mr. Rochester, locked away to keep from offending the new governess."
Readers, it's hard to imagine today, but there was a time when putting a lobster on a dress was seen as pretty out there.
You've probably heard about Schiaparelli's famous dress (pictured up top), and perhaps know that there's a big show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York comparing Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, which I haven't seen yet. Today, you could wear an actual lobster and I don't think it would raise too many eyebrows, but such is the world we live in.
Readers, do you trust your own taste? I mean, if you don't like something that's popular, do you wonder if you're just too small-town and unsophisticated to get it, or like the boy in The Emperor's New Clothes, are you able to confidently call it like you see it?
Friends, my apologies for my absence for the last day or two but I've been out of town due to a serious illness in Michael's family. Happily I returned home to find my $12 vintage 1955 swimsuit pattern sitting in my mailbox.
Readers, you know how I am: once I get an idea in my head I can't let it go. My new obsession is the swimsuit pattern above, McCall's 3165, which I bought yesterday on Etsy for $12 (mine comes in a slightly more beaten up envelope) -- quite cheap for this type of thing.
I know most of you are going to be, like, So what else is new? But it's always interesting to see how the mainstream press covers trends, especially a trend that, in sewing-blog land at least, has been around a long time, and probably longer elsewhere.
If there were one sewing-related skill I wish I could master overnight, it would be my color sense. I think mine is OK, sometimes even good. But occasionally I see someone walking down the street in an outfit that knocks my socks off, not because of the clothes themselves but because of the wearer's use of color, and I wonder how they do it.
Friends, to say I have taken to Pinterest like a duck takes to water would be inaccurate, since a duck doesn't actually live in the water, whereas I am having a hard time prying myself away from my new favorite website without gasping for air.
While that eBay purchase was a bust, another recent transaction was a success. By now most of you are probably familiar with the vintage comic-book style instructional pamphlet "Home Sewing is Easy" by a certain Sally Stitch. Images of it are all over the web, and I nearly fell off my zafu cushion when I saw this creation of Sarah's over the weekend.
Friends, when it comes to buying vintage sewing machines, I am not what you would call a novice. In fact, I have even written a series of articles for Vogue Patterns Magazine specifically about purchasing used sewing machines on sites like eBay and Craigslist -- what questions to ask, what to beware of, and so forth.
Readers, have you ever thought about sewing a man's coat in a small size? If so, I have good news for me and bad news you. Last Tuesday I scored this fabulous men's coat pattern -- Vogue 9308 (above) -- in a size 36 on eBay for, like, $6 USD. Sorry!
Friends, there are two kinds of people: those who prefer to buy new and those who prefer to buy old.
I was in suburban New Jersey this weekend at Michael's parents, and let me tell you -- as if you didn't already know -- the suburbs are full of people who prefer new. New cars, new houses, new appliances, new stores -- new, new, new.
Dear hearts and gentle people, occasionally I do something so stupid that, rather than hide it behind a facade of perfection, I put it out there for all the world to see, as a cautionary tale for others.
Or perhaps you already knew not to throw three yards of inky raw silk into the same washing machine as your white towels?
Readers, I am truly enjoying juggling multiple projects at once; it keeps things interesting. I hope it's not confusing for you. I'm not sewing different projects on the same day, of course, though I certainly have enough sewing machines to do that. (Silk pajamas at Sewing Station 4...)
OK, so the SIL dress project (SIL stands for sister-in-law, for those not accustomed to acronyms) is underway, right on schedule. And friends, I have the most awful confession to make, which may be difficult for those of you who have vowed never to sew for others due to feelings of exploitation and abuse at the hands of friends and family: I like it. I mean, it's fun!
Readers, today I challenge you to dig a little deeper than usual. In fact, you might want to lie down on your couch, close your eyes, and free associate. I want to know how you feel about matchy-matchy dressing.
Sewing machines are a lot like cars. How we feel about them is entirely subjective. Regardless of the official product description or what online reviewers may say, if we like it, we like it and if we don't, we don't.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!