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Jul 4, 2019

Ten Years of Sewing! (and a Fun Surprise)


Friends, I can hardly believe it, but as of this summer, I've been sewing exactly ten years.

That photo up top is my very first sewing machine, which I purchased on eBay in June, 2009.  Back then I knew nothing about sewing machines (What's a bobbin?).  My initial intention had been to buy a cheap machine on Amazon to shorten some thrift store jeans.  But then I stumbled on various sewing blogs that sang the praises of vintage sewing machines and I decided a second-hand, Eighties-era Kenmore (model 158.1212) would be a better investment.

I think all of you know that that Kenmore wouldn't be my last sewing machine purchase.  In fact, by the end of that first year I already owned half a dozen machines: a Necchi Lydia (which you can catch a glimpse of in the background), a Necchi 555 (similar to a Supernova and an excellent machine), a Pfaff 139 zigzagger, a Singer Spartan (perfect little straight stitcher), my first Elna Grasshopper (later sold and years later, replaced), and my very first serger (a Huskylock 535 I was never able to master, thankfully replaced with a Brother 1034D which has never let me down).


One of my earliest sheet shirts, modeled for Pattern Review in August, 2009.
I could write this post solely about the vintage sewing machines I've owned and loved.  But I'd rather write about how sewing came to dominate my life and that here I am, ten years later, still sewing up a storm.  (I did manage to shorten those thrift-store jeans by the way; to this day, however, alterations are something I only do reluctantly.)

I always credit a guy I met through Pattern Review, Brian Remlinger (below), a very experienced sewer, with helping me through my (many) early hurdles.  At the time, Brian's job allowed him a lot of free time, a great deal of which he allocated to patiently explaining things to me.  Even though we lived in different states, we managed to communicate effectively via webcam and gmail chats.  It was with Brian's guidance that I figured out how to read commercial patterns, installed my first pants zipper, and purchased a stable of vintage sewing machines.  Perhaps I could have figured a lot of this out on my own, but I am still grateful for his help, and I always recommend that new sewers find themselves a more experienced sewing buddy.  Brian currently co-owns and operates the Newton Sewing Studio in Newton, MA. 

Brian and I finally met in person at the Sewing Expo in Novi, MI, in September, 2009.

Also deserving of accolades is my then-partner-now-husband, Michael, who has always encouraged me along my journey and never once complained when my sewing hobby started eating up more and more square footage in our apartment. It is Michael, of course, who has taken the lion's share of not only my modeling shots, but also those of my cousin Cathy.  He has amassed quite a portfolio!




Deepika Prakash's Pattern Review site also deserves mention. PR is a fantastic resource that introduced me to a hugely supportive and encouraging sewing community.  It was on a Pattern Revew Day meet-up in NYC in November, 2009, that I met someone who was to become one of my very closest friends (and sister vintage sewing machine enthusiast), Johanna L., as well as Kashi of Metro Textiles.

Johanna and I at Mood Fabrics, 11/09

Since 2009, there have been more sewing projects than I can list in a single blog post.  Maybe I should split this into multiple posts with themes like "Shirts," "Cousin Cathy," and "What Was I Thinking?"  But nearly everything is recorded in this blog, which I began in January, 2010.  I've tried to keep Male Pattern Boldness easily searchable by topic, so do have a look in the archives on the right.

Wildly printed double-knit polyester became this odd ensemble.  What was I thinking?

Sewing has been good to me and I like to think that, in return, I've been good to sewing--or I've tried to be!

The aforementioned fun surprise is that I spent last week in Denver, Colorado filming my very first Bluprint class (Bluprint is the subscription version of what was formerly Craftsy).  I had a blast and was treated like royalty.  I can't wait to be able to share more about the class, which will debut this coming August, so please stay tuned!

Ready for my close-up in my Bluprint dressing room!

On the set, which was decorated just for me (complete with treadle sewing machine).  I'm ready to move in!

Friends, that's it: just a brief acknowledgment of the passing of what feels like a milestone: an entire decade spent doing what I love.

Have a happy holiday weekend and happy sewing!

Unwrapping my Singer Spartan, an early eBay purchase and my first straight-stitch machine.

33 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I have so enjoyed your blog over those 10 years! Thank you!

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  2. Peter, it was so wonderful to have you in Denver! It was great to meet you in person. Congratulations on ten years of a wonderful blog and thanks for so generously sharing all your sewing knowledge and talent. — Elaine (at Bluprint)

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  3. Happy 10th anniversary- I've been reading your blog almost from the beginning. I've enjoyed watching your adventures in sewing and life. Cried happy tears when you and Michael were married. I'm so glad that Bluprint (Craftsy) is giving us a class from you. I have Bluprint and will be so looking forward to watching your class.

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  4. 10 Years?...OMG...you & cousin Cathy haven't aged a bit...Congratulations!...Look forward to seeing you again next month....

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  5. Omg I am so happy for you! Cant wait to watch your class!!

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  6. There's not a doubt in my mind that you've been good for sewing! Thanks for everything, and happy, happy anniversary!

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  7. And you never considered sewing until you altered the jeans, which, in turn, altered your career path?

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  8. Congratulations !!!!! I absolutely adore Cousin Cathy! Thank you for all of your many pursuits in sewing. They've been an inspiration and well of information. I hope you continue sewing and inspiring others to do the same.

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  9. Congratulations Peter and thank you for ten years of entertaining, educative and all round fabulous posting!

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  10. Congratulations, Peter and MPB!
    Thank you for a decade of fun, laughs, inspiration and education - it has been a pleasure and a privilege to follow your evolution. Instagram has been a good adjunct to the blog.
    Spud

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  11. Happy Anniversary! Many, many more. PLEASE.

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  12. Congratulations on your ten year Sew-Versary! I enjoy reading your blog.

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  13. Talent will out, every time.

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  14. Congratulations on your 10 years! I am pretty sure I had that Kenmore version, brand spanking new in the late 70's , early 80's. I was stitching up clothing for me and my 3 littles during those years. I later sold it and purchased a newer Pfaff. Now I have a Husqvarna, and a lightweight Brother (for dragging around to quilting retreats and sewing while camping). I also have my grandmother's Singer treadle-purchased brand new for her in 1925 (it still has the manual) by my grandfather. She sewed on it until she passed away at 89 years young.
    May you have many more happy years of stitching!
    Barb from Canada

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  15. Peter, thanks for sharing your sewing history. Can't believe you've only been sewing 10 years. Your talent and expertise far exceeds my 60 years of professional sewing! Karen

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  16. Peter,

    Your blog is more than just about a sewing adventure.

    It's a place where you not only enjoy yourself, but allow fellow travelers to stop by, grab a glimpse, or partake in the, "you never know what he's up to, or who else is there" party, that is MPB.

    You pierce all the social veils; pattern companies become people, you rub elbows with creative types, the public writ large encounters Cathy, you share your family (yours, Michael's, and Cathy's families), the neighbors, your customers (Do we ever get a latter-day cameo of Susan?), New York City, fellow bloggers, and your thoughts on things which may, or may not, be sewing related. All of this is "gold", and no one else, nobody, is doing what you are doing.

    One hopes Blueprint is your calling card into a something more regular.

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  17. Congratulations! Yours was one of the first blogs I stumbled upon many years ago and I still enjoy it very much.

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  19. Congratulations on your 10 year sewiversary! You obviously have found your passion and let us go on the journey with you. Your class is exciting and I can't wait to learn what it is.

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  20. Aw! I remember reading your posts on PR and thinking, Another vintage sewing machine fan in NYC, chances seem good that our paths might cross someday......and luckily for me they did! Happy decade sewversary, and here’s to many more!

    (Still) Blogless Johanna

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  21. Bravo! I turn to your blog daily, and I’m delighted when there is a new post, and crestfallen when there is not. And your blogroll is perfect. I look forward to more blogs and, for my third time, MPB Day!

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  22. Thanks for your blog. I have learned and enjoyed a lot from it. I would like to know if you can divulge some information about this new class. It looks as if it involves a shirt ? I would love to get ready as soon as possible for it...I can sew it with a Singer 15, 66, 99, 201 (did I say already that I have learned a lot from you ???:)), bernina 380, or by hand sewing, that's something I discovered just recently.

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  23. Congratulations Peter, that is huge news, both the anniversary and your class on Bluprint!!! It was a joy discovering your blog. You are so naturally talented. And your meetups are a blast. I look forward to taking your class!!

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  24. Congratulations Peter! I found you on PR and follow your blog. Your first Kenmore reminds me of mine though I don't remember the model number. I purchased it in early 1961 with our last $5 ;-) Sure wish I still had it. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing your class on Blueprint.

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  25. For your BluPrint class, will a pattern be included or do I need to be looking for one to have ready???

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  26. I love your blog and enjoy so much seeing what you make and who you make it with. But I have to say I have you beat on one thing.. I have been sewing since 1959. I started out on a treadle and then had sewing in all 3 years of jr. high. Alas, my sewing room isn't as much sewing related these days because I have responsibilities that get in the way.

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  27. Peter, I reentered (after about a 20 year hiatus) sewing just as you began. So I think of you as my sewing partner and mentor. You turned me on to techniques, icons, websites and resources it would have been hard to find alone. Your mix of fun and serious dedication is the way to be. Hell yeah I'll be your student!

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  28. I look forward to watching your Bluprint class. I've enjoyed following you for a while now - not your 10 years as I started more like 6 years ago. I haven't progressed too much!

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  29. Happy sewing anniversary Peter. Without a doubt, hoy have come a long way. I love each and every one of your posts. Looking forward to taking your Blueprint class. My fingers are crossed it will be about shirt making. Congratulations, and thank you for the inspiration. Regards to Miss Kathy. She is a stunner!

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  30. Congratulations on your bluprint class! People are going to love it I bet!

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