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May 28, 2020

Good News, Bad News


Friends, the mask wearing continues here in New York City and, naturally, so does the mask making.

It's gotten so that when I look at a photo of myself without a mask, something feels off.  You may remember the Liberty of London shirt above from 2015.  Luckily I saved my leftover fabric -- I almost always try to save some scraps -- and had more than enough to make a matching mask.  I've actually worn this shirt quite a bit; it has held up extremely well.  (The color hasn't changed, it's just the lighting.)


So first let me share some bad news.  You may have heard by now that Bluprint, formerly Craftsy, is being shut down by their owner, NBC-Universal.  It seems the corporation has taken a big financial hit what with their theme parks being temporarily closed and the Olympics being cancelled (which NBC was contracted to broadcast) and as a result they're making cuts.

I filmed a camp shirt class for them last year and was scheduled to make a jean jacket class this summer.  But what can you do?  Unpredictable things sometimes happen.  I was not looking forward to flying out to Colorado to film the class (which we'd already pushed from April to June and then to September) given the current state of air travel, so in a way it's a relief.  But I can't say I'm not also feeling disappointed.  Maybe the universe will provide me a different venue to film a similar class.

I'd already made two sample jean jackets for the class, which I get to keep: thankfully I made them in my size.  Here's a quick look at one, which I made from a floral cotton baby corduroy from Mood Fabrics.  The jacket pattern is Simplicity 8845, currently in print.


Beyond my personal concerns, it saddens me that the staff at Bluprint are set to lose their jobs.  The people I worked with last year couldn't have been kinder or more professional and I was delighted with the way the class turned out.  And what of the archive of approximately 1,500 craft classes?  Currently they belong to NBC-Universal (which is in turn owned by Comcast) and it's anybody's guess what they intend to do with them.  A lot of subscribers are very upset and if you're a fan of drama, you can read people's reactions to the news here.  All the consolidation in the craft world concerns me and I fear there's more to come.

So what else have I been doing with my time?  I put fresh contact paper down in our kitchen cupboards and bathroom medicine cabinet.  I've vacuumed and reorganized my closets (ongoing).  I'm even learning how to repair vintage watches, which might be my next passion.


Last week, Willy got a bath.


And I made a few more shirt-mask combos.



I won't lie: there are aspects of this locked-down new normal that appeal to me.  For one thing, the tourists are gone.  I live in a neighborhood that was inundated with them year round, drawn to the nearby High Line, the Hudson Yards development, the art galleries in Chelsea, and the beautiful Hudson River Park.  If you're from a city that gets a large number of visitors year round (Florence, Venice, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, come to mind), you know that it can feel overwhelming.  I recognize that many, many people's work depends on tourism and it's terrible that folks will likely lose those jobs since few people are traveling.  Naturally it would not be my preference for this to happen.  But clouds have their silver linings, why pretend otherwise.  I like the quiet streets, the clean(er) air, the lack of automobile traffic, and, most of all, the slower pace.  Unfortunately a scary pandemic had to be the cause.

Now on to some good news: I'm featured in a lovely four-page spread in the June/July 2020 issue of Sew News Magazine!


I especially love that group photo from last summer's MPB Day.  I'm thinking now about what we might do this coming August and whether it's possible to plan some sort of get together despite the current crisis.  That's for another post.

You can find out more about Sew News, and how to get a copy (or a subscription) here.

In closing, I hope you're all healthy and happily sewing away and that your kitchen shelves are nicely lined like mine are now.

Have a great week, everybody: hang in there!

34 comments:

  1. Peter, your Bluprint link works and we can see the comments but the last one was yesterday. When I go into my account there are no comments and no way to add to the comments so they have shut down that avenue. I think they handled the closing badly, so badly that they have poisoned future subscription venue. I received a comment back from Bluprint (Chet) but it was "boilerplate" as it is the same one others have received. I take it as "the check is in the mail" and don't expect much. I'm busy reviewing classes I bought (including yours) and taking notes.
    Theresa in Tucson

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  2. wow, a four page spread! cousin cathy must be GREEN with envy.

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  3. I'm sorry to hear about Bluprint- both the company and what it means for you losing the class. Not sure how you feel about filming/editing class videos, but have you considered posting classes on a platform like Youtube? Even simple things like sew-alongs could be a way to get your skills to the people who need them. Ads are the obvious way to monetize, but a sizable number of Youtubers ask for Patreon donations, or give special/exclusive access to videos for their patreons. I think it's a counter-movement to the corporate consolidation you mentioned- I think a lot of people would really prefer to directly support creators rather than give NBC a cut. On a selfish note, I would love to see videos of you walking through your collection of vintage sewing machines and all their unique features. (or exploring the various fabric district shops!) :) Madalynne (indie lingerie sewing) has online classes she offers on her site- perhaps if you reached out she might have some advice on ways (programs, etc) you could offer your class directly on your site. She's been pretty open about the process of starting and growing her business over the last few years which has been fun to see.

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    1. Those are wonderful ideas, Sarah, thank you. I had a YouTube vlog for a short time a number of years ago and it was a lot of work: I'd need to find people who could help me with the filming, editing, etc. Maybe it's time!

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    2. Oh, please!!,!! I LOVED your vlog! Those show tune entrances! Always great content.

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    3. That would absolutely AWESOME!

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    4. Yes! I think it's time! After watching your fantastic Sew the Camp Shirt class, I will watch any sewing class you offer!

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    5. I remember your vlog because of the singing. It was lovely. Or delovely as the song might go.

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  4. I am enjoying the quiet and the lack of pollution in our area too. We usually have airplanes flying overhead all the time and that has stopped. One thing I wish would continue butI have been homebound for 80 days now and I would like to see that end. Thanks for your blog, it helps me stay sane.

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  5. i keep hoping something happens and blueprint is saved. New York without crowds must have been surreal at first, but I could see how it would quickly be appreciated. Still, I bet you will enjoy life returning to previous normal.

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  6. As an owner of several Craftsy tutorials "for life" I haven't been notified by Bluprint at all - 2 days after one of the tutors announced it on a blog, Bluprint sent me yet another offer of 50% reduced rate subscription. Not one mention of the closure! I have asked one of the tutors if she had written books, but she hasn't. My tutorials are all covering patchwork and quilting.
    It is quite sad that something so good had to end this way.

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    1. I think coordinating this has been challenging: remember, everyone there is working from home. I don't think there are nefarious intentions, just less-than-ideal organization.

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    2. The organization I do customer service for has really dropped the ball on communicating with their customers (the emails they send out are just plain wrong and tone deaf to boot). A large part of it is that this is a crisis that no one has a plan for. And people are scared of the future. It is a shame because Bluprint is a perfect quarantine service.

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    3. I agree Bluprint/Craftsy is perfect for this time. I have had two emails explaining the situation so looks like the scattergun approach has missed some and doubled up on others. I don't want to rewatch everything in my Craftsy library again right now as the whole point of it was as a reference library for when you need them. I do hope that they fid a way for us to download and keep our tutorials as promised. And Peter I think you really could do You Tube videos. Part of a personally made as opposed to "professional" tutorial's charm is the idiosyncrasy of the teachers and their set up!

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    4. By now, you may have already seen their update on the site. They plan to transition everything to a new Craftsy site around Sept 1.

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  7. Having lived in several "tourist" towns, I understand completely.One of them had "seasons," so us residents could revel in the quiet for a few months every year and merchants had the cost built into when they were open. As for the silver lining, as more than one person has commented we quilters and sewers have been "in training" for just this opportunity ("forced" to stay home and sew!) sll our lives. Plus, our sacrifice is for the good of all.

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    1. I hadn't heard that but I love it
      we quilters and sewers have been "in training" for just this opportunity

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  8. Your article was most informative. I love seeing what you make especially with the retro looks. I have sewn for my Dh as he was a re-enacter of Civil War outfit. His uniform patterns were short on direction and long on substance. I am going to try a couple shirts for him to wear. I need help in accounting for a slumped over figure as he has aged. Where do I turn? Would it be like a blouse for a lady, the backpiece yoke is what stymies me. What would you do. Your shirts always look SO professional Pegeth

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    1. It IS very much the same alteration for him. What would be a shoulder dart on a woman's blouse can be transferred to the seam that attaches the back of the shirt to the yoke. It's like shifting a dart in patternmaking or creating a princess seam. The deeper the curve, the more shape to the finished front (or back) of the garment.

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    2. Try draping a regular yoke across his back, and see how, by increasing the curve on the back piece, you can improve the fit across the back. You'll need to adjust the hem, naturally, and make sure the armhole part of the back piece is still the same depth as before.

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    3. Re the back slump : when doing a jacket or shirt for my mom, whose back curved dramatically as she aged, I found I also needed to re-shape the neckline a bit, adding to the center back yoke neck, and subtracting a bit from the center front. The shoulder points moved a little bit forward as well. None of these were huge adjustments, but starting with the draping of the yoke sounds like a great way to do it. Thanks so much for your posts!!

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    4. You're absolutely right, Nancy. I know for my mom and other clients who slump, I always need to add more to the back neck (since it's longer) and scoop out more in front. You're right about the shoulders too -- thank you!

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  9. Peter, I love your blog and you almost always make me laugh out loud. I love seeing your mad sewing skills and I love your shares...that's a whole lot of "love" apparently. Thanks for being so upbeat, Abigail from Vancouver Island, BC.

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  10. I live in a college town and it has definitely been nice to have a quieter spring even if I hate why.

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  11. Seattle got a lot of tourists from cruise ships, and that's not coming back. The most interesting twist in a town with outrageous rents is every other ad on IG is for a different apartment complex that is cutting their fees. Lots of them. And lots of college dorm space for rent, presented as apodments.

    I had my teeth cleaned today and damn near burst into tears listening to the people in the office just... chatting. I miss that so.

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  12. During this pandemic, we are loving the slower pace of everything. Being self sufficient means our house was fully prepared. Being use to working from home, a big back yard, supplies, everything was 'well equiped'. The reset button has been pushed in the world and it's time to things differently and better. As a bluprint subriber and owner of several classes, i think what is forgotten is all the subscribers/owners are the heart of the system (ie money) it's too bad we as subscribers and owners can't take the business over with a not for profit model. For us, it is a valuable how to service and it will be sadly missed.

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  13. SeamsterEast aol dot comMay 30, 2020 at 5:29 PM

    The Subscription Business Model has a long history of wild hype and quick shut-down. Remember The-Book-Of-The-Month-Club, and variations? Each was thoroughly hyped, and each shut down without a peep -- the lights shut off one weekday night -- in a very short time frame. I personally bought some number of Craftsy courses, but paid not a nickel for Blueprint subscriptions.

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  14. I can see your good taste extends to your choice of trays, I have the same IKEA bird tray. Do you have the matching table mats?

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    1. Ill send you a photo of the mats for you to covet! Lol

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  15. If you get into watches can you please post about it? I have my grandfather's 50/60 year old Timex and it doesn't work but would love to give it a try. What could it hurt?
    I don't live in a "Tourist Area" but across the street from a casino. For almost 20 years it was nothing but a huge grass lot and I loved it. Sometimes wild life. Sometimes a guy who hit golf balls and I flew my first kite over there when I was about 40ish. It's been closed for the quarantine and it's been pretty nice not to have heavy weekend traffic.
    Really think about posting to YouTube for us. I'm being selfish but I've loved your blog for years and would love to see your instruction or at least a few helpful hints maybe once a week.
    This might be mushy but I really love you and Michael and your mom. Keep on keepin' on.

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  16. HI Peter, I loved your camp shirt class on Bluprint and so glad to find your BLOG here. You are a very good teacher. I hope you will continue to offer classes on line. Is there a way to send you a photo of the shirt I made from your class?

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