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Nov 5, 2011

$5.49 for THIS? + blouse update

Friends, have you ever made your own shoulder pads?  I have, and while it's not difficult, who wants to bother?  Well, after picking up a pair of Dritz pads for $5.49 at Fashion Design Books on 27th Street, I think I'm going to go back to making my own.

You really have to see and touch these in person to get an idea of exactly how cheap and flimsy they are.  I'm sure they didn't cost more than a nickle to make.  And do they really have to come in a hard plastic box?  What, are they going to break?  I hate packaging that's just about making it easier to hang something on a display rack or to discourage shoplifting.  There are many more shoulder pad options available in the Garment District, of course, but I was too lazy to go there just for these, so I guess I shouldn't complain.  But still...

Anyway, I tacked them into my blouse, and they really make a difference.

Let me tell you about the finishing touches I made to Hollywood 1321, my band collar blouse pattern.  I chose vintage gray plastic buttons; I don't even remember where I got them but they're cute.

I ended up serging my armscye seam allowances.

Buttonholes were no problem.  I used my Singer buttonholer on my 15-91.  Always works.

I added two narrow tucks below the waist in front, roughly 1/2" wide, just for shaping.

And, voila!

Doesn't this blouse make you want to take a letter or fix coffee or something?  It's so Eve Arden!

Dear Customer Service Representative:

Please cancel my order for the two suits and a pair of shoes (dated September 18).  

You recently notified me that the clothes were on back order and that you could not guarantee shipment until December.  Because I need the clothes for a trip in November, neither outfit will be of use to me.

Please credit my account for the total amount ($413.56) immediately.  


Mr. Peter Lappin

Male Pattern Boldness Industries, Incorporated

(Sample letter courtesy of Great Personal Letters for Busy People by Dianna Booher)


Will that be all, Mr. Lappin?

OK, kids, it's time to make the jumper.  And how about those overpriced notions?  Don't they make you crazy?

Happy Saturday, everybody!


  1. LOVE the blouse! And the glasses!!! And seriously great gams.

  2. I think you should leave your secretary a post-it note on her desk saying:

    Dear secretary,

    Your skill set is invaluable to the running of my business, but please try and work with that 5 o'clock shadow prior to coming to work. Please remember that first impressions are everything and you are the face of MPBI, I.

    The blouse is looking great :)

  3. 5,49 ! Wow, even in Drachmes (the soon to be greek currency again) that would be too much.

    About the packaging: ever bought a pair of scissors that you needed to open it's own package? Frustrating.... I ask myself sometimes: why do they sell me stuff only to hold it hostage after I payed?

  4. LOVE IT!!!! and you sure do rock that pencil skirt too!!!

  5. Ouch. Don't buy their covered button kits, either. To my dismay, I've learned that the stupid buttons pop apart!

  6. Dritz?


    While some of their merchandise is well-nigh unavoidable - because they're the only ones making certain stuff - I try to find other sources when I can, and usually end up with something better.

  7. You could always get your shoulder pads the old fashioned way... Buy an old shirt at Goodwill and remove them. You even get scrap fabric to go with the shoulder pads.

    I've spent years removing shoulder pads from my shirts (I tend to look like a halfback with them in place), I can't imagine putting them in on purpose.

    All notions are overpriced. I always wait for the JoAnn's half-off notions sale. Tomorrow that sale is on, along with a coupon for an extra 25%. I have a list of notions I'm looking for.

  8. I buy vintage notions in bulk online. $20 has stocked me with enough hook and eyes, self covered button packs (they have the be the ones with the teeth), and other odds and ends to keep me content for years.

    But there will always, always be more room for buttons.

    I just made shoulder pads from the pattern for the first time a few months ago. They do make a HUGE difference and now I know why they are always included in the pattern. I get it now :)

  9. Oh Shelley - a girl after my own heart. I made my own shoulder pads for a jacket and never have bought those pre-made pads again! They were much easier to make than I thought and I got a perfect fit. Some girls have legs that don't quit, I got shoulders - what ev'...

    Peter I am amazed your blouse looks so fabulous - you take the impossible fabric and make it look possible.

  10. Peter, I'm thinking you need a stash of shoulder pads from the garment district. Then you won't be held at the mercy of JoAnn's.

  11. Very sassy - you fought polyester and won!
    You can cover the shoulder pads with fabric too, if you prefer polyester spot ones to polyester wadding ones!

  12. I've made my own shoulder pads for years, since the '80's when the style was twice as high as my broad/square shoulders could stand. I kept a bunch removed from RTW blouses: I use them in mock-ups. I used the Vogue pattern for many years, but now I make them from whatever jacket/coat pattern I'm using. Much more better!

    Love the blouse and the styling. Does Cathy know shorthand, too? What a gal!

  13. I ONLY buy notions when they are half price or less at Jo-ann Etc., or I ask for them as gifts. This often confounds the gift-giver so I end up getting a gift card, which works well;-D

  14. Cathy is just too fab. Now, sew with silk charmuese and be pleasantly surprised. Poly is evil!

  15. Totally agree, once you've made shoulder pads from scratch it's hard to look at the rtw ones without grimacing--plus you can control the size and depth of the darned things as needed.

  16. I haven't bothered to make my own shoulder pads, but I am thinking it may soon be time to change that. MPB shoulder pad tutorial? I hate when the shoulder pads feel like they cheapen the rest of my work because they are so iffy looking.

    Love the blouse though - super great, can't wait to see the rest of it!

  17. I just stumbled upon your site. Love it! Entertaining and educational, what more could a girl ask for.

  18. I hate the lousy elastic these days. Dritz has bought out or driven out all the good stuff. I try not to support them any more than I really have to. But don't encourage my rants.

  19. Peter, I think Cathy needs a different hairstyle. That one reminds me of a newspaper columnist/author here in Australia:

    As for the blouse, it has come out looking great after all the angst.

  20. Welcome, Olivia!

    Peter, please give Cathy's hair a chance. I think with a little more brushing, it will remind you less of Danny Katz.

  21. Wow, after all that, the blouse looks fabulous. Notions make me crazy too. I hate the feel of packaged bias binding, always make my own. Shoulder pads have luckily been unnecessary for a long time, but I have a stash that I bought from a San Francisco designer when she went out of business years ago. Some coats and jackets don't look good without them. I'm totally inspired by your perseverance with that poly charmeuse, not enough to actually use it, just inspired.

  22. I think I remember you saying that Brian was a mentor to you--so you might know about this tutorial already....but thought I'd mention it.

    I learn so much from you and you always make me smile--or guffaw! Thanks!



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