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Nov 12, 2011

The Glamour Never Stops + New Patterns!

As if this week didn't have enough excitement, I was thrilled to attend the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook book launch event on Thursday night and, trust me, that sombrero was their idea and don't even mention the scissors.

I hope to write more about the Burda book in the future because it looks terrific, despite my not having contributed a project for it.  Cat-loving, peanut-butter-and-honey-sandwich-eating Gertie is in the book, however, and wouldn't you know she was at the book launch too, accompanied by handsome, hirsute husband Jeff.  I treated her with my usual warmth, overlooking the sharp comment she'd left on my blog that very day (Thursday) about men's patterns.  Gertie looked lovely in a lustrous silk and cotton blend polka-dotted dress and coordinating pink cardigan.

She really needs to start sewing for Jeff, however, because he looks -- don't hate me -- almost bland in comparison to her.  If she begs I might just send a few men's patterns her way (since in her opinion there's such an abundance of them out there).  Wait: maybe I should sew something for Jeff...we can do a photo shoot!

But let's move on.

I'm just back from the Chelsea flea market, where one of the sellers had two boxes full of vintage Sixties and Seventies patterns, many in Cathy's size or the size above.  This is not my favorite period, though initially I thought I'd just buy the whole lot.  After digging through them, however, I realized that they were really not all that, and instead chose a few I liked and left the rest.  A buck apiece.

Who doesn't love an early-Seventies take on the turban.  So Biba.

I think this 1969-ish Vogue Americana would be perfect for Dr. Lorna Gallo, the character I play in Noah's Very Unusual Insight.  The dropped waistline is very flattering on a certain kind of woman -- flat-chested, no hips -- and Dr. Lorna is just that kind.  Time to dig out the poly crepe!

This simple suit from 1967 is fetching in that matchy-matchy Jackie O way I love.  Perfect for cocktails in town.

Finally, I chose these two McCall's.   On the left is a pattern for a ruffled "fill-in" (akin to a halter top), ascot, and matching bib and cuffs.  On the right, a stretch jumpsuit, which is right for so many occasions.  I find the idea of a ruffled "fill-in" mildly hilarious, and I would like a matching bib and cuffs for myself, frankly.

Friends, that's it.  I am going to finish my 1944 jumper today come hell or high water.   I'm nearly done with the skirt, which I then have to attach to the top.  How does one get into a jumper, btw?

Here's a question:  you have to match two pieces of plaid, both of which are folded under approximately 7 inches.  So the seam (which will form the center of a skirt with a box pleat) is going to have a 7" seam allowance.  What is the best way to match the plaid?  I actually used tape so the layers wouldn't shift under my sewing machine, but it didn't feel like the ideal technique.  I guess in an ideal world I'd have hand-basted.  Any other ideas?

Finally, do you think partners of glamorous people have a duty to be glamorous too?  Whatever happened to the days of Ty and Lana?

Have a great weekend, everybody!


  1. Hilarious picture... What _don't_ you do for publicity, one might wonder ;)

    I own a Burda book(let) with sewing techniques. Let me just say that I'm curious to see your review. And add to that that I bought a _good_ book to _really_ learn new stuff.

    Sceptically yours, JT

  2. I think that it's more fun to be stylish together! But some people prefer to take a back seat and let their partner shine. Can you imagine?

    The skirt looks fabulous! I have no suggestion for matching plaids beyond hand basting. I will pop back to see if any other readers have one though!

    xo, Anita

  3. I bought the BurdaStyle book (as well as the new Colette Patterns book - also awesome) and love it! I haven't made anything from it yet, but I see many possibilities. Getting those two books - from my local bookstore no less - was like Christmas coming early!

    I do admit that I was disappointed you didn't have a project in it. ;-)

  4. One of these days you ought to send your cousin Cathy to one of these publicity events as long as she let's you dress her. And Michael could escort her - perhaps he would appreciate a ruffle shirt?

    Ack! I had wanted to go to the Chelsea flea market when I was last in town. Darn it all. I totally forgot. Where is it located?

  5. You're right about the ruffles on the pant suit-- a little too Austin Powers. Cathy would look darling in the Jackie O. suit, but I don't know that I'd like the turbans on her. I think I'd have to see it.

  6. Sorry, Peter, turbans are definitely not for me, although I guess they'd look okay in the right setting - and if you're having a bad hair day, what could be better?

    Looking forward to your review of the Burda Style book. Now, I have to get back to the 1860's frock coat project - it's for next Saturday, and I have to make it longer and wider before I cut - UGH!

  7. For matching plaid I use a glue stick.

  8. Peter,

    I just want to de-lurk from having stumbled upon your blog a few months ago to say that I really enjoy reading your posts and you've helped inspire me to emerge from my sewing hiatus.

    With that said - I'm loving the turbans. I have one that is a mix between the top two photos - however is sparkly black and silver. I obtained it from an estate sale of a very prim and proper woman - so I was a little amused to find something like it. It still had it's tag on and appears to never have been worn. I wonder if she had a moment of outlandishness while shopping, possibly lulled by how chic a model may have looked wearing it, then realized what she purchased upon returning home and never gathered the courage to wear it? The boring ol' navy turban with it looked as though it had a lot of wear. No worries though as my daughter and I have fun alternating who gets to wear it around the house. Normally starts with me wearing it then she decides I'm apparently not groovy enough to pull it off so she insists I give it to her to wear. I'm not sure yet how I feel about having a highly opinionated 21 month old fashonista...

  9. I would go the hand basting on that plaid. Looking forward to the book review-can you wear the sombrero while you do it?

  10. Hand baste, and cut the pieces in a single layer if you can and just turn the pattern piece over so they're all lined up. And as for getting into jumpers, well, it depends on the design. Either over your head like any other dress, or if it's loose enough, you can pull it on like a jumpsuit. ;)

    My hair canvas arrived today, so it's back to winter coats for me! Oh, and the baby has a new favorite teething toy--my tape measures. And apparently, the white one is tastier than the yellow one! (I was getting new sets of measurements today)

  11. I'm a pins girl, myself. After carefully aligning the plaid and cutting each layer separately, I then pin each horizontal stripe before stitching, then make sure that I feed the fabric evenly.

    This works very well for me, but it's all in what works for you, and what you perfect with practice.

    I went through a rather prolonged period of loving plaids, and being fanatical about matching them. It was fun, but I've recovered, since. I still love me a good, perfectly matched, plaid, though, wherever I encounter one.

  12. Peter:

    Ya gotta baste, toots. AND use the even-feed foot. And pray.

    I just finished running up a new plaid shower curtain last weekend, which meant matching plaid (even, thank God) along a six-foot flat-felled seam.

    I managed it, but you did NOT want to be around me for several days thereafter....

  13. you and gertie are my two favorite sewing bloggers - if you two wanted to work together, i'm just saying, that'd be awesome :)

  14. Aye-Carumba, you're looking fabulous as usual - i don't know how anyone can look good wearing a sombrero with a massive pair of scissors, but you do!

    OMG i love the Shirley Partridge-esque fill-in pattern and can totally see Cathy bopping in front of a microphone warbling "I think I love you" in a velvet pantsuit with a ruffly fill-in.

  15. I’m so glad you asked about plaids and I’m grateful to those with suggestions. My confession ... I have never sewn plaids. I am scared to death of them, but I have fallen in love with a 1940s suit dress pattern that I want to do in a plaid. Now all I need is the courage to go forth and sew it.

    That sombrero – such fun!

  16. I read your blog daily and I am so excited about the simplicity 7264! I think I might buy a copy on etsy. I am currently working on the peony dress out of some lavender wool, and had enough left over for a jacket, and have been looking for just the right one, and i think the view 2 pattern would be an almost perfect match for it. What do you think?

  17. Just found your blog. Love it.
    Matching plaid.
    Machine baste horizontally ever 4 to 6 inches, at right angle to your seam, matching the horizontal plaid line. you can quickly check by turning over if your plaid is matching. I pin heavily in advance of this horizontal machine basting. Now sew your seam, keeping the fabric every so slightly taught so there is no bunching at the horizontal basting. Remove the horizontal basting. Your plaid will match perfectly, with no hand basting.

    About me: lifelong sewista, born in the 50s....for my last birthday, I was given a gift certificate in order to buy an i-pad, as apparently, one can't live without one. I sold it a discount to a young lad keen on electronic gee-haws and used the money to buy a mint 1951 Featherweight. Now at last I can get back to making perfect keyhole buttonholes with a straight stitch machine. Bliss.

  18. There are instructions in the issue of Threads I recieved yesterday for a frilly ruffly neck thing and matching cuffs. I wonder if Threads is on trend or in the 70's with that McCalls pattern?

  19. Love the Simplicity 7264. I think that would look terrific on Cathy.

  20. Aid for sewing plaids - Wonder Tape! It's a temporary 1/4" basting tape that dissolves when laundered.

    To use:
    Press under the seam allowance on one garment piece (ie - bodice front), then put a strip of Wonder Tape along the pressed-under edge of the fold. Place the taped seamline edge over the right side of its matching unpressed piece (ie - bodice back) along what will be the seamline (5/8" from the edge).

    At this point, the right sides of both the bodice front and bodice back are facing you.
    Make sure the plaid lines match across the seamline. Using your fingers only, press/push down on the pieces to tape them together. Flip the folded-over front bodice piece so it lies flat over the bodice back, right sides together(the standard way to sew seamlines). Sew along the pressed line. Voila! You'll have a perfectly matched seamline.

    If the Wonder Tape has not been caught in the stitches, you can peel it off and discard, otherwise it will disappear when you wash/clean the garment.

    The advantages of using Wonder Tape are it's speed - no hand basting, and that you can see how the plaid will look when finished because you arrange the seam with the right sides of the pieces facing you.

  21. Thanks, Tory. I use Wonder Tape for invisible zippers and it's always a big help. I should have thought of that myself!

  22. Great patterns scores, especially the turban. Can I borrow that one from you?

  23. I would KILL someone for that turban pattern! Seriously, need a hit taken out? I love turbans.

  24. I recommend using your walking foot to sew the plaid! Also, pin obsessively.


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