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Dec 31, 2012

Whatever Happened to the BIG FLOUNCE?

Friends, on this final day of 2012, many of you are no doubt dressing for glamorous New Year's Eve parties.  Are any of you planning to wear something with a big taffeta flounce?  (A little taffeta flounce?)

Dec 29, 2012

Peter's Best and Worst of 2012!

Gracious me, is it that time already?

Friends, 2012 is already something of a blur, but going back through the archives, I do recall a great deal of it, especially since November.  If I've forgotten anything key, please remind me.

Dec 28, 2012

The Oversized Eighties Jacket -- YEA or NAY?

Friends, if there's one thing I learned living through the Eighties, it's that oversized clothing does not flatter undersized people.  The Eighties was a bad decade for me style-wise and perhaps for you too.

Dec 27, 2012

Hats Entertainment!

The balder older I get, the more I like hats.

Seriously, I do think hats are great.  Not only do they keep your head warm in winter and cool in summer, they can give an ordinary face a little something extra and they can certainly pull together an outfit.  I have never made a hat myself (a few makeshift turbans notwithstanding) but I've come close.  Remember when I planned to make myself a bucket hat?  For various reasons, that never happened.

Dec 26, 2012

Peter's Christmas Corset and Other Holiday Hoopla

We made it through the holidays, readers!   Most of them, anyway.

I have so many exciting things to share with you, so let's get started.  I couldn't be happier after days of overeating than to slip into my new Rago waist cincher.  I was going to include an Amazon link, but I noticed that the price went up from approximately $25 to $38 in the week since I ordered it.  Isn't that wack?  I've noticed price shifts on Amazon before, but this is ridiculous.

Dec 24, 2012

MPB KITSCH-mas Spectacular or "Name that Pattern - Holiday Edition!"

Readers near and far, the holidays are finally here!

There are two ways to celebrate Christmas (and all those other end-of-year winter holidays): straight, or with a twist of irony.  Of course, many people would rather have just the twist, but irony doesn't work that way.

Dec 23, 2012

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 9: Sky Mall Fashion

Friends, so many of us will be traveling this holiday season, a great many by air.

I'm sure most American MPB readers -- a sophisticated, nomadic bunch -- are familiar with Sky Mall.  How many of us have flipped through the colorful Sky Mall catalog while taxiing on the runway,  calming our nerves during a bit of turbulence over the Rockies, or distracting ourselves from the child vomiting across the aisle?

Dec 21, 2012

While Visions of Wool Jackets Danced in My Head...

Readers, I know what I want for Christmas: this jacket!

Dec 20, 2012

Good News, Bad News

Good news, readers:  I laundered the cotton velveteen I bought yesterday and it dried considerably softer and drapier -- gorgeous!

Dec 19, 2012

When You Buy the Wrong Fabric, or "ARGH"

In life there are big problems and small problems.  What I'm about to relate is admittedly a small problem, but it's still substantial enough to be blog-worthy.  Or at least MPB-worthy.

Today I bought the wrong fabric.

Dec 18, 2012

The Finished Pendleton Plaid Shirt!

Presenting Version 2.0 of my Pendleton plaid.  I like it.

Dec 17, 2012

Pendleton Plaid Shirt, Version 2.0: Progress

I still have another day's work on this, readers, but I am liking this version of my Pendleton plaid shirt so much better.

Dec 16, 2012

Reworking a Shirt I Never, Ever Wear

So three years ago I made this Western-style shirt.  I used a vintage Seventies McCall's pattern and fabric I found locally for $2/yd. which turned out to be Pendleton wool.  I was so proud of the result.  I mean, I'd only been sewing for four months.

Dec 14, 2012

Can't Help Tweakin' Those Shirts of Mine

Readers, I've tweaked my polka-dot shirts once again.

Here's why:

Dec 13, 2012

Oh, the Glamour! The Pattern Review Anniversary Party!

Me and Eugenia of Elliott Berman Textiles

As promised, readers, here are some photos from last night's star-studded, super-fun Pattern Review NYC anniversary bash at Elliott Berman.  I met so many interesting people, the food was delicious, and I even won fabric!

Dec 12, 2012

Color Block Shirt: New Slim Fit!

Was that a collective groan I just heard?  I know you're getting tired of looking at this shirt, friends, but think how I must feel: I had to sew the darn thing.

Dec 11, 2012

The Shirt is Done!

Hallelujah, friends, my color block shirt is finished!  Well, almost.  I still have to hem the bottom and add buttons and buttonholes, but it will only have three of each, plus the cuffs of course.  And a bit of pressing.  But I couldn't wait to share it with you.

Dec 10, 2012

Color Block Headaches or "A Virtue of Necessity"

Good grief, readers, I had no idea color blocking was going to be so hard.

Dec 9, 2012

Color Block Shirt Project: The Finalists!

Friends, I am having difficulty making up my mind about how my color block shirt should look.  I've made a few more sketches and found more color-block inspiration online.

Dec 8, 2012

Peter Models the Red Polka Dot Shirt

Readers, my first polka dot shirt is done!

Dec 6, 2012

A Two Shirt Solution: Thursday Color Block Update

Readers, I've spent a lot of time the last few days thinking about color blocked shirts.  I've done extensive online research, even exploring the Saks Fifth Avenue menswear website, where there were a number of color blocked shirts available.  And they were all on sale.  (This look is not taking the world by storm.)

Dec 5, 2012

Color Blocking (and other shirt-related research)

Readers, I was so deeply touched by your response to yesterday's patchwork post, but let's keep our hands to ourselves.

Dec 4, 2012

The Patchwork Shirt -- YEA or NAY?

Friends, when it comes to clothes I actually wear on a regular basis, I'm pretty conventional.

Sure, I'll tiptoe around the edges of avant-garde -- leopard pants here, flower power shirt cuffs there -- but usually with trepidation and not a little regret.  I know what I'm comfortable in and it's generally the tired and true (whoops -- that should read tried and true, LOL!).

Dec 3, 2012

Monday Fabric Shopping + Celebrity Sightings!

What an exciting day I had today, readers!

Dec 2, 2012

Michael Models His New Flannel Shirt!

Readers, the shirt is done and Michael loves it.  I think the color really suits him, don't you?  It fits nicely and it's super soft and snuggly.

Dec 1, 2012

All Treadled Out? + Michael's shirt update

Readers, I treadled so much yesterday that I'm afraid I've run out of steam, though a treadle doesn't run on steam and neither do I.

Nov 30, 2012

The Flannel Shirt Project: To Treadle or Not to Treadle?

Happy Friday, creative people!

Having pre-washed and pre-shrunk my beautiful blue flannel from Mood, I am ready to begin making Michael's shirt.  This morning I'm wondering which machine I should make it on: I have so many options (ten, I think).  My choice in this regard is usually based simply on which machine is out, has sufficient clear space around it (as opposed to piles of whatever), and needs the least amount of prep.

Nov 28, 2012

Shopping vs. Making It Yourself: The Creativity Conundrum

I've been pondering this question for a long time, readers, and I can't remember what prompted it:

Is home sewing intrinsically more creative than shopping for ready-to-wear?

Nov 27, 2012

New fabric + my vintage 40's mannequin arrives!

Honestly, is there anything more exciting than receiving a package in the mail containing an eBay purchase?  Maybe a puppy. 

Nov 26, 2012

For Men Only?

Friends, I am not really a vintage menswear fetishist.  And yet...

Nov 24, 2012

Peter's Pattern Storage Secrets!

Readers, I own roughly three hundred patterns, maybe a few more, most of them vintage. 

I don't know exactly how this happened.  I purchased many of them myself -- mainly on Etsy, eBay, and at the flea market -- but others were gifted to me by desperately decluttering MPB readers.  I appreciate these donations, I really do, but larger numbers of patterns has meant better organization is a must.  Today I'd like to share my system with you.

Nov 22, 2012

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT -- The Vintage 40's Sewing Mannequin Doll

Friends, a bit of advice: do not shop online at night, especially on sites like Etsy and eBay, where one-of-a-kind collectibles are available for purchase at the strike of a computer key.  After 11 pm, particularly around a holiday, one's resistence WILL BE LOW.

Nov 21, 2012

Help me make this Cyd Charisse gown!

Readers, I am officially a man on a mission!  With the holidays upon us, I have decided it's time to make Cathy a really sumptuous evening dress and, after watching the 1948 Esther Williams film, "On An Island With You," I have become obsessed with this Irene Lentz-Gibbons (more commonly known as Irene) dress worn by Cyd Charisse in a tango she performs with Ricardo Montalban.

Nov 20, 2012

Last Boxers of 2012, Promise!

I decided to make one more pair of boxers, friends -- the last pair of 2012.  I think.

Nov 19, 2012

Mondays in my Undays—er—Undies!

Readers, I'm finished!  I now have a lovely new pair of men's cotton boxers.

Nov 18, 2012

Boxer Ballyhoo - Sunday edition

I'm making progress on the boxers, friends!

As you can see up top, I decided to add contrasting gingham trim to the boxers I'm making, using scraps left over from my very first sewing project (which, coincidentally, happened to be a pair of boxers, though much less fancy than these).

Nov 17, 2012

Let's Make Boxers (Again)!

Friends, it's time once again to make boxers -- the perfect holiday gift for you or the man in your life, by the way!

Nov 15, 2012

A Case of the "Now Whats?"

Friends, has this ever happened to you?  You finish a big project, you're a little spent, and you have no idea what's next.  Not to mention it's Diwali, the Indian "Festival of Lights" -- always a distraction when your sister-in-law is from Mumbai.

Nov 13, 2012

Vintage Forties nightgowns or "Whatever Happened to the Peignoir?"

Readers, when discussing women's intimate apparel, it's important to define terms.  Here's what I've dug up:

Nov 11, 2012

Cathy Models the Harem Girl Outfit!

How lucky I am that after Hurricane Sandy destroyed my Halloween plans (along with a few New York City neighborhoods), my dear cousin Cathy offered to model my costume, so that you, dear readers, would get to see it and I wouldn't have to shave my legs.

Nov 9, 2012


Readers, I'm thrilled to present another round of the sewing blogosphere's favorite game of nifty nomenclature, NAME THAT PATTERN!

Nov 8, 2012

Socks and other things I'm not willing to skimp on

Readers, if you've been following me a while, you know that I'm something of a tightwad.  I hate to spend more than I have to and will only purchase something brand new if I have no other reasonable choice.

But like many tightwads — perhaps, one might argue, by virtue of being a tightwad — I am willing to cough up the dough for certain things that are important to me.

There aren't many of these, of course, but there are a few.

Nov 7, 2012

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 8: Toupees

Martial artist Chuck Norris

Friends, if ever there was a blog post that wrote itself, this is it.  Which is good, because I'm tired.

Nov 5, 2012

In the Home Stretch!

I'm nearly finished with my costume, readers.  Getting the beaded gimp onto the harem pants was not as easy as it looks -- or does it look easy at all?  There are so many layers to deal with: gathered chiffon, power net, gold mesh, embroidered trim -- and of course you have to keep all those beads out of the way.

Nov 4, 2012

Back in the Saddle with Gene Tierney

Readers, I sewed today -- not much, but I sewed.  I have decided that I must finish my harem costume by Tuesday.  I don't know when it will be worn or where, but it must be completed and soon.

Nov 2, 2012

Hurricane: 1, Sewing Mojo: 0

Friends, I cannot lie: I have not sewn all week.

As far as tomorrow's Halloween Costume Ball, the neighborhood where it's to take place is still without power.  Ticket holders have been offered reimbursements.  Even if it were to happen, Halloween is over.  I'm just not feeling it right now.

Nov 1, 2012

Boys Dressing as Girls for Halloween or "Toddler Drag: Cause for Alarm?"

The other day, MPB reader Karen emailed me a personal story she thought I might share here, even suggesting the title, "A Boy's First Skirt."

Oct 31, 2012

Awesome Halloween Sew-Alongers, Vol. 4 - Jessie & Amy!

Happy Halloween, readers!

As I announced late yesterday, my Halloween Costume Ball has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday, November 3rd.  Therefore I've decided to extend our Halloween Sew-Along.  This means three extra days of Halloween costume-making fun: beads, chiffon, and glitter eye shadow -- and that's just the dogs!

Oct 30, 2012

Post-Storm Updates!

Readers, we survived Hurricane Sandy.  We are incredibly fortunate that our apartment complex has its own power generator: we're practically the only ones with electricity in lower Manhattan!  Our iPads are fully charged and, after some strong morning espresso, so are we.

Oct 29, 2012

When Bad Hurricanes Happen to Good Halloweens

Friends, bad weather is on the way and I'm not sure what to expect.

Michael and I were out walking the dogs earlier today and most stores and restaurants were closed with their windows taped over.  Right now (approximately 1:30 pm), the winds are getting gusty and it's raining.  I think the worst is scheduled for tonight.
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