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Jun 29, 2012

Quote of the Week + other random musings...

Friends, do you ever read sewing blogs and get the distinct impression that other people lead much more exciting and glamorous lives than you do?  Don't think I'm referring to my life -- surely you've noticed by now that I'm usually dressed in a stained t-shirt or boxers and standing in front of a sofa we found on Craigslist.

No, I'm referring to someone like Debi, in fact, to Debi herself.  Have you read her latest blog post?  Readers, she attended a ball.  There she is, dressed up like Kay Francis (a very glamorous film actress in the 1930's, now forgotten), with her husband and co-sewer David, looking every inch the movie star himself.

About the event Debi says, and I quote: "It [i.e., the ball] was definitely one of the highlights of the week!"

Well I'm glad she's definite about it. 

Debi, sit down.  If I had attended a ball, or had any occasion to wear black tie, satin gowns, or be photographed next to an ice sculpture -- ever -- it would be the highlight of my month, my year, and maybe my life.  Next time you're at a glamorous event, dressed to the nines, Debi, at least bring us home a party favor or something; it could be a giveaway.  (The nerve of some people.)

And that, readers, is my Quote of the Week -- perhaps an ongoing feature here at MPB if it proves popular.

In other news, as you can see up top, my vintage 1969 Simplicity men's blazer pattern has arrived, which means nothing is standing in the way of my starting my linen jacket project except my own inertia and fear.  Maybe I'll launder my blue linen this weekend.  Or make a bucket hat.

What else...?

Sewing machine fanatics, have you seen this?  Yes, Elna is reintroducing the Lotus -- albeit in computerized form.  As the kids say, I can't hardly believe it!

But wait -- you're all probably wondering whatever became of my Elna Lotus.  Surely you remember the stirring saga of this eBay fiasco.  Readers, the short version is that I returned it to the seller (at her cost), who (unfortunately for her) gave me an incomplete return address.  So, like a 25 lb. boomerang, the sewing machine came back to me.  At which point, the emotionally-exhausted-but-still-hostile seller threw her up her hands (or just threw up) and let me keep it.  Karma's a bitch.

No fool, I opened it up, oiled it, de-linted it, and it's working great.  It still looks like it was left outside in the rain and beaten with sticks, but it sews a lovely stitch.  Like I always say, there's no sewing machine like a free sewing machine.   Which could also be the Quote of the Week, come to think of it.

And speaking of free, this was sitting in my building's trash last weekend!

Readers, I am sorry to say I left it there.  I mean, I can't adopt all the orphaned sewing machines in the world.

In closing, a few short questions:

1) Have you ever found a sewing machine in the trash? 

2) Do you agree that if you attend at a ball and eat ice cream, you should at least say that it was THE highlight of your week, even if you have to lie about it?

3) Don't you think I look better in toile de Jouy than Lady Gaga?

Happy Friday, everybody!


  1. 1. Ha! (you may take that as a negative).
    2. Most definitely. (You forgot to mention the free champagne)
    3. Once more - most definitely.

  2. Gosh, don't you know that's how life is for us in Scotland all the time? :)

    And no, you can't rescue every sewing machine, I'm sure you've more than done your share of sewing machine saving.

  3. 1. Yes! My vintage, industrial strength, White
    2. Uh, highlight of my YEAR. Here in the midwest, most people think dressing up means matching your flip flops to your tank top
    3.It's a tie; you both are rockin' it in your own way.

  4. 1. No
    2. yes, ice cream is usually good. Balls, not as much fun for me!
    3.You definitely look better in the T de J than Lady G. She looks like she's been wallpapered!

  5. Funny I remember reading Debi's post thinking the same thing.

    1. No, sadly no little gifts left for me in trash cans.
    2.Oh definitely the highlight of year.
    3. Gaga wishes she rocked as hard as you:)

    @Vintagegal - Your #2 answer made me giggle, Thanks it was exactly what I needed today!

  6. Peter, thank you for a hilarious start to my day. YES! I do read other people's sewing blogs and see suburban mansions, exotic Scottish sewing hook-ups, cozy London apartments, beautiful children, handsome spouses, etc. and think, 'wow does my life suck or what.' (chuckling now to myself) And all I came to the blog for was a bit of sewing pleasure.

    I do have a vintage sewing machine collection that I love. XOXO Annemarie

  7. Oh dear Peter! I absolutely love that you can make me laugh out loud on a stressful Friday morning!

    I think I might just have to shoot a photo of me, right at this moment in my pajama's looking rather sad and homely in front of my sofa - which is in awful shape and which I'm currently making a slipcover for so it's covered in three different fabrics. Oh to have gone to a ball!!! In Scotland, no less.

    I've never found a sewing machine in the trash - but I'm totally not above hopping into a trash can and fishing one out!

    You definitely do toile better than Gaga. But I think it might be safe to say that everyone does everything better than that creature! EEEKKK!

    Thank you for a lovely morning laugh!
    xoxo, Sunni

  8. Hello, I'm new and this is my first comment here.

    1. No, but I have found the very, very rusted frame of a treadle on the river bank at my grandfathers farm. The words on the side said "Canadian white", which makes sense because I live in Canada. It looked cool but was useless.

    2. Yes, a ball would be the highlight of the month, or perhaps the year if everyone wore historical costumes (picture the masquerade scene from Sweeney Todd). I'm usually too shy to go to parties, but a ball with ice cream would be awesome!
    "Highlight of the week" Definitely sounds snobbish, and really Debi, you made your entire dress out of satin? Blaugh.

    3. Of course, you look better in toile than anybody! Her outfit is too matchy and too tight.

  9. I inherited an Elna from my great grandmother that looks almost exactly like the one you have except it is a Stella. A great little portable machine for light sewing. I love the retro colors and the way it folds up into its own case

  10. When you said "Quote of the Week" I thought you were going to quote something that somebody else had said. I didn't realize you were going to tell us which part of your post was wise and worth repeating. Silly me.

    I read two blogs posts in a row last night where sewists were visiting Paris. Yes, it is very annoying.

  11. You win the toile battle. Gaga is too matchy-matchy and too much! NO the bare midriff does not provide enough relief from all that pattern.

    I hope to try out the new Lotus but why oh why did they get rid of the dials? I'm so tired of repeatedly pushing little buttons. The dial is a much smoother way to operate things.

  12. Peter, you are much too humble. I am totally jealous of your life and don’t even get me started on Cathy. And yes, I read about all the fabulous parties and events to which these bloggers wear their gorgeous creations and I sigh with envy.

    Answers to your questions:
    #1: No. I don’t think anyone here knows what a sewing machine is
    #2: Would be the highlight of the decade
    #3: You look classy/trendy/Riviera. Gaga looks, well, Gaga

    Regarding your Elna Lotus, I love a happy ending.

  13. 1. No, but I have trash-picked beautiful vintage fabric, notions, and garments.
    2. Would be the highlight of my life if my husband actually danced with me (he doesn't dance).
    3. You look svelte and confident; Lady GagMe ...well...let's just say I consider her a poor copy of Madonna, and I could never stand M.

  14. Gaga looks amazing! I think the smaller scale of the toile du Jouy makes the outfit work.

    I've never found a sewing machine in the trash. I found a treadle machine at an auction and bought it, but now it just sits there. I need to clean it. I need to learn how to clean it.

    I am so sick with a summer cold right now that the thought of going to the living room, let alone a ball, exhausts me. ENVY ME, WORLD, with my box of Kleenex and my Hall's medicated cough drops! MUHAHAHAHAHA! At least I am putting a nice dent into my Netflix queue.

  15. That vendor really lacks organizational skills. But I do love the look of that Elna. Plus, if it works... And yes, you do look much better in that jouy than LG.

  16. 1. Never, but I will keep my eyes peeled
    2.I was at a ball in May, so far it is the highlight of my Year, or maybe the last 5 years even. Not too many ball opportunities come my way
    3. You look way better than Lady Gaga. All toiled is a whole lotta look. She looks like she is wearing my MIL's guest bedroom curtains. Toile should be treated like a controlled substance

  17. Ha! I read Debbie's post the other day too and thought the same thing "highlight of the week?! " man my life is pathetic.

    Then you have all the other blogs that have a ton of sponsors and get free stuff, fabric and sewing machine/gadgets and constantly having give aways. I think to myself who do i have to virtually sleep with to get swag like that.

  18. 1. I would love to, but trash in my suburban neighborhood is really boring.
    2. Any ball would be the highlight of my year. When I used to dance more regularly, I did attend the occational ball.
    3. You look better.
    Thanks for the post and get busy on that linen jacket. I'm sorry to say my life is tame compared to yours. (What does that say about me?) Is it a good thing we can live vicariously via the Web?

  19. That old singer might be a model 112-140 twin needle. The clutch motor may be more valuable than the head!

  20. For a french, your life seems very glamorous, hey, you live in NEW YORK !! It' s a place that I''m that closed to believe, exists only in movies, the old, black and white very glamorous movies. And, you live there for real. And, whoa ! you got your coach from Craig list ! I haven't got a clue what Craig list is whatsoever, but it sure does sound exotic!

    You, can take glamorous walk in time square any time for free, no need to get an invite nor graduate.
    I'm pretty sure you could buy an ice cream there and eat it in your glamorous toile de jouy pants. Better yet, you can eat your ice cream on the roof top of your building. Soo picturesque !
    Please, post a glamorous picture of you when you do, so I can keep dreaming and drooling over how the grass is so much greener on the other side of the atlantic.

  21. I vote you organize a ball of your own....the guests would be all of us...and we'd have to make our own gowns. Charge a fee to attend, and of course order an ice sculpture! Give us awhile to get it together...but hey, you have fans and friends that probably would dig getting all decked out for a ball. It would be, well, a BALL!

    Sad about that old dumpster machine, but yay about the Elna!

    I recently acquired my first vintage machine, a Singer 66 Red Eye from 1919 for $30. I ordered a few parts from the sources you led me to, and soon she'll be purring.

    Sew on!

  22. lol. Hilarious! I think seeing my post mentioned in your blog is up there as (definitely) one of the highlights of my week (there's been so many...teeeheee):) I'm with Marcia and think you should organize a ball or at the very least a garden party of your own (hey, we could have it in Gertie's back yard!)

  23. Oh goodness, I thought the exact same thing when I read Debi's post! Who knew that Edinburgh was like Monte Carlo!?! And hasn't the lead up to the ball been an interesting and suspense filled read. Heaven knows what excitement can come close, that is one of the other highlights of the week. ;-)
    I much prefer your toile, I think Lady Gaga looks Kaka in that outfit.
    And no sewingmachines in skips for me. I am an adopter of them, have several in my office yet to even be unpacked even! I'm a little afraid they will turn out to be duds!

  24. Your toile is much nicer than Lady GaGa's and will stay better longer. Hers is something you wear once.
    Never found a sewing machine in the trash but you might find one or two in back yards around here. That one looked like it was ready for the trash, some things are just not to be.
    I saw that Elna ad a while back and thought of you.

  25. Oh how I look forward to your posts every day....

    Never got a free machine, but just today I doubled back for a garage sale I'd driven past because my husband thought he saw an 'old sewing machine' sitting on a table (turned out to be an expresso machine).

  26. My neighbours are all disappointments. They only toss out genuine, certifiable rubbish, as opposed to perfectly good junk. It's a spectacularly annoying habit. If that clapped-out Singer was discovered at the curb Tuesday morning there'd be a brawl.

    Balls are wearisome occasions not unlike wedding receptions. Dante describes an entire circle of hell dedicated to nothing but balls. Definitely over-hyped and treacly.

    As for "gaga," a synonym for demented fails to inspire.

  27. 1. No, but I have a friend who used to scrap and found so much great stuff that I wanted her to open up a second hand store or a flea market stand.
    2. If I attended a ball i would certainly have one..and yes it would be a highlight.
    3. I think it's a toss up. Perhaps a toile-off with GaGa?

  28. 1. No sewing machine, but I did find a nice old Royal typewriter once.
    2. Have to disagree. We are, after all talking about Debi's week, which was unusual in every way. The thing that made me mad was that she could go to a ball, wear a satin dress, eat ice cream, and still look lovely. If we were talking about me, if I did go to a ball (highly unlikely) it would probably be considered a lifetime highlight! (Also I'd get ice cream on my dress.)
    3. Can't even compare the two. Yours look nice and fit well. Hers look too tight, to put it nicely.

  29. I can imagine a week where attending a ball in a lovely satin gown, with a handsome bloke in a Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket, was one of the highlights. I can't actually recall one, though. And I'm afraid that reading your blog was one of the highlights of my week. Sigh.

  30. 1. No
    2. Yes.
    3. After careful consideration, and it was a difficult process owing to the number of qualified candidates, the judges have selected Peter.

  31. Are you going to do a sew along when you make your jacket? Just asking because I have the same pattern and tried to make a muslin for it but gave up without finishing.

    1. Maybe somewhere down the line, Paul. You (or anyone) is welcome to sew along now, of course. I'll be documenting most of the steps, I expect. And of course if there's anything you need clarification on, let me know.

  32. Oh my goodness....I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for info about a vintage Elna Air Electronic. I was SO happy to see someone else out there who loves vintage sewing machines as much as I do. My collection is the bane of my husbands existence, and I use your same counting methodology (this Supernova doesn't count because it's just a parts machine, etc.) Too funny!

    Back to the Air Electronic...I need another sewing machine...NOT. But, it's a great deal and difficult to pass up and not far from where I live. I've heard such good things about them. I really want a Lotus, though.

    Are you on the Vintage Elna yahoo group? Seems I may have seen you there, but perhaps it's another enthusiast.

    In your collection post of a couple years ago, I didn't see any vintage Berninas in your herd. Hmmmm...I would definitely work on fixing that. I stumbled upon and promptly purchased 2 of them through the years. LOVE them. The third was picked up for a song on Craigslist. I have a 530 Record, 730 Record and 732 purchased and used by a new bride in Holland in the 60's before being brought stateside along with her American hubby. I have to say, I love the stories behind the machines...

    Cheers! the cold, rainy Pacific NW.


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