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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.

Oct 28, 2012

Awesome Halloween Sew-Alongers, Vol. 3: The Gumball Dress!

Readers, today I want to introduce you to MPB Halloween Sew-Alonger, Christina J. (pictured above in an early fitting).

Much like me, Christina doesn't see Halloween as a reason to sacrifice glamour; no throw-a-sheet-over-your-head-and-call-yourself-a-ghost for this talented sewer.  Christina's costume is even boned and I'm pretty sure she'll be wearing shoes on the big night.

Oct 26, 2012

Peter's Makeup Tips or "I Enjoy Being a (Harem) Girl"

Friends, if there is one thing I am not it is a makeup expert.

I subscribe to two basic tenets, which I'll present as acronyms:  ALT: A Light Touch, and LIMIT - Less Is More (I Think).  Can you sense a theme here?  Makeup is not going to make you look younger, but it will enhance what you have.  It can transform, sure, if you want to make yourself into Frankenstein's monster (or a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race) but for most of us, a little goes a long way.

Oct 25, 2012

Awesome Halloween Sew-Alongers, Vol. 2: The Lollipop Guild!

Readers, today I'm delighted to introduce you to another MPB Halloween Sew-Alonger, Derek G.  I could tell you all about his project, but I thought I'd let Derek describe it in his own words:

Q: Derek, how did you decide on your costume idea?  What inspired you?

Oct 24, 2012

Contemplating the (Male) Navel

Readers, do you find the navel erotic?

I don't, and yet for a long time -- pretty much the entire first half of the Twentieth Century — American navels, both male and female, were expected to be kept covered in public.   You've probably all heard that even in the 1960's, Barbara Eden was not allowed to display hers on I Dream of Jeannie.

Oct 23, 2012

Go Vest, Young Man

With Michael's Aladdin pants and shirt finished, it was time to make the vest.

As little as I like poet's shirts, I like vests even less.  Not traditional suit vests, mind you, but those fancy vests some men wear instead of a jacket, which always bring to mind Paula Poundstone.  That said, the vest that's part of Simplicity 4788, shown above, is pretty inoffensive, and pulls together the rest of the outfit.

Oct 22, 2012

The Poet's Shirt or "Name That Tune-ic!"

I guess I was in denial.

Deep down I had a very good idea that Michael's Aladdin shirt was nothing more than a version of the infamous poet's shirt -- otherwise known as the pirate shirt, the Renaissance tunic, or -- as immortalized on TV's Seinfeld -- the puffy shirt.  Also the caftan top.  Granted, mine lacks ruffles, but the basics are the same: the oversized cut, the puffy sleeves, the bland beige color. 

Oct 21, 2012

Harem Pants-a-palooza!

Does Aladdin wear pearls?  I forget.

I don't know about your Sunday, readers, but my mine was all about harem pants -- or sarouel pants, Hammer pants, drop-crotch pants, or whatever you choose to call them.

Oct 20, 2012

Getting started on Michael's costume

This is NOT Michael's Halloween costume!

Taking a break from poly chiffon and power net, it's time to address Michael's Halloween costume, which I envision as a cross between Jon Hall in Arabian Nights, Cornel Wilde in A Thousand and One Nights (but with more beads), and Alberto Sordi in Fellini's hilarious The White Sheik.

Oct 18, 2012

Long Day's Journey Into Harem Pants

A long day, readers.

With the Scheherazade midriff top pretty much done -- I added beaded gimp trim along the bottom and a snap at the back neck (which may be replaced by a frog) --  I had to figure out what I wanted the rest of the outfit to look like.

Oct 17, 2012

Nudity vs. Simulated Nudity

Friends, be honest: other than baby-making (or its gay twin) with a committed, consenting, adult partner, is there any other time you really want to see someone naked?  And even then.

Oct 16, 2012

The Awesome Creativity of MPB Halloween Sew-Alongers, Vol. 1


I have some incredibly creative readers, and a handful of them are sewing along with me this Halloween.  Today, I'm delighted to introduce Allison!

Oct 15, 2012

"Oh, My Nose!"

Readers, today I want to discuss a somewhat sensitive topic, and I'm not referring to mucous membranes.  I want to talk noses: specifically the extent to which a -- forgive the slang -- outsized schnoz is considered to be a "problem" in our (Western) culture.

Oct 13, 2012

Sew-Alongus Interruptus: Saturday Flea Market Finds!

I think we all could use a break from my Halloween hysteria, don't you?  So let me share what I found at the flea market this morning!

Oct 12, 2012

New Halloween Fabrics!

Friends, I really shouldn't be left home alone with beads, chiffon, and an auto-timer.

Oct 11, 2012

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 7: Veils

The veil.  I mean, what's up with that?

Here in the West, veils are often associated with the "exotic" East: harem girls and Persian princesses -- images often filtered through Hollywood movies like "Arabian Nights" or TV sitcoms like "I Dream of Jeannie."  I don't think it's passing judgment to say that veiled women -- even Western brides -- are symbols of women-as-property, even if we no longer make this association. 

Oct 10, 2012

Over-the-topness, Halloween Sew-Along Day 1 + POLL!

Cher.  Dame Edna.  Divine.  Lady Gaga.

Some celebrities are famous for being outrageous.  They may be shy in their private lives, but when they're out and about and strutting their stuff, they're totally over-the-top.  And we love them for it.

Oct 8, 2012

The Universe Provides (one week late) or "In Celebration of Free"

Synchronicity is spooky.  Not one week after blogging about my need for plastic storage containers, look what I found on the street today -- the very same day, in fact, that I dropped off two bags of discards at the Salvation Army.  Coincidence?

Oct 7, 2012

Memories of Halloween Costumes Past

Real quick: the MPB Halloween Sew-Along starts this coming Wednesday!

If you'd like to join our Flickr group, shoot me an email (peterlappinnyc at gmail dot com) and I'll send you an invite (you can do this directly through Flickr if you already have an account there).   Photos can be viewed by anyone, but only members can post or leave comments/questions.  Of course we'll all be sewing different costumes most likely, but we'll be sewing them together -- or virtually together.  Anyway, it will be fun.  I'll have more info in the coming days.

Meanwhile, friends, is it me, or has Halloween become a very different holiday than when I was a kid?  Or back even further...

Oct 5, 2012

Walk a Mile in My Stash!

Readers, I am getting organized.  Not only was I able to sort -- and digitally archive -- my entire fabric stash, but also by consolidating, I was able to get rid of a cracked drawer-style Sterilite container I'd found in the trash a long time ago that had very bad feng shui.

Oct 4, 2012

"I Love Lucy" Fashion Love

When it came to fashion, my mother's interest stopped at lipstick and cologne.  A widowed elementary school librarian with two kids to raise, she didn't aspire to be a stylish woman.

When I think back on how I became interested in glamorous women's clothes, I know it came via our black and white Zenith television set.  My boyhood idea of high fashion came from three women:  Lisa ("The stores!") Douglas (Eva Gabor) on Green Acres, Ginger Grant (Tina Louise) on Gilligan's Island, and first and foremost, Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) on I Love Lucy.

Oct 3, 2012

Clutter, you ain't licked me yet!

The downside to being a person who finds most of his possessions in the street, the dumpster, the thrift store, or the flea market, is that when you actually have to buy something new in a store, you can experience sticker shock.

Oct 2, 2012

The (Confusing) World of Vintage Pattern Reissues

Readers, do you ever lie?  I mean, do you ever say something without really thinking and then, later, realize that what you said doesn't reflect your honest opinion?

On this blog, from time to time, I've opined that such-and-such pattern company should reissue this-or-that pattern.  Usually I say this because I think it would make good business sense for them to do so.  But my true opinion is that I find vintage pattern repros about as compelling as a faux-limestone Nefertiti bust for sale at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop. 
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