Sunday, December 4, 2011

The things we do for love...

This is the view from the front. Note the slight resemblance to a shrunken chef's hat.

The view from the side, showing the wingie thingies about which I have some doubt, as well as the pleating of the cap which lookes to me like it can't be right. I am pretty certain it is not the only thing about this which can't be right. Is that enough poofage over the back of the head? Is it too much? Did the band go to the correct place on the side? Does the thing cover too much of the head, or not enough, or...

And why am I posting a little head schmatta on my knitting blog? Because, of course, if I get it right I will be slapping it on my 20th Century head and wearing it while fulfilling whatever obligations I have as a member of the 18th century Militia unit I have just joined. I do not think that these obligations include, should the place be threatened, beating off terrorists with the distaff from my shabby little repro colonial spinning wheel, but they might, and if they do, I will end up in the news, and if I end up in the news, of course, I want my cap to be right. A girl can't be too careful about these things.

Why on earth has she-who-cannot-finish-anything taken one one more thing? Really, it is not my fault.

OK, yes, I have always wanted 18th century clothing. I first wanted to do reenacting back in my early teens. However, I have managed to live MANY, MANY years without addressing either of these whims.

However, someone I love very much needs things to do. And this person would like to get dressed up in Colonial Clothing and Tell People Things. (Well, actually, this person might indeed be content to just sit there in old sweatpants and tell people things, but the days of the General Store and the Cracker Barrel being over, one must find ways to merchandise oneself, must one not?)

So this person and I will be doing these things together, and therefore you faithful blog followers of mine (Google says I have one, and, of course, Google would never lie...)will have to see pictures of said items, if for no other reason than that I am not good at this yet, and therefore need to post them so wiser heads than mine can come here and read and say things like "Abigail Adams is rolling in her grave like a log in a log-rolling contest at the idea that anyone she knew would have put that thing on her head." And then, you know, kindly offer advice. Or go off and drink heavily at the very thought of me in their community. Whichever, you know, makes more sense to them at the time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew!

OK, never being the first to be first at anything trendy, it has taken me a few years both to get back to any sewing of note, and also to find the Sew, Mama, Sew site. They sell fabric over there, but they also have a fantastic blog and they provide lots of links and tutorials. I am especially fond of the Handmade Holidays and Fat Quarter months, But they frequently have themes and it it really good to go over there, search, and find interesting things to make, or to at least think about making.

They've asked the following questions of a number of people in the sewing scene, and we can answer one or more for the opportunity to win stuff. You can see links to the experts' answers on their blog over at

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?

None. Trust me, I am not the one to ask about trends.

What were some of your favorite things? (Trends, fabric collections, patterns, blogs? Whatever you really loved.)

I know I am supposed to have very specific favs here, but I basically look up individual things, because I just do not read a bunch of blogs every day. is probably my favorite right now because there is so much I can access from it. In that sense, Ravelry has really spoiled me - I want a sort of one stop shopping site for ideas I can then pursue through links. Rav is amazing for knitting and crochet, and there is really nothing equivalent in sewing for a number of reasons, but I am piecing together a few places to go.

What was your very favorite fabric collection or print? (If not listed above.)

I don't really have one. I have a sort of love/hate affair with fashion, textiles, etc. I love real ingenuity, and I love beautiful things. On the other hand, I have never been in a position to afford much. Encouraging a passion for beautiful fabric would be fiscally imprudent.

I also despise with a burning, searing, itching passion to which words cannot do justice paying postage - particularly shipping and handling that is more than the item. You can't just go anywhere and see all this stuff, touch it, and then just pick a few fat quarters - there is a lot of taking chances and waiting and all that. I do not let myself lust after beautiful prints.

What I do like is making the most of a little bit of a limited fabric. This is nothing new, and I am probably way behind the times in liking things mixed with natural linen/linen look/cheap rough cotton fabric.

What was the best thing you made in 2010? (Be sure to share a photo!)

I didn't make anything amazing in 2010. That I ever finish anything at all is amazing enough, and I made something like 30 sewn gifts for Christmas, so even if they weren't fantastic, they were done and I was thrilled. Nothing I made is really worth a photo...

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?

I can't say I keep track of these things. Maybe it is because I am not a Quilter. I can see where, if you are, this is a really meaningful question. I do more making little things - tea wallets, coin purses, cowls, notebook covers - honestly, how overwhelmingly awesome is something like that going to be able to be? Nice is good enough. I remember the nice ideas, and I have made the most of the Tea Wallets. My favorite project was probably the Travel Organizer. You can find both by searching over at the blog at Sew, Mama, Sew.

What do you think 2011 has in store? (Again, trends, fabric, patterns, etc.)

I really don't know. I am not a driving force here, so it probably doesn't matter, either.

Anything you’re ready for the sewing world to get over?

Exploiting cute children and one's relationship with them. I realize the entire sewing universe is populated with adorable little girls who like to make things with mama and wear pretty clothes. I do not have a daughter, and I have no interest in telling the world what my children are doing, never mind putting up their pictures. I feel more protective of them than that, and frankly, if I edited our life together down to what most people would like to see on a blog it would be cruelly misleading. So I would like very much for everyone to get over how cute kids are, since they have been cute since the year dot, and show more interesting stuff for adults who need to live and get things done.

I am also totally totally ready to hear the last of "simplicity." Trust me, I would have to ratchet my life up a few notches to need the "Simple answers" I see to problems so different from those in my life as to be from Mars. I do not want to destash, simplify, edit, reflect - I would just like to live.

Finally, gag me with the "Green" already. Frugality, using what you need and no more, is as old as poverty. No one invented it recently and no one should act as if they did. I am equally opposed to greenwashing and the trend to make ugly things because they "respect the earth." How about we make a few nice things, reuse what we have, and understand that rushing out to buy green, or several new tops made from some cutting technique that leaves fewer scraps, is just another form of consumerism. Wear the ugly old t-shirt till you can't stand it, consign it to a car-wash rag, and then figure out what you want to replace it with. One nicely cut blouse is still going to have less impact than five new ones, no matter how you cut them, and if you make the blouse yourself you can use the scraps for something else. In truth, probably the greenest answer to clothing oneself at the moment, after wearing what you already own, is simply buying at a thrift store. The most green creativity would involve the least complicated reuse of what you can keep out of the waste stream locally.

I am not saying people have to go that way. I am saying I don't want to hear about Green Green Green and then Buy Buy Buy in the same entry.

What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?

I would like to make myself clothes that are actually useful in my lifestyle. That is a huge challenge. And would like to make them look nice, and use the stuff I have around. It is not a matter of upcycling. I am really going to be using old clothes as if they were yardage sometimes, and while I don't think I am going to be reinventing the wheel, I feel it will be challenging to me personally.

I am really excited about Spoonflower. I love surface pattern design - as I mentioned earlier, I can't afford much nice new yardage, but that does not mean I don't like looking at it. What I would like to do is make some of my own designs and get them from there. That would be a challenge and a lot of fun. Maybe if I start now I can have stuff for next Christmas.

I have read in this thread people both praising Japanese companies and calling for people not to be so cheap. Well, frankly, a good part of our printing capacity went to Japan years ago because people are cheap. (short explanation of a lot of stuff.) And I like a lot of the designs, but I do have mixed feelings. However, if you are willing to pay 13 dollars a yard for quality quilting cotton, 18 a yard from Spoonflower for something you design yourself or a bit more for something designed and printed here is a very viable deal, I think. I would buy from there first, if I had the money and a choice.

There it is folks - the blog post no one will care to read, but I did answer the questions...