Isn't this an amazing transformation, readers? Wow!
Unfortunately, this Featherweight table is not the one Santa left for me in the street last weekend, but rather belongs to MPB reader Wayne of Florida, who restored it himself. This pic shows the table before he applied polyurethane, but it looks fantastic to me as is (the blue tape is simply to keep the black enamel paint applied to the sides off the top).
Readers, I was both excited and troubled by a feature I saw in the most recent (January 2012) issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Their annual "25 Great Gifts" list included -- are you sitting down? -- a sewing machine!
Readers, do you think fashion is in a rut? I ask, having just read a very thought-provoking article by Kurt Anderson in the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, entitled "You Say You Want a Devolution."
It's a longish article, but the basic thrust of Anderson's argument is that the evolution of (Western) style -- fashion, architecture, interior design, even music -- has been slowing, so much so that very little change has taken place in the last twenty years. Examples: jeans, tee shirts, and sneakers reigned in the early 90's (and arguably before) and they're still king; Madonna then, Lady Gaga channeling Madonna now.
Friends, I certainly hope viewing this pic isn't putting anyone's job in jeopardy. But I just finished my cherry leopard stretch denim pants and I am ready to rap, or whatever one does, shirtless, in leopard pants. Actually, I'm listening to my lovely Concert, Theater & Parlor Songs of John Philip Sousa CD. Weird, right?
Friends, do you remember the leopard print pants I made at precisely this time last year? Oh, if I had a dollar for every time some stranger emailed me asking if I would make them a pair of these pants, I'd have enough to buy a large coffee from Starbucks with muffin!
Friends, to say that the chorus girl was a popular stock character in old Hollywood movies (by which I mean the pre-Sixties studio days) is to state the obvious. But have you ever wondered whatever happened to her? Look around: she's nowhere to be found.
Friends, particularly at this time of year, when nobody wants to be judged naughty instead of nice, one wants to keep one's promises. But sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned, one's plans hit a snag.
Friends, it is but a tired cliché that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet isn't it the truth? I open with this photo of Barbra Streisand because when she burst onto the scene in the early Sixties many people considered her to be ugly, and yet today her style is considered iconic.
Readers, I am this close to having my suit pants completed -- in fact, I totally expected to finish them yesterday. I had my new charcoal gray commercial waistbanding from Steinlauf & Stoller (a steal at just $1.80 per yard) and a new can-do attitude.
Readers, I believe when we've reached the point that we're sewing men's pants flies closed, it's time to take a break. Of course, this means that I'm imposing my break on you. So no pants today.
Instead, I want to talk about something altogether different -- wigs! I've written about wigs before (most extensively here), and it's no secret that I'm a big fan. To me, there's very little difference between a wig and, say, fur. It's a luxurious, hairy accessory.
Friends, I've done it, you've done it. OK, at least I've done it.
I refer, of course, to the old sewing the pants fly shut when you topstitch along the front. To be honest, I've never done this before, so why I did it this time is anybody's guess. I had the legs all sewn up and the back center seam basted (on these dress pants, the back center seam will be the last one sewn, along with the right and left sides of the waistband) and I was ready to try them on. I reached to unzip my zipper and -- gadzooks: I'd sewn the fly shut!
Still plodding along on the pants, friends. A lot should come together today, including, hopefully, the backs and fronts. Yesterday I managed to complete my back welt pocket and insert my front fly zipper.
Readers, while I was sitting on my ceramic Pintastic yesterday, I stumbled upon a colorful fashion spread in this week's New York magazine, entitled "Street Pajamas." Apparently, female versions of classic men's pajamas are the new look du jour for gals. They're not just for sleeping anymore!
I wasn't feeling much like sewing yesterday so I decided I'd do some ironing instead. I started with the vintage cotton floral fabric, freshly laundered, that I intended to use (eventually) to make Michael a shirt, most likely from Butterick 3995, one of the patterns I featured yesterday.
With Thanksgiving behind us,we can finally catch our breath here at MPB before the true holiday madness begins. In the interim, why don't we take a few moments to catch up on where we've been and perhaps think about where we're going.
Readers, is there any question that big shoulders ruled in the early Nineteen-Forties? It wasn't just a Joan Crawford thing, but she was definitely ahead of the trend. Apparently her shoulders were already so broad that MGM costume designer Adrian decided he would exaggerate them further rather than try to disguise them. After wire hangers, aren't big shoulders what Joan is best remembered for?
Readers, having recently put the finishing touches on my 1944 misses' jumper -- which evidently stirs up unpleasant young Jane Eyre at Lowood charity school-type memories for a number of you -- I am now ready to get started on the most challenging and exciting of my three 1944 garments, the vintage Butterick topper.
Friends, at long last, I have finished the jumper...I think. This garment was a major pain, primarily because the fabric is unstable, and let's face it, I'm not terribly stable myself. It's also a plaid.
As if this week didn't have enough excitement, I was thrilled to attend the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbookbook launch event on Thursday night and, trust me, that sombrero was their idea and don't even mention the scissors.
Readers, thank you for your tremendous response to yesterday's post about my tour of The McCall Pattern Company. I just know we're going to see this office turned into a live-action, Pirates of the Caribbean-style indoor cruise attraction. But please, don't throw nuts at the seamstresses; it makes them sick.
Friends, I hate to share fabric-related unpleasantness so early in the week, but not everything in life can be silk and cashmere. Or 100% wool. I can't remember what the sales clerk at Nahir, at 242 West 39th St., told me about this fabric. I think I knew it wasn't 100% wool. I'm just not sure I knew it was 0% wool.
Readers of a certain age, do you remember the Gap? I don't mean Gap, Inc., the once popular, now stuggling clothing chain, though there is a connection (keep reading). I'm talking about The Generation Gap, and its impact on style.
Friends, have you ever made your own shoulder pads? I have, and while it's not difficult, who wants to bother? Well, after picking up a pair of Dritz pads for $5.49 at Fashion Design Books on 27th Street, I think I'm going to go back to making my own.
Readers, I wasn't going to write about my 1944 blouse project again today, but I felt it my duty to share a few important truths about this synthetic fabric, perhaps to spare you some unnecessary headaches down the line.
Readers, one of the best things about giving yourself permission to change your mind is that you're also allowed to change your mind back again, with the end result being like you'd never changed your mind in the first place. Do you know what I mean?
Friends, I believe, when choosing between two paths, always to choose the one that really excites you in the moment. Hence, yesterday, I put aside my two yards of polka dot poly charmeuse (more about that later) and made a beeline for Wigs & Plus at 152 West 32nd St. Kind of has a nice ring to it, don't you think, Wigs & Plus?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!