books that keep on giving

click to go to amazon listing

Summer heat is here ~ time for gentle thinking and reading rather than activity. And so this book has come out of hibernation.

Clambering languidly up on my soap box, herewith a favourite para for your consideration, or not, as you choose. . . 😉

“Like home economics, dressmaking is traditionally a womanly endeavor that can explode gender stereotypes. Scientists say that the average man has a better capacity to imagine a three-dimensional object than the average woman, but how can this be true of the dressmaker starting from scratch? She not only imagines the dress, she also makes a blueprint of the pieces to achieve the shape she wants and figures out the steps to put the whole thing together. Dressmaking is a form of engineering. And in order to make the final product look good from the outside, a dress is put together inside out. Show me a bridge builder who’s been asked to do that.” The Lost Art of Dress:The Women Who Once Made America Stylish, by Linda Przybyszewski, p. 282

And,

“…the American Association of University Women issued a report in 2010 about how to get more women to succeed in fields of study that were traditionally dominated by men: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–the STEM subjects. One of their recommendations was to teach girls to work with their hands in grade school and junior high. They suggested encouraging them to draw and play with construction toys.” Ibid., pp. 282-3

Then she goes on to write about Mary Brooks Picken, who was weaving and sewing at five, founded a national mail order dressmaking school, authored decades of sewing books, and was the first woman trustee of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

I decided to check out details and found the report mentioned by Ms. Przybyszewski here.

The sections I felt specifically applicable to the quoted passages are cut & pasted below.

Typical summer heat and humidity, reminiscent of walking through warm treacle, has slowed me down enough to troll through happy memories of my own mechanical tendencies.

And to interesting blog posts written by many of you, Lovely Readers, who hack up patterns or design your own, clean and repair your own old and new machines, and share your experiences on-line with words and pictures.

Examples include Mel of The Curious Kiwi and Linda of Nice dress! Thanks I Made It!!.

At $100 or more per service, I sure clean and oil my machines regularly, and have been known to take out screws and clean a few gears.

What about you?

Ever thought about yourself as an engineer? Know anyone you’d consider an engineer!

monday snaps

A few photos of what’s been doin’ round here lately.

Caution!  If you’re hungry, have a snack before continuing. 😉

click any photo to read full captions

during last week’s heat wave . . .

Just so’s you don’t think the urge to sew/serge has gone. . . 😱

Besides reading the Cleeves & Durrell books I also did a bit of sewing prep.

By judiciously utilizing early morning minutes before the blast furnace cut in, I managed to cut out another duster (ancient pattern copied & origin no longer remembered) plus another of my favourite summer sleep shirts (NewLook 6871, gifted by Ali).

I also managed to totally forget not to cut down the centre back.  Which will now be seamed. Ah, well . . .

I’d hacked the back a bit on the previous duster by cutting down the centre back of the pattern piece and pulling the 2 pieces apart to create a bit of a flare in the back. I really liked it, so did it again for the gauze. In the photos above that back piece is in the lower right of the photo.

The fabric is a black cotton gauze from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, and still available. I must report it shrinks like crazy, but I think I might have washed it in hot water and machine dried it. 😳  Face of shame as I know better. Just figured if its gonna shrink, then get it over with.

Vogue has a redesigned web site.  By the way, I don’t get a thing from anyone for blogging about them ~ receiving freebies is against my policy. They’re nice people who know & love fabrics and I shopped at the Evanston & Roosevelt Road stores when I lived in South Loop.

So on to the serging (overlocking) bits… Should say I have a 3-thread BabyLock BL3-407 almost an ancient as me. This week I decided to tackle serging all the edges of both cottons before sewing. Which meant the dreaded serger rethread operation because I knew all-white thread would not do for that all-black duster. Deep sigh.

Plenty of chocolate to hand, a fan, cooler outdoor temps on Monday so I began.

rethreading

Being lazy, and hating to change thread colours, I decided to try something I’d just read over on Grainline Studio’s blog. Incidentally, they’ve also redesigned their web site.

They use neutral colours when serging (as do I) and just change the top looper thread colour. Yeah! I gave that a try on the dark gray (“ey”? never remember which is correct) and decided it was ok, but wouldn’t do for the solid black gauze.

Then I rethreaded the needle.
Which took about an hour.
Or so. . .

Am promising myself I’ll serge the duster pattern pieces today.  And if that doesn’t happen, then definitely tomorrow. . . Maybe.   Done yesterday!  😇

ps/
If you haven’t been to the post office lately, you might want to drop by and get a set of the Oscar de la Renta stamps for (U.S.) First Class mail.

 

 

 

catching up

perfectly suited for a joint reading spree!

Summ-ah heat has arrived, and luckily I had a grand solution to hand:

Books.

When the hottest day started I dove into the coolest room ~ luckily, the bedroom ~ and cracked open a new-to-me author. Gerald Durrell.

It’s the only Durrell available from this (insert your invective of choice) county library, and it wasn’t listed the last time I’d looked. Its a Penguin edition, so I was doubly pleased to have it.

What can I say . . . It was the perfect antidote for hot weather. Although A Zoo in My Luggage is about collecting animals in a hot jungle it was delightfully minus the heat and long on charming, light-hearted descriptions of hilarious high-jinks by four- and two-footed creatures.

The perfect opposite to Ann Cleeves’ latest in her Shetland series, Cold Earth. Reading brief descriptions of wet and cold were also a perfect solution for the heat wave.

On Friday I only put one book down long enough to pick up the other with one hand, and a cold glass in the other.

Now I’m attempting to line up more from both authors before the next heat wave hits.

Lest I forget, I read bad news about my much-loved rayon fabrics recently, and thought I’d pass along some things originally from Lizzie Bramlett’s The Vintage Traveler blog. This and this detail the pollution some factories product whilst making rayon. Thank you, Lizzie.

On a brighter note, another favoured blogger, Linda Przybyszewski’s blog, The Lost Art of Dress, included this and this about hats.

Do take a look if you’re at all interested in chapeaux, or women who purchase hat factories. 😉

Now, as The Fon of Bafut might have blogged,

My good friend[s],

… I am glad you have arrived once more to [the end of my post]. I welcome you. When you are calm from your journeys come and see me [again].  p. 64, A Zoo in My Luggage, Gerald Durrell

speaking of screens . . . 🐝

former view as seen through screening

Oh. . . we weren’t, were we? Sorry.

It’s creepy & flying crawlies season over here, and they do like nibbling on me, so am quite grateful for screens.

Now all I need is a pattern for a full-body enclosure. Any suggestions, Lovely Readers?

Catching you up, I took a little time off to change views out my windows. Somehow the industrial air conditioner rows just weren’t doing it for me . , ,

new view as seen through screening

So am taking a bit of a gamble, and thus far enjoying green living things outside my windows facing north, thank you for the added (and much cooler) bonus.

Things are moving into place again, and I just scrubbed the sewing table in readiness for setting up my machine.

But first, wanted to share a patriotic bit from Marcy Tilton’s blog about an upholsterer named Betsy Ross.

Yes, that Betsy Ross.

I read all the additional links Ms. Tilton included, and was impressed with this thrice-married businesswoman, and  learned a method for cutting perfect 5-pointed stars.

Oh.
There you are . . .

Now, as lovely friend Jen says, “let the sewing begin!”