Group Think: When Two Heads are Worse than One (Science and Sewing, in one post at last!)

It’s my untested belief that expertise in any technical field will result in a near-total loss of respect for journalism.

I know it did for me. The more I learned about climate change, the biodiversity crisis, environmental regulations, and renewable energy, the more I realized that newspaper articles reflected reality only by chance, in passing. More often, an ill-equipped person with good writing skills and no critical thinking ability would write a piece far outside of their education and background by interviewing a bunch of people who claimed to be experts, without evaluating their credentials. We get climate change pieces giving equal weight to well-respected international climate experts and oil-funded PR hacks, pieces on renewable energy with well-reasoned arguments by scientists quoting the best available information and fruit-loop arguments by naturopaths who wouldn’t recognize a herz if it came up and hit them on the head.

And you end up with a voting public almost completely muddled on key issues because they’ve come to the completely totally 100% incontrovertibly WRONG conclusion that there are two sides.

Of course people are entitled to their opinions. I am legally well within my rights to believe that Mars is peopled by winged skeletons who worship Lily Allen. But the legal right to hold an opinion is not the same, and can’t be the same, as the attitude that reality is then required to bend to accommodate that opinion. No matter what I believe, Mars is in fact NOT peopled by winged skeletons who worship Lily Allen, or by anything at all. The experts are right and I am just plain wrong. (Or I would be, if I held that opinion.)

This set of science experiments sheds some light on the psychology of our inherent tendency to give equal weight to two contrary opinions, even when one comes from an expert and the other does not. Fortunately, for those of you who have no intention of purchasing the article for the low-low price of $10, you can also read this fun summation in the Washington Post.

This went on for 256 intervals, so the two individuals got to know each other quite well — and to know one another’s accuracy and skill quite well. Thus, if one member of the group was better than the other, both would pretty clearly notice. And a rational decision, you might think, would be for the less accurate group member to begin to favor the views of the more accurate one — and for the accurate one to favor his or her own assessments.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, report the study authors, “the worse members of each dyad underweighted their partner’s opinion (i.e., assigned less weight to their partner’s opinion than recommended by the optimal model), whereas the better members of each dyad overweighted their partner’s opinion.” Or to put it more bluntly, individuals tended to act “as if they were as good or as bad as their partner” — even when they quite obviously weren’t.

The researchers tried several variations on the experiment, and this “equality bias” didn’t go away. In one case, a “running score” reminded both members of the pair who was faring better (and who worse) at identifying the target — just in case it wasn’t obvious enough already. In another case, the task became much more difficult for one group member than the other, leading to a bigger gap in scores — accentuating differences in performance. And finally, in a third variant, actual money was offered for getting it right.

None of this did away with the “equality bias.”

The research psychologists attribute this to our need to belong to groups and get along with people. It seems that need outweighs any practical consideration, a good deal of the time, including when money is on the line. Fascinating, right? People who are right and know they’re right defer to people they know are wrong in order to get along and maintain group dynamics, even when it costs them to do so.

When it comes to climate change, this is a serious problem.

Aside: Climate change is a real thing that is really happening and is a complete and total catastrophe. There is no debate on this point in any credible scientific circle. If you think that there is, I’m so sorry, but you’ve been had.

/aside

We end up not moving forward with policy solutions because we keep acting like the actual experts and the paid non-expert hacks share some kind of equivalence when they patently don’t.

But–and I’m sure I’m not the only person thinking this–it’s present in every community, including the SBC.

Ah! See? I told you I’d come around to it.

People act as if the opinions and contributions of experts and amateurs are equivalent when they are not.

Thankfully, the fates of human civilization and a minimum of 30% of animal and plant species do not rest on this fact. The worst that happens in most cases is that a person walks around for a good long time in a garment that looks like utter shit and feels really fabulous about it. On a scale of worldwide catastrophe, it doesn’t even rank.

On the other hand, as this science makes pretty clear, an entire generation of sewers are being educated largely by internet celebrities who are too incompetent even to understand how incompetent they are. It’s not a catastrophe, no, but it is a crying shame. And as predicted by the social psychologists, if anyone ever speaks up to point out that some of them are experts and other are, well … not …, they are pilloried as Mean Girls, jelluz haterz, and bullies.

Aside 2: Yep, I count myself in the group of people sometimes wandering happily about in a garment that on later reflection was not up to snuff. It happens. We’re all human. I won’t melt if someone points it out, though tact is always preferred. It doesn’t count as “bravery” to “put yourself out there” if you feel entitled to nothing but praise; and if you’re going to present your work in public you need to be prepared for public criticism.

/aside

So it’s not the end of the world, no, but it’s a detriment to all of us. The people getting the money, in many cases, haven’t earned it; the people with valuable skills to share don’t have the platform to do so; we keep acting as if everyone’s equal when they’re not to be Nice and keep everyone happy, even though not everyone is happy; there are entire boiling lava rivers of resentment and bitterness flowing right under all the green meadows we’re so happily skipping over (in our badly-pressed culottes and boxy tops with peter pan collars, no less). It’s weird. Can’t we, as an online culture, agree that it’s not a violation of the Geneva Convention if someone points out that a hem is crooked or a print isn’t matched? Does it matter if it’s not “nice”? Don’t we all benefit from increased honesty and openness? Do any of us actually expect to be perfect, or need to be treated as if we are perfect in order to function day to day? If you really don’t want people to point out how you fucked up, is it so much to ask that you acknowledge it yourself, then? Hey look at this horrible side seam–I really fucked up!

That went off on a bit of a tangent. Pardon me. Let’s drag it back on track:

The Equality Bias! It makes everything worse while we smile and pretend nothing’s wrong. Fight it!

Playing with Ponte (Style Arc Madeleine Ponte top)

I wish I'd been wearing shorts for this pictures. It was so, so hot outside.
I wish I’d been wearing shorts for this pictures. It was so, so hot outside.

Here in Southern Ontario, spring is a funny season. It can last for anywhere from two months to two minutes. Sometimes it has an existential crisis and seesaws back and forth between winter and summer, alternating snow flurries and thunderstorms, for a month or so before it finally turns hot for real.

The first week of April was winter. We wore our heavy jackets, stared longingly at the dirt waiting for shoots of green, greeted every weather forecast of flurries with bitter tears.

The second week of April was summer. We wore shorts. Spring lasted for about ten hours.

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The side, kind of sort of. You can see here that the waistband is above my waist, but more on that below. You may also be able to see a fine sheen of sweat on my face; I should have worn shorts!

 

The cold will come back, of course. We’ll take out our coats again and put the shorts away for a little while longer, which is entirely fair since we’re still waiting for tulips and magnolias to bloom. (Case in point: the day I took these photos it was 21C. It’s a good one hour hike, largely uphill, to get to this spot; so you can imagine by the time I got there I was glowing, as they say. As I post this it is about 4C.)

But in that brief summery interlude, I finished my Madeleine Ponte top, and got to wear it outside. A couple of times, actually. It was great. Nothing like the feeling of hot sun on bare skin after a long cold winter.

The Back!
The Back!

The backstory is more complicated.

The Madeleine Ponte top was the free pattern in April, and I loved the style lines and the pattern sample, so I bought some of the other patterns I’d had on my wish list and got this one sent along as well. Picking a size was a challenge; I knew the construction would be complicated and wanted to pick something with the fewest number of alterations. In the end I decided to size down to a 10 and do an FBA.

Pattern sample from Style Arc. Note lack of excess fabric below the band, and snug fit of waist that does not go right up on to the bust.

The ponte is a lovely poly/rayon blend from Fabricland, on sale for $8/metre. I have it in a nice coral red too (of course) and I plan to make up the same shirt in that fabric now that I’ve worked through the fitting woes (I think).

Because there were fitting woes.

First off, figuring out how to do an FBA on this shirt was a trick. Here’s the front pattern piece.

 

Well, it's all of the pattern pieces actually.
Well, it’s all of the pattern pieces actually.

SA doesn’t mark waist or bust lines on their patterns so I folded the pleats in place, held it up to me in about the right position and marked the bust/waist points myself. Then I spent a couple of days tracing it out, cutting it apart and taping it back together in a new configuration, deciding I’d done it wrong, and trying again. I actually got so far as to cut out a version with a different style of FBA before deciding that it wasn’t right and trying yet again with the version you see here.

Once I got something I thought would work and cut it out for real and serged it up, it became clear that there were Issues. As in, despite the size being smaller than I should fit into, it was too big.

 

Does this look like the pattern sample to you?
Does this look like the pattern sample to you?

The Madeleine is shown by Style Arc to be a fitted top, and yet I had inches of extra fabric pretty much everywhere below my waist. The top front was fine (so yay, the FBA worked) but the rest needed major work.

I did a couple of things:

1. Opened up the horizontal back seam, and took it in by about an inch in the centre, tapering to nothing at the sides, to get rid of excess length. You can’t see the back in the picture above but, as always, it was way too long for me.

2. Opened up the right side seam and took in about 2″ everywhere below the band.

It helped a lot, but it still needs work. I need a smidge more space in the shoulders, and the front top isn’t long enough–the band is above my waist. It probably needs about another inch in length in the front. Taking 2″ out of the side seam was a very imperfect solution. I need to resize the front lower piece so that it is 2″ narrower all across the front, or even better, 1.5″ narrower, and then take another 1/2″ out of the back.

I don't know why it looks like I'm levitating here. I promise my butt is firmly planted on a nice big stone.
I don’t know why it looks like I’m levitating here. I promise my butt is firmly planted on a nice big stone.

The arms and the neck fit well, and I do like the design of the shirt. It’s different and interesting and comfortable, and I know I’ll make it up again. But do be warned that there is excess ease in this pattern. My advice is to buy at least 2 sizes down from what you think you’ll need, and make adjustments from there.

The photo shoot did get me out into the woods, where I got to see the trout lilies starting to come up and the coltsfoot blooming, and that made me happy. Life of a single mother, Dear Readers: when you combine your daily exercise, nature therapy and blog photo shoot into one outing, then pick up groceries and prescriptions on the way home.

Oh! Also:

I COVERSTITCHED THE HEM.

BECAUSE I BOUGHT A COVERSTITCH MACHINE.

More on that in a post where I did more than just the hem. But hey! It was pretty fun.

Me Made May, 2015

The Me Made May challenge is a bit controversial in sewing circles (or at least, the ones I travel in), but I enjoyed doing it last year so I’m signing up again. Last year it clarified for me that I really needed pants and shorts, not more skirts; and filling those gaps in the handmade wardrobe was very, very handy. This year, I want to focus on those days when I end up not wearing anything handmade (except for the work bag). Why is that? What is it on those days that causes me to reach for the store-bought? Is it that the handmade in the closet isn’t comfy? doesn’t match? is too dressed up, or not dressy enough? Are there particular kinds of garments I haven’t sewn enough of to get through a laundry cycle without them?

That’s the goal.

Here’s the statement I left on So, Zo’s blog:

I, Andrea, will wear handmade clothes every day for the duration of May, 2015.

That leaves some space for using OTR as part of an outfit if and when I need to, but will certainly make the whole thing more challenging.

I’ll try to keep outfit posts on Instagram and/or Flickr, but you’ll see round-up posts here occasionally. I’m going to try to have more fun with the photos too. And of course some of you may want to stock up your liquor cabinet–you know who you are.

It only took me ten months (rayon V8963 top)

I made a wearable muslin of the top from this Vogue coordinates pattern package last spring, and loved it. NowI finally made it up as a ‘real’ garment.

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I don’t know why it’s been so overlooked. I can’t find any reviews online. Let me correct that:

The sleeve construction is very cool. Kind of like a raglan-sleeve, only flutter style, and at the back it’s joined in towards the middle so you get this overlap.

The shirt is the top part of the dress.

The back shaping is totally awesome. I know that makes me sound like Jem. I do not care. There are four pieces, fitting snugly through the back and then flaring out at the hips.

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The whole thing is cut on the bias so, if you choose a good drapey fabric, you will have a flattering fit.

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Let’s just pretend that everyone must agree this is flattering. OK?

 

The front has no darts; they’ve been rotated out to gathers at the neckline, which provide  shaping while still giving plenty of room to get the shirt on and off.

And it is lined, and the lining is joined in such a way as to get all of the seams inside the lining, so no seam finishing is required.

Lining!
Lining!

It is a lovely, woven pullover top without closures and with good shaping.

My first wearable muslin was a bit loose in the waist for my liking, and a bit snug through the bust. So this time I added an inch–cut the pattern in half horizontally below the armscye, cut the top half in half vertically, slid each 3/4″ out from the centre line, taped them back down, then trued them up with the waist a size down. I gathered in from the same points on the neckline so I didn’t have to change the facing pieces at all. I also added an inch to the outside of the sleeve to account for my shoulders. The only thing I would change on this new fit is that the back is a bit loose at the armscye. I’d snug that up a bit next time, maybe 1/2″ on each side. And yes, there will be a next time on this top; I just love it. It is comfy, classy, flattering and easy. A bit time consuming due to all the pieces involved, and take some care when attaching the lining to the armscyes, but follow the directions and be patient and it will all work out.

Sun
Sun

This was made up with Fabricland (the Canadian one) floral rayon challis on sale–so not fancy!–and lined with the same in a solid white. It’s incredibly soft and drapey and a real pleasure to wear.

 

Women in Clothes: The Survey

I’ve got all the questions below, but there’s no way I could answer them all, so I bolded the ones that I answered.

I’m 100% sure that most of you will be completely uninterested in this, but there’s a few who might like it and maybe you’d like to answer some of those questions yourself, just to be thinky and wordy, which are both good things to be.

~~~~~

THE FIRST 20 QUESTIONS
1. WHEN DO YOU FEEL AT YOUR MOST ATTRACTIVE?

When I’m wearing clothes that fit well, in bright colours, with a bit of splash; and when my hair is behaving and I’ve got lipstick on and I don’t look like I haven’t slept in a month.

2. DO YOU NOTICE WOMEN ON THE STREET? IF SO, WHAT SORT OF WOMEN DO YOU TEND TO NOTICE OR ADMIRE?

Women who are doing their own thing, regardless of whether or not it’s a thing I would ever want to do.

3. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU ADMIRE ABOUT HOW OTHER WOMEN PRESENT THEMSELVES?

“That’s really interesting! I never would have thought to do that!”

4. WAS THERE A MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE WHEN SOMETHING “CLICKED” FOR YOU ABOUT FASHION OR DRESSING OR MAKE-UP OR HAIR? WHAT? WHY DID IT HAPPEN THEN, DO YOU THINK?

5. WHAT ARE SOME SHOPPING RULES YOU WOULDN’T NECESSARILY RECOMMEND TO OTHERS BUT WHICH YOU FOLLOW?

Right now, I don’t shop for clothes. In the past two years I’ve bought underwear, socks, and boots. Shopping for fabric is much more fun.

6. WHAT ARE SOME RULES ABOUT DRESSING YOU FOLLOW, BUT YOU WOULDN’T NECESSARILY RECOMMEND TO OTHERS?

It’s ok to clash.

7. WHAT IS THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE CONVERSATION YOU HAVE EVER HAD ON THE SUBJECT OF FASHION OR STYLE?

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a transformative conversation about fashion or style, but it sounds like fun. Would anyone like to have some conversations about fashion or style? I can’t guarantee transformative, but maybe it’s like the monkeys and the typewriters and if we just keep banging away about it, we’ll transform.

8. DO YOU HAVE A UNIFIED WAY OF APPROACHING YOUR LIFE, WORK, RELATIONSHIPS, FINANCES, CHORES, ETC.? PLEASE EXPLAIN.

God no. How boring would that be?

9. ARE THERE ANY CLOTHING (OR RELATED) ITEMS THAT YOU HAVE IN MULTIPLE? WHY DO YOU THINK YOU KEEP BUYING THIS THING?

Red sweaters and pink shoes. Why do I keep buying red sweaters and pink shoes?

I think with the sweaters, I know I need sweaters to be warm and presentable in the winter, but the colour options are usually boring neutrals (brown, grey, black) … and red. I don’t want to get the neutrals so I end up buying red over and over again. I’ve forbidden myself from buying more red sweaters.

The pink shoes are a mystery. They’re more versatile than you might think, though.

10. HAVE YOU EVER SUCCESSFULLY GIVEN SOMEONE A PRESENT OF JEWELRY OR CLOTHING THAT YOU CONTINUE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT?

Nooooo. I wouldn’t dare give someone a present of clothing. Too many opportunities to get the size and style wrong and feel like crap because you made them feel badly.

11. IS THERE ANY FASHION TREND YOU’VE REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN AND WHY?

Anything that does not allow for substantial bra straps.

12. CAN YOU SAY A BIT ABOUT HOW YOUR MOTHER’S BODY AND STYLE HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN TO YOU, OR NOT?

Well now there’s a pickle.

My mother’s body has not been passed down to me, at least in part because she’s still using it. Also, I’m taller than she is, usually a bit slimmer, and with smaller feet. She is still in denial of all those facts and insisted on buying me clothing and shoes, when I was younger, that fit her instead of me. As a result I had a lot of clothes that were too big and believed I was a shoe size 8 until after my daughter was born (I’m actually a size 6.5).

I know she also likes colours, as I do; she says she doesn’t care about clothing sizes but she cuts all of the tags out of her clothes, so I don’t know about that.

But we really don’t have much in common. This could turn into its own book-length dissertation; I’ll just say that I hope not much has been passed down to me, and I have a probably unhealthy tendency to avoid doing things that remind me strongly of what she would do.

13. HAVE YOU STOLEN, BORROWED OR ADAPTED ANY DRESSING IDEAS OR ACTUAL ITEMS FROM FRIENDS OR FAMILY?

I don’t think so.

14. WAS THERE A POINT IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOUR STYLE CHANGED DRAMATICALLY? WHAT HAPPENED?

Up until the end of grade 8, I dressed pretty much like an elderly bag lady. Please don’t ask why. I have no idea.

Between grade 8 and grade 9, I decided I should dress like a teenaged girl with a home instead.

I also got a job, which made buying those clothes easier. I had a green corduroy mini-skirt I wore a lot, and I cut off an atrocious perm I got in grade 8. And life got better.

15. IS THERE ANYTHING POLITICAL ABOUT THE WAY YOU DRESS?

No. I guess the fact that I don’t wear logos, but otherwise, I want people to have to get to know me before they know what I care about.

16. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR BODY.

It is perfectly adequate, except for the bum pancreas.

17. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR MIND.

Clever, sharp, analytical.

18. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR EMOTIONS.

Hypersensitive. Easily exasperated. Cautious.

19. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING ON YOUR BODY AND FACE, AND HOW IS YOUR HAIR DONE, RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT?

I am at home in my pajamas. Nothing is done. It’s glorious.

20. IN WHAT WAY IS THIS STUFF IMPORTANT, IF AT ALL?

It’s important because we think it’s important. If we didn’t think it was important, it wouldn’t be.

Humans are pattern-seeking and we like to find meaning in everything, including the patterns on grilled-cheese sandwiches and the way tea leaves fall to the bottom of a cup, so it’s not surprising we would find clothing important and try to find patterns in that, too. That we also make the clothes that we later look for patterns in adds more complexity to it; there are meanings there, but they’re not always accurately conveyed or interpreted. Goodness only knows what people think about me when I wear my red winter coat with my pink winter boots and gloves. Maybe they think I’m colour blind, or that I’m stupid. Really I just like pink and red together.

21. WITH WHOM DO YOU TALK ABOUT CLOTHES?

Other people who sew. And it’s all about patterns and fabrics. It’s a very different way of talking about clothing, because it’s more intentional and more personal, at least if you want it to be.

22. HOW DO INSTITUTIONS AFFECT THE WAY YOU DRESS?

I strive not to get arrested or fired due to clothing.

23. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE TASTE OR STYLE? WHICH ONE IS MORE IMPORTANT? WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN TO YOU?

I hope I have style. It’s more fun. Probably I have neither.

24. DO YOU REMEMBER THE BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY YOU EVER MADE ON AN ITEM OF CLOTHING?

Actual finished clothing–there was a fashion corset I bought one year before Christmas and then ended up with no fancy parties I could wear it too. It’s so pretty–I still have it. But it wasn’t that expensive.

Clothing-to-be–so many beautiful pieces of fabric that aren’t clothes yet. I feel most guilty about the alpaca flannel and the cashmere suiting. Gorgeous and expensive and sitting nicely folded in my fabric closet.

25. ARE THERE ANY DRESSING TRICKS YOU’VE INVENTED OR LEARNED THAT MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE GETTING AWAY WITH SOMETHING?

Fuzzy socks in boots in the winter, worn to work.

26. DO YOU HAVE STYLE IN ANY AREAS OF YOUR LIFE ASIDE FROM FASHION?

I don’t know. I’m not sure if my house is cohesive enough–or tidy enough–to count.

27. CAN YOU RECALL SOME TIMES WHEN YOU HAVE DRESSED A PARTICULAR WAY TO CALM YOURSELF OR GAIN A SENSE OF CONTROL OVER A SITUATION THAT SCARED YOU?

Yes. Once when I broke up with someone, and a week later we got together for coffee to talk about whether or not we could stay friends, and I wasn’t happy about having broken up with him, so I wore his favourite t-shirt to see him. It was yellow and had pleats around the neck and was very, very flattering–not tight at all but draped perfectly. We ended up getting back together. In retrospect that was a very bad idea, so I should have worn the stained concert tee, probably.

28. WOULD YOU SAY YOU “KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE” IN THE AREA OF FASHION AND CLOTHING? IF SO, DO YOU ALSO KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE IN OTHER AREAS OF LIFE, THAT IS, ARE YOU GENERALLY GOOD AT DISCERNMENT? CAN YOU SAY WHERE YOUR DISCERNMENT COMES FROM, IF YOU HAVE IT? OR IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT, WHY OR WHY NOT?

I know what I like. But I like an awful lot of stuff.

29. DID YOUR PARENTS TEACH YOU THINGS ABOUT CLOTHING, CARE FOR YOUR CLOTHING, DRESSING OR STYLE? WHAT LESSONS DO YOU REMEMBER? OR DID YOU JUST PICK THINGS UP?

Not even a little tiny bit.

30. WHAT SORTS OF THINGS DO YOU DO, CLOTHING OR MAKE-UP OR HAIR- WISE, TO FEEL SEXY OR ALLURING?

31. MANY PEOPLE SAY THEY WANT TO FEEL “COMFORTABLE,” OR THAT THEY ADMIRE PEOPLE WHO SEEM “CONFIDENT.” WHAT DO THESE WORDS REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

32. IF DRESSING WERE THE ONLY THING YOU DID, AND YOU WERE CONSIDERED AN EXPERT AND ASKED TO EXPLAIN YOUR STYLE PHILOSOPHY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

If dressing were the only thing I did, I would probably hurl myself from a tenth storey window. I also cannot conceive of a universe in which I am considered an expert on dressing.

33. WHAT IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL, FOR YOU, IN GENERAL?

Spring ephemeral wildflowers. That’s probably not what you meant, though.

34. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER VERY UGLY?

Concrete, and the entire aesthetic of “modernism” which seems to mean “let’s pretend that what is churned out en masse by machines has aesthetic value.”

35. ARE YOU GENERALLY A GOOD JUDGE OF WHETHER WHAT YOU BUY WILL END UP BEING WORN? HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT HOW TO KNOW IN ADVANCE?

Usually. But then also, when I am buying clothes I’m not buying very much, so I usually ended up having to wear it by the end of a week if I liked it when I brought it home or not.

I’ve learned that I do not have a body type that can buy cheap clothing. I know how that sounds, but it’s true. Joe Fresh, H&M, etc.–their shirts are two-dimensional and, past a certain bra size, a shirt that does not account for breast tissue is going to be unflattering no matter how cute the style or fabric.

36. WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOURSELF BEFORE GOING OUT, AND YOU ARE TRYING TO SEE YOURSELF FROM THE OUTSIDE, CAN YOU DESCRIBE A BIT ABOUT WHAT THIS “OTHER PERSON” IS LIKE? WHAT DO THEY LIKE, DISLIKE, WHAT SORTS OF JUDGMENTS DO THEY HAVE? IS THIS “OUTER EYE” BASED ON SOMEONE YOU KNOW OR ONCE KNEW?

37. WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS GETTING DRESSED IN THE MORNING? WHAT ARE YOU CONSIDERING?

Will I be able to sit for eight hours at my computer in this outfit and work comfortably? And does it look ok enough, in terms of professionalism?

38. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE WHEN YOU DRESS?

For work: I am a smart person and you should believe what I say.

At home: I am your loving mother; let’s sit around and read books together.

Most of the time when I’m out: I am a regular person who you can safely ignore.

Rarely, when I’m out: Look!

39. WHAT, FOR YOU, IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRESSING AND DRESSING UP?

Dressing is putting on clothing so as to avoid being arrested once leaving the house.

Dressing up means arranging clothing, jewelery, make-up etc. so as to make a particular kind of impression.

40. IF YOU HAD TO WEAR A “UNIFORM” WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?

41. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS “YOU” AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS “NOT YOU”?

I could not possibly answer this question. There are too many Mes.  Sometimes what’s Me is the tight pencil skirt with the rear flounce and a button-up snug peplum blouse with heeled boots; sometimes what’s Me is the stretch jeans with the concert t-shirt and a ponytail; sometimes what’s Me is a weekend in my pajamas, sewing.

42. WHAT IS YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND AND HOW HAS THAT INFLUENCED HOW YOU DRESS?

43. DO YOU REMEMBER A TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU DRESSED QUITE DIFFERENTLY FROM HOW YOU DO NOW? CAN YOU DESCRIBE IT AND WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT FOR YOU?

44. WHAT SORTS OF THINGS DO YOU DO, CLOTHING, MAKE-UP OR HAIR-WISE, TO FEEL PROFESSIONAL?

Eye makeup. Hair back in a clip.  No jersey below the waist. No blue jeans.

45. HOW DO YOU CONFORM TO OR REBEL AGAINST THE DRESS EXPECTATIONS AT YOUR WORKPLACE?

46. DO YOU HAVE A DRESS CODE, A SCHOOL UNIFORM, OR A UNIFORM THAT YOU WEAR FOR AN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY?

47. ARE THERE WAYS IN WHICH YOU CONFORM TO OR REBEL AGAINST THESE UNIFORMS?

48. DO YOU FIND IT COMFORTING OR CONSTRAINING TO HAVE A UNIFORM?

49. WHAT IS AN ARCHETYPAL OUTFIT FOR YOU; ONE THAT YOU COULD HAVE HAPPILY WORN AT ANY POINT IN YOUR LIFE? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?

50. DO YOU EVER WISH YOU WERE A MAN OR COULD DRESS LIKE A MAN OR HAD A MAN’S BODY? WAS THERE EVER A TIME IN THE PAST?

No.

51. IF THERE WAS ONE COUNTRY OR CULTURE OR ERA THAT YOU HAD TO LIVE IN, FASHION-WISE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

52. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF PHOTOGENIC?

Not particularly. I have my moments.

53. WHEN YOU SEE YOURSELF IN PHOTOGRAPHS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

“I look tired.”

54. ARE THERE ANY FIGURES FROM CULTURE, PAST OR PRESENT, WHOSE STYLE YOU ADMIRE OR HAVE DRAWN FROM?

55. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A DREAM THAT INVOLVED CLOTHES?

56. WHAT WOULD BE A DIFFICULT OR UNCOMFORTABLE LOOK FOR YOU TO TRY AND ACHIEVE?

Boyish.

57. IF YOU WERE TOTALLY COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR BODY, OR YOUR BODY WAS A BIT CLOSER TO WHAT YOU WISH IT WAS LIKE, WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR?

I don’t think it would change much.

58. IS THERE ANYONE THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ATTRACT OR REPEL WHEN YOU DRESS?

59. ARE THERE ANY DRESSING RULES YOU’D WANT TO CONVEY TO OTHER WOMEN?

God no.

60. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PERFUME? DO YOU WEAR IT?

It gives me a headache. I don’t own any.

61. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO YOUR BODY OR CLOTHES IN ORDER TO FEEL PRESENTABLE?

A good bra.

62. HOW DOES MAKEUP FIT INTO ALL THIS FOR YOU?

I am usually wearing some when I go out. I have very light eye lashes that are not visible unless I put mascara on them, and it makes me feel self-conscious. Often I’ll wear some bronzey or coppery or goldy eye shadow. Sometimes lipstick.

Makeup can be fun to play around with. Unfortunately I have very sensitive skin that makes most products off-limits most of the time, unless I want to deal with major reactions. Yes, I’ve tried everything, including what you’re about to suggest. My skin just wants to be free.

63. IS THERE A CERTAIN LOOK YOU FEEL YOU’RE EXPECTED TO LIKE THAT YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST IN? WHAT IS IT? WHY AREN’T YOU INTERESTED?

Groomed eyebrows.

Yoga pants.

64. CAN YOU DESCRIBE IN A BASIC WAY WHAT YOU OWN, CLOTHING AND JEWELRY-WISE?

Hmm.

Jewelry, very little, most of it odd. Embroidered necklaces, hunks of rock on a chain, a sapphire hourglass, bright beads on strings. A ring from my maternal grandmother by way of my aunt that has a lot of sentimental value for me, and which only fits on my left pinkie finger. A gold or brass oak leaf vein tracing. A little brass bear and a heart on a chain. That kind of thing. This is making me want to go out and buy jewelry. Thanks! ;)

Clothing, I don’t think I can. I have clothes for all the different Mes.

65. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF CLOTHING OR JEWELRY THAT YOU OWN?

66. TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING IN YOUR CLOSET THAT YOU KEEP BUT NEVER WEAR. WHAT IS IT, WHY DON’T YOU WEAR IT, AND WHY DO YOU KEEP IT?

A pair of Guess boot cut jeans that I bought when I was 23. They fit perfectly, when they fit, even though the knees are torn out and the ass is going. So I don’t get rid of them. Currently, they don’t fit, but I have hope.

67. LOOKING BACK AT ALL YOUR PURCHASES OVER THE PAST FIVE TO FIFTEEN YEARS, CAN YOU GENERALIZE ABOUT WHAT SORTS OF THINGS WERE THE MOST VALUABLE TO BUY?

68. IS THERE AN ITEM OF CLOTHING THAT YOU ONCE OWNED, BUT NO LONGER OWN, AND STILL THINK ABOUT OR WISH YOU HAD BACK? WHAT WAS IT, WHAT HAPPENED TO IT, AND WHY DO YOU WANT IT BACK?

69. IF YOU HAD TO THROW OUT ALL YOUR CLOTHES BUT KEEP ONE THING, WHAT WOULD YOU KEEP?

The one-piece jumpsuit with a built-in bra that would be somehow suitable for sleep, work, and relaxation, which I do not currently own.

70. BUILDING UP YOUR WARDROBE FROM NOTHING, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME?

71. WHAT’S THE FIRST “INVESTMENT” ITEM YOU BOUGHT? DO YOU STILL OWN OR WEAR IT?

Can I shoot whoever decided that wardrobe items can be “investsments”? They’re not investments. They do not appreciate and they do not pay dividends. Let’s kill this phrase forever, please.

72. WAS THERE EVER AN IMPORTANT OR PARADIGM-SHIFTING PURCHASE IN YOUR LIFE?

73. WHAT ITEM OF CLOTHING ARE YOU STILL (OR HAVE YOU FOREVER BEEN) ON THE HUNT FOR?

74. WHAT ARE YOUR CLOSET AND DRAWERS LIKE? DO YOU KEEP THINGS NEAT, ETC?

75. WERE YOU EVER GIVEN A PRESENT OF CLOTHING OR JEWELRY THAT ESPECIALLY TOUCHED YOU?

My grandmother’s ring.

76. DID YOU EVER BUY AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING WITHOUT GIVING IT MUCH THOUGHT, ONLY TO HAVE IT PROVE MUCH MORE VALUABLE AS TIME WENT ON? WHAT WAS THE ITEM AND WHAT HAPPENED?

77. HOW AND WHEN DO YOU SHOP FOR CLOTHES?

78. DO YOU LIKE TO SMELL A CERTAIN WAY?

79. HOW DOES HOW YOU DRESS PLAY INTO YOUR AMBITIONS FOR YOURSELF?

I’m pretty happy with who and where I am, so most of the time, I’m dressing for the life I’ve already got.

80. HOW DOES MONEY FIT INTO ALL THIS?

Less than it should.  When I buy my clothes I go shopping only twice a year, so it’s cheap, relatively speaking. When I sew my clothes I am forever in the fabric store adding to my stash, and I end up spending a lot more money on it.

81. IS THERE AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING, A PIECE OF MAKE-UP, OR AN ACCESSORY THAT YOU CARRY WITH YOU OR WEAR EVERY DAY?

Mascara. Insulin pump. Wallet.

82. DID ANYONE EVER SAY ANYTHING TO YOU THAT MADE YOU SEE YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY, ON A PHYSICAL AND ESPECIALLY SARTORIAL LEVEL?

When I was in grade 9 or 10 and walking home with a friend, we were talking–I can’t even tell you why at this point–about our legs, and I mentioned that my legs were long in proportion to my body, and if my legs were in proportion I’d be a few inches shorter. “It’s a good thing,” she said; “if you were shorter you’d be much too voluptuous.” I’d always thought of myself as too skinny and very flat, so it was the first time I’d ever thought of myself as curvy. It took a while to accept it, but yeah, voluptuous is (or at least was) probably not a bad descriptor.

83. DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU WERE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT YOU WERE WEARING? CAN YOU DESCRIBE THIS MOMENT AND WHAT IT WAS ABOUT?

Nope.

Review: Women in Clothes

Women in Clothes
Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I finally finished this book.

It took me several months to make my way through it; this was not, for me, a pick-it-up-and-finish-it-in-one-go kind of book. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I have a lot of books in the slow-read category that I work my way through in bits and pieces over the long haul, sometimes years.

But in the case of Women in Clothes, it wasn’t necessarily a good thing, either.

It aims to legitimize the concerns about dress–what to wear, when, why, and what that clothing communicates–that specifically women have as something that it is possible for serious, intellectual and successful women to think about. It certainly makes the case that women largely do think about this whether they should be or not, and that women put a fair bit of thought into what their clothing says about them, their lifestyles, their aspirations, and so on.

But the sheer variety of voices somewhat undercuts the success of this central message: one of the things that is most inescapable to conclude after reading Women in Clothes is that different women attach different meanings to the same clothing, so we’re not all speaking the same language. It raises the question, what’s the point?

Unfortunately this question–and others raised by the book–is never answered.

The book is a (very large) collection of completed surveys (you can find it here) by about 640 women, as well as essays, photo essays, stories, conversations and interviews with women about clothes. I’ll be posting my own answers to some of the survey questions, for no reason at all really since I’m sure it won’t be interesting, in a couple of days.

Given the variety, there’s sure to be something in Women in Clothes that interests and resonates with you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a conclusion, or any kind of unifying discussion. I’m sure that was their point, but it was also a drawback.

The book would have been vastly improved if it were cut by half and organized in some fashion–by theme, perhaps, or socio-economic group. It’s an interesting book (in parts, anyway) but it could have been a lot better.

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I do have some sewing projects ready to post. I just need a weather-cooperative day off, and in the case of one or two garments, some hemming time.

Review: Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science
Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first 25% of the book did nothing for me. It was a very dry recitation of the climate facts I already know, in graphic novel format. If you’re the kind of person who gets most of your climate news from the newspaper, this section may be more informative or interesting for you. But at the 25% mark I put it down and almost didn’t pick it up again. I had no real interest in reading 500 pages of climate science presented as speech bubbles on pictures.

I’m glad I did pick it up again, though (under pressure of a library returns deadline). Once the book gets into the author’s own struggles with and reactions to that climate science, it developed more narrative push. There’s still an awful lot of climate science–and interviews with experts in various political and social fields about the implications of that science for our reactions and in the 21st century–but there is also a story of his own acceptance of that information and the meaning it has for his own life, and how he reacts to it.

I don’t agree with everything that he or his experts say, but it was credible and well-informed and thoroughly researched, and I enjoyed it. I even learned something new! which is not a given for me at this point with a climate book.

That being: Did You Know that even if the nuclear industry developed to its fullest extent, the total possible reduction it could make to global carbon emissions is around 6%? Not the silver bullet it’s proclaimed to be. Interesting, no?

The art is exceptional, and there’s a lot of visual metaphor and meaning packed into his choice of imagery.

Anyway. If you are interested in the climate change issue, want to be more informed about it, and find climate change science books too dry or dense to read, this is probably an excellent choice. I’d highly recommend it.

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This is Forty, In Leather (Vogue 8750)

It’s finished!*

This series called "faces I make when talking to my daughter while taking pictures for the blog and getting ready to go out to dinner."
This series called “faces I make when talking to my daughter while taking pictures for the blog and getting ready to go out to dinner.”

And I wore it out to dinner with my best girl on the evening I turned 40.

I even dragged out all the cosmetic crap I’ve accumulated over the past mumble-many years and used it. There’s, like, goop in my hair. (Am I the only one this happens to? Remember silicone shine sprays? I have a bottle of silicone shine spray. I bought it fifteen years ago or so, when these were A Thing that people bought. I have used approximately 30% of it in fifteen years. I should throw it away, right? That’s not even the goop I used here.) I have two layers of stuff on my face, one layer of which is supposed to help the other layer stick better. I have stuff on my eyelids that’s supposed to help the eyeshadow stick better. And I am wearing a new lipstick, which is actually kind of nifty, I think. I even bought it at Sephora instead of the drugstore, when I was out buying the tights I am wearing, because I had no tights without holes in them with which to wear my leather skirt. And it’s still cold here.

Here Is The Back.
Here Is The Back.

Plus, yes, that is my silk-cotton voile floral blouse. It matches the skirt smashingly.

I love the pattern. It has really interesting seam lines that provide a lot of shaping and are quite flattering. I did two muslins, one in a woven and one in the faux leather, so I could work out the waist length and the grading, and you’ll need to as the pattern is not super straightforward due to all the seams.

But it makes a very nice, flattering skirt. If you’re looking for a pencil skirt pattern that’s a little different and you have the patience to go through the muslining process, I highly recommend it.

So, the rest of skirt construction:

-partway through making the skirt, I decided having some leather sewing references on hand would be a good idea, and bought two leather books. The postal service took forever in delivering them to me, so the skirt was mostly done by the time they showed up. The good news? Most of what I remembered was correct and the books reassured me greatly. The bad news? The exception to this is the *cold rubber tape, which I’ve never been able to find here, and which you are supposed to apply to seams as a stay tape to prevent the leather from stretching out. … Ooops. The other book recommends linen tape for the same purpose, which would have been a whole lot easier, but much much much too late as it needs to be sewn in. You can’t open up leather seams without weakening the leather, so my plan is to find some cold rubber tape or equivalent and apply it to my leather seams on the inside after the fact. It should still help.

closer up, for seam details
closer up, for seam details

-for the lining, I used the skirt sloper I made with the aid of Suzy Fuhrer’s Craftsty class, rather than duplicating the skirt pattern (which comes unlined). It was a whole lot easier and I knew it would fit. An online leather resource suggested cutting the lining on the cross grain with the hem on the selvedge, and that’s what I did. The lining is just shy of the top of the rear slit.

-there’s also petersham ribbon between the lining and the leather to keep the waist from stretching out.

closer up from the back.
closer up from the back. note that it’s not the waist that’s uneven, but the shirt blousing over the back that makes it look so here.

-pounding the seams with a little mallet was a ton of fun. I may need to do more pounding near the zipper–it’s just not as flat as I’d like. There were some good suggestions on zipper installation in the books but, well, they got to me after I’d finished it. It’s still ok, though. What I did was baste the zipper in along the leather edges so they matched up, sew the seam between the slit and the zipper, then topstitch straight down from the waist to the hem to get the zipper/seam/slit all in place and behaving. It worked, mostly, and it made for (mostly) even (except around the bottom of the zipper) topstitching, which is important.

-the hem is not sewn. I measured where it needed to fall, folded it up with binder clips, pounded it with the mallet to make a nice crease and line, ran double-sided tape along the line on the inside, and then used the mallet to press it into the tape nice and flat.

more faces I make when I'm talking to Frances, taking pictures and getting ready to go out.
more faces I make when I’m talking to Frances, taking pictures and getting ready to go out. The skirt looks nice, though.

-apparently, according to the leather books, I made this unnecessarily complicated for myself by picking a pattern with so many pieces. I’m glad I did. It looks really nice, and the pattern provides a lot of shaping without darts. It’s basically a 3D skirt, when finished, which is very cool. Some of the side seams do not match up perfectly but I think from a distance you can’t really tell. Nevertheless, next time I’m picking a skirt pattern with fewer pieces. Current plans are to adapt that skirt sloper into a six- or eight-gore skirt with a bit of an a-line. This time a proper waistband, and waiting for the cold rubber tape.

OMG, the leather skirt!

In leather!

This is a skirt! Almost! Made out of leather!

So there is this thing that is happening this month in my life that happens to many of us eventually, being a milestone birthday of the sort that women are supposed to be too embarrassed to mention in public. I am turning 40! Instead of being properly embarrassed, I’m a bit giddy about it. OMG I’m turning 40! How amazing is that! I get to be 40! What excellent justification for a month of self-indulgence! Well except that I still have the whole single-mom schtick, so it will be more like moments of self-indulgence mixed in with days of picking up toys, signing school forms and cleaning up after dinner. Ah well.

In any case I decided that finishing the leather skirt in time for turning 40 would be a good thing to do, and allow me to wear my new leather skirt that fits on my 40th birthday, thereby making it into a Fabulous Forty kind of thing, rather than jeans-and-a-shirt Regular Forty (which will be the day following).

So the brainstorm I had while making up the sweatshirt was dual:

1) It’s leather, dough-brain. Just do lapped seams instead of regular seams and you won’t need to worry about easing or slightly mismatched seamlines.

2) Also, true the damned curves. When you stretched out the pieces to account for your high waist, it probably messed with the curves so now they don’t match and of course they bubble.

So I trued the damned curves, and yes indeed, there were some serious mismatches on those very curved side seams, and then I cut out test pieces from the stretch faux leather and sewed them together using lapped seams. And while it was not perfect (mostly because it was a test and I didn’t care if the side seams matched up or not), it was FLAT.

Once this lovely, FLAT, assembled test piece was done, I compared it and the trued pattern to the skirt sloper I made up a month or two ago. Hallelujah, the waist and low hip measurements matched, and the high hip was if anything a bit on the big side, giving me some more space to fiddle with and flatten the curved seams in front of the dress.

Hurray.

I mean I only bought this leather in, what, August?

Next step: Cutting! Out! The! Leather!

Which I did! And then I took the little leftover bits from the edges and cut out some very, very curvy pieces and sewed them together, making sure I could make them FLAT.

Which as a process, looked something like this:

Very carefully draw the seam lines on both pieces. On the top piece, draw the line on the reverse; on the bottom piece, draw it on the top. You’re not going to wash this garment so plan on the marks being permanent and choose accordingly. I used white tailor’s chalk and a felt-tip pen. With the felt tip pen on the right side of the bottom piece, I drew the seam line at 1/2″ instead of 5’8″, so that I could lap and completely cover the marks with the top piece.

bloggish-16-4

 

Cut out enough notches on the curved piece so that when the seam line is folded back, it lies perfectly flat. Test this before you start taping them together.

bloggish-20-6

 

Start with a match point, and using a small piece of double-sided tape meant for leather and with a width of ideally 3/8″ (but 1/2″ will do if you can’t find 3/8″), begin taping the folded top piece to the flat bottom piece. Fold a segment of the top, tape it to the bottom, short piece at a time, all the way around the curve.bloggish-19-5

 

When you’re done, you’ll have a nice FLAT curve, all taped together.

bloggish-21-7

Now edgestitch that curve outside of the tape so you don’t get your leather needle all gummed up from the tape.  Leather needles do not like to be gummed up.

leahter-2-1

Assembling these pieces into front and back pieces was a whole new adventure.

There was lots of skipping of stitches when joining spots with more than two layers of leather , and a metric fuckton when I sewed in the zipper. Something about two layers of leather plus zipper tape equalled very unhappy janome machine. Because leather makes permanent holes, you do not ever want to go over the same section with the machine. So I did a lot of stopping, tying off threads, carefully placing the machine needle back right in precisely the same hole I stopped in, continuing from there, repeating as required,  finishing the seam, and then going back with the hand leather needle and back-stitching pieces together through the holes that the machine made, where the stitches skipped.

I got all of the pieces sewed together into a finished skirt body, topstitching and everything. The topstitching is ok. You can’t tell from a distance, but the occasional bits of skipped stitches and then the hand-sewn replacement sections are not great. They’re not terrible. But they’re not as nice as they would be if I’d sewn them on an industrial machine that could manage to be more cheerful about sewing through multiple layers of leather.

The really key thing is this:

IT FITS.

It does! It really fits!

The side seams are close enough to matching up that I’m happy. Maybe 1/4″ off in places, but they look like they line up when you look at them from a distance. I can pull it on, do it up; the waist hits me at the waist, the hips hit me at the hips, the knee hits me at my knees.

Pulling it on is a bit of a struggle as it’s not yet lined and the leather is very soft and ‘sticky’.  So lining it is the next step. Leather tanning and dyeing agents are notoriously tough on natural fibres, so I went with poly for the petersham ribbon and the lining fabric, which is a bright multi-coloured floral that is slipper on both sides so it won’t stick to either me or the leather, fingers crossed.

leahter-6-2

Four days to finish it! Can it be done?

CAVEAT: I am not a leather sewing expert. This post is not intended to substitute for professional leather-sewing advice. In the event of a leather-sewing emergency, please consult with a leather professional.

My background here is one leather purse, put together as part of the Craftsy sewing a leather bag class, and reading some leather sewing books, and generally figuring things out as I went, otherwise.  Sewing with leather is completely different than sewing with fabric and the same tools and practices that guarantee good results with fabric will give you shit with leather (and vice versa).

Believe it or not there’s a lot more to say about the Leather Skirt Adventure, but I’ll spare you those for this post.

A double-gauze V9029, with hand-stitching

After a good, quick Linden as a palate-cleaner, I decided to do a good, semi-quick palate cleanser before getting back into anything more complicated. And by this I meant that I made another V9029, this time in a Nani Iro double gauze that I bought last fall (shame on me), and then edge-stitched by hand.

 

No smiles today. Today we are grim.
No smiles today. Today we are grim.

Yeah, well, what else was I going to do?

I bought this double gauze last year because the print was so lovely and the cotton was so soft, and I knew it was going to be a shirt, but what kind of shirt? It seemed too floaty to make into something tailored, but loose woven tunics and I are not on speaking terms.

After spending too many hours googling pictures of double gauze shirts, I confirmed that yes, almost every bit of Nani Iro sold becomes either a Grainline Scout tee or a Wiksten Tova. But looking at that sea of Scouts and Tovas, I only had eyes for the one double gauze Simplicity button-up blouse.

So I pulled out my V9029 and sewed it up again, making note of the fitting changes I wrote down on the pattern.

Grim from the side.
Grim from the side.

And I had a very Andrea brainstorm.

Because you know it was Embroidery Month, and the fabric print has that lovely hand-painted feel to it, and wouldn’t it look nice with a little hand-stitched touch? Like maybe the edge-stitching done by hand in a matching embroidery floss?

DMC 725 was a perfect match for the marigold yellow in the flowers. One strand of floss in a small needle, and to get the stitches just right, I ran my tracing wheel–hard, without the carbon paper–1/8″ from the finished edges.

bloggish-1-1

It made a lovely straight line with evenly spaced divots that I just followed with the needle, up down up down, all the way around all the pieces needing hand-stitching. It’s not quite perfect, but then for hand-stitching, you don’t want it to be quite perfect. You just want it to be close enough. It made a heavy and long enough stitch that you can see the yellow, but from far away, it just looks like a normal shirt. So just what I wanted.

Grim + Haughty, With Dog. He's so much more photogenic than I am.
Grim + Haughty, With Dog. He’s so much more photogenic than I am.

V9029 is becoming a TNT for me. The sleeves are the right length this time, the collar worked better–a bit on the big side, but no puckers underneath, and it fits fairly well through the body with no gaping and not too much ease. (For me, a successful button-up shirt is a shirt that, if I leave it unbuttoned, will fall naturally to the centre front, and this one does.)

I used the reverse of the double gauze on the under collar and inside of the collar stand, but given that it’s transparent it doesn’t add much contrast value. Still. It is a Thing that I Did.

bloggish-8-3

 

Plus the obligatory back shot:

Look! My Back!

Look! My Back!

Not bad for fit, eh? So that’s one shirt pattern pretty much nailed.

~~~~~

Photos this time were inspired by those super formal early photography portraits, where no one ever smiled and so everyone looked faintly ridiculous and/or bordering-on-postal.

The chair in the corner was clean for a change; plus, it meant I got to sit down. I like to think that Simba also enjoyed it as another chance to claim a lap as part of his expanding territory, but it’s hard to be sure.

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