Category Archives: Deer and Doe

The Fox Among the Pigeons Skirt

Happy New Year! I celebrated in Singapore hanging out in an apartment, toasting my family and friends with prosecco, and thinking how lucky I am to be able to travel this much and see amazing places with the people I love. Some compensation for living far from most of the people I know, I suppose! I’ll take it. Happy 2017 everyone! Let’s make it a good one by investing in our planet, and each other, in celebrating differences, in focusing on the good and fighting the bad like hell, and in loving this speech. I love this community, and I’m lucky to have it, so thank you for sticking with me and here’s to the new year!

As someone who has been traveling a lot, a lot a lot, and probably will only do it more in 2017, I realized packing for my recent trip to Singapore and Sri Lanka (guys, Sri Lanka is amazing, seriously, my five days there with my friend Ben, hey Ben!, barely scratched the surface of this gorgeous country, I can’t wait to go back….), I was making sure to bring a bunch of things I hadn’t had a chance to photograph in an effort to force my travel companions (of which there were many, my wonderful parents who we dragged from Delhi to Mumbai to Singapore and who took it all with grace and brought us cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy in London because they are the best, my brother and his girlfriend who joined us from Thailand and brought me two pieces of astounding silk, more on that in a sewing planning post later, my friend Ben, my friend Michael, and of course, what’s-his-face, we rolled DEEP this trip!) to take my picture in one garment or the other. Is this sort of like a sewing blog sneak attack? Yes, yes it is. I make no apologies. Gotta get this stuff photographed, people, by hook or by crook!

In traveling with my parents, I decided that in order to end the trip on a high note, it would be best to go from the least developed to the most developed place, so we saw Delhi, where I was literally attacked by a cow who tried to gore my stomach with her (luckily) developing and small horns outside a national monument, and then Mumbai, where my parents learned of the suffocating traffic and tropical humidity that owns our lives here, and then finally we were off to Singapore, more developed than most of the West, for real for real, a bit sterile, to be sure, but clean, well-organized, and with the kind of food you dream your life away and want to make a Faustian bargain just so you get to eat it one more time. Sigh. But we aren’t going to talk about that right now, we are going to talk about the fact that there is nothing really much to DO in Singapore, and yet we did find things, although I kind of worry that now I’ve literally done all the things and what am I going to do NEXT time I go? Ah, well, one sacrifices for family I suppose.

If you are considering a trip in Asia involving Singapore, and you are coming from the West, I would recommend you go to Singapore last, because I don’t know that you really appreciate it all that much until you see other Asian cities and countries. Singapore is all about comparative adjectives, so you need to give yourself something to compare it to. And if you are comparing it to India, well, it does very well in that exchange….

So this time in our efforts to find activities, we visited the Jurong Bird Park, which, like everything else in Singapore, is beautifully planned, well maintained, and a lovely place to spend some time if you have the money. And so I wore my new skirt there, hoping to throw a fox among all the many birds we found there, including, but not limited to, the Victoria Pigeon. Now, this is no ordinary flying rat, no metropolitan scourge of humanity. This pigeon is, forgive me, FLY.

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Look at that bird. That’s a pigeon who know’s what’s up.

To the garment! Of course the real phrase is “cat among the pigeons”, not fox, but what can I do, I think a fox would be as upsetting to pigeons as a cat, although these guys didn’t seem that bothered, so what do I know?

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So here I am, in my fox-printed pencil skirt (I think I need to take the waist in, although I love home comfortable this is, but the slight stretch across the fabric makes it bag quickly), and a never-blogged plantain because who has that kind of time?

This skirt comes from my block, and while I usually do the bodice block, I’ve been experimenting with the bottom lately!

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Whaaaa? Yes, I have! This is the second time I’ve done this, although I made a super serviceable army green pencil skirt which is a total workhorse and I’ve yet to photograph. I didn’t bring that to Singapore because this one is clearly more fun…

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A little side view for you. It’s a little big, yes, probably again because of the stretch element. But I like it, I’m literally wearing it as I type this, so…

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You can just see the zipper, ah well, its bright pink, which is fun, and then the waistband fastens with two skirt hooks. I machine stitched the hem because sometimes you just can’t, and it has a vent in the back, although I don’t know if you can see it here. I cut this skirt a little long, which made me feel a little dowdy in Singapore, but I think the print saves it from full on matron territory. Right? Let’s hope so….

The shirt fabric is from Girl Charlee, smuggled into India last spring, and the skirt fabric is from my new BFF fabric store, Thakur, in Bandra.

Sidenote, have you guys seen the Poirot “A Cat Among the Pigeons“? Classic.

I don’t know if my skirt had quite the influence on these birds the print implies it might…

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Ah well, I suppose it’s better not to freak out the birds. They can kick you out of Singapore for that…

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Bye bye, birdies! Odds are I will see you again sooner or later, after all, there isn’t much to do in Singapore, except eat your chicken and duck compatriots, that is. Delicious delicious compatriots.

Thanks for the photos, Michael! Thanks for coming to Singapore to be my photographer! That’s why you came, right?

 

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Filed under Clothing, Deer and Doe, Sewing, Travel

The Resting in Rajasthan Robe (and nightgown!)

The East has long been associated with luxury, a luxury that makes one soft, weak, effeminate. From the ancient Greeks, who viewed their Persian neighbors (and frequent enemies) with suspension for their trousers, soft pillows, and luxury oriented ways, to the British, who justified their growing expansion and imperial conquest of India as a government-run colony, rather than a vassal of the East India Company  in the 19th century the “effeminate oriental” and the association of luxury as A. Eastern and B. decadent, therefore weakening. If a concept of  virtue in the west after the Protestant reformation comes from deprivation, from austerity, from self-denial, than the grandeur and majesty of eastern monarchs, with their ceremonies, formalities, intricacies of rank and service, translated to a bewildered and derogatory image of the east as a place of weak and inefficient dilettante. You can read a lot about this here, or a little about Edward Gibbon’s many references to this in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire here, or you can just giggle at the thought of scandalized physically uncomfortable European ambassadors being all jealous and casting shade.

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PS: If you aren’t following Fly Art in some way shape or form at this point, you probably should look at your life, look at your choices.

I am 100% sure that given the European desire for Eastern goods, the roots of this was a certain amount of envy. But whatever the cause, between the silk and the tea, the diamonds and the spices, the East was where virtue went to die and decadence when to thrive. It’s telling, then that the word for pillow in Spanish (almohada) comes from Arabic, the idea of slippers emerged out of the Ottoman empire, and every dish you’ve ever seen incorporating gold foil probably made its way to you via India. This is a culture whose rulers traditionally wore glorified pajamas.

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It’s very hot here. Who can blame anyone for wanting to be comfortable? The British. That’s who. Here is what Gibbon  had to say about men wearing silk:

“Two hundred years after the age of Pliny, the use of pure, or even of mixed silks, was confined to the female sex, till the opulent citizens of Rome and the provinces were insensibly familiarized with the example of Elagabalus, the first who, by this effeminate habit, had sullied the dignity of an emperor and a man…”

What. Is. Your. Deal. Men can’t feel a little fancy? I hope Gibbon wore sackcloth his whole life. Put your hair shirt away, Thomas Beckett, and get on the comfort train!

I, personally, have always wanted a bathrobe. In fact, I’ve owned a few, but I’ve never really used them. I don’t know what it is, maybe I never got the right one for me, but something about them always seemed a little unnecessary, silly, dare I say it, decadent? I would throw one on, feel like I was a character in a movie from the 1950’s, and take it off again. Robes seemed like something that television characters can’t live without and real people don’t live with. What is the use of a garment that you wear for what, an hour at most? In that brief window between pajama time and real clothing time on days when that window is more than, say, seven minutes? The allure of the robe was strong, but the practicality of it seemed lacking.

However, on a recent trip to Rajasthan, I stayed in an amazing place (seriously. Stay here when in Jaipur. Do not pass go, do not collect 100 dollars. Just stay here) where they gave us these gorgeous block printed cloth robes and something about being there with the beautiful robes made lounging around in them just heavenly and I thought, why can’t every day be like this?

So I decided to make a robe. Screw it. I live in a land of fabric, I can buy yards and yards of the stuff and make it into a robe and lounge about it for five minutes a day and feel amazing. And frankly, if I can feel truly glamorous and decadent and amazing for a full five minutes a day (and sometimes longer on weekends!), is that really a waste? Is that, in fact, what the Europeans did not get about the concept of luxury? That in small doses it can be just enough, and make all that virtue all little easier to swallow.

So, without further ado, my Resting in Rajasthan Robe!

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Oh, that style. Isn’t it just too chic for words? I love the kimono elements, the self-attached tie (isn’t that the thing that is always getting lost?) the sleeves, the sleeves! I could bask in them.

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I cut a Large, which was a bit large, but I wanted it big, frankly. I recently made a medium for a friend and frankly, that would have been just fine, but I’m not taking this thing in, what’s the point? A robe should be loose and make you feel embraced by soft softness.

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The fabric is a heavenly buttery sheerish white cotton stamped with a highly traditional Rajasthani motif that I picked up while fabric touring in the North with Liz. The large motif meant it didn’t scream garment to me, but I knew I wanted to do something with it. And this robe really fit the bill.

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I lengthened it about five inches, which I think works. I can’t imagine it shorter, that’s for sure! Well, it actually only looks really short in this photo, it’s pretty perfect in real life.

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The one thing I would change (and did when making this for a friend) is the back seam. I just don’t really know why you need that, if you have a fabric that is wide enough. Of course, if you don’t, it makes the sense, but for a fabric wider than 45 inches, go nuts!

I used french seams throughout and some self-made bias tape to finish the front edges. All in all, it truly is as Seamwork promises a quick project. Maybe 3 hours, from cutting to (machine) hemming!

I also wanted to show it to you while open. And you can see the nightgown underneath!

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It’s a Deer and Doe Plantain. I don’t really make other knit tops these days, I’ve realized…..This one I just lengthened to dress length for a night-gown. I rarely wear them but when I do, the glamour is way up. So why no combine it with a robe? (Side note, I never look this put together when I sleep. IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION.)

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THOSE SLEEVES. Sigh.

I realize, I’ve actually made a bunch of Seamwork patterns and documented….zero of them. Guys, how great is Seamwork? I love it!

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That’s right! I used a prop! Trying to step my photo game up a bit! That being said, you can totally see Cadfael’s food area at the bottom of this photo soooooo….win some, lose some.

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Ahhhh, luxury. Whatever, Western morality, I’ll take this any day of the week. For about five minutes. And then I have to get dressed and go to work.

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Deer and Doe, seamwork, Sewing

The Springtime in Bombay Outfit

I have no idea what springtime means in Mumbai. So far, it seems like there are only really three seasons here. Monsoon, slightly cooler handful of days (aka winter), deeply humid sea of time (summer). Right now I’m in the deep humid sea that is the Mumbai summer, but I’m also just a wee bit delusional, and I want to pretend that it is actually spring.

When I went back to the States last month I was so happy to be back in the cold. I know, I know, you are amazed, but seriously, I miss seasons. I miss SEWING for seasons. It’s one of the difficult things for me about living in Mumbai, and of course that means it’s also one of the things that what’s his face likes best, adoring how warm it is while I close my eyes and think about cold rainy days in which I was completely miserable and had wet feet with something like longing.

I like watching the world change and I like watching my wardrobe change with it. I think it goes back to when I was young and I had a subscription to YM Magazine (which I LOVED, by the way, and now that I look back on it it was so sad and anti-feminist and I want to squeeze younger me hard and get her the later subscription to Jane that changed my life sooner. Guys, did you read Jane? Jane was amazing. India needs something for young women that teaches them all the ways they are are okay, just like Jane. India? Get on it.) Anyway, pre-Jane me loved YM, and always stared with rapture at the changing seasons fashion spreads, the plaid schoolgirls skirts and sweaters which were always completely the same in every way. I sometimes think my whole adult life is just about unlearning the lessons of YM and influences like it.

But not that one. I love that 60 degrees in September feels cold and 60 degrees in April feels warm. I love that one inspires the donning of wool and one the discarding of it. I miss that. So despite the fact that Mumbai legit has no Spring, in fact, the one great thing about this sweltering heat is that it kills the winter mosquitos, I am clinging to the concept of spring with both of my nail-bitten little hands and making spring-inspired things. Including this outfit.

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I feel like this would have been a great May outfit in New York. Maybe with a little cardigan? Sigh. But it’s a pretty good Mumbai outfit as well. You can totally see the lines of my bra under this shirt, sigh. OH well!

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The skirt is, believe it or not, and when you see it up close you totally WONT, a Deer and Doe Chardon skirt. This whole outfit is a Deer and Doe special, actually!

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In person you must trust me, the pleats are real pleats. In this photo? They totally look like gathers. Who knows how these things happen?

This time I added the belt loops, and I’m thrilled I did, I love this with a belt.

 

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Can you guess what the shirt is? Can ya? CAN YA?

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Duh, it’s a Plantain. I know there are a lot of knit shirt patterns on the internets now, as opposed to, like, five years ago when there were NONE, but this is my favorite. I live and die by the banana.

The skirt sewed up quickly. As I have been these days, I lengthened the hem. I wouldn’t say it’s a requirement here in Mumbai, but it’s definitely something I’ve been doing a lot that makes things just a little bit more comfortable out on the street. And I spend a lot of time walking around, taking trains, taking rickshaws, so it does sort of make sense.

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Honestly, I could probably do everything knee length or above and live with it here, but I don’t know, somehow living in a more conservative place has always changed my own sense of what is too short and what is the right length. It’s made my other pre-India skirts seem really short, though!

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The shirt is a breeze, as knits and tried and true garments always are. The skirt has pockets, which of course are magnificent.

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A little hand stitched hem for you. I made a nice deep hem for this guy, which is always nice, it gives the hem a little weight, which this light-weight fabric needs! It’s a Rajasthani block print from Kolkata, but not from my favorite market. Still, it’s nice.

The shirt fabric is from Girl Charlee because it’s really hard to find knits here, sigh, so I brought a TON of them back from the US with me. No clothing, just jersey. The customs guys must have laughed and laughed.

So now I’m back in the humid sticky arms of this hot city, dreaming of chilly nights and cherry blossoms. Sigh. Enjoy Spring, people who have it where you live! A luxury I miss…

 

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The Ants in my Pants Pants

I would not say I am one for crazy pants. We live these days in a crazy pants world, and I think that’s wonderful, but crazy printed pants have never drawn me into their brightly becoming arms (legs?), probably because I’m already a prints person with closet full of printed tops and despite what the runways and Pretty Little Liars seem to want me to believe, pattern mixing is not my thing. So I need SOMETHING to be plain, or at least, matchable, and that is usually the job of pants, to my mind. Not that I wear pants much, to be fair, but when I do I tend to want something basic. Pants are sort of like giving up for me, if I’m being honest. Pants are something I wear when I can’t figure out something cute, and I just throw up my hands and think well, I guess it’s PANTS today, way to let yourself DOWN, Leah, way to let the TEAM down. I don’t know what team this is supposed to be, but in my head those sad mornings it’s quite clear.

I know that this isn’t everyone’s philosophy. In fact, I think most people I know prefer pants to anything else. Especially jeans. I own two pairs of jeans. I rarely wear either. It’s a good thing I’m moving from the States because I believe this is grounds for treason here, not wearing jeans much. At the least, it’s deeply unpatriotic. Although since denim became popular in India it might even rival our own devotion, check out these sad 90’s monstrosities:

 

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Or this more modern negative situation: 11062039_805373329547083_414232679461784162_nThis actress’ name is Kangana Ranuat and she is very talented and she is better than this.

Yeah. So maybe I will be even stranger to the general public once I’m there, but I have to be what I am and live my life, and that’s a life with minimal pants. That all being said, I did recently make a pair of pants that I could not be more into, and not only are they not plain, they are insanely printed. And yet? I love them. I love them so much that they give me ants in my pants and I need to dance.

AIMP 5Yes! See? CAN’T STOP THE DANCING. Could barely stop to take these photos! These began as a love affair with fabric. I saw this fabric on  GirlCharlee.com (yes they have wovens now I don’t know what to do with myself).

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See? Look at that face. That is the face of someone dancing on the inside.

The pattern is the Colette Patterns Clover. I gotta made a different pants pattern, guys. I’ve made this so many times. I need something new. I HAVE many other patterns. I should made some of them! I’m going to make these next. Maybe this is why I’m not as into pants? No. Probably not. ANYway. The Clover pattern ain’t broke so yeah….

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This fabric is just, I can’t stop loving it. It reverses everything I’ve ever felt about printed pants, on myself, and on others.

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The Clover is something I can kind of make in my sleep at this point, and I always make a size 6, and that’s what this is. I did, as I always do, flat felled seams on the inner thighs and crotch, and french seams on wide side-seam.

AIMP 6A little rear view for those on the internet who would like to see that. YOU’RE WELCOME, creepy guys googling 90’s Bollywood images! Take that!

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I also made the shirt! It’s a plantain. Boy, this outfit is like a double tried and true combo.

And because it’s a typical outfit, I have to do a typical jump shot!

AIMP 7BOOM. Pants I love and don’t even feel bad when I’ve chosen to wear them. Pants that don’t make me feel like I’m giving up! Boom.

Do check out my Etsy Shop for new (old) vintage pattern listings! I gotta unload these before I move, people, I can’t take ever pattern I own to India, I think the Indian Government will suspect a new and entirely inefficient form of colonization.

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The Welcome Spring Outfit

(Please note, because of life events like weddings etc. some of these posts were intended to be up months ago and are only going up now. This is a phenomenon known as the “life gets away from your syndrome” and it is very common with all the people who are me. Sue me. Please don’t. I can’t afford it.)
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

-Rainer Maria Rilke
Just what you want in a sewing blog, right? Rilke quotes? I know. You’ve been waiting forever. You’re welcome, Internet. Rilke. He’s back.
It is obviously quite ironic for me to be discussing Spring now that it is now officially and completely summer, but given how mercurial and cool the weather has been in New York I feel I can comfortably get away with this. Of course, these photographs were taken in Portland….but you get the idea. Seriously, I only know it’s summer because the calendar told me so. Although one thing I will say is, the spring flowers were out of control gorgeous in New York this spring. My friend Ben (hi, Ben!) told me that because we had a rough and snowy winter with the ground being frozen for so long we were due for magnificent flowers because the ground got so much water. And as he so often is, Ben was correct! Well done, Ben. But the flowers on the East Coast could not have prepared me for Portland.
Portland is my new favorite place. It reminded me of Philadelphia, one of my other favorite places, and they both have P names so there you go, I have a type. Mid-size cities on the rise, with lots of greenery and excellent food who are paced on the slower side. Why do I live in New York, again? (And by the way I’m MOVING to an even crazier city,, more on that later!) Mr. Struggle and I visited Portland in April (good lord, APRIL, has it been that long? Guys. My life. Work, my novel,  our second wedding,I can’t even.) and we decided this is our new dream city. First of all, the food. We had radishes with smoked butter at Ned Ludd and Dulce de Leche ice cream at Salt and Straw and divine wines (for me) and beers (for Mr. Struggle) all over the place and holy god, it was amazing. Mr. Struggle almost passed out from the intensely good Singaporean style of chicken he had at Nong’s Khao Man Gai that transported him back to Singapore and the many years he spent working hard to decimating its chicken population. Are there things other than food in Portland? Probably. Who knows. Mostly we were just trying to get from food to food, stopping for food in the middle.
And obviously if you are going to indulge in a food tour you need and outfit to match. Something comfortable but still cute, as one must maintain one’s standards of dressing even when visiting the casual wilds of the West Coast. One must keep up appearances, mustn’t one? Here is what I came up with:
WS 1My second attempt at Deer and Doe’s Chardon skirt with the correct pleats this time! Boom. LEARNING things. Like a boss. This is in fact another all Deer and Doe outfit, because the top is my beloved Plantain. I know that everyone’s ideal t-shirt is different, but I must say, this free pattern (!) came as a godsend to me, because this is mine. The only change I ever make, and I have made this thing innumerable times now, is to lengthen it.
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The fabric for this skirt is really something special. My friend Becca (hi, Becca!), like most of us, has a mother. Her mother, Mary (hi, Mary!) is also wonderful, just like Becca, and she has consistently given me amazing random gifts of fabric. This is a Liberty of London print from I don’t know when, in what feels like a lightweight upolstery fabric. Oh, how I love to dress like a sofa! A sofa with pockets!
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The shirt is a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. Basic like a pumpkin spice latte.
WS 5I think it’s a little hard to see the pleats on this print, but in real life they are adorable! You’ll just have to trust me on that.
WS 6The ever popular jump shot! The people of Portland, bless them, didn’t bat an eye.
Oh, man, I have so many more posts to catch up on, including all the things I made for our second wedding (second of three, kill me now) and all the things I’ve been making to try and get rid of my fabric collection! Why would I do that? Am I quitting sewing? OF COURSE NOT. But I am moving! To Mumbai! Which is in India! And bringing fabric to India is like bringing sand to the beach. Don’t worry, I will still be blogging there, hopefully more frequently, as one of the many benefits of moving is committing more time to writing, both my dramatic and prose work, and my blogging. The move happens in September, so stay tuned for an outpouring of sewing for myself and others to diminish my stash in between novel revision, web series continuation, and the rehearsals for my new play, with sewing themes, coming to New York in August! You know. Lazy summer.

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The Before It’s Too Late Skirt (topped with a noir plantain!)

This always happens, doesn’t it, you plan a bunch of things for a season, you end up not doing them and resenting that season because you get sick of the weather, and then, as the season FINALLY draws to a close, you find yourself scrambling to do even a fraction of those things because you now feel it might almost be too late! Because you will NEVER get that season back again! Because you’ve forgotten how time and weather works! Suddenly you feel a sense of strange and potent urgency. Must make more things that I can only wear for, like, three more weeks! Or is this just me?

Come to think of it, I realize that while I don’t suffer from fomo, I might have the opposite problem in that I might suffer from late to the partyitis. I think it takes me a while to get excited about change, and so by the time I’m really in the zone for a new thing, it’s already almost over. I will never be, I know, an early adapter of anything, except perhaps of television. In five years people are going to be having iPhones implanted in their hands and I’m going to be like, iPhone 6, I think I like it! Maybe I should get one!

So now that it’s finally feeling like spring might be imminent someday somehow here in New York (hahaha I’m just kidding it’s going to snow soon it will never be Spring oh my god people in New York are going to revolt!) I know I should be all about the lightweight fabrics and the showing of the skin, discarding wool for cotton, but guys, I just can’t bear too, not quite yet, not when I had this idea for a skirt in my mind that I knew would be awesome. And no amount of slightly warmer weather was going to stop me from making it! So despite the fact that I should be making aspiration warm weather clothing as an effort to entice Spring into coming and as an offering to the great Sewing Gods, I didn’t. If we get more snow, it’s my fault. Please don’t tell anyone. People will hurl rotten vegetables on my new skirt.

I had a small length of bright lovely felted blue wool from my days working in the costume shop that I knew would be a fantastic skirt with a ton of structure, and I also had Deer and Doe’s gorgeous Chardon pattern, which I had been itching to try. Why did I wait this long? For literally no reason whatsoever. I ended up playing with the pleats and changing the pattern a tiny bit, but still, I believe the spirit of the skirt in intact, and I couldn’t be happier, because boy, does this skirt have spirit. If this skirt was an extracurricular activity it would be the pep squad. Check it out, if you don’t believe me!

BITL 1It’s like I’m wearing a bell! I ended up omitting one pleat so that I have four in the front instead of five, but I think it’s pretty cute this way too! I liked the volume but I also thought that it might look nicer on me with a flatter front.

BITL 3How lovely is this color? I love it so deeply. I feel like this makes it a little transitional, right? A bright color for spring? No? The wool isn’t that heavy, actually, despite it being felted, and it actually felt lovely on the balmy 45 degree March day I wore it out on recently. Whatever, I’m not going to apologize for my fear of change, and if this skirt can get me from winter to spring, I’ll take it. It has even cheered me up this week when I’ve transitioned from a slight fever to a rather nasty and debilitating cold. So if it can help me through that, Winter to Spring can’t be SO bad, right?

BITL 4That’s the look of a person who loves pockets. POCKETS. And these are awesome a deep and lovely, and I like this skirt a lot. I would totally make this again, and try it with the original five pleats, just to see what that’s like. Maybe in a canvas or something lightweight but stiff. I think that what I love about this skirt is its structure and it’s fullness, and I would want something that works with that. Do we think a quilter’s cotton would do it?

BITL 6A little back view. I feel the bell-like aspect is fully in effect here. As are wrinkles. I live the life I live.

BITL 2Oh, I made the shirt, too! A plantain, en noir, so I can wear it to cafes in Paris and talk about the disillusion of the human spirit and stuff. Or, just, you know, with EVERYTHING. It’s a black shirt. Everyone should have one of these. Everyone should have ten. Everyone I know does. Remember when black was something you wore for mourning? Me neither. It made it out of a slightly stretchy rayon knit which is actually fairly comfortable despite its low stretch. Just your standard Deer and Doe Plantain. I’ve made maybe 15 of these now. I’m not kidding in any way.

I had anticipated putting the belt loops in this skirt, but the fabric ended up being too thick for that once I made the belt loops, so I had to omit them. That’s alright, though, although I liked the look. Maybe this would be nice in a linen, too, although maybe that would also be a wrinkle monster, just like me. See, I’m thinking about lighter weight fabrics! I’m getting there!

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But for now, I’m going to nurse my sickness and enjoy my warm, wool, not at all Spring-forward skirt. Oh, and I’m going to curse daylight savings times too because in the words of the John Oliver show, why is that still a thing?

BITL 7

Jump shot! Haven’t done that for a while, as Mr. Struggle reminded me.

Do you sew for the season you’re in or the season you WANT to be in? I’ve got to warn you guys, I’ve got some more warm clothing coming up, including a coat, sigh…I’m a mess….

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The Lots To Celebrate Dress

Ah, the 4th of July. What a holiday. Who would have known that when a bunch of slave-owning white man got together and said, you know what is the worst, paying taxes to other white men who speak our language on a tiny island far away, let’s deal with that in a long and elaborately worded “Dear John (or George, as the case may be) letter”, we would, some three centuries later, be celebrating that half-assed international mailing with fireworks, beer and awful displays of jean-short madness? Also, quick side-note, given that overseas mail took signficantly longer then, that must have been the most anti-climactic break-up ever. That’s like sending an “it’s over” text via carrier pigeon.

Look, I’m just kidding, I’m a huge fan of the founding Fathers of the United States, specifically Benjamin Franklin who gave us firehouses, public libraries, bifocals, and the best children’s book ever.  My father is probably Franklin’s biggest fan, and you can’t help but be a bit of a groupie if you grow up in Philadelphia, Franklin’s adopted city. He was actually from Boston, and was apprenticed to a candlemaker until he escaped and…you know what? You should read his autobiography. I did. At the age of 13. Because my father made me. And then you can come to Philadelphia and see his home and his grave and the University he founded and the museum named after him and you can cry to your dad that you don’t WANT to read more about Franklin and you like John Adams because Principle Feeney played him in this movie and besides he seemed like a cool guy who respected women and oh my god I need a moment a lot of my childhood just flashed back excuse me. Sob.

ANYWAY.  I even love celebrating July 4th.  Who doesn’t love freedom? Specifically a freedom only granted to landowning White males of a certain income and education level? It’s a great excuse to grill a bunch of things, drink a bunch of wine (I don’t CARE if it comes from Europe, it’s freedom juice to me!) and enjoy some time with my family. That’s worth celebrating, right? It’s certainly worth a new outfit….

And with no further ado, may I present to you the latest in a long line of Plantain and Plantain hacks, my Lots To Celebrate Dress? Don’t mind if I do!

LTC 2

Ah, I love this dress! And could it BE more patriotic? My cynical ramblings are totally negated by this dress, aren’t they?

So, yes, Plantain. To this. How,you say? Well, I took the top part of the top, that is, above the waist, and used that to cut the bodice. I then slimmed it on the front and back pieces by about two inches, and used the sleeves as they were, and the neck binding. Then I just cut and gathered the skirt. Gathering a knit is the damn worst. I don’t recommend it. It’s dumb. Still! I like this.

LTC 4

 

The fabric I got at my beloved Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet for literally 1.98 a yard. Because, Philadelphia. I got two yards and I still have enough to make a tank top. Luckily it stretches in both directions because the vertical stripe and I are good friends.

LTC 5Although I do think that it is deeply hilarious that the stripes look bigger on the bodice because of my, um, front area. Sigh. Whatever. Franklin would have appreciated this. He loved himself some ladies.

LTC 3A little rear view for you. This dress was insanely easy to sew. I have made this pattern 10 times now and it only gets easier. And it wasn’t hard to begin with. Make this pattern. It’s awesome. That’s all I can say about it. It’s easy and fast and free. What else do you want on July 4th?

LTC 6Obviously these photos were not taken in Brooklyn, but rather at my parent’s house in Philadelphia where we had a lovely BBQ to celebrate the holiday. Not that we are so into it, but, honestly, any excuse to grill…

LTC 8Obviously I left Cadfael in Brooklyn but that’s okay, I wasn’t lonely:

LTC 7Cats gotta be a part of everything, am I right?

LTC 9We made some excellent slaw from this excellent blog. Try that today, too.

So, obviously, celebrating the United States and it’s weird and wonderfully awkward revolution is important. But it’s also important to celebrate personal things too, like this dress, or the slaw I made with my mom, or, you know, getting engaged. Which I also did. So there’s that.

LTC 11Yes. Sharp eyed readers will have noticed this new piece of jewelry making it’s first appearance on the blog. And in my life. As it turns out, what’s-his-face was not just hanging out with me for the sewing tips, and he proposed to me recently. So in honor of that event, and because my mom is unhappy with the moniker “what’s-his-face”, my gentleman caller is being upgraded to Mr. Struggle. I don’t know that you will ever see him on this blog, as he is shy, but I do know that I will be documenting all of my wedding-related makes here, so it seems only fair to tell you why all the white all of a sudden. And why I have a lot to celebrate. He took these photos of me. Maybe that’s why I look so happy? Hard to tell. It’s probably just dreaming about Ben Franklin….

LTC 1Yeah. That’s gotta be it.

I hope you had the best 4th of July possible if you live in the United States, and if not, I hope you had a lovely Friday that had no other meaning to you. I know I did. Thanks, dead white guys!

 

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