Category Archives: Notions

Holiday Giveaway! (See how non-Christian centric I am?)

Ah, it’s that special time of year once again, when red and white and green plaster the world in a dizzying haze of glitter, when music fills the air with tales of reindeer and wasseling and female submission to a male paradigm, (seriously, watch that, it’s amazing) and I want to put my head through a wall. Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but I do not particularly enjoy this time of year. I totally respect and appreciate that for many people this is a fabulous season of joy and love and superplum scented dreams, but for me, it’s a headache. Because when you don’t actually celebrate Christmas then watching other people do so is like going to a country where you don’t speak the language. It’s interesting, sure, but pretty soon you are just exhausted and a little hurt to be left out of the fun.

And don’t even get me started on Chanukkah. Hey, I love Chanukkah as much as the next Yid, but the truth is it’s just not as important to us as Christmas is to Christians. Yom Kippur is important. Passover is important. Hell, Purim is important. Chanukkah is just puffed up to be competitive.

Still, for all my cynical grumblings and growls when I hear Christmas carols (one more drummer boy and I will literally smack someone in the face, I am not in the habit of making idle threats, Universe, you hear me?) I must hearken back to my school days of yore and remind myself what Vincent Scully said about the holiday season. We celebrate in December, the darkest time of the year, as we are about to embark on several harsh and lonely winter months, because as dark as things are now, we should remember that light will someday return.

So with that in mind, I’m hosting a little holiday giveaway. Because while we run around buying and making gifts for other people, it’s nice to get some stuff for ourselves, too. Right? Right.

So I am giving away to one lucky reader a little package of gifts, including this Vintage Simplicity pattern:


It’s a shift in a between size (11) and it’s cute! It has a long and short sleeve variation so you could rock it in wool for the winter and then poplin in the summer. Or whatever. I don’t know your life.

And a bunch of these lace pieces, cuffs, collars and bits, which I got in a large grab bag:

How large, you ask? About Cadfael sized, as it turns out:

But look at how pretty they are!

You could use these to embellish a cute knit top, or a sweater, or some frilly lingerie, doll clothing, the possibilities are endless!

That is totally my hair. Sigh. Struggle.

I am giving away 25 piece of lace, PLUS the pattern. And if you are really nice to me, I might even make a tote bag too. I give and I give.

So to enter, just leave me a comment by December 23rd, letting me know what you would do with these bits and bobs of lace, and/or what you would do with this pattern, and you will be in the running to win! Happy holidays, everyone.


Filed under Clothing, Giveaway, Notions

The Very Beneficial Dress

First off, I’m going to have to apologize to you because the photos for this and for my next series of projects are simply not going to be my best. I forced strangers to snap a few photos of this project at the Nichole Canuso Dance Company benefit, thinking I would be able to take more later. And I suppose I still could, but the simple fact is, dear readers, I’ve broken my foot! Yay!

I’m trying to be positive, but honestly, it’s a bitch. I literally put my foot on the ground and the thing fractured. I could go into more detail but I’ve already done so over at Embrace The Struggle, so you can read about my misadventures with injuries here.

So I have just taken some photos of this dress on a hanger to show you the bones of the dress,  and you can see some of the crazy party photos to see me actually having fun in the dress, foot undamaged, eyes bright with white wine and excitement, but that’s all you get, I’m sorry! And for the next four weeks or so I fear there will be some fairly staid all seated shots of yours truly in her various concoctions. On the bright side, I injured my left foot, not my sewing/driving foot, so I can still pump out frocks and tops and skirts etc, in fact, I’ve set up my swivel chair in such a way that I can just spin from machine to drafting table to ironing board and back again! How clever am I?

Onto the photos! First of all, check out the cool space, Underground Arts at the Wolf Building, all decorated and lit for the creepy-funhouse vibe we were attempting (succeeding?) :

Isn’t it cool?

Nichole Canuso herself is actually in this photo, she looks tiny, which is fair, because she's about my height...

I thought it looked great! In addition to the little dresses (which were auctioned off in a packet with an amazing Couture Cat made by the lovely and amazing Laura of Trash Planet), I also made 13 scrap birds (because it was Friday the 13th, get it? GET IT?) Here are a few of them:

I love making these. Apart from being an efficient use of scraps, it’s like a fun gallery of my past projects. But enough stalling, onto the dress!

This dress is one I made to wear to this benefit, and beyond, obviously, and I made it using New Look 6723. And it looks a little something like this:

Yeah, I look super shiny. Sigh. Flash can be the worst, guys.

Special thanks to the VERY nice people at the Benefit, Jen, Elizabeth and some other guy, who took these photos. My mother thinks this dress makes me look like a milkmaid. But you know, I’m actually okay with that!

Me and my creepy creepy cut out boyfriends.

I do so love the sweetheart neckline. It makes for a bit more décolletage then I usually show, but I’m actually quite comfortable with that. I think that might be because nothing else about this dress is in anyway revealing, it’s really quite cute, which I feel like compliments but doesn’t overwhelm. And besides, everyone once in a while you just have to let the neckline drop, if only for special occasions. Besides, I got SEVERAL compliments on my, um, mamilla, so I feel pretty good about the bodice cut.

No kiss?

And here is me bartending, which gives you a side view of the frock and let’s you see the way the fabric when cut into the skirt has a kind of chevron effect, which I do so enjoy:

And here is my tough bartender face, all, what, no tip? Or maybe I’m just mad because my bra strap is showing.

This dress is actually a snap to put together, even for a non-master like myself. The hardest part is the neckline, which I had to rip and re-do, everyone’s favorite sewing task. I hand picked the zipper, and the hook and eye I used was actually from the massive heap of sewing notions and thread etc. left by my grandmother. It currently occupies a great deal of space in the Target Brand plastic four tiered organizer I used in college for papers and use now for my stitching life. The hook and eye might be a trifle big for this dress, but I wanted to incorporate something from my stash of Isolda’s goodies, so it’s worth it for me.

Hand picking a zipper isn’t lovely on the inside, but it more then compensates with how nice it looks on the outside.

And one last photo to describe how much fun I had A. In this dress and B. at the benefit:

Thank you so much, everyone who came, or contributed, or even had happy thoughts about the event!


Filed under Fabric, Notions, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns

Happy Springtime! Enter my Cute as a Button Giveaway!

Happy first day of spring, folks! I love spring. I love spring especially in the Mid-Atlantic. When I was going to college in New England the thing I missed most about Philadelphia, apart from my family, Metropolitan Bakery, making fun of New Jersey, and strangers calling me honey (we are a weirdly friendly city in a cutely trashy way, I must say), was spring. The weather in Connecticut goes from winter to summer in the time it would take you to say boating shoes or Greenwich, there is simply no time for Spring to have sprung. The autumns are stunning, but the springs are non-existent, which is ironic, because there is nothing people in Connecticut love more than a well cut blazer. Oh, well, cest la vie. So I am so excited to be spending Spring in Philadelphia, because the city explodes with pear and cherry trees bursting into bloom, coating pedestrians in petals. Last year I spent spring traveling through Northern Europe, gawking at Blenheim Palace outside of Oxford with my friend Andrew, and exploring Shanghai and Beijing with my friend Lisa. So Philadelphia is going to have to work hard to measure up. Let’s hope it’s up to the challenge.

Spring means many things to many people. For the Fug Girls, two of my favorite people who I have never met, it means FUG MADNESS! Which is amazing. Go check it out here. For Veronika of Tick Tock Vintage, a favorite fashion blogger of mine and fellow Philadelphia dweller, it means a trip to Hong Kong! Jealous? I am. And for me it means biking and flowers and fresh lettuces and strawberries and having to remember to start shaving my legs more regularly. I’m not wild about that last one, but I’ll live.

So in honor of my excitement, I have decided to host my first giveaway! When my grandmother passed away, along with the shoes and the fabric and the scarves and some clothing and a BUNCH of jewelry (sooooooo much jewelry, good LORD that woman loved to shop), I got all of her notions and thread and sewing supplies, which is a surprisingly large amount of stuff considering that my grandmother didn’t sew. For example, I got all of the following snaps:

Say it with me, aw, snap! Seriously, why on earth did Isolda Solo need so many snaps? A mystery for the ages. And I got buttons and elastic and a zipper and buttons and did I mention the buttons? And the needles? There are a lot of needles. So I’m giving some of these things away to YOU, lovely readers! All for you! Oh, the things I do for you, it’s amazing. In the spirit of all my favorite sewing bloggers who so generously give things away, I will be giving one lucky person a grab bag of items which include some vintage buttons, snaps and needles (courtesy of my late beloved Grandmother,  my delightful photographer/mother, and Decades Vintage, an amazing vintage store on Fabric Row), some modern buttons I have acquired in my brief time spent sewing, some fabric, some tools, and a little bow I made today from one of my favorite fabrics! All you need to do to enter the giveaway is to make a comment on this post between today, March 20th, and a month from now, April 20th, and make sure to include your email address. You can tell me I’m pretty, or tell me what you love best about spring, or hate about spring, or love about New England, or hate about New England, or whatever you want. Then I will randomly draw a winner from the commentators and send them their package of buttony goodness! If you comment AND blog or tweet or facebook or whatever social media is your bag, baby, about the giveaway, then you will be entered twice! Just let me know that you have done so. Oh, you want a peek at the goods, you say? Well, here you go:


Vintage Snaps from Isolda Solo:


85 cents? Amazing!


Vintage green buttons from Decades Vintage:


Vintage Fabric covered buttons from Isolda Solo:

Vintage and modern buttons:


PA Fabric Outlet goodies:

Vintage buttons from Isolda Solo:

And some fabric, a half a yard each of the green and pink poly-cotton blends, and a yard and some change of the yellow cotton. And a little pink pincushion! And a bow!

The bow looks excellent on Mr. Malevolent. But I’m sure it will look even better on you.

Here it is in full. Tiny Tiger is not included:

And I might just thrown in some more treats, if you treat me nicely…..

Comment away! And tell your friends!


Filed under Fabric, Giveaway, Notions, Sewing