Nov 30, 2011

My Sad Etsy Husband

Now that my husband knows what I am sewing him for Christmas, he keeps asking when he gets to be my "Sad Etsy Boyfriend." If you're not familiar with this reference, check out this Tumblr that is "Dedicated to the wretched creatures abused for economic gains by their Etsy girlfriends." Like this poor guy here:

Anyway, my Sad Etsy Boyfriend so far loves his hoodie-in-progress, which is sewing up nicely and most definitely won't be sold anywhere, even Etsy. However, I have the twin problem of it being too short (it's a '70s pattern, so the cut is just a little different than I'm hoping to achieve), and I bought a zipper that's too long. So I'm going to attempt a 2-inch band at the bottom instead of turning it under and adding a drawstring like the pattern recommends (which will take care of both problems, hopefully). Oh, and my other problem is I don't have enough fabric left to cut the band with the grain running north-south. So I'm going to cut it east-west and hope for the best. There will be less stretch that way, but I think I can make it work. Here's the hoodie in question. The knit wool fabric is amazing (which it should be for $20/yard):

This is a close approximation of what the hoodie will look like on me when I borrow it
Love the stripe that shows in the hood!
So that's what I'm working on today. Oh, and a bunch of writing too, which should probably be my priority because Christmas is yet weeks away — and my deadlines are much sooner. Procrastination is a sport for some of us though. And sewing is how I put things off. Also reading stupid things on the Internet (like Sad Etsy Boyfriends, naturally).

Nov 29, 2011

Living Within Our Means This Christmas — and Hoodie-in-progress

This newly created "Cyber-Monday" shopping event has me so rankled this week. Maybe it's because our family doesn't have money to burn again this year, so it's just easier for me to take the moral high ground than dwell on all the things I wish we could have. But it's also because it seems Occupy Wall Street and its brethren have taught us nothing this year.

The day after the day on which we are supposed to be thankful for all that we have, we are encouraged to head out, elbows up, and spend our money on new shit, which I guess we will be thankful for next year on the third Thursday in November (if it's not broken by then or we can even remember it). And now on the Monday after that, we're expected to ignore the work that piled up over a four-day weekend and shop online too. Blah, blah, online sales on Cyber Monday are up 33 per cent over 2010. That apparently means .... what? That the recession is over? That it's not over so people are desperate to save money as they strive to provide a Christmas experience commensurate with non-recession years, which means shopping only sales?

If we spend beyond our means and end up paying interest on credit card purchases, the banks have won. If we do our alleged civic duty and "stimulate the economy," rather than save money for our futures (albeit in an economic climate that favours spending over saving: hello, interest rates?), then the banks have won. If you pepper spray other shoppers so you can get your desperate mitts on a discount Wii, then the banks have won.
I can empathize a little with the pepper spray lady. I have recession fatigue too, and could really use a break. I obviously don't know that all the people jostling for cheap electronics are struggling financially, but I bet most people with the cash to pay full price for the latest Nintendo product aren't willing to jeopardize their own safety for the sake of saving a few bucks. Don't hate the players, hate the game.

We've been so good about not buying new things unless we truly needed them over the past three years. But after a while it catches up to you. Everyone needs new boots eventually, and there are some things you just can't make yourself. And I can't help but feel guilty when someone gives me a gift and I can't afford to return the sentiment in a tangible way. Even handmade gifts require you to spend money on supplies. And for us, with both our families so far away, the cost of shipping is a major added expense.

My plan this year is to make candy and chocolates for everyone to whom we would like to send gifts. My daughter will get one toy from us, plus I'm hoping to illustrate a story I wrote and have it printed for her as a book. And, of course, I'm still working on this gray wool hoodie for my husband (sewn from vintage Simplicity 8360):

Front of hoodie-in-progress

I'm kicking myself right now for buying the wrong length separating zipper, which means I will have to hit the Garment District sometime soon.

Anyway, tell me how you're saving money this Christmas? Has recession fatigue turned you into a cheapskate Scrooge, too?

Nov 25, 2011

Winner of the Not-So-Cheeky-Panties Pattern Giveaway!!

The winner of the Not-so-cheeky panties package was Debi, of Fashions From the Past! Debi, I'll be contacting you about your mailing address so I can get your prize in the mail to you on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Nov 24, 2011

Sew Grateful: Thanks to all those who inspire and give(away)

North of the 49th parallel we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October — a time which I think is sufficiently far from Christmas to prevent hostess burnout. But in NYC, it's usually 30 C (or 1 million degrees Farenheit) in early October, so I never bother to make a bird for Canadian Thanksgiving. 

But everyone knows Canadians love to say "thanks" every chance they can get. So allow me to be sincere for a few hundred words on American Thanksgiving (as I make a Pecan Pie for our dinner with friends).

• Thank you to for featuring my work on several occasions, including as a featured member. That was a major boost for me as I am always questioning whether the things I create are good enough for the scrutiny of the Internet.

• Again, thanks to for the two giveaways I won this year: a few yards of Snoozer Loser fabric, which I used to make this shirt dress from a self-drafted pattern:

And, for the book Growing Up Sew Liberated, which I used to make this sleepsack for an infant's Halloween costume:

and these leggings:

  • Giveaways are great, but sew-alongs are even better. I only participated in one this year, but plan on taking part in more in 2012. It's a great way to stretch yourself as a sewer. So thank you to Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness for his jeans sew-along. I made the pattern for these jeans myself for class at FIT, but followed along with his tips and tricks to help me get the sewing just right:

Another thank-you to Peter for hosting Male Pattern Baldness Day, a grand get-together of his readers in NYC. which was so fun (Don't we look a little like siblings — or cousins?):

And, ahem, for a vintage pattern, which I won from Male Pattern Baldness and still haven't used.

• Big thank-you to Gertie for her Bombshell Dress Course at Craftsy, which guided me through sewing this, the best garment I have ever constructed and had the pleasure of wearing:

• Thank you to Rubyellen at for her tent tutorial, which I modified somewhat (with the help of my friend Lizzi) to make three tents like this for my kid's birthday party:

• Thanks to Daughterfish, whose projects inspired me to make this (my favourite dress for the latter part of the summer:)

• Thanks to reader Justsewsew who pointed out my bow-print fabric was Marc Jacobs, which encouraged me to make this dress work after much trial and error during what was the most stressful part of the year for me:

• Thank you to all of my friends and readers for helping me place second in's Halloween costume contest with this owl costume I made for Lucy (and she subsequently refused to wear. Have I mentioned that? Oh yes, like a thousand times):

• Thank you to my patternmaking teacher at FIT, who made me feel much better about my skills by asking me every class if I was "in the industry."

• Thank you to Rachel, my former neighbor, for passing down a good portion of her fabric stash, which I used to make (or line) at least a dozen garments this past year.

• Thank you to my husband, who always agrees to shoot photos of me in the garments I make despite the fact that each shoot ends in us arguing:

His evil eye
I'd also like to thank coffee, for helping me gather my thoughts in the mornings so I can write this blog. And red wine, for helping lower my blood pressure when a project goes off the rails.

That's all. Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I hope you get some sewing time this weekend!

Nov 22, 2011

Sew Grateful Week: Not-So-Cheeky Panties Package Giveaway!

I didn't grow up in an evangelical home, but my husband did. A generally anxious person — he's the first to (nervously) admit it (just kidding: he wrote a whole damn show about it, and that's how I met him) —  he's told me many times how he worried constantly about proselytizing. He recalls how if he wasn't telling someone about God's glory, he felt guilty. Like, all the time. And though he's now a godless liberal, he still can't shake the habit. However, he evangelizes on behalf of other things: the band Wilco, Robert Caro's book "The Power Broker," and Arrested Development, just to name a few.

I've never felt that urge to convert people. (It's not very Canadian, is it?) But that's exactly what I am going to try to do this week with a giveaway for my readers (some would say, followers).

And what better way to proselytize for homemade ginch (1980s western Canadian slang for underwear) than by giving away everything needed to make your own!

Ta da!

So if you're interested in joining my cult movement, and want to make your own pair of "Not-So-Cheeky Panties," the pattern by Emilykate that I've adapted to provide fuller coverage in the tush, leave a comment below. The winner will receive enough of this super soft and stretchy coral-red striped jersey, white scalloped underwear elastic, and the pattern (plus instructions) to make their first pair of these underpants. According to Emilykate, the pattern is size 38, whatever that means. But with this super stretchy material, these underpants could fit a range of sizes. (Though if you have a super tiny butt and hips, you can stuff someone else's stocking with these — or try to take them in a little.)

The winner will be chosen at random on Friday, Nov. 25 — "Black Friday" in the U.S.: the day when people spend stupid amounts of money shopping (and risk getting trampled at Wal-Mart). Instead of "stimulating the economy," you could get something for free! (And learn something new). Thank you, readers! The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere.

Wait, I almost forgot to show you the pair I made for myself from this amazing stretch fabric! Cute, right? Now comment away!

Back: love that chevron stripe!

Nov 21, 2011

The Perfect Men's Hoodie Pattern!

 I'm not sure I'd let my husband leave the house in shorts that cut so close to his, er, upper thigh. But that hooded sweatshirt on the chiseled hunk to the left there is the perfect pattern for the sweater I'm planning for Ryan for Christmas (he's knows about it now because there are no sewing secrets when your studio is located in a popular thoroughfare of your apartment). Thanks to travelling_soo for pointing out this pattern to me after my previous post about the dearth of good men's sewing patterns. I found it on through seller Paula's Sew Nice. She's got loads of vintage patterns in the $5 range. It has yet to arrive, but I found some lovely gray wool knit fabric this weekend, so I am itching to get started (yes, pun intended).

I tried and failed to find something that would work at one of the divier fabric shops I frequent in NYC's Garment District. But after scuttling back and forth along 39th street and down to 37th, and finding only cheap, thin and (ugh!) ribbed knits, I was worried I wouldn't find anything that approximated this knit hoodie he loved and lost long ago:

I finally succumbed to shopping at Mood, knowing that I'd find something in the store's exhaustive selection. Of course, you pay for it: $20/yard for this gray wool knit (a faint stripe, but no ribbing, praise be):
And what's that to the left there? Why it's more of the super-soft coral striped jersey I bought at Chic Fabrics on 39th Street during the summer ($5/yard). I used it to make this adorable dress here:

They still had some at Chic, so I bought a few yards to make some underpants from Emilykate's pattern I amended, plus I picked up some underwear elastic at Daytona Trimmings on 39th Street. I bought more than I need of everything, so stay tuned for a giveaway this week! That's all for now!

Daphne Guinness Exhibit at FIT

 If you've grown tired of Occupying Wall Street, head over to the museum at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology so you can see how the 1% lives. 

That's the way I felt after visiting the Daphne Guinness exhibit, which is the museum's first to chronicle a single person's style. If you don't know who Guinness is, she's very rich, very beautiful and is a collector of haute couture. She's heir to the beer family's fortune and something of a muse to many of the biggest names in fashion, including the late Alexander McQueen. Indeed, there are dozens of stunning pieces by McQueen in the FIT exhibit, so if you missed "Savage Beauty" at the Met, this is the next best thing (and it's FREE!). Other notable designers heavily represented in the collection: Nina Ricci, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lacroix, and Valentino.

The clothes are truly amazing. The video presentations on Guinness.... less so. In one, about her fragrance, she really seemed to be phoning it in. On creating her scent, roughly paraphrased: "It's in my mind. I don't really think about it too much...." Come again?

Throughout the exhibit are quotes from Guinness explaining her style, including her love of armour. Again, roughly paraphrased, though her wording was no more eloquent than this: "I love armour. It's beautiful to wear metal — and it has protective qualities." Deep. 
As remarkable as it was, gazing into the closet of a billionaire reminded me a little of an ex-boyfriend of mine. He was so proud of his music collection — to the point that one could wonder whether he actually thought he had a hand in creating his most treasured albums. But collecting is not the same thing as creating.  Is good taste a talent unto itself? Should we be at all surprised that one of the richest women in the world is a trendsetter in fashion? (Of course, I realize having this collection on view is a gift for the fashion students at FIT. Seeing such garments up close is so much more instructive than seeing them in a magazine or a book. There were many stunning examples of design. My favourite was this Chanel dress with copper-sequined yoke and epaulets:)

I didn't go to this exhibit expecting to feel any animosity toward the woman whose clothes I wanted to see. Indeed I felt nothing of this sort after seeing Savage Beauty, the Met's exhibition on McQueen. The clothes themselves are truly captivating. But I guess I had hoped for more from someone who is known for daring style and support of up-and-coming young designers than "I like shiny things" (a direct quote from Guinness. Also, my three-year-old says this occasionally).

Am I being too hard on Daphne Guinness?  I know since moving to New York City I've had issues with class politics (the Sunday Times' Style Section, for one, never fails to fuel my class rage). As the recession drags on, and so many people I know are just hoping to make it through the winter without having to buy new boots, to parade around in such ridiculously impractical outfits — or laud someone as an artist for doing so — it's a little unseemly. That's not to say art or fashion should take the backseat during economic hard times (beautiful things make us happier, more hopeful, right?), but the emperor has new shoes, and they're impossible to walk in.

Nov 20, 2011

Muppets, Paul Rudd, John Hunstman...LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!

Me with my SNL wristband, post-show!
Last night my husband and I went to a dress rehearsal for Saturday Night Live, and it was the best night out I've had in years. There were Muppets, Jason Segal and a surprise appearance by Paul Rudd....I'm still coming down off the high of it. I've been to some other TV show tapings before, but Saturday Night Live trumps them all. That must be why tickets are so hard to come by (you have to enter the lottery in August, and then if you're chosen you get an email telling you the date for which you were awarded tickets. This process makes it mighty hard for out-of-towners to see the show  — unless you are willing to line up for hours for stand-by tickets, which are really hard to get. So the crowd at SNL is very New York, and not full of tourists like, say, Letterman.)

A dress rehearsal sounds 2nd-best to the live taping, but there is one big benefit: you get to see an extra half-hour of material that they end up cutting from the live show. (Of course that half-hour is composed of the sketches deemed too clunky for TV, but it's still fun to see how it's made). It's also interesting to come home and watch the live show to see what got cut, how jokes were tweaked, and whether the host wore his bow tie on air (he didn't).

The dress rehearsal starts at 8 p.m., and they run it exactly as if it's the live show: set changes happen swiftly in the time it takes for a few commercials. It's amazing to see how the dozens of crew members work together to build sets and then strike them in seconds, and cast members run off dressed as one character and come back after commercial as another.

Like with all live tapings, there's a great deal of waiting involved: first to get your precious tickets, then to go through security, then to take the elevator up to the ninth floor at 30 Rock, then to get into the studio...

I wish I had taken some sneaky photos, but they are no joke at NBC about shutting of your phones. Ryan actually took his battery out because his Blackberry malfunctions and he didn't want it to come to life and get us ejected from the best night of 2011.

Every moment of the show is super fun, even the "turn off your phones, there are the fire exits.." announcements, delivered by cast member Jason Sudeikis, one of my favourites. The band keeps the energy up during set changes and commercial breaks. I wish I could remember what song it was that Keenan Thompson sang to warm up the crowd (with the female cast members, excepting Kristen Viig, who was in the cold open sketch, as back-up singers). Mmmm, something Motown? He's really good (which we already know from "What's Up With That?")

Jason Segal was the host, and since he's currently promoting the new Muppets movie, we knew Kermit and the gang would be there. And even though we watched the stage be set for the monologue, and could see the puppeteers huddled around the back end of the the piano where Segal was to perform, it was still so delightful to see them pop out. It was one of my favourite parts of the show.  My other favourite sketches were the Casting-Regis'-Replacement sketch and Andre the Giant Orders and Icecream sketch, which was funny even before it began.

There's something truly enjoyable about watching a cast member lose their shit and laugh during a scene. Fred Armison, who has been on the show for nearly a decade, rarely does this. Which made it extra funny when he couldn't stop laughing during the Vogelchek sketch (otherwise known as the "family that makes out with each other"). Seconds later Paul Rudd and Jason Segal wildly made out — also so much more fun to see live.

While we were waiting in line Ryan saw Jon Huntsman (the other Mormon who wants to be the Republican candidate for president of the U.S.) walk by with a few of his staff members and security, apparently on his way up to the studios at NBC. Ryan guessed he was going to appear on SNL, but I scoffed: "Nobody knows who that guy is!" I said. It's too early in the campaign for SNL to start featuring politicos, and anyway, he's probably being interviewed on the nightly news, I thought. It's was 6 p.m.

To his credit, he didn't say "I told you so," but I think that was the high point of the night for Ryan, when the stagehand pushed Jon Huntsman out from the wings in a rolling office chair for his segment on Weekend Update. 

I feel so lucky that we got to see the show and I totally recommend seeing a taping if you can. But it's not so easy: to enter the lottery for tickets to a taping, you must email in the month of AUGUST ONLY. All you do is provide your contact info. You're not allowed to request a specific date or taping. Or if you've got time on your hands, you can line up for stand-by tickets the day of the show. They hand them out at 7 a.m. (a lady in the line-up told me she queued up twice — beginning at 2 a.m. — and didn't get tickets, so the lottery is the sensible alternative, really).

Nov 18, 2011

Not-so-cheeky Panties Pattern

I crossed a threshold last night, dear readers. I became that weird lady who makes her own underpants. I know, it's one of those things: like, that friend who makes her own yogurt. Why would you risk botulism when you can buy amazing pomegranate Greek yogurt for just $1.39 at the store? I don't get it either. But I was curious to see how hard stitching up a pair of undies could be. Also....I need new underpants (and have I mentioned we're broke?). 

I had some blue jersey left over from making leggings for Lucy, so I made two test pairs from member Emilykate's Cheeky Panties pattern. The first I made from her pattern with no adjustments, and they were indeed cheeky:

Oh-kay, that's not me. Did you think I would actually model underpants? (Though maybe if I had her photoshopper, I would). That picture is, however, a close approximation of the amount of cheek exposed when wearing Emilykate's Cheeky Panties. Here's my first finished pair:

 You can see they are very....thong-like through the crotch. Of course, my husband digs 'em, but I hate wedgies, so I adjusted the pattern to add extra coverage and prevent them (see where the extra paper has been added on to the pattern below. This is easy to do with a French curve and some fiddling:)

Not-quite-so-cheeky Panties Pattern
The results are pretty perfect. If I found this pair of undies in the store, I would buy five pairs. They sew up FAST, especially if you have a serger, though you really only need a zig-zag stitch. Again, here's where to get the pattern, which I do recommend, with some slight alteration: member Emilykate's Cheeky Panties pattern.

I'm so excited today because I'm meeting an old friend who is visiting from Toronto and we're heading to the Daphne Guinness exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology museum. (Also, to Chelsea Market, the High Line, and fabric shopping! What a great day in NYC.) And tomorrow we have tickets to see a taping of Saturday Night Live and Jason Segal is the host! My panties can barely stand it.

Nov 17, 2011

Scrubs and Monk Robes: Is this really it for men's patterns?

Christmas is coming and as usual we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to choose between tipping our super (something one must do in NYC if one hopes not to have to unclog her own sink in the months to come) and exchanging gifts amongst ourselves. Since we are new to the building, and our super seems to have grown weary already of our demands for such things as a smoke detector and the child safety gates required by law, tip we must.

So I'm considering what to make for my dear husband, who should stop reading this post now. (Everyone else, follow the jump for a contemplation on (the dearth of) men's sewing patterns.)

Nov 16, 2011

Royal Knock-offs, yay or nay?

Remember this?


I'm already married, but if I was in the market for it, this Butterick knock-off of Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen gown (B5731) is pretty damn spot-on.

But that's not all. If you want to capture the romance and drama of the Royal Wedding, you need your hot sister to steal the show. (P.S. Isn't it gross how Brits use the word "rump"?) Presenting Butterick 5710 (on sale right now for only $3.75):

And who could forget this kiss...

Or that grouchy flower girl in the left corner above. She made my day. Here's the full view of her dress...yep, still grouchy:

 And here's Butterick's perfect replica — B5705:

The only thing inauthentic is the smile on that sweet model's face. Scowl a little, would you, sweetheart?

Indeed, they're all beautiful, timeless dresses. But is it cool for a pattern-maker to knock-off a designer in this way? Kate Middleton's dress was by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, but it's not like it's the first time a bride has worn a sweetheart neckline with lace overlay — though maybe it was the first time in about 50 years. After all, we've all seen the comparisons to this, Grace Kelly's sexy/demure wedding dress from 1956:

It is 2011, and we've been clothing ourselves for millenia, so is everything technically a knock-off?  I don't feel guilty for tracing around my kid's favourite hoodie to knock-off a pattern for a replacement, but I would if I were selling them.

Nov 14, 2011

Once Upon a Thread

I have a three-year-old, so I spend a lot of time reading children's books — and thinking about what makes a good one. Not just the words, but the illustrations too.
Among my favourites is Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lioni (which I have written about briefly before). It's the story of two friends (one blue, one yellow) who hug each other so much they become green. After some adventures, they go home to their parents, who don't recognize them. They cry and cry yellow and blue tears, then pull themselves back together. Their parents recognize them again, and all is well. Completely illustrated using torn up pieces of construction paper, you'd think it would be boring to look at. But it somehow conveys the sweet little story perfectly. And my kid loved looking at even when she was 2. We still read it regularly. Here are little blue and little yellow running around with their friends:

Katy of No Big Dill (I can't figure out how she has six kids and still finds time to make stuff and blog about it) is hosting another Once Upon a Thread challenge this month. I loved seeing the kids clothing and toys inspired by children's books. So I thought I'd do something with "Little Blue and Little Yellow," which also happen to be my kid's favourite colours. Not wanting to spend any money (or go downtown for fabric) I came up with this hooded jumper dress in white fleece that I had on hand. I have blue jersey for leggings, and some scraps in yellow and green to applique this Venn-diagram-like design on the front. Here's my drawing:

I've already drafted the pattern, building off of the basic tunic I made for Lucy's owl costume. I drafted sleeves, a hood, and pockets — all of which are easy add-ons to a simple tank dress (especially for a kid, and in stretch fabrics). I plan on posting how-to's for adding pockets and a hood to anything in the coming weeks. For the leggings, I'm using the Sleeping Johns pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated. My kid has already declared to me that she won't wear this. So maybe this will be my Thanksgiving give-away. Fingers crossed it turns out good enough for strangers.

Nov 13, 2011

I'm Grateful

I've been so lucky this year to be on the winning end of a few blog giveaways. Among them: Snoozer Loser fabric from; the great book Growing Up Sew Liberated, again from; a vintage pattern from Male Pattern Boldness, which you should really be reading, if you aren't already (Wait, wait! I didn't mean RIGHT now!).

The lovely Debi (who I missed meeting at the meet-up in NYC this fall because I was moving, blech) at My Happy Sewing Place posted a challenge to other sewing bloggers today. The Sew Grateful challenge is to "use an item of fabric, pattern, book or other item that was given to you in a giveaway or as a present from a family member or friend and showcase your project on your blog during the week of November 21st." I think it's a lovely idea. So many sewing bloggers have great giveaways — not to mention those who post helpful tutorials, or devote precious time and talent to hosting the sew-alongs that motivate the rest of us to try something new and challenging. (Again, I'm talking to you, Male Pattern Boldness). For all that, I am grateful.

Something I haven't done enough of this year is give things away. So in addition to joining in on this fun
challenge, I plan on giving some...thing away....I don't know what yet. I'll make it good though. I promise.

Nov 11, 2011

Finished (with new and improved buttons!): Very Easy Vogue 8626

There are some things I've learned in recent years that were at once a revelation and slap in the face that some things are much easier to do than you think. For example: did you know you can make microwave popcorn in a paper lunch bag? You just throw the kernels in the bag, fold it shut, and microwave on high for 2 &1/2 minutes. When I discovered this (I think via ReadyMade Magazine — may it rest in peace), I was pissed at myself for not figuring out sooner. As someone who hates the flavour of fake butter (and is too counter-space-poor to buy an air popper) I thought I had to make it in a pot. Do you know how many pots I have ruined over the years?

I digress. You know what else is easy? Sewing a coat. I don't know why I thought it would be harder (maybe because they're so darn expensive?). Well, probably not all coats are easy to sew. But if it has "Very Easy" in the title, then you can bet you won't be losing too much sleep over it. Witness my Very Easy Vogue 8626 coat in blue plaid wool with new delicious orange (possibly leather or faux leather) buttons:

 Don't I look happy despite the fact that I always end up in an argument with my husband when he's taking photos of me in a finished project? It's because I adore the back of this coat:

 Love that pleat and those seams, and the way the collar stands sort of ruggedly over those very feminine design details. I like wearing this new coat with the collar down too. Witness the versatility:

And here's the secret ugly surprise that I am not too ashamed to show you:

Coat of many ugly colours
Fleece lining in not one, but two ugly colours. I can't stress enough how little I spent on sewing this coat, which I do really love: $4 for the blue plaid wool fabric, nothing on the fleece, which was leftover from some costume projects, and $5 on the buttons, which I bought at Vardhman Inc. on 39th St at 8th Ave in NYC (I just looked up the name of this notions store using Google maps; I had to get the street view, which is always fun. Here it is in case you want to find it. I love this place. It's not the biggest, but I always find something, and the whole family seems to work there):

Vardhman Inc

I've mentioned before a few of the changes I made to this pattern: I shortened it through the waist a couple inches (because I have a short torso; that's a standard mod for me), and I also shortened it at the hem because I didn't have enough fabric to make it full length. It's one of those decisions you make and then hope for the best: I worried it would change the proportions of this coat, and indeed the one issue I have is the side seam curves out a little too much at the hip (and I have wide hips for my frame, so usually I need to add ease at the hip). But it's possible in the longer length, that curve would be less pronounced. I actually think the shorter length makes this coat a little younger and more wearable day-to-day — a happy accident I can attribute to my past self who thought two yards of wool should be enough for a jacket. The present me knows better.

Nov 9, 2011


I'm sewing buttonholes this morning and contemplating my good fortune: I got tickets to Saturday Night Live! The tickets are notoriously hard to get. You can enter the lottery for tickets during the month of August ONLY. You send in an email with all your info...and then forget about it, figuring you stand no chance. But I got an email yesterday afternoon saying I won tickets to the Nov. 19 dress rehearsal! Now, a dress rehearsal sounds less-than the live taping, but I am still super stoked. Lining up for hours on end (the other way to get tickets to a taping is to line up at 7 a.m. the day of the show: no thanks!) is no longer an option for us, and I think this will be just as fun, though I stand no chance of being seen in the background during the monologue.

Apparently the lovable Jason Segal will be hosting, and Florence and the Machine is the band. I'm presuming Segal is there to promote the Muppet Movie, so maybe Kermit and the gang will be on hand too (I'm partial to Gonzo; if he sits next to me, I just might explode).

In other good news: my husband shot a small role on One Life To Live. He also got into Miami Ad School (the New York campus). Plus did I mention I placed 2nd in's Halloween costume contest? They still haven't contacted me regarding my winnings. I trust them though....but you know, nobody's ever in a hurry to give you money, are they?

As for my Very Easy Vogue 8626 jacket, I'm in agreement with Peter, who suggested a darker button would be better with this dark blue and orange plaid. I had bought these online, hoping to avoid a trip downtown, but it looks like I'll be dragging my three-year-old out this afternoon. If I pair a trip to the garment district with a ride on the carousel at Bryant Park, perhaps she'll forgive me.

UPDATE: I thought I'd include the info on getting tickets to SNL, just in case anyone wants details. From the NBC site:

To enter the Saturday Night Live ticket lottery for the upcoming season send an email in the month of August only to
Please include all contact information and do not request a specific date. If you are selected, you will receive two tickets to a random show date and time. You may only send one email per household and all audience members must be at least 16 years of age. Please note that entering the lottery does not guarantee tickets, and you will only be notified in the event that you are chosen.


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