Friday, July 13, 2012

how ladylike


when i first picked up this "hobby" that has since become an overwhelming obsession passion, i was lucky enough to be surrounded by every manner of estate sale.  back in the day, LA was chock full of 'em, and they had yet to be taken over by specialty companies that did their market research and jacked the prices up.  and no one knew what they had.  including me.  i was lucky enough to snag both of these claire shaeffer titles for about 2 bucks, and when we jumped back across the country (neverending, these jumps across the country) I LEFT THEM IN STORAGE.  during those three years apart, my knowledge increased and so did my regret.  she's basically a guru.  

i left a guru in a public storage facility by the airport.  

we were reunited the very week we landed back on LA soil, and i've been using these tomes non stop. especially now that i've developed champagne tastes.  every evening in june, you could find me with a manhattan and post it tabs, poring over taffeta and italian brocade.  currently, i'm researching silk.  OH MY GOD I LOVE SILK.  the one i'm fondling at the moment is a thicker silk, like meringue right before you beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.  of course ms shaeffer has several tons of valuable information on the subject, and i had to share one of her hints with you.  i love her hints, but this about knocked me off my chair:



CLAIRE SHAEFFER AIN'T NO LADY.

i didn't think i could love her more, but now i do.  anyone know if the new & improved reprints have this tidbit? either way, her entire library is on my christmas list.  

32 comments:

  1. Claire Shaeffer is a goddess. This is the honest truth.

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  2. AMAZING. What a gal! To be honest, I've felt like I don't have the skills to make me worthy to read one of her books. What's a good one to start with?

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    1. oh, definitely fabric sewing guide. it is RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING. which i suppose makes it ridonkulous. i don't know about reprints, but my 1989 find also has loads of sewing techniques, it's like having two sewing books in one.

      and you gotta be kidding me, yellow dress.

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    2. Thanks for the suggestion! Gonna hunt me down a copy of that!

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  3. Now I have the Ella Fitzgerald song, "that lady is a tramp" in my head. that's my personal theme song. Lurve it.

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  4. If only the "People of Walmart" would wear silk blouses and skirts with pleats to shop instead of...whatever it is that the People of Walmart are featured wearing.

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  5. Claire Schaeffer is now my official hero. Who wants to be a lady, anyway? :)

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  6. Claire would help you bury a body and never muss her knife pleats. That is a lady in my neighborhood!

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  7. AWESOME! I've been wearing all my fluffy sundresses lately while the weather's been nice, and I feel so very ladylike... until I realize that I'm striding along like a trooper with my five-hundred pound laptop backpack and sweating like a pig. In my fluffy sundress. Ladylike fail.

    I also destroy slim and straight-cut skirts, usually the first time I take a flight of stairs...

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  8. Oh I know what you mean about the decline of sewing-related thriting and estating! I just finished my Wyoming-Montana-Idaho thrifting tour and there was nothing sewing related anywhere! I swear people have wised up and put that shit on Ebay.

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  9. I have my family in Western Australia (including those who work in op shops in small country towns) all on the lookout for old sewing patterns, books etc. people over there haven't worked out the value of these things - things happen slowly in WA (Wait Awhile). I'm not sure if I will be lucky enough to get a Claire Schaffer book. There aren't many people who wear silk to go shopping over there.

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  10. Hahaha I love this.

    I'm a huge fan of pencil skirts, however I've never quite reconciled this with the fact that I drive a truck. The number of times I've heard that RIIIP as I step up to the driver's seat...

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  11. I love the short cuts books - it's soooo good!

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  12. Hands down my favorite sewing guru. ESPECIALLY cuz she ain't no lady. I mean... who is? Small steps... tehehehehe

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  13. "i left a guru in a public storage facility by the airport." Thanks for making me spit take my hot tea all over my lap Oona.

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  14. Claire is a genius! Can I tell you how awesome I think it is that you pour over your sewing books. People sometimes ask me why I don't read "real books" and I tell them it's because I read "textbooks." So so glad there exist other people in this world that do the same!

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  15. Love it! I got Fabric Sewing Guide for Christmas, and hubby thought I was a total weirdo curling up with it like a novel. So good!

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  16. Also, mine is a reprint and it's full of tidbits too, but that particular one has been edited out. What a shame!

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    1. oh, BOO. well, i do hear the reprints have even more info, so i guess they had to trim something....

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  17. How have I missed out on the brilliant Claire? These are great tips! I am gonna have to add these to my Christmas list too!

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  18. Also, another hint, if you use a pure cotton thread on a lighter weight silk that is not so strong... less puckers and rippling. I found that one out by accident when I used a 40+ year old spool of cotton thread cause it was all i had at 1am in the morning that matched.

    Oh yeah... I'm back. :)

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    1. WASSUP!

      yes, she shares that... unfortunately i didn't go that far. DUMB not to, but i get so pigheaded.

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  19. She is a genius I have Couture Sewing Techniques, a little advantageous I know; I like to think that one day, in the not too distant future I can spend some time with her and learn me a new technique or two. Why don't I have Fabric Sewing Guide? I went for Sandra Betzina More Fabric Savvy. I must investigate

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  20. I can sit and read that book for hours. My 1994 edition does retain that little gem of inappropriate skirt wearing behavior. Our dear Ms. Schaeffer is just a bundle of contradictions. She also uses a colander to rinse her hand-washed silks and old diapers as press cloths. I think there is a strong practical streak running through the the heart of her couture genius.

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  21. ooooh another series of books i NEED. IMMEDIATELY. i only have the Couture Sewing Techniques and it was definitely like reading crack. awesome awesome sewing crack!! now to find them.....

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  22. Oh my, I should've ripped a million silk dresses by now. This is hilarious! Now if only she had advice for coffee-spilling. That's my nemesis.

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  23. Hahah! I'll check my copy b/c I have a newer version of the Fabric Guide. Aww man, I hope my copy also has lovely chunklets of experience like that, otherwise I'm going to be feeling left out!

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