bathroom brawler

So, although my anna silk bout is scheduled for today, it has been delayed (again) by the surprise DIY bathroom renovation, progress shown above. The case of Bordeaux has been an intrinsic part of the process. But as far as the MSN Match goes, this featherweight contender (HAAAA get it?) has been way too involved in life and le toilette to give her opponent, Shocking Chiffon, the proper amount of respect. Behold:

Those pleats would have been, as Rob would say, ruinaballoona.

I'm taking the weekend to do things properly, and will reveal on Tuesday. It hurts my A+ nature like the dickens to miss a deadline, but this stuff is too pretty to slam through. And slamalicious I have been: I was even caught hand stitching in the waiting room of an audition yesterday. It was not pretty. My brilliant idea of pre-waxing the thread and rolling it up in my purse left me with a dreadlock of cotton fiber. When they called my name, I was a mere three stitches in, and as I grabbed my bag, I accidentally pulled on the thread and snarled the whole shebang all over again. (First time EVER, by the way, that this particular casting office didn't make me wait 30 minutes. I was counting on that 30 minutes of bathroom-DIY-dust-free space, yo!!!)

Now that I'm calmly forging ahead, I thought I'd share a few tips for working with extremely thin super sheer silk chiffon. (My friends who do not speak sew, skip ahead to the last tidbit. What the hell is a tidbit, anyway?)  

sharp fine glass head pins, of course. I know most peeps use steel pins with those teeeeeeeeny heads, but Rob likes to find my pins with his feet. Glass head are easier to see amidst the rubble, and my iron won't hurt them.  

my glass nail file is ever handy in order to keep my talons from snagging the precious. Seriously, this thing is genius.

mercerized cotton thread  is your mate: if a seam should break due to poor tension (HIGHLY possible with this stuff, at least at my level of coughexpertisecough) the thread will go before the silk will. Speaking of tension...

for your machine, a light pressure and low tension seems to be best. Still! Adjusting my stitch length even the slightest bit changed the game. Exactly 2.5 is a happy marriage for my machine and silk. Guess who had to unpick a few seams after finding that out. A microtex needle (also known as sharp) is the bomb. If your machine has one, use a straight stitch plate.

when sewing, don't backstitch! Start each seam a bit further in (starting at the raw edge will give your needle plate some delicious silk to chew on, and you will definitely need a cocktail to get that mess outta there. I recommend a french gimlet). When starting and ending a seam, you can either begin with a very tiny stitch length for the first five stitches or so, or hand knot the beginning and end of each seam.

last tidbit: cutting sheer silk sucks. Especially when, due to aforementioned surprise DIY, your only choice of cutting surface is the bedroom rug. But wait! What about that piece of 5x5 drywall you just happen to have lying around? Couldn't you duct tape some straight edges on the sides, throw that on top of the bed, and make a swiveling cutting surface?

Yes. Yes you could.

(But if you go that route, don't use a rotary cutter.  Drywall dust gets EVERYWHERE, man.)

eta: this post has been updated with some affiliate links, so let your fingers do the googling if you're not into that! any pennies earned go back into sewing and blogging (and the occassional prize for my own personal handyman.)


in which the power of instagram is explained

well howdy y'all!! i am indeed back from dallas, where i got to hang with this absolutely delicious trio of ladies. from left to right: moonthirty (who just leveled up), miss lulu sews (who does not understand the validity of instagram, bad miss lulu) and dixie diy (who's embarking on a wedding dress!).  they came to see me in my other life, which thrilled me to no end...and also made me nervous, surprisingly! i thought i only got butterflies for ruggy, but throw a few sewists in the audience and whaddayaknow. we enjoyed brinner together after the show (i had pancakes in a blanket) and these goodgood friends made me yearn for my NYC gang like mad.  the camaraderie, the common love, the shared part of this very solitary craft, it's great to be so fortunate to have it in real life as well as virtual.

that brings me to a meetup of another kind going on this week.  the sisters-in-cocktails you see above have all banded together with a common goal: silk annas for our august MSN makes. 

why did we decide to tackle this self-imposed mini challenge?  you may put the blame squarely on the dreamy filtered shoulders of instagram. an instameet, if you will. if you're not on it, (coughmisslulucough) i highly recommend it for all manner of debauchery.  to wit:

the snap that started it all was this shot of by hand london's newest smash hit pattern resting upon this silk print. sonja realized we were pattern twins, and i immediately suggested a battle royale.  naturally. lladybird lauren wanted in on the action, and let's face it, MORE PEOPLE IN THE CAGE MATCH EQUALS MORE FUN.

of course, the fourth wrestler in this throwdown is the silk itself.  my opponent, currently beating me about the head and neck, is the metallic silk chiffon instagrammed above.  yesterday, lauren won brilliantly against her thakoon silk charmeuse... and bear witness to sonja's supreme success today, I DROOL.  my match will round out the three at the end of the week, god, yoda, yahweh and the surprise DIY renovation of our bathroom willing...

yeah, i haven't truly showered since august 19th.



ah, and for you, mommaballoona, a cocktail made of the perfume of summer... the french gimlet: 

2 parts gin
1 part st germain
1/2 part fresh lime juice

shake well with ice, strain into martini glass
add lime twist

if not tonight, then mayhaps this weekend.....



for your late evening enjoyment... ruggy's opening night cocktail:

1 oz gin
1 oz carpano antica vermouth

stir over ice

add a lemon peel, twisted over glass.

drink repeatedly.


you say you want a revolution

Well, I say it.  And if you sewcialists out there agree, I'm pretty sure we can get this done, LICKETY SPLIT.

I do so love that sort of charming language, much as I am also one hundred percent a truck driver at a diner slugging 3am coffee for that overnight haul and hurling expletives at a Cleveland Browns fan. Ruggy left a message saying there was some rigamarole going on the other day, and I broke out into a hunky dory grin.

But I digress. Let's talk about another sort of language: blog categories! Did you ever think the word blog would exist, much less the need to categorize it?! Long before the demise of google reader, I'd been looking for a way to read the maaaaaany blogs I love. Time was, I had a nice long blogroll on the sidebar of this here corner of the web. It was set to list blogs as they updated, and that was my reader. Then the creeps and hackers and malware found us, and if my blogroll contained a site that contained a link to a suddenly "suspicious" address, one would find a big red warning flag on my frontpage, and a bunch of worried shout outs in my inbox. I hate that like I hate a messy sewing area. Enter: pretty girl Bloglovin.

You know it by now, many have jumped ship there, and many purely out of necessity. But hark! I see a way to decorate it to our tastes! When claiming your blog, you will notice there are many categories to choose from. And like me, you might think: I don't fit in anywhere. Fashion is for shoppers (a category for each gender, even), we're not Street Style, not fully Design... the closest bet, methinks, is DIY & Crafts. But that shoe doesn't quite fit either, does it?

Must we be labeled? No, not really. I run the gamut from rambling about ballet to sewing for bar carts. But when I'm looking specifically for new sewing fodder, I like to search popular posts by category. A peek today at popular posts in DIY & Crafts brings up how to dill pickles, make a party topper, and a recipe for a pina colada.  (You would think I'd be all into that last one, but I like a little more alcohol and a little less fruit.)

Wouldn't y'all like a Sewing category? Think of it! Think of all the blogs out there just waiting to be discovered and added to your feed!  HOW MANY MORE COUNTLESS HOURS COULD YOU SPEND READING SAID BLOGS INSTEAD OF TACKLING THOSE SET IN SLEEVES???

No, no. Don't think of it that way. But if you'd like to tell Bloglovin to add a special sewing corner for us, where we can easily find inspiration and new sewists, hop on over to my fancy dancy suggestion, and add your vote!


holy mollie!

i was also toying with "hello, mollie!"  and "mollie want a cracker?".

so, this is pretty cool, and i'm finally able to holler about it...I'M ALL UP IN MOLLIE MAKES, YO! someone got a little too tipsy at a business lunch and decided to include me in a gorgeous handful of six crafters from around the world, and this healthy half dozen makes up The Back Page Project.  each issue, you'll find a crafty tale from one of us on--you guessed it--The Back Page.  party in the back, y'all!  well, party everywhere, really, i imagine i would eat each colorful page like candy if i had it in front of me.    now... where to find mollie makes stateside??

update: well, you lovely geniuses, i had NO IDEA barnes and nobles carries eight thousand crafty magazines.  what a lovely rabbithole.  thanks for the love, and the new obsession!


mountain mama

there are clothes that women love on women, there are clothes that men love on women, and never the twain shall meet.  well, the fairer sex can usually go both ways, but the harder sex, if you will forgive the pun, can't get behind certain styles: high waisted jeans.  bubble skirts.  gathered waists.  drop crotch.

as you may have gleaned, i have not had the luxury of being around my better half for more than the better part of summer.  the obvious consolation prize in this situation: make and wear the things he will undoubtedly dislike. the booby prize (if you will again forgive the pun): reap the praise of the female company i'm keeping at work!

is this gender pleasing dress code meant to spite him?  no!  never!  look, if my man's not here to compliment me, what good is it wearing the curve hugging styles he adores?  am i going for appraising looks from strangers in bars?  no! never! i'm going for chic comfort!  and a nice smoky bourbon!

this heavenly soft jersey from mood fabrics (online) actually began its life with me as a self draped maxi dress. and when i say draped, i mean hacked and pinned and thrown on and off in hotel closets for want of my dress form, half a country away.  it's a large panel print, with a dusky purple mountain scene.  and no, it does not break my self imposed ban on jersey.  it's my birthday week, all bets are DECIDEDLY off.

the initial dress was inspired by a floaty jersey maxi worn by one of our deliciously curvy dancing trees, but by the time it was finished, it hugged my curves in ALL.  The Wrong.  Places.  one seam actually landed right across the horizon line of mount crackatoa, creating the stunning illusion that my waist, hip and abdomen were indeed a redwood forest. at this point i actually should have gifted it to any number of long legged ladies at work, but instead, i hacked off the bodice, turned the skirt upside down, decided not to fight the flow, and draped a pear shaped number.

right now, ruggy is looking at this concoction and seeing this:


meanwhile, while out for drinks with tinkerbell, she saw this:


me, i'm in the middle.  i don't really shy away from shapes that might not, erm, accentuate my shape...but i do think this gives my trunk a bit more junk than necessary.  

oh yeah.  really.  that's just wrong.

ah well.  it feels delicious, and looks dressy when paired with the right kicks.  

no, these are not the right kicks.  these are neon yellow wedge sneakers that ruggy will hate even more than this dress.  when the cat's away...the mouse is very sad and buys wedge sneakers.

will such items journey back with me to new york, or will they end up on tinkerbell?  only time and testosterone will tell.

this ruggy repelling dress was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network.


still in neverland

apparently one really does not grow up in neverland, as i let my birthday slide by this year without a peep on the blog, let alone a promaballoona.  but it was celebrated, with no less than seventy two balloons, and gifts from near and far, and cupcakes, and catfish, and cocktails, and ruggy getting on a plane, and ruggy getting back on a plane...

and although i love it here i am so ready to be home again.  i told ruggy that being apart was like being underwater for just a little too long... when you were a kid and thought you could go really deep and swim awhile before coming up for air... when you realized that maybe you couldn't.  and when you did finally come up for air, and took that very first deep breath: 

that's what being together again is like.  

and though the sky here is big, and the air is beautiful, i'm ready for city nights, blocked by skyscrapers, and nonstop deep breathing.