Plenty of scribbles in my notebook so it is time for another Random Threads post. I can't believe August is more than half finished, you know I love summer and put autumn at the bottom of my list of preferred seasons. Chilly weather, falling leaves, days getting shorter. Not my thing at all. And the raptures over fall sewing. I don't get it. Summer fabrics forever! But of course if we were all alike it would be boring and so I will check out your fall sewing and possibly be inspired. But don't count on it.
Onward to my random thoughts.
Circular ruffles - remember this post I did a few weeks ago? Where I made a dress with a circular/flounce ruffle because I was writing a post for Craftsy. And then promptly removed said ruffle before even wearing it. The other day I was taking my periodic wander through Nordstroms in order to snoop all the designer stuff (be still my beating heart - Armani Collezioni your wools are heavenly, Lanvin and Marni caught my on this day as well). In both the designer departments and the more down to earth dress section I noticed a lot of circular ruffles. Both on hems and as a detail elsewhere. Here's one that I saw. Pretty how the ruffle curves up the side.
Are you watching the Olympics? I love them, every time they come around I am just a sucker for the whole thing. Plus it is such a nice diversion from politics - which we desperately need for a while. Anyway - I was thinking about sports the other day and realized I have never played a team sport despite doing a lot of sports. The closest I came was playing on the tennis team but tennis is not really a team sport in that you are playing individual matches. So tennis, skiing, golf, diving, even sailboarding a bit but no team sports. And yet I love to watch almost any Olympic sport. Well maybe I can skip the table tennis and badminton. Plus I am fascinated by the women track athletes - they look so beautiful. Do you watch only the sports you are interested in? or could not care less about the Olympics? Even all the various team uniforms and competition apparel - everything is fashion now and quite interesting to me.
Article in the NY Times about McCall's pattern company: here is the link, I am going to guess that a lot of you have read it by now. It was interesting to read although short on business details. I would love to have heard about how many patterns they sell annually, what are their best selling patterns etc. No secret that I am a big fan of Vogue patterns, particularly the designer patterns which have details from high fashion that you can't find elsewhere. These days I am not quite as good a customer as I was previously, having so many patterns in my file means I can usually find something that is pretty much the same as in their new offerings. But a pattern with multiple views and versions is what Vogue et. al do better than anyone. My latest Vogue pattern purchase was this one, V1500 which I thought had possibilities as a dress and also to convert into a top. So only one item here but I can envision it as other items as well.
Labels in clothes: I think I have mentioned this before in a previous random threads. This week I took a bunch of donations to the charity shop and was looking through my cast offs before bagging them up. And realized that any store-bought clothes I have all have the labels and tags removed. I just can't stand to have any tags or labels, they always seem to scratch. So I remove them all - which means there is no size label. And then my handmade stuff, also no size indication. So I asked the woman at the shop what they do and her reply was "We put 'em out and they have to try 'em on". Which made me feel OK about donating to that charity. At least my handmade treasures might make their way to someone who appreciates them. Hope so! But labels - I don't get it. To me that is a good thing about sewing - I don't have to have some stiff and scratchy label.
Thread colors: How many colors do you use? A sewing student remarked the other day that I didn't seem to have a lot of thread. Here is a pic of the colors that I keep in the drawer next to my sewing machine. These are the colors that I use for just about everything. I rarely buy thread to match a fabric - other than topstitching it doesn't show so who cares? White as often as possible - then I use navy on black and black when sewing navy. The black/navy thing is to save my eyes - which have been toting super thick glasses since the 4th grade. Thank goodness for contact lenses :) But back to thread. Sure, my sewing color palette is heavy on the blues but I find these threads enough. I do have a rack of other colors, like greens, beige/tan/brown/jeans thread, a few various reds and burgundy colors. Plus a bunch of singular colors like yellow, bright orange or a specific gray. Generally though I get by with these. And the two most useful of the colors are the two at the bottom. Grey is magic - when in doubt try grey. Also the purple one on the bottom right. It looks more violet here than it is in real life where is can become a light blue, pale violet, or even grey depending on fabric. Surprisingly useful.
Show me the garment: is anyone else sometimes frustrated when you are reading a blog post, or pattern review, or looking at an instagram pic of an item that someone has sewn and due to their pose you can't really see the details? Or maybe it is just me. The one that bugs me is having all photos with both hands on hips. Sure I do that - I think it is to avoid standing there like a stick figure, it feels natural and looks nice. But with both arms up then the armhole is distorted and I can't see how the pattern really looks. If I'm talking about a pattern I try - not always successfully - to show the pattern and how it fits or what I did to adjust the fit. Even some pattern companies do this - which they think might disguises the problematic areas but I think just exacerbates them (Colette - in my experience helping others their sleeve/armhole design is just weird and likely to be trouble). So fellow stitchers - show me your garment and I will try to do the same. Some are really diligent about showing the garment; front, back, sides plus details. Those of you, I salute you!
Fancy packaging - does it make you like something more? Recently I have read a few posts where someone wrote about an item, I think one was a sewing pattern and the other was something else, where they were in raptures over the fancy packaging and felt that it made the experience better. That fascinates me as I find if something is packaged lavishly it actually annoys me - it seems wasteful and like I am paying for that which adds no value to the actual thing. Packaging is meant to be thrown away so it seems odd to put too much into it. However I have ordered things on Etsy where the seller packaged items in what was obviously reused material and yet it was done with a bit of charm and whimsy. Or received gifts from friends from Japan that were beautifully yet minimally wrapped (they might be the masters of this). Anyway - clinging to my old habits - give me a nice tissue paper sewing pattern in a small white envelope and I am a happy customer.
Stripes! a festival of stripes! Stripe-mania! Stripe-A-Palooza! ok that is a tortured way of saying I have just completed 3 striped items in a row and I anticipate more. What is happening? I almost never sewing anything striped until a few years ago. Odd, I admit. But now I really like them. If you look at my instagram you will see a striped item that I posted which I am growing to like a bit more but was unsure since it is black, or mostly black and I hardly ever wear black. Because it is boring! OK there I said it, boring. Not fun. Dull. Anyway - this one might be redeemed. Full blog post on this one soon.
And a sneak peek of something that is more in my color wheelhouse. This one is pattern love - also soon to be blogged.
Confirmation that this dress has become something of a summer uniform (despite my sister saying yesterday "Did you make that dress?" Me "yes" Her "oh" Me "why, what do you think?" Her "it's ok, kind of looks like a housedress" Me "well I like it" ) Sisters.....you know how that goes. Love them and the conversation never changes since we were old enough to talk, right?
Only 92˚F on the thermometer - cool and balmy for an August day. But not really blue skies - the fires are taking their toll on N. California and I feel so bad for everyone in their path. Take care everyone and stay out of mother nature's way.
Happy Summer Sewing, Beth
today's garden photo - here is a trailing geranium that was in the shade and not really doing anything. I moved it into one of those hanging baskets in the sunshine and wow, so many blooms. I see the hummingbirds in the evening all over this one.