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Weekend: James is Coming to Town!

weekend1 Weekend: James is Coming to Town!
My relationship with my brother James is and will always be different than others. For one, it’s the longest bond I’ll ever have. I’ll know him before and after any significant other and will probably know him longer than my dad. That is, if I don’t ax him before my pops goes to the grave. But what’s most interesting about kin, especially this kin in the photo above, is that they help form your identity. By relating my traits to James’, I have developed my own concept of self. James parties a lot while I don’t, and I have come to define myself as reserved because of the dichotomy. Some might say recluse, in which I say sewing recluse!

James came to town last night; that’s him in the photo above. He’s more casanova than cute these days, and through Sunday, he’ll be living it up, Madalynne style. He’s never been to NYC, so we’re taking a day trip to see the big apple. He insisted on seeing his friend’s clothing store in the East Village, and I agreed on one condition – that we go to the most magical place on earth. No, not Disney World! Mood Fabrics! I got light pink wool coating on my mind.

Wish me luck – he’s a handful!

post footers giveaway winner jennifer Weekend: James is Coming to Town!

Bra Making: 5 Terms You May Not Know

bra terms 01 Bra Making: 5 Terms You May Not Knowbra silhouettes 02 Bra Making: 5 Terms You May Not Know
post footer bra making Bra Making: 5 Terms You May Not Know

The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissors

thor scissors 1 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissors

Why do I like vintage? Except for the speed of communication, medicine, electricity and maybe a few other things, everything is recycled. DaVinci knew how to fly, the Egyptians used make up and the Chinese made beautiful silks thousands of years ago. Today, most things are remade and there is very little newness. The future is in the past.

About 4 months ago, I was gifted a box of vintage sewing goodies. It originally belonged to the gifter’s grandmother and inside were doodads so delicious, any sewer would want to eat them. Okay, not really, but any sewer would toy with the idea of preserving the contents rather than putting them to use. Myself included. The packaging, its colors and its designs were and still are incredible. What happened to that kind of graphic integrity? Seems like it was thrown out the window along with handkerchiefs and pantyhose. But it would be a shame to leave them in the box for good. Would I sew a garment and hang it in my closet forever? If the future lies in the past, I had to find a way to keep the memories of these items but also put them to work. So, I started taking pictures of a few and uploading them to Instagram with the hashtag #thewaysewingusedtobe. To my surprise, a couple weeks later, other people started posting their goodies as well. I can’t believe it, but today, there are over 150 images! Thank you for being a sewing nerd with me. Is it just me or how cool is it that there is now an archive of the way sewing used to be?

I want to continue this little initiative and start a monthly theme – scissors. If you’re like me, the only variety you know are Gingher or the cheap-oh alternative found at Joann’s, Michaels or other local craft stores. A quick search on Ebay and you’ll quickly learn just like I did that in the 50s, 60s and 70s, there were more choices. Many more; even electric scissors! I’m sure people in the 60s thought they were so high-tech too! For less than $15 dollars, I bought a pair of Thor Speed Snip Electric Scissors. According to the instruction sheet, they were “intended for the 40 million women who sew creatively.” The manual continues, “The dramatically new way for accurate cutting of cloth, fabrics, dress goods, drapery materials, seating, etc. Completely eliminates chances of sore fingers and cramped, tired hands. Small, compact, durable. Safe, even for children.” A little online research and I learned that Thor was founded in 1893 as the Independent Pneumatic Tool Co. by John D. Hurley, John Hopkins (then mayor of Chicago) and Roger Sullivan (a politician). In 1953, the name was dropped in favor of Thor Power Tool Co., but the same Thor logo was kept. They acquired Speedway Manufacturing Company in 1954 and incorporated its name and brands into the Thor family. Thor was best known for handheld power tools and had factories in Cicerio and La Grange Park, Illinois. The company was later acquired by Stewart-Warner Corp and by 1988, all products with the Thor name were replaced with Stewart-Warner.

So, for the next month or so, I’ll be posting the various vintage scissors I’ve acquired on Instagram with the same hashtag, #thewaysewingusedtobe. Feel free to join in this theme, but don’t feel pressured that only scissors are welcomed. There is room for all vintage sewing notions!

thor scissors 2 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissorsthor scissors 4 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissors thor scissors 3 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissorscheck out more 02 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissorsthe way sewing used to be 3 01 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissorsthe way sewing used to be2 01 The Way Sewing Used To Be: Scissors

Weekend: Mishka Update

weekend 10 17 Weekend: Mishka Update

As Mishka recovers from cancer, I’ve been making it a point to call her more often. She still sews everyday, from 9 in the morning to about noon, but other than that, her schedule is clear. During those times when she’s at home, mostly watching TCM – it’s the only channel she’ll allow, I update her on the going ons and happenings in my life (she was cheering me along while I was making my coat). When I get off the phone with her, I can’t help but be inspired by her enthusiasm despite her sickness. “My hair is growing back! It’s about an 1/8 inch” she says, in which I respond, “I’m sure you look just a good bald as you do with hair.” Side note – only a seamstress would use the measurement 1/8″. Amirite? One of the most deadly diseases is attacking her body, and she’s has nothing but upbeat things to say. No oh-woe-is-me kind of attitude; she’s all joie-de-vivre. We’ve all got things going on in our life – work issues, relationship quandaries and family predicaments, but we’re not in as big of a pickle as being sicken by cancer or heart disease or luekemia or ebola. I’ve been going at life with the appreciation Mishka display – that despite what I don’t have, I have a lot more. A great career, a loving family and an amazing community of sewers who are my biggest cheerleaders and keep me going when I don’t feel like going any more (I’m rooting for you too!). So, I hope you go into this weekend and the rest of your days with this same “tude.” Happy weekend, happy days, happy sewing!

post footer weekend Weekend: Mishka Update

      Did you hear that I'm teaching an online bra making class? In 1 hour, I walk you through constructing a bra from start to finish, and I'll cover choosing a bra pattern, finding your size, tracing and cutting tips and construction. Click HERE to sign up now! If you can't attend the class, I will be teaching it in person this winter here in Philadelphia; EMAIL ME to be put on the waiting list.


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