No idleness here

September 3, 2010

Nearing the end of Matilda's quilt

So, I’m still unemployable and still living month to month, but I’ve been keeping busy.

Matilda’s quilt continues onward. Twenty-four blocks for a twin-sized quilt for my daughter were machine-pieced, the quilt sandwich was made with lovely cotton batting, and I have quilted by hand 18 of the 24 blocks. I am keeping an eye on fabric sales online to pick up some yardage for the binding which will finish it off.

I have been combing through my belongings and selling them on Ebay. I have also been making things and listing them on Etsy. A shelf behind my couch serves as my staging point for weighing, listing, packaging.

Staging point for ebay and etsy sales

Sewing nook


One corner of the living room serves as my sewing spot. It”s all there, sewing machine, ironing board, iron, yardstick, pitcher for pouring water into the iron, various scissors, cutting mat, a self-made pattern, pink wicker shelves for notions and pretty things. And of course part of my vintage handbag collection. Everything is there except, of course, for the fabric, which is mounting higher and higher in my hall closet and spilling over into stacks in boxes and flat surfaces throughout the house.

Pillowcases and fabric scraps

No longer just a closet, now a fabric closet

Dress #6 and Dress #5

August blouse #1, detail

The sewing keeps me busy, and, by extension, sane.

I have been working all summer on a pattern for My Perfect Dress that will fit my body just right. I finally got it with Dress #5 and Dress #6.

Now I’m taking the pattern-making and machine-sewing skills I have learned from dressmaking, and I’m beginning to sew a line of blouses, in sizes XS all the way to XL. The blouses are vintage-inspired, often using vintage fabric, with 3/4 sleeves, simple accents at collars and cuffs, simple lines, simple to wear. I find that the best way to get good at making something is to make the same thing over and over again. Any boredom arising from this practice is reduced by choosing different fabrics along the way for each one. I taught myself how to knit hats without a pattern with this method a few years back.

How to feel like a woman

February 10, 2010

The first Saturday of this year was very cold. A much-loved vintage&junk store in the area was having a massive everything in the store closing sale that morning, so Cathleen, Amanda and I drove out to Chatham County to have a look. It wasn’t just a sale, it was an event. While trying on a fur stole I was accosted by an adorable newspaper reporter who was asking questions and taking photographs. She asked me what the attraction to vintage clothing is for me. I responded that I liked vintage and vintage-inspired clothes (particularly from the first few years of the 1960s) because they make me feel like a woman.

I’d never thought about it that way before that moment. Truly, though, nothing makes me feel more confident, desirable, clever, sophisticated, and feminine than stepping out fully dressed from head to toe. And the best way to top off a vintage-inspired outfit is with a smart coat, and I really, really, really want a coat with a fur collar. Wouldn’t that just be the icing on the cake?

I saw these in an Etsy shop, and I’m just boiling with desire for one (or all) of them:

All coat photos are from Dear Golden Vintage.

Indulging in colors

January 22, 2010

Today I wore (from top to bottom):

Obnoxiously yellow cardigan sweater
Bright green sleeveless top
My new old red coat
Pink and white houndstooth pencil skirt
Turquoise tights
Yellow flats

When the young lady handing out food samples at the grocery store this evening told me that she loved my outfit (“You are an inspiration!” she said), I was thrilled. She was so kind!

Life’s too short to wear boring clothes. I like to treat every day like it’s a costume party. I have mastered the art of matching black with brown (or brown with navy blue), and now I’m dabbling in Extreme! Color! and it’s a lot of fun.

Oh Toast, you are delicious

December 1, 2009

Toast makes lovely clothes.

From Toast

If I were actively building a winter wardrobe, it would look something like this. Thankfully for my pocketbook, Toast is a British retailer, and it is much easier to resist online shopping if international postage is involved.

To stave off boredom I’ve been looking through those street-fashion blogs this morning, and my first thought is “JESUS CHRIST, stylish people in Northern Europe are wearing really the most awful ugly things these days.” My second thought is to be reminded yet again that a Chapel Hill street style blog would never get very far because it would be pictures of the same 12 or so people over and over again. It must be nice to live in a city, sometimes.

Despite the hideous fashion on the streets of Copenhagen and Helsinki, I really like these outfits:

(From Ireland) She looks very ladylike, I approve whole-heartedly.

(From Finland) Adorable children, dressed in the same clothes as if they were Japanese!

(From Denmark) The shoes with the dark tights are delicious, as are the matching bangles.

(From Russia) The coat, the shoes, the suitcase are all perfect together. But he really should be wearing a scarf I think, as it looks seriously cold there.

Almost done

March 4, 2009


One of my hare-brained projects is finally coming to fruition. This is a preview of a zine I’m making that is one step away from being complete.


February 20, 2009

My rapidly developing – it started last night – current style crush:




Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, 1963