Wednesday, June 19, 2013


May and early June have been so wonderfully busy here at the Lucky homestead that I just didn't want to sit down and blog...although I keep writing many entries in my head.  Now it's time to catch up because I do appreciate having a record of my sewing projects and progress....or lack of it.  (and that jingle from an Almond Joy and Mounds commercial of thirty years ago, "sometime you feel like a (blogging) nut, sometimes you don't...has been annoying me enough to make me sit and type.)
In the middle of May I got to participate in a fashion show run by a friend from my church.  A supplier brought in racks of clothes and tables of accessories which a dozen of us modeled and which were then for sale with 10% of the proceeds going to her charity.  These were NY wholesale trendy, inexpensive items, clothing which I could rather easily make myself and would normally not tempt me whatsoever.  But I had to buy this unlined cotton jacket for one very cool detail. 
Here's the jacket....sorry for the distracting print, it was the only one of its kind.  It's an attached faux shawl collar, very similar to an OOP Simplicity jacket pattern that I use.  And this one is a double layer collar, with the top layer about one inch narrower than the bottom collar.  That's pretty cool detail in a lightweight fabric but why did I go ahead and spend $35 for this jacket when I could have easily enough made one of my own?

Here's why....I wanted to bring it home and figure out what's in this thin edging on both of those collars.  Turns out that there's something like wire edge-stiched onto the collar so that you can crinkle it or stand it up and it keeps its shape.  My pictures can't fully illustrate this neat little detail (one that I saw on a similar jacket in Naples this season for five times the price of this one.)  
Something wire-like in the "channels on the collar edges

The collars can stand up and stay up, together or on their own.
See the pinched, crimped edge which keeps its shape?
One of my friends has been sleuthing out this interior edge item and has told me that Lyla Messenger was selling this type of product in two thicknesses at a recent sewing expo.  It's not yet on her website but I'll be tracking it down at the ASG expo in August.  More sleuthing, then sewing, to be done.
So there I am, at the fashion show, sitting at a table with some women from church and they are making the usual remarks about sewing....."oh I use to sew until.....oh, do you do alterations?....oh, it's to hard to find good fabric...."  I get on my soapbox...."Oh, no, there are still good fabric places if you know where to go.....I am too slow and too expensive to do anyone's alterations except my own....really, just get some fitting help for a few basic garments and then have some fun again."  I look around the room and point to a woman's back and say, "Now look, isn't that a gorgeous jacket........wait  minute, no, it can't is....oh my gosh, there's a sewing goddess right here in the same room with us."  My church friends wonder what I am so excited about, but you, my dear sewing readers, you too would have been excited if that gorgeous jacket just happened to belong to (and be sewn by) the inimitable Susan Khalje. Susan Khalje 

Yes, the couture sewing empress herself was there and we got to laugh and enjoy seeing one another again.  I had taken Susan's hand stitching class followed by her gorgeous trunk show a few years ago at the Fort Myers Sewing Guild program.  She's funny, sweet, encouraging and a delight.....and even let a friend snap her picture.  She doesn't know it yet but I'm also her classroom helper at one of the ASG conference classes in August.  A fun fashion day and even there sewing was my greatest priority.
But sewing isn't the only handcraft that I got to enjoy in May.  Last year we got some lovely new neighbors and this spring they invited us out on this wonderful handbuilt wooden sailboat, made by a craftsman from Maryland's Eastern Shore.  Wow, it's beauty and the day was just as gorgeous.

And here are pictures of my 8th grade classmates enjoying handcrafted ice cream from the local candy and ice cream store in my hometown in northern New Jersey.  We get together for a reunion lunch each year and this time a dozen of us laughed and reminisced the afternoon away.  

Didn't want you to miss that I am wearing my Elle pants from Style Arc in this shot.
Last on the handcrafted theme, let me share a fascinating book which also made me appreciate Tiffany lamps and windows in a whole new way.  I heartily recommend:

Susan Vreeland did a great deal of research and has written a historical novel about the contributions of Clara Driscoll, the forward thinking artist behind the famous Tiffany lampshades and who ran the women's division at his studios.  Last summer I took a beginner's mosaics class and I loved the colors of even the simplest glass tiles.  Reading this book reminded me of how we sewists rave about the colors and depth of fabric details with the same passion as these artisans.   Thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing.
There it is, a little bit of May in a almond nutshell after all.