Sunday, November 30, 2008

Im Not So Ashamed This Year

I spent a few days up in Seattle visiting my son, Haydn, and pretty much just hanging out. We did a couple touristy things and ate lots of sushi and hot dogs (not all at the same time!)

We watched horror flicks and made pies for Thanksgiving. I read the new novel out about Daniel Boone - my great American Hero. The only hero Ive ever had. Why am I always attracted to escape artists and dreamers!!!!!! Well, I'm too busy to dissect that one, but its probably pretty obvious to anyone who knows anything about my life!

Not being much of a Thanksgiving kind of person (it all seems so redundant to me), I was thankful for a great many things this year. My son, the lovely ladies and gentlemen who support my business, the friends who have given me support when I was down, so many more things that I just cant write down at the moment!

I forgave the white man for exterminating the original citizens of this continent - not a damned thing I can do about it now anyway although Ive been deeply ashamed. (and my great American hero was partly to blame in his way) Whats done is done and I played no part in it- although Im sure I would have been no better at the time - who knows. I like to think not, but most of us as a species have been unconscious of our journey - our behaviour and history does like to repeat itself, does it not.

I hemmed Haydns' new drapes, cooked, baked, drank, did the mom thing, visited his Friends, had a huge and amazing thanksgiving dinner - thank you, Aleah! That was the best turkey I have ever had!!!

There was much to be thankful for, even in this economy. Maybe even because of it. I feel it is very important to purchase nice things for oneself when one can and there is nothing wrong with having lots of money.....but the over consumption just had to give. It will be interesting to see what people do for Christmas this year. I gave up on fancy presents years ago. I'm sure we will see lots of creativity now! And that, I'm thankful for as well!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Joy Of Thimble

I hate thimbles. I hate hand sewing with anything on my fingers. I prefer the feel of that needle on my skin. Its part of the fun. I can sew faster and with more efficiency without a piece of cumbersome metal or leather or whatever the finger protection method of the day is. I can manipulate the fabric or the trim or the thread. I am one with my needle and thread.

But the downside of this thrill of the needle is that my fingers get ripped to shreds. There is rarely a day that goes by that I dont have ripped finger tips.
Ive learned to live with it. My hands are so torn and burned by irons and glue guns, and sewing tools, that it will take several lifetimes before I can ever audition for the job of hand model.

I equate sewing with a thimble as one would with the necessity of wearing a helmet when on a bike or motorcycle. Helmets suck. Period. I mean, really ......have you ever worn one????? But they keep us safer.

(I was going to compare thimble sewing with wearing a condom during sex, but I thought I'd better quit while Im ahead.)

Ive tried every kind of thimble on the market. I hate them all. The metal, the leather, the glue on dots, the wraparounds - they slow me down. They make me crazy. I cant feel a thing. I sew without one. I take my chances. My fingers are trashed. I sew with abandon........

And then one day I walked into Britex and there before me was the thimble that changed my life.

I can sew with this rubber silicone thimble. I can somewhat feel the pressure of the needle. Im not annoyed, or slowed down very much. And the darned thing stays on. (you know what Im talking about - wink wink) So far, the needle has not penetrated my skin. No blood has flowed in weeks. I only have a little cut on my index finger - and who the hell knows where that came from - not from a needle!

They are so pretty! They come in several sizes and a bunch of colors. I love them so much that Im going to buy a bunch of them, line them up, and gaze adoringly at them. Just because..........
I think Im in love.

You can buy them at Britex, or:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Custom Ordering Section On Etsy

I now have a Custom Only section up on my etsy store!

This way, you can go to this section and order what you like - we will discuss what color(s) and size you need and I will have all your info in one place.
Easier for you I hope - and easier for me!

Ive got the Fluffie Rufflie Dance Pants, Fluffie Pantaloons, Leg Ruffles, and a wedding dress. I'll have Sampants and Garter shorts next. This way, if I dont have something for immediate sale, you can go ahead and order it without wondering if Im ever going to get something posted in your size. The wait is always longer with custom orders, but at least you are getting what you need!


Friday, November 7, 2008


Ive been hoarding a little stash of fabric (some I actually just found) for when things settle down and I can focus on new stuff again.

Let me know if there is something you would like made out of this. First come first serve.
There isnt a lot of this - enough for a few ruffles - maybe sampants?

Most are 1" stripes - very wide
The red and white is a heavy cotton lycra and would work for the Fluffie Rufflie Dance Pants or Sampants
The red and off white is a little sparklie and could worlk for sampants
All would work for skirts and ruffles and bum ruffles

Contact me at kathleen.crowley'at'

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fairy Godmother

It took me around 12 hours to make this outfit. Give or take an hour or two - I had to jump up and down quite a lot. I also had to think a bit on how some of this was going to go together. This is the end of my work in progress dress to wear as godmother to baby Declan.

I had originally copied this pattern from the original that someone let me borrow once. I had few directions and knew that I was going to have to tweak this in order to make it fit right. I used an inexpensive poly stretch pinstripe that worked out pretty well. I would have rather used a nice wool blend, but I had 0 time to shop for this and used what I had. I also had no time for a mock up - but knowing what I know about these old patterns and patterns in general, I added seam allowance at all seams and because I'm 5'11", I added 4 extra inches to the skirt and 2 extra inches to the peplum just in case. I made the skirt fuller and I also dropped the waist an inch because even though I am fairly short waisted, it would have looked really odd to have such a short waist and such long legs - despite that this is how models are drawn on these pattern jackets.

I reinforced the bodice at the bust esp. because I was using a stretch fabric. I dropped the neckline about 2 inches so that it wouldn't look so matronly - which actually turned out looking more like the pattern illustration than if I had left it alone (tip for everyone - the necklines usually always have to be dropped to look more flattering - unless you are into the matronly look)

The outfit went together very easily once I fitted it to myself. I did have to take in the waist a lot more than I had estimated because of the stretch factor, but I'm glad I cut it a little big anyway - because when in a hurry, more is better. You can always take it in or hem it up. I also added steel boning to the front and back in the darts because it kept the waistline from bunching (and I was afraid that since I did not flat line the bodice, this might be the case) You can always use that nylon boning, but I dont like it.

I ended up binding the hem, sleeves and peplum with strips of bias binding that I cut from the same fabric. This went very quickly for me - much quicker than the hand hemming that I would have done - and it gave a nice, modern, finished look.

I also made the front of the skirt shorter - under the knee - and left the back long. I thought this was the most modern and flattering rendition of a vintage look.

I added a hook and a velvet bow at the neck. I threw on some little vintage buttons at the sleeve and bodice - and voila! It didnt look half bad. I even serged all the inside seams and made it nice which is something I dont always do on my own stuff.

Im really not suffering from jaundice. I tweaked these photos because my camera wasnt going to show any detail otherwise!

Hail Obama

I wasn't prepared for the landslide election last night. I thought it was a joke as my friend Ginny and I sat in a bar after wandering around Valencia St. window shopping and eating Indian food. We were two of about 6 people sitting in front of a huge screen - and as we downed our shots of whiskey in anticipation, the numbers came in and we had a historical and monumental experience before we knew it! I thought we would have a few hours of gut wrenching anxiety first!

Well, the fight has just begun.
So much damage has been done in the last 8 years.
So much unnecessary fear and drama and death.
Obama is now going to be told what he can and cannot do-
His hands will be tied and the people who actually run the world will still call the shots.

But Fucking Hell - change happened. America showed how bad we have been feeling. Now there is at least hope. Youth got up and did something and told the powers that be what for. And centuries of wounds can now start healing. That means more to me than anything. Maybe we wont be made so fun of now. Maybe we have shown that we are not a nation of idiots. The old is dying away. And now there is a road open for some positive change.
I think most of us can breathe a little easier now. At least it is going to be 4 very interesting years ahead. Fingers crossed that some of this reign of utter stupidity and devastation can be be reversed.

I took this photo at Napper Tandy last night.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Time For Me Today

I must sew only for myself today. Im making this for my Fairie Godmother outfit tomorrow. I have it cut out and I didnt make a mock up first like I always scold people to do.

See.......Im just as bad as everyone else when it comes to making myself something because WHO HAS THE TIME for all the little steps involved!!!!!!!!!!!

I will say, though, that I cut it a little bigger for extra seam allowance and swing in the skirt. I also wanted the peplum to look like the illustration, so I cut the pieces wider. I also want the front bodice to be a little lower at the top near the neck. So we'll see..........

I'll post a pic if it turns out!