Berlin–Oui/Paris–Nicht

Hey– HAPPY SPRING!

NOW I guess it’s after Memorial Day so I’ll JUST SAY HAPPY SUMMER !!

Some of you may know that I recently took a trip abroad to visit friends who live in Europe. My plans were to visit Berlin, Germany and then travel on to Paris, France with said friends. Well LIFE HAPPENS, and  travel plans changed. YES- I DID travel to Berlin and had THE BEST of fun times with my friends.  But NO-I did not get to Paris.  BUT- Lord willing– Paris will still be THERE when I am ready to go to Europe again.  (Sorry Cindy- NO Parisian fabric shopping jaunts this time. Besides,  the dollar was SO weak, it kind of made shopping for fabric  purchases somewhat prohibitive.  I had the “exchange rate blues” knowing that for every 100 Euros I would take from the ATM, about  $150.00 American dollars w/ fees would leave my pocket-OUCH!!)

I took a lot of  sight seeing type tourist  pictures at famous sites in the city that I had visited.  Berlin is a CLEAN, quaint,  and a very efficiently run city. There are some beautiful public parks and places to see in the city!! Some of them you can see in pics I have posted below.   Went to the Brandenburg Gate, visited the Berlin Chapel, saw the  Fernsehturm- an iconic television tower in Berlin, visited the Charlottensburg Palace and gardens and rode the Berlin subway. ( The subway cars in Berlin are colored a BRIGHT canary yellow. The first time you see them it’s sort of a surprise to a New Yorker— who is used to seeing  giant silver trains coming out of the tunnels. Ya get used to the yellow fast enough! It’s just another Subway- really! CLEANER, but just another subway.  Additionally not all doors of the subway cars open automatically once the train arrives to the station. One must push a button on the individual train door you want to enter or exit in order to open the individual subway car doors and get on or off the train!!   My girlfriend mentioned that it was an efficient way for the City of Berlin to save energy- not needing to open ALL doors, on ALL trains, EVERY single station . I don’t think that would work with the 8.8 million people crushing through the NYC subway system, but it works in Berlin, Germany! You KNOW you are a tourist in Berlin when you  miss your subway stop because the train pulls out of the station, and you are ON the train because you did not push the button to open the door to get OFF the train!!! YEP- You’re a real tourist then!! )

.The Brandenburg Gate The Berlin Chapel Fernsehturm in Berlin 2 Berlin Subway Charlottensburg Palace Front Courtyard Charlottensburg Palace statueCharlottensburg Palace Gardens

One of the highlights of my being in Berlin was finding the  main sewing shops. Shows you where my REAL heart is, huh!? My girlfriend who is there, is a “sewing friend”  so she understood my need for checking out what I could find in the way of where most folks get their sewing supplies in Berlin. I felt like I was “at home” when we walked into “IDEE” ( EEE- DAY-ah. OK, forgive my bad American pronunciation if I even “spell-pronounced” it wrong.) OK,  so it may  be considered a “big box” crafts store, but IDEE felt like a slightly higher end, better version of Jo-Anne’s. Great  fabrics selections, Liberty of London cottons,  and great  silks.  Basic sewing supplies. NO sewing machines for sale at IDEE.  Just decent fabric.

IdeeInside Idee 2Inside Idee 1

Lastly I was able to get to the “meat ” of the matter and visit a sewing shop! Remember those?   Shops that were usually highlighting one sewing machine brand or another, but they were  specifically there for you to gain access to buy  a sewing MACHINE- not necessarily fabric or supplies, just the machine! Of course they service machines too.  In Berlin, Germany OF COURSE I was expecting to see a PFAFF shop since historically Pfaff is a German made brand. These shops are VERY rare in Manhattan, NYC- if they exist anymore at all. Except for City Quilter, the closest sewing shop for me is not so close in Queens, NY. They dont make those kind of stores anymore in NYC. They can’t afford the  Manhattan rents.   Because of the rarity of that kind of shop, I had to have a pic of me in front of one in Berlin.

Also in Berlin, I found that  there are tailor shops EVERYWHERE. I could not walk within a 10 block radius of where I was staying and not find 3 to 4 storefront businesses where people were  sewing garments for sale ( a particular custom corset and lingerie shop comes to mind) or doing custom tailoring and  alterations or both.  One shop I saw made custom clothing for clients and  had handmade  custom designs in standard sizes for sale, did clothing alterations and tailoring, and had sewing classes in the back room- all in one shop! For me that shop was a little slice of sewing heaven to see.

Anyway– all in all I found that, in the sewing shops,  even though I may not have spoken German,  I did speak SEWING. Seemingly sewing and the sharing of sewing technique  is HANDS ON and can be shown as a universal language between sewing people! WUNDERBAR!!

Sewing Shop in Berlin   Glückliche Sewing ( Happy Sewing) TO ALL!!

 

The Years’ Roundup

Dorothy's Evening Jacket 001Well here I am…

A new place to post up pictures of some of what I have sewn for the past year.  A place to hopefully post more in the future. You  who have seen me before might see a couple old pics at the beginning, but I like having a fresh start in a new place.
For those faithful few who have followed and found me HERE, from where I was recently posting, I THANK YOU for your kindness in following me.

Well it took a minute- OK , it took A YEAR of minutes, for me to actually   be here and update my blog, but here’s a Roundup of a few things sewn since Jan 2013 to Feb 2014. I will try to be brief,  -I think.

Jan/ Feb 2013

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Yeah, Yeah– Some of you folks saw this corset before. This is where I left you hanging last  January to be exact. This was the UFO-“unidentified fabric object ” that I had in my sewing room for a long bit that I finally finished last January. I used it as an example in a corsetry class I taught this past year.

March/early April 2013

photo (20)Easter Dress 2013-cEaster Dress 2013-b

My 2013 Easter outfit. Contrary to other Easter seasons, I ran out of time before the holiday and could not sew anything unique,or what I would call “distinctive”, for the Easter Sunday church.  OK- so I settled for  making a top and skirt to match the— ” you either love it or hate it” ( and I liked it…)— jacket that I found at a vintage clothing dealer, located in this really popular flea market, housed in this big car garage on 25th in NYC. Found the jacket at a great price , and had a “make it work” moment for Easter Sunday! It worked!!

April,May, June 2013= 2 words— WEDDING SEASON!! Did more sewing  and alterations on garments for others than I did sewing for me. Enough said! BUT- after work, usually there is play time!

June/July 2013: 

SUMMER CAMP!!!

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You’re looking at an overcast and rainy day, on Parker Pond , in Maine.  Friends of friends own a summer camp on the Pond, and I and my niece Paula  had the opportunity to go up and stay at the camp “pre- kid season”. This was REAL summer camp, with thickets of trees and hiking trails, swimming in the Pond, a central eating cook house facility, and a bell to call you in to meals from the cabins in the woods. Those were some of the BEST days of the year for me being at the Pond, and (Hallelu- YER) the cabins had indoor plumbing and electricity.

BUT WHAT IS SUMMER CAMP WITHOUT ARTS AND CRAFTS??  Glad you asked.

I brought my own arts and crafts with me to camp. I went to camp to NOT THINK , and slow down my inner clock  for a minute and to “play”. And so I did!! I brought my Featherweight and set up  sewing  on the screened  in porch  in my cabin, listening to the  summer  Maine rain in the trees and the Loons on the Pond. Heaven!!

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That’s our hostess “Reg” (Regina). She is  still sharp of mind, sharp of tongue and has her own brand of beer drinking, Steele Magnolia toughness at 94 years young. She’s wonderful!!

By the way.. The secret sauce and the deeper magic of  my making doll clothes, especially if  I now have created the basic sloper for her, is that I get to work out any Bug-a-boos in the design of the garment on a smaller scale and not waste fabric working out bugs in larger size. More importantly  working a design in doll size first helps me work out a construction sequence of how I will plan to sew the larger ” me” version of that garment together. It’s all good!!

August/Sept 2013:

BraFest Fall 2013   Denim Jacket Muslin pic 2photo (17)  photo (37) photo (29) photo (27)

As Fall was approaching I needed a denim jacket and bunch of bras, so I made them. Actually I made 3 bras for me and 3 bras for my niece Paula. And NO – y’all was NOT gonna see me modeling the bras. Respectfully  speaking— not happening!! That would truly be TMI.

photo (19)  photo (31) photo (30)photo (18)

OK-  WARNING!!  I used  Vogue 7610  as a base for the jacket then played with it. WHY ??  Didn’t like the  pointy western styling in the back yoke, so I made it straight. DON’T like that  the pattern only has the chest pockets included and NO OTHER POCKETS IN THE DESIGN OF THIS DENIM JACKET.  For me that is truly “Cray-Cray” crazy!! I have never seen a  denim jacket that did not have some form of hand pockets. I don’t think I would be going to J Crew and paying $150.00 for a denim jacket and it has no hand or inside  pockets. But again I say Hallelu-YER, I can sew!! I can do a little pattern making.  I drafted the pocket pattern and inserted it into that front jacket seam  and created it so I also had that, what I call my  inner “iPhone pocket”, on both sides of the bottom front jacket. Took advantage of the fact that I live in NYC and can get on the subway to go to Nancy at Steinloff and Stoller to get those scrolled metal post buttons put on, and walk around the corner to Jonathan for  professional keyhole buttonholes.  So I did!!

October 2013: Renaisance Fest Sterling Forest, Tuxedo Park, NY and at the Cloisters in Inwood, NYC.

Once  or twice per year, my niece and I decide to dress up  in  what some might consider “funny clothes”, and go have fun with other people who dress up in funny clothes ( yep-we are all adults..) and for a day or for  an afternoon we  enjoy watching jousting, participating in archery, eating roasted turkey legs, and  tolerate being called “wenches” . Some people do this activity EVERY weekend. I ain’t mad at them, but  that is not me. One afternoon or one day is enough fun for  me. But I DO like to dress up for the occasion.

For those of you who are slightly “out of sorts” at my once or twice a year behavior, I got one word  for you- Halloween!!   Party City and Ricky’s would go out of business IMMEDIATELY  if New Yorkers did  not dress up in funny clothes at least once per year.  How many of y’all dress in funny clothes and walk down the streets of  the Great Halloween parade that is now televised on NBC.  Heck- there are some clowns who dress up in funny clothes everyday and get on the  NYC subway, and go to work, and no one says anything to them! I think my once per year is ok!

I did not make the tan chemise, but I did my cape and burgundy skirt and both the leather corsets for me and Paula. I used the corset pattern for Paula, My corset pattern is my own pattern that I draped on my mannequin for me.

Ren Faire Maiden 2  Ren Faire Maiden 3  Ren Faire Maiden 4  Ren Faire Maiden 5  Ren Faire Maiden 6  Ren Faire Maiden 7  Ren Faire Maiden 8  Ren Faire Maiden 10  Ren Faire Maiden 12  Sharon cape patternPaula corset pattern

Oh yeah-DISCLAIMER the sword  pictured in these previous photographs was a BLUNT EDGED  MOVIE PROP!!  Just for pictures for that day.   For entertainment purposes only!  NOT concealed. NOT carried around near or endangering  ANY  people or children or animals.Thank you!

 November/December 2013:

photo   photo (3)   photo (7)photo (6) photo (5) photo (2) photo (15) photo (16) photo (26)  photo (25)  photo (24)

Lotsa cold  and lotsa Snow this winter! Needed a warm coat! Draped my own pattern- QUICK, and made a warm coat. DONE!! Did not do as “fussy fussy” a job on this coat as I might have if it were not as COLD outside, but it was snowy and COLD! ( I think you get my- ahem- DRIFT…)   I took wool felt and  lined the wool with a white poly fleece layer. THEN on Heavy weight  satin like rayon lining fabric, -itself I lined with a layer of cotton sateen.   4 layers all add to keep me toasty warm!!! Pretty lightweight.

January /February 2014:

Working on stuff I swore I would finish by Dec 31st and then didn’t, but  I will.  Like my Christmas dress that I wore for Christmas, didn’t like  it, so I pulled it apart to change a design element of it. Putting it back together and using  the  Elliot Berman fabric that I WON at the PR Review NYC “Little Black Dress” gathering.    FINALLY  finalizing the fit on my jeans pattern. I am determined to make my own jeans and not spend $80 to over $100.00 on jeans where the fabric is thin and the fit is horrible.

ANYWAY…..

If you are the brave soul that has read  this posting THIS far- THANK YOU for your time and attention. I will  take this fresh start to  try and post at least once per month and not be so word-y! Time for me to simply Shut up and Sew!!

THANK YOU CINDY and ROSIE !! I am not quite sure who else read this far, but I am grateful that you two have.

Be well.