Latest Postcard

ugly

I made this little postcard to commemorate Burda 8121.

thunderBird

This embroidery is a downloaded design AFTER about 8 hours of additional digitizing work. It probably would have been easier to start with the picture. I embroidered it with a Bernina 180E.

I ran out of pink thread.

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Burda 8665 on Buttina
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Butterfly Buttons

The lastest incarnation of Burda 8665. It’s almost done. I still need to hem the sleeves and do the button holes. I picked out the buttons. I almost didn’t have any that went with the fabric. I think I will have to go buy matching thread to sew them on.

I want a candy bar!

It’s all I can think about. I can’t do my work because it’s all I can think about.

I decided to see if the problem is that I’m hungry. I already ate my morning snack, 2 apples and a chedder cheese stick. I’m eating my afternoon snack, 2 apples and a chedder cheese stick. I have backup afternoon snacks in my office.

I went into the bathroom, sat down, and put my head in my hands. Deb, the ED nurse, is always saying, “Take it to the final outcome. How will you feel after you eat the candybar?” I’ll be pissed off at myself. That’s how. I’m not supposed to eat candybars. Candybars are empty calories and full of bad fats.

I love candybars.

I think this is progress. I think before I would have eaten the candybar, then been pissed off. I might have had a fight inside myself over it, but I’ve never said to myself, “Take it to the final outcome.”

Send positive vibes.

The Demise of Couture

The House of Tatterdemalion has been on a couture kick lately. She’s examined the meaning of couture, and on this, we profoundly disagree. Her slant is that couture is based on hand work, and I think that couture is anything that is custom made. She admitted that the allure of hand work isn’t just a fondness for sewing by hand, but also an abhorrence for many things mechanical. I’m a mechanical engineer by day and, alas, coutiere only by night and weekends, if my kids let me. I suck at handwork. I really do. It’s my attitude: It’s better finished than perfect. One of my ASG buddies, who was doing meticulous hand quilting at that moment, said, “I’m a process person.” I’m not. I want to point out that I can do meticulous hand quilting (I think it was 18 stitches to the inch) , but at some point I asked myself, “WHY? Why am I spending all this time on something that is better finished than perfect?” It’s not that quality of workmanship is unimportant to me. I’m just not into the little details. And that is part of the basis of our difference on couture.

Today, I found out, by reading her blog, that there’s more to it than our fondness/abhorrence for machine work/hand work. She asks:

Surprise, surprise (not), the couture houses are dwindling. There is a smaller and smaller market for hand beading, hand sewing, hand overcasting, expensive, extravagant dresses. Why? And what next?

and answers:

The “why” is easy. Why is because you have to make an argument for hand-sewing. Why is because what is “in” and “stylish” is changing so quickly. Why is because you still have to fly out to Paris to get it. Why is because a lot of people don’t know what couture is. Why is because the houses are known for their style, not their fit or construction, or unconditional guarantees. Why is because extravagant dresses are rarely applicable to current situations.

I think there’s a different reason. I think it has to do with the rise of the middle class. Couture garments were always for the upperclass, and they were made by the lowerclass. Just like anything else that requires a lot of manual labor, couture is something that can only be afforded by the rich when there is a large underclass to support the system. She finds it ironic that “back in the middle ages, everything was made to fit, and only the poor bought second hand clothes that came in someone else size.” Everything was made to fit for the noble and merchant classses, maybe. Those groups were very small. Most people were poor, and they only had a few different sets of clothing. It wasn’t like today where we all have a closet full to bursting with clothes.

Automation and a living wage are the two main supports to the way of life currently enjoyed by the middle class. Well, and affordable health care, but that’s another topic and tangential to this one. Automation makes lots of things cheaply; that’s why the middle class can afford lots of things. A living wage makes it possible for middle class types to buy those cheap things made by automation or partial automation. Because of those things, the middle class in the western world has grown, and while the ranks of the rich may have fallen, mostly, the growth was from the lower classes. Once the lower classes are gone, people aren’t willing to work for very low wages. Without the low wages, couture is impossibly expensive, even for the very rich (who have to pay income tax nowadays (there didn’t used to be income tax)).

I think those are the killers of couture. The masses, be they middle or lower class, have never known what it is to wear couture garments, unless we made them ourselves.

News Notes for Monday

Sewing
CUTTING EDGES: Do-it-yourself T-shirt surgery Deb Cook gives good instructions on Pattern Review. If I can find it, I’ll post a direct link, but the gist of it is to use your fitted t-shirt pattern with the RTW t-shirt.

Eating Disorder
Eating Disorder a Family Affair? This is especially interesting if you’ve got a child at home with an eating disorder.

Crochet