Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Something is very wrong with this book cover. No, it's not the cliche use of the color pink and cutesy shoes as a shortcut to market to women (okay, that is a little wrong). What's really wrong is this: why in the world is this woman sewing in stiletto heels???? Is one of the 101 ways to use your first sewing machine putting on the least sensible footwear you own and seeing how quickly you can lose control of the pedal and sew over your own finger?

I cannot sew with any shoes on whatsoever. Even sneakers or flats. I feel I need bare or socked feet in order to commune with my foot pedal. (Yeah, that's right, I said commune.) Otherwise, I can't properly gauge how much pressure I'm applying to it. I took a dressmaking class in a sewing studio last winter, and I was the only weirdo removing her right shoe in order to sew.

So I felt less alone when, in response to my post asking what you wear while sewing, several people mentioned bare feet as a necessity. So once again, my curiosity is piqued and I must ask you all another strange, invasive question. What do you wear (if anything) on your feet while sewing?

And seriously, don't you think it would be actually impossible to sew in high heels? Will someone test this out and report back to me please? I'm scared of what might happen if I try.

P.S. Speaking of pink(ish) things, what do you all think of my fabulous new banner? It was designed by my bestie, April. I love it so much that I can't stop staring at it. (Thanks, Apey!)

83 comments:

  1. It's cute how the little piece of thread goes around the "A"!

    ...and also I have to be barefoot or I speed! -Love, Backseat Betty

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  2. The banner is lovely!
    Hmm, I've been trying to teach myself to sew with my indoors shoes on (my feet are not so good, and they demand proper soles, all the time) but honestley, I kick the right one off all the time. So only socks on for me while sewing! The heel was actually the first thing I noticed about the picture, then my mind registered all the pink and such =)

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  3. Isn't she stepping on the pedal backwards? I always have the lower part of the pedal under my instep and the higher part under my toes. And I wear whatever shoes I've already got on when I sew. When I've got time to sew, I go for it, without taking time to get my feet naked.

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  4. When I started sewing, I used to do it barefoot. Few months later I managed to take control over the pedal when sewing with my sabots on.

    BTW, a similar discussion was run on BurdaStyle the other day.

    http://www.burdastyle.com/discussions/someone-help-me/topics/as-a-beginner

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  5. I have sewn in heels before, but it is not a good idea. Not only is it harder to control because of the angle of the foot, the soles tend to be pretty slippy and don't grip the pedal so well. I can't remember why I did that now - I think I was rushing to finish something!

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  6. I couldn't agree with you more! I always kick off my right shoe and end up with a cold foot... but better that than a wobbly seam! :0)
    I just don't feel I have such good control with a shoe on - I have the same feeling when I drive my car with heels on... but that could also be because I know that rotten matt is ruining the back - or heel - of my shoe.
    But... I digress. Barefoot or socked up for me!

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  7. Barefoot or with socks. Definitely.

    And the banner is totally fabulous!

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  8. Always barefoot...even when I am using the machine with the knee lever!

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  9. I only ever sew at home, and at home I'm usually just barefoot. Back in high school, I sewed with my chunky school shoes on, but I was just learning then and was preeeeetty slow. I understand though, when I saw that book cover I was a bit wtf too. It's like how some people can drive wearing heels, do not understand that at all.

    Next time I use my sewing machine I'm going to experiment!

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  10. I totally agree! That woman is insane. I do take it a step further though... I can't even DRIVE with shoes on! How sad is that? Its the same concept though, I have a lead foot. Its one of the main reasons I always wear flats or slip on shoes... because trust me, its not fun to have to lace up a sneaker just to go into CVS for ten seconds! = )

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  11. I sew fully clothed but shoeless (tights or bare feet). Otherwise, as you say, how do you gauge the pressure on the pedal?

    I also drive with a shoeless right foot (I'm in the UK) for the exact same reason.

    And yes, lovely new banner!

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  12. I've tired sewing in both high heels and steel toed boots! I get very busy with class and work, so sometimes I have on odd footware for my few minutes of sewing time. Both are hard to sew in, high heels becuase of the angle your foot is at and steel toes because they're designed to be really stiff. I like slippers just because my feet get so cold.

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  13. Always barefoot!! I sewed in heels once (last minute dress repair) and it was a disaster! On a related note, I checked that book out of the library once - I guess the pink reeled me in - and it is worthless.
    Love the new banner!! So cute!

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  14. I have to have barefeet or socked feet. No shoes for me. When I took my first sewing class, I tried to sew with shoes on and lets just say it was not pretty what happened when I pressed on the foot pedal. LOL

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  15. I have a tendancy to drop straight pins, so I can't sew barefoot. I tend to wear flats with a flexible sole, which helps me feel the pedal better.

    I can understand the urge to go shoeless, however. As a handspinner, I always treadle my spinning wheel with bare or stocking feet. It definitely helps me get more consistant yarn.

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  16. I agree with Winding Ways - the first thing I noticed was that the pedal was backwards!

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  17. Barefoot for me too. I always have hot feet so I am usually barefoot. But I have tried with shoes on when sewing at a friend's place and had to take the right shoe off while at the machine. Could not get the pressure right with it on.

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  18. Two important things to note: I love high heels, and I'm always doing something at the last minute. So there are lots of times that I've sewn trim on a baby gift, taken in a dress (like this morning), or sewn on a button (Yes, I am so lazy that I do that with a machine!) in heels before i run out the door. But if I'm actually sewing something from start to finish, it's usually flip flops or house slippers for me.

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  19. Hm, I also thought the "what's wrong with this picture" was about the backwards pedal. But maybe I've been sewing backwards all these years...though to me it make more sense to put the small part of the wedge under your foot...

    I've gotten used to sewing on an industrial machine (I use one at school all day - yes, in heels). It took awhile, but now I love it! I had used one before but found it was very hard to keep it at a reasonable pace. When I started my dressmaking program in April, I learned that industrial machines have such large pedals because you're supposed to use them with two feet! Right foot slightly forward acts as the accelerator, and the left foot farther back acts as a brake. So to control the speed, you actually rock the pedal back and forth.

    All this to say, since I've been working on an industrial machine, when I come home to my little old domestic, I feel like I could put on rubber boots and stomp down on the pedal and still be going too slow!

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  20. Oh my gosh, the pedal IS backwards! Good catch!

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  21. Always barefoot. The banner is fab!

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  22. I sew barefoot. I kicked off my shoes in sewing class.

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  23. Definitely barefoot. I learned to use a spinning wheel a few years ago and was taught to do that barefoot, so maybe crafting = no shoes in my head.

    I also drive without my right shoe, unless I'm wearing boots or strappy heels or something other shoe requiring more than a few seconds to take off. I don't like driving with big heels on--I feel like I have way less control over the pedal, and it's more difficult to gauge how much pressure I'm putting on it.

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  24. Also barefoot or socks. These days I have to wear shoes all the time (foot trouble), so I kick one off for sewing and then forget about it and wander around the house with one shoe on.

    Yep, she is totally stepping on that pedal backwards too. No control whatsoever!

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  25. Barefoot or socks are for me, even when it's below zero outside. When my feet get too cold, I put on a pair of legwarmers. My foot is way more sensitive to pressure changes--I feel the same way when I'm playing my violin--I HAVE to feel the ground under my feet to balance myself properly...it's a weird thing. Oddly enough in that situation, a pair of really high heels allows me to be more aware of the ground beneath me than flats...so barefoot or 3"+ with the violin.

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  26. My first machine was vintage and had a knee pedal, a lever operated by pushing the knee out to the side. It was really old and sticky and required a very keen attention to pressure. Now I have a newer white, my floor pedal receives the same keen attention and yes, I do prefer to be shoeless. I suppose that has more to do though with the fact that we don't wear shoes indoors. :)

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  27. I'm going to take a different approach to this pic of sewing in stiletto heels. "We are woman, hear our roar!" "...we can take home the bacon, fry it up in a pan..."! ;D

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  28. I sew barefoot too, most of the time, because I kick of my shoes when I'm inside the house. I did sew in stiletto's a couple of times though and it can be done. Not a real problem there. But you 'feel' the pedal and the machine a bit more without shoes. And I like that. Just as when I'm driving. Although then it's not as much the gaspedal as it is the switching gear pedal (how do you call that in english??), so my left foot, that rather is without shoes.

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  29. I--what? There are people who sew with shoes on? I mean, maybe slippers. MAYBE.

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  30. Great banner! I sew in sock feet unless I'm taking a class in which I sew with whatever flat shoes I have on. Definitely NOT high heels!

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  31. BAREFOOT ALWAYS! When I go to a sewing class, I always wear slip on shoes so I can slip the right one OFF to sew!

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  32. Barefoot! The banner is lovely!

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  33. Interesting you should remark the pedal is backwards on the photo - I almost always sew in that position (no, it's not me in the photo), occasionally with the pedal sideways, NEVER with the pedal forwards. It feels really sluggish forwards, whereas backwards it's more immediately responsive. It does mean that I sew with my toes in the air a lot, but needs must...

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  34. I can sew with just about anything on my feet - and as a mom to two homeschooled young kiddos, I often have to grab sewing time whenever I can. That said, I'm most comfortable sewing in what I'm most comfortable wearing - Doc Martens.

    The banner looks great!

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  35. im seriously insecure of my feet- even when im at home by myself i fear of someone walking in and seeing them, especially a member of my family. its pathetic. so because i need to have either socks or slippers on 24/7, ive learned to use my pedal fine with them on. i havent ever slipped into warp-speed because ive lost control or anything, but dealing with a sponginess under my foot while pushing my pedal has presented a bit of a problem at times. ive just gotten used to it.

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  36. Well the first thing I noticed is the pedal is backwards! Hello???

    I didn't even think twice about the heels, but I'm not usually noticing things like that in a pic unless there's something blatantly WRONG--like a backwards pedal.

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  37. Ooo another point. I learned to play piano before I was sewing with a machine (mom insisted on perfecting hand-stitching before the first sewing machine purchase). The piano pedals are very similar to the machine pedals in form, so I also use my pedal in the manner depicted on the pic (hinge toward the back, the toes, not the front, the heel).

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  38. Barefoot all the way!

    I'm one of those girls who kicks my shoes off the minute I get home from work, though... so I do almost everything barefoot.

    In the summers, when I lived in the midwest and actually drove a car, I usually did so without a shoe on my right foot.

    I like to feel the petal/grass/floor under my toes... makes me feel much more aware of my feetsies!

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  39. I'm a sew in my socks kinda gal! And, like others, I put the small part of the pedal under my foot. Never thought to do it the other way.

    The new banner is cute but will take some adjusting to! :)

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  40. LOVE the new banner.

    I sew with shoes and without shoes. I sew in socks and barefoot. I've sewn in heels and in MBTs (the shoes with the curvy bottom). And yes, I was the girl in sewing class sewing with 3 inch heels on since I would have to run to class straight from work.

    But, then again, I'm a bit odd.

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  41. Gertie, you clearly drifted out of the craft section of the bookshop into the 'Adult' area. Didn't those shoes give you a hint? 101 things to do with your sewing machine!! this obviously isn't a sewing book - there is only one respectable thing to be doing with a sewing machine and that's to sew with it!

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  42. At home i am always barefoot when i sew at work i always wear shoes which was weird at first but i don't really want to take my shoes off there. i have a bad habit of forgetting to put them back on and then going to walk around to the ironing board and there is just too much crap and pins on the floor at the shop to warrant no-shoe wearing. When I was in college and studying fashion I was always the weirdo taking her shoes off, especially on those industrial machines that run like sports cars 0-60 in half a second. But the school floor was a bit cleaner.
    And heels are definitely a bad idea at any time when sewing.

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  43. I can sew in heels, at least, smaller heels, but I can't drive with heels on at all D: I am more concerned that she doesn't have a slip pad under that pedal.

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  44. Barefoot Seamstress. Even when I worked in a Tailor shop.
    a

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  45. I don't frequently sew in heels (I don't wear heels that often) but I learned to sew in any shoes I happened to be wearing because I worked in a theatre costume shop for years. Going barefoot wasn't allowed (injuries and liability) so that would have been right out. it may have also helped that we were using those huge Bernina pedals that are the size of your whole foot, so it's harder to slip off.

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  46. Banner is delightful! Glad you could get the "homage" word in - it's a dandy!

    I also noticed the pedal was backwards... you'd think they'd have caught that - or do some people sew with the pedal facing that way? Maybe another post 'eh ;)

    Finally, I was one of the aforementioned barefooters. The reason being? I tried sewing in shoes once and ended up with a sight you don't soon forget - a sewing machine needle through my finger.

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  47. I'm the same, I must remove my shoes in order to sew at all.

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  48. Wow! That post prompted lots of comments!

    Ditto to the socked or bared foot while sewing. Same for using the spinning wheel. And i commune as well with these pieces of machinery.

    The banner is perfect for your blog.

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  49. What was wrong with the picture, she was wearing pink dolly shoes with a pointed toe - rounded toe, is much cuter.

    To all that mentioned that the pedal was backwards, to be honest - that's how I sew too. Admittedly, I learnt on a domestic but used an industrial for 6 years whilst at college. I find that on my overlocker and old sewing machine I have to sew with the pedal backwards because I feel it gives me more control over stopping and starting sewing sections. The pedal is always balanced in the arch of my foot, just literally past the ball. Weird, I know.

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  50. Definitely NO shoes. It's like your feet isn't feeling the amount of pressure on the pedal so you can give it easily too much pressure. But with bare feet (or with socks) you can precisely use the pressure and therefore the speed that is needed.

    Greetings
    Lilian

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  51. I either go bare or have socks on! When I took my sewing classes, I always wore shoes I could easily take off and walked around with bare feet.

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  52. I noticed the banner the other day and thought it was very fitting! She did a great job. As far as sewing with heels... I tried it once and the heel gets caught on my carpet and of course too much pressure was applied and the result was mess. I usually sew barefoot ( i live in Texas and most of us are barefoot and pregnant anyway.. Ha ha)..

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  53. I thought i was the only weirdo that sewed bare foot!it is also the same when it comes to driving no matter how many times i have tried to do these things with shoes on it just feels weird and uncomfortable!i choose to blame that tiny bit of islander DNA!!!!
    Trudy

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  54. Absolutely no shoes for sewing or driving ... I just need to feel connected with my machinery, and i can't do that with shoes on.
    Only problem with it is when I step on stray pins I've dropped ... Ouch!!!

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  55. I have to say that using the sewing machine petal to me is like driving. I am able to drive bare foot, flats, socked, short heels, 5 inch heels. Now that's not saying that they are all equal in difficulty. Sure its much more difficult driving in heels than my chucks but its doable. Same with my sewing machine petal, I'm sure I can sew in heels (never tried but curious to now) as well as my sneakers, but I prefer to sew barefoot or in slippers since that's what I wear around the house normally and usually what I wear when I sit at my sewing desk. I don't think the real question though is if it is doable. The real question is why oh why would you dress up and strap on your most fiercest heels just to sit down and sew? That's like putting on a full face of make-up and doing your hair to go grocery shopping! I'm just sayin.

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  56. Barefoot or socks, I cannot even handle wearing slippers. However, that being said, when I sew with my 1915 Singer treadle machine, I have to wear shoes or hard soled slippers, as the cast iron hurts my feet! I did one project on that machine (A leather purse reconstructed from an old leather jacket), and it really threw me for a loop to have to go and find shoes to sew in, LOL

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  57. Favorite way to sew in this order barefoot, socks, flats. (Nice Banner). Is your bestie April Showers?

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  58. My textiles teacher at school lived in heels (she even had a photo of a trip she went on to india where she was wearing stilletos on an elephant)
    She claimed her feet were so used to wearing them that they looked like Barbies and it was actually painful for her to wear flats.
    She had no problem on the sewing machines, but it was funny to see her in action... there was definitely a technique to it!

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  59. Barefoot or socks. I think the backwardness or not of the pedal is just personal choice - I like my sewing machine pedal the "right" way and the overlocker the wrong way.

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  60. I take my shoes off as soon as I'm in my house, no matter what. So I am definitely a no shoes sewer. I don't even like socks because pins can get caught in them. I may wear flip flops some times, but rarely.

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  61. I also noticed the pedal first!! I guess I am actually the weirdo here since I always wear shoes!! I basically live in Danskos due to an issue with plantar fasciitis a few years ago, so that is what I wear when sewing!
    Very interesting that so many people sew and DRIVE barefoot and that you have gotten so many responses on this topic!

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  62. Oh, I really like the banner also!

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  63. Oh, I always take off my right shoe, or slipper, or whatever I have on my feet. I have a hard time telling how hard I am pressing otherwise. I prefer to do the same while driving, though I have a hard time ignoring the voice of my mom in my head telling me it is a mortal sin to drive barefoot. I don't even think it is illegal here in California, but she was always insistent :)

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  64. i usually sew in heels, in fact i do everything in heels, because they change my personality just a bit, so i feel more elegant, more gracefull, just a little bit more fancy and less plain. they also change my posture (for the better) and the way i walk (i have an awful tendancy to swagger when i wear boots!). but just like every other activity, i must learn to do it in heels. i have learnt to gauge the appropriate pressure for a sewing machine (and i only use an industrial) at home and work, and also for driving and walking on different surfaces (gravel, cobblestones, grass, slippery lino). it just takes some getting used to!
    its is an OH&S issue not to wear "appropriate footwear" in the workplace, and also while i was in training at TAFE - no heels or thongs allowed there! oh and to Jen M- i beleive it is actaully illegal to drive barefooted in australial; a friend of my dads used to keep a pair of thongs in his car in case he got caught barefoot!

    ~missalex~

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  65. I tend to prefer going barefoot if it's summer--in the winter, I have to have at least slippers or really thick socks on, because my feet get really cold otherwise! Or if I am going to wear shoes (which I do sometimes, particularly in the colder times of the year), I do tend to prefer flats. Though I can get by ok in my chunky-heeled boots--I'm very used to walking around in them, since it's been standard footwear for me since my college days (no flip-flops for me!), and the wider heels provide more leverage so it's easier for me to drive and use sewing machine pedals. I hate driving in thinner heels, and have found it's harder for me to control how hard I'm hitting the gas-- definitely don't want to do that where my fingers might get in the way! As a professional instrumentalist/teacher of that, I need those!

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  66. The new banner is a WIN.

    Sewing footwear, sewing footwear... I am a little paranoid of barefoot sewing due to the wacky wiring of our old house, I'm wary of electrical shorts. I have a pair of little rubber-soled dunlop volley slip-ons I wear.

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  67. missalex says "a friend of my dads used to keep a pair of thongs in his car in case he got caught barefoot!". I guess thongs must have a different meaning in Australia. In the UK, they are a rather skimpy item of underwear that I can't imagine anyone wearing on their feet!
    Nathalie

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  68. Nice topic and great responses! Really made me laugh.

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  69. Hello
    Actually I like that book cover because it seems really attractive but of course you can't sew with this footwear.Thank you very much for sharing this with us.

    vitamine d

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  70. I have, in fact, sewn wearing ridiculous stilettos, and would you like to know how I felt? RIDICULOUS! Why on earth would anyone actually sew in stilletos. My excuse was that I worked in a fancy expensive clothing store and they insisted I wear dress clothes and appropriate shoes in case I was ever seen by a customer. Since they never let me out of our little basement dungeon of a tailor shop, this was not likely but I still had to wear the shoes. I regularly had only my left stiletto on and then hobbled around for a second every time I got up to do something because I would, invariably, forget that I was wearing one stiletto. These days, as a self-employed seamstress, I wear whatever I darn well please! Today, for example, we have the first shirt I saw laying near my bed, yesterday's jeans and .... NO SHOES!

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  71. The new banner is very cool! I've been enjoying your adventures working through the book.

    I sew in socks, or very thin slippers. I have sewn wearing flat shoes, but not often or for very long, and never heels. When I got my machine, and was taking the "get to know your machine" free lesson, both the lady giving the lesson and I got the giggles because I was having such a problem trying to sew with shoes. So yes, I do think that the cover is rather sterotyped, but - at least they didn't use some of those 5" heels that some people wear. As far as the pedal being backwards, my guess is they deliberately set it up that way so the cord wouldn't show so much in the picture.

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  72. Wow! I would never dream of sewing barefoot! I keep my house at about 67 degrees and I tend to drop things: scissors, seam rippers, my awl, and other assorted sharp items. I have in the past stepped on a tin of pins, while barefoot; never again. It was not fun picking the pins out of my feet!

    My machine has a large pedal with a ribbed rubber surface; it feels much better with shoes. I wear slip on shoes in the house and love my wool socks in the winter. I learned to sew on a treadle machine; shoes are a neccesity on the filigreed iron treadle.

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  73. As a novice sewer, I didn't feel I had enough control in shoes. I don't like socks either; I flex my toes to tweak the speed.

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  74. Great banner, great blog - so glad I found you!

    I sew with bare feet, stocking feet, or my Dansko's. Not with heels!

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  75. I wondered if it was common to sew while barefoot! lol! Like you, I can't sew with shoes on.

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  76. Ha ha... I just saw this book advertised in today's McCall's newsletter and they have turned the pedal around the other way...

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  77. I was actually thinking about buying this book, I was reading the blurb online. And then I saw the the cover and realised it was clearly not a book for me.

    Maybe I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but it was very alienating and they definitely lost a sale - I will not participate in the 'if it's for girls, it must be pink and involve heels'. Sure, I want the finished product to be shiny and cool (although NOT pink) but do I have to dress up for the process? Total turn off.

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  78. I am totally a bare/sock foot sewer. When I try to sew with a shoe I end up sewing way too fast! And heels are just wrong!

    Your banner is great!

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  79. Hi Gertie,

    My sewing machine is an 3/4 size Elna Lotus Special. It has a little white foot pedal with a small black button that you press to sew. The button is approx 3cm x 9cm. I sew barefoot and use my right big toe! No need for the whole foot. How's that for precision sewing?!

    I adore your blog. I have been reading it from the very beginning. Stroke your pussycats for me please :-)

    rampantrae

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  80. re: my comment above, the little black button is 3cm by 7cm. Sorry for the typo.

    rampantrae

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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