Monday, July 4, 2011

Week in Review {7.4.11}

Happy Fourth of July, readers! It's a long weekend here, so I'm just catching up on things in blogland.

One of the most surprising things about quitting my full-time job is how it's kept me away from the internet. When you have a desk job, you're constantly connected. You know, you check your e-mail between meetings, write a blog post on your lunch break, refresh Google Reader constantly. But now that I'm a free agent, I don't spend nearly as much time on the computer. I can't even remember the last time I checked my RSS feed--the horror! So forgive me if I've been spotty on keeping up with your blogs (and mine for that matter).

The days have been filled with teaching, writing, editing, and sewing. And like a lot of freelancers say, I've never worked this much in my life. I never thought I would love working 12-14 hour days, but I do.

I've recently picked up a few students for private lessons, and I love teaching that way. I've also been working some late nights out of the studio with a couple fellow teachers, and it's amazingly fun. This is the first time I've had sewing buddies--you know, people who will mark your hem while discussing the merits of various types of interfacing. It's delightful.

I also went to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Met on Friday and it was stunning: beautiful, haunting, and impressive. When I went to see it, I was in the middle of trying to draft a shirt dress pattern for my book and it was giving me the hardest time. Looking at the work of McQueen was pretty humbling; it's amazing what he achieved in his short life.

One of my favorite pieces was this corset, from his Dante collection (1996-1997):

McQueen was inspired by death and mourning in this collection, and he chose lilac for the corset because it's a color required by one of the stages of mourning in Victorian England.

The exhibit was beautifully presented, with tons of garments, accessories, and multi-media elements.

I've been doing a ton of sewing, but unfortunately it isn't anything I can share here yet. The shirt dress I mentioned earlier came out wonderfully after a bit of frustration. It's one of my favorite patterns I've made so far: comfy, form-fitting, chic, and practical all at the same time. The pattern just needs a few more tweaks (moving notches and other exciting things like that) and then it will be ready to send to the grader. Hurrah!

What's going on with you, readers?


  1. I have a book recommendation for you if you haven't heard of it yet:

    "Fashion at the Edge" by Caroline Evans.

    Not up-to-the-minute current (2003), but very intriguing.

  2. Baby clothes. Specifically, dresses, because Penny, my two-month-old niece, doesn't have any. This will be interesting as most of my patterns go from six months and up.

  3. I'm glad you're busy Gertie. I know when my husband went self-employed our biggest worry was work coming in. By the sounds of your schedule that's not a problem, which is brilliant!

    Glad you're getting to bounce ideas off like minded people, even if it means the blog has to take a bit of a back seat for a while. I do miss the regular posts though, although I understand that you are very busy and I'd much rather it was that way for you!

    Can't wait to see the designs for the book... Each little snippet of information has me more and more intrigued!

  4. I'd love to see the McQueen exhibit. My school's director got the book in and even that is humbling.

  5. Hubby and I are on a "mini" vacation this weekend. Did a lot of yard-saleing. Found some AWESOME vintage sewing books. One from 1937 in perfect shape!

    Going to try HARD today to try out my new serger!

  6. I've also started freelancing recently and am working long hours - and enjoying it. It turns out I'm a very demanding boss!

  7. It is so exciting to read about all the different projects you're involved in. I used to be a big multi-tasker, and now I really have to focus in order to get one thing done at a time (if at all!).

    Today I am:
    1. Wishing I had an upcoming trip to NY so I could take some of your classes.
    2. Trying to stay inside from approx. 5 am to 8 pm in order to avoid the blistering Phx heat.
    3. Using the enforced captivity to do a radical destash of unused craft supplies and forgotten projects. I need the space for sewing!
    4. Looking forward to an all-American barbecue tonight in honor of the holiday.

    Have a great Fourth!

  8. Just came into a LOT of fabric . . . vintage. A distant cousin worked in the 60's and 70's for Howard Wolf, who designed for Neiman Marcus. When he retired he let her have all the leftover fabric. She managed to acquire a lot more along the way. She no longer sews, so she has passed it on to me. Some really fabulous stuff. Still don't have it all. There's one piece of ivory silk with gold embroidery . . . I'm trying to find the Vogue pattern it was made for specifically. . . a one shoulder evening gown. Having lots of fun trying to figure out what to make with specific pieces.

  9. Wow, sounds busy! Sounds like the teaching's going well--mine's music instead of sewing, but I always enjoy the private lessons too. And the idea of having a group of sewing friends sounds lovely!

  10. I recently picked up the fabric again. I had sewn for my four daughters when they were small. I haven't sewn for years. I am brushing up on my sewing skills. I am learning many new ones. I really am enjoying it so much more, because I am sewing for myself now. I started out with skirts. I have made three of them. I have two silky sleeveless cowl tops for work that I am waiting to begin. I have two patterns still in the package. One dress that I am thread tracing and will get back to when the two tops are finished.

  11. So Gertie, this it an updated version of your inspiration, the VNBBS? How cool if it is. I'm looking forward to it but for now am still working on the crepe pattern.

  12. I'm sewing three things:

    1. pants that I tried to fit correctly using fitting books - they came out HUGE and I had to take out a lot at the seams (any fitting advice would be so appreciated!)

    2. cotton print retro dress (Butterick 4790) - almost done

    3. dress to wear to my BF's sister's wedding (meeting his family for the 1st time!!) I hope the fabric (satin with a print) is suitable for the pattern I chose (Butterick 5029 - halter top)!

    I feel so left out not living in the USA... you have access to such an abundance of classes, fabrics, notions, magazines, techniques... We have the bare essentials and what we order online is SO expensive.

    Good luck with your book, what will it be about?

    Any news on the garments whose patterns we wish we had? Are you going to pick one?

  13. I was in NYC last week (live in Atlanta) and saw the McQueen exhibit and it was AMAZING. you are right haunting and humbling as well as inspiring. He was so fascinating! Well worth the line I waited in to see it. I wanted to wait and go through again but ran out of time.


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

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