Random Water Cooler Sewing Talk

The Ladies Waldegrave painted by Joshua Reynolds, 1780. This image is in the book “Women Sewing”.  This painting sits in a museum in Edinburgh, Scotland.


When I get writer’s block, this is what you get; random sewing thoughts.  There’s plenty of sewing blog material in a folder containing half-written posts; I just cannot seem to put a complete coherent post together. Oh well, it will pass.  So lets begin the random conversation….

  1. This is entirely a personal opinion: Loose, elbow length sleeves look dumpy on my short stature; as obvious in the tussore silk tunic knocked off last week. I shortened them, tightened them (right photo) and heaved a sigh of relief.  Much, much better.



Same conundrum with the white rayon top (below) wherein I removed the sleeves entirely, and am loving the summery sleeveless result.

This old button down shirt (probably sewn in 2011 or 2012) in a favorite Liberty-like print had loose elbow length sleeves (per pattern) to which I added pleated ruffles and still digging it after all these years.

Side note: I took pains to form the pleats on a pleater, but after years of meticulously pressing them after each wash, I now hit them with an iron – let the pleats fall where they may. What would you do? Take time to form the pleats after each wash?

2. Where on the head exactly does one measure for this hat? Serious question. Straight around the forehead and parallel to the floor? A little tilted toward the back?

3. I will be off to see a fashion photography exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – soon. Hoping to see this iconic image of model Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn photographed by Irving Penn.  Dress by Jerry Parnis; don’t let the name mislead you, Jerry was a woman, sister to 50s designer Mollie Parnis. I love fashion history.


4. Related to #3: we make much of the creativity and genius of the designer. How about the model and the photographer? They actually sell that genius design! I’ve said this before, but my profile photo for this blog was shot by Brian Campbell Photography based in Southern California. Look at his beautiful portfolio and contact him if you’re looking for a professional photographer.

That’s that for today’s equivalent of a water cooler talk (without gossip).



8 thoughts on “Random Water Cooler Sewing Talk

  1. Good Morning Samina! I’m piddling at the keyboard myself too…. As for your pleats, dry cleaners (and some home sewers) used to sew the pleats in place with a basting stitch before cleaning to keep them in shape. But to me this is as much work as ironing the pleats back in afterward; so, I’m like you, they get pressed how they get pressed.
    As for measuring head size, strangely I found nothing about it in Vogue Sewing, nor in any of my hat patterns I quickly perused. I would measure at approximately the height and angle I was planning to wear the hat myself, and maybe include a drawstring under the sweatband if if I were uncertain. You can always baste it together and try it on first! And don’t forge to style your hair the way you plan to for wearing the hat… have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kasey! Wonderful to see your response. About the head measurement — I am still trying to find information about measuring and fitting. Thank you for your input. I have made a total of one hat before this one. The hat is for one of my daughters.


  2. I’m jealous – that exhibit looks really interesting. Any chance to see Irving Penn’s work in print form is totally worth it. Thanks for the marketing plug!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda! It’s a Liberty-like fabric — I don’t think its real Liberty, but the cotton is just as soft. What’s more I have tons leftover from the shirt! I think I became over-zealous with the yardage.

      Liked by 1 person

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