Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas haul, and Colette Sewing Handbook

Time for presents show and tell!

Not much in the above picture is sewing-related, but it is special because Josh went all-out filling my stocking this year! Look at all those goodies. My mom has always been a fantastic stocking stuffer, but we couldn't go home for Christmas this year so Josh surprised me and kept the tradition alive. What did I do? Didn't even get anything for his stocking. This may be the beginning of a "who can be most thoughtful" battle. I don't know how else to fix the imbalance.

Those of you with eagle eyes may have spotted this hidden under the loot in above photo:

Yay! My very own Colette book. I know many people purchased this long ago, but I held out for Christmas like a good seamstress. I never would have gotten it, though, if hubby hadn't driven me all the way to the French Seam in Indy to browse fabric.

photo from the Indy Star
I'm a bad blogger and forgot to take photos while we were in the shop. What to say about this place? It's cute, it's tiny, and it's the only place to find nice fabrics within 100 miles of Bloomington, Indiana. And they carry the Colette Patterns book, so that's awesome, but no individual Colette Patterns, so that's lame. They have beautiful fabrics (!) but not a wide selection (-). But in a fabric wasteland, I guess I shouldn't complain. If you live anywhere nearby, you should definitely check it out. Just don't go with the hope of buying something specific. They did have some very nice wools and silks and shirtings. I didn't buy anything, but it did give me the opportunity to point out the book to Josh, who would otherwise be clueless about what kind of sewing stuff to buy me. While I tried to hide myself in the the back of the tiny shop, he tried to swiftly purchase it without me noticing. This was impossible, given the size of the shop, but it was still sweet, and I love my gift!

Here's one thing I especially love about Sarai's writing:

"Dressing for your shape can be very subjective. One woman with a large bust may prefer to balance it with a full skirt. Another woman with the same proportions may feel overwhelmed in full skirts and prefer dresses that skim her figure. The truth is, it's largely a matter of taste and how you relate to your body. There are no hard rules, because if you feel good wearing it, there's absolutely no reason not to."  (p. 34)

How refreshing is that!? I know she isn't the first to say something in this vein, but I love to see it in print, especially when sewing books of not-so-long-ago all seem to contain an obligatory rant about hiding figure flaws. Here's one of my favorite excerpts from my sewing library:

"The fashionable figure is a trim one. From the standpoint of beauty, too, all bulges and rolls of fat are ugly. Get some professional advice on the type of garment that will 'trim' you and the correct size to contain you." (Adele Margolis, How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter, 1969)


Well, that was written over forty years ago when ideas were slightly different. But we all know we haven't escaped from this:

I'm pretty sure some pattern companies still use this kind of system to guide their customers toward the patterns that some sort of subjective reasoning thinks will be most flattering. And that's why I sighed with content when I read Sarai's take on the subject. Wear what you want, people!

Back to presents. This is my big gift this Christmas:

image courtesy of Digital Camera Resource Page
Soooo shiny and pretty! I love my new camera, and also that Josh thought of this because he watched me struggle to take good blogging photos with my old camera for months. This poor guy has seen me through a lot.

I got him at Christmas six years ago. He accompanied me to study abroad in Italy and everywhere else I've roamed since then. He's documented a whole lot of my life, and even survived a touch-and-go period when I had to open his lens with my fingernail every time I wanted to take a photo. He makes a funny noise when I shake him, like there's some sand still stuck inside. I don't know if I should bury him now, or place him on a shelf overlooking the house like some treasure I've outgrown but can't bear to part with.  I even cringed taking the above photo of him with my new camera. Seems insulting somehow.

Oh, and that spidery thing next to old camera? That's a sweet tripod. Look what it can do:

So twisty! So bendy! So fancy! Now I don't have to balance my camera on my ironing board when I want to take photos of myself.

I could keep rambling, as I would like to talk about sewing ideas for the new year - but maybe I should resolve to keep my posts more on topic. Hmmm.

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