I suppose this is more of a reflection on yesterday’s post, but I was overwhelmed by the response to what you had to say about aging. You had much more to say than I had even anticipated and it made me think long and hard about aging again. That lunch happened a few weeks ago and the subject has been racing through my mind ever since.
I do work with a lot of older women. In fact, I think there is only one girl, in an entire office building, that could be considered in my age bracket and she’s just a few years younger than me. They are all lovely and each have their own uniqueness and beauty. SueMarie hinted that I could have been more tactful in my response to what my friend’s son said about her getting older and needing a makeover. I do agree and after that conversation at lunch I went and talked to the woman in question about it and let her know that if indeed she wanted to go on a shopping date I would be glad to go with her (though I did emphasize that she did not need it, because she’s beautiful already). She’s still deciding where.
Image courtesy Ageless Body/Timeless Mom
Last night I came home to Mr. S. He had read my blog yesterday and had a host of things to say. A host. One of the things that really stuck with me though is that he talked about how cruel our culture is towards the older generation these days. He’s read a few books by Joseph Campbell who talked about how in the eastern cultures the elders are revered and admired. The younger generation does not so easily forget what the older generation has given them and so the elderly are treated with respect and dignity. Many of you talked about this in your comments and it really struck a chord. There really is a lot out there that is geared so much to being youthful and how to retain that. Botox injections, breast implants, plastic surgery, face lifts, miracle creams, you name it, when perhaps what we really need are some lessons on how to embrace wrinkles, sags and the way our bodies will be as we age. And knowing that there is nothing wrong with that, because there isn’t.
The very first comment from Karen really did help me understand more about this dilemma of aging. I had not thought about menopause, job change when perhaps its just a little too late, being/not being a mother and men who look right through you – although I do know what that one feels like. I also found the comments about feeling younger though stuck in an older woman’s body interesting. And that profound feeling of loneliness made my heart sink a little. There is one woman at work with whom I’m a little more intimate than others. She lost her husband last year and has told me that that is the hardest part. The loneliness. This also made me think back to the conversation with my husband and how the elderly have no where to go once they reach a certain age. He said that Joseph Campbell also talks about this saying that he finds it interesting that our culture glorifies your youth for the first 40 years. They teach you how to live for the first 40 years and then, even though you’ll probably live to see your 60’s even your 80’s or 90’s, after 40 is when they teach you how to die. It’s like our culture doesn’t know what to do with us after we reach a certain point.
I certainly don’t have the answer to many of these problems except that I find it more important than ever the past few days not to keep compliments of others to myself. My partner (an older woman) wears the cutest shoes and yesterday I made it a point to let her know that not only does she wear cute shoes but that she looks cute in them. Another lady I work with has the most gorgeous head of silver hair. You know those women who have that unbelievable natural silver hair? Yeah, totally jealous. It’s gorgeous and she always has it done so chicly. So I told her.
And I can’t say that it’s all about the compliments because its not. It’s about being more aware of the women I work with and respecting them. Making them feel good, injecting a little more confidence and helping them help themselves if only just a little bit. And that I couldn’t have realized without you. I’m hoping as I get older a few of the younger girls do it for me here and there.
You do realize that I was supposed to have a few posts about my jacket this week. Somehow, this seems a little more important. Ladies, thank you for your patience on both fronts…..
It all started at work. Many exasperating topics start there for me. I work mostly with women which can also be exasperating. What? It can, believe me I know because I am one of the exasperating women. It was over lunch. One of the older women at the table said, “You know what my son told me the other night? That I look old. Sunni, I need you to take me shopping. I need a makeover.” Now before I tell you what I said, I want it to be said that this woman looks great and she’s beautiful and sweet. But I said the (apparently) big no no. “Well, but you are getting older. So it falls to reason that you would look older and that does not mean that you need a makeover.” It’s a true statement. It is. What do you want from me?
One woman at the table gave me the hairy eyeball, like I had said something that should never be said. Like I had no manners. Like I was a martian. So, naturally it got me to thinking and made me a little mad. Look, I’m 28, I know I’m young. But to me aging is not a bad thing, which is the very next thing that I said. One of the women piped in with, “But it makes us feel bad when you say things like that.” Inevitably, my next question was, “Why?” “Well you’ll know when you’re older. You’ll feel the same way,” was all she could come back at me with. Will I?
Please don’t feed me these lines ladies, was what I left lunch thinking. I’m an adult and though I may not be able to understand all things, I can understand many things. When was it ever said that getting older was a bad thing? When? Who said it? Why do people, mostly women mind you, feel this way? Is it because we equate getting older with horrifying images like these? Do older women imagine themselves to look, act and behave like Baby Jane Hudson here? Perhaps.
What I know of aging has never been bad. I lived a very full childhood with both sets of my grandparents still alive. And they are still alive today. In fact, two of my great grandmothers died only a few years ago. When I think of aging I think of these beautiful people that I still love and treasure. My grandmother, the quilter, in particular. She’s a beautiful creature with more pep and life than I see in some people younger than me. She’s truly a most remarkable woman and not because she was remarkable when she was young, because I didn’t know her when she was young. I’ve only known her when she was old. She never had to keep reminding us that she was old either. She reminded me with her exuberance and giggles that she was and is still quite in the prime of her life. She always has been because she lives each day to its fullest never allowing a dull moment to escape those calloused stitching fingers. This is what aging means to me. To become even more beautiful, self assured and brilliant with age.
I realize that aging is not the most glamourous thing. It’s hard when disease or even natural hearing and eyesight begin to waver. Still, aging is not the horrible monster our culture seems to have turned it into. At least I don’t think so. What do you think? Afraid to age? Why?
I’m not afraid to age. Aging can be a beautiful opportunity. What could possibly be more magical than a grandma who teaches you to sew? Huh? Or a grandpa that teaches you a few things about your truck? Some of my most cherished memories involve my grandparents and their teaching me something or talking to me about something or giving me something I’ll never forget. And for all that, it felt as if they could have only done that at their age. Now how crazy is that?
Image courtesy Advanced Style
If you haven’t, check out this blog. Sort of the hel looks of the older generation. And aren’t they just chic and sophisticated with as much verve as you could possibly have? I think so. Yes. I do. I’m totally going to be this cool when I’m old.
I have missed so many Stitching Spotlights, I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s just start over. Right? Right. It’s November. NOVEMBER! You know what that means right? Leaves falling, hot drinks, stocking-ed feet and fall fashion, of course. I love this time of year. The colors are so pungent, you can almost taste them.
kokuryu from Burda Style
Have you visited this girl’s website? She makes the sweetest things, takes the sweetest photos and stitches like a mad woman. And look at this Jackie O inspired dress. I saw this pattern on Burda Style awhile back, one of the new patterns from the Burda Mag that you can download. I think I need one of these. The color, oh the color she’s used is just superb!
I bought this delightful book not too long ago. Mr. Coffin definitely knows how to write a sewing book that will peak your interest. He’s got shirtmaking down to an art and it’s all put so eloquently. Love it. Highly recommend. And now I think I need his trouser making book. And I need to get with it and put together that pants sew-a-long. Almost there.
Want to get your hands on pin hem marker? Well Ms. Gertie posted a link to these here that seem to be reproductions of the one I have. There are several vintage ones on etsy, however you may find that they are not quite high enough to give you the skirt length you desire. This one from B Black and Son’s could definitely give you a mini length or below the knee length. Have a look. Put it on your wishlist for Christmas as these are definitely a gift worth getting. Then you can have your own contraption in action, like me.
Happy Friday Everyone! I’m up to my ears in velvet dust from the boyfriend’s jacket. It’s looking rather lovely though, if I do say so myself. I’ve got a few sneak peeks planned for next week. Have a lovely weekend!
I had mentioned that I waited 3 weeks to hem up my circle skirt. That was due to getting this little nifty vintage notion via Ebay. Before I purchased this one, I went ahead and purchased one of those Dritz hem markers from my local fabric store. Um….it was more than disappointing. When I got it home from the store, I promptly took it out of the package, poured the powder into that spray thing and started squirting some pants I had on. The powder was white, mind you, and my pants were dark grey. And yet, I could barely see the chalk line. Not to mention, the more I started looking at the actual marker tower I noticed that indeed, the tower was crooked. Next day, took it back. Got a full refund, even though I had opened it. So sad really. They just don’t make sewing notions like they used to.
After that fiasco, I started looking around online at some vintage hem markers. I found some that were the chalk spray type, but decided that I didn’t want to go that route. Then I saw a host of these pin markers on Etsy. I thought, “Why not?” Lurked around a little more and found this one for mini-skirts on Ebay, not that I’m going to make a mini, but you never know right? But now it’s mine! And it came in the original box!
So what makes these contraptions so great? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we. For one thing, these have metal and wood parts. Enough said there. You have the base, which usually comes with a pincushion (how very handy, if I say so myself). Then you have the ruler which is attached with a screw to the base. Next you have the actual metal pinmarker. This part slides over the ruler and is tightened or loosened with a wingnut screw. I used mine on my Linda-Hop Skirt. First, I tried on my skirt and marked it where I wanted the hem to be. Next, I took off the skirt and put it on Ms. P, adjusted the pinmarker to the height of the pin I marked the skirt hem at and Voila! started marking my skirt all the way around by sandwiching the skirt fabric between the marker and the ruler.
These things work really great for circle skirts. Really great. Not to mention they are so easy to use that if you didn’t have a dressform, you can get your significant other or a friend to mark your skirt for you. Seriously, they are THAT easy to use. AND, since the pin is pushed through the fabric at 4 different points (rather than the regular 2), it really doesn’t fall out. I always have that problem, you know, the pins falling out of the fabric while pinning things up, in the carpet, where I can’t find the darn pins. Won’t happen here. Promise.
Do you have one of these? You need one, if you don’t. Seriously, these are the COOLEST gadgets out there. Simply brilliant.
Still working on my boyfriend’s jacket, but decided to finish a project I started a few weeks ago. I found myself being more and more drawn to making a skirt that didn’t require alot of fitting and was easy to wear. Not to mention with cold weather just around the corner, I was ready for something warm and Fall looking. And plaid. Mustard-y plaid. I’ve had this fabric stashed away since last year when I bought it intending to make….oh yeah, I can’t even remember now. 2 yards at $36 per yard = a very expensive circle skirt. I didn’t want to do anything cheap on this skirt either. So I lined the thing in bright banana yellow silk charmeuse too. That only took $60. So let’s see, just for the fabric here, I’ve already spent $132. And if you haven’t fainted yet Mr. S, you’re on cue now. Oh dear! Needless to say, this thing is simply gorgeous. And by darn, if you don’t agree…..I’m not quite sure what I’ll do but it will be something.
It’s only fitting that I bring you this gorgeous creation after a little draught of sorts here in cupcake goddess land. I haven’t made a single garment since August. So it is with giddy excitement and pleasure I present, The Linda-Hop Skirt. Made from the Linda pattern on Burda Style no less. Easy peasy pattern with loads of potential for fun details. Since this was such an easy pattern, I decided to tackle this plaid double faced wool. It was simply dreamy to work with. And this stuff is extra thick and extra beautiful. And I matched up the plaids rather well I think considering this is my first time working with plaids. The plaid at the zipper just wouldn’t work for some reason, but its only off a slight bit in that one area, so there. I’ll live, I guess. Sigh….
The skirt went together quite smoothly. Easy fit, easy sew. I let the thing hang for about 3 weeks. And surprisingly, I didn’t know that you had to let circle skirts hang. Thank goodness I did an update on my facebook page and thank goodness there were some great stitcher’s watching over me giving me a few words of sound advice. So, if you didn’t know, it’s official, you have to let a circle skirt hang, at least overnight, before hemming it. This is perfectly sensible, because the seamed sides (my front and back here) are cut on the bias. Now, I don’t think I needed to let it hang for three weeks, originally I was planning to hang it for one, but then I decided that I wanted a vintage pin hem marker and it didn’t come for awhile. And I let it hang for that long because this fabric was not only thick, but rather tightly woven. It needed a real good stretch. So it got one.
I hemmed up the hem with horsehair braid. I follow Gertie’s advice and tutorial for this as she is an expert circle skirt maker. I didn’t have access to the type of horsehair braid that she uses. Mine was not as wide and I had to run a gathering stich along one edge. I just bought mine at Hancock’s. I love the finished product though. Oh my goodness! The hem looks so professional. And it gives the hem weight. I love it!
I gave it a lapped handpicked zipper with a vintage metal zipper. Could not be happier with the metal zipper. The skirt lining is finished with my favorite detail, lace. You might also be wondering why I’m wearing it with the seam in the front and back, as traditionally the pattern says it should be worn on the side. I had been looking at alot of mags for the inspiration for this skirt. The ones I liked best were plaid and had the plaids matched up perfectly and to show that off the seam was in the front. I loved this. Yeah. I can match my plaids. Thanks.
Other items of note:
Top – Just a sweater from Sear’s
Belt – Thrifted
Hose – Sear’s (yeah, they have really good tights this year. Just bought another pair that’s in houndstooth. And don’t forget to read my post on proper stocking care. If you want them to last, you have to put them in the freezer. HAVE. TO.)
Shoes – Crown Vintage
What do you think? Ever stitched a circle skirt? You probably should now, if you haven’t. I mean these things are the best things since….A-line skirts. Not only that, but you can twirl. And who doesn’t want a skirt that does that?