Bloggers, mothers and tommys run amok

Songwriters who write about song writing are only slightly less irritating than writers who write about writing so I guess I have to despise myself for blogging about blogging. I think there’s a special hell reserved for those guilty of verbing a verb. Is that the line drawn between craft and idea-ation? A master carpenter couldn’t carpenter about carpentry and so -somehow- carpentry seems more honest and closer to the earth than me. As I said, I think there’s a special hell reserved for those guilty of verbing a verb and there’s a line drawn between those who express their experiences and those who live them utterly. I’m envious of the latter. In summary, I’m blogging about blogging mostly because people complain if bloggers don’t talk enough about themselves and I guess I’m in the mood to unload.

My mother is pissing me off -would somebody please explain just why it is that I am not taking meds because -heaven help us all- she’s gotten a computer and an email address. Yes, it’s another mother-run-amok, assailing her offspring with gentle bytes of joy. Mothers should be required to get disclaimer signatures reading: Have Email, Will Run Amok. So yes, I’ve been subjected to -I forgot to mention some jerk also sold her a scanner- the unleashing of the vast stores of timeless pictures and poetry. Oh joy, here’s a picture of me when I was 10, when I weighed more than I do now, why do people insist that childhood is a time of joy and abandon? It’s not that we don’t get along, we just don’t know each other, she split when I was five. All I remember as a child is that I idolized her. While it’s true that my dad gave me my first sewing lesson, I only started sewing because she sewed and I wanted to be just like her. Now sometimes I’m afraid I will and that I will end up old, alone and living in a trailer park too. With email, I’m more accessible and I’m not comfortable with the implications inherent to proximity.

I pissed off some people on a message board today and I didn’t mean to. I feel really awful about that. I was trying to be helpful. There’s no way to explain autism when I’m so articulate. In spite of my best efforts I can be described in similar terms as Harvard’s beleagured president -as in, I only open my mouth to switch feet. If you’re reading this, can we start over? I intended no malice.

Sometimes I’ve regretted not taking advantage of the bail-out that Congress passed as compensation for lowering tariffs, the latter substantively altering the balance of manufacturing in the US. I didn’t think much of it at the time because I couldn’t conceive that it’d be possible that I could leave this business but since then, I’ve thought that I should have taken advantage of the career retraining that was available to displaced garment workers but I didn’t and I sometimes wish I had. That was a really long sentence. Happily, it seems that my future career options have not been exhausted as a friend suggests that he thinks it’d be worth the effort and expense to pay for the schooling and licensing for me to become a licensed electrician! In exchange, I’d work for him for X amount of time and under X conditions. Let me tell you, this is one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten. Who knew my childhood electronics fetish would come to this? You think I’m being sarcastic but the jokes on you, I love doing this stuff. I do all my own work (you should see where I live). And by the way, the guy making the offer scored points in my book not because he complained that I’m so “industrial” to actually have a copy of the NEC (National Electric Code) like most guys do, he complained because my copy was one issue out of date. This is a guy who is not intimidated by a woman who can handle tools. I think it’d be fun to be an electrician. Then I’d have to deal with my fear of capacitors and -previously- refrigeration. For those who don’t read comments, you don’t know I’ve been working on the fridge and you know nothing of bad-toaster karma. If you’re not reading comments, you’re either sane or missing half the content of this blog, it depends on your perspective.

And lastly, yes, I have heard that one Tommy Hilfiger is slated to wreak havoc upon hapless millions commencing June 9th. And never fear -dear, loving fans- I will try to meet your expectations. It’s a given -you and I both know that I will hate the show. The only question is how much and how entertaining I can be in yet another tirade cum autistic melt-down. Speaking of melt-downs, Kyle at confused nations offers a comparatively lovely, flattering yet subdued response to the news of Tommy’s show: (scroll down after the jump)

I hate you, Tommy. Tommy Hilfiger, you are the most pompous douchebag to ever walk this earth. I swear to God, if I had the chance, I would box you up with Nermal the Cat and ship you off to Abu Dhabi, where even your fashion sense could not save you from years of fundamentalist hatred. You and Ralph Lauren and the Polo guy riding the horse: you should all be trampled, maimed, defecated upon, and otherwise removed from any society that involves me.

Better to dispense with formality and just file all of my soon to come weekly reviews under “Rants”. As ever, I will endeavor to meet or exceed the expectations of all those who’ve ever described me as inimitable and iconoclastic.

I’m working on the last segment of the vintage pattern postings. I’ve done some pattern engineering that I hope to demonstrate down the road. There’s a complicated four way seam coming together at the bodice-skirt side seams -you know, where all points must match exactly- and I think the solution is a reasonable one. There’s only one problem with it. The pattern maker has a lot of extra work so if your pattern maker is lazy and doesn’t make the change, the sewers will be spending too much time on it with resultant problems. I realize you probably haven’t done this exercise but the problem is a common one and scarcely unique to this project. It’s always better that the work take the pattern maker longer to do it than it would comensurately for the stitchers to manage the difficulty because there’s only one patternmaker and a lot more stitchers. Extra work by one person at the outset saves a lot of people a lot of work later and your quality results will be more consistent. Anyway, I want to finish this up and then move onto another project. My next project will be pleating. I want to demonstrate two things. One is a new style of pleating, there are entirely different design lines possible with pleating (think origami-math) and the second is this handy-dandy chemical formula I discovered (discovered, did not invent) to do permanent pleats at home or in a small shop.

I’m reading _A Pattern Language_ a book someone was generous enough to buy for me off of my Amazon wish list. This book is one of the most wondeful books I’ve ever attempted to read. I wish I could tell you what it was about but I can’t. I think that says a lot about the book. If a book defies description to the extent you have to really think about it and fight for the meaning of it, it’s got to be a very powerful book. It attempts to define the most successful habituation practices common to all cultures, climes and countries. Supposedly it’s about architecture. I do not imply offense to architects -and I think they’d agree with me- but the book is much wiser than that.

Get New Posts by Email


  1. michelle says:

    I just want to say if the message board you think you pissed off is pattern review, I think things are working out a little bit better now.

  2. kathleen says:

    Well I certainly hope things are working out better. I wouldn’t know because I’m afraid to go back now. There is nothing more intimidating that a whole slew of homesewers. I never know what’s going to piss people off. And you’d think I would know since I seem to do it so well ~sigh~

    I invite you and your friends to submit requests for tutorials at anytime. There is _nothing_ I’d like more than to know what they want to know. I’d love to write a book for home sewers on their top ten sewing peeves.

  3. Beckie says:

    Kathleen, don’t be afraid to go back. You confused some people who then got pissed but I think everyone understands better now. Some of us found your info very helpful. I personally wasn’t pissed at all. I would really like to see you come back to pattern review. If you don’t feel comfortable posting I am sure you could still get a lot of info about the top ten sewing peeves you seek just by going through the message boards and reviews. Best Wishes. :)

  4. Gigi says:

    Kathleen, please do come back. We really are a very friendly group who simply share a love of sewing. This has obviously been a terrible misunderstanding – we just didn’t “get” you and would like to start over.

    I hope I’m not out of line here but have you ever considered a 2nd career teaching industrial methods to home sewers? Many of us enjoy taking online classes. I’d sign up for yours in a minute and am surely not alone in that. Just a thought…..

  5. kathleen says:

    I wish I could teach them some things. It kind of requires a shift in thinking…the approach to the pattern is not passive tho, patterns are tools and people need to fix them. I’ve always felt sorry for homesewers…they’re fed this line of bull -iow, that if they just follow the directions correctly, they’ll get a positive result but that’s not true. The instructions only work as far as the pattern is correct. Yet, when sewers get a bad result, they blame _themselves_! It boggles the mind. In the industry, a pattern maker who made patterns like that would be fired. But homesewers don’t know they’ve gotten a defective product so they accept the blame for something that happened well before it ever got to them. Nobody holds the pattern companys accountable so there’s no reason for them to improve their product quality.

    The difference is, we know where the problem lies and hold that party accountable for repair. With homesewing, it’s a huge project because the responsibility has been deflected to the sewer and I don’t think that’s fair. And it’s hard for each individual person to learn (much less learn they need to learn) what they need in a constructive fashion, where the controls are etc.

    I don’t think I could teach in real life to a bunch of people although I wish I could. It seems to work best if I teach teachers or other very experienced people because I have social problems. I come off out here as kind of mean but in real life, I’m a very nice person, very tenderhearted (too tenderhearted) but people easily get the idea from how I write that I’m mean and rigid. I overemphasize things and it comes out as stridence. I can only see that stridence if I’m rereading something I wrote a long time ago.

    I have thought that a week long retreat for a bunch of people interested in more advanced drafting and sewing would be fun but I’m not someone who is a set-er up-er of things. But, I’d go where ever anybody invited me. I don’t get invited to homesewing things, just industry stuff (and, no claire’s ever there, lol). I really don’t know much about the homesewing business although I wish I did. I think I have a few ideas that people would really enjoy; things that would really improve the enjoyment of their sewing which would improve their quality of life. Hopefully, they’d find time to teach and pass it along. I worry that so many of our skills are dying, they are on my end and I’m not being reassured with any materials from the professional or enthusiast press. There are no advanced sewing books I can recommend ;(

  6. Hi Kathleen,

    I’m so happy to know it was Butterick and McCalls’ and Simplicity’s faults and not mine.

    though I have kind of bad eye hand coordination and think that that is part of the problem… I don’t dare sew clothing any more, I think they would come out pretty horrible.

    I make lumpy homey looking quilts and patchwork shower curtains. :-)

    Nice blog.


  7. Tafffy says:

    Kathleen what a sweet thing to say about home sewers & patterns. I’ve always taken the attitude that no matter what I’m not going to look like the photo on the pattern. When the base line for the pattern is off many inches & lbs it’s just not going to work the same way. I don’t beat myself up though I just look at my experiments as experiments. I do have a small amount of success though. Whenever I’m able to sew something and it stays together long enough for me to wear it I consider myself a success and I actually receive compliments.

  8. red_swirl says:

    Ok, it occurs to me that blaming yourself for things going wrong is perhaps a (stereotyplically) feminine response. (And Kathleen, if you can openly like electrics, you’re moving past outdated concepts of men’s & women’s work).

    Also, blaming yourself is a response of people who are geographically isolated, and maybe a little insecure … homesewers are going against the grain and much kudos to them – consumerism is currently king.

    I’m glad you can professionally critique patterns offered to homesewers, that’s useful. Companies don’t like changing, but they also worry about reputation ;)

  9. Sweetart says:

    Kathleen, please come back to patternreview. I’m just beginning to sew, and I feel like I’ve learned more about construction from your blog than from all the sewing books I’ve read combined. I know I read somewhere on here that it’s easier to teach a beginner than an expert, and there are a heck of a lot of beginners over at patternreview who could benefit from your advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.