Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Quick Sew for Male Pattern Boldness Day 2015

With Carol of Make it Anywear

Saturday was Male Pattern Boldness DAY! 

Peter Lappin of the Male Pattern Boldness blog has been organizing a sewing meetup for 5 years running. The big day had been on my calendar for months and took place this past Saturday! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to join the group for the early events, but I did meet up  with Carol for the fabric shopping and Bryant Park rendezvous.

At Bryant Park

Kashi graciously opened on Saturday for the MPB shoppers.  I purchased shirting for my husband,  a silk print I have been eyeing for over a year,  as well as a raspberry tissue-weight wool knit.

Purchases from Kashi!

What did I wear for the occasion of my first MPB Day, you ask?  I was running low on time, so I whipped up a knit Grainline Hemlock dress the night before!  The blue knit is a silk/wool blend from Kashi. The cashmere knit is from Chez Fabrique in Columbia, South Carolina.

Grainline's hemlock pattern is essentially 2 rectangles + dropped sleeves.  It's a one-size pattern (Bust: 44.5 inches; Hips: 46.5 inches).  I modified the pattern into a dress using tutorials from  Notes from a Mad Housewife  and Sweet KM:

  • Created waistline shaping using my french curve, removing 4 inches in total.  
  • Removed 1 inch from the center back and a corresponding 1 inch from the center front.  
  • Added 5.5 inches to the hemline to make it dress length.
Original Hemlock T is on the left; My modification to make it a dress on the right

I don't have a serger, so I used the "stretch stitch" on my Bernina with a jersey needle.  I broke several needles until I switched out the jersey needle to a regular 70/10 needle.  Is a jersey needle not appropriate?

This was a simple sew:  2 shoulder seams, 2 side seams, and a neckline finish.  I used Megan Nielsen's tutorial to sew the grey cashmere knit to the blue knit around the neckline.  As Peter pointed out at the meet-up, this method basically creates a facing out of the grey cashmere knit.

My husband quite cheekily remarked that the dress was a bit shorter than I normally wear. Yes, it's short and I'm quite aware.   I chalked it up to the "wearable muslin" and decided to wear it anyway...

I am learning that even the simplest of sews benefits from a wearable muslin.  For my next iteration, I have already made the following adjustments to the pattern pieces:

1) add back in 1/2 inch to both the front and back pieces along the center
2) lengthen the hemline by 3.5 additional inches
3) remove 1 inch from the neckline along the shoulder seams.

Culture in the City

Several goodies over the past few months...

David Sedaris:  We hauled ourselves all the way to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to hear David Sedaris. Having only read one of his books (Me Talk Pretty One Day), I can hardly call myself a groupie.  We enjoyed it, but I wouldn't schlep out to Brooklyn again on a weeknight for his readings.

Gad Elmaleh:What a special night!  Only in NYC can you sell out the Beacon Theatre with a stand up performance in French and fill all 3000+ seats.  With American stand-up I often find myself not understanding the references or I find the jokes too vulgar.  Not so with Gad.  His humor is intelligent, racy but never over the line, and just plain fun. Since it was a majority expat audience, the show touched a good deal on the cultural divides between France and America.  He hit the nail on the head EVERY single time. The crowd loved it!  It had been a long time since I laughed so much.

Heisenberg:  I'm not quite sure why this received such rave reviews, except for the fact that it starred Mary Louise Parker.  We enjoyed it, but I found the writing to be a bit wanting and superficial.  Heisenberg is the story of a chance encounter in the London tube between a single crazy American (Parker) and an older London butcher, and their ensuing relationship.  There was no set and we were in a small black box experimental theatre of under 100 people + the 2 actors.   Neither character ever directly mentioned the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (physics), but I guess we were supposed to infer it from the plot.

Preludes: This short musical theatre piece at Lincoln Center brings the audience into the mind of the great Russian composer Rachmaninoff and all of his insecurities in the face of his creative pursuit. It had a bit of a 4th dimension/non-linear element to it--jumping from the 19th century to the present.  Michael loved it, especially since Prince Humperdink from the Princess Bride was among the cast!

Debutaunt:  This was my first interactive/immersive theatre experience.  The "show" (if you can even call it that) is essentially  a 90 minute debutante ball during which time the audience is treated as guests of the ball.  It is intended to be a social commentary on the concept of "coming out," gender equality, the role of ritual and tradition in today's society, etc. Hard as the production team tried, a warehouse in Red Hook (aka hipster-ville)  isn't exactly a Southern country club!   This was definitely an amateur performance and I cringed at all of the one-dimensional southern stereotypes.  I was disappointed to see a southern-born woman (the writer/producer was a deb in Texas) perpetuate stereotypes about the relative intelligence, superficiality, and social priorities of Southerners. 

Summer Shorts:  59E 59 is one of my favorite off-broadway theatres!  There are no obvious tourists, the price is right, and the shows are always thought-provoking.  The show was comprised of three one-act plays taking place in or near NYC in modern day.  The first was about a near extra-marital affair between 2 suburbanites that meet on a running trail.  The second was about an encounter between a Native American woman and a black youth at a bar outside of Grand Central during the height of the police brutality protests.  The third was about three 9/11 widows meeting on the anniversary of the death of their husbands. I'm not sure which was my favorite!

Antigona:  Hmm...flamenco meets Sophocles.  The flamenco was incredible, but the acting not so much.  Either way, it was a good refresher on the Oedipus story!


  1. How fun! It looks like you picked up beautiful fabrics. I always like reading about your other adventures too!

    1. Thanks for writing, Annie. I *should* stop buying fabric until my productivity catches up a little more with my stash...Yes, we really try to take advantage of city life as much as possible while it's in our backyard!