Monday, July 28, 2014


I bought a black linen skirt a month or so ago. It's perfectly plain and has nicely detailed movement slips on either side. As a person of normal length (5'3" or thereabouts), I am always astonished that clothes are made for giants. In recent years I've paid a tailor at the dry cleaner shop to shorten pants. I could do it myself, but have an irrational fear of getting one leg longer than the other.

But the skirt is pretty straightforward and it should be no problem at all for me to shorten it. The question, though, was "how much?" Ordinarily I'd go over to my sister's and press her into service as pinned, but this time I asked Himself if he could manage to do the honors. He thought he could. And he did.

It brought back memories. My mother made many dresses and jumpers and once even a fully lined spring coat for me when I was growing up. She sewed beautifully and I enjoyed wearing the things she created. But the last step always had to do with "pinning up the hem," and I dreaded that. Our house had a landing at the foot of the main staircase with three steps going down the right side into the den. I would stand perfectly still on the landing and my mother would sit on the step below and, using a yardstick and a cushion of pins, mark exactly where the hem should be. She would tap my leg with the yardstick, telling me to make a microscopic clockwise turn, and insert the next pin. I didn't know it at the time, but I had low blood pressure, and standing still for a long time caused me to become light-headed. I'd feel like I was going to faint. Worse, once I was held captive in position, this was an ideal time for a discourse on my many flaws and failings. Oh, how I hated it!

My memory tells me that  back in the fifties, hems went up and hems went down. I recall my mother raising and lowering the hems on her dresses, depending on how many inches from the floor fashion was calling for that season. Can this possibly be right? My sister, being older than me, was trusted with measuring hems for mother.

Do people still care now if a hem is precisely the same number of inches from the floor all of the way around? I'm going to go ahead and hem my marked linen skirt. I'm going to cut off precisely the same amount all of the way around, turn under 1/4", press well and stitch, and then turn that edge up two inches and sew it in place. The original hem is machine-done, of course. But I'll prolly do mine by hand.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Other Side of Middle Age

It was a coincidence bordering on grace.

I came across this blog post and the photograph to the left on the same day.

Please read the blog post.

Himself and I will be seventy on our next birthday. Seventy. Married forty-seven years already and talking about fifty coming up in just the blink of an eye. If we are lucky.

"Grow old with me; the best is yet to be." A lovely, sentimental thought. Brings to mind those twin bathtubs on the beach in the Cialis commercial.

One of my Circle sisters has passed away. Three are widows. Among the Good Guys, two have lost husbands and one seems mighty frail.

Yesterday I heard from a long-time friend that her husband will be undergoing extensive surgery in the coming week, surgery for a cancer that would scare the bejesus out of me. My good neighbor has come out of the hospital after a life-threatening bout of acute congestive heart failure; she has graduated this week from physical therapy, but I wonder what the ongoing strain of caring for her at-least-91-year-old husband will do.

If you google "elderly couple embracing" and click on images, you'll see a whole slew of photos of people who are thinking about getting into their twin bathtubs. Every hair is in place. They smile broadly. There are no wrinkles. No horrid age spots.

I look at him and am reminded of the "widow maker" heart attack of six years ago. I'm well aware of the ongoing visits to the dermatologist who deals with the skin cancers -- two of the three kinds -- that are running rampant.

We're on the other side of middle age.

Friday, July 25, 2014

First Block, Second Block

My leader-ender project for the past couple of weeks has been doing something very similar to Ninety Degrees in the Shade, but using contemporary fabrics rather than Civil War. They will have a slightly different setting. 

As is usually the case, they have demanded full project status. Twelve blocks have been made and the first two have their borders on them. I am smitten. You may click to enlarge if you want to see the fabric in detail. Oh, Kaffe, whatever would Bill say!

First Block

Second Block