Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Red Letter Day!

I posted my last blog entry in the wee hours of the morning and, when I woke up, I noticed that it was my 100th post and I now had 100 followers! I really really want to thank all of you who read, and post comments, on my blog. I started the blog, mostly as an experiment, and I have found I really enjoy it. Let me warn you that some personal chatter follows but, if you want, you can skip directly to the sewing bit.

There are so many benefits to blogging my sewing projects. First and foremost, I refer to my past entries all the time to remind myself how I made a particular project – especially any modifications I made, or what size I cut out, etc.

Then there are the photos. I am NOT a photogenic person. Most folks who have met me tell me I look better in person and I am mighty glad to hear it, given the atrocious pictures I take. My daughters, and particularly my youngest, tells me I am really hard to photograph because I look so stiff and... weird. It reminds me of that Friends episode when Chandler and Monica were trying to get a good engagement photo. Every time the photographer pointed the camera at Chandler, his expression became self conscious and strange, so they finally published an "engagement" photo of Monica and Joey. I can relate. It is almost impossible to find a photo of me before I started sewing because I hated photos of myself and usually was the one behind the camera.

But let me tell you about the upside of these photos. Wow, you might think you look a certain way in a mirror, even a full length mirror. But you can't really see the whole effect the way you can in a photo. All of a sudden, you can really see proportions, color, cut, etc. The photos have had a huge effect on my sewing. They have caused me to re-think my style, and what looks good on me, and have had a direct impact on what I sew. They are pretty powerful, even though I can't tell you how often I cringe when I look at them.

Finally, the biggest benefit of blogging is the community. I have met so many people and had so many great email exchanges because of my blog and my involvement in the Stitcher's Guild community. I have developed some close friendships as a result. How wonderful is that?!? I also belong to a truly wonderful sewing group, who really puts up with my foibles. Several of them read this blog and I love keeping in touch with them that way.

So, I really want to thank all of you. I know I am not as funny and adorable as The Selfish Seamstress, nor as clever and urbane as Male Pattern Boldness, and I do sometimes feel that I really need to push the bar to produce a blog worthy of anyone who might read it, so know I am grateful that you do read, and post. :)

You might know that I don't really participate in blogger awards. But I realize that those awards, in part, are a way of feeling more connected to the blogger. I try to keep my professional life and my hobby life very separate, but here are ten "facts you may not know about me", just for fun.

  1. By profession, I am a technical writer. I write primarily about the Java programming language. I like to think I can, at least, explain a process, or a product, in a clear manner.
  2. I have a degree in computer science from UC Berkeley.
  3. I do most of my writing, including the writing for this blog, directly in HTML. I am not a big User of Tools.
  4. Following my divorce, I enrolled in San Francisco State in the Masters program for Clothing and Textiles. I had a lot of undergraduate work to complete (since my original bachelors was in a very different discipline) but I had to drop out of the program about 18 months into it, because it conflicted with work. Shortly thereafter, the masters program in that department was axed. That was an extremely happy time in my life, even though I was twice the age of most of the students.
  5. I have been a vegetarian since the age of 17, when my mother unadvisedly said, "I wonder how long THAT will last!" when I told her. I love you mom, and rest in peace, but it has been 34 years, and counting. :) I was the healthiest (and weighed much less) for the few years I was vegan, but I have slipped off that mountain.
  6. I love to travel, but have done very little in the last 17 years (note: my eldest is 17), apart from a trip to Brazil 2 or 3 years ago. I once hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – a 5-day trip on foot. After that I spent two days rafting the Ollantaytambo River, which had some class four rapids. I hate roller coasters, but I love river rafting.
  7. I like to spell and don't really use a spellchecker. I have a friend who thinks that there is a spelling gene. You either have it or you don't. She doesn't. :)
  8. One of my current favorite TV shows is Drop Dead Diva. The new season begins tonight!!!
  9. The nickname 'Shams' came about when I copied my then-fiance's favorite underwear. It was a brand called Chams that his mother bought from Marks and Spencers in London. When they changed the style, he didn't like the new underwear as well, so I copied the older style and made him several pair. He wore them to shreds. I even mimicked the style and color of the original label, but I changed Chams to Shams.
  10. In real life, my first name is Sharon. But I really like my nickname Shams and will happily answer to that. :) Have you ever noticed that there are many Sewing Sharons?

And Now for the Sewing-Related Bit

There is a thread on Stitcher's Guild discussing the pattern that I blogged about last night - Vogue 8248. I posted the photos of my black and white tops and Kathryn gave me some great insight. I just love it when someone with a good eye weighs in!

Kathryn pointed out that the wide "cuffs" on the white blouse were throwing off the balance of the top. For me, that was a "D'OH!" moment. I know the reason the pattern is drafted this way, however. This is a dolman style top, where the sleeve is cut as one with the front (or back). This type of sleeve doesn't have the fitting advantages of a set-in sleeve. If the cuff is very fitted, it's hard to, say, reach forward. However, this cuff is overly generous at the wrist, resulting in an unflattering line, so I took my remaining two buttons and made a pleat in each cuff. Sorry, I don't have photos, but I think you get the general idea. I didn't make it so tight that I can't slip it over the wrist.

I will try wearing the top this way and, if I find it is too restrictive for comfortable movement, I will just chop the sleeves off at the elbow. :)

Thanks so much, Kathryn!!! And if you haven't seen her blog, I Made This!, CHECK it out! She is AMAZING. I am in awe of her creativity, mixed with her facility with problem solving, and this beautiful package is encased in her truly generous spirit.


  1. happy 100th post! I really like your blog, although I rarely comment. I also like your style of dressing. I'm ultra conservative, but if I ever loosen up, I'll dress like you dress!

  2. Thanks, Elaray! Please, come join me on the dark side! ;)

  3. Happy 100th post! I love your originality.

  4. I am so happy to learn a little about you! Happy sewing!

  5. Congrats on your 100th post and 100+ followers, Sharon! And thank you for the really generous shout out about my sewing and my 'blog. I'm blushing!

    It is nice to learn some of the details of your life. You seem to be in a really contented place right now. Maybe that's why your sewing is so creative. Whatever is making that happen, let it continue!

  6. Congratulations on your 100's! I always enjoy visiting. Isn't it special when we can connect with someone else as passionate about our craft as ourselves?

  7. Congratulations on your 100th post! I truly enjoy reading your blog.

  8. Congratulations! I woke up to my 100th follower today, too. Very cool.