Pattern drafting school report: final class.

My doods, i used like ten metres of paper today. But first i drew this perfect half circle with a piece of string, a pencil (H), and an awl.
Then I drew another, off-centre half circle inside it, for which i calculated the radius using MATHS.

It took me nearly thirty years, but i totally USED that high school education.

Pattern drafting school report

So apparently lindy hoppers don’t want to hear a blow-by-blow account of how to pivot a bust dart into the shoulder seam then convert it into a styleline. Not even when you open with the fact that you get two square metres of blank paper, a sharp pencil, an eraser, two types of rulers, scissors, and masking tape and then go fully sick with some geometry.

WhatEVER, dancers.

Fashion advice.

This sort of blouse is very now in lindy hopping circles. Gorgeous foofy sleeves ending just below the elbow so you can really bring your hand game. And buttons in the back. I love buttons down the back, as they leave the front nice and clear. But for dancing… not good. Because the lead’s hand and arm are continually moving against this part of your back. And the obvious result is popped buttons.

Here’s my fashion advice (remember it, as I’m not going to do this very often): sew up the back seam by hand, so the buttons become faux buttons. Make sure you leave the top one open so you can get your head in and out.
Note: this might make the blouse a bit tight for getting on and off, so you might actually go with a side-seam zip instead/as well as.
If you do go this method for a comp or fancy dance, do your hair after you put the shirt on, and you might consider a hairdressing cape to cover your clothes and stop bits of hair going all over your nice shirt.

I also sew up the front of button-up-front blouses and shirts because my enormous bosom explodes them open when I dance. It’s actually more to do with the shirts not fitting properly across the back as well as the front, but my sewing is PERFECT and I won’t hear a word against it.

Right. That’s it. This is the last fashion advice from me. Except for buy more leggings (especially Australian ones) and wear them to train in because they are awesome.

Need more learns.

I do quite a bit of sewing. I didn’t do sewing at school, because I was determined to do what the boys were doing (metalwork, woodwork, technical drawing). That was a big mistake. Being the only girl in a massively bogan school doing manual arts? A recipe for sexual harassment, bullying, and frustration. I was pretty good at technical drawing, and I still refer to the principles, but manual arts was a complete waste of time. I regretted not learning to sew, but then perhaps not learning to sew then was what motivated me to learn when I was about 22.
I did a TAFE course. Goddess bless TAFE. More people attend TAFE in Australia than university, and the courses are far more useful. That eight week course taught me how to sew. I was addicted. I’ve been sewing ever since, I’m on my second sewing machine, I own an overlocker, and I have a nasty (deliciously nasty) fabric habit. And I really need to do a course in fitting and altering patterns, so that I can finally – after sixteen years – make clothes that fit me properly.

I’m putting it off. But I shouldn’t.

I think being able to sew well is a lot like being able to dance well – you have to spend a lot of time doing it. You’ve got to make millions of skirts and trousers and shirts. Over and over. You’ve got to push yourself and make things like jackets and hats. You’ve got to know where to find fabric, and you’ve got to be prepared to try new things.

I love sewing. When I started, it was because clothes in the shops were rubbish. I was a hardcore second hand shopper, and I was always looking for something unusual. I had a shaved head and liked little floral dresses to wear with my cherry 8-hole Docs. Yes, I know. But in the early 90s, when I was first at uni, mainstream fashion was very, very ordinary.

I’m still sewing now. It used to be cheaper to make my own clothes instead of buying them, but these days with sweat shops and the increasing scarcity of decent fabric and notions (buttons, zips, etc), buying clothes is far cheaper. You can buy a reasonable pair of jeans for $15 at Kmart these days. It’d cost far, far more to make them myself, and they’d never fit as well. But I keep sewing, because I’d rather be the one sweating over those bullshit seams than a child in a warehouse working her fingers to the bone.

I would, though, really like to be able to make clothes that fit me well. So this year I’m thinking about another TAFE course. Well, if TAFE is still running the sort of course I need, with enough places for us all. There’ve been some pretty dire changes in Australian public education over the years, and the TAFEs have been gutted. That makes me furious. Just like sewing lightweight rayon with a blunt needle. That enrages me too.

What I don’t understand

is why I haven’t been plumbing the depths of Rudolph Valentino for fashion ideas.

I mean, he’s totally the definition of dandy:

He likes accessories:

He’s not afraid of the utterly ridiculous feature item:

He’s good at strict poses:

And doing suspicious poses:

Most importantly, he’s not afraid of the drama:

He’s totally the boss of emoting:

Actually, he’s just the boss. Of everything:

picnic wear

Every year dancers go to the Governor’s picnic, and to the Gatsby picnic, wearing late 20s/early 30s clobber and having a lovely time dancing to a live band, picnicing, chatting and so on. This year and last the Sartorialist took some lovely photos.
There’s also a story on Citizen Couture about one of the dancers. I like the pics, there, but it bothers me that he used staples to keep his vintage trousers’ hems up – the damage they’d have done to the fabric under those conditions!
Rick has also posted a story about the day.
I like the summer fashion of these events, and wish we had that sort of thing here. I can never decide what I’d wear, though. I like the light summer dresses of the period, but they do NOT suit my body shape. I do, however, also like the men’s fashions – straw boater’s, strongly coloured striped jackets, linen trousers, bow ties… It’s all good.
Garance Dore made a comment a little while ago about plus sized models being ‘unhealthy’. I can’t remember what happened with that story, but it caused a bit of a flurry. I liked the way it highlighted the hypocrisy of the Sartorialist’s commitment to ‘everyday’ fashion on ‘ordinary’ people but only shooting the same old body types.

another round-up post

Today I have a heavy cold and feel a bit rough. The Squeeze blames a trip on the train. I blame post-allergy secondary infection. Means I spend some time on the couch with Dr Who, so it’s not all bad.
The other night we went to see Hot Club of Cowtown.
It was great. I’m not sure I’m struck on the venue, though. The Basement is kind of a sit-down supper club type situation. The sort of venue that I associate with jazz – a jazz club. Which means it’s full of people with money who like to sit down and Be Entertained. Which is, of course, inimical to good, hot jazz. Hot jazz should be played to a crowded room full of partyers looking for a good time. Not straights sitting and eating overpriced, uninspired food.
But Cowtown did a fairly good job overcoming the venue. They’re friendly sorts, who like a little audience participation. And it was a little tricky at first; they needed the crowd relaxed and engaged. Guess this is when a support act comes in handy. But eventually they had the audience engaged. Took about five songs, but then they had them. They were, musically, as amazing as I remember. And there’s something really pleasing about western swing, the western swing they play. It’s friendly and cheery and makes you want to dance about like a fool. And sing along.
Before the “likkermission” they invited us to come up and chat and give song requests. Then they wandered down into the main room and mingled. I was excited and also too afraid to go up and gibber like a fan. Though I really, really wanted to. They seemed really nice and friendly, and talked with all sorts of crazy fans. They were happy to sign CDs as well. I made three trips to the souvenir table, trying to work up the guts to say hello. But I’m shy (sometimes). After the show, one of them (the one I love) stood near the door saying goodbye to people. And I managed to squeeze out a little smile and a ‘thank you’.
I’m such an idiot. I’d have loved to request Pray for the Lights to go out, but I couldn’t get it out.
I did find myself cheering and clapping along mid-set, just as I would for a dance performance. And people looked at me. But it slipped out accidentally. They were giving the ‘engage now!’ vibe, and jazz has taught me nothing if not how to respond when someone calls.
Overall, it was ace. I bought myself a tshirt (which I’m going to cut up to be my size and just my style) and a sticker (which I think I’ll put on my laptop). I had a great time.
On other, slightly related fronts, I have a pair of orthotics in my shoes now, care of the podiatrist. The podiatrist is a friendly, chatty bloke, who takes up most of our sessions yapping. He loves to talk. Which is ok, because I do too. If I didn’t know that he sat in there interacting with people all day, I’d suspect he too spent his time making up crap to fill his unemployed days. But I’m happy to chat.
The orthotics, though. They freaking ROCK! We had to walk a bit to get to the HCCT gig the other night, and I didn’t get any pain! Well, I got a bit of abrasion from the new shape of my shoe sole – blisters a-coming. But there was no pain inside my foot. And none later that night after we’d gotten home. It was wonderful.
Basically, they change the way I walk. The bit under my arch, just in front of my heel is a bit raised, and this means I put the weight on the outside of my foot more. And this means that I don’t put so much pressure on my big toe – I don’t put so much weight on my toe, I don’t stretch the plantar fascia so much (yay! – less pain!) and I don’t then have to roll the weight over to the outside of my foot when my bung ankle can’t bend any more. This means I’m just putting the weight down straight onto the main part of my foot, and I don’t roll my foot. This will be great when I get dancing – it’ll make my weight transfers clearer and easier to follow/lead. It also means that I’m not in pain.
It’s all a bit exciting. I haven’t been able to walk without pain in four months. And now I can. Of course, part of me wants to run out and go dancing NOW. But the podiatrist headed me off at the pass on that one: no dancing. No experimenting with movement. No! I have to give it six weeks to test it out. Then we talk.
Part of me wonders what effect this new way of walking will have on the rest of my body. I hope it eases the bit of ache I get in my right knee (which is largely a result of the rolling-foot problem). And I hope it eases my right hip a bit (which is similarly affected by my foot). But I hope it doesn’t do other things to me which cause problems. But that’s what the check up is for. I have noticed that the orthotic changes the way I pedal when I’m riding my bike. All of a sudden, I’m much more efficient.
Because my ankle doesn’t bend as much as it should, I have to roll my foot to get enough bend in my leg to pedal properly. But the orthotic starts me off in the right position, so I don’t have to roll my foot (or my knee). This means that instead of all the energy I put into pedaling sort of flying off or being wasted in my knee/foot rolling, it goes straight down into the pedaling, moving the wheels around. So riding my bike is suddenly a heap easier and more efficient. It’s wonderful.
I’m not sure whether I’ll have to use orthotics forever or not. I think it’s more that these will teach my muscles how they should be working, and in combination with my exercises, I’ll eventually be able to do away with the orthotics. My legs will eventually be working properly and I’ll be able to use my muscles and tendons and bones and joints more effectively.
I think one of the most important lessons from all this plantar fascia stuff, is that it’s important to pay attention to the aches and pains in your feet and body. If I’d realised I was in pain from the plantar fascia earlier, I could have done something about it. But you get so used to aches and pains when you dance, it’s difficult to tell when something important is going on. I guess that’s why it’s also a good idea to keep in contact with a decent physiotherapist when you do a lot of sport. Even if you’re not an elite athlete. :D