This week’s sewing thoughts

As far as a pattern fast goes, I have already utterly failed. I grabbed some Simplicities during the most recent sale at Joann’s, couldn’t resist a sale on a couple of the new Burdas, and just succumbed to some vintage pieces at Lanetz Living. On the other hand, I also sent a flat-rate envelope full of unwanted patterns to Pattern Rescue, so the total numbers are around parity, and I have several more patterns earmarked for the next local get-together and swap.

I am having a ball with my new machine, particularly with quilting. I’m working on some string blocks, and it’s already working with small pieces a lot better than my old one – no thread snarls or edges getting pulled under the feed dogs. It’s interesting to see the colors of fabric in my odds-and-ends bag; it’s mostly brights and primary colors along with solids. I needed to do one light and one dark string block for the Beginner Block Lotto at quilting.about.com, and I had a really hard time finding enough lights.

Has anyone been watching the Complete Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theatre? I thought the version of Persuasion two weeks ago was the strongest so far (I may be biased, as it is my favorite Austen novel, although there were some issues in this 90 min. adaptation), and Northanger Abbey didn’t grab me at all. NA and all the upcoming films are written by Andrew Davies (wrote the 1995 P&P as well as Bridget Jones’s Diary, etc.); I have never been his biggest fan – for period stuff, I think he’s a bit obvious and doesn’t get the subtlety of Austen across as well as I’d like. But Austen is like pizza – even bad, it’s good. (Watch me be horribly wrong after seeing the next one – Billie Piper as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. Yikes!)

The reason I brought this up, before I went on that tangent, is that I noticed a particular sleeve type in a lot of the ladies’ coats and dresses in Persuasion. It was a set-in sleeve, smooth in the front and top, with gathered fabric at the back – almost like a puffed sleeve but at the back. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a picture online yet. After I mulled a bit, I think that perhaps the fullness was designed to provide some movement and reaching room across the shoulder blades, in an otherwise very tightly fitted garment. It would, I think, let you reach your arms in front of you easily while still providing a sleek silhouette from the front. These days you’d just think it was a badly put-in sleeve – it’s interesting how styles change.

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