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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On shirts, Cary Grant and airports

I have been away for a week now, visiting my son in DC, visiting my husband who is working in Tennessee, and doing my part to help out the American retail economy. The DH will be home for a week at Christmas and then going back. We don't know for how long and I have been taking advantage of his current US address to have things shipped to him, some of which I brought back this trip, some he'll be bringing back later.

It was a bit of a shock, a nice surprise but still a shock, to walk into his suite  and see it filled, and I mean filled, with fabric boxes. Fabric.com has free shipping you know for orders over $35. Since that is about what I would pay for duty I would have been a fool not to have spent my fall clicking that "add to basket" button.

In addition I have been on the Joann's website most mornings and texting him pattern numbers to pick up for me when there are sales. The guy's a sport.


It appears I now have a collection of every shirt pattern that has yet to be discontinued and about 50 yards of white fabric of various kinds, textures, weaves, and potential applicabilities.

It's not often I amaze even myself but I managed it this time. It is safe to say I am set up to make more shirts, once I get this Santa's Workshop thing wound down. That in itself deserves a post.

Back to my travels. There isn't a lot to do waiting for planes, except knit ( I finished second son's hopefully NYC style socks for very nice girlfriend in Newark airport between flights - only person who was having a good time there for sure) and look at the magazines.

Well, I picked up the GQ Style Manual because it had a cover line about shirts and boy is it ever good. I think any sewist would get a charge out of this one. So much detail about the tiny variations of men's clothing. So much talk about fit and quality, so many good ideas, I have to tell you, if you are shopping for an young man on the list.

Who knew that silver tie clips were back? That you never button those little buttons on the collar of an Oxford shirt? That the best way to iron a shirt is with the ironing board backwards? Some of it is obvious if you sew, or are anyone's spouse or mother, a lot of it was new and food for thought.

There are two things about this magazine that are particularly great. 

The first are the shots of men like that one pictured below who really knew how to bring out the best in a shirt.

The second is the shirt section which has this sidebar from Style Guy Glenn O'Brien on why "that white shirt is always right," p. 29:

I have a veritable Pantone book of colored shirts, but it wouldn't bother me to give them all up for the Don Draper white shirt that virtually every businessman wore daily until the late '60s. Nothing looks dresser or richer than a crisp, immaculate, high-thread-count, perfectly fit white shirt. Nothing sets off a tan better. Or a dark suit. You can always supply color with a tie of cuff links, but that white makes you look brilliant. And white won't clash with anything else you put on. My grandmother insisted that a gentleman wears white shirts at night (if he has time to change), and she has a point. My favorite is a placket-front French-cuff shirt from Charvet. It works with a tie, but you take away the tie and you have a perfectly smooth and clean look. It also doubles nicely with a tux and eliminates the need for studs.

The only thing I might disagree with is the last few words. 

Case in point.


RiAnge Creations. Ltd. said...

Barbara. Welcome to DC. I hope you're enjoying your time here. Now how are you going to get all that fabric back home?

Debbie Cook said...

Not buttoning those Oxford shirt collar buttons? Pfft. I would always think the man just forgot.

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

It would be wonderful to take advantage of the free shipping :} from Fabric.com....they do have a lot of great fabric.
I too love the look of a crisp white shirt.

a little sewing on the side said...

I would like to sew one white shirt every month in the new year. We shall see!
My congratulations to you on your excessive pattern & fabric acquisition activities.
Where are you in the DC area? I am packing on Wednesday, then flying to Korea on Thursday. Send me an email if you think it's even possible to grab a cuppa coffee while you are in town.

Anonymous said...

I like your choice of eye candy.