Are You a Hopeless – or Hopeful – Dressmaker?

The other day I was rushing around getting ready to go to a meeting. I pulled some heels out of my closet and by the time I had arrived downstairs, ready to put them on, I realized I had picked up an errant white sewing thread, hanging tight onto my stockings. The first word into my mind was “Hopeless!” I really can’t go anywhere in my house without dragging little snippets of thread and fabric with me. This made me start to think about how pervasive dressmaking and sewing are in my day-to-day life. So, of course, I had to make a top-ten list…

You know you are a hopeless dressmaker when …

1) you arrive at your destination, only to find that aforementioned sewing thread clinging to your skirt , or you find a straight pin still holding tight to a finished garment.

2) a sale on Gutermann thread makes your heart go a-flutter.

3) you receive a bar of soap in the shape of a dress form in your Christmas stocking!

Wrapped in pale pink paper, this scented soap might be too pretty to use...

Wrapped in pale pink paper, this scented soap might be too pretty to use…

4) you instinctively check plaid lines and design placement in the clothes of everyone you meet to see if they match.

5) a new issue of Threads Magazine or Vogue Pattern Book Magazine (or Burda Style, etc.) arrives and it becomes your nightly reading until you have gone cover to cover.

6) you look for greeting cards with a sewing and/or fashion theme (sometimes just to keep for yourself!)

A birthday card for a fashionable friend!

A birthday card for a fashionable friend!

7) you can’t wait to study the instruction sheets in new patterns (in my case, new-to-me vintage patterns).

8) one of your favorite cookie cutters is a Little Black Dress.

Hopeless Dressmaker 9) you maintain a steady supply of muslin and silk organza underlining, because you never want to be without these building blocks of couture sewing.

10) your pets wander into your sewing room asking forlornly for their supper, as you have lost complete track of time.

So then – how do you know you are a hopeful dressmaker?

A friend or acquaintance who doesn’t know that you sew, said to you when last you met, “I want your wardrobe!”

It doesn’t get much better than that! Well . . .  in an effort to share a bit of my hopeful hopelessness and have some fun, I’m having a giveaway of duplicates of 1) the dress form soap, 2) the Little Black Dress cookie cutter, and 3) the Little Black Dress birthday card.

To be entered to win these three items, please leave a comment by Saturday, February 14th; I will draw the winner on February 15th

Heart lace

Happy Valentine’s Day to each and every one of you!


Filed under Dressmaker forms, Little Black Dress, Love of sewing

48 responses to “Are You a Hopeless – or Hopeful – Dressmaker?

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I fit:
    1) I still pull out T-shirts with yellow thread clinging to them from a dress I made last year, and I’m pretty sure there’s a pin in my robe pocket.
    2) A sale at (insert any fabric store here) makes my heart flutter!
    4) I definitely over-analyze ready-to-wear! My friends can’t take me shopping because I’ll be irritated with a garment if the bust dart doesn’t fall in the right spot.
    5) Same, but I love browsing patterns!
    7) Hey I did that the other day!
    9) I hoard silk dupioni lining!
    10) Yes…my poor dog 🙂
    And I would absolutely love to match the other three : D

  2. I am DEFINITELY a hopeless dressmaker and can check off everything on your “hopeless” list! I even have a dressform bar of perfumed soap that I have had for 15 years! I also keep pattern envelopes in my purse so that I can read instructions on my lunch break.Totally Hopeless! -Stephanie

  3. Andrea Birkan

    Karen I can definitely relate. I often go out with a threaded needle in my shirt or top. My bedtime reading is the same as yours. I would love to win!! Thank you for your wonderfully inspirational blog.

  4. Gail B

    Great post! I often think that I want your wardrobe as I read your blog!

  5. Lisa jones

    I love the prizes… I gave a great recipe for cookies, if you r interested…we call them tee cakes in Cajun country!!!

  6. Laurinda

    LBD cookie cutter!!! Who knew? Need to get one! As for hopeless dressmaker my iPhone has pictures of backs of pattern envelopes so that I always have info with me just in case. Also take pictures of RTW in changing rooms to remember how that interesting detail/seam was sewn. When travelling I google to see if there are any interesting fabrics shops in the area and save room in suitcase for such. Getting there but have much room for growth.

  7. Oh yes, I am a “hopelessly hopeful dressmaker”
    1. I think every vintage pattern will be easier than the last–to no avail!
    2. I’d rather buy vintage patterns than shoes.
    3. I need at least three requests for food from two different family members before I’ll move from the sewing machine to the kitchen.
    4. When I’m going on a trip, I Google all of the fabric stores in the area, because what better souvenir could there be but fabric?
    5. When my husband surprised me with a new ironing board, I was thrilled! (Well, it does have a pop-up sleeveboard…)
    6. When there was a temporary shortage of Steam-a-Seam, I tracked down and bought the last existing rolls online. When I showed them on InstaGram, people begged me for them. And I did not share. Bwwwaaa haaa haaa!

    • Mary Lynn

      A dear friend and I used to have an agreement that if we heard the other one had died,we woud rush to their house and clear out all fabric,yarn and needlepoint! We don’t live near each other anymore, so my family will be whining and moaning and shocked that their inheritance is contained in rubbermaid containers 🙂 I would love to win the black dress
      cookie cutter ( I also have at least 2 containers of cookie cutters!) I may be more of a hoarder than a seamstress??????

      • I have a lot of cookie cutters, too – they are great to use for appliqué shapes and produce fewer calories that way, too! As for all that fabric – it’s all necessary as far as I am concerned…!

    • An ironing board with a pop-up sleeve board? What a great gift! Loved all your additions to the “list”, Julie!

  8. Catherine Laplante

    I absolutely love your blog, read every post! Thank you for sharing.
    I hear you! Snippets all over the house, devoiring all sewing publications and blogs, freeking out with fabric sales and love browsing haberdashery web sights and yes the rols of silk organza and toile in ones closet are a MUST!

  9. Rhonda

    I match your “hopeless” with all but he dress form soap. And that hopefull is the best to hear!

  10. Ann M.

    So everyone but the soap and part of number ten. The pets.and some times the child, come in begging for attention but, thank heavens, my husband does the cooking.

    • I love the nights when my husband and I go out for dinner — I can sew later into the day, without worrying about fixing dinner (my husband does not cook). But the pets still need to be fed!

  11. Loved your description of us hopeless dressmakers. I can identify with every one of the traits.

  12. Katherine Merkel

    I can closely relate with EVERY one of your points! Haha! Except I wear the threads as a badge of honor!

  13. Totally hopeless here too!

  14. Adecia

    Cute post and I want your wardrobe!

  15. I love reading the instructions for vintage patterns. It makes me smile for some reason. One of these days I’ll get Burda and Threads magazines. Maybe as a Mother’s Day gift to myself – gotta keep mommy happy!

  16. Guilty on all counts! I use my lint roller as much as my sewing machine, trying to clean myself up before I go out!

  17. Kim Corbi

    You don’t have to send me a thing. I love finding your latest post in my box. But I have to relate a story. I always use a wrist magnet to hold pins and one day while I was sewing I realized I was late for a Doctors appointment and quickly put on my jacket and left. While in the car I had all these strange pricking feelings under my arm and down my side. On getting to the Dr’s and removing my jacket I realized that I still had the magnet on – but no pins attached. I sat in the waiting room, pulling all the pins out of my clothes. I won’t do that again – or so I say!

  18. Your ideas, suggestions, inspirations and all your information sharing are truly inspiring…….and one of these days soon I will get brave and try to “fit” something to my body that has aged to a state of “no waist” & other “oddities. In the last 20 yrs I have avoided sewing for myself, but love to sew everything else and for everyone else. Thanks for you encouragements.

    • The great thing about sewing is that you can cater to those “oddities”. We all have them, and what is it about waists? Do they have horizontal gravity? Wishing you much luck and inspiration to do some sewing for yourself, Patricia!

  19. Ann T.

    1. The housekeeper leaves 3 or 4 straight pins on your desk top every time she comes.

    2. You haven’t used 90% of the patterns you own, but always find a few more to buy when Vogue has a sale, or a new Indy download becomes available.

    3, You buy back issues of Threads and Vogue Pattern Magazine on eBay, because the current monthly dose simply isn’t enough.

    4. You have to rearrange your sewing studio shelves every three or four months to accommodate the new fabric and patterns, which you have added to your stash, even though you promised yourself you would stop.

    5. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions about losing weight, you promise yourself you’ll make two pieces from your stash for every new fabric or pattern that you buy, but you don’t.

    6. You want to make everything you admire in the blogs you read, even the things that are incompatible with your lifestyle.

    7. You try analogizing couture techniques to engineering, so that you husband will let you discuss sewing with him.

    I loved your post and your blog, and would very much like to win the soap.

  20. Joanne Jordan

    You truly are an inspiration and I especially enjoy reading your thoughts as well as your final design adjustments with each of your garments under construction. The final pictures of a completed garment leave me anticipating your next project. I also love your wardrobe. Thank youl

  21. Fashionista

    Definitely hopeless! I can tick off every one except number 3. But then I did get a tailor’s ham and a wrist pin cushion (both handmade by a dear friend) for Christmas that I was very excited with.

    Love your blog.

  22. I am in mourning over losing my father to cancer a month ago and since then I do not leave the house much. Today my aunt called to tell me she found a fabric store with a 50% sale! She knows fabrics and old sewing machines are the only thing cheering me up these days. Love the blog. I am making a wrap dress, very DVF, with a ponte knit and I have so many doubts about how to stabilize it…So hopeless it is!

    • How sad you must be right now – I am so sorry for your loss. It seems your aunt has the right idea, however! Looking at fabric is very soothing and full of possibilities. Your wrap dress sounds gorgeous. I have a couple of those in mind for this year, too!

  23. I laughed aloud several times in this – everything I own is covered in threads or pins (especially nylon tights – they pick up everything!) and I’m trying to work out if I have time to make it to the store with a sale today before they shut. I spend ages analysing plaid and also seam lines – looking for interesting seaming details is great fun. And I’ve had a few people tell me my entire wardrobe is great, which is a huge ego boost. They don’t notice the imperfections I do…

    • Why is it that we especially notice the imperfections in our own creations? It’s better to take those wardrobe compliments from friends as the sincere statements they are! So glad you liked the post – and I loved reading your comment!

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