Seam Ripped

a sewing blog without the sewing

Not dead.

I’m thinking of changing my subtitle from “a sewing blog without the sewing” to “now with less cyst.”

In any event, it weighed 24lbs, and I look forward to the pencil skirts.  And the gin.

Also, my junk is kind of intact.   Later, y’all.

P.S. The drugs are not nearly as fun as I’d originally thought.

I Like Ike


People keep saying things like, “Let me know when you’re out of the tank!” To which I respond, “Check my blog!” Call it laziness or efficiency, but I’ll toss up the flag in this space. Plus, I’ll be on loads of drugs, so whheeeeeeee!

Thank you all for your very kind words, some of which I’ve yet to respond to. Soon. With drugs, without Lagavulin.

In the immortal words of General Eisenhower, “We will accept nothing less than full victory!”

Sayonara, Lagavulin.

I have an actual excuse for my absence.  Several, actually.  (This would be a good time to duck out if you’re squeamish.)  I suppose we should start with the cyst:

Ovarian cyst.

We named the cyst Lagavulin, at Dixie Liquor (for obvious reasons), on the night I found out about his existence.  Also, I couldn’t figure out how to tastefully label my other organs, so, uh, that note just confirms their existence.  Anyway, this is a sagittal view of the CT scan.

The other vital organs are those weird things smushed up against my back and hanging out up by my ribcage.  You know, same old.

That and I transferred schools (to Columbia), untransferred schools (back to the Hilltop), moved back to Washington with less than 24-hours notice, signed a lease on my (first! tiny! overpriced!) apartment, bought a sewing machine, and I’m writing this as I arrange scarycakes surgery.  So, sorry for not being here or adequately kicking about on your blog.  (Unless you have a Blogger blog without Disqus, in which case, I thumb my nose at your comment form.  I have literally given up on commenting on anything but WordPress and Disqus-based sites, otherwise the MURDEROUS RAGE overtakes me, and kind of brings me down.  Sigh.)

Anyhoo, here’s a peek at the new living situation (the wainscoting grows on you when you’re there, I promise):

I bought a rug, which I think is the ultimate sign of adulthood.  Paying good money for something you step on.  Like a real adult, I celebrated by sitting on said rug while eating pizza, without dropping pizza on it.  (But with dropping pizza on my lap.)  It's the little victories.

I got a rug, as I think paying good money for something you’ll step on is the ultimate sign of adulthood. Like a real adult, I celebrated by sitting on said rug while eating pizza, without dropping pizza on it. (But with dropping pizza on my lap.) It’s the little victories.

I have so many thoughts about spending my entire adult life with an enormous mass pressed against my vital equipment, most especially because I thought I was fat the whole time.  This isn’t the place for it, I know.  It’s simultaneously frightening and liberating.  On one hand, I’m excited to get my body back.  On the other, I have exactly no recollection of how it looked in the first place.

Moving on.  Lilith will come live with me post-op, which should be a thrilling adventure for both of us.  She checked out the new digs, and managed to not be too offended.  “This’ll do, mother,” were her exact words.

Does not approve of the cabinets.

Does not approve of the cabinets.

In superficial news, my hair dryer died (RIP Evolution, 2007-2013), and an ill-conceived brow threading schedule means that I’m going to look like a Neanderthal, post-op.  Pour one out for the hair dryer, will you?  In the mean time, I’m going to try to capitalize off of my new resemblance to an old friend:

via  Apparently, Bert and Ernie went on a big adventure.  It's about time they got out of that apartment.

via Apparently, Bert and Ernie went on a big adventure. It’s about time they got out of that apartment.

All of this has implications for sewing!  (Not the brows, really.  Though maybe a little bit.)  I’m already planning a trip to Orchard Corset for some sort of “tame your lady junk” contraption, and am making a list of the patterns for which I’ll need different sizes.  I have lived so comfortably both within and removed from all of the magazine body-type business, I’m not so sure what my style will be when I’m done.  Which arbitrarily chosen fruit and/or geometric figure will I be?  Is my penchant for fit-and-flare dresses natural, or merely a product of my situation?  Am I a pear?  An apple?  A Buddha’s hand? 

Buddha's Hand, via Wikimedia Commons

“For the ladies with the Buddha’s hand shapes, we recommend cinched waists to deëmphasize your ample upper body, and bright accessories to mitigate the “tentacle” look.”  Buddha’s Hand, via Wikimedia Commons.

My unphotographed projects will certainly look interesting, that’ll be sure.  In any event, I was going to schedule this to publish while I was in surgery (why not?), but have decided against it.  (Mostly because I’m antsy and procrastinating.)  I go in next week, and will hopefully come out the other side with amusing, pithy observations about life without Lagavulin.  Who knows?  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll write about sewing.

‘splain this to me

This’ll be a quick one, as I am exhausted.  (Just handed in my last two papers for this session.  Woot!  I have written forty pages since Saturday.  Go me?  Poor me?  The jury’s still out.)

In an effort to relax, I’ve decided to digitally organize my stash.  Expert enabler and generally awesome person, Meredith, mentioned using Evernote.  Never occurred to me, believe it or not.  Anyway!   I’m matching fabrics to patterns and getting all nerdily organized (before being colossally disappointed once the fall semester rolls around and I realize I’ve got everything but time).  I can’t wait to hit Jo-Ann with my fall pattern list.  Before my dreams get totally crushed, I generally like to confirm that I have enough yardage for the pattern.


Say hello to organizational superiority.

I have encountered a roadblock.  Behold!  The deeply confusing yardage chart for Vogue 8901.

Vogue 8901 Yardage, View A

I’m finally getting in the practice of FBAs.  My high bust measurement is about 32-33″, depending on the day, and my full bust is 40-41″, which puts me at a 10-12 starting point.  My waist measurement puts me in a different stratosphere (three cheers for my gastrointestinal system!).  I have 2.78 yards of fabric that is 56″ wide.  How screwed am I, exactly?  Is the leap between the 14 and the 16 a cutting layout thing or what?


This is the Vogue sketch, shamelessly lifted from the Vogue website.

Novita from Very Purple Person made one, and I am now emotionally attached to the idea of it.  Go look.  Hers is super cute and involves pineapples.

Oh, here is the fabric:

Carolina Herrera Pink Splatter Check

Yeah.  Do we all remember that Pee Wee Herman episode?  If you love fruit salad so much, why don’t you maaaaarry it?  This fabric and I are pretty close to that.  I’m pretending I can wear it to class with a brown belt, navy cardigan, tights, and flats.  Let me alone with this delusion!  Also, this not effing up of the silk crepe de Chine delusion, but we’ll worry about that later.

Last night, I was photographing and cataloging the fabric.  Clive climbed on my bed, did a double take, sniffed the fabric, kneaded it, then decided it’s where he’d prefer to sleep.  He rejects cotton and wool, but has a thing for silk.  Fine, cat.  Fine.  I’ve been trying to institute a cat sheet policy, so that I can spend less of my life vacuuming (you can see a peek of it in the photo).  It’s obviously been going well.

Cats, y'all.

Cats, y’all.

A quick admin note: I’m messing around with themes in an attempt to find something that is functional and attractive.  I cannot figure out how to get the font smaller.  Oy.  I will eventually take the plunge and get all designy and shit, but I have no idea what I want this space to look like.  Clean?  Not cluttered?  Less dreadful than usual?

In any event, opinions are welcome on this most eventful post!  I’m rolling my eyes, reader.

conversations with other women

A little over a year ago, a woman came up to me with a cat in her arms.  His name was Sly (Silver Sylvester, for long), and I’d be doing her a favor by taking him.  Now then, I’d known someone with a cat called Sly and have a complete inability to say no to this sort of thing, so I took him home.  Obviously, he’d have to be called Clive.  Obviously.

Spot Clive.

Spot Clive.  Also, tell me what you do with the crappy books you get as presents from family members who are all, “You like books.  Here is a book!”

I’m reading a book for class and this book references all three other books I’m reading right now, and every non-contemporary novel on my wee summer bookshelf.  (The Protagoras, Portnoy’s Complaint, and The Recognitions; for class, on the go, and for fun, respectively.)

My friend was at a used book sale and found a one of those fill-in journals.  She flipped open the book and the first name she saw was of one of her closest advisers in undergrad.

I play this game all the time.  Aren’t I lucky to have stormed out of my editorial meeting early and to have been given Clive?  Isn’t my life the perfect example of how we can’t escape intertextuality?  How funny it is, the way things work.


I called my mother the other day, and one of my aunts answered the phone.

F.: Hello, Bunny!  Your mummy is on the road.  Is there anything you need?

Me: Oh, well, my roommates found a gigantic waterbug, and we’re unsure of how to proceed.

F.: Get a gun and shoot it.


After coming in from a weird, aggressive stand-off with a chestnut-hued squirrel in my backyard.

Me: K., I think the squirrel in the yard wants to kick my ass.  Or maybe he had rabies.  Not sure.

K.: Maybe he’s had a hard life.

I put some almonds in the yard for the squirrel, contrite.


Oh?  Me?  Just hanging out on this fence, watching you work, not in a menacing way or anything.

Oh? Me? Just hanging out on this fence, watching you work in what’s basically a blurry, bodega security cam photo.  Not in a menacing way or anything.

Me: So, I’ve been getting followed around by these huge black birds.  I’m not sure if they’re rooks or crows.

Mummy: Maybe they like you!

Me: They blocked my path on the way to the coffeeshop, sat beside me in front of the student center, and now they’re in my backyard!  One swooped down right in front of the window when I was writing my paper!

Mummy: Did you say hello?

Me: They’re PORTENDS!  Maybe I’m dying.

Mummy: Maybe you’re not being friendly enough, love.


Me: My roommates were gone for the weekend and I got home super late and there was an unwrapped, unrolled condom under my bed.  It wasn’t there before, all of our doors and windows were locked, and I left the house after everyone else.

My dean: Talk to housing.


Me: [forwards email to housing]

[one week elapses]

Housing: Thanks for letting us know.  We’ll alert the supervisor.


This morning.  I wake up to a riot of crows (rooks?) squawking outside my door.  They have eaten the squirrel’s almonds.  (I live in the basement and have my own entrance.)

Anyone familiar with the famous legend of the unrolled condom, insects, arachnids, and/or glimmer murder of crows?  I’d be thrilled to know.  I hope this answers any “Why don’t you blog more often/answer emails/acknowledge my existence?” questions, friends.  Obviously, I’m here, awake, not dying of a rook attack.  Obviously.

liebster. well, half of it.

The Liebster Award

The lovely Miss Parayim nominated me for a Liebster Award.  (Erm, thirty years ago.) Gangster!  Thanks, Miss P!

The rules are kind of unclear.  Some people post eleven fun facts, answer eleven questions, and ask eleven questions to eleven people.  Some people don’t.  Let’s just wing it, shall we?

I’m doing this video style, because Twitter told me I could.  I’m going to spare you, and post two videos: one where I answer the questions, and one where I give the facts.  I’m really chatty, so there’s literally no need to watch this.

Since I will literally post now or never, I’m going to leave these two videos here and post my eleven picks and eleven questions later, once I, er, think of them.  (If you haven’t got the Liebster and you want it, raise your hand!  I’ve tried to compile a list of people who haven’t already gotten it, and I’m up to seven.)

Here is the song I referenced in the post:

drumroll, please. . .

The winner is Hanne!  Huzzah for Hanne!

I chose the most aesthetically pleasing generator.  You can either judge me, or the number-generating community and their hideous interfaces.

I chose the most aesthetically pleasing generator. You can either judge me, or the number-generating community and their hideous interfaces.

Hanne, I shall email you (or you can email me).  I am super tired, and will say more tomorrow.  Antwerp!  I wish I could accompany the package.

one ring to rule them all

It’s our blogiversary, reader.  Perhaps it’s not?  Maybe you’ve been kicking around here for six months, or a few days?  Minutes, even?  I’m not quite sure what to do with this time (or this space), but I’m beyond certain that it’s more ours than mine.  Sometimes, I feel that I owe you a bit more than you get; others, I acknowledge that maybe our silences and missteps are more telling than the actual posts.

I just feel responsible for. . .more.  I wash my hair and in my head write beautiful, moving posts about body image, scholarship and creativity, contemporary feminism and femininity, and the sewing world at large.  Then I dry my hair and leave the posts behind.  Tree, forest, etc.  Maybe that’s for other blogs to do?

Sometimes I’m a bit ashamed of my sewing.  Not just because I have so very many wadders (which is more about my shameful fitting), but rather because I occasionally have a hard time reconciling blogging with Serious Writing and sewing with Art.  (Caps!)  On the other hand, I feel such a responsibility to you, reader, and would rather not waste your time with experiments.

The other day, I was thinking about starting a second blog (because I take such excellent care of this one, of course).  Just a repository for my random thoughts, some life photos, etc.  Then I realized that would be called a journal, and is probably something that doesn’t need to be on the Internet.  Of course, you would make the difference, reader.  The reason why I stick around here, and squint and cock my head and try to figure out how to make this work in my head, is you.  I so love your writing and sewing, and want to do. . .that.  All of that. Often, I sit back with a cup of tea and flip through the evil old stat counter, just to see where y’all are from, and wonder what it must be like in Sitka, Alaska, and if you’ve ever read Yiddish Policemen’s Union.  I travel around a lot, and go to a lot of different schools, but there’s a certain loneliness I’ve been able to avoid, because of you.

Enough with the anxiety and schmaltz, now I shall offer to give you things.

The Giveaway: Whatever the hell I feel like giving you, based on our conversations or our post-giveaway emailing.

Rules: One entry per person, please.  Please do leave a way for me to contact you somewhere (anywhere), and be willing to email with me for a spell, especially if you’re blogless.  There are kinder, more charitable bloggers who will totally go through and weed out commenters who’d rather not be entered before drawing a winner.  I’m not one of them.  You comment, you’re in.  Hell, if you don’t comment, but have commented, you’re also in, because I like giving things away.  (Fine, maybe not the last sentence, but still.)  I ship anywhere in the world, but you are responsible for any duties incurred.  I’m not mailing any Fabergé eggs, so not to worry on that front.

The giveaway closes at 8pm on Sunday, 9 June and I’ll announce a winner on Monday, 10 June.  Naturally, the Random Number Generator rules them all.  I’m back home on that weekend, so your prize will likely ship the following Sunday or Monday.  No, I won’t give you the money instead.  If you are related to me, you may not enter.  (Talking to you, cats!)

So, how about you leave a comment below, telling me all about the best thing you’ve read lately (books, articles, blogs, cereal boxes, and all that jazz)?

democracy, this.

A few housekeeping matters before we go on to our (temporary) regime change:

- I’m tired, so I shall catch up on answering comments tomorrow.  I have things! to! say!  Get your reading pants on.

- I have finally figured out that I need an FBA.  The eight inch difference between my high bust and mid-bust circumference were not enough of a hint, apparently.  This explains the whole “swimming in dresses above the apex” thing.  I do not know how to do an FBA, and my high bust measurement puts me in a different Big 4 pattern range, so shit’s about to get interesting.  Swearing makes it feel less daunting.

- The lovely Miss Parayim has nominated me for a Liebster.  Is there anything I love more than winning?  I shall totally do the whole trot out shebang once I figure out what questions to pose besides “How do you reckon I’d look with bangs?” or “Do you know of a great sheer lip color with hypochondriac-level SPF?”  Apparently, these are selfish questions.  Whatever.

Now, on to the main event.  I’d like to think that I run an exceedingly benevolent dictatorship here at Seam Ripped Central.  Bread and circuses, death of agency, yada yada yada, let’s see how we’d do with an election.  Not a proper one, mind; I’m not the poll-posting sort of jefa.  Next week is our blogiversary.  (It’s paper!)  Instead of making it rain like a rookie rapper in an Atlanta strip club, I’ve decided to perhaps host a giveaway.

Here’s my idea: you enter the giveaway, win it like the badass you are, and I’ll buy and send you a surprise.  I’ll sniff around your blog, exchange a few emails with you (especially if you’re the blogless type), and send you something special in the post.  Is this a horrible idea?  Will one of you sue me over my loosey goosey standards?  (I’m a student.  The most you’d get is my calculator collection and one of my cats.)  I have decent taste, I ship anywhere in the world, and there’s only a thirty percent chance that what I’ll send you is illegal in your country.  Dreadful idea?  Would you prefer it if I picked out one crazycakes thing?  In the immortal words of Diddy, vote or die.  (Or just get seriously emotionally maimed.  Same difference.)

a palette emerges

Hey, y’all. Long time no. . .forget about it. If you’ve had the grave misfortune of following me on Twitter, being my barista at Bouchon, or standing next to me on a subway platform, you know I’ve been neck-deep in tests for the past decade six weeks.  It’s been real, as they say.  Anyway, I go back to Washington on Wednesday/Thursday and start another batch of classes the Monday after that, so I’ll hold off on the grand declarations of being back, etc.  It is nice to see you, puppyface.

I finished my last final last night (crossing fingers and toes), and, naturally, celebrated by buying fabric this morning.  The sainted Kashi has a cat (well, his neighbors do), and if you, like me, go anywhere where there’s an animal, you should stop by and say hello.  (I swear, Eric at Mood is really on to something with that fluff bucket Swatch.)

Drunk on my newfound free-ish time, I decided to lay out my summer projects.  I sense a theme, you guys.

Fabric Stack

I’ll totally tell you where all this is from. And, no, I did not buy them in one swoop; I only bought three this morning. That last sentence was for my mother.

One of these things looks exactly like every other thing in the stack.  Do you remember the movie 500 Days of Summer?  Zooey Deschanel looks fantastic in it, and I remember reading the costume designer saying that they made a conscious decision to dress Zooey’s character in blue throughout the film.  The pieces were a mix of mall stores and vintage, and I think the restrained color palette made her wardrobe seem a lot more put-together and chic than it otherwise would have.  Then again, this wasn’t really a conscious decision for me.  Maybe I’m just in a blue mood?

I owe you my Meringue, my hemmed Hazel, my trouser-fitting stories (the horror!), some fabric ogling and whole bunch of other stuff.  Also, we’re going to try our hand at democracy here at Seam Ripped Central.

Oh!  Before I jet off (to buy buttons for my seventy shirtwaist dresses), would you like to meet Clementine Bug Witherspoon?


I know that everyone says this about their adopted street pigeons, but I think she’s the very best.  Also, look at how clever her parents were, making that nest.  Who knew pigeons could operate document shredders?

Onward, with purpose.


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