Yes, I Do Windows

The windows in the kitchen badly needed cleaning, so who cleans them? Me.

Another job for The Distaff Side!


My husband didn’t even notice when he got home this afternoon. He’s a pretty clean guy. When we were dating, he’d always spruce up the kitchen and bathroom, freshly vacuum the carpet and sweep away clutter. But there would be dust everywhere. And the windows and mirrors were never washed. He really just doesn’t “see” it. I guess like how some people don’t “see” that they’ve gained 50 pounds. Willful ignorance is more like it.

“I don’t do windows,” is one of those catch phrases that comes from a life of ceaseless toil. A housekeeper or maid was expected to do all kinds of jobs, but windows were such a thankless and irksome task that they could reasonably refuse. It’s the kind of job you need to hire special for.

When we first bought our home, built in 1908, I guessed that the windows had not been cleaned since 1970. (That’s the year I was born, and I am old as dirt, so it made sense at the time.) I called around to some window-washing companies to get a quote for doing our house, and I was laughed right off the phone. I lived with the dirt.

Years ago we replaced the drafty, rattling old wood windows with newfangled ones that tilt in for easy cleaning. Excuses over, time to get out the Windex and paper towels. Don’t tell me that vinegar and newspaper are the way to do this, in an effective and environmentally responsible way. All you get for your troubles is a big mess. Hey, I take public transportation and bike whenever possible – so what if I burn through half a bottle of Windex and half a roll of paper towels?

Anyway, the windows are nice and clean now. I can look forward to looking through them all winter. And in the spring, they will probably need to be cleaned. Again.

Why Do My Darts Look Like Crap?

I’m working on MariaDemark’s Edith blouse. It’s a 50s-style fitted, button-up blouse with kimono sleeves. This blouse is a dart-lover’s dream – two big bust darts and two big fish-eye darts on the front that almost meet at the bust apex, and two small ones on the back shoulders.

Normally, darts don’t phase me. Some people are afraid of them. What’s the big deal? Beats me.


The darts on the right look pretty good. The darts on the left look awful – a C- in Home Ec at best. I ripped them out and resewed them. Same deal. What’s happening here? Does anyone have tips for how to get darts symmetrical?

The fabric is a poly crepe (this is a wearable muslin). It takes a press well and is easy to sew, but it seems to be fighting with me at the point. Do I need to cut a new left bodice and start over?

Me-Made in the Heat

We had central air conditioning installed in our house a couple of months ago. We went to turn it on yesterday, since the temperature suddenly shot up to 90 degrees (32 C) and guess what? No AC.

So today I am working from home and waiting for the AC guys to come fix the damn thing. LIMG_20170519_075135ucky for me, I have plenty of breezy summer me-made clothes! This is “Pinafore Dress” from Happy Homemade Sew Chic.

I made it from two panels of silk crepe, overruns from Ralph Lauren that I got at Mood Fabrics in New York. I needed a dress pattern that would have no darts or other design features to get in the way of the gorgeous Art Deco design. It was tough to cut just the same, because the design was printed at an angle. I thought about making a dress on the bias so that the design would be straight, but sewing silk crepe on the bias requires a special kind of crazy that I ain’t got.

Truth be told, this is another project that’s not as well-made as it could be. I didn’t line up the yoke and the dress as well as I could have with all the gathers along the front, so the corners jut out a bit. Also, the hem is a little wonky. Still, I made this with French seams for a pretty look inside and out, and I made best use of the design.

I intended it for a beach cover-up, not a dress, but it’s going to be 90+ again today so I need all the cool I can get.

A C- in Home Ec Me-Made Moment

We went out to dinner last night on the spur of the moment, so I grabbed a tote bag I made from the leftover ultrasuede from my Simplicity moto jacket.

This tote, from an out-of-print Burda pattern, 2562, is hardly my finest work. It would embarrass me if I had any shame. It gives handmade things a bad rap. A C- in Home Ec class if I ever saw one.

I sewed it earlier this year for a wardrobe contest that I never finished. It was a rush job just to tick a box. I shouldn’t have even made this, but there it is. I’ve made the pattern a couple of times before – it’s useful but basic, with all that implies.

Why keep it? Why use it? Because I believe in showing all sides of the home sewing distaff discipline. My blog will never be one of those showcases where every project is flawless and photographed to perfection. We all make dogs sometimes. Bark if you agree!