Holiday “Bests” (and don’t try to make a tie at the last minute).

First of all…

Darcy's card

From me and “Karl.” We have appreciated your visits and comments so much here at Jet Set Sewing this year. Thank you!

(And thanks to my longtime TV pal, and fellow midlife re-inventor Darcy Corcoran, for sketching up this card for To see more of her custom cards, click here.)

Before my Swiss intern, Karl (seen below), took off for a ski holiday with his family in Zermatt (don’t worry, he’ll be back for second semester), we put our heads together and came up with this list of “Bests” for 2014.


Bwwwwaaaaaaa! I’m going to miss you sooooo much, Karl!!!! (Sometimes I think I’m getting a little too close to my intern. For details about how Bernina USA is loaning a B560 machine to Jet Set Sewing, click the Bernina Collaboration tab. And Happy Holidays to Bob and Betty at the FTC, who have so lovingly created the guidelines for these clunky blog disclosures.)

Here goes!

Best group advice from readers:


Pick the buttons in the middle!



Best project to avoid trying to figure out three days before Christmas?

Tie nub

Making a tie! You think it’s all nice angles and straight seams and then you have to make some nib thing and roll the facing yiiiiiii!!!!

Tie liningTie tip

Who knows, it could still happen. I found these websites useful: and Seven Fold Ties.

Best book to order if you don’t like your Christmas presents:

Little Black Dress Book

The new “Little Black Dress” book, found here. It includes patterns for a number of classic designs, and the patterns are cut for C-cup women with curves. Here are some of the other looks in the book:

Little Black Dress 30sLittle Black Dress Angelica Dress

I actually bought the book because I liked that pattern on the right, inspired by Angelica Huston with a side of Halston. There’s a classic wrap dress pattern in it, too.

Best gate-crashing by Jet Set Sewing?

imageChanel on staircase

Ha ha, got ya, Coco!

Best photo-bomb? Well, I was having brunch with old friend Sam Moore of “Soul Man” fame…


And then…

Nancy photo bomb

Excuse me, you may be the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and (just as impressive) a mother of five, but could you get the hell out of my photo?!? Okay, it’s a long story, but the Congresswoman was rocking what appeared to be a very classy asymmetrical Armani jacket, which could be knocked off with this Vogue pattern…

V8932, Misses' Jacket and Vest

Vogue 8932 Hm, nice pattern!

Best erotic gown? (No, not something from the vintage burlesque gals following JetSetSewing on InstaGram…though they are awesome…)

Millicent Rogers in Charles James

This Charles James gown, shown in the Charles James Exhibit. Look real closely, and you’ll find the man in the boat.

Best way to put off blogging: sew something.

Best way to put off sewing: blog something.

Best way to avoid making dinner: both of the above. And InstaGram.

Most hilarious vintage pattern?

70s tunic pattern

After I posted it, my sister informed me that the guy on the left is my brother-in-law. And it is! (I didn’t recognize him because in this picture, he has hair).

Scariest iron?


(Cue the screeching violins from Psycho.) Never attempt to press any of your makes in an L.A. hotel, even when you’re desperately finishing it for an event. It’s right up there with “no wire hangers, evvvveerrrrr!”

Best comments? Well there have been plenty of great comments, but the ones Karl and I truly enjoy are from the spam filter. Here’s one of our favorites:

“Ferragamo Fake Belts” writes: “I get pleasure from, result in I discovered just what
I was having a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

Dude, you have a nice day, too. How’s the weather in North Korea?

And now for the “Best Conversation about Sewing” I had this year:

I went to see my doctor, who is a brilliant guy, gifted physician, and devoted family man. I expected to get raised eyebrows as I described throwing my back out hunched over an ironing board during my Edith Head/Claire McCardell sewing marathon.

But instead, we launched into a conversation about how, as a young man in Argentina, he didn’t have access to good mountain climbing gear, so he himself had learned to sew, under the tutelage of a traditional tailor. Let me tell you, I was the one with raised eyebrows!

Then he started talking about how the doctors who are really into sewing are the surgeons, which makes perfect sense, since that’s a critical part of their work.

He went on to describe one colleague in particular, who is descended from the indigenous people of Chile. He said that this surgeon had learned traditional handsewing techniques from the women in his family, and had incorporated these ancient stitches while sewing up the hearts of newborns (whose hearts are about the size of a walnut) at Boston’s world-class Children’s Hospital. In doing so, he revolutionized infant heart surgery.


So my friends, my New Year’s wish to you is that you keep sharing your love of sewing, because who knows where it will lead.

Well, Karl and I were going to wrap things up by singing a holiday medley, but his father’s limo just showed up so he’s on his way to the airport. Instead, here’s an old recording of Charles Brown and Bonnie Raitt, wishing you a “Merry Christmas, Baby.”

Enjoy the holidays!

***And I’m adding a quick update to the post today… my Claire McCardell-inspired 50s Wrap pattern and tutorial has just been posted on the Bernina website It’s a free download, that’s a lot of fun for some #selfishsewing. If you make one up, please let me know!***



27 thoughts on “Holiday “Bests” (and don’t try to make a tie at the last minute).

    • Merry Christmas to you, too, Elaine! Being married to my Dad, I’m sure you’ve seen where my sense of humor comes from. And that really is John on that pattern.
      I bet your Bernina, Rocky, could use some time off, too, after all of your marathon quilting!

    • Merry Christmas to you, too, Marianne. As for the tie…unless my husband takes a three-hour walk at about about 9:30 tonight, that project’s being tabled until his birthday in January.

  1. Would have commented sooner but the Internet has been down in North Korea . Hoping to find the Charles James exhibit catalogue under the tree tonight. Happy Holidays to all!

  2. That iron…so sad. The spouse used to travel for his job, and learned to use a pressing cloth the hard way courtesy of a friend of that sad iron.

    Happy cooking free holidays to one and all!

  3. I mean how on earth did your in-law end up on a pattern envelope? Have you been scouring the interweb to find more? Will you finish that tie? Where’s the man in that skirt?
    Stay tuned for more
    My friend the eye surgeon learned how to sew from his Mom too. It’s an awesome story.

  4. Loved that heart surgeon story! And are you going to buy your own Bernina now? I can testify that the old ones are fabulous, even if they don’t have all the bells and whistles that Karl has.

    • Thanks Lynn! Actually Karl is still my “intern” until later this year, thank goodness! In meantime, I’ll be working on that Bernina concept with my husband. They really are fabulous machines.

  5. You are even more “jet set sewing” than I imagined…with a brother-in-law as a pattern model. Loved the post, and thanks for all the great posts you’ve given us.

  6. Knew I had a good eye for design–Vogue 8932–scoop up Vogue patterns whenever on sale–and now the Congresswoman has confirmed it. Not sure that is an approbation but Jet Set Sewing certainly is. Thanx Julie.

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