Party dress, finished

First off, the lapped zipper. This is something you hardly see anymore, even on fine clothes. It’s the details that take simple cotton from plain to a really lovely dress.I have so many dresses with a separate bodice and skirt, it’s nice to have one with princess seams.
A very nice party dress, not too fancy, but if I make a little Bolero style jacket, it will work in colder weather as well.In the pattern instructions, the inset is supposed to attach to the bodice with snaps. I bought the snaps, but didn’t feel like that was a good solution. So I just sewed it in place, I think it looks fine. I did double lace. Wasn’t too sure about the color, but this greyed down blue works really well. Just another small detail that makes a big differenceHere I am, admiring a mosaic bird I made a few years ago, I keep on thinking I’ll make more for this wall. I really should.And now, lets see the skirt in motion! It looks lovely, clothes are meant to move. Who knows, I might be dancing in this, it should swish well – and it does.


First of all, I have to share a picture that Yvonne put together of all the blocks from her workshop.The great thing about being in a workshop is seeing how the same pattern comes out so differently depending on the fabrics that are used.

A while ago I found a sewing You Tube Channel, Sew Over It, I watched a few episodes than forgot about it. Meanwhile, a new sewing podcast has started up from London. It’s called Stitchers Brew and in it, Megan and Gabby either talk about their own sewing or interview, usually in person, other interesting sewers. So there I was reintroduced to Lisa Comfort, not only is she adorable, she really knows her stuff!

I have been burned by Indie patterns, I am fine with the big four, I guess that just means I’m older and not a hipster, oh well. But I have had problems with some very big names in the Indie world, like a sleeve that didn’t have a front and back. Which means it didn’t fit right. Or the patterns are all the same, very basic.

After her interview I went back to see some of her videos and I came across this pattern:What is so nice about You Tube is she showed a number of versions and she was very explicit about using a drappy fabric like rayon. There are a number of interesting features, like a half stand collar. So I ordered the pattern and taped the pieces together. Then I went to Michael Levines and looked for rayon.

Rayon isn’t easy to come by and often, I don’t like the print. I found this print, fun, my colors and it works! Sewing with rayon isn’t easy, it is a slippery fabric. Lisa is right, had I made this out of cotton, it just would be one big box, because the rayon drapes, the shirt has a lovely shape. So yes, I will be ordering more patterns from Sew Over It. Lisa really knows what she’s doing and I’m seeing original designs, not the same old same old.

Still working on the party dress, I could have put in an invisible zipper, but I want to elevate this dress, make it more ‘couture’ so instead I lapped the zipper in the back and as you can see, I’m tacking it down with tiny stitches.I love the rayon lining, gives the dress more body as well as being very breathable and comfortable.I lined the complete dress, something I rarely do, I just serged the lining but used lining lace on the dress.This sort of works like horsehair, it doesn’t give as much body as horsehair would, but just enough so the skirt has volume.  Next post, me modeling the dress.

Triangle Transparency workshop

I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Yvonne. I don’t take every workshop that is offered, but something like this is so worth my while.

So what is transparency? It’s the effect of light, how more layers will make something darker. I’m not going into all the details, that is what the class is about.This project results in a 60″ x 60″ quilt. For the workshop I decided to pull fabric from my stash and see how I like this before investing in new fabric. Here is one find. When working with transparency, it’s not the the light to dark that matters, it’s also keeping it all in the same colorway. Not an easy thing to do with purple. These are all old fabrics I found at a garage sale, the quality is poor, but the colors do work.I chose to go from dark to light, because I like the dark print best and really wanted to showcase it.Scott did the opposite, he had cut everything before hand and I think had even done a lot of the sewing at home. Btw, I have no doubt this came from his stash, my stash is tiny compared to his.Anna pulled from her stash, it just happens to be Cherrywood fabric. She too went from dark to light. She has had this fabric for a long time, well worth waiting for this project.My block, finished, I am very, very pleased with the result! It’s hard to tell sometimes when looking a pile of fabric.Yvonne did the math and shrunk the block down from 30″ to 15″. Yes, this is considered a transparency because the floral print contains both the blue and the green. My two blocks side by side.With Gregs’ block.Scott finished his top quickly, I really like this layout.Anna’s finished top is stunning, Cherrywood fabrics are very expensive but so worth it, especially for such a graphic design.

Any quilter who has the chance, take Yvonne’s class. She is a good teacher and really helped people out along the way.


All kind of creativity, nothing finished yet

Still exploring the city and being creative.Block by block, this quilt is growing.Top is now done. Most of the blocks are very similar, with differences in placement of color. There are some other shape differences as well, but not much. I love scrappy, I don’t like rainbow.

Now I have to figure out how to quilt this.I started a new knitting project, this is the swatch.It will be another cardigan. I know yarn stores are having a very hard time surviving, the big knitting craze of 10-15  years ago is over. So most stores carry specialty yarn, not the basics. Sure,  I will be ordering basics online, but that does make it hard for me to support my LYS when I can’t find what I want. Because this is a very simple shape, the kettle dye look works, but I do miss just finding Cascade yarn at my LYS.

Clothes sewing continues. I have a wedding this summer which gives me an excuse to make a cute party dress. Yes, this is very simple, and yet it is lovely. I went to Mood LA and saw my friend Kay who now works there. We both agreed that the option on the right isn’t very accurate, it would take so much fabric to get those very large elements to look like that, in reality, they’d be chopped up.

So I started looking at silks, no luck, I don’t want solid color, what can I say, I’m a print girl! The prints were either too busy, or like this too big.So I ended up with the blue cotton print, a pretty lace for the inset and rayon lining. By fully lining the dress, I will give it more structure and that will help elevate it from a simple cotton dress.This time, I made a muslin, I want the dress to really fit right. I have a long torso, so I did add to the length of the bodice before making the muslin.It fits the dress form.More important, it fits me, no on to actually sewing the dress.  Although it is a simple pattern, I’m not rushing anything. I want to get this right.

Ok, back to work.

The Bradbury, inside! Up the elevator into an office!!

The lobby of the Bradbury building is open during business hours and people are welcome to enter. These days they pay attention, if it looks like you are taking more than the normal amount of pictures, or if you have massive camera equipment – they will stop you. Otherwise, visitors are welcome. But that is it, you can go to the first landing of the stairs, no more.

I took the elevator in the Bradbury to the top floor
I took the elevator in the Bradbury to the top floor
Standing right under the amazing atrium in the Bradbury building, Los Angeles
Standing right under the amazing atrium in the Bradbury building, Los Angeles
Details of tiles only seen from the top floor of The Bradbury building.
Details of tiles only seen from the top floor of The Bradbury building.
A rare treat, being on the top floor of The Bradbury building
A rare treat, being on the top floor of The Bradbury building
Two fireplaces, inside and office in The Bradbury Building.
Two fireplaces, inside and office in The Bradbury Building.
View through massive doors out to the atrium of The Bradbury
View through massive doors out to the atrium of The Bradbury
Old fire hose in The Bradbury Building
Old fire hose in The Bradbury Building

On Friday I was lucky to lead a tour of Seismic Engineers who were in town for a conference. The last stop was the Bradbury.We had a special treat, the opportunity to go up in the open cage elevators and then slowly walk down the stairs.  When I give tours, I don’t normally take pictures, this time I had to, it’s not often one gets to go in the elevator and get a closer look at the amazing glass atrium ceiling.I only had my phone, although it does take good pictures, the distortion is much greater than a good solid camera.  In the middle of this photograph is the mechanism to open up the clerestory windows to get air circulation.The details!!! The glass is so well reinforced that in 120 years they have never replaced a pane. The decorative terra-cotta has an interesting design up here as well.What an engineering as well as design marvel this building is! As we walked around, Rachel approached us, she is director of Public relations for Berggruen Institute, a Think Tank that now occupies the whole south side of upper floor. She graciously invited us in.The office is still very sparse, they only recently moved in. I had heard of fireplaces in the offices. Here is one.How cool is this, with a wall between, these two are simply a two sided fireplace. Not functional anymore, but oh so beautiful.Another room had this beautiful exposed brick one. There were a few employees, as well as a lovely Golden retriever, sorry I didn’t get his picture.One of the office doors, looking back out to the landing. These are strong massive wood and literally, go from floor to ceiling.Another tall window, it may be a little hard to see how wavey the top pane of glass is. Glass isn’t a solid, it’s somewhere between solid and liquid and this 120 year old pane is getting the wave look old glass gets. This is because gravity is slowly dragging it down.Out on the landing, more wonderful details. Look at this firehose reel. Although it is no longer functional, they have kept these on display – once again, design and function working so well together. In the 1950’s one of the elevator operators was in the building late at night and fire did break out, she called the fire department and saved so much of this building.

Modern amenities have been added and are hidden in plain sight in these ducts, for the building to be used today, it needed modernization.

Beautiful woodwork, newel post, staircase, The Bradbury building
Beautiful woodwork, newel post, staircase, The Bradbury building
Looking down on the Lobby of the Bradbury Building
Looking down on the Lobby of the Bradbury Building
View from midlevel, The Bradbury Building
Vew from midlevel, The Bradbury Building

Ahh, the details! This staircase goes up to the roof and is off limits. More wonderful terra-cotta.Another newel post, this time cast iron.The floor, another beautiful element.
An angle only workers and visitors to the offices get to see.From one of the midlevel landings. This really is one of Los Angeles’ treasures.  One of the big payoffs for these years of volunteering was the ability to see more details of the wonderful landmark.

Evergreen Cemetery continued


Blacks were never denied burial here, you’d think they would be segregated out. The Tombstone is new, although Biddy was a pillar of the community, she didn’t have much of a gravestone until the 1980s. It is wonderful to see that a granddaughter, who lived to 100 is buried with her. I need to ask my son in law to do some research for me, I’m pretty sure a lot of her family is still around. For more info on her, come on my historic downtown tour! Biddy was an incredible human being.

I posted some pictures on Instagram and a friend tells me that her husbands’ mother and uncle are buried here! If only I had known!


This was always private, but when they opened the city asked for nine acres as a Potters Field, this is where the unknown dead are buried. By 1917, they were running out of room, so in 1924, the city sold that section back to the Cemetery, except for one corner where they built the city crematorium. Sorry, no pictures, I understand the need for a crematorium, as a Jew, it’s not something I share pictures of. These days, the old Potters Field is being reused as regular plots. Once a year there is a ceremony where the ashes of around 1,500 people are buried, with just the year. These are all the unknown and unlclaimed dead of the city.

The Chinese were not allowed to be buried here, or in any other cemetery. They came as single men to work the railroads and stayed, the thought was that without women, they would leave. The discrimination in very interesting, especially since until Roosevelt in WWII, The Japanese weren’t treated the same way – oh they suffered from discrimiation, but not like the Chinese. So for $10 a head, the Chinese were allowed to be buried in the Potters Field, at some point they wised up and simply created their own cemetary. Sad story, turns out, that most were buried in a mass grave that was only uncovered when the Gold line was built in the 90s. So There is a memorial garden from 1880 dedicated to the Chinese and this new memeorial and graves for the bodies that were uncovered.

History isn’t always pretty, there are a lot of terrible deeds done to all kinds of people. Remembering and learning is what matters. Harvard is one place these days that needs to learn the lesson that discrimination against Chinese or other Asians is not acceptable.One of the groups that started using the old Potters Field as burial grounds, were The Pacific Coast Showmen’s Association. This is an ongoing organization that offers burial as well as support for people in the ‘Circus’ industry. Back in the day, circus workers or performers often didn’t have a permanent home, they traveled. So they created this organization that helped with burials. What is interesting is men are on one side of the road and women on the other. I have no idea why.A current section, where burials are happening today. Aside from the fake flowers that don’t die, pinwheels are becoming a thing on graves. Also, looks like some of the families come and water their loved one’s graves.

One of the issues here is that no one is paying for all those old graves. There is always a possibility to pay an endowment, but when someone has been dead over 100 years, I don’t think the descendants feel much of a connection.There is a whole history just in this tombstone.  The daughter died first, then the mother, then the father. I wonder if Geraldine is Laptha’s daughter. I hope she is still alive today, if not, maybe she chose to be buried with her husband, not in the family grave. Also notice, people have been putting photographs on tombstones for a long time. Note that Gerladine’s is in color.I only took the close up of this beautiful African American woman with her lovely feather fan. The photos are of the person at their best, so although she looks young here, she may not have been.

And now, I need to go visit the Workman homestead, as well as the Jewish cemetery in Boyle Heights.

Cemeteries are a wonderful place to see history in action

On an overcast Saturday, I went to Boyle Heights to visit Evergreen Cemetery.  As the city started growing beyond the downtown area, Boyle Heights was one of the new neighborhoods, since it was wide open, it was also a place where people bought land for cemeteries, like this one in 1877. Evergreen is a popular name, although these days, due to water conservation, it quite brown.There is a wonderful old gate, the rest is surrounded by a simple Chainlink fence.As you can see, we are right in the middle of a residential neighborhood, one that is experiencing gentrification. Alongside the little old houses are now newer modern apartment buildings. The original chapel, still used today.This is a nondenominational private cemetery, today, everyone is welcome. In the past the Chinese weren’t and Jews always had their own places of burial. I find it interesting that the Japanese weren’t excluded and today there is a large Japanese presence, often just mixed among other graves. There were plenty of these kinds of graves, babies that died. In more modern Memorial Parks, like Forest Lawn, the babies have their own section. Because this was an early cemetery, many of the important families are buried here. William Workman was very influential in the Los Angeles area in the mid 19th century. He is buried on his homestead, but other family members were buried here.Not sure exactly where Nancy fits in the genealogy, I love how exact they were with her age.Two more important families, The Gilmores bought the land where Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax is today. They discovered oil, had a baseball team and although quiet today, are still and important business in the city.

The Bixby’s developed the Long Beach area. What is interesting to me is that there is a large monument, but many of the graves of the family are simply around these, with small stones of their own. Unlike later, when large mausoleums will be constructed in places like Hollywood Forever or Forest Lawn.    This family plot is dear to me, The Lankershims and Van Nuys families, the ones who really developed the Valley. 

Both men were Isaacs’, Lankershim ends up being Van Nuys’ Father in law, make sure the business stays in the family. Under this tomb lie both Lankershim and his wife as well as Van Nuys and his wife Susanna, Lankershim’s daughter.

This post is getting long, I will continue tomorrow…


Pasadena Chalk Festival

Every Father’s Day weekend, for the last 26 years there is a chalk festival at Paseo Colorado. This year it was overcast and cool, so the artists could work in comfort.June gloom in all its glory! I got there early on Sunday morning because by then, some of the images are finished, or close to it.There is a process of voting, I didn’t take part, I just walked around, enjoying the artwork.This one is so delicate with fine details.I am drawn to the ones that look like oil paintings. This guy here is really blending the chack. In some cases, they grind the chalk into powder, add water and paint.Plenty of cartoon characters, especially the Japanese Manga style. Probably my favorite, I just love the Art Nouveau style of drawing.Very appropriate to have this car here since at the same time there is a classic car show.I adore these old cars, so loved and well taken care of.Give me more of that Fire engine red, even if the original would have been a simple black. Everyone this year seems to have stopped at the carhop to get food and drinks.Love how this couple dressed for the occasion! It was very busy, a chalk festival, antique cars as well as Aliencon, I was expecting to see more people in costume. Very few were, I saw one couple in white capes and antennae on their heads. I guess most people are really serious about these aliens, it’s not another comic-con. In honor of my friend Becky, a 1947 Teardrop trailer. She owns a much newer one, but not a lot has changed. A very tight compact way to travel. It has everything except the bathroom. The best part about this one? A handmade quilt!

Still sewing

I bought some lovely rayon in Albuquerque last fall. Although it is dark, I waited to make a summer dress. Rayon is so light and flowing, which makes it a little hard to sew with, but I make one little move and:the skirt just flutters! There is some nice detail and draping on the bodice, but with the busy print, it’s probably not that noticeable.I stepped out of the sun, you get a better idea of the print here.Side view, later this week the temperatures will climb again and I’ll be able to wear this dress.I needed a new knitting project, so I went to a new to me yarn store. They don’t make them like they used to, hardly any yarn and no books or magazines. So I sat there, went through Ravelry, until I found a pattern. Lucky for me, I do like this royal blue.Maybe the yarn stores figure that everyone is buying the basics online. I actually miss Cascade or Brown Sheep yarn in stores. It is true, I do buy some yarn online, I guess I’ll just be buying more online.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting article about the demise of Classic Elite Yarns, another great standard quality yarn company. Business is always changing, it’s true of the fabric companies and the yarn companies. Right now everyone wants the one of a kind hand dyed yarn – so I guess that is why the stores don’t carry the basics.

Summer nights in LA

So much happens on summer nights in LA. This past Friday I discovered the Odd Market at the Autry museum. From June through October, the third Friday of the month.                                                                                                            Since I had renewed my membership, it was free, otherwise, it’s $5.On the lawn at the east side of the museum, activities for kids and a lot of families out on the grass. Parking is very easy, right across the street in the zoo parking lot, since it starts at 6, most zoo visitors are already gone.All kind of food trucks set up shop.This one is advertised as a French Fry truck, but most of the advertisements are for Vietnamese food. Go figure.Me, I had a donut and fried chicken sandwich, because everyone needs a treat from time to time.

There are plenty of vendors, selling, jewelry, clothes, toys and other interesting itemsI bought a cute pair of sunglasses.Most of the booths are just pop up canopies. But some are trucks or airstreams.
This is the most unique one, built on a flatbed.How cool is this owl!!! Hand carved by someone in Reseda.I love this owl. There is plenty of stained glass as well, made by another local artisan.Yes, they sell those new age mystical things. But I kept paying attention to the details. Like the railing made out of pipes and pipe fitting.On the back, sliding glass doors with 100-year-old stained glass from a church in Connecticut. Now sandwiched between thick glass. So it’s hard to see the details, but it does make for a good reflection back onto the grass and the people.The big rides with the tower of the museum in the background.A little storm-trooper, happy as can be.

There are two galleries open during this event. So people get some culture along with the fun. I’m sorry to say that the Deborah Butterfield horse is in storage. I understand museums have more work in storage than out on display, I guess it was time for the horse to get some rest.The next night we were in a local park for a new series of weekend concerts. I hope this event, Noho Summer Nights, grows. The opening act was ok, good voice. Can I just say I am so sick and tired of everybody sharing all their issues, especially depression? Telling an audience out for a fun evening is simply a way of making you feel good while we get to feel bad. Shut up and sing.

Then there was a wonderful Queen cover band, didn’t stay till the end because it was really cold. (that’s June in LA for you). So I didn’t hear Bohemian Rhapsody, but a lot of other good classics.

I’ll be back!