The Blue Gardenia

Last night, I dreamed of Don Draper . . . August 7, 2010 15:37 5 Comments

I was on a train, dark with mahogany. The windows shaded with green. We were in a southern city, hot, humid, the skies white with haze and smog. No birds flew. The landscape pocked with silver skyscrapers and gray freeways. 

We pulled into the station. People stood up, waited to disembark. I remained seated. I waited and read and occasionally noted the people around me. Milling. I saw Betty Draper. Her hair daffodil yellow. Flipped. She wore a coral suit and a white blouse with coral polka dots and low-heeled leather pumps the color of spring. Like Jackie. Classic. Dull. Two men were with her.  I read and waited, surrounded by the mahogany dark of the train, the windows shaded green.

I was the last to leave. I stepped down from the train. People scurried on the platform. I had no luggage. I carried a handbag of petal leather. Ruched. A tote. A trenchcoat over my arm. I walked. I walked. I entered a mall, fraught with people. Scurrying. I walked and walked. No birds flew. How long. How long, I wondered.

I entered a tower of corrugated steel and glass.  It felt temporary, a scaffold. People scurried. I was calm. Calm. Even though no birds flew. I climbed the stairs. One after the other. Flight after flight after flight after flight. I did not tire. I was not faint. I looked out the windows as I climbed. The city white with haze. No birds flew. How long. How long? I wondered.

1950s_don_draper_suitI stopped on a landing, leaned against the window, cool as an Alberta wind against my face. I placed my hand against the glass, felt the chill, refrigerated air. Men rushed up and down the stairs behind me. Impatient. Fraught. I climbed higher. Higher. The city white with haze. I wondered how long. How long?

I stopped again, high above the city, white with haze, gray with freeways, silver with skyscrapers. I watched. I was not faint. I was not weary. A male voice on a loudspeaker urged people: Go underground to be safe, hurry. I did not care. I felt free. An uncaged bird in a city white with haze where no birds flew. I felt a breath on my neck, warm. Fingers on my waist, gentle. I turned. Don. His arms enclosed me, crushing, wrinkling my suit, Vogue Couturier Design 753, copyright 1953, so carefully made. I did not care. I did not. Our lips met, tender. A 1960s-era Harlequin Romance. Yet. Yet. The voice on the loudspeaker urged everyone to go underground to be safe. Safe. Don raised his head. He looked at me. I shook my head no. No. In the city white with haze, pocked with skyscrapers, where no birds flew, we had wings as eagles.

Your dress is finished for your date with Don. And it is so sexy. July 24, 2010 08:56

Mad_men_premiere_dressYou got up early today. Bought radishes, lettuce, peaches and purple cherry tomatoes at the farmers market. Now. Relaxation. The phone is off. Raul Malo is on the stereo. You're going to read Dancing in the Dark until your eyelids get heavy and naptime beckons. You can loaf, give your Type A personality the day off, and enjoy your entire Saturday. Absolutely. You're going over to friends for dinner and the return of Don Draper tomorrow. How you've missed him. And Joan. And Peggy. You know you'll look chic in Advance Sew-Easy 3460, circa early 1960s. You whipped it up out of some luscious vintage green silk. And you cannot wait to wear it. Sometimes, you are such a show-off. And sometimes — like this lazy day — well, not so much. Capris and a tee are just fine. Yes indeedy.

Learning to sew: In which more than my skirt goes mad! July 19, 2010 09:05 1 Comment

Saturday, I went over to Marticia's for a sewing festival. You recall, dear readers — I know you do, because how could you possibly forget one small step along my sewing journey —that I was quite intimidated by my fraying selvage. So. I bagged up my fabric and my pattern, and I drove over to Marti's so she could show me how to fix it.

Marticia lost patience with me, because I was taking pictures rather than pulling the thread to get the fabric on grain. Well, duh. I'm a blogger. I have to take pictures. I have to, beloved readers, for you. So that you can view my progress. So that you can be with me as I take baby steps along this path. I'm so unselfish. Really.

Now. Because you read the headline or title or whatever it is we call the words that go across the blog story to draw you, dear readers, in, you are probably wondering why something — namely, me — was driven mad by this skirt. Well. Here ya go. The reason: The fabric stretch did not go horizontally around my hips. No. It went lengthwise. I do not need a lengthwise stretch. I don't. I don't. I need it around my butt. Otherwise, how will the fabric puff out into an unflattering ball in my buns area? Obviously, I needed a new fabric. Absolutely.  I did not want to waste the Lycra in my yummilicious linen-cotton blend.

So. Marticia to the rescue. Again. She put on her cape. She put on her boots. And she went to her fabric stash. And . . . and . . . drumroll, please . . . she worked her superpower magic and pulled out a piece of jade wool blend. Which just happened to be the right size for my skirt. Yippee skippee. So. It is now cut out. I have only to pull out the tracing paper and the tracing wheel and mark, mark, mark the many darts. Then I'll be ready to sew my Mad Men pencil skirt. I will. Double cartwheels to celebrate. Please.

Learning to sew: Lead me out of the cold, dark night, she pleaded. June 28, 2010 16:50 4 Comments


I'm confused. Remember the selvage issue I mentioned with the black cotton linen fabric? To be specific, the selvage unraveled. Puffs Girl suggested going to my sewing books. Like the good girl that I am, I followed her advice. Absolutely.



I didn't get much help. I didn't. In fact, I didn't find anything that applied to my problem: How to get the fabric on the straight of grain when the selvage turned to loose threads in the washing machine. Loose threads. That is my selvage. I did read over and over and over again the importance of getting the fabric on the straight of grain. All right. I get it. I do. Really. But how do I accomplish that task?

Sewing_BasicsI could beat myself up for choosing a fabric I loved for this skirt. A fabric I've been saving for years for exactly the right garment. I could do that. I could. It would be so easy. But I'm not going to do that. I won't give in to insecurity. I won't give in to negativity. I won't go hide in the closet under the hems of my dresses. No. Absolutely not.  I am going to plunge forward into the darkness. I'm going to do my very best to find a path that leads to the straight of grain.

Is it wrong to wash the fabric first? Should I simply put it in a tub filled with hot water to preshrink it?  The sewing books ­­– and there were many - I went to for a way out of the darkness advised this is the way to go. What do you do, dear readers? Do you wash the fabric first? I want to know. I do. I want to get it right next time. Advice, please. Please, she asked, with urgency.