Monday, October 29, 2012

burda dress 6-2008-129 and miscellany

You may recall a little Halloween project mentioned recently, and my plans to take a Photoshop class.  All wrapped in one tidy package is what you see above - the results of my labors.  The dress was very easy compared to the Photoshop class!

About the dress: 

This pattern is easy to sew with just a couple minor exceptions: godets & working with the bias.
  • The godets are set right into the field of fabric, so I sewed one side at a time, starting at the point and using a tiny stitch, very close to the edge. As I sewed away from the point, the seam allowance of the white fabric gradually widened to match the seam allowance of the gold fabric. Both fabrics cooperated nicely, because each had a tight weave. 
  • Sewing on the bias means pieces can slip and slide into weird shapes. Once the pieces were cut, I let them hang more than 24 hours. Careful pinning kept one side from stretching away from the other during stitching. Fusing a strip of interfacing on seam allowances stabilized the area  for easy zipper insertion.
The design of the dress is a little puzzling. The underbust gathering is lower than the wearer's bust, and with the lining, it becomes bulky enough to pouf out. For that reason, I would not sew this again for her - it is not flattering, unless one Cleopatra-izes the outfit. She had me lower the neckline a good 1-2 inches and add cording along the edge of the neckline (to look like piping, but hand-sewn). The long cord ends meet in the center where they are wrapped around the body to re-shape the silhouette to a closer fit. It might be a little difficult to see in the photos; take my word for it. I am her mom, after all, and I am not posting any close-ups of what Fells Point and Federal Hill saw last weekend.

About the Photoshop class:

Blogshop is a weekend class taught by two very smart, very beautiful, very talented, very successful women. The material is well organized and delivered clearly, focused on the needs of bloggers. I got hooked on reading shelter blogs a few years ago; here is a nice list of shelter blogs.  That's how I came across this class. The teachers of Blogshop are big league stars in design, photography and online beautifulness and it was truly an honor to learn from them. The final project was to create a mood board, like what The Vivienne Files does so well. 


I learned so much, but the photoshop class was hard for a number of reasons. Though I did not dwell on it beforehand, I knew I was throwing myself into a different pond of fish. These are women closer to my daughter's age than my own, and they are super stylish in every aspect of their lives. We were instructed to "wear something cute for your photo!" Now that class is over, I admit the "be cute!" factor scared the hell out of me. It's hard enough to learn something new without the pressure of looking cute, too! I put on my big-girl-panties and went to class.

I knew it would be hard.  I have been noticing this as I journey through the decades of my life. My memory is good enough, just barely haha that was self-deprecating humor, at age 55, to remember how I learned as a teenager.  

As a teenager, I listened in the classroom, without taking notes, and aced every exam. Now, there is this meandering path from the input (where my ears hear what is said) and the output (where my hands make it happen). Keeping up can be a challenge. I hear concepts, understand concepts, but there is a time lapse before the results appear. At one point, Angela gently-but-bluntly reassured me with a fantastic pep talk. It was just what I needed. May she go on to conquer the world in all her endeavors; she is just so very kind.

This is not the first time I have noticed this slowdown of learning speed. It was hard in 2003, when a large team of us learned new business process /accounting software.  The youngsters learned faster than the oldsters. Maybe it is because they grew up playing video games? I once swore I'd rather play with a rock and a stick than a video game, so you know where that puts me. Now, my knowledge of SAP is more than adequate, so I can still learn - it just happens differently now.

The main point is that now I need to make a conscious, more persistent effort to learn new things at this age.

The painful part of learning is a small price to pay for new creative avenues.
What do you say, shall I step away from the computer and head into the sewing room? 
Hurricane Sandy has given me a free day off and I think we are in a safe spot to ride out the storm.
Everyone else- stay safe!


  1. Glad you can sew...make something for me. I totally understand about the learning curve, it's part of the reason why I'm no longer thinking of changing jobs. It's not that you can't learn something new it's the pressure to learn it so quickly. I'm sure you'll become even more proficient as time goes by!

  2. Yeah I saw you had to move your sewing room to higher ground - better safe than sorry! and yep we are on the same page with job-changing.

  3. I share your age as of yesterday. :) I constantly challenge myself to learn new things, though I agree, it's harder to pull oneself out of the rut of what we're used to. I just changed to a new job (same workplace), and I'm pretty sure I can do it, but I'm a bit panicked. And of course, I'm always learning new music. What I hear from older people is -- just wait till you're 70!

    1. happy birthday Harriet! Let's let 70 stay in the far distant future (for today, anyway :)

  4. I've been trying to learn photoshop too - it's overwhelming at anyone's age so don't be too hard on yourself!

    Have a look at - there are a lot of free photoshop templates and other bits and pieces to download plus tutorials that make it easy to make a spiffy looking collage.

    Also has photoshop tutorials and actions to make photo editing easier too.

    Fingers crossed you make it through Hurricane Sandy unscathed

  5. The Halloween costume looks great! I bet your daughter was pleased as punch (and how lucky she is to have someone so pro to sew for her)!

    1. she did seem to have a very nice Halloween this year, and the dress was fun to sew.
      I AM, however, motivated to sew something for myself now!

  6. Great dress. Photoshop and graphics software is what I do for a living. I don't think it's age ... but just the different way we think. I am an absolute expert in Corel graphics software and Adobe's does the same exact thing but how you do it is enough different that it drives me batty sometimes too. I just don't think in Adobe-speak. ;-)

    1. well you make a good point Debbie. I have been using iPhoto and Snagit for a while, and I have gotten very fast at preparing images for the internet using these tools.
      Photoshop is just so robust. It will take me a little while to get up to speed, just for cropping and adjusting light and color. I need to forget iPhoto and Snagit for a while and let PhotoShop into my brain.

  7. The dress came out brilliantly and is worn perfectly by your daughter. I should think the sewing room and the computer room can live together in harmony, no? I hope so. I love that you went to that class, like playing with a hula-hoop.

    1. Melanie, ohmygosh, I just loooove playing with it!! I used to really like drawing and I got myself the Bamboo tablet. It is so much fun to experiment. (thanks re: the dress, too!!)

  8. I have said many times that I am so thankful that the computer age exploded at this point in my life. I feel so sorry for the elderly who now need help just to figure out their Medicare benefits.
    From what I see, your class was a home run as your board is such fun!

    1. aw thanks Rhonda! Just like with sewing, all I see are the flaws, but I will get better with more learning and practice.
      I agree, thank goodness for the miracle of the internet!

  9. Re Blogshop, the presentation is um ... juvenile. Women making funny faces. It's the kind of female pandering I hate. It reminds me a bit of the highly criticized Lena Dunham ad for Obama in the sense that everything has to be reduced to little girl terms. A presidential candidate is not your boyfriend.

    I have no doubt that early exposure to computers helps, but PhotoShop is a complex program and you have to use it frequently to feel comfortable with it. It's the same thing with all the other skills associated with web design, which are nowhere as hard as coding -- I'd like to see more young women going into the truly technical computer fields.

    A few years ago, I attended a four-session series for CS3 (each weekly class was two hours) and it wasn't nearly enough. The class was too big and I wasn't able to order the software using the school's hefty discount until after the first class.

    If you really want to learn something, I heartily recommend It has hundreds of online video courses on software. But it requires discipline to sit down and listen to the lectures and do the exercises, which is why I will often take a course.

    I find that a number of things these days relating to education are hyped: One-hour lectures are styled as "seminars" or "classes." I once paid a good deal of money for a cooking "workshop" in which we didn't cook: We watched someone and then ate. The original "bootcamps" in the Army lasted six weeks.

    I may be in denial about how age has affected me, but I know that although I was always an excellent student, I'm 10 times more conscientious now. I take notes because I want to remember the process. I take more pride in my work than do some students of traditional age. I'm also more critical about the instruction I receive even if there's nothing I can do about it.

    I have noticed that being older and taking classes brings back all the unpleasant parts of school as well as the enjoyment of learning. Just because I'm 55 doesn't mean I'm immune to feeling embarrassed or being snubbed by other students or at times misunderstood by the teacher. I strongly believe that some older people don't take classes because they're unwilling to put themselves in a position in which they will feel uncomfortable, but that's what's required to learn things that don't come easily or require extensive training.

    I've always been klutzy, and not spatially gifted, and I'm perfectionistic, so it doesn't surprise me that I don't find sewing easy. But I've stuck with it because I'm interested in the skills.

    I know people in their eighties who surf the web. Assuming you're mentally capable, whether you keep on growing or stagnate is a choice. Don't contribute to ageism.

    1. thanks for the recommendation of I also bookmarked Adobe's learning site here.
      You make a lot of points, and I can't answer to all of them but consider this:
      Making funny faces for the camera is just a mannerism of this era. In reviewing Bri's and Angela's work (look at their websites- I am not kidding) they are talented, hard-working artists, not to mention successful entrepreneurs.

      Don't let the facade, or their youth put you off.
      I would caution you not to contribute to ageism, either. It goes both ways.

      My classmates were delightful and helpful, too.

  10. I second! We used the lynda textbooks in my media arts community college classes, too. Community college classes in California are so inexpensive and accessible that I took Photoshop and Illustrator two times was more fun the second time ;) (It was cheaper to take the class for an entire semester than to hire a web designer for an hour.)

    Re: learning. Your experiences sound similar to mine. What I notice about myself is that when I was younger, I had zero fear of failure and simply jumped in. I just KNEW I'd be great! Ha! Not that I was, but I didn't waste a minute questioning results. Now it's different. Maybe I understand that souffles really can fall -- (but so what?) For example, I have been putting in zippers for a hundred years. As a teen, I just....put them in. Now I review Sandra Betzina's tutorials even though I "know" what to do. It takes me longer and my results are probably not that much better. Maybe I had other things to do back then. Oh yeah, I sister was waiting for the machine.

    1. oh yeah, taking a class twice would be perfect! You can grasp so much more the 2nd time. I'll def check out
      I also remember that fearless thing as a kid.

  11. ps - i love having you back. i haven't told you that yet. thanks for coming back to us ;)

  12. it is so great to be back! thank you!


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