weekend links

Hello friends!

How many of you play a musical instrument? I think I’ve mentioned before that S and I take violin lessons together. We’ve been playing for three years now. Last year I switched to viola because I love the sound so much, so now I’m learning to transition between alto and treble clefs. I’m no good and probably never will be, but if you’ve ever taken up an instrument as an adult you know how fascinating it is to learn. I feel like my appreciation for music is constantly expanding. This summer I listened to Sainte-Colombe‘s music on the soundtrack from Tous Les Matins du Monde on constant repeat. This past week it’s been Pablo Sarasate’s Aires Bohemios, mostly because I’m learning different hand positions and we’ve been talking about the sounds that result where the string is being played. It’s all a bit confusing to me, but I really enjoy every lesson.

Not to be too trite, but I’ve been thinking lately how learning to sew is similar to learning to play an instrument. There is always room for improvement, and the more you know the more you can enjoy the process of sewing. A little knowledge of sewing can also help you to appreciate clothing that is really well made and well designed. What are you working to learn in your sewing right now?

Pinterest Picks

Fall and winter sewing ideas for you: Isn’t this plaid dress with pom-poms cute? You could sew something very similar using our Oliver + S Playtime Dress.) S was just telling me yesterday afternoon that pom-poms are under-rated and we need many more of them in our lives.) Also, how adorable is this Hopscotch Top sewn by Flickr user sfknit? The peplum is a easy, cute addition.

Liesl's weekend links pinterest picks for 10/27
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This particular Denyse Schmidt quilt, and her entire Hope is the Anchor of the Soul, Mount Lebanon series is just perfection. I love the minimalism of it all.

Liesl's weekend links pinterest picks for 10/27
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Personal sewing inspiration: a lightweight coat using the Weekend Getaway pattern (I think this is so cute with a patterned wool!) and a City Stroll Wrap Skirt with a tie closure. I’m saving this for next summer because I know I would wear it so much. (My wool suiting City Stroll skirt is still one of the items I wear the very most, even in the summer. Have you tried that pattern yet?)

Liesl's weekend links pinterest picks for 10/27
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I keep saving things to the Animals for S Pinterest board I share with the kiddo, but it turns out that she’s been too busy to look at it. (Gah, she’s growing up so fast!) So I’ll share it with you instead.

Liesl's weekend links pinterest picks for 10/27
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Weekend Reading (and Watching)

  • Have you been watching The Collection on PBS? I must admit I had high hopes, but the whole soap opera aspect of these shows has really worn on me. I’m still watching it for the fashion, but I may not last the entire season.
  • The Martin Margiela documentary is on my Must See list. “We” is so much better than “I,” isn’t it?
  • This is so true and applies just as much to women as to men. Why are all our great fashion icons dead?
  • Your daily giggle. I’m not sure which part of this video is worse: the line of dancing suitcases, the marching band of elves (?), the floating man in the beige polyester suit. But, like S likes to say, some things are so bad, they’re good.
  • What skirts look good on girls with curves? I couldn’t agree more.
  • How extremely cool!
  • It’s so much fun to see two of my passions–ballet and fashion–come together every year for NYCBallet’s fall lineup.
  • Um, what could be better than Kate Middleton dancing with Paddington Bear?

OK, go have yourself a great weekend, and don’t forget to come back next week when I tell you (almost) everything I know about fabric grain. We have cool new Sew and Tell to share with you, and we invite you to share your Halloween costumes with us. (Just in case you need a little inspiration to finish them up for, you know, Halloween….)




  1. I just started playing guitar with my son! I am so happy about it. And yes, I think of it in much the same way as sewing too. Learning to play was scary in the same way learning to smock was. 😉 Hooray for new skills!

    1. It’s totally scary! But good for you that you’re doing it. I think it’s so good for our kids to see us struggle to learn something new, and life would be boring without new skills, right? xo

  2. CindyO

    Keep watching The Collection omg the clothes are amazing & shocker/surprises at the end.
    And I too have wonder why the great icins are dead how fantastic, classic and flattering the designs were and why we don’t have any modern designers like them now .
    Classic style & designs is where fashion should be now

    1. Ok, I’ll stick with it because you said it’s worth doing, Cindy! And I guess what surprises me about fashion now is that we’ve become such a bunch of followers, without style of our own. I’m grateful for people like Iris Apfel, who has a look all her own and isn’t afraid to step out in it! We need more people like this.

      1. Frances

        Liesl, show us the way! Pattern-wise there’s a vacuum out there when it comes to cutting-edge design. With your your eye and imagination and stupendous skill, if anyone can do it, it’s you! For instance I do think Demna Gvasalia’s shapes are very constructable; that’s not to say I could ever ‘build’ one myself–fuhgettaboutit. I’d like to make something I cannot find in my closet–a pretty daunting task I’m sorry to say. PS Many laudatory reviews of the Recital online–take a look–seems the pattern has supplanted a certain former go-to (no names).

  3. Joanne

    I’m learning piano as an adult. I love it and it challenges my brain – as does stretching my sewing skills when I can. I am still fearful of FBAs and haven’t done one yet ! Thanks for your post … as always lots of interesting links …

    1. Joanne, you can totally manage a FBA! You’ll be surprised how easy it is once you’ve done it once or twice. Trust me, if I can play simple Beethoven you can manage a FBA. And good for you, playing piano! It’s such a great skill to have.

  4. A quick thank you for the effort you put in to posting such an eclectic and interesting pot pourri of links.

    Have a happy weekend.

    1. Thanks, Colleen! It’s a lot of fun for me, too. I just collect things I like all week!

  5. Cat

    I play the viola and piano (the latter better than the former, at least at this point in my life). I find myself being able to read the treble clef ONLY when I play piano, not viola – even though I can read all three very well. It’s weird, like speaking different languages with different people. I definitely find myself fighting with my viola a whole lot; usually it wins. Good for you for picking it up now! I don’t know if I would have the patience!

    1. It’s so confusing, isn’t it? Our violin/viola teacher can play both, and I can’t comprehend how he can change between them so easily. One of these days it’s going to click…

  6. Frances

    Thanks for another great edition of weekend links. I especially enjoyed the ballet piece, and yes, I agree, the Margiela flick definitely has must-see written all over it. I thought you might have caught this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/t-magazine/dries-van-noten.html It happens to be very well written (particularly for ponderous Times, whose style heads have managed to make fashion boring). A good read on another Antwerp wunderkind–and talk about suave, unaffected cool… If you care to comment on the current political climate in Spain, I’m listening. If not…understood. Viola–excellent. Bon courage.

    1. Oh, that Dries piece is in my Pocket reading list! I’ll probably add it to next week’s links. I love his and his work. Do you get the Times weekly style email? I like it for its more personal tone. Regarding Spain, it’s been really calm here in Madrid. My heart breaks for the damage that’s been done, but I do hope the country can be unified again. In some ways it’s not all that different from what’s happening in the U.S.. The world is a scary place these days, for sure!

  7. Wanda Quist

    I started playing the organ in church when I was 45 and am still playing 26 years later. I bought a new Bernina this summer and am having fun attending all the free classes I can. I am learning a lot from others on your facebook sites as I am from your newsletters. I will never be too old to learn! Keep up the good work.

    1. Absolutely, and good for you!

  8. Elizabeth

    I play the violin too! I have only just started playing again after 16 years and it feels so good! I have thought of trying the viola too so it’s really interesting to hear about your experience. I find that like with my violin, I need to make sure I practice sewing and make it a part of my weekly (if not daily) activities. I also enjoy playing in a group and have joined an orchestra. And yes I am a social sewer too and love my monthly crafting group. I hadn’t thought of the parallels between music and sewing before but yes you are right, there are many. I am currently working on hand sewing, mending and sashiko embroidery.

    1. Ooh, joining an orchestra or chamber music group is on my wish list, but probably not until I’ve played longer and have a little more time on my hands. Isn’t sashiko fun?

  9. So great that you’re keeping up the viola! I’m sure I said it before, but the world needs more viola players – and by the look of your music (Beethoven Minuet?) you’re getting quite good. Hope you won’t mind a shameless plug: my partner is a composer/arranger and publishes music online (I guess he’s the musical equivalent of an indie pattern designer!) – he has a little duo that you and S might play together: https://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/143222.html. It’s meant for two violins but the lower part is safely in viola range and will give you treble-clef reading practice! (Although he says if you download that version and then drop him an email, he’ll happily send you a pdf with the lower part in alto clef.) It’s the switching between that’s tricky though, right? As a cellist I have to handle 3 clefs so I sympathise!

    1. What a great idea, Nina! I will talk to S and our violin teacher this afternoon and let you know. And wow, I can’t even imagine 3 clefs! So confusing… xo

  10. Kaitlin

    I am so excited!! I am just finishing my first Playtime Dress in a flannel plaid. I was very nervous about my fabric choice, but I am loving it and now may need to consider pom-poms!

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