Tag Archives: winter

Running with Seam Rippers


So, it’s that time of year when everyone is walking around in a coat (except for you warmer climate readers ::glares::)…which means I’m confronted every.single.day with one of my huge pet peeves:

People who leave the tacking in on the vents of their coat. (Of course, this pertains to many jackets (suit or not) and pleated, slit and vented skirts. This applies to both men and women. I have seen it all.)

For whatever reason, I can’t not notice this and every single time I want to run up to the person in question and let them know they ought to take that little “X” stitch out. That it’s a temporary stitch, meant to keep the garment in question all nice and neat while in production, in transport, hanging up the store and then hanging on your body when you try it on and strike a pose in the mirror.

Since I can’t figure out the right way one ought to make such a suggestion, and since it would probably be even more strange of me to dash over to them with a little pair of scissors and yank it off whilst emitting a small squeal of glee, I’ve wound up scooting around behind them trying to snap a picture of the sartorial mishap. Sometimes this works better than others.


Some of these tacks are just temporarily meant to hold a vent together. The vent’s presence in your garment is intended  to allow for movement and comfort while wearing – dashing around, sitting up and sitting down, striding down the street and up and down steps. Kind of like a slit in a tight skirt (where, ahem, I’ve also seen some ladies leave in those little “X” tacks), they allow for a wider range of motion in an otherwise somewhat constricting garment.

When you don’t take this tack out, the coat/jacket/skirt will wind up bunching and gapping in a strange way when you move. It can be kind of hard to capture on camera, but trust me, it’s there. SO very there. Take that “X” out and rock that sophisticated coat.

Some of the tacks are also holding down pleats that are usually intended for both aesthetic AND movement purposes. When you don’t take the tacks out, something like what’s going on in the picture above happens. A chic, fun, kick-y feature of the coat now looks, well….awkward…to say the least. Even more awkward in a skirt/dress. Move freely and let that coat/skirt/dress swing around you as it was intended. Pretty pretty please. With a cherry on top.

Additionally, the pockets in some jackets – especially those of suits – and some pants as well, come tacked closed. If you can fit a finger in there, notice the stitching is pretty loose and can feel a pocket pouch, it’s safe to say that you can take those stitches out. Personally, I’ve plucked them out with my fingers, but you can also use scissors or seam rippers.

Ask my former roommate how excited I was when, after I told him about these little mishaps, he let me inspect and take out the tacking in a nice corduroy blazer of his. I was jazzed. Very, very.

What can I say, I’m easily (or dork-ily) amused.

Now, go check your coats, jackets, pants, skirt and dresses and save a girl a little anxiety.

Nature and the Beast : Scarlett Hooft Graafland


I saw this image in one of the typical small squares on notcot and, at first, passed it by. I looked at it again, noting the curious red-orange of the igloo against the stark white of the background and admittedly was reminded of the character on Heroes who can freeze people into blocks of ice and then they shatter, their red insides are scattered blocks of ice. So, it seemed necessary to then click on the picture and see what that igloo was actually made of. Was is, in fact, something kind of gory?

Turns out: It’s orange lemonade. (!)

The photo is just one in Scarlett Hooft Graafland‘s series entitled “You Winter, let’s get divorced” (how can you not smile at that name?!). Ms. Graaftland spent four months hanging out with some Eskimos in northernmost Canada photographing nature and the culture that lives according to its whims. Nature rules pretty much everything there; something most of us are reminded of occasionally (snowstorms, hurricanes, etc), but generally take for granted. It turns out that this is one of Ms. Graaftland’s primary fascinations. I found reading her recent interview on “Don’t Panic” extremely interesting, as she explains:

“I am mostly interested how local people survive who live in such harsh circumstances – the Inuit in the extreme cold, endless winters on the one hand, and also these Bolivians who live in the Altiplano in the highlands of Bolivia. On the borders of the salt desert, it seems almost impossible to be able to make a living. I like to experience nature as such a strong force. We humans might think we ‘rule the world’ but at the end of the day we are just a tiny fraction.

I like to play with this idea in some of my photos, to place elements in the landscape and create odd relationships by combining the ‘man-made’ and the natural as a fragmented story. The fact that I grew up in The Netherlands where each piece of land is completely cultivated might be part of it. When you fly over the Dutch landscape it is totally divided in straight lines – nothing is left untouched. It makes you long for more ‘natural landscapes’.”

Personally, I love reading/hearing/seeing about people’s artistic processes (I loved seeing T. Murakami’s intense preparations for some of his pieces. The line drawings, the tiny color swatches, the little notes)((to me, it was almost more interesting)). And also about other cultures and ways of existing. So, it was lovely to get to read the back story on these pieces and see how the locals felt about it, reacted to it; what it was like to spend time in a world so extremely different from your own. Since I like writing and words and stories so much (and figuring out what makes people tick!), I find these sorts of things to be another great layer to the art. It can really help start/add to a discussion.

From her series in Bolivia, “Salt””

“The enormous white space invites almost like a drawing paper” – Scarlett Hooft Graafland

(Scarlett’s work will be showing at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London until March 29, 2009)

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