Once upon a time

A long time ago, when I was young and beginning my career, professional people didn’t wear shorts and flip-flops to work.  Professional people dressed for their jobs in professional attire. 

Ladies wore dresses or something unheard of today…a pants suit,

Designing Women designing-women-cast-2.jpg photo

and, gentlemen wore suits and ties.

Now, it’s not like I was a lawyer or anything.  I worked in a call center and no one ever saw me face to face.  But, that didn’t matter.  It was believed that if we dressed professionally, we would  behave professionally.  I won’t get into whether that worked or not because it was the 80’s and professional behavior still involved drinking with the boys and upper management flirting with the “girls” in the office…in front of people…like there was nothing wrong with it.  Sheesh!

Anyway, I wore a suit or sport coat, with a tie, to work every day except Friday.  On Friday, we had casual day and you could wear your slacks and an open collar shirt.  Not jeans, but still, more casual than Monday.

I dressed like a fashion plate.  Not because I could afford it, but because I had a lot of friends that were hitting that 35 hump and their bodies were changing shapes and I benefitted from their hand-me-downs.

In the 90’s, I hit my 35 hump and those suits no longer fit, which was okay, because by then, jeans at the office were the thing.  Much more casual, much more resilient, much much much more comfortable.  I left my suits in the closet, pretending that I’d ever be a 29” waist again.  They hung there as a reminder of what used to be, covered in their dry cleaner’s plastic bags.  So many people were donating their suits to goodwill at the time that they had no value, so rather than donate mine, I got the idea from Martha Stewart to cut them up and make them into a quilt. 

Now, here’s the thing about cutting up a suit that dearest Martha didn’t mention.  While the shell of the coat and the lining of the coat are both clean, what’s between them is a filling of dust that has been trapped by many dry cleanings and when you take the lining out of the coat, you release that into the environment.  I got through 3 suits and a sports coat before I got totally sick of the whole thing and donated the rest to goodwill.  I couldn’t breathe and the dust layer in the extra bedroom that I was using as a sewing room was a quarter inch thick. What a mess. 

Anyway, I cut the suits into 5” squares and sealed them into a ziploc bag and there they waited for the day that I would get back around to that project.  It became my oldest UFO and was bagged up and ready for at least 10 years.  In that time, I collected other pieces of flat suiting fabric and a piece of red and black plaid for the backing.  I think most of that came from my Mom’s sewing room.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Rob moved the quilt we were using as a lap robe in the living room into the bedroom to protect his dog’s chair from damage…yes, it is a people chair, but the dog thinks she owns it.

Anyway, about that time, I was assessing my UFO’s and decided, hey, why not start with the very oldest one.  I don’t have to work them in order, but still, the first one is a good place to start. 


The quilt is about 52”x68” and is going to make a great laprobe.  You probably see the mistake I made in the sides (top and bottom of this picture).  I didn’t see it until it was all assembled and I took that row out and tried to fix it and made it worse and then tried to fix it again, thought I had, sewed it all back together again, and realized I’d made the exact same mistake I’d started with.  Not taking it apart to fix it again.  This will do. 


It is tied at every intersection with #5 black pearl cotton thread.


And, it’s backed in this great red plaid that reminds me of a sleeping bag.

I photographed it today, just after finishing.  Next step is to toss it in the wash and then line dry it.  Most of this is wool with a bit of poly thrown in, so it can’t go in the dryer.  I’ll need a low humidity day when I can hang it on the line and we’re looking forward to that kind of weather this weekend.


In the meantime, hanging on the back of the sofa, you can’t even see my mistake.

And, I have enough squares to make another one this size, but in the trip around the world pattern and two miniatures that we’re going to put on the back of the recliners to protect them from hair products.

I can hardly wait to start the next one. 

Be well and have a great Thursday.  Saturday is Project Linus day and I’m planning to attend.  I need to get something cut that I can piece at the meeting and I’m planning to take Alba, so people can ooh and aah over her. 


It will be her first outing.

She’s so excited.



Elizabeth said...

I LOVE that quilt you've made out of old suits. It is beautiful! And how wonderful you have more fabric left to make a few more!

I work in a very casual office. That's one of the selling points, when they put out job listings. <*insert eye roll*> 99.9% of the interaction with our customers is over the phone, no matter what department you work in (sales, customer support, accounting). And about 80% of the employees are male. Some of them dress pretty casual. I've even seen some of them in sweats. Seriously. Sweats. At work.

I've always dressed a cut above the job I was required to do. My first week, I wore slacks every day, even though I was just running around doing errands and everybody else was in jeans, sneakers, t-shirts and even baseball caps. I mostly wear jeans these days, but they're nice, dark wash jeans with no holes and I make an effort to be fashionable. My clothes are always clean (and pressed, if required), I wear jewelry, wash & style my hair every day & wear make-up. I think it had a positive impact, because not soon after I started, I was moved over to accounting, which is kind of a big deal b/c the ower's wife was doing everything. Nowadays, I'm pretty much it in the department. And I've noticed the standard of dress in the people around me go up just a bit.

I just think it is sad at how casual dress has become. I mean, I see people in fleece pants and slippers at the grocery store. And then I look to the older generation (much older) and see that they still "dress" even to go to the grocery store.

Anyway, thanks for writing. I always enjoy reading. I tend to ramble on in my comments, but what you write is relevant. So, thanks.

xo -E

Patricia said...

What mistake? Beautiful quilt!!!

I was in administration for years----was the "Head Hauncho" so suits, heels and stockings were my "uniform". Now that I am a professor--but a Nursing professor---my more casual attire is still "formal" when I see what the literature, or fine arts profs. wear :D

Have a great day!

Becky said...

Well, I have looked and looked and I can't find a mistake. It can't be too much of one......and if someone is looking at it close enough to see it, they're looking TOO close. Nice quilt and will be a warm one!

Rebecca Grace said...

Lane, since you put the light blue in exactly the same place on both sides of that strip, it's only a mistake if you keep insisting that it is -- I would have thought you did it deliberately, to make it a little more interesting. Seriously, it took me a good 5 minutes of staring at the screen before I could figure out what you were talking about!

As for me, not only do I EMBRACE casual dress wholeheartedly as a grownup, but I wish I could go back and be a 4-year-old again, just so I could wear sequined sneakers and wear a tutu to the grocery store. I have this fantasy that one day I'll be appointed to the Supreme Court (those who know me well are choking right now) just so I could go to work with my pajamas on underneath my black robe.

Anonymous said...

I started working in the late 60's and women were not allowed to wear pant suits to work. As the years progressed and the dress codes were relaxed, I noticed that the work ethics seemed to relax also. Not that I'd want to go back to suits/ties, but I don't think sweat shirts and shorts should be considered as office attire. Call me an old fogey, but that's my opinion. Thanks for sharing.

lw said...

If you work in a satellite integration facility, you are asked to wear 100% cotton as much as possible, along with your smock, bonnet, wrist strap and booties. When you are outside the facility, you are lucky if your coworkers recognize you.

bshur said...

I love that quilt. Don't hide the "mistake". It really is a more interesting design that way.

qltmom9 said...

I thought your layout was on purpose to show which is the sides. That is VERY pretty colors and fabrics. I bet it is warm too.~
Let us know how Alba does.


mssewcrazy said...

I really like the suit quilt. Drats,dh just got rid of some suits that would have been perfect for that. I'll bet the dog will love that-heck I could have made a couple of cozy crate liners with the suits. That's how it always goes -get rid of something and then you realize what they could have been used for.

Vesuviusmama said...

Oh, what a wonderful use of those quilts!

I wish my office were casual, but we "greet the public" so we have to dress up. Blah! I push the envelope as much as possible, which means wearing my cowboy boots every once in a while. :)

Denise Bevard said...

Love it! Another quilt goes on my list of things to do (collect for)