Of Solstices and Socks

Just a reminder that today is the “Summer” Solstice (yeah, winter for you folks down under…) and the longest day of sunshine in the northern hemisphere (shortest in the southern).

As temperatures lag a few months, the next 3 months are the hottest (coldest) it will get this year. Plan accordingly. In either case I expect it to be wetter given the spectral distribution of sunlight putting more into prompt ocean evaporation from IR / reds and less into deep ocean heating from UV / blues.

In other news:

I was down to my last pair of dress socks. I hate this time. I have a size 10 1/2 foot. I used to buy size 10 socks. Slowly over the years socks have shrunk.

At first I moved up size to 11, then 12. Somewhere in there they moved to “size 8 to 12” and my toenails began to curl into my toes from the fabric stretched over them. These are really size 8 socks that can be stretched with enough pressure to a 12.

About a decade back? I moved to “Big & Tall” 12 to 14 size and they JUST fit, nicely. A clean size 11 with added stretch.

Well, today was the day to once again deal with buying socks. I went to Target, where I bought my last batch that fit back when on contract in Orlando. A good 5 years ago I think. They had a choice of ONE package. Hanes. I took it.

Well, seems the “shrink it more make another penny” folks found they had a place they had not shrunk yet. On getting them home and cut from the plastic staple; I got to try them on. The foot portion fits nicely. A tiny bit closer than last time, but not stretching and bending toe nails. UNfortunately, the “calf” is sized just about right for my wrist. Pulled on as it ought to be, it digs about 1/2 of diameter (or a 1/4 inch or so each side all around) into the calf. Uncomfortable at best.

I’m hoping the elastic will stretch / fail in the wash, or I’ll have to wear them with the tops down around my ankles. 90% of the other socks being sold had no tops at all. Why folks want socks that are going to show your ankle between your slacks and your dress shoes is beyond me.

No, I’m not going to take them back. They are better than nothing AND will serve as a constant reminder to NEVER buy another pair without cutting them from the carrier in the store and putting them on; screaming clerks be damned.

If anyone knows where to get real, honest sized, socks, please let me know.

While I’m hoping to spend the rest of my years in rubber flip flops at the pool, there are times one wishes to dress up, and or attend some event. Who knows, I might actually be asked to work somewhere; and while I’m now “minimally prepared”, I’m not happy about it.

So the socks are in the wash, sandals are headed for my feet, and I’m hunting for where I left that 1/2 gallon of Tequila last Friday ;-)

Enjoy the sun, and ditch the socks!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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35 Responses to Of Solstices and Socks

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    Once again a wave offering to all. We have survived the first half of 2018 and are now ready to begin the downhill of the second, easier. half. ;-)
    As to the socks, Old men’s feet and ears keep getting bigger or maybe the Chinese are the manufactures. LoL I have been buying the same boots for 30 years and the damn things keep getting tighter. Sometimes I threaten to go “Smith” barefoot, Not a good Idea out in the farm or woods
    ” 1/2 gallon of Tequila!” OMG! Think I will share a bottle of Blackberry Brandy with friends. this evening. Salute! Wish you were here…pg

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, I regularly get my feet measured for shoes and they have not gotten bigger. I still have some boots bought 30 years ago that fit fine. (Rubber work boots used in storms). IMHO, it’s the Chinese intersecting with “how can we cut materials costs another penny and reduce inventory items?” Why have `12 sizes of socks that fit when you can have 2 sizes that don’t?

  3. philjourdan says:

    Never had a problem with socks. Folks tell me that your feet get fatter as you get older. Mine do not. But they have shrunk. I can tell from the shoe sizes. But due to the shape of my foot, they get shorter, but not fatter.

    As for wetter, this may not be the wettest spring we have had, but it sure is one of them. Which does save me on the water bill (since I water the lawn). So far, I think I have only had the sprinklers on 2 days. Last bill was half of last years.

  4. ossqss says:

    I went 4 months fighting with a foot problem and didn’t wear shoes unless I had to for work. I went up a complete shoe size in 4 months. I would state I have been using these Red Wing boots for several years and find them the best when used with a high arch molded insole (no laces). Absolutely love them and wear them almost every day. I get my socks from Sams in bulk. One size fits all, just may not go up the leg as far ;-)

  5. jim2 says:

    Well, there’s always sock suspenders :)

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, the exact socks in question are the Hanes Premium (Hah!) Cool Comfort Value Pack size 12-14 “Big & Tall” “Extra Durable” “Cushion Crew” socks.

    With a diameter just right for a skinny wrist. (Calf muscles not so much…)

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    I buy the hanes socks too, and find they are sized a bit smaller and have tighter elastic than some other brands. For me that is good because I like a tight fitting sock that does not squirm around on my feet when walking on uneven surfaces. The Fruit of the Loom socks I buy at Walmart seem to size looser and stretch out more over time than the Hanes, so you might take a look at their socks.

    I agree shoe sizing has changed a bit over the years, when I was younger I bought and wore the same size for 30-40 years but have had to go up a 1/2 size to get the same fit as old shoes and boots I still own which were sized smaller on the label. Buying cloths on Amazon I have noticed that clothing sizes out of china tend to be small by american sizing I now buy the next size larger in shirts than I used to as well.

    I know when buying running shoes, climbing shoes (which must be fitted very tight, and crash helmets different markets have slightly different sizing based on average body dimensions in their primary market.

    Subtle things like the width of the heel cup on shoes is different in Italy and Europe than American shoe makers their shoe lasts have slightly different arch height also.

    I know people that can only buy Italian manufactures crash helmets for racing as American helmets don’t fit right.

  8. H.R. says:

    @Larry: The only reason I’d buy a crash helmet is if I was planning to crash 😜😆

    (No, I don’t do two wheelers of any kind, because a crash is inevitable.)

  9. Power Grab says:

    My dad loved Gold Toe socks and always asked for them as gifts for birthdays, Father’s Day, and Christmas. I never understood his strong preference for them until I tried them (mine were made for ladies, of course). Gold Toe socks are my favorites, too, now.

    When I was growing up, we always seemed to have really decent socks that were neither too tight nor too loose. Then tube socks got to be promoted more than others. I ended up with some, but never thought they fit correctly. They were too loose.

    When I tried the Gold Toe socks, they reminded me of the ones I grew up wearing. Back then, though, we could get well-fitting socks at any department store (Sears, JC Penney, etc.)

    This year, I learned to knit socks by hand. My kid likes to go to anime cons and always wants 1 or 2 new cosplays (costumes) each year. This year, one of them required custom socks (knee-high too!). And custom-printed fabric! I already knew how to knit, but I had never knitted socks. IIRC, my grandmother taught me to knit using size 9 needles (or larger, like maybe size 13) and regular yarn.

    When I experimented with different methods and different size needles and yarn to use for socks, I settled on size 1 double-pointed needles (5 of them) and ultra fine yarn. At first, it feels like you’re knitting with toothpicks! To get the color we wanted, I had to order Shetland wool yarn from Shetland in the UK.

    A long-time friend posted a picture on Facebook of some socks she had just knitted. She had just learned to knit. They looked great! So after my first attempt where I followed a pattern that used regular yarn and regular needles (not sock yarn or double-pointed needles or a circular needle), and was not at all pleased with my results, she got me started with 2 or 3 sentences, recommending the method called “toe-up”. I hadn’t even heard of that method. But it works really well. When you start with the toe, you can can try on the sock as you work, and make adjustments along the way. (For those who want more details, I started with 10 stitches and added 4 stitches every other row, until a total of 52 stitches were on the needles. They were striped, 2-color socks. Each stripe was 1-1/4 inches wide, and there were a total of 17 stripes on a single sock. It took about 2 hours to knit each stripe. I used a method called “German short rows” to turn the heel. I watched a Youtube video to learn to turn the heels.)

    The final socks look a lot longer than you would expect, but once they’re on your foot, they get shorter. The mother of my friend gave me a couple of tips to deal with widening the calf at the appropriate stage. It wasn’t a big deal to make “test socks” because if they didn’t turn out well, you can just unravel them!

    Also, my kid used a sticky, roll-on product to keep the socks up until time to remove them. I’m not convinced the sticky stuff was absolutely necessary, but that’s what happened.

    Maybe the new Hanes socks are made for people with skinny calves, as well as shorter legs.

    It seems to me that men’s shirts these days are made for guys who don’t have much upper-body development. Maybe skinnier and shorter socks are a better fit for someone that slender.

    Well, this longer than it needs to be, and you probably don’t want to wear hand-knitted socks with a business suit or formal wear, but … well …then again, you might, if you can prevail on a neighborhood knitter to give it a go!

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    “It seems to me that men’s shirts these days are made for guys who don’t have much upper-body development. Maybe skinnier and shorter socks are a better fit for someone that slender.”

    Good point! Physical activity from manual labor and well muscled body is not as common as it was 30+ years ago. Lots of geeks and metrosexuals who do little if any physical activity other than walking to the lunch room or the bus stop. The bike riders, runners and all natural vegan types also generally have low muscle mass and lean body types.

  11. vuurklip says:

    For every 5 pairs of socks I buy, two pairs disappear promptly into the Bermuda Sock Triangle …

  12. I had a similar issue, most socks were cutting into my skin. That was highly uncomfortable and I also had to wear them tops down over the ankles.

    Over the years, I found some socks that have this issue less. The best that I found until now are socks without a elasticated top from Doré Doré. At first, I was a bit reluctant to buy socks without elasticated tops because I thought that they would lose shape easily, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. When I put them off, it initially looks like they lost their shape, but after washing it returns to its original shape.

    The downsides are that they are not always available (I only found them in one shop and they are not always is stock there) and they are very expensive. But they are very durable (reinforced at the heel and toe area), so lasting longer than other socks I wear.

    There are other socks that I like wearing, but these are my favorites (I use them for everything except for hiking and when it is really cold).

    Doré Doré is I think a European company (French), so I don’t know whether they are also available where you live though.

    I found more info on them online:

  13. Ralph B says:

    Tommy Hilfiger socks from JC Penney. I have a large calf and avian-like heel/ankle combo, they slide right over and have not become Welly toppers through long use.

  14. H.R. says:

    I wear Sperry Topsider deck shoes without socks unless the snow is deeper than two inches or the temperature goes below about 15°F. Then I wear waterproof hikers with gray athletic socks of dis-remembered origin because a 12-pack lasts me about 10 years.

    In my world, socks are for weddings, funerals, and blizzards.

  15. H.R. says:

    @Power Grab: I believe some of those dress socks I have stashed are Gold Toe socks. They are really good. Thanks for the reminder!

    I also went to the top department stores and bought their ‘best’ over-the-calf socks; a pair here and there. I’m good to go on dress socks until my own funeral.

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    I still have a pair of hand knitted socks my Mother made about 40 years ago. I have been careful not to use them much so that they don’t get worn out. They don’t hold onto the calf enough to stay up well, but worked great in my ski boots ;-) Also, being brightly colored, didn’t go well with suits. Still, I cherish them. Also have a couple of afghans she knitted…

    The spouse has offered to try knitting some socks for me, so I’ll share your directions / suggestions with her (if we go that path). For now I’m just going to let the Hanes pile up around the ankle and hope the elastic stretches out / weakens in a few times through the wash. If not, then I’ll go hunting for other brands. As I spend most of the day bare foot, and prefer sock free rubber sandals when in Florida, I’m hoping I only wear socks once or twice a week ;-) and these could be the last I ever buy. (No longer wearing them every day to work…)


    I only buy Birkenstocks (even their closed in shoes!) as their Germanic last matches my Germanic foot. I’ve tried “Italian” shoes (“wingtips” et. al.) and they are just insanely narrow for my feet. Just can’t make them work.

    The Family also has to be careful with helmets as we have “large heads”… XL helmets and must be able to get the chin bar over the top ;-) (Yes, full face protection…)


    Crash Helmets are also useful if you are a Trump supporter in San Jose… where the Violent Left likes to bash women and the police won’t open the door to save you… Or if you are at any of dozens of other places where ANTIFA and similar violent leftists attack.

    Were I driving to an event where “protesters” were probable, I’d take my helmet and gloves just so it looked like I was riding a bike; but mostly as light body armor… My Kilimanjaro riding suit also has nice pads over elbows and knees and such along with a ballistic nylon exterior. While not fully protective from projectiles and knives, it is significantly protective. Wearing my full biker kit I’d be much more comfortable in a “face to face” confrontation. No punch the head would matter and slashes with a small knife would be ineffective.

    So you don’t need a motorcycle to have use for a helmet… sadly.

    My present use of socks is about the same as yours ;-)


    I always buy a bundle of identical socks in my decadal restocking. Then, as they one by one evaporate or wear out, I continue to have “matched sets”; just fewer. Eventually I get down to the last sock of that era and it hangs around until I’m desperate and wear it with a semi-matching leftover. (I always buy solid black so color usually doesn’t matter. These Hanes are mostly black with grey heal/toe so will not work this way – it was a mistake to buy them…)

    So right now I’ve got two socks that are somewhat different calf height and knit pattern, but if you don’t look close can “pass” as a pair. That’s why I decided to buy some more as I’m one sock away from “can’t wear my closed shoes” ;-)

    I know some of the socks wore out ( when a hole forms in heal or toe I rip them and toss them) but I’ve also come across an errant sock or two in rarely used luggage, under the bed, behind a dresser, etc. etc. from some batch years before. So do realize some socks are not lost forever in the Black Hole Of Socks, but manage to escape and return…

    @Per Shirts:

    I always look for “full cut”. I’m of the stocky Germanic build type and the “tailored fit” shirts don’t have enough fabric to button… Even with that, I’ve slowly had to go up-scale to larger neck sizes. I used to get 15, then found 16 was more comfortable with a tie (leave the neck un-squeezed yet the tie looks like it is snug to the shirt ;-) A couple of years ago I had to move to 17 and the last batch I bought was 17 1/2 to 18. I’m pretty sure “it isn’t me” as I’m still an off the rack fit for the same size suit coat and have old shirts my Mother made for me that still fit the same (modulo a bit more waist…)

    I’ve also noticed the sleeves getting tighter around the biceps and that is NOT because my arm muscles are getting bigger, they are not… Smaller a bit..

    IMHO it is all down to attempts to get more profit out of reduced material usage. The fabric seems to be getting thinner too. I’ve got one old shirt with decent fabric thickness, but it is wearing out. The newer ones are thinner and the ones I just bought are almost too thin. We’ll see after the wash if I can wear them without a T shirt… or if they are too ‘see through’.

    The spouse has noticed that dress sizes are smaller now and that shoes are a couple of sizes off. Again, she has some old that fits at “smaller” sizes… The European sizes were always a bit smaller than the American, but now the Chinese manufacture seems another size or two smaller.

    @Ralph B, Power Grab, & H.R.:

    Thanks for the brand “tips”:

    I’ll look for “Gold Tip”, and hit up JCP for the Tommy Hilfiger. I’ve not tried “deck shoes” but that sounds like an option to explore. I have learned from this “bad buy” that even if the sock is stapled into a package, a fist inserted into the top is a reasonable test for too tight. So the good news is I’ve learned a way to test for too tight a top.

  17. cdquarles says:

    Locally, the lag is 30 days. The coldest weather (on average) occurs in the two weeks either side of Jan 21st. The warmest weather, again on average, occurs in the two weeks either side of July 21st. In any given year …. the coldest ‘winter’ weather may happen in November or March :D. Likewise, the warmest “summer” weather may happen in May or September. We have three seasons here. Wet, Summer, and Dry.

  18. cdquarles says:

    As I get older and suffer the same illnesses that my grandparents did, I also find buying socks to be an issue. Since I had pyoderma gangrenosum strike in 2004, I have scarred ankles and lower legs with mottled skin, or vitiligo, that’s more scar than skin. Thick, high socks irritate those scars, so I like ‘half socks’. Still, those don’t cover the scars. I tend to only wear socks now when I am outdoors, unless it is winter. For me, buy socks ‘one size’ too large, or stretch them over shoes, first. I also look for cotton socks, whenever possible. I guess wool socks would work, too; but then those are moth food.

  19. Larry Geiger says:

    Gold Toe® 6-pk. Athletic Short Crew Socks at J. C. Penney. Size 10-13. Wear them every day. Also come in black for formal occasions :-)

  20. Larry Geiger says:

    Right now the best selection of useful shoes is not at the department stores but at BassPro. I wear New Balance white shoes everywhere all the time. Brown ones for more formal ocassions. Laced up and ready to go. Something happens I’m way down the road and the guy in “flippys” is on his face trying to crawl away. IMHO. YMMV. I also wear Merrells when outdoors away from civilization.

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    DOH! I completely forgot BassPro! I’ll bet they have a selection of nice big socks too…
    I’ll have to ask the spouse if there are any JCP left around here. She’s the one that shops…


    I have ONE pair of wool socks. Giant things in bright green. They are (were) worn almost exclusively inside my skiing boots. Warm. Soft. Somehow don’t even itch. No idea where they came from. It must be 40 years ago I got them (not many moths here…). They just showed up one day. I suspect someone left something somewhere and it ended up in my ski bag. Or someone decided I needed them… I really like them, if only they were not so bright… and so green…

    Sorry to hear about the ulcerative problem. That’s a nasty one.

  22. Power Grab says:

    I have fixed many of my Gold Toe socks where a hole developed in the heel. I think the stitch I use is called the “blanket stitch”. It doesn’t take much work at all. My kid even asked for lessons on how to fix socks. :-) We can be pretty frugal!

    The toes of the Gold Toe socks last a really long time. I don’t think I’ve ever developed a hole in the toe.

    The Shetland sock yarn wasn’t the softest I tested. But my kid is an art major, and color selection takes top priority.

    I really liked a brand of sock yarn called Premier. I think they also use the word “Serenity” in the product name.

    There are wool-less sock yarns out there. And sock yarns made with bamboo are surprisingly soft!

    I haven’t made myself any socks yet, but I got some yarns to use for that sometime in the near future.

  23. Power Grab says:

    Re: “IMHO it is all down to attempts to get more profit out of reduced material usage. The fabric seems to be getting thinner too. I’ve got one old shirt with decent fabric thickness, but it is wearing out. The newer ones are thinner and the ones I just bought are almost too thin. We’ll see after the wash if I can wear them without a T shirt… or if they are too ‘see through’.”

    I have noticed the same thing. Garments are cut all too small, and the fabric is all too thin. I think they want you to buy several shirts/tops to layer, while a single shirt/top used to be sufficient. I don’t have time to color-match a bunch of thin, skimpy garments.

    I think in ladies’ clothes, the strategy of cutting the neckline deep and large is a way to save weight on the boat from China. If you manufacture that stuff overseas and can load 3-4 times the number of garments where 1 was formerly normal, you can expect to multiply your income when you sell people 3-4 garments to wear as 1 top, instead of just 1. :-P

    As a person who has been sewing since childhood, I have never been able to make myself buy those dreadful tops that fit too tightly and cover too little. However, I have been known to shop on eBay, though. :-) As long as they remember to put actual garment measurements in their description instead of “size”, I get along OK. I have gotten some nice old tops that were made in the days when you weren’t expected to reveal all your lumps and bumps and foundation garments to the general population.

  24. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – Here’ a link to the deck shoe or boat shoe. I started buying these in 2004 because the sole are non-marking and I had a white fiberglass deck on our boat.


    The last pair I bought 2 years ago was made in the USA. It seems they’ve gone overseas like all the other shoe companies.

    Retail is $159.00, but there’s an outlet mall nearby where I have purchased them for as low as $80.00.

    Unfortunately, they don’t repair them or I’d only be on my second pair. The uppers are nearly indestructible. It’s just the sole that wear out on me.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    My Mum was a seamstress in England in W.W.II making uniforms. When I was a kid, she made many of our clothes ( I still have some carefully saved shirts…) I learned to sew at about 8, and if need be, I can make a decent garment. I used to help as I thought it great fun to pin patterns, cut fabric and run the machine…

    I’d rather not “go there” but if it just gets too hard to find something decent that works, well, we have a sewing machine and both the spouse and I know how to use it. (Mostly used for alterations and repairs at the moment, but she has made some full outfits on it.)

    One of my pet peeves is the tendency to make “Dress Shirts” that are short sleeved and NOT mark it clearly. I’ve ALMOST gotten to the checkout counter with them once or twice. Then there was the attempt to get rid of collars that died rapidly… All just trying to cut the cost by cheapening the product. Oh, and remember when pockets “went away”? For a while I had to examine the packages to make sure I got pockets… That seems to have thankfully passed too.

    Oh Well. I’ll buy a product that’s what I want, and I’ll make what I need if I must.


    Thanks for the link!

    Oddly, when I lived on a sail boat I just went barefoot on deck. Great traction and I could feel if something was slick or a problem. “Non-marking” too! :-)

  26. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:

    You enjoyed pinning patterns, running the machine, etc. Have you ever tried to make a garment without a pattern? Just curious.

    I prefer to use patterns/recipes/instructions…at least the first time! Then I might take liberties with them if I made them again. I made my ex quite a few work shirts from chambray. It was heavier than what you could buy (unless you went with a denim).

    When I make these cosplays, I look for patterns that are as close as possible to the final design. This year the shirt needed to give the impression of a tuxedo shirt. I ordered a used tuxedo shirt pattern off eBay, but it didn’t have the part I needed the most: the pleated part! So i ended up finding a plainer shirt pattern that had a satisfactory collar and sleeves/cuffs, and I did a paper mock-up of the bib-shaped pleated inset. After I cut the curves at the top and bottom of the inset, then I unfolded the pleated paper to use it as a pattern. It was amazing to see how the angles for the pleats varied. I have never used a computer to draft a pattern. I wondered how someone might do that with this project. I think my method was pretty efficient, but I haven’t done one that complicated before that also went so quickly. Sometimes I have a lot of false starts and feel like I’m wasting a lot of time, but not this time. I did go slowly with the paper pleated mock-up, but I didn’t really have to undo anything.

    When I do have to create pattern pieces from a mash-up of pre-printed patterns and free hand modifications, I use wrapping paper. The “wrong” wide is always blank white paper, and pretty large. Sometimes I can get away with photocopying pattern pieces before I make the modifications. If I want to preserve the original. But if it needs to be very large, the wrapping paper works well.

    Oh, and the pants for this cosplay were almost tuxedo-styled, too. There sure were a lot of pieces! I’m not sure I can remember ever having made such complicated pants before! They were short, too, rather like knickers. And with a white cuff at the bottom of the legs. That’s why the striped knee socks were needed.

    This cosplay also had a striped vest with tails. For the tailed vest, I used a commercial pattern for a Joker costume. It wasn’t very hard to use the coat’s tails and adapt them to the back of the vest.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have done a few things from scratch, have used Kraft paper for patterns (durable and you can find it most places), also newspaper makes a serviceable pattern.

    I have also gone down to the thrift store and picked up a shirt that fit just right for $1.50 and then come home and ripped all the seams and used that as a starting point.

    Anyone with mechanical skill can figure out how to do the layout of the pattern if they take their time. If all else fails mock it up over size and then use safety pins to take in the excess until you get the fit you want.

    I have only done it on a couple occasions how ever, for Halloween costume at the last minute and a set of full leather mountain man gear for black powder matches, and a faux buffalo coat made out of long hair fur on leather that Tandy had on the tables once.

    (note a full buffalo coat is “Heavy” but really warm. I still have it stashed away.)

    Most of my sewing is maintenance and to slap together something like a custom bag for some camping equipment. When it comes to that sort of thing I am a hard core pragmatist, don’t much care what it looks like as long as it serves the intended function.

    One way to get absolute measurements is to use duct tape and then cut it off. Put on an old T shirt or some other expendable layer like newspaper and then put duct tape bands around it at key locations. It does not stretch or give under tension and is a lot faster than using a tape, so you get a true measurement of the minimum size needed on that dimension.

  28. H.R. says:

    “Duct tape. The handyman’s secret weapon.”
    ~ Red Green

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    @HR, Duct cloth tape for taping Duct joints or Duck cloth tape manufactured by the Duck Tape company? ;-) Duck cloth tape is used for duct joint taping and is of high quality and many colors, where as some duct tape is worthless crap. LoL …pg

  30. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Power Grab; excellent description of your improvisation to create something unique. Folding and cutting a paper pattern for that insert sounds like the quickest solution to a complex problem. I doubt that a computer would be quicker. I have used similar technique to solve the problem of making a complex 3 dimensional shape out of 2 dimensional material in cloth, steel and plastic.
    Old time tailors would use starched muslin to create their patterns as they could pin and stitch the parts together and get the hang right before cutting the expensive fabric.
    Long ago, when I was a youngster, I would watch mother make cloths for her family. Using, modifying or making patterns, then cutting, pinning and sewing the fabric to create the finished item. In the Navy I spent some time watching the Bosun mates make covers, awnings and upholstery in the sail locker. Later on the ranch I had the opportunity to buy an old Singer 31-20 tailors sewing machine that we used for many years to make seat covers, repair tarps, etc.
    Lately I created a heavy wizards hat and coat from my old Denim Levis and Denim shirts.
    Seat covers as well as several special covers for equipment. That 118 year old machine will sew anything I can get under the presser foot. Shoe and boot leather, canvas duct or 6 layers of denim. Even my ladies bra has been repaired on that old machine. ;-) …pg

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    My grandmother had a treadle singer just like that. After my Mom died I ended up with it but the glued joints on the sewing table it was on were falling apart, when I learned that the land lord of a friend of my collected and restored the old machines. I gave it to him so it would be properly cared for and put back in operational condition. I sometimes wonder where it is now, if it ever found a loving home or collection to belong to.

  32. H.R. says:

    @p.g.: It seems Red was smart enough to use the real deal, Duck brand duct tape.

    For those of you unfamiliar with The Red Green Show, Wikipedia actually has a great history and summary

  33. Larry Ledwick says:

    I’m not sure I was refer to it as the “real deal” the only duct tape brand I had ever seen or heard of was 3M up until just the last few years. The use of the term “Duck Tape” seems to have been a regional thing and was completely unknown in this part of the country for at least 50 years of my life. The first time I head someone use that explicit term about 10 years ago on a web forum I wrote it off as their being an ignorant kid with no background or experience in the “working world”.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    Never without a pattern, but we would make paper patterns sometimes. Easier to have a do over with paper and cloth was dear…. We’d start a bit too big then reduce the pattern if the cloth needed trimming back. Used newspaper as it was free.

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