Published

Posing with Anatomy of Steampunk

 

I’m in a book!

The tome in question is Anatomy of Steampunk by Katherine Gleason. It’s a lovely coffee table book about Steampunk style. Many people I know from the community are in it as well. Not only do I get a spread as Painless Parker, but I contributed five DIY tutorials. It’s so cool to finally see it in print!

Posted in Chronicles of Noam on December 9, 2013 – 7:59 am | Comments (0)

Let there be Tweed

TweedRide2013 group

Adrienne and I participated in the Brooklyn Tweed Ride this past Sunday. Expecting weather better suited to penguins than humans, we donned our warmest long johns and layered up in glorious tweed. The day was brisk, to say the least, with a wind chill factor that threatened to blow over many a metal steed. Undaunted by the conditions, 20-odd fellow tweed fiends met at Grand Army Plaza, and we set out for a good lap or two around Prospect Park, with a stop by the boathouse for libations and pipes. Never has such a lovely collection of flasks been on display! The sun was out, and once we entered the park we were shielded from the worst of the wind. After we had ridden our fill, we headed to Greenwood Park Beer Garden, where further libations and hearty victuals were consumed. Most of us skipped the bocce ball this year, what with the outside temperatures hovering in the 30s. More photos after the break.

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Posted in Chronicles of Noam, General, Wardrobe on November 25, 2013 – 3:06 pm | Comments (0)

In with the New

Museum of the American Gangster

After a considerable dry spell, I’m now once again employed. I’m working part-time as a tour guide at the Museum of the American Gangster, a small two-room affair in the East Village. It’s interesting work, flexible scheduling, nice boss. The pay’s modest, but it does add some stability to my life.

I’ve been stepping up my busking, especially since I started playing at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket on Saturdays. Lots of yuppies with strollers, all happy form some entertainment. It’s nice to play outdoors (though it’s getting colder) and the money’s great. I’m still on the lookout for some kind of serious full-time work.

Stuff that’s been going on: the “Celtish” band I play in, the Waysties, played at Steampunk Worlds Fair this past year. I did some Painless Parker sets, as well. A great time was had by all. I busked in the hallways and did rather well for myself. I’m continually surprised at the positive responses my music gets. As the musician, I always hear the problems, the little mistakes nobody else notices, the “it could be better” moments. Apparently, however, I don’t suck.

Adrienne’s brother got married this summer and we went out to California for the wedding. It ended up being more of a working vacation—we spent most of it emptying out Adrienne’s storage unit, loading what we could into a shipping crate, selling off the rest at a garage sale and putting the remainder into boxes for mailing. A herculean effort, believe you me! It wasn’t fun but at least it got done. Among the items that got shipped back to NYC were a wingback chair and four multigraph presses. More on those later.

My folks are in the States! My Dad’s doing a multi-stage sabbatical which will include three months in New York. It’ll be great to show them around the city.

Surely there’s more that I’m forgetting, but I’ll get to that stuff by and by.

Posted in Chronicles of Noam on November 13, 2013 – 11:16 am | Comments (0)
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End of an Era

Leatherworkin' Noam

 

I quit my job last Thursday. Or my paid internship, I suppose. The guy who runs the business is a difficult person to get along with, and I reached my limit. I’m going to miss my coworkers, and the workshop environment, but it was time to move on and find something with actual career potential. I’m back to hitting up the job boards every day, pounding the digital pavement. There are a lot of graphic design positions out there, so I’m optimistic. Wish me luck!

Posted in Chronicles of Noam on January 28, 2013 – 6:00 pm | Comments (0)
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Cycling Breeches

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For some time now, I’ve wanted a pair of breeches. Also called breeks, knickers, plus twos/fours/eights, these are short trousers that fasten just below the knee. They were popular in the late19th and early 20th century as sportswear—used in golfing, skiing, shooting, and cycling. The last is why they’re interesting to me. I love riding in style, but one always has to keep one’s trouser legs clear of the chain. That means either stuffing them into socks, rolling them up, using clips and bands of various sorts—clearly breeches are the elegant solution.

Breeches can be hard to come by. Certainly not cheaply. I’ve rarely seen them in vintage stores, and when I finally find them they usually don’t fit. I could walk into the Orvis shop in Midtown Manhattan and spend upwards of $250 on a nice pair of shooting breeks if I could afford it, but I can’t. A person of a crafty turn of mind won’t go long before wondering how hard it would be to take a pair of inexpensive trousers and fashion breeches out of them. I did some research online (not much out there), did some sketching to figure out the basic mechanics of the whole thing, and jumped in. What follows is a chronicle of my first attempt.

I will state at this point that I’m no sort of expert in the tailoring arts. There are probably better ways to do a lot of what I did here, and if you can recommend any, I’ll be grateful for the feedback. I already have a list of things I’d do differently next time I try this (I will undoubtedly try it again). Also, I got most of my design ideas by studying photos of Bicycle fixation’s classic wool knickers. Someday when I can afford it I’d love to pick up a pair.

Here goes!

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First off, the trousers. I found a pretty decent 3-piece suit, in tan pinstripe, at a vintage shop in Park Slope for $20. The trousers fit a bit loose around the waist and were a tad short, but with plenty of fabric in the hem. The vest fit rather well. The jacket, however, was decidedly too short. Perfect project fodder! I wanted a matching vest for the breeches, so this was going to work out well. Adrienne did her magic and put on suspender buttons. It wouldn’t do to try wearing these with a belt!

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Since the suit coat was not going to be worn, its sleeve buttons were fair game. There are a lot of ways to fasten the bottom cuffs of breeches: elastic, buckles, snaps, etc. I like the look of buttons, and I figured making a button tab would be fairly easy. I figured on making a 1-1/4″ cuff at the bottom of the leg.

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I’d read that when making trousers into breeches, you want to mark about halfway down the shin from the knee for the bottom of the cuff. Trying the trousers on, I marked the spot with a pin (the one on the right). I knew I was going to want the seam open to about mid-knee, so I marked that spot as well.

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Right above where I wanted the seam opened to, I hand-stitched a little triangle to anchor the seam. My machine has a triangle stitch but it wasn’t giving me a result I was happy with.

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I put my seam ripper to work and opened the leg up to the anchor stitch. so far, so good!

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While I was at it I let out the existing hem so I could see how much fabric I had to play with. Time for some cuffing!

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I measured 5″ from where I wanted the leg to end and cut the fabric off as straight as I could. I marked a chalk line for reference. Next, I folded the end inward 1″ and pressed it. This part would go inside the leg and be stitched to it later on.

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Once I had my 1″ turned in, I folded the leg up the remaining 4″ and pressed it.

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Something about this part scares me just a bit. I suppose it’s the moment of truth, when you find out if the cut you made to the fabric was actually measured right. And before you say anything, I measured thrice.

IMG_0269The third fold is at cuff-height (1-1/4″ as mentioned). Pressed into place, then whatever’s hanging beyond the end of that inner fold will be folded back under and sewn. Still with me here? Yeah, me neither.

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Instead of folding and pressing that last fold, I’m gonna flip the whole shebang over so I can stitch the inner hem.

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All Pinned and ready to go. The fold in the middle is where the bottom of the leg will be.

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Sewing machines are wonderful things. I may try to hand-sew this project someday when I’m better at it…this was not the day for it.

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Moving right along. Instead of wrestling with the buttonhole attachment, I decided to make a button loop. I used the trimmed-off leg fabric to fashion a  small band. I measured 3/4″ and pinned it.

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Freshly stitched. Next I trimmed the excess with pinking shears and turned it inside-out.

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The button loop, folded over and stitched into shape

 

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When I fit the loop onto the cuff, it turned out to be a bit too wide, so I made another band of fabric 5/8″ wide and made a second loop.

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This second loop fit perfectly, sliding into the outer band of the cuff. Here, I’m measuring how far out it needs to be for the button to fit through.

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The button loop, sewn into place. This project is starting to look pretty sexy! Hidden behind the cuff is the stitch that’s holding the hemmed fabric on the inside.

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The two ends of the cuff have to overlap significantly in order to close snugly under the knee. I wanted to keep the front of the pant fairly clean looking, so that means the back needs to fold in at a slant. I folded it over and stitched the edge. I used a slip hem stitch to finish the inside. I swear I took a photo of it, but it seems to have disappeared! I was quite proud of it, being my first attempt at a hem stitch.

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Now everything’s in place, I stitched the top of the cuff to the leg. I know cuffs are usually left open save for an anchor stitch, but When out in nature (or the big dirty city) lots of particulate matter tends to accumulate in there. You’ll notice I did a top-stitch on both sides of the open seam.

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Time for buttons! I tried the breeches on again and marked a spot about 2.5 inches in for the middle button. 1.5″ to each side I put another one. Adrienne gave me a quick tutorial on proper button-sewing (you use a toothpick) and off I went! Note to self: mark button placement with the fabric marker, not the Sharpie.

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Well, it buttons! And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we have breeches.

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Naturally I felt obliged to pose with my trusty steed. The other project I’m embroiled in presently is making tweed covers for the frame. More on that later. Next time there’s a Tweed Run I plan on turning some heads. Represent, what what.

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Here’s a close-up of the finished leg. Turns out that middle button was a bit too loose, so it’s fastened to the third one instead.

While I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out, I can already see room for improvement. The opening blouses out a lot, and could probably stand to be covered up with a gusset. also, the overlap of the cuff ends is problematic. The part of the back cuff, on the underside of the overlap, doesn’t stay level and causes the vent to blouse out more. I might want to have that vent start a little lower down as well, and perhaps address the angling of the sides earlier on in the design. the trousers aren’t designed to taper at that point, and  that may require pleating at the cuff to remedy. I’d love to talk to a more experienced tailor about the design.

Questions, comments and constructive criticism are welcome and encouraged.

 

2012, where did you go?

Year’s almost over. Any New Year’s resolutions I may have made about posting here clearly went out the window. Here’s the update:

Adrienne and I did in fact do our Israel trip in the spring, it was a great success. A whirlwind tour of the North, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa. Not nearly enough time to do it all. We did get lots done and it was so much fun!

I’m doing leatherwork these days. I’m a paid intern at Artemas Quibble, making fancy belts for rich people. The work itself is very satisfying. After so long working digitally, it’s great to spend the whole day making things by hand. My coworkers are a diverse group, mostly a bit younger than me, and a finer bunch of people to work alongside you couldn’t ask for. The job is three days a week and doesn’t pay that much, but I’m happy for any kind of work at the moment.

Alongside my moonlighting as Painless Parker, I’m playing in the Way Station’s house band, the Waysties. We do Celtic and “Celtified” tunes for the most part. It’s great to play with other people.

I have lots of craft projects going, many of them fabric-oriented. I’m getting better at using the sewing machine, as well as hand-stitching. The next post will be evidence of that!

Posted in Chronicles of Noam on December 24, 2012 – 1:23 pm | Comments (0)
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Parker speaks

My friend Brandon is doing a series of newsreels for his site, Clockwork Gazette. Each one features a steampunk personality talking about something in their area of expertise. Number three features your truly, wearing my Painless Parker hat.

Posted in General, Music, Painless Parker on February 7, 2012 – 3:42 pm | Comments (0)

2012 and all is well-ish

Here we are, well into 2012 and it’s been ages since I posted anything. To recap the big stuff:

Painless Parker is going strong. My fellow Parsons alum Sam Strick has joined the act on spoons and washboard. He’s given the music a much needed infusion of rhythm and backwoods cred. We’ve been playing more shows around town. We’re even starting to get proper Manhattan bookings for potentially paying gigs. I’ve made new business cards, plus some cool stickers to sell at shows. Merch is the best way to make any kind of money as a band, really.

Money would be nice because I am out of a job. After a good run at Darden Studio, dire financial straits hit and I was laid off. I think it’s time to move on to something new anyway. I’ve talked to an advisor ad Parsons and that’s been very helpful. I may pick up something part time just to keep some money coming in and the bills paid.

Adrienne and I will be visiting Israel for Passover. It will be her first time in the country. We’re planning a full itinerary with lots of sight-seeing. I can’t wait to show her around!

Posted in Chronicles of Noam, Music, Painless Parker on February 7, 2012 – 3:36 pm | Comments (0)
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Shenanigans on Wall Street

You may have heard of the #occupywallstreet movement camped out downtown. It’s quite a scene, gaining momentum daily. I went down there on my lunch break to check the scene out and make some music.

My friend Miriam has been down there since the second day, and is on the medics team. She decided to pull out her Steampunk Emma Goldman persona and do a reading of Emma’s New Declaration of Independence from 1909. Check it out:

After that I performed a little topical ditty I completed the previous day. I caution you that this song contains profanity.

Vaudvillainy!

I’m organizing my own gig for the first time. It’s gonna be a variety show featuring myself and my friend Mike playing cello, a mime act and belly dancing. I’m especially happy with how the poster turned out. I was up extra late the other night getting it done…I had almost finished it when Illustrator lost half my work. In re-doing it, I think it actually came out better, and I learned some new tricks.