sewing

My Trip to India

Hi Everybody!

I’m so excited to have returned from my “medical tourism” trip to India!

When we began making arrangements for my hip surgery (I had bone on bone osteoarthritis of the hip which has been hampering my life for the last five years), each step we took led us to this Indian adventure. And what an adventure it has been! I’m convinced we made the right choice to travel to India for the surgery and now, 10 days post-op, I’m home and feeling great and able to do so much more than I expected.

Because I didn’t have health insurance, a glitch that I should have fixed somewhere between my 1998 divorce and 2004 second marriage, when I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis we were faced with some tough decisions. A good friend who is an orthopedic surgeon (a hip and shoulder guy), took an x-ray of my hip and recommended a relatively new procedure called hip resurfacing, at somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000. He recommended his partner, who has done five of these new procedures.

After some dedicated investigation, my dear husband found some very interesting information via the Internet (what an enabling medium!). We’ve been doing hip resurfacing in the US for about five years and many doctors here still recommend full hip replacement instead because of the newness of the procedure.

Hip resurfacing was developed in England about 12 years ago and the doctor who performed my surgery was on the team that developed it. It removes no bone compared to the hip replacement in which the head of the femur is removed and replaced with a pin and ball. The hip resurfacing prosthetic fits much tighter than the hip replacement apparatus, therefore it doesn’t dislocate like the replacement is prone to do, and performes just like a real hip. It was designed with younger, active people in mind.

I’m 50 and developed pain in my groin which I thought was a running injury when I was training for my third marathon almost exactly five years ago. It progressed to the point that I could walk only 50 yards or so at a time with much loss of range of motion (haven’t been able to cut my own toenails for a few years!). Not to mention lots of pain, because the hip joint was for all intents and purposes fused, it threw my body mechanics off and EVERYTHING hurt.

We decided that hip resurfacing was the way to go and again, thanks to the Internet we found several chat groups led by people who have gone overseas for this procedure. To be able to talk to people about their experiences was invaluable and we decided to go to Chennai India to have Dr. Vijay Bose perform the surgery, who has successfully performed 1,200 hip resurfacings. And, secondarily, with travel and accommodations, the cost was a fraction of what the surgery alone would be in the US.

We spent about 9 months in communication with the doctor and his staff planning the trip. Then a couple of weeks ago the day had arrived to depart and naturally, we had a little trepidation heading off to a culturally different country for something like this, no matter how thouroughly we had researched it.

I’m thrilled to report that every step of the way the adventure went without a glitch, and the worst I can say is that the towels in the hospital were too soft and left fuzz all over you after a shower! :-) 

Here is a photo diary of the trip:

The first two nights we stayed at The Raintree, a lovely business class hotel:

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The first two days we did some sight-seeing and fabric shopping! (More on that tomorrow.) The traffic is unbelievable–pedestrians, motor cycles, cars, buses, bicycles, auto rickshaws, traditional bicycle rickshaws and cows–all intermingling in an orchestrated symphony that to the Indians makes sense but to a westerner seems like utter chaos!:

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An auto rickshaw:

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We stopped to see a temple:

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A view of Chennai (FKA Madras) from our hotel window. One foot firmly planted in the present, one foot firmly planted in the past:

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The next seven days we spent in the hospital in a modern wing built with western patients in mind. My room had a private bath, kitchenette, wi-fi access and a cot for E., he was able to run his business from India! Ready for surgery:

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A successful experience, every step of the way was superbly organized and the epitome of compassionate care. Part of my medical team:

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The next four nights we spent at a fabulous resort, The Fisherman’s Cove, on the Bay of Bengal. There is no better place for recuperation!:

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I’ve never experienced people who are so caring and devoted to service! I’ll never forget the people who were so kind to me:

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Well, as positive an experience as that was, I’m thrilled to be home with more energy and mobility than I dared hope for.

I have a month off of work for some R & R–time to get sewing!

Ta-ta for now!

Sew it yourself (from The Thoughtful Dresser)

Here’s an article I’ve been waiting to see, it says that sewing machine sales are way up. You can tell that interest in sewing is increasing just by going to a local JoAnn or Hancock Fabrics. Those stores used to be ghost towns and now they’re buzzing. 

The consensus is that the renewed interest is because of a lack of original boutiques and clothing and for economic reasons. I’ll add to that and say that I think Project Runway has had a big impact on exciting want-to-be sewers. 

Now, to see the reemergence of independently owned fabric stores that offer top quality fabric and knowledgeable staff…

Here’s the article:

courtesy of the Sewing DivasI know some readers will be delighted to hear that there has been a huge jump in home dressmaking,

 

Read more…

Project MyWay #2–Black Silk Anorak

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I’m outside, rain or shine for my job and I’ve been wanting a jacket with a hood so that I don’t have to carry an umbrella unless it’s pouring. There are soooo many great anoraks out there (see one of my favorites in Spring Wardrobe ’08 part 1) and once I found this Neue Mode Pattern it was easy to come up with a great design. (You can find this pattern at My Notions.com)

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I used a black silk shantung I had in my stash. It was super easy to work with and has my favorite fabric quality, it presses beautifully with nice sharp creases. Neue Mode patterns don’t have seam allowances included  :-(  and I’m just too lazy to draw all those seamlines, so I added seam allowances only where I had to–around the hood opening, the center front, the armseye and sleeve head. Then I used one size larger than normal. This worked out fine, in fact the pattern is so over-sized that I still had to take in the side seam allowances about 1 1/2″ on each side side (for a total of 6″!).

The pattern does not include lining, but I used the pattern pieces to cut a lining from a heavy satin. This gives the anorak a nice, hefty weight and it will be quite warm. Because I lined the jacket, I formed the casing by stitching the lining to the silk. I used elastic and sewed a 2″ wide belt to the ends of the elastic.

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I used View A for length and added a 2″ band to the bottom to give the jacket a nice finishing at the hem.

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I used the pocket from View C, but instead of regular zippers, I used invisible zippers for a sleeker look.

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I wanted to use 3/4″ silver snaps, a la Prada, but I tried a sample and they just don’t work! I’ve never had luck with the snap kits available at the fabric store. Next time I’ll try to find a source online for commercial snaps. So I used covered buttons instead and I like the look, they go well with the dressy fabric.

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Here’s a picture of the hood pattern piece. If you can see, I added a 1/4″ seam allowance around the front opening. I didn’t even draw it on, I just added it as I cut-out the pattern. I also added an overlap for the buttons and button holes. I added plenty (around 3″) and trimmed it to fit as I was sewing.

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I added a cuff and pleated in the fullness of the sleeve to fit the cuff. I used a method for constructing the cuff that gives a nice square finish:

1.  Interface cuff

2. Sew cuff to sleeve bottom, right sides together

3.  Fold seam allowances to inside, fold long edge first and then the short ends

4.  Fold cuff on fold line and topstitch into place

This works especially well on fabrics the press nicely.

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I just ordered a dressform so I can take better pictures of my creations. It’s about time I had one, I’ve been sewing for over 30 years!

Ta-ta for now!

Spring Wardrobe ’08 Part 4

Okay, so now the weather seems to be changing and before long I’m going to freak-out because I have nothing to wear! So much for my plan of sewing ahead and having everything hanging in my closet ready to go.

Today’s fashions don’t suit me. I’m too short and too old to wear clothes that are loose fitting (I did that during 3 pregnancies and that’s enough!). In some ways, it’s easier because I see so little that I like, I’m not tempted to over-do. I’ve been scouring the web and the fashion magazines and have come up with a couple of really wearable looks:

erin-fetherston.jpgI love this outfit from Erin Fetherston…the peach and “greige” palette looks spring-y and the drapey silhouette is flattering. (I just purchased some gorgeous peach silk crepe de chine–it will be perfect for this. Crepe de chine seems to be making a comeback which I’m delighted to see. It’s got a beautiful drape and one of my high priority fabric qualities, it presses like a dream.) 

 phillip-lim-rtw.jpgThis Phillip Lim outfit is great looking–classic but with an updated look. I’m usually not into colored pants, but I’m going to make some and see if they’re comfortable to wear. Rolling the cuffs makes them look unfussy. I can see wearing these pieces over and over again.

 Ta-ta for now!

Spring Wardrobe ’08 Part 3

Sometimes, dressing in a current, up-to-date way is a matter of making small changes to classic styles. In this way one can be in style, but not of the style, if you know what I mean. You wear the clothes, not the other way around.

Following are some Spring ’08 styles that have interesting details. I don’t want them exactly as shown, but they inspire me with interesting little twists and turns that I can incorporate into my designs. (This is where sewing your own clothes is such a bonus–you can grab a detail here or there from designer looks.)

This outfit has an interesting, slouchy silhoulette–a way to be comfortable without looking messy. I couldn’t wear the “in your face” print–not my style. But I like the tunic style, the feminine boat neckline, the detail at the neck, cuff and hem paired with roomy slacks that would look great with dressy, flat sandals. I can see wearing this to a barbecue on a cool evening and looking dressed, but not dressed-up. (From Bluemarine Spring ’08 RTW)

This outfit is a great day look for running errands. I’m always looking for casual clothes that will keep me out of predictable jeans or khakis on weekends when I have a million things to do. It would be easy to find a tank dress and layer it over a long sleeve T. What makes this a great look is the rugged belt which I’d pair with rugged flat sandals (no gladiator sandals for me! Aren’t those soooo ’07 anyway?). I’d stick with sophisticated neutral colors for this outfit. (From D&G Spring ’08 RTW)

This would be great for work, but without the fussy blouse. What makes this an “outfit” is the full, trouser cut of the pants and the beautiful sheen of the fabric–I’d pair these pants with a simpler snow white silk blouse. When making an “outfit” from two pieces, accessories make it or break it. Pair these pieces with great shoes (red patented leather?) and statement silver jewelry. (From Adam Spring ’08 RTW)

 

Ta-ta for now!