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PatternReview Blog > Member in Focus: Peter in NYC
Member in Focus: Peter in NYC By DianeSev on 10/22/12 11:58 AM


Peter in NYC


Your PR Name: Peter in NYC

Your Full Name: Peter Lappin

Member Since: 2009

Your Birthday: April 21

Your Blog:

How did you learn to sew?

I taught myself three and a half years ago, but I had a LOT of help from PR members.  In 2009, I'd purchased a used Kenmore on eBay, with the sole intention of shortening pants and doing some minor alterations for myself.  When I learned I could actually sew wearable clothes with it, I was hooked!

What aspect of sewing do you find most challenging?

I made a linen blazer for myself this last summer (which, I'm reminded, I still have to post on PR), and all the hand stitching was probably the most challenging aspect.  I inserted the lining entirely by hand as the jacket had a back double vent and I couldn't figure out a good way to handle this with my machine -- not to mention that men's tailoring books generally have you perform this by hand.

Which sewing book do you refer to most often?

I use an old Singer Sewing Book from the Sixties quite a bit, along with my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  But I own DOZENS of sewing books -- my latest is a PDF copy of Harriet Pepin's famous "Modern Pattern Design" from 1942, which I found for sale on Etsy.  Fascinating! [Read Peter in NYC’s book reviews.]

What are your sewing goals for this year?

I don't keep annual goals, but I was proud of myself for finishing that linen blazer.  I'd started a blazer once before and abandoned the project because I felt overwhelmed.  Generally, I just sew whatever I feel passionate about in the moment.  No pressure.

What are you sewing right now?

Right now I'm busy sewing Halloween costumes for my partner, Michael, and myself.  He's going to be Aladdin and I'm going to be a very glamorous Scheherazade (think Maria Montez in one of those campy 1940's Universal Technicolor adventure films).  Great fun. [See Peter in NYC’s review of Simplicity 4788 Men's Harem Pants.]

Pick your favorite pattern.

I sew almost entirely with vintage patterns.  A favorite is Butterick 4712, a vintage men's shirt pattern from the early Seventies.  It's my TNT pattern for shirts and I've used it at least two dozen times in the last three years.

How big is your fabric stash? What's in it?

My stash is not big because I live just a half mile from the Garment District in NYC, so I tend to buy fabric as I need it.  I have about six large plastic storage boxes full of fabric, and that would include old sheets I use to makes muslins, unusual things I've found at my local flea market, fabric people have given me (readers of my blog, Male Pattern Boldness, have been very generous), and large pieces left over from completed projects.  Of course, sometimes while shopping for a particular project, I'll find a fabric I can't resist (at a great price, usually, which is the reason I can't resist it), so I do have things waiting for the right project to come along.

What you love most about PatternReview?

Pattern Review was my one and only sewing resource when I started sewing, and I found members to be helpful, extremely knowledgeable, and supportive -- and I still do!  I love the simplicity of the site -- it works well and I find it very easy to navigate.  I especially enjoy the sewing machine reviews, as I am a big vintage sewing machine aficionado.  I currently own about thirteen machines, but over the years I've bought and sold many, many more.

Any other hobbies?

I love to swim, I maintain a (near-daily) sewing blog, and am parent to two chihuahuas.  I'm also an on-again/off-again actor.

Your profession, where do you live, etc.

I'm a former non-profit fundraiser, but currently I'm a very contented house husband.  I live in Chelsea, in the heart of NYC.

What would PR members be surprised to know about you?

I'm actually something of an introvert.

Is there anything else that you'd like to tell us about yourself?

I'd like to encourage everyone to spread the joys of sewing to people they know -- especially the young (both girls and boys) who may not have been exposed to it in school.  Sewing is such a creative, continually challenging, practical skill to know.  It has enhanced my life in countless ways.

Read Peter in NYC's reviews.


20 Comments      Login to Add a Comment    
carolynw said... (11/1/12 3:39 PM) Reply
Great interview - hard to believe you have been sewing for such a short time - your work is so perfect and I love reading your reviews - especially when cousin Cathy is visiting. I hope one day I'll be lucky enough to meet you - probably at a PR get together
eirenep said... (11/1/12 2:18 PM) Reply
I am a regular visitor of your blog- soon I am going to go through your Negroni shirt sewalong because I will make my first attempt at shirt-sewing. I enjoy your writing and admire your sewing skills. Thanks for the wonderful blog!
Sweetsong said... (10/26/12 11:04 AM) Reply
Congratulations on your article in Threads! Love reading about your machines.
petro said... (10/25/12 1:07 PM) Reply
I enjoy reading your blog, and this is a great interview.
bananaoil said... (10/25/12 12:24 PM) Reply
I admire Peter's skill at sewing for another person, namely his cousin Cathy. I'd like to sew for my 13 year old son but have learned not to go there___ the hard way. I'm amazed that Cathy so clearly appreciates the things Peter makes for her and how stylish she is. I find I'm not able to get anything out of a typical fashion spread in Vogue, those models don't look like real people to me, but I actually get style ideas from Cathy. I can relate to the familiar photo locations and that Cathy can get around a construction site in a pink opera coat and heels.
1SewSweet said... (10/24/12 7:04 PM) Reply
Great interview Peter! House husband?? I'd love to be a "contented" house wife and be able to sew throughout the day!!! Could you please have a talk with my husband?? :)
Raye Ann said... (10/23/12 2:51 PM) Reply
So nice to read a little more about you, Peter! I always enjoy your reviews and admire your attitude!
Sewing Chick said... (10/23/12 2:18 PM) Reply
Great interview! I am amazed at how much you have learned and challenged yourself in just a short time. I have recently come across your blog and really enjoy it. Thanks, Peter for being part of our sewing community.
Kellymike said... (10/23/12 2:04 PM) Reply
Hi Peter, I've only recently joined PR, and who's smiling face do I see when I log in today but yours! I know I'm in the right place. Have a happy day! ~Kelly in Norfolk, VA
pakrk said... (10/23/12 12:29 PM) Reply
Great interview! I read your blog every day and thoroughly enjoy it. One of these days I'll make it to New York for MPB day!
jmesu said... (10/23/12 11:33 AM) Reply
Years ago I taught sewing to children including my boys. They sewed pj's and were very proud of what they have accomplished. Sewing can be lots of fun. Great job Peter :)
Sherry440 said... (10/23/12 11:02 AM) Reply
Loved reading about your life in NYC. I immediately thought when it said you're into old machines...singer slantomatic! Ever seen one of those? My mother was a blue ribbon seamstress on one of those---looks like something from a Jetsons cartoon!
dbsewer said... (10/23/12 7:28 AM) Reply
I always forget you've been sewing just a few years, because the garments you make are so awesome, and your blog has so much good information. You really are an inspiration.
Runrover said... (10/22/12 8:19 PM) Reply
Great to see you as PR Member in Focus Peter. I've been following your blog since you started sewing! I love reading about your sewing adventures and enjoy your writing style - humorous, thoughtful and informative. Yes, I'm quite surprised to learn you're a fellow introvert. Give my best to Cathy!
Judy Kski said... (10/22/12 5:55 PM) Reply
Very interesting interview. I enjoy reading your pattern reviews, especially when you enter a contest and tell a story with your photos and entertaining writing. I remember that first men's shirt pattern and how proud you looked wearing it.
Mufffet said... (10/22/12 4:34 PM) Reply
You learned so fast the sewing machine was blazing! Cannot wait to see the pics of Halloween. Your writing is always engaging and lots of fun to read, and I hope your cousin is well.
nancy2001 said... (10/22/12 4:34 PM) Reply
Great interview!
MNBarb said... (10/22/12 2:11 PM) Reply
I can never believe that you have been sewing for such a short time. You have created many great garments with one of my favorites being the toggle coat. Your storylines always make my day. Thanks for taking the time to tell us all about the escapades of "cousin Cathy". What a hoot!
Deepika said... (10/22/12 1:16 PM) Reply
I enjoyed reading this interview Peter. And 13 machines? WOW! I only have one but I do love it.
ggf2005 said... (10/22/12 12:29 PM) Reply
Peter, Whenever I have men in my sewing classes you are the role model that I point to because of how you have not backed away from a challenge when sewing. I appreciate your creativity when you do your reviews. Happy Sewing!

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