Saturday, June 27, 2020

New low in Designer DIY

I didn't think it could get much worse, but this week's installment of Designer D.I.Y. in the New York Times takes kissoff to new lows.  This time the featured designer is Rick Owens, whose professional focus is menswear and shoes but who comes up with a feminine project for you to make -- a handkerchief embroidered with your own hair.  Owens, a long-haired guy, reveals that when his friends had children, he would make them baby blankets, embroidered in his own "signature raven locks" with the babies' initials.  Not sure what you would like to do with the hankie after you embroider somebody's initials on it, but here goes.

Your materials and supplies include a 35 x 35" silk hankie, embroidery hoop, thimble, three long strands of your own hair, and a Clover gold-eye embroidery needle in size 3-9.  (I get the impression that our famous designer thinks 3-9 is a size, rather than seven different sizes that usually come in one package.) 

I guess it's your choice whether you want a big fat needle or a skinny little one, but use a John James or Dritz at your own risk.  That's one big mother of a handkerchief -- personally I would call it a scarf -- but if you're feeling adventurous I suppose you could use something smaller.  Or cotton.

Now comes the part of the directions that I am embarrassed to even describe to you, so I'm going to just reproduce the info you're supposed to print out and save.  This is so over-the-top that even the NYTimes seems to be a bit embarrassed, writing "Though the baroque atmospherics of the instructions below are not required (Mr. Owens may have been, as he wrote, on magic mushrooms when he composed them), it probably helps to be in some kind of swoon while you sew."

How adorable.  When you're done gagging, follow along:

illustrations from New York Times Styles section

Now that we might need some actual guidance on how to proceed -- such as how to put the handkerchief in the embroidery hoop so you can work on the corner -- the directions fail us.  (Spoiler alert: you can't.)

illustration from New York Times Styles section

No picture of the embroidery hoop in action, but here's a helpful picture of three strands of hair in your hand and then in the needle.  Because "using a single strand will take forever."  (I don't understand this smartass comment, because it seems like using a single strand will take exactly the same time as using three, except the line won't be as heavy.)

Now "slip on a thimble and start embroidering the initials of the one you love." 

Don't know how to embroider?  That's your tough luck.  Owens does warn us that "this could very well take all day."

Can we all agree to skip this week's project and wait for the next one?


  1. I'm losing faith in NYT and this doesn't help. And no telling how much they paid this guy for this drivel. Somebody would have to have awfully coarse hair for this to work.

  2. The Victorians did a lot of hair embroidery, (and other crafts) but on the whole, the donor of the hair was dead.. Hmmm

  3. Love these directions---I am eagerly awaiting the next project---so easy to do and so fun and fashionable!!1NOT!!! On the other hand, it is consistent with their other 'reporting'

  4. Your remarks are a bright light during covid time and always have me in stitches (of laughter)I also read the NYT and look forward to your comments on the fashion projects.

  5. Good grief, is that guy for real? I just now found you after a pin on piecing curves led me to your blog.
    I make handkerchiefs with embroidered monograms,& have the obligatory Saint-Saens playing, but would rather not work with hair. Anyway, glad you're here. Glad I'm here. Can't wait to read more. Happy Day.