The Ultimate Compliment

Many years ago my daughters and I colored and framed a poster entitled

The A,B,Cs of Manners & Etiquette” featuring a little penguin illustrating all 26 rules.

 “Accept a compliment graciously.” it begins.

Today I received the ultimate compliment. I wish I had accepted the compliment with  less modesty and more vigor. I really feel like tearing up this poster.

 The story goes like this:

I was in North Carolina over the weekend visiting my parents. On the way home today, I stopped in Charlotte to have Sunday lunch with my daughter.

In my life all roads lead to Neiman Marcus,

and so there I was in Neiman Marcus at the top of the escalator wearing a homemade top, examining the construction of the Kate Spade Aubrey Wrap dress which I have attempted to re-create twice.

Are you doing OK?” asked the polished salesperson approaching me from the Chanel department.

Oh I’m fine……. just taking a look at this cute Kate Spade dress!” I replied while trying to decipher the belt placement.

She just stood there staring at me before suddenly blurting,

That is the most beautiful top I have ever seen in my life!

Thank you so much!” I replied, accepting the compliment graciously.

I absolutely love it! Whose design IS it?” she continued.

I made it.” said gracious me.

What? OMG! You made it? I can’t believe you made this!

Yeah……..” said I grinning ear to ear.

End of story.

 Now  what  on  earth  is  w r o n g  with  me?

 Could I have not responded with a little more spunk?

Where’s Oonaballoona?….

Could I not have at least taken some type of action such as:

Oh wow, thanks! Let me give you my card! You can read all about it on my blog…

and then I would have rushed home, created a special page on the top….. and given my top a special name…….

the Mimi top……..the Katie top…….the Liberty top….

then she would share it with her buyers and then…………….… and then………………….. the imagination is a wonderful thing, huh?

For now I’ll accept this lovely compliment as an opportunity to illustrate what I’ve been telling myself all along:

It’s not that difficult to create some of the clothes found at the upper echelon department stores.

And I suppose those sweet words were just what I needed to hear to keep me going a few more months.

(top blogged here)

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46 Responses to The Ultimate Compliment

  1. She was right, that IS an awesome top!! love it

  2. Bernice says:

    That’s a lovely story. I hope you’re feeling extremely chuffed with yourself. I’ve been admiring your journey for a few months. You make the loveliest loveliest things. I hope you don’t give up on your sewing when the year is up.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Oh you are definitely making pieces that are better than higher echelon RTW! You should be soooo proud of your progress and that is a cute top!

  4. MaryMM says:

    Doesn’t it feel wonderful to receive a compliment like that from someone who really knows and pays attention? Several years ago when I was snoop shopping in Saks in San Francisco, the sales clerk in the Armani department asked me if I was wearing “one of ours.” I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I too responded with “I made it,” by the way.

    • It did feel wonderful and it did make my day! I was caught so off guard ….. I do wish I could have managed a bit of a conversation. Thanks for sharing your story and many thanks for writing :)

  5. Dixie says:

    You certainly deserved that compliment, as this blouse is quite gorgeous. You’d better get those blog address cards printed up!

  6. RoseOK says:

    I love this top. I saw a woman at a wine tasting the other night with this top in black. She had two rows of thin ruffles. I kept staring at her because her top looked so familiar, I had to finally tell her about your blog.

  7. Coco says:

    Oh…how lovely for you! I had a similar experience having lunch with my son on mom’s day, wearing white linen capris I’d made…he said, gosh, mom, do you know how much those would cost! I am in love with your 17-year old fabric, it is exquisite.

    • Those compliments are forever treasured aren’t they? I was so scared to cut that silk – now I’d like to find Ciao and show him what I made. Many thanks for the nice comment!

  8. Pauline Droy says:

    Congratulations on receiving the ultimate compliment you have every right to feel so pleased its a beautiful top – I love the colours.

  9. PendleStitches says:

    What a wonderful compliment and so very well deserved. I think you accepted it with grace and aplomb. You should be very proud of your skills and accomplishments…don’t stop now! ;-)

  10. Cissie Wellons says:

    That’s the ultimate compliment!!! I think your response was just right. Otherwise, you would be inundated with hundreds of requests for your top and then when would you have time to sew for yourself or blog about it??!! Please keep doing what you’re doing for the rest of the year — and beyond!

  11. menonotes says:

    Take that compliment and run. I may have to rethink the beautiful turquoise silk I’ve had stashed since BC (before children) and the youngest just graduated college.
    I look forward to your blog and wish you could sew full time so you could post nearly every day!

  12. Tia Dia says:

    Yay for compliments like that, and yes, the imagination is a wonderful thing! The top is gorgeous.

  13. Jeyco says:

    You deserve a compliment like that! That top is just exquisite!!

  14. annette says:

    …enjoy the compliment and don´t worry about the ‘good manners’. Your blog’s fame has already spread to Cologne, Germany (and so many other places around the world, from what I gather). So I’m sure you’ll make it to Paris (which, by the way, is not too far away….). Besides, I admire your writing skills just as much as your sewing skills. Your ‘experiment’ sounds so much fun I might even climb up to the attic and dig out my long abandoned sewing machine one of these days. Have a wonderful time.

    • This is such a nice comment, Annette! The past several months have been more fulfilling than I could have imagined – saving money, developing a skill and meeting wonderfully supportive people around the globe! Sometimes we just don’t know what we can gain by giving something up. Many thanks for writing :)

  15. Katherine says:

    This blog is fantastic!!! You have followers now in Ireland, Italy and Belgium. Thank you for your creative spirit which is quite inspiring.

  16. Thank you so much, Katherine! It is very inspiring to be inspiring, and I believe we all have a creative spirit waiting to be nurtured :)

  17. Marlene says:

    I’m not much of a ruffle fan around my neck, but the more I look at your tops, the more I think I might want one. You are so adorable, I don’t know if it’s the top or you, but it’s something that makes me smile everytime I see you in one of these gorgeous tops

    • Thank you, Marlene! I’ve found the combination of the neckline and ruffle taper is flattering and not overwhelming. I’m sure it’s the top that makes you smile. It can’t possibly be me :)

  18. Cissie says:

    Quick questions. I’m looking at my pattern pieces and wondering if you darted the front or just folded out the fullness?

    Also, couldn’t help but notice the perfect necklace with your perfect top! Do you find that you spend more time looking for just the right accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry) now that you no longer shop for clothes? I know that I do!!!

    • Hi Cissie,
      I made a muslin and just folded out the fullness in the front. In the back I needed to add a seam down the center.
      As far as the necklace, I got lucky on that one. I was in Palm Springs on a business trip with my husband and planned to wear the top. On the day of the event I found that necklace at a Kate Spade outlet for nearly 75% off of the retail price. :)
      When I gave up buying clothes this year I just assumed I would be shopping for lots of accessories….. that really hasn’t happened and I’m not sure why! I’ve bought three pairs of shoes since August, one handbag and a couple pairs of earrings!
      Good luck with the top – can’t wait to see it!

      • Cissie Wellons says:

        Thanks, Sarah. I’ve made my muslin, needed to do a couple of dead darts in the neckline to get rid of gaping, but other than that pretty easy so far. I may try a fisheye dart for back shaping. So excited to get started. I’m using a tone on tone white shirting from Waechter’s and toying with the idea of an organdy ruffle. What do you think? I’m a little worried, though, about the ironing issues that might present!

        BTW, you are the best, kindest responder of any blogger I have encountered. A true Southern girl! My husband used to tell me that it was not necessary to write thank-you notes for thank-you notes! But sometimes, you just have to! My daughters are trained, too — as I’m sure yours are! At any rate, it takes time to respond to comments and I appreciate your attention!

  19. sewbusylizzy says:

    Gorgeous top – I’m terrible with compliments. I smile and thank people and then get busy pointing out all the faults!

  20. Cissie Wellons says:

    Left a PR review of my “wearable muslin” thanks to your inspiration. Not quite sure about the stiff organdy — maybe it will relax with washing and wearing! I’ll definitely be making this again — and again. Nothing is more flattering around one’s face than the softness of a ruffle.

    • Hi Cissie! Your top looks just great! Are you pleased with the fit?

      • Cissie Wellons says:

        I was happy with the fit, though there wasn’t much “fit” to it! As I mentioned, I had to do a couple of dead darts at the neckedge. If only I felt comfortable with my ruffler!

  21. Ann says:

    I don’t recall how I found your website, but I am delighted that I did! I watch for updates and am always amazed at your creations and talent. You are inspiring, and maybe,maybe I will dust off my own machine. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! Ann

    • Many thanks for this nice comment, Ann. This has been an undertaking to say the least since I had not seriously sewn clothes for myself in many years. I’m bogged down in a couture dress project right now which I’m ready to finish! Thanks for writing :)

  22. oonaballoona says:

    you march your technicolor tucus right back in there armed with moo cards and “bump” back into that sweetie. in fact, head on over to the NM bar first for a little lobster and champagne, then take a stroll over to her department.

    that top is FABULOUS.

    you know you want to.

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