Do You Ott?

Ripping open white dress seams and basting white dress hems can take a toll on your eyesight unless you have an Ottlite. I have two lamps,

one clamp-on one over my sewing machinelight-bulb-E

and one clip-on one at the edge of my hand sewing station aka sofa. light-bulb-E-and-Aside-table

It may look a bit messy but it contains all I need and use every night from 7-11 pm. You can see the bags of boobs under the table and my step that goes with the platform too. But the most important feature is the Ottlite so when the bulb burns out….I go nuts. They do say the bulbs last 10,000 hours…so when I mentioned to Mr. Mole this could not possibly be the case for me…he reminded me that 10,000 hours in Mrs Moletime is less than 7 years. Makes you stop and think doesn’t it? Of course, I use the side table lamp way more than just 4 hours every night so I can only get 6 years use from a 10,000 bulb. I went and removed the bulb from the other lamp even though it is the same 13 watts, it is a newer variety called an “E” (electronic) bulb with a rounded top and for now it works but is much shorter than the “A” bulb, 6.75 inches versus 7.5 with a squarish top.

Then, I went on Amazon to find a replacement for either bulb and guess what? The new bulbs measures 8.2 inches long. Now what? I phoned Ottlite and the service man said they all fit…sure…so I ordered the replacement and fingers crossed when the delivery arrives this week I hope the new bulb fits one or other of the lamps. So maybe you are thinking…why buy a bulb for $8 if it only lasts 6 years? Well, the fact that it is glare-free and true full spectrum light is the reason to splash out…in fact I ordered 2 to be damn sure I never have to do without again. If you buy from Ottlite or Michael’s they are $17.99 so shop around!

In the meantime, I had/stole a day or so to make something for my 10 year old granddaughter for her belated birthday. Making crop tops and shorts is fast business and makes you realize how freaking tedious/maddening bridal gowns are compared to cranking out kid’s clothes! Here is what I managed in 2 days from scraps I had at home…yippee no shopping! The jumper (linen/rayon blend) was from a 1990 pattern and I made 3 different belts to change the look:pink-jumperyellow-shorts-setred-blouse The red poly top had velvet dots for a different feel. But then it was back to the brides….here is the view from my desk of what has to be finished by next week and the week after…yes…9 dresses should be out the door or close to it. July-20-1014 Yes, 7 out of the 9 dresses are lace and required that cutting and moving up of the edging and motifs…so labor intensive! But let’s finish with a laugh shall we?

Remember the man who emailed me to make an appointment for the wife with the sad old silk suit last month? Well, I had another Bozo call to tell me:

“My name is Jack Winter and my wife needs a bolero jacket made…it will be simple, it will be easy…no buttons, no collar, no buttonholes AND you will have a whole 9 days to do it before she needs it to wear to a wedding”.

My reply was, “Well Jack, let me tell you that I have 9 brides ahead of you in the sequence of sewing projects so I will not have a whole 9 days to produce such a garment” and referred him to someone who might.

What you want to say is, “Actually Jack I was not just sitting by the phone hoping you would ring and ask me to stop everything and whip up a jacket for your wife who cannot possibly call for herself.” But I really really wanted to!!!

Our temps here have been over 100 for 11 days straight…thank goodness I never have to leave my sewing rooms except to harvest veggies and water hanging baskets! Have a great sewing week everyone and thanks for stopping by! Next time a zipper trick and adding to pants waistbands!



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41 Responses to Do You Ott?

  1. Whew…! That’s a lot of dresses to finish up. I’m sure they’ll all be just perfect for your brides, who I’m hopeful will be appropriately grateful for your trouble 🙂

    Love the Ott lights! Mine still has its original bulb, so I haven’t had to go shopping for those yet…but I’ll remember this post when I do.

    Have a great week!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh these brides will be thrilled…to have a dress on time and even early…what could be nicer? Maybe lower temps…try wearing a 14 pound dress in 100 degree heat and trying to bugaloo all night without having to hike all those layers of satin and tulle up to visit the bathroom or porta-potty in the forest setting or vineyard….no thank you!

  2. Bunny says:

    I really wonder about these guys that call you to whip things out magically for the wifes. Care to take a survey? Are they the most difficult? Just a feeling.

    Cute job for the granddaughter’s outfits. You can tell Mr. Winter to go fly a kite but isn’t it amazing what we pull off for our grandkids?

    • mrsmole says:

      Bunny, I’d love to make more fancy dresses but the distance and lifestyle just don’t warrant it. Your heirloom and smocked creations are to die for!!!!

  3. Bunny says:

    Had to add that I love your table and it’s “look”. Glad I am not the only one with a table like this.

  4. BeaJay says:

    I don’t use an OTT – maybe I should. I wouldn’t mind paying $8 for something that lasts for 6 years. That’s value to me!

    Don’t these people who think you sit around waiting for their call annoy you. I have the same thing with my workplace one on one assessments. I book them in and on the day the worker calls me and says – I am busy can you come tomorrow? Yeah sure. Like I have no other work booked.

    Your Granddaughter’s clothes are lovely. What a nice gift.

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha, Beajay…the same thing happens to me with brides….like you have nothing going on and they can pick and choose dates…normally they say…”I have to meet with the florist, DJ, hairdresser, caterer…etc and that is supposed to make me feel good…when all I want to say is, “NO DRESS, NO WEDDING”…get your priorities straight!

  5. sewbussted says:

    I use Ott lamps too, but haven’t had to replace a bulb yet.
    The dress youade for your granddaughter is so, so cute. What a
    lucky little girl. But, I have a feeling that you feel like a lucky grandmother 🙂

  6. mrsmole says:

    It’s only when you can make some cute things that you wish you had way more time to work on family clothes instead of brides who you will never see again. Yes, I am a lucky grandma! Thank you!

  7. mary anne says:

    I not only use 2 Ott lights, one has a magnifier so when I embroider or rip out black on black I don’t end up cross eyed for days. Love, love making clothes for the grandkids. Yours are darling and a great idea with the sash changes.

  8. Colleen says:

    I was interested in your sewing table. Mine looks just about the same as your table. I was checking out your sewing supplies that you prefer to use. I could not identify what was in the yellow tubes on the table. I know it must be essential because you had two tubes of it!!
    I will share a tip in return. In my Walmart within the last few months a new soft grip seam ripper showed up by Dritz with a slimmer ergonomic design that is much easier to use than the cubby version. I liked it so well I bought several and have given a few away as my “favorite new thing” gift for friends and family that have everything. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom and wit!

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Colleen, the sewing table is a hospital type table that is supposed to slide over a bed or chair and then slide back…it is on rollers. I bought in the UK 20 years ago for when I was teaching beading for $20. The 2 yellow tubes are something I used a lot…Mane and Tail Hoofmaker hand and nail therapy lotion. It is something that horse owners use for horse hooves but it is sold for humans who use their hands a lot. Non-sewers have no idea what happens to our skin handling fabrics all day and night…can you spell “frazzled cuticles”?

      • Tia Dia says:

        Love Mane and Tail lotions! The only one that works brilliantly for DD2’s chronically dry toes is an interesting concoction called Bag Balm, which is used to keep udders from cracking in the cold. 🙂

  9. Janee Connor says:

    Definitely Ottlites. Nothing else comes close!
    I really love your hanging bar for the bridal gowns – how creative is that! I don’t have that many at the moment, but 4 have been picked up in the past month with 2 to go before I’m done with July weddings. My rack of gowns in the pipeline hides in the corridor of what’s supposed to be a walk-through closet. Unfortunately that puts them out of sight, which sometimes makes me put them out of mind. That’s the only way I manage to squeeze out a little time to make something for myself or a family member. Wish I had a granddaughter to sew such cutie things for – have to content myself with the christening dresses from mothers’ bridal gowns for the time being – 3 so far this year!

    • mrsmole says:

      Never made a Christening gown from a wedding gown…bet that is something so special! Some days I have to confess that I bring more gowns from my second sewing room (the annex) and hang them on the diagonal bar just for the effect of impressing on a new bride that I am busy all the time.

  10. prttynpnk says:

    I have a confession- i got an Ottlite 2 years ago from the mother-in-law and poopooed it for looking industrial and awful- um…now I can’t do without it!
    I want a little satin ladybug outfit!!!!

    • mrsmole says:

      You too can look like a ladybug…shop JoAnn’s “special occasion” area for that fabric! I needed just the right shade of red to patch a bridesmaid dress and the velvet dotted border was leftover…a bonus!

  11. Tia Dia says:

    I do not Ott, although I would love to. Ott lights are so expensive, and I just can’t bring myself to spend the money on one. Perhaps when I do those hours of smocking for my yet-to-be grandchildren…. 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      The other cream I use is Udderly Smooth (the jar and tubes are spotted like cow skin)…again for cow udders but makes a real nice finish on people skin.

  12. jillybe says:

    I used to Ott. But after two deaths I divorced the Ott. Now I have the Lightblade by Lumiy, and I LOVE this lamp! Seriously, it is the. best. desk lamp. ever. I guess I need to blog about it.

  13. robin says:

    I need to invest in Ott lights, my eyes fade quickly after an hour or two of sewing. I thought of you this past weekend when bride to be (age 50, second marriage) asked me to alter her formal (with a train) wedding dress. It started out I made a simple black sheath for one of the bridesmaids. She shows up (late) Friday night with her dress asking me to remove the stays, shorten the straps, enlarge the waist and possibly sew in a bra. She can’t even sit down in the dress. The wedding is in two weeks. I will call her tomorrow and politely decline. I would rather make her a dress than tackle that. Like I said, I thought of you. I salute your willingness to work with brides.

  14. mrsmole says:

    Not all brides get to have custom work done…you have to call the shots and pull that “NO” card out of your pocket…good for you, Robin…removing boning, widening the waist and sewing in a bra and shortening straps…what a drag!

  15. accordion3 says:

    Yes I have an Ott light. It moves from the Sewing machine to the overlocker as I sew. LOVE IT!

    We have had several as the Aus Stitches magazine had really good giveaways when you subscribed. One had a magnifier, must find it…I think my SIL nabbed it.

    Kids clothing is a walk in the park compared to wedding dresses!

  16. Carolyn says:

    Yes I have two Ott lights – one by the sewing machine and one over the ironing board. Both were purchased with additional bulbs because I’ve had the bulb go on me and couldn’t stand the darkness!

  17. June says:

    I have Ott lights, too. I have an itty bitty folding one (rarely used these days) and a large gooseneck floor lamp that moves around the sewing room with me.

    Cute kids clothes, I hope she loves them!

  18. mrsmole says:

    I gave my folding one to Mr Mole so we have 3. I think he uses it to mess with small computer parts.

  19. Sewellen says:

    Love my Ott lights! Every time Joanne’s had a half-off sale on them, I’ll buy another (I probably have too many at this point). I’m real hard on my floor lamp model, it sits right beside me at my sewing machine. I’ve bumped and kicked it countless times, but it still works. Those dresses are going to be so lovely!

  20. Sandra says:

    You are starting my week with laughter, Mrs. Mole, and I thank you. Bringing in dresses from another room to impress your brides is a good idea, considering how clueless they are about your abilities and accomplishments AND how any one bride is not the only customer you have. Mane & Tail — I only knew about the shampoo; now I’ll look for the lotion. Ott lights, I have at least five. I use the fold-up one for travel (by car); hotels never have good lighting. I have desktop models at my sewing machine and serger, one floor model with magnifying glass, and one that is my husband’s. Maybe one or more. Replacing bulbs can be tricky. I have learned to keep the make and model of the Ott lights with me; I’ve even taken the old bulb to make sure I’m getting a new one that fits. And those are some cute outfits you made. Lucky granddaughter!

  21. I grew up in a farming community and the popular brand was called Bag Balm. Like the one you found, it totally works!

    I had been considering finding a better lamp, as I feel the strain lately except when I handsew near the window during the high point of day. Thanks for the rec!

  22. Star says:

    I’m an OTT-Lite fanatic – worked for the company 10 yrs. ago in another lifetime – and I cannot comfortably do what I do at the sewing machine, serger or computer .. so many functions .. without them. I’ve got some that are going on 10 yrs of use. Clearly, just for color matching of fabric/threads/trim, etc., they’re a must for me. And, most especially in the dreary northern winters.

    I very much believe Dr. Ott’s full spectrum light research regarding seasonal affective disorder/winter blues and sunlight deprivation, and so many other issues. His extensive research is beyond fascinating and amazing = this is skimpy, but gives noteworthy background and information:
    You tube video:

    I think I counted up 18 of them in my small apt, between lamps and bulbs == could NOT put on/match my makeup in the bathroom without the 20W bulbs replacing the standard ones above the mirror = same in my clothes closet overhead.

    Alas, I’m just a customer now, so I’m always scouting for replacement tube/bulb sources at a reasonable price as I depend on them so much. Last were on sale from Joann, but I always check, as there are a lot more sources now than when I was there. So, in addition to the company, don’t forget about Amazon, OfficeDepot, etc., as well as eBay and single distributor businesses. From what I see, I think the source list is growing, which is good for those of us who love them.

    Search results 13W OTT-lite tubes:

    Search results 18W tubes:

    As for longevity, glitches, quality = those issues affect every single product out there at one time or another, but all in all = even if I’d never been involved with these products in the past = their quality, usefulness and effectiveness have honestly been borne out 1000 times over any 1 glitch that may have happened or 1 lamp/tube issue. I would truly be lost without them, and don’t see myself ever not being surrounded by them.


  23. birdmommy says:

    I always wonder how many hours of complaining, whining and tears about ‘not being able to find a simple bolero’ the poor husband endured before he decided to start calling seamstresses himself. I can’t picture my husband doing that unless he was about 5 minutes away from snapping and screaming “STFO about the $&^%! bolero!” 🙂

  24. mrsmole says:

    Well guess what birdmommy? That same man called today and said his wife has some “loungewear” that she wants hemmed….I passed him along to another seamstress…what part of BRIDAL don’t you understand? Mr Mole would be hard pressed to call around town to make arrangements for anything to be done to or for my clothes…what woman can do that much whining and not pick up the phone herself? She probably doesn’t even have a driver’s license either…oh I’m helpless….

  25. Star says:

    “My name is Jack Winter and my wife needs a bolero jacket made…it will be simple, it will be easy…no buttons, no collar, no buttonholes AND you will have a whole 9 days to do it before she needs it to wear to a wedding”.

    ~ ~ ~
    This call has been on my mind .. he sounded like Joe Friday: facts, ma’am just the facts = so businesslike. Then I wondered if maybe his wife is frail, quite ill or disabled in some way, and he has to do a lot for her as it’s so unusual for a man to call with a request like that for his wife. Hope he found a solution for her.

    You really should write a book .. the encounters are so varied, wacky and comical = Erma Bombeck from the sewing cave. Great that you have this blog .. write it all down! Good luck with all those lace dresses .. unbelievable. Such patience and skill I could never muster. You have a gift .. 😉

  26. mrsmole says:

    Thanks, Star…it was a gift…I can’t sing or dance…so patience was bestowed on me….it also comes in handy when dealing with spouses and aging parents. I hope after 2 phone calls that Jack Winter stops calling me and calls the 2 seamstresses I have passed him to. I’m not stopping the flow of wedding gowns to make a bolero or alter “loungewear” (whatever that entails) for his wife.

  27. Jennifer S says:

    I can’t believe that I hadn’t seen your blog before about a month ago. You are in my thoughts all the time now. Especially with my crummy office job and wondering if I could make a go of it with some sewing. You obviously have loads more patience than me. I did do two grad dresses for nieces this year, the second one was interesting in that while M is probably only a size 6, she has at least a D cup in fullness. And the skinny little back strap of the dress didn’t bode well for holding up (two, already falling off hooks and eyes) or covering a bra strap. I ended up hand stitching fold over elastic (it even matched perfectly) in and around like a bandeau bathing suit top. She loved it. She didn’t have to wear a bra, she wasn’t tugging at it all night and it even held up when one of her friends stepped on the hem of her dress.

    I have learned in my 20+ years of sewing that some people think that sewing is beneath them and they are usually the ones that have the grandest plans for an EASY project. I had one bride angry with me because she wanted Scarlett O’Hara level plans for 5 or more bridesmaids and I couldn’t even get the black lace for the $120 her friend had “paid someone else to make this type of dress” for. Oy.

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