How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

Now that the dog days of July have arrived, you’ve probably given some thought to taking a dip. But first, you might consider some beach tips from a pair of books—both from the historical medical collection here at the New York Academy of Medicine, published in 1818 and 1918—once used to teach swimming. Of course,… »7/23/15 1:00pm7/23/15 1:00pm

How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)

Elizabeth Cline, the author of new book Overdressed, has some advice for people who want to clothe themselves for not too much money — without contributing to the waste and supporting the lax labor standards of the global apparel industry supply chain. You know how Michael Pollan advises people concerned about their… »7/09/12 3:30pm7/09/12 3:30pm

How To Turn Your Dress Ideas Into Reality By Making A Custom Pattern

Or: Quick and Dirty Pattern-Draping for Fun and Profit! If you're even a neophyte home sewer, you've probably dreamed of making clothing from your own customized patterns. Commercial patterns are fantastic in many ways — the sheer variety always makes flipping through a pattern book (or browsing vintage reproductions… »6/08/12 5:20pm6/08/12 5:20pm

How To Embellish Any T-Shirt (With Designer Natalie Chanin!)

This week's DIY is a t-shirt DIY — which is, in case you haven't guessed, one of my favorite kinds of do-it-yourself project, because of the ubiquity of the raw materials. And this t-shirt DIY comes to you with the help of a very special guest: fashion designer Natalie Chanin, of the label Alabama Chanin. She showed… »5/18/12 6:30pm5/18/12 6:30pm

How To Ditch Your Boring Throw Pillows For Something Cooler

One of the easiest things you can do to spruce up your living environment is re-covering a throw pillow or three. It's a great use for an eye-catching fabric-and-piping combination, because pillows are small and a busy print won't overwhelm a room. It takes no complicated sewing know-how — just a machine and an… »3/19/12 4:40pm3/19/12 4:40pm

This Awesome Purse Is Incredibly Easy To Make (Here's How!)

If you've never made a purse before, this just might be the purse for you. My last bag, the envelope clutch, was a great opportunity to explain the basics of leather working and bag construction. But that project had six major seams and nine minor ones. This bag, on the other hand, has two: the bottom and sides are… »1/06/12 7:00pm1/06/12 7:00pm

How To Wrap The Best Gifts Without Breaking The Bank

For me, a big part of the pleasure of giving a loved one a gift is in the wrapping. I'm not planning to give or receive many gifts this year — I have enough stuff, for real — but I get such a kick out of wrapping presents that the rest of my family tends to delegate all their gift-wrapping to me. With a few mugs of… »12/23/11 5:00pm12/23/11 5:00pm