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Check please post

Drew Tolson


Lunch at Restaurant Tatsuki


Gotta land that Ollie


My deck -- the only kind I could ever do. 


There's also an episode of peppa pig that starts this way. 


Found this in the RR


Sugar Cane Okinawas and Eastland camp mox


Met up with the homies in northridge for shave ice. The denim jacket is a Levis repro from ~2002. A 1930s style remake of a jacket from Levi's then second run less expensive line(TTBOMK).  Think like the dENIZEN line at Target. This jacket has no red tab, authentic to the period. I believe modern LVC equivalents have two pockets and red tab. I know that 1936 is the red tab year. Maybe by 2036 I'll be working at Levi's and can help them celebrate 100 years of tab. (Nerd Alert!)

oh, check is here.  


If you stop by this place, don't bother to  ask about the *Special Ganga Appetizer*. It is nothing like what Doc Sportello says you used to be able to get at the Tommy's on Beverly and Fairfax. 

Much Wildness

Drew Tolson


I'm still here. The kids are 10 and 2. There's a volcano going off and Pele is sending a finger directly to Pahoa where a good friend used to, until very recently, live. We are looking out for her young ones (15, 9) during this crazy time. My Tutu says that Pele only sends lava out on unusual paths to send a message to folks who are doing no good there. "Maybe to tell the poor people that they are suffering for abandoning traditional Hawaiian ways, or telling the rich people there that they are not doing enough to help everyone out" were her werds as I remember them. If the flow takes Pahoa Town, it will be a sad affair. I'd hope that Pele would be a little more egalitarian in her destruction. 

Anyway, it's nice to serve others because it keeps my ego in check. 

I also bought some black jeans, but that seems trivial at the present moment.


Summer Wrapup

Drew Tolson

Sequim Bay

Lisa didn't pick up when I called. I hope she is ok

Co-Worker's killer custom Vans

Very nice chain stitch spotted on a young warrior

And this brazen dude right here

Visiting Mom and Dad's work after school

Sitting with my Father-in-law and Brother-in-Law

10th birthday party


Drew Tolson


On the Black Ball for a day in Victoria, B.C.

Government Street Tattoo right outside of Chinatown

Government Street Tattoo, just outside of Chinatown

Just so happens they can fit me in

They can fit me in


Money from the 21st century


Looks good let's do it


On the ferry back

Bandage off!

Back in the States with bandage off

Drew be continued

Drew Tolson


Life is hectic for a dad. Living in what feels like a sitcom world sometimes. Whomever is in charge of props has a good eye. Allegra, a friend of mine, might say, "This really reads as 'the beach'."



First skateboard for eldest daughter. Milestones and silly neighborhood predicaments. I find myself administering fatherly wisdom and expecting Casiotone orchestra music to swell in the background. 



The neighbor found a home for her rooster she raised. Traded him out for three chicks. Peer pressure from the neighborhood. The rooster hit puberty the day after she and her family left for a three-week vacation. All the dads bluffed that we would do the deed our damned selves. Someone called our bluff and sent the owner an email. The safety of hypothetically killing a rooster made the task seem easy. None of us stepped forward, though, once the email came back with an "OK!"


Summer in LA. Everything feels a little extra cinematic after being away from LA for a few weeks. I remember reading somebody's theory that the pollution changes the color of the sunlight somehow. I'll buy it.


Wonders abound as a wedding is planned and executed in a weekend.


Sewing when I can. Not bad progress on aprons considering I unintentionally fall asleep with the baby every night. "Some day I will have the time" being my mantra. 


New aprons

Drew Tolson



 Sewing machine drawers have keys to keep out babies. 


A friend just signed up to work at a ceramics studio and asked for an apron. These are two that I'm working on. One for him and for me. Mine is a natural weft and plain selvage --- my favorite. The other is an indigo overdye. I don't remember the mill but they're both from Premium Denim Outlet. (If you go to the showroom, bring cash to avoid card fee). 



Works in progress. 


Highs and Lows

Drew Tolson

I was anxious because I had an appetite for the first time in seven days and no nausea thanks to the medication. Not a profound hunger, no self-imposed fast like a Thanksgiving breakfast egg and glass of milk because you want to make dinner count. It was just suddenly there. Like my stomach had just opened its eyes. 

I leapfrogged onto the barstool, "Two chicken tacos rice beans and a pepsi." The pepsi was a treat; they're best as a treat because that way, a few times during the summer, they're unbeatable.

Exactly twenty four-hours before I was in triage. I had been tuffing out the flu for 6 days, getting shifts covered when I could but always with the, "Today is omega, mother fucker!" mindset. I don't get sick often and never as bad as this, but I'm still convinced it will be better tomorrow.

I felt like a stooge describing my symptoms to the nurse, saying everything other than, "I shouldn't be here, I just didn't think it was so bad enough this morning to make a same-day. My wife suggested emergency room and I, at the absolute leftmost on spectrum of shitty and great, resting my head against the box spring between dry heaves, admitted, because of the time of day, the emergency room was a good idea." They admitted me quickly with me under the impression that the other people in the lobby were waiting for their rides.

Guy behind the counter slides chips covered in black beans and runny salsa. I scoop it up with the chips, feeling the heat clear my sinuses. Next come the tacos. Food, bland as it tastes, feels good going in and going down. I start to feel better.

I start to feel better when the nurse snaps the tourniquet off. The saline chill fades into a cool salty pulse starting at the needle in my elbow pit and then settling in my eyeballs, ears, and heart. The breathing treatment is taking the spring out of my chest and calming my cough. I'm chilly but I'm trembling as though sitting in an icy bath.

The nurse says, "Heart rate is high, even though you took medicine, your body is still fighting the fever. The doctor said you'll need two bags of fluids and chest x-rays. The shaking you're having is from breathing treatment. It will go away soon."

Hours pass and I see more unfortunates come in. My room is closest to the door so I see everyone before they strip down and get stuck in the arm. I'm wearing a surgical mask and feel like it's big enough to be covering my whole body. I'm standing up looking over the top. "Some of these people were waiting longer than me." I mouth, "Sorry" inside the mask.

After a few hours the doctor comes back and discharges me. I'm unhooked from the empty IV bag. I get my paperwork from the nurse and the prescriptions from the pharmacy. After 6 days with the flu, waiting at the round-about for my wife, I've got pneumonia.

My lips feel plump and smooth, not the stale raisins they had been at the round-about. Before pulling out and heading home I take the extra minute to finish my pepsi, now Arnold Palmer style, mixed with lemon agua fresca. "This is how humming birds feel."

I start feeling really good when I leave the restaurant. Crossing the blacktop feels like wading through beef stew. Once in the car with the AC on I'm able to recognize the moment for what it is: The medicine is working and I feel better than I have in days.

Drew Tolson

IMG_2438What I need to know and now is why there isn't this kind of food at the gas stations on the mainland. Don't give me any of that nonsense about people won't eat it because you know anybody'd rather snarf down a plate of some of this than try and drink down the volcanic goo inside of a microwave burrito.

IMG_2448 Pahoa, described to me as "The Topanga of Hawaii" -- Did I mention that yet?


IMG_2155 Mixed Bento Box - fondly referred to by us as "Pile of Assorted Fried Items." Very much side-eye from Jaune as I put it to some fried chicken, spam, a hot dog, and a few other as-yet-unidentified items.

IMG_2410 I asked the cashier to describe Lau Lau. She asked me, "Have you ever had greens?" Have I ever had greens.

IMG_2439 Ruined a home made dinner with this bad boy.

IMG_2466 Not that the salted meats are the world's healthiest, but I wouldn't complain about having rice and eggs and cold noodles and sweet potato available at any-ol' damn gas station (cue old man voice) considering my blood sugar.

Day to Day: Hawaii 2

Drew Tolson

IMG_2069 IMG_2110




IMG_2363 Beautiful old rayon dress -- Fit Jaune like a glove -- but the owner knew what they had and was charging accordingly :{

IMG_2222 So stereotypical. Growing in our front yard in Pahoa

IMG_2079 Shortly after this she tried to climb the chair. She fell down and bumped her head big time. Way to go, dad.


IMG_2078 Sloppy chain stitch

Day To Day: Hawaii 1

Drew Tolson

IMG_2064Back from The Big Island where we spent two glorious weeks. We stayed at an Air BNB in Pahoa on the East side of the island. Much to report so, until I get my pictures  organized, here are some snapshots.

IMG_2123 Graffito on a pole next to the Nanawale Estates water station.

IMG_2169 Got one for myself, but not at this shop. Please note the pattern on pocket matches the shirt body -- Very important.


IMG_2151 Kīlauea Iki Trail - Caldera floor

IMG_2303 Bathroom at the Worst Thai in Hilo.

IMG_2186 The good stuff. Not your ABC Store Lion brand.

IMG_2368 Four thousand dollars (plus?) worth of quilts.

IMG_2308 Self Portrait



Come Back Blog! Palaka: The Historic Cloth of Hawaii

Drew Tolson

banner-palaka I'm a blog lover, there's no question about that. Lots of what I do here is just aping my favorite bloggers. Im also always looking for new blogs from which to draw inspiration. It makes me sad when I find a great blog that has gone silent. Palaka: The Hawaiian Denim is a perfect example of this. The writer, silent since April of 2009, has amassed a wikipedia quality blog about the traditional Hawaiian work shirt called a Palaka. Now, I have a rule about needlessly reblogging something if it's already available somewhere else so I won't crib any of the content. What I will do is make a call to the author to bring this blog back!

Do me a favor, go and read all of the back posts (All 5 of them). Then leave a comment on the About page or send an email to the author. I guess, based on the email address and brief posting life of the blog, that the author is either a faculty member or former student of the University of Hawaii system. Maybe the blog was just a student project? Whatever the answer, I want this blog to come back to life! In the meantime, being the workwear lover that I am, I'll be searching for a Hawaiian-made palaka shirt of my own. Something yarn dyed, indigo...

Day to Day 37 - Double long with annotations

Drew Tolson

IMG_0688Operations Specialist

IMG_0687 Stitching horse for sewing leather. Would have bought if I wasn't out of state when I found it.

IMG_0086 Yahoops.

IMG_0060 Blue's Fairy House

IMG_0156 Blue as a chicken.

Untitled Playing around with a quilting guide food

Untitled Playing around with trademark infringement

IMG_1179 From the Swift Vintage booth at TVM

IMG_1392 Oxford cloth pretzel pocket (OCPP)

P1130411 Mister Freedom lot 54 jeans

IMG_1912 Found art in the backyard.

IMG_1919 Push It

IMG_1936 Stumbled upon some good stuff at The Quilt Emporium. Quickly becoming a favorite store -- would love them to stock more indigo dyed fabrics!

IMG_1942 Mild Winter in Topanga Canyon

IMG_1954 Christmas madness, carts piled up after people take them past the DO NOT CROSS OR WHEELS WILL LOCK line.

IMG_1960 Watermelon Radish was spicier than I expected.

IMG_2668 Donatio

IMG_0940 So much happening on the front of these pants. Had to do some research to find out what that loop is for. I never noticed belt slip being a problem until after reading about these loops.

IMG_1293 Always looking for stripes at the thrift store.

UntitledEbay saved search eventually turned up a hardcover copy for a third of what this seller wanted for paperback.

1930s JC Penny Work Shirt

Drew Tolson

IMG_5209J.C. Penny  Top-n-Bottom work shirt. A find from my trip to Seattle and environs a few months ago. Made a point of going to every vintage store I could find on yelp. This one was from Lucky Vintage. I'm OK blowing up the spot because it's not in my normal rotation. Sorry Seattleites. They had a few good things here, but their shop in Ballard, Lucky Dry Goods had more menswear though. Lots of the kind of thing you'd see on Sanforized (a favorite blog). Faded hoodies, USA-made converse, vintage denim, and plenty of -- no surprise -- old Filson gear.

IMG_5211 The collar was shredded so I patched it up with some khaki twill, leaving a little bit of wear showing for kicks. The collar doesn't lay quite right for the time being but, after a few ironings, I'm sure it will fall into line.

IMG_5218 Hand sewed the patch on because I didn't want the swelled-edge look you can get from sewing a patch on with a lockstitch (although that is a good look in some situations). You can see here that there is a break in the fabric on the left-shoulder side -- I took this patch fabric from what was left after I hemmed a pair of khakis. I cut the leg open at the inseam and left the outseam intact.

IMG_5208 Gussets on the sides and remnants of chainstitch runoff.

IMG_5210 Detail of somebody's old Oops with white paint.

IMG_5215 Lots of the construction is dual-needle chain stitch which is no surprise. The width between the two lines of stitching varies all over the shirt––anywhere from 1/4 inch to 3/16ths inch. With my limited knowledge of machines of the time, I assume that they were made on a Singer 134w class machine, based on this website, a 134w5. Here are some images of that machine pulled from said site:


134wIf you're interested, one can be yours (sans machine and guarantee of working order or complete parts) for just under a grand. Maybe Santa can slip one in my stocking next year.

IMG_5214 The shirtsleeve plackets are all single-piece which is another neat touch that you'll only find on reproductions and vintage-inspired clothing. This single piece of fabric is less likely to rip than two pieces sewn together are. Not a problem with today's poly stitching but I imagine it was when these shirts were popular.

IMG_0924 I went and ruined this fantastic shirt already by patching up the collar, so I had no problem adding an extra button and buttonhole down at the bottom of the front.

IMG_5206 This is the first time I've done a buttonhole like this. Not too bad for hand work.

IMG_5205 An old blue cat-eye button from my stash fits the bill nicely. Sure, I have brown buttons, but why not blue?

IMG_5202 You can expect to see more of this shirt on the blog in later times as it has become a favorite.

If you have any vintage finds that you want to share, please let me know about them in the comments.

Missed Day

Drew Tolson

Chalking this one up as a missed day. I'll make my penance, I promise. In the meantime, I've been working on the blog backend. I'm trying to streamline the writing process and also keeping all of the blog images hosted on-site. There is a Wordpress plugin that has been doing the heavy lifting of transferring my old pictures from over from Flickr, Cache Remote Images. It finds any remote image, saves it to your site and replaces the url in the image tag with one pointing to that image on your server. Says it hasn't been updated in two years, but works fine on Wordpress 3.8. Thanks to AndrewLucy at everyone else at the Topanga Canyon Wordpress Meetup last week for your help!