relaxed sewing

There has been sewing going on here…of the undemanding kind.  There are times when I can only sew a seam or two a day, and fortunately there are some patterns with very few seams that lend themselves to those kinds of restrictions.

After the Martha Market and the class I attended on white shirts, the time was finally right to make up an eggshell polyester that has been in the stash a long time. I bought it because even though it’s poly, it has great substance – weighty and drapey, and feels so silky too. It’s a very nice poly, if you can believe there is such a thing.

It found its destiny as the shirt/tunic from CLD’s Your Everyday Drifter. Big shirts seem to be making a comeback in the Vogue pattern catalog, and I thought it would be a good use for the poly — no creases from sitting on the tails!

I made some changes to the pattern which made it a quick sew. First, replaced the collar and stand with a scrunch collar as described by Louise Cutting in this Threads article: collar how-to. Second, I left off the cuffs and traditional sleeve placket. I did a turned-and-stitched hem and then just overlapped the hem at the spot where the placket would have gone. Secured with a button. So I left out all the challenging parts. That turned out to be extra-smart, because even though this is a nice poly, it still handled like polyester and wanted to pucker. No way the collar or placket details would have come out nicely.

I also made up the vest from YED, so have actually made both items from that pattern. This piece is illustrated like a top, but described as a vest. Made without any changes, it has deep armholes like a vest. I wanted a top, so I just sewed up the armholes a little higher.

The fabric has woven-in puckery polka dots! I love texture and thought this was really interesting. Where one of the dots crosses an edge (like hem or sleeve openings), the texture keeps you from having a straight line, but that’s just a characteristic of the fabric. I guess this is what is called a cloque?

The drawstring waist is not my very best look, but it’s fine as long as it’s not cinched tight and is a nice change. If I make this again, I need to raise the neckline. That part is also cut to be a vest…it’s wearable at this level, but I’d like it better just a tad higher.

Continuing on my Cutting Line Designs exploration, I made the top from the Anything But Ordinary pattern. This is an oversized top with dropped shoulders and sleeves that makes a good t-shirt alternative. I made it in a mystery fabric that has some acetate or tencel or something in it. When wet it has that cardboardy stiffness. But when it’s dry it’s very drapey and hangs close to the body; nice in an oversize top. The pattern for the top has one detail – a tab and button closure on one of the shoulders. Since I was simplifying everything, I left that off. Besides, the detail would have been lost due to the print. This was super fast to sew. Next time I’ll make it just a little shorter and maybe give it a hint of shape.

Last item — I have made Simplicity 2614 three times this year. I guess you could say I like the pattern. It’s easy to make, with no closures or fiddly little pieces, and even I can make it with a scant yard of fabric. If you’re a smaller person, you could make it with even less.

Numbers 1 and 2 were done earlier this year and I may have posted pictures of them already. The third one was recently completed and I used some prized Liberty Lawn for it. With the raised waistline and gathered bosom, the pattern has a bit of an Edwardian feel to it, and the peacock feather motif recalls the same time period. That motif just symbolizes Liberty to me. Here are all three versions of S2614.

Pattern alterations: #1, made the ties much narrower than the pattern. #2 – added the shoulder flanges. #3 – no alterations, added a row of buttons at the bodice center front.

It’s been fun being so productive even when I’m just sandwiching a seam or two between other things that need to be done, and having an expanded selection of tops is nice! Love me some instant gratification!

Time to suck it up and start a longer project, though. Yes, it’s time to get going on my July jacket.


Chain Mail

This morning we checked out the Main Street Art Festival over in Fort Worth. Lots of painting, photography, wood, glass, ceramics, and the like – and mostly all interesting to look at! There were very few fiber artists, but there was one booth with wearables that blew me away. Check out the chain mail tunic!  (the photo should enlarge if you click on it) These people had some amazing goods, all made out of this linked material which is used to make shark suits. Camisoles, beaded scarves, necklaces, some show-stopper purses. I could not buy, but maybe you can. Here’s a link to their website: Unzickerdesign. I may save my pennies; the material was very, very fun to handle, and I think I would like a scarf.

Another fiber booth featured hand-loomed wraps very similar to the Mildred wrap in the Fall 2010 Ottobre Woman. However, the hand-loomed fabric seemed almost machine-made in it’s perfection, so it really wasn’t very interesting. When I think of hand-made fabric, I think texture, but it was missing there.

I have been doing a little sewing myself, mostly in half-hour increments – like while dinner is in the oven. No PSDs are in my future for awhile, but there’s nothing wrong with sewing in little bite-sized bits of time. In a half an hour I can sew and press a seam or two, and I find I make fewer mistakes when I’m not in a sewing marathon.

Here’s another top from Simplicity 2614, a nice pattern with different fronts for different cup sizes. No closures, no zips, goes together fast. I made one of these to go with my Tasteful Lady jacket in silk (don’t think I posted a pic). This one is cotton, in my signature steel blue with a dot texture made from clipped threads. Is that dotted swiss? I remember swiss always having white dots.

The pattern has one sleeveless view and two with different length sleeves, but the sleeves are gathered and to me that looks too juvenile. For this one, I drafted little shoulder flanges that run from the front to back armscye notches. The flanges were cut double, with the edge on the fold, so they needed no hemming. Then I turned and stitched the rest of the underarm. I’m wearing this tomorrow so it will have a chance to prove itself in action.

While I am waiting for the lining for the next JAM jacket to arrive, I am working on another pair of Hot Patterns Metropolitain Slouchy Jeans to go with the jacket-to-be. When fitting challenges have already been worked out, pants are another item that lend themselves well to sewing with scraps of time.