Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Did you make that?

That’s a question that causes me to pause. My thoughts are mixed between pride and embarrassment that I’m wearing something that looks homemade…and not in a good way. No one would look at my clothes and think I must be a budding designer in fashion school. On the contrary my style is quite "safe", even though in my secret life I’m a size 2 model with legs a mile long and a penchant…and wallet…for offbeat designer originals. In real life I could never pull it off even if I could fit into the clothes. I would just look ridiculous at work, where the majority of my co-workers wear a uniform of tops and pants that never have been nor need to be ironed.

Yesterday I wore this skirt I made, which I consider quite bold. I was definitely the brightest dressed person at work

On the way home we stopped at Pet Club to pick up some kitty food and it was here where I was asked the question. The young clerk who asked it followed up her question by saying that she too sewed and when she saw my skirt she admired the fun print and thought that she would like to make a skirt in that fabric. She wondered if I’d sewn it and then decided to just ask me. Indeed, the benefit of sewing is being able to turn fun fabric into exactly what you want.

Just prior to stopping by the Pet Club, we’d gone to REI, where my husband was hoping to buy a rain jacket for our upcoming trip and I was hoping to find a simple elastic-waist skirt. Why on earth would I buy skirt that is so easy to sew? Time. We’re leaving on the trip soon and I have 43502 things to do yet. Sewing a skirt just didn’t seem prudent with so much to do. But I’d had this skirt in mind for a while and now I really wanted it for the trip. None of the skirts I already had would do and although I knew I probably wouldn’t find what I wanted in the store, I thought since we were going there anyway I’d just act like a non-sewer and maybe buy what’s available. But there was nothing at REI. Well, there were a few skirts for sale that weren’t way above my knees and meant for toned, athletic legs, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on something so simple. Plus the choice of style and fabric would be compromised in order to buy a skirt at the last minute. I considered going to a few more stores but it was late and I hate shopping and I couldn't get the skirt out of my head, so I asked my husband to drop me at the Hancocks while he picked up a guide book at the bookstore. Believe it or not I did not have a pattern in my stash for the skirt I wanted. They were all either too short by more than 6 inches, too flat across the hips, intended for woven fabric, or had waistbands and zippers. There might be something in my vast library of Burda magazines but I did not want to take the time to trace the pattern. I also didn’t want to take the time to draw up a simple pattern or alter an existing one. So I bought a new pattern and in a few short hours (interrupted by doing a few loads of laundry) I had my skirt. It’s a bright and sunny print and exactly what I wanted for this trip. This is definitely a new record for me to buy a pattern and immediately go home and cut it out. Pictures will have to wait. I have 43501 things to do before we leave.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blast from the past

I've been blogging about my sewing stuff for a long time, but they didn't call it blogging back when I started. In November 1997 I joined the Geocities free web-site "community" and started a home page. I posted some pictures and kept a journal (a blog!!) to let friends and family know what we were up to. In those days, people coded pages pretty much by hand. I learned some basic html code and borrowed ideas from other sites by looking at the source for their pages. This was before people coded web pages in Java and before sites got too complicated. Blinking text, color, and tables was about as fancy as it got. Later I used Microsoft Front Page to edit the pages, but the site is pretty much unchanged from when I first made it 8 1/2 years ago. So far Yahoo (who bought out Geocities) hasn't kicked my site off yet. That reminds me that I should archive it before they do...just for nostalgia's sake.

One of my pages chronicled my sewing projects . Although I learned to sew when I was a child and I sewed sporadically in my 20's, I didn't really pick it up again until the summer of 1999, when I bought a very nice sewing machine. I started sewing again by sewing baby clothes for a friend of mine. Here's one of my first projects:

Those shaggy green things are supposed to be grass. Unfortunately this wasn't the last time I cut out the fabric upside down!

It's kind of nice to go back and see what sewed. Did I really make this cute dress?

Fortunately my sewing room has improved over the years. From this set up in the dining room:

To this in a spare bedroom:

Go ahead and peruse the rest of the site if you want. Note that I changed the sewing page to point to this blog, so the link above is the only way to get to it. A lot of the other links are broken and I haven't updated it in a few years, especially now that I have this blog. At one point we even hosted the page on our own server, but we got tired of hearing the computer fan running all the time and the cost to keep the server turned on wasn't worth it. Most of the broken links point to the server.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Fabric placement

I just finished a knit top from the Jalie 2449 crossover top pattern. I love the fit and I like the fabric, so why am I not happy with the results? Well, take a look:

click for larger size

I showed it to my husband and mentioned I wasn't happy with where certain things ended up on the fabric. He said, "like the arrow pointing to your boob?" Ugh. Yeah, that. Nice. And if that's not enough it looks like the arrow points to a "B". And if you still need your eyes drawn to my chest, there's a big white box over the other one. Note that same design appears on the adjacent sleeve. Oh and look, the same thing happened on the other side! If I'd wanted to lay out the fabric with the sleeves matching the body I probably wouldn't have been able to. When I was laying out the pattern I was aware of the designs on this fabric. You can't see it but there's a boob-sized circle with a "B" in it that was in danger of being in the wrong place. But despite my ability to keep the circle away, I end up with an arrow, which I didn't see because it was on the bottom piece of fabric. I also don't like the way the top designs slope. It looks like I cut the fabric off-grain, or that I'm standing crooked. It's not off-grain. You can see that the lower designs are horizontal.

So I'm disappointed and not sure I'm going to wear it. Or am I just being silly? If I were twenty years younger maybe I would want to advertise where my boobs are located. And I suppose I wouldn't mind the slightly off-kilter look. This was a very inexpensive fabric from Hancock so I'm not too upset. It's a nice knit but I intended it to be a (hopefully) wearable muslin. I'm in the midst of sewing another one out of a luscious red cotton/rayon knit from Britex. By the way, this cotton/rayon was the third fabric that I couldn't remember I bought from Britex. I thought I bought this knit from Stretch 'n Sew because I was looking at the red knits there, which are also nice, but didn't contain rayon.

I don't think I would buy this in RTW simply because of the fabric placement. But it fits great!