Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reappearing Act

 Two of my most admired sewing bloggers wrote me in the past few days to say, basically, "You Okay?" shams and Myrna both have busy lives with lots of fun stuff going on, i think it speaks to their thoughtful and generous natures that they took the time to reach out. Therefore, i'm taking this opportunity to publicly out them as the rock solid ladies they be. So there ;)

I am fine, just busy! With less time for leisure type activities, i've been sewing instead of blogging (somewhat abashed emoticon). In this blog post i'll offer a basic accounting of meself. First, i made up Colette's Hawthorn in a 100% cotton indigo chambray from Stone Mountain and Daughter. Fabulous, fabulous essential daily dress with well thought out variations. Basic, not too dressy for everyday, comfy and cute cute cute

layers nice too
 I got complimented on this dress mid-morning after i had slept in it the night before (did i say a bit busy?). This stretch cotton twill in pale camo tones is on it's way for version the next: with sleeves and a possible frankencollar from Marcy Tilton's Beatrice dress (Vogue 8876).

Speaking of the Tilton sisters, i took their Craftsy class The Ultimate Tee. If you have any interest in sewing tees, tops, tunics, dresses or etc. out of 'finer knits' stop reading now and go get this class. Two fantastic teachers with different teaching and creative styles, Marcy and Katherine Tilton cover how to handle all the fiddly bits (like when you splurged on a special length of fabric and don't have enough to make a muslin out of part of it), as well as taking you through all the steps from fabric choice, to pre-shrinking, to aftercare, binding variations, and seam finishes. The Tilton sisters give you all the practical knowledge you need in order to freely exercise your own creative choices, a rare mix.

 When i started watching the Ultimate Tee class I'd been stuck on this tank, inspired by the Alabama Chanin Basics line, for a few weeks. In The Ultimate Tee, Marcy shows a traditional men's crewneck undershirt neckline-type finish which she found on a RTW top in Paris. The idea of creating this neckline finish, which showcases the beauty of machine sewing, all by hand tickled me pink. So i went for it, and it cracks me up every time i look at it. I used Katherine's bound finish on the armholes, both in a cotton bobbinette. I love the way it turned out.

The Tilton sisters are a national treasure. Go give them some love!!!!

rayon lycra ITY digital print from Stone Mountain and Daughter fabrics

Another must-have pattern, this one for anyone who's hard to fit in the standard leggings out there (patterns and or RTW): Cake Patterns Espresso leggings. I always get mondo bagging right in the front of the crotch and i have to fold out alarming amounts of fabric to get anything near comfort - i've actually put horizontal darts in the crotch of leggings before. Why, yes, now that you ask, it does look incredibly weird and, frankly, verges on the pervy.

Espresso leggings in Nevada City's Broad Street Inn
But with Espresso leggings i'm pervy no more! This pattern is great if you have some sewing under your belt and want to crank out some outrageous covers for your gams, or if like me you have fussy, hard to fit and painful hindquarters. The template for creating your personalized pattern is very slick, and makes it incredibly easy to adjust for any fabrics or preferred wearing ease that doesn't fit the pattern specs of 5% lycra and 3/8" seam allowances. Just wrap the fabric around your leg at the measurement points (in the same direction the fabric will stretch as you plan to sew your leggings) and note how long it needs to be to give you the fit you want.  It's a snap to transfer these measurements to the proper place on your template because you labelled everything you need to know before - as part of the pattern generation. !SweeT! Seriously, it's like a public service.

The Phoenix Rose on Broad Street in Nevada City - go for the clothes, stay for the space

I've also made a muslin of the Red Velvet dress bodice. (I'll spare you the pics - i look like i escaped from reform school, eek!) I'm so enjoying the Cake Patterns - the whole system of fit, sizing and instruction is very different from the 'Big Four' which i can recite in my sleep. It's invigorating and good for the brain to work with a new approach - especially when it really works.

I appreciate Steph C's focus on practical, easy to make designs for producing reliable, fun to wear day to day clothing. I don't work in an office, i don't go to opera openings (sob), i don't frequent the club scene. I run around doing housework, a bit of gardening, lots of walking in towns and along hiking trails. Cake Pattern designs focus on garments which work in just this type of life, and i'm thrilled.

I've managed to cut and find a couple of stencils - that's Alabama Chanin's paisley design, with an altered flower shape. Finally, Mr. E and i have spent a few days in Nevada City this autumn...i took a bunch of pics of my Espressos at The Phoenix Rose while Mr. E explored their stock of unique steampunky slash Burnal Equinox designs. I took more pics of my Espressos in our room at the Broad Street Inn. I didn't want to forget that packer boots-violet lace socks-cattails leggings combo.

Nevada City shines as a beacon for eccentric dandies of all species. I believe that style encompasses what you do, even more than what you wear. Here's to all of us finding inspiration in our lives, and expressing that inspiration in what we choose to make.