Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bride of Frankenpattern

Frankenpattern: "To pattern using multiple styles and mis-matched pattern pieces. The end result is a combination of the garments that leaves the patternmaker horrified as to how it was put together, but usually no one else knows that from the end result. (phew!)"

Yes, dear reader, i too have fallen prey to this internet fad! Actually, i have been all about frankenpatterning since before the internet was a gleam in Jacques Vallee's sleepy French eyes. Sometimes, whilst working over a long period of time with various shapes, one is struck with inspo as to a different way to 'solve the puzzle', as it were.  Conversely, one may incur a yen for a particular garment and whilst ruminating realize that various pieces already in one's possession may combine to produce an item damn close to the desired result.

Frankly i forget which way this one came about...however from the moment i saw my beloved Beatrice dress (Marcy Tilton's best selling Vogue 8876) i knew i would love a skirt with a similar vibe. I also knew it would be difficult if not impossible to pull off, given the amount of ease at the waist. You either take out a lot of fabric and lose the line, or place a metric ton of gathers/pleats/combo of both at the waist and lose the graceful line.

Which is why the Beatrice is a dress, not a skirt.

I've also really enjoyed my version of Hot Pattern's Lantern Skirt. I made it a couple of years ago in natural linen; it is incredibly useful, comfortable, mixable and provides an awesome line with which to work while creating outfits. When i saw this gorgeous olive drab linen at Stone Mountain and Daughters i snapped some up with another lantern-type skirt in mind.

The Bride of Frankenpattern skirt combines three patterns from three different designers. Starting from the top: Waistband and pockets by Mari Miller of Seamster Designs Honeydew Skirt; skirt front and back pieces by Trudy of Hot Pattern's HP1178 Weekender Chameleon Dress; hem bands by Marcy Tilton of Vogue Patterns V8876 "The Beatrice Dress". In the process of making this skirt i altered each of these pattern pieces ( the skirt pieces pretty significantly), but they provided a great starting point. 

I'm especially taken with the 'magic lantern' shape i made at the back of the skirt, it's kind of squarish with the corners rounded off which adds a nice dimensionality to the skirt as seen from the side. Next version of this idea will exaggerate this effect. I'll also lessen the hi-lo differential from front to back. And stabilize the side seams where the pockets insert - i skipped this step and they bag out like crazy!

I'll take this occasion to announce i've acquired another scarf! Always a banner day in my closet, as i wear scarves just about every day of the year yet am chronically short of them. This beauty is china silk with a black/inky blue/inky violet design over cream, found at A Verb For Keeping Warm. Mr. E put his hand on this roll of fabric, there was one and one quarter yards left - a perfect square. I took it home, washed it in hot water and olive oil castille, trimmed the selvedges and along the straight of grain, starched the hell out of the edges and stitched two lines in from the edges. Scarf!

Anyone anywhere near the SF Bay Area should drop into a verb.  The space is generous and gorgeous, massive gobs of natural light pour in from the west facing windows. There's a really nice sized work/class space with plenty of classes offered in knitting, dyeing and garment construction. The highlight for me is the huge selection of natural fiber garment-useful yardage from all over the world. Handwoven African cottons, Liberty of London lawn, more Japanese cottons than i have seen in many online shops - all there for ogling and hugging! Notions from London and France (though i didn't see any underpants). Paper patterns from all corners of the USA, France, London, their own house line, and more!

This shop is stellar, i could not be more excited about this new(ish) player on the fibre scene. They even have movie nights! What cold be more fun? 

I have to laugh at myself, though. I never could make sense of the name, and happened to mention my conundrum to an online penpal. He immediately wrote back: "Making clothes is what you do to keep warm." Okaaaaay - well, put it that way it's utterly obvious! Sometimes when we get too close to things we lose our perspective. 

Happy Saturday!


  1. Very cool skirt, and always inspiring. I'm totally into unique skirts like this and the early spring flowers and buds are saying "sew something bright and spring". You look fabulous and your photographer husband does a great job!!

  2. You are both dashing and eccentric!!! I love that skirt. Mahhhhvelous!!

  3. Hello Terri! oh, what nice praise and especially from one so discerning and elegant - thank you! I've been so enjoying all the photos you are sharing on flickr, especially the Puyallyup pictures - what a treat for all of us who can't make it up there! Actually, it's just me and the timer button - mr. e gets home after dark.

    ooh, i have done some serious closet cleaning and unless i'm gonna be dressed for heatstroke or nekkid i better do some warm-weather sewing as well. Here's sending mojo to those spring needles!

    Thank you Claire! i am excited to 'work it' some more to finesse the shape. Cant't have enough casual skirts with pockets ;)

    Happy Monday!! steph

  4. Stephanie, your skirt is great! I'm trying to make some linen pieces that I'll wear! (It's not a natural go-to fabric for me.)