Do you start with the fabric or the pattern? For me it mostly starts with the pattern, I am more attracted to shapes and techniques and then I find the fabric in the color family that I like.
Currently I am making a few garments for someone who had already purchased the fabric and her choices got me thinking about it. This is unusual as most often I work with a sewing client from the beginning to choose both the style and the fabric. In this case I think she has a real eye for choosing interesting and beautiful fabrics and the results have been a good stretch for my creativity.
She wanted a top made from a textured sweater knit and described a "drapey turtleneck type top". Which made me laugh a bit because I had been so wanting to get the Sewaholic Renfrew top pattern and that is why I made a few test versions last month before cutting into her lovely fabrics. By the way, all her fabrics were purchased at Stone Mountain in Berkeley.
Here is her Renfrew top, which I lengthened to be more of a tunic as she requested.
First a close up of this interesting fabric, very Missoni-like don't you think?
A few sewing details. I put a strip of knit fusible interfacing along the hems and then turned up about one inch and stitched. I lengthened the top about 5 inches? something like that, as much as the yardage would allow. I sewed this on the standard sewing maching, straight stitch and then after it was put together I serged the seam allowances. I don't like to serge things before they are sewn together, I think it distorts the pieces.
The item that I sewed first from her stack of fabrics was this dress made of silk duppioni. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with silk duppioni fabric, the colors are fantastic, it does press beautifully but the dress/design needs to fit perfectly and the pattern needs to be a good one as there is no fudging the seams or easing sections like you can with a nice malleable wool.
This plaid fabric really scared me, I was actually kind of shocked when she pulled it out of the bag and said she wanted a dress. I think this looks much better as worn rather than on the dress form, the warm bronze and coral colors give the wearer a golden glow and it is very pretty.
Some sewing details, I used New Look 6643 which is my favorite basic sheath dress pattern. I made a muslin for fit, ended up lowering all the darts by about 3/4" and then made full pattern pieces (both sides of the front and back) so I could lay the full pattern pieces on the single layer of fabric and hopefully match the plaids everywhere. One thing to note when making a dress with plaid, if you have bust darts at that side seam, you must match below the dart. I recall I jumper I made in junior high where I carefully matched at the top of the side seam and then cried when I sewed it up and saw my mistake. Good learning lesson!
My last interesting project for her will be a 3-piece outfit (if yardage allows). The sheer embroidered silk will be a floaty jacket and the silk charmeuse will be a pajama style pant and sleeveless tank.
I plan to line the pants and tank with bemberg rayon. It is interesting how the design on the sheer fabric shows more when contrasted with the darker grey silk.
Here is the pattern I am using for the jacket. I like the style of this but the pattern has turned out to be very problematic but I have finally succeded in making a muslin that fits nicely. So this weekend will be all about sewing silk.
In garden news I impulsively bought bags of daffodils and tulips the other day - I cannot resist the colors on the packages - so those will need to be stuck in the ground. Then I will be on squirrel watch. Last year I read that the brown papery layer on tulip bulbs are like potato chips for squirrels and they find them irresistible. Nature, a constant battle even in suburbia.
Happy weekend sewing, Beth