Let's start with some planning. I am starting to think it's time to do a purge - as you can imagine - I have a lot of clothes. Mostly sewn by me and I don't like to part with them. Thus I rarely think I need anything. But since sewing is my favorite pastime more things will be sewn and needing a space in the closet. In fall my mind turns to jackets (although it is supposed to be 100˚F here on Sunday so there is no rush :) This Burda jacket caught my eye, it is just different enough from anything I have to make it interesting to sew. Of course their example is shown in a shade I hate with a fiery passion. Hmmm fiery... how about a warm red color? That might be nice for winter. The rounded shoulder shape is interesting (code word for possibly weird). I might keep looking.
Next topic: fabric or pattern, which causes the problem? Ever sewn something that you knew just didn't work, but you couldn't figure out which was causing the issue. Was it the fabric or the pattern? Sometimes the pattern is just not right for you - and I will say that this is a case of learning about patterns and shapes on your body As for creating a happy marriage of pattern and fabric:
- some people just have a knack for pairing up pattern+fabric (let's all agree we sorta hate them)
- trial and error, some expensive mistakes along the way = lessons learned and skill developed
- stubbornly choosing a fabric and sew it up with the pattern wanted at that minute whether it is right or not
If I could give some advice based on being a living embodiment of all the above points ( learning, luck, mistakes) that advice would be use your sense memory and squeeze the fabric. What? Ok, here goes. Sense memory - when you see a pattern you want to make, use your memory bank - review that type of garment and shape - think about nice version of the silhouette or garment you have seen previously and really concentrate on the good ones - then think about what fabric was used. Use your experience to think about why it was that a certain fabric gave you fits on a certain feature - it could be the bindings were impossible to make, or it didn't gather properly, the clipped corners raveled to bits, the pleats never pressed. Whatever it was you learned something from the experience and use that to choose the next combo of fabric and pattern.
My second piece of advice was to squeeze the fabric. Yes I squeeze - scrunch - rumple - and otherwise always treat the fabric as the human body does once you wear it. Granted, I am not fond of wrinkles - rarely sew with linen or something like that - but who wants to make a lovely wool coat or a well fitted dress and then dislike the rumpled result? Especially with wool - if you are going to make a coat or jacket, then you want it to look great for a long time. Some fabrics, and this is totally unrelated to price, just have less body, perhaps it is the fiber, or the weave, but if I don't like what I see on the scrunch test I won't buy it. If it bounces back, seems to have good recovery and yet have a good natural fiber feel, then I buy it. Same goes for silk, cotton, etc. I fold it up and see how I like the feel of several layers together. Something that looks good on the bolt can suddenly be very thick and stiff when folded back on itself, and you figure that a garment is made up of a lot of junctions that are 2, 3 or even 4 layers of fabric together. So scrunch away! I wonder if they think I'm a little nuts at Britex, I walk through the store and anything that catches my eye, I grab a fistful and scrunch. Even if it is $400/yard. Actually I bet plenty of people do it. Do you scrunch?
Most frequent recent question: what is the fabric I use for knit linings? Every time I show a knit dress with a lining I am asked this question so today I took a pic of the bolt end. It is nothing magical, just a 100% polyester knit fabric that they have at Joann's. Which I never purchase without a 50% off coupon. Today's coupon was 60%! Score! Anyway - it is shelved with the solid color knits or with the dance wear fabrics. It has a good drapey quality, doesn't stick to jersey or other knits, comes in all the basic colors. I use this color a lot, also black, white and I think they have navy blue. A knit dress with a full skirt or some of the complicated Vogue patterns with the twisty skirts get quite heavy and pull down the bodice so by using a lining it supports the skirt. Or often the knit fashion fabric is too sheer, as in this dress. Also the swimsuit lining can work, that is nylon/lycra so you can use that in a more body-con style and get a bit of a Spanx effect which can be helpful :) example here.
Next topic: It's a mystery to me. Some patterns. Like this one. Ok, not my taste. And so many tee shirt patterns. Wow, there are a lot of knit shirt patterns. Do people try them all? That seems like an expensive way to get a tee shirt. I have a few favorites which are Jalie 2804 and 2005 (I still think the Jalie is the best value as you get the range of size from little girls through women's size in one pattern and 3 necklines). Burda 6990 envelope pattern sewn here. this one also has multiple neckline variations. And this year I made McCalls 7046, a dress and top which has a ruching on the sides but the neckline, shoulders and sleeves fit like a dream so I am thinking of using it as a plain t-shirt base.
Time for a giveaway:
I am finding these Frixon pens invaluable - I love my Chalkoner markers and I use a regular lead pencil on a lot of things, but these Frixon pens are magic! They are erasable on paper, and on fabric they disappear with heat. So a quick press with the iron and they are gone. Perfect for marking tricky stitching lines, pattern markings etc. Although their benefit is also their downfall - as they disappear, poof! with the touch of the iron so you have to remember to stitch first and press second.
anyway - there is this crazy old-fashioned office supply store in Honolulu. The type of store that is long gone from most places. Although this is a giant warehouse. They sell individual pens. Like ANY pen you can think of. One at a time! and every type of notebook, school supply, post it, notepad, paper supply, ink, art stuff, office furniture, mechanical pencil, binder, clip, tape and on and on. Are you a sucker for office supplies? Are you alway seeking the perfect pen? I hate it when you want to buy pens and you have to buy a whole pack or a multi-color pack and it includes stupid colors you will never use, ok I am ranting but the wall of pens at Fisher is a dream. Plus you can try them. I think this store is like the "land that time forgot" because if you wander down the aisles you will see things that were probably discontinued 20 years ago, but they still have them on the shelf. Like those books where the receptionist used to write the messages, and it had a carbon copy, and perforations to tear out the little notes? Stuff like that. I guess you want to know the name, it is Fisher Hawaii Office Product Warehouse, link here. In kind of a warehouse district, and no air conditioning. Like I said - time has forgotten this spot. It's like the anti-Staples. Kind of like how Stone Mountain fabrics in Berkeley is the anti-Joann's. Ok more rambling. On with the giveaway.
Let me know in the comments if you would like to be in the drawing for a set of these Frixon pens.
They are pink, blue and purple so good for various color fabrics. I will choose one name to ship to a US address and one to an international address so be sure and tell me what State or Country you are in. How about until next Wednesday Sept. 23? I will post next week Thurs. or Friday with the names so check back then and you can contact me with your address.
Last topic: Plumeria or frangipani? that was a fun discussion in the comments recently when I showed this flowering tree. In Hawaii they are always called plumeria and often used in leis or worn in the hair. (I bet that happens everywhere they grow, so pretty and the fragrance is heavenly). So frangipani - I have heard that word but didn't know what it was. I think most of the world actually uses frangipani, and a quick look at Wikipedia shows that the plant is Genus: Plumeria. But the nicest thing I learned from that Wikipedia page is that in Persian the name is Yas or Yasmin and the Hawaiian name is Melia, those are both such pretty names for girls and now when I hear them I will think of the lovely flower.
So that was quite a random assortment in this Random Threads post, no? In case you are wondering why I go to office supply stores on my vacation, my sister used to live in Honolulu for 10 years so she was the one that found that store. And appreciates a good pen selection, as one does. So for fun if any of our family is over there and in the neighborhood we stop in.
Up next, a few more things I sewed over the summer and then onward to autumn. Sigh. And a Vogue pattern I just sewed which seemed like a terrible mistake at 10pm but appeared far better in the light of day. That is a topic for a future random threads post - nighttime sewing nightmares.
I hope all your sewing is daytime dreamy!