Monday, November 22, 2010

More thinking out loud about sewing...

I basically sew everything that I wear, (save for shoes, socks, and the occasional thrifted black cotton knit turtleneck or long-sleeve top) and often find that online challenges like SWAP serve to keep me from feeling isolated in my peculiar habit. Over the years I've discovered that a limited color palette makes my life easier, and working out a set of various garment patterns that fits without trouble (tried and true = TNT) is equally helpful.

So far I've a knit top pattern, three jumper/pinafore patterns, and two dress patterns that all are basic patterns that I make over and over and over again. It takes many tries to work out how to adapt the pattern to my body. (My journey started the year that I decided I wanted a T-shirt type top that actually looked good and fitted comfortably. After weeks of experimentation, there was a successful basic pattern). I still would like a TNT button-front blouse pattern...

My current sewing/knitting plans are to work through the winter 6 piece collection and move directly into 2011 Sewing With A Plan (SWAP), and have the garments made continue to coordinate with the pinafores, dresses and tops already made in the last year. Unlike in the past, despite many sketches and diagrams, I don't yet have a clear vision for SWAP, or even of how the intended clothing will match up with what is needed in my closet. My intention is to use fabric I already have, and only purchase any necessary notions (thread, zippers and suchlike) though I know that for the raincoat there will be a trip to Rose City Textiles to purchase Goretex for a shoulder capelet.

The six piece collection timeline is November to February
in processpinafore jumper - brown corduroy

top - (grey fleece tunic?, black/brown flannel shirt?, ??)

top - blue stripey cotton knit top (Ottobre neckline?)
completemiddle layer - blue handknit vest
completemiddle layer - charcoal handknit partlet

coat - black raincoat
The brown corduroy looks well with most of my current dresses, and since corduroy, especially wide wale, is a wintery fabric, it feels and looks really cozy and warm. I already have a grey corduroy jumper too, from S3. The handknits work with most everything. The stripey top might be a good candidate for trying out the neckline from this Ottobre pattern. To combine the interesting parts of new patterns with the TNT pattern pieces that fit me, how I get the best of both worlds, since the shape and size that I am is not a good match for the patterns as they are.

I love the fact that Ottobre uses real people as catalog models. There are four models in the current womens pattern magazine; two are young and sleek, one is an older woman who looks actually older, and one is plus sized and looks actually plus sized. I'm eager to try out some of these patterns, in addition to grabbing the interesting faced neckline. This tunic top №13, looks like a good jumping off point. (Of course, different fabric) Maybe combined with the neckline from the Fuji Mountain Top.
≈ : ♥ : ≈

For SWAP this year, we can use up to three garments already completed, (or purchased), since the other theme for this year is trying new techniques or perfecting challenging ones. My hope is to actually complete all 11 during the December to April timeline, but that is a lot of sewing, and there are a number of additional sewing projects in the queue, like lingerie and new living room curtains.

WabiSabi Comfort
colors : black, grey, dark indigo, dark chocolate
theme/images : cloud-lift
concepts : interesting necklines, pattern combining

black raincoat (from winter collection)

black dress, textured rayon

indigo dress, moon batik rayon

indigo dress, marble batik rayon

? dress

? dress

indigo/black top, paisley slinky knit

navy top, floral printed cotton lawn

? top

? top

? overalls
new techniques: reverse facing, different edge treatments, zipper insertion, hidden placket, hemmer and flat fell foot use, bound buttonholes/welt pockets

Obviously there is a lot still up in the air with this can't-really-call-it-a-plan-yet Plan. Yet another chance to move forward without a perfectly visualised outcome. The trick is to make clothing that actually is what I wear. That is why there are no skirts, or pants. I've learned that I only wear tunics for two occasions: if it is really cold, I like a warm tunic as the outer layer of indoor wear, and as party clothes, I'll wear a tunic over a long skirt. Overalls do get worn, they are a lot of work to fit and to make up, but they fill a function, and each time I've made a pair, they have been worn till they wear out, so durable fabric is necessary. Hopefully the new flat fell foot will make the overall sewing a little easier.


  1. Sounds like your plan is coming together. I had no idea you are in the NW until you mentioned Rose City Textiles. We're neighbors!

  2. I'm in Portland, moved here just about five years ago from Olympia. Howdy neighbor!