Sunday, April 22, 2007

One less UFO

We had a great vacation. I missed my sewing and getting back into the work routine was tough. I did get in some sewing the last week. I made the stripped skirt from the Threads article published in May 2005. I have wanted to make this skirt since the issue was published. I had a lot of scraps leftover from my SWAP blouses, as well as several coordinating silk chiffon's and crepes that failed their SWAP auditions. Since I am horrible about putting fabric away, they were stacked together on a table and the colors looked so inspiring . The fabrics were in front of me, it was a good way to use up scraps, so I went for it. If I had thought about the fact that piecing the fabric as the first step of the process would increase the time to make a skirt, I probably wouldn’t have made it. Sometimes practicality stops my creative processes dead. I have to consciously make an effort not to over think or over plan the process or practicality issues, such as not enough time or missing notions or just the right fabric, will stop my creative process dead in its tracks. My review can be read at
On a more somber note, on Friday I wore pieces of my SWAP to show support for Va Tech in the aftermath of the shooting. My SWAP colors included the Tech colors, burgundy and orange.

Remember my previous posting on UFO’s and Pigs. I actually have completed several of the UFO’s. The most recent was using the pieced silk tie scrap yardage to make a jacket. I got the scraps from the Talbott’s men’s wear factory, located somewhere in Calif. They used to sell scrap bags via ads in Threads magazine. The striped scraps were the most conservative scraps in the bag. The silk jacquards were gorgeous and are still in my stash. I would love to know if you could still buy these scrap bags from the factory. Anyway I found an old Easy Burda jacket pattern that had some shaping, but it was all through darts, which did not impact the pieced fabric too much. I made the bands in coordinating silk organza, and in hindsight this feature of the pattern was fortuitous. The way the fabric was pieced, all the edges, sleeves hems, etc. were bias. The straight cut bands help keep the edges from stretching out. The organza was a sheer curtain panel purchased at Target. Hint: check out the curtains and tablecloths at stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Marshall’s Big Lots, and TJ Max for inexpensive (usually), unique yardage. Many of these stores carry curtain panels of silk, organza, raw silk and dupianni, and silk/poly blends. Look in the clearance area at Marshall’s and TJ Max. I have seen Walmart brand curtain panels in Family Dollar Store, at really low prices

Both the skirt and jacket are a little non-traditional or "artsy". But I can wear them next week while attending the AQS quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky. My mom and I are taking a road trip, We had originally signed up for a bus trip, but it got canceled. Mom was so upset and disappointed. My father has turned into a big homebody in his retirement, and refuses to travel. She, on the other had loves to go places. So I told her we would drive. It’s a two day drive one way, but multiple people have told me, it is very scenic. Subtext: hilly and be sure and keep your gas tank full for the long non-populated stretches. It should be an adventure in many ways.
I will post the requested info on working with chiffon in a post when I get back from the Quilt show trip.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ageless Style or Less Style for Age(d)

I recently made this top of out silk chiffon. New Look 6561. I chose the pattern and fabric for two reasons. 1. I wanted to try the style, and 2. I am on a personal mission to improve my confidence and skills when sewing silk chiffon. The sewing was, as I expected, a learning experience. I made the bias binding for the casing out of the chiffon. What a nightmare. It got done, but not to my normal level of quality. I really need to try that tip about starching the chiffon to make it easier to cut and sew. Okay, be honest now, is this style too young for me? Why do I feel like I am wearing a nightgown?

I am happy to be the age I am. However as I get older and my body changes, my hair lightens, and my skin coarsens, I have to do a lot of thinking about and editing, the current fashion trends to find ones that will work for me, both physically and mentally. I have discovered that I have a slightly different (more youthful) mental image of my body than the mirror shows. And horror of horrors, I have color and style preferences from the 80’s.
I recently purchased two excellent books that helped me on this self analysis. Forever Cool, by Sherrie Mathieson – Which is about how to achieve ageless youthful and modern personal style, and Closet Smarts by Emily Neill, Both available at Forever Cool shows people of all ages and shapes, men and women, in outfits you can spot on people today, that tell you how old the person is because they are wearing styles or garments from another era. She then shows the same person in updated, classic, reasonably priced clothes that make them look ageless. Unfortunately, I liked the 80’s style clothes in the before picture. And the book showed me that I was dressing my husband (yes, I buy his clothes) in a dated way.

Closet Smart has a slightly different focus. It takes real women of various heights and shapes and puts them in outfits for every occasion that draw your eyes to their good features and away from others. From this book I got the “A ha” moment on why raglan sleeves and crew necks don’t work for me. I buy and sew them, but they are never my favorites. I have rounded, sloping shoulders and I thought since raglan sleeves are rounded and curved, they should fit and look good. Instead they emphasize the roundness and curviness. To look my best, I need to have defined, structured shoulders. For example, for one of the tops in my SWAPs, I chose a raglan sleeve blouse pattern. It went together quickly and I loved the fabric. But when I put it on, I wasn’t thrilled, especially by the fit in the upper back and shoulders. It looks fine under jackets, but I probably won’t wear in on its own.

We are off to a Caribbean island for spring break, The “bod” is in good bathing suit form. I plan to consume rum based fruit drinks, stare at reefs and their fishy inhabitants, and wear my new top.