Monday, August 25, 2014

The woven tee for me

I have been keeping an eye out for a woven tee pattern for a while. Finding a good woven tee would be great for plenty of reasons, but my particular reason is that I have a small shelf of very special fabrics. I don't mean my single yards of Liberty lawn, or the kind of offbeat and overly pricy pieces I sometimes end up buying on impulse at B&J Fabrics in New York, though those are certainly special enough and I do hesitate to cut into them. The special fabrics I'm referring to are from when I traveled more in my younger days as a single woman and an English-as-a-second-language teacher, supplemented by the beautiful fabrics my mom continues to send me from her many travels (and she turned eighty this year). Handwoven silks from Thailand, Laos, Bhutan. So special I can hardly cut into them--but what am I going to do? Make something to wear and appreciate, or pass them on to my son who is interested only in coding for robotics? (What would you do? Seriously, I'd like to know.)

Fortunately Sara of Mixed Emotions drew my attention to this pattern with her beautiful versions of it. I have enough other favorite pattern sources that I don't usually look too closely at the Simplicity offerings, and even if I had come across Simplicity 1366, I believe that I would have been too distracted by that crazy skirt to even see the tee.

Now I have made two versions out of ordinary fabric: one out of the scraps (blue with white print; Mood Fabrics said cotton but I don't think so) left after I made a version of Colette's Jasmine, and one out of the scraps (rayon, charcoal with white print) left from an unsuccessful skirt made many years ago. So you see, this pattern doesn't require much fabric at all, especially if you don't worry about sewing the bias binding from several short lengths.

A note on what I'm watching:

Have you seen High Maintenance? It's a low-budget but well-done web series set in Brooklyn whose episodes are tied together only by the presence of a particular marijuana deliveryman. I beg you (that sounds kind of strong, but I think it's worth it) to watch the episode titled Rachel. It can easily be found online and will take only 13 minutes of your time. It features the handsome and talented Dan Stevens, and has an appearance by Rachel Comey. Warning you, though, it just might serve as your gateway episode.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Stashbusting: the blue ponte pants

Sometimes I get carried away and buy a length of fabric that I later realize is not what I had hoped. (Am I alone in this?) So it was with two yards of blue ponte knit, poly/rayon blend, bought from Fabric Mart almost three years ago. I had received a swatch in the mail, so I knew exactly how very blue it was, and how poly-blend looking, and yet I tumbled. Why? I cannot answer that question.

The best I could do was to decide finally to get that fabric out from clogging up my stash by making it into something. Using a fabric I do not appreciate, with a pattern that I suspect is not going to be ideal for me, may sound like a thoroughly unrewarding enterprise, and yet there is something about moving that fabric through the pipeline and trying out that unpromising pattern that pleases me and makes me feel more free to move forward with projects I do have high hopes for.

From now on, projects of this type (yeah, this is not the only one) will carry the label "stashbusting."

The pattern is Vogue 8712, Marcy Tilton pants, view C. Nothing wrong with the pattern––it's just something that might look better on a svelter person than I am. On me these pants look a little, um, wide.

This photo shows the color of the fabric better than the ones above, and in fact it's more what the pants look like in real life:

You may be wondering: Must I keep my hands in my pockets at all times while wearing these pants? Why, yes! Yes, I must. I used the remnants of a woven fabric that I had on hand for the contrast pockets, waist facing, fly, etc., just because it was the exact same shade of blue, and it made the edges of the pockets stand out a bit from my hips. Which I can disguise by jamming my hands in my pockets.

This pattern has a fly front, which does not seem strictly necessary with knit fabric, but I went ahead and included it for the practice. It came out just fine. However, I don't get how the waist facing is supposed to interact with the zipper. A couple of reviewers on Pattern Review had mentioned this, but I didn't quite know what they were referring to until I got there. As the instructions are written, the facing would fold down over the top of the zipper. I got around it by folding the facing at an angle above the zipper top, and then using a combination of topstitching and hand slipstitching to keep everything in place. Here's how it looks on the wrong side:

Rear view:

A note on something to do in the northeastern U.S.:

Last weekend after picking our son up from a robotics engineering camp in Connecticut, we made a spontaneous visit to Mystic Seaport. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much: rainy day, tired from driving, have seen other reenactment sites, blah blah. But it was great. If you have any interest in boats, seafaring, New England life in the olden days, go and visit. Don't miss the forge or the printer's shop.