Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Quiet Day at Home

The two swatches here are going to become two more of my new shirts. The top leafy one is quite light and more loosely woven and is destined for a casual short-sleeved shirt with a regular collar. It's a Burda magazine pattern so the cut is a bit different than I'm used to (it has bust darts!) and I haven't made it before so it'll be interesting to see how it fits. I'm not sure I quite get Burda's European sizing system in relation to the usual North American pattern companies. The lower fabric with the vaguely oriental print is cut out for my old favourite shirt that has long roll-up sleeves, a back pleat, and rounded shirt tails that are longer in the back than in the front. The sleeves will be plain red on the part that's rolled up because the pattern only shows on the front.

As far as I can tell from the printed selvedges, both these fabrics are "decorator" fabrics — not really meant for clothing but for curtains or pillows or whatever. I just buy materials because I like them. Sometimes they work out really well and sometimes they're...well, a mistake. I'd like to think that my mistakes are somewhat less frequent after more than 40 years of sewing but the manufacturers have other ideas. Like why should they bother to make fabrics that wash well without fading or shredding, that don't catch and pull into loops or pill, or that don't hold creases that never iron out? Who actually sews their own clothes anymore anyway?

I'm giggling since I discovered that most of the patterns that I've been working with are from the 1980's and one is even from the mid-1970's! Now what does that say about my style? I know — what style? I don't think they look that dated. At least I've been wearing the original garments that I made from those patterns and nobody has laughed at me — at least to my face. I did modify the oldest pattern somewhat to update it. It's a tunic with a rounded inset button-front yoke and full sleeves gathered into a cuff. I cut the sleeve narrower and eliminated the cuff and widened the neck with band collar slightly because it was chokingly tight. I just threw the last version (number 3!) out a few months ago because it was stained and faded and I found a new one (number 4) already cut out and ready to sew.

So to begin with, today I finally started sewing on the floral batik shirt that I described a few days ago. This fabric is lovely to press and sew (being cotton quilting fabric) but it does wrinkle quite easily. I finally got my serger to sort-of work OK on it. I used a lot of thread and chopped up quite a few scraps before I gave up adjusting it. I'm even more convinced that the darn thing needs to go into the shop for an overhaul. Or something. I'm only using it to finish the seams anyway. Not any structural sewing.

Thom is on-call for work for the first time this weekend which means that he must stay close to the computer so we lazed around in bed half the morning before I started working in my studio. He unfortuately actually had to answer a couple of calls (rather than it being as quiet as everyone promised it would be) so he thought better of trying to make beads. It would be difficult to have to answer the phone with hot melted glass in his hand! So he went outside to weed the garden and mow the lawn with his cellphone in his pocket. You know, you think a nice quiet weekend at home would be rather nice, but when you have to do it, you keep thinking of all the things you can't do. Like shopping or long walks. There's no pleasing some people. And there's another day of this tomorrow.

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