Thursday, May 31, 2007

Material Madness

So I got bored of recalcitrant knitting and started hauling out fabrics from boxes and drawers today. Whoa! What a job! This is only a small portion of what I have lurking around here:

That’s mostly the best stuff too, with pieces large enough to actually make something wearable. I amused myself for awhile by measuring each piece and noting down what there was on a post-it that went on the folded fabric and also on a list that may eventually become an Excel sheet. At least that’s the plan. Unfortunately I get distracted all too easily and I ended up hunting through issues of Burda magazine for a blouse pattern I’d seen that was just begging to be made out of something in the pile.

Speaking of patterns, I haven’t been buying any regular patterns from the major brands lately. Have you seen how major boring they are? How many versions of a t-shirt or plain skirt or wrap-front blouse does one need? Not everybody is a beginner at sewing! Where are the more complex garments with interesting shaping and stitch details? Apart from a few super-expensive Vogue Designer patterns, there isn’t much out there. On the other hand, I probably don’t need any new patterns since I have a ton of them already. I have my favourites that I use over and over and some basics that I can use to create new designs. But right now I need to fit me a closer-fitting blouse with darts or princess seams. I don’t have anything like that in my collection except for in the Burda magazines. Of course by the time I get around to it, the styles will be back to loose-fitting again! Besides there’s only just so much close-fitting this old body can stand. How about semi-close?

So have you ever sewn something using Burda magazine? It’s not for the faint-of-heart that’s for sure! For instance, here’s one of the pattern sheets:

Visual spaghetti! You have to look up your pattern in the centre newsprint pages of the magazine, check to see which pattern sheet it’s on and in which colour, and then trace off your size onto tissue. There are no seam allowances included so you have to add those, along with any important markings. Sometimes things like buttonholes are only given for the smallest size and you have to redraw them for your size. And occasionally there are a few rectangular-shaped pieces that are only given by measurements and no pattern to trace. The sewing instructions are cryptic at best so it pays to have quite a bit of experience in how to assemble garment pieces. All that said though, it’s a bargain at $11.50 CDN (up from $8.90 a year ago) for dozens of patterns. Even if you only sew one or two garments from each they are still quite reasonable. And the advantage is the cutting-edge European style that you don’t get in North America. I’m currently tracing out a blouse from an issue from last summer and it looks very now to me. I even found a few things I’d still make from 10 years ago. But then I’m currently wearing a jumper that I made sometime in the ‘80’s so what do I know?

Back to what actually got me started on this odyssey is the fact that I desire a pair of those cropped pants everyone is wearing right now. (Are they capris or are those the even-shorter ones?) I tried on a pair in a clothing store in some crinkly nylon/cotton fabric with elastic drawstrings and nifty plastic stoppers everywhere but they didn’t fit me properly. The crotch depth was too short and I was so disappointed. So I used my favourite elastic-waist pants and drafted a shorter, narrower leg. I’ve got a few ideas on design details, but I can’t decide whether I want funky cargo pockets or more normal ones. Maybe I need to make more than one pair, eh? I found a couple of fabrics that might work but the one I really wanted is just a few inches too shortttttttt…oh wait! I just had an eureka moment! If I put facings on the cuffs I can get it to fit. Hah! Later. I’m off to try it out.

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