It is a sock day today. Yesterday, my dear Teddy was taken to to the vets and left for a time. He is returned home now in fine shape. It was a harrowing afternoon and evening for all of us. In my morning sewing class, a house shape fluttered down from the cutting. And then later, with Teddy home, a vaguely cat like shape wandered onto the stitch.
And my wedding outfit is finished!
Here's the deal as I see it on making garments from Japanese patterns. Remember that I am a very beginner garment maker. Maybe not anymore but sewing from these patterns was way above my pay grade.
*** If you have no interest in this sewing stuff, skip down past the numbered paragraphs.
Japanese bodies are different from American and European bodies. And guess what!!! There is no standards in sizing! Isn't that so cool? Break out the hard stuff.
So, say you are an American sized large, you will need to:
1. Find the pattern pieces you need among the stacked patterns.
2. Use a highlighter to trace around the pattern. Take a nap.
3. Trace again onto paper. I used gridded interfacing (and I guess, but haven't tried, the Swedish Sewable Pattern paper would be good).
4. Figure out how to enlarge the patterns and do so. This is initially pretty danged tricky and I wouldn't suggest have a glass of wine while you're at it. Though you may need one afterwards. You really need to measure the armholes in particular and the dart placement. You may recall my recent post Cockeyed. Check the length as well. I'm average height but needed to add length to everything. I have to tell you here that it is very fun to make up those patterns, all those little arrows and dashed lines. I have a black felt tip marker and it is awesome to write on that interfacing. Small pleasures.
5. Cut out your traced pattern.
6. Lay out your pattern pieces and add in the seam allowances! If you are smart you will retrace the enlarged pattern with the seam allowances. But I keep forgetting. I've added pockets to dresses, pants and skirts. What's the point of no pockets?
7. Make a muslin first before you cut into some really gorgeous fabric. Or make it with some less expensive fabric from the sales.
8. Sew as usual. The Japanese sewing books are very short on explicit instruction. If you are a beginner, I really suggest sewing lessons or getting someone knowledgeable to help. You'll save on booze and you'll learn all sorts of nifty things like what "ease" means.
I really love almost every single garment in Simple Modern Sewing (review here). So far I'm made a peasant-y kind of blouse (2x's), the little jacket for my dress - at the top of the post - is the same pattern pieces. Now that's pretty good stuff. I've made a simple gathered skirt and the dress which can be worn as a jumper.
I'm making another top that I'm pretty excited about which uses the same pattern pieces (lengthened) as a dress. You can really use a ton of creativity putting these pieces together with different fabrics for different seasons. You could add bits of fabric and embroidery and wear clothing that reflects your own sense of style.
Most important, I'm learning about my body. Learning to accept it, love it and clothe it with enthusiasm and some originality. My husband remarked that I looked really happy in my new clothes and my son asked me how I felt wearing them. That's what I'm talking about. It seems that middle aged women are invisible in the fashion world. That is not cool.
This stuff takes time. It's been a sabbatical of sorts and well worth it.
How do you feel about your clothing? There's been a lot of talk in the news lately about fast fashion. Buying a lot of cheap clothes and then more. Throw away society. We all do this. It's quick and convenient. I just want to give myself this gift now.
Just another DIY wedding post. I've been learning so many things this past week!!!
For instance, after purchasing impatiens and vinca for the terracotta pots for the dinner tables at the reception, a friend told me Downy Mildew (DM) has been annihiliting impatiens since it was carried up the eastern seaboard from Florida. The Impatiens Killer hitched a ride with Hurricane Sandy. So, yes, maybe I've been watching too much Fringe but DM could be zombie aliens from another universe. Except it traveled over water.
A google search later confirms that ease is not just a verb but rather a nerb. Ease being a technique AND verb (noun+verb=nerb).
Try on the dress again just to be sure it really doesn't fit, when I notice that the darts are - shall we say - cockeyed. And then everything begins to look cockeyed to me.
Which reminded me of a long-ago beach conversation with my sister
in which we addressed the issue of cockeyed
(being in our bathing suits)
much to the eternal humiliation of my daughter
who finally, wisely, went for a swim.
So it is back to the drawing board for me, as I struggle to retain my sense of humor and keep in mind all of the things I'm learning. (!!!!)
PS: Happy Birthday, nearly-wed, much humiliated Daughter. The moment you were born is etched in my mind forever. This post is dedicated to you and your wild stories. xo Mom
I'm sure that I have a prior post entitled Monkey Mind and since I was born in the year of the monkey, it could be the 3rd time. I've ignored all of the Blogging for Dummies tips and given my post a stupid title. Again.
Not only do I have absolutely nothing to say but something inside of me is urgently whispering that you probably don't want to hear about the trazillion ideas, fleeting thoughts, whims, plans, ephermeral images (ad nauseum) that are flitting through my head these days.
I can't seem to let a single whim go these days.
There are at least 14 pieces of stitching that I'm working on. I need at least two (or three) complete for a deadline.
I am writing in the morning pages again. Spilling, as they say.
And so it goes. It may be spotty over here for the next month. My mind is full. Here's where I want to be:
I'm pondering the difference between the process of creating stitched pieces and working with media on paper. There are no quick gestural strokes with stitch. It is a process of making design choices and then stitching. While the stitch is happening there are small strokes and dawning ideas. Wandering, meandering.
And time to ponder. Jude Hill called it "ripening" recently.
There is a deep intimacy with stitch as you handle the fabric, the threads. The needle is the only tool between you and the piece you are working on. There are no fast ways (with hand stitch) and there are no tricks. Simple ages-old techniques that you only need to be reminded of and instinct.
A constant touching, feeling. I'm sure to need a break from all of this pondering and get back to the action-oriented random acts of journaling and art making. Perhaps tomorrow. Taming the Critic is up tomorrow.