Friday, January 18, 2013

New This Week

In their new look book, Anthropolgie talks about (their) five signatures of style, one of which is the plain tee. Of course! Plain! Last year, when I was sewing and wearing plain t-shirts, I was out of style and this year, when I want to sew and wear more complicated t-shirts, I'll be out of style. LOL - out of style seems to be my style which makes it a darn good thing that that's perfectly okay with me.  I'd prefer to be me.

I checked out the new this week page and here's what I found... and what I think....

For me, a black v-neck t-shirt is about as basic as can be. Mine don't cost as much to sew as The Sadie V-Neck - $53.00 - costs to buy and that's a nice bonus of sewing. I prefer a three-quarter length sleeve and that's another nice bonus of sewing - doing it my way.

Like the blue cardigan that never finished, the Sun Medallion Pullover - $88.00 - has a lace overlay, this time in a more casual, baseball, style. Lace overlays can add a feminine touch that's completely different from pleats, tucks, ruffles, or gathers - often more sophisticated. I'm intrigued by how it's showing up so often lately. It's - obviously - something to explore although - LOL - maybe next year when it's out of style.

The Alva Lace Pencil - $88.00 - is another lace garment. According to the five signatures of style, high-low pairing - such as a dressier top with more casual bottoms or visa-versa - is in. Are you able to do that? I find it difficult. The look always seems out of balance to me. It requires exactly the right proportions and accessories to carry it off - and perhaps the right attitude - which perhaps I don't have if I'm feeling off balance. The skirt = gorgeous.

At first glance, I thought the Bloomfall Peplum Tank - $78.00 - was a woven blouse but it's actually made with rayon polyester spandex which would make it quite comfortable. I've mentioned in the past that if I sew a woven blouse, I don't end up wearing it so I've been thinking about sewing a knit blouse. A guarantee that I'd wear it would be nice but I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it and see. Piping details like this would make sewing it even more fun. Quick and easy is quick and easy but it can also be boring. Details like these increase the fun factor.

LOVE the sleeve details on the Speckle Sky Blouse - $118.00. It's silk. I doubt I'd ever sew or wear a silk blouse even though several people I know adore silk and wear it as often as they can. I prefer fabrics with a bit more substance as opposed to what I call floaty fabrics. I do like raw silk and dupioni silk. What surprised me with this garment was the price. Actually, all the prices have surprised me. Although most are way more than I'd pay to sew the garment, they're also a lot less than Anthropologie has charged in the past.

Wide leg pants like the Level 99 Wide Legs - $98.00 - are REALLY flattering to my figure. These are sewn from linen, spandex, and lyocell. I had no idea what that last fabric was so I looked it up and it's made from bleached wood pulp. According to Wikipedia, the fabric first went on public sale as a type of rayon in 1991. It shares many properties with other cellulosic fibers such as cotton, linen, and rayon. Some main characteristics of lyocell fibers are that they are soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles; lyocell fabric can be machine- or hand-washed or dry cleaned, it drapes well, and it can be dyed many colors, and can simulate a variety of textures such as suede, leather, and silk. That sounds interesting especially as linen is one of my favourite fabrics. I may need to research this one and I know for sure that I have a similar pant pattern. 

I spent some time looking at Anthropologie yesterday because yet still once again I did not feel like sewing while at the same time I was feeling pressure to produce something so I'd have something to talk about. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Pressure can be good.

My guests on Monday were two art quilters. At the conclusion of our visit, we discussed getting together regularly, most likely monthly. When I asked why - as in why would we get together - the answer was to have a push to produce something and then to have a space in which to talk about it and other artists to talk about it with. YES YES! Those are both very positive and something I've been looking for for years which makes it...

... interesting that this opportunity has arrived at a time when I'm not creating art pieces any more and when I'm not feeling as energized and motivated in the studio as I'd like to be. A friend commented yesterday that I seem to be looking for a sense of direction. No. My direction is creative everyday wear and my focus is t-shirts and knit garments. What's missing is drive.

I've decided to take the next week off from blogging to think, regroup, and - hopefully - find my missing mojo. For someone who loves to sew as much as I do, it's scary when I don't feel like it for any extended period of time. This week has been a rough one with some not so fun stuff happening. Hopefully, once I sort things out, it'll be good. Right now, it's a bit overwhelming. I'm exceedingly grateful that I did everything I could to start the new year on a positive note. Can you image otherwise - VBG.

Talk soon - in a week - Myrna

Grateful - sunshine and supportive friends


  1. When I was a Chemistry student a Berkeley, I saw a thick textbook about rayon in a bookstore on Telegraph avenue. I couldn't believe that so much could be written about rayon. But, it went through all sorts of techniques and considerations for making it. Some types require so many repeated cycles of acid/base, it was dizzying. Who knew?

    Tencel is the trademarked name for lyocell aka rayon microfiber. Wood pulp is broken down with a strong acid bath into a slurry. (It's like making paper, but with more acid to break it down even more.) Then it is shot through nozzles into a basic solution that will coagulate the fibers again. The thinner the nozzle and greater the water flow (to prevent the fibers from coagulating too quickly into blobs), the thinner the fibers.

    In Europe, Tencel/lyocell is made in a closed loop process that recycles the (huge quantity) of water and chemicals used. In other parts of the world, who knows what happens to the chemicals. I don't think rayon/Tencel/lyocell is environmentally more or less friendly than cotton. So much depends on where it comes from.

    1. I've been intrigued by how many people grasp on to a "natural" fabric thinking that somehow it's more environmentally friendly when it's not always true. It all depends on the processes involved so short of shearing the sheep and spinning the wool and making the fabric yourself...

      That awareness is part of what's fueling my zero waste challenge - the idea that I have a fabric and it would be both creatively pushing and personally satisfying and environmentally friendly to find as many uses as possible for all of it and not just the part that became a garment. Not always easy but definitely stretching.

  2. Myrna -

    How lucky you are to have some friends who are interested in getting together on a regular basis specifically for encouraging each other to produce and discuss. That is the thing that I miss the most about being in school, though that was decades ago, I get a bit of that with my online connections, but nothing is as useful as actual time with actual people. I suspect that even if they are doing art quilting and you are doing creative everyday wear, that it still has the potential to be a good thing.

    You mention that your mojo has fled, and also that your life this week has been pretty rough - I would venture to guess that those two things are related. In the last year, as I struggled to deal with my cancer diagnosis and treatment, I entirely lost the desire to make things at all, which as an artist was as scary to me as the medical-foo. Only gradually did my mojo return, first with knitting, which is the simplest (for me) and then with my sewing, which has come back as strong as ever, and now just a little bit, with my desire to do my enameling/jewelry art...

    "Inspiration is for amateurs,
    the rest of us just show up and get to work..."
    ~ Chuck Close
    I chose this quote as my "words to live by" resolution for 2013, for while on first reading it sounds rather harsh, it has a kind of resonance for me, that reminds me that if I simply move forward in the studio or sewing room, in faith that some good will come of my work, that is a kind of priming the pump and eventually my mojo will return...

    Wishing you a most creative and productive year...

    1. Do you call it luck if you looked for almost thirty years and it showed up when you weren't working in that medium anymore? I call that strange even though it does have the potential to be a good thing.

      It is scary to lose you're mojo when you're a maker especially as the act of making provides so much energy and refreshment. Just show up is much similar to do the work and one of those simple to say and harder to do things. As you note, it requires continuous forward movement and correction. Today forward looks like knitting - LOL.

      Thanks for the well wishes. They are much appreciated.

  3. Enjoy your week of R&R all to yourself - we all need this to recharge the old mojo! You mentioned about woven and knit blouses. Funnily enjoy this week I had several hours to kill at the shops (whilst son was at training) and a huge trend in shirts appears to be the 1/2-1/2 look - front of shirts are made of knit, whilst the back is woven fabric (or vice-versa) - interesting concept - do take care...J

    1. VERY intriguing. If I could just sew all the ideas swirling in my mind what an amazing wardrobe I'd have. Sew with some kind of fairy sewmother wand. Tap and it's done.

      The other day I was thinking about interspersing knit fabrics with woven ones cut on the bias. In particular with a pattern of Katharine Tilton's that uses princess seams. The design lines would make it easy to use the woven in the middle section since it's a bust point to bust point measurement and doesn't need the majority of the stretch. Hmm... she says... pondering.

  4. Ah, the dreaded lack of desire, when Drive shifts down to Park. I think it's unusual to not go through periods like this. However, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be if the lack of mojo goes on for a long time. I do believe that our creative force is always at work, even though it might not manifest in the physical world. I trust your creative fires are being re-fueled and re-stoked, and you'll be back in the studio in no time. Until then, enjoy your reading and knitting!

    1. Yup - endless ideas running through the brain even in park. LOVE that phrase. Good title - When Drive Shifts Down to Park. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. "just show up" and "do the work" are indeed essential...but sometimes, you need to refill the well, too....and that just takes time.

    1. Exactly - refilling - and time - both I believe somewhat essential especially in answering the question how will I do the work? It seems to me that stopping to think is more productive than running around blind.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.