Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hip Unfriendly Garments

Yesterday was one of those moving like a turtle kind of days where I didn't get a lot done. What makes days like those? Why on one day can we do a million errands and sew a complete garment and on another day we're fiddling around and can barely get the pattern traced? I'm going to say it was the weather. In Canada, where we have weather, and talk about it all the time, the weather gets blamed for whatever can't be understood. It works.

Earlier this month, Shams posted Mixed Print Challenge - Koos Style. If you haven't already seen her skirt, she did an amazing job - like usual. Her work is very inspiring, a blend of great fit, technical skill, and creativity, exactly the direction I'm working toward. This skirt in particular has been on my sew list for the last year after seeing a Koos original in Marcy & Katherine's talk at Sew Expo. I've seen a few pieces of Koos' work lately and they've been a part of my learning about the quality of fabric and what it can do for a pattern/garment.

I bought the pattern in an OOP sale and was able to get the first two size ranges but not the last one... the one my hips fall into... only it didn't matter because there is so much ease in Koos' garments that you'll typically need to go down sizes - four in my case. The waist of the size 12 gave me 3 1/2" of ease so I traced that size, overlapped the side seam, measured the ease at hip level, and it was over sixty inches. LOL - this should be enough.

There are three fabrics - a main black print shown on the pattern envelope, a white print, and then an applique piece for center front. It wasn't until I started reading the pattern that I even realized there was an applique piece and that it was "treated". I just thought there were three fabrics plus the top fabric. Sigh.... guess I should put my glasses on.

Right about the time Shams posted, there was a sale on in the bargain center and I bought several pieces of wool suiting fabric for $2.50 a meter because it struck me that suiting fabric would put an interesting twist on this garment and since the idea was tickling, why not try it. The brown plaid bottom of the pile above has both a gold metallic and a silver metallic thread in it that makes for interesting contrast. It paired well with a black and tan plaid and a flocked knit. Briefly. When I saw...

... how the pieces went together and that I would need to match piece eleven on three sides to piece twelve, I substituted the darker black plaid in this second picture to save my sanity. I hate matching plaids at the best of times but definitely not on three sides. I can live with not matching this piece.

In the instructions, the applique piece is cut on the bias, lain over the joined front section, and channel stitched every half inch. I completely missed this direction because I had it in my head that they were going to do it differently. Isn't it strange how we can not see something because we think it's entirely different, even though it's there in black and white. I actually wrote Shams and asked about it and she had to point out that yes, the instructions are there. Duh.

The technique reminds me of making chenille for quilting. The point of cutting on the bias is to get soft edges that will ruffle but not fray. Since I was using a knit, I cut it out with the loops running up and down. Can you see the jagged edge in the picture above? That edge...

... gets even more jagged as you start cutting up the channels. NEXT TIME - I would cut to but not through the edge and I might finish the edges in some way such as stitching 1/8" away or zigzagging over so that they're still soft but there isn't this issue of flappy ends. To solve this problem, I did zigzag down the two long sides. The flocked fabric is gorgeous and piled together the fabrics worked. Sewn? I'm not so sure but I'm pushing onward.

While I'm relieved that there's enough hip room and the garment has a reasonable chance of fitting me, I planned to go ahead and sew it any way. Sewing is how I relax, distress, entertain myself, and so on. It's fun but not when you get too caught up in over thinking the details which I can do if I'm not careful. Lately, I've been making my best choices and then focusing on the enjoyment factor. It's muslining of a sort. I have the fun of sewing, can evaluate the finished garment, can sew a second one if I like what I see, and can sell/give away what doesn't work. My friend Caroline, whose body type is the opposite of mine, gets a lot of my hip unfriendly garments like the Sandra Betzina skirt.

My grandson sent me a letter yesterday saying how excited he is to come visit next week and told me all about the foods he's eating so I could go grocery shopping. He sent along this picture of the two of us taken in October when Grandma was really quite tired and even so, how fun. I'm looking forward to more snuggles.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a plan and a place of peace and calm around creativity


  1. Look at how sweet he is! So lively. I'm sure you're in for a very busy - and enjoyable - visit.

    1. Definitely. He's sitting up and rolling over which means there's all kinds of dust bunnies and other wonders to explore at Grandma's house.

  2. oh, fun fun picture! i love little ones who write letters, it's the best :)

    ah, the necessity of actually reading the directions. i do so appreciate all the online reviews out there, with one caveat - people who complain about something which could have been avoided had they only read the directions, read the designer's specific mission statement on their website, used the recommended fabric, taken their figure and their own flattery desires into account when choosing fabric and pattern, etc. I've been trying to tone down my irritation with this type of thing over the years, but recently i've begun to just lose patience.

    Though Myrna i do completely understand your situation here - having read so so many many vogue instruction sheets over the years, with the same old same old, it can be very hard to see what is new in there! I really love your fabrics here, they look lovely together and i can't wait to see them in this skirt - have fun sewing! steph

    1. LOL - it was a delightful letter. Much more fun than a list.

      It wasn't a matter of not reading the instructions. I did skim through them but I was seeing "in quilt" and thinking I'd be making the chenille piece first and then appliqueing it in place and my mind wasn't computing that I would be building the chenille on top of the main garment fabric. So simple once it clicked.

      I totally understand your irritation. I've had similar reactions when someone is complaining about something that a pattern company couldn't possibly address. They definitely aren't designing for my body. It's my job to make the click between what's there and what I need... which is part of the challenge I enjoy.

      AND THEN... you also have to be able to think for yourself. I'm working on the appliqued strings and the placement lines are different on piece 7 than pieces 5 and 6 although one is supposed to overlap and line up with the other. 7 - the applique piece - is more graceful and overlapping. Going with those... sort of... I don't need to be exactly like the picture.

  3. A lovely photo--so evocative. A bright and bushy tail grandson, and a tired but deeply happy grandma. Elle

    1. Yes. The contrasts in life can be quite interesting, even entertaining if you let them be.

  4. Lovely picture of the two of you!


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