Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Time To Start

At the end of February, while attending Sew Expo, I introduced myself to Gwen Spencer who will be the guest teacher at the Design Outside The Lines workshop in June. As we talked, I patted the bolt of striped linen in the image below. It was yummy. Gwen thought so too and we both bought three yards agreeing to make something to bring to the retreat as a challenge.

Challenges can be really stretching and... well... challenging. They can be exactly what you need as long as you're careful not to make them into exactly what you don't need.

The fabrics are linen. They cost far more than I normally pay which makes it too easy to start holding precious. When you hold precious, you avoid cutting the fabric for fear of making something less than the amazing images dancing in your head - for fear of wrecking it. What we've paid for a fabric or how much we love it can really get in the way of actually using it.

AND... while this is a creative challenge and a wonderful opportunity for me to express myself using a particular fabric, Gwen is an extremely talented individual. It would be way too easy - and definitely not a good thing - to let comparisons creep in and to start building up her talents and minimizing mine to the point of becoming paralyzed by indecision.

When I found myself dithering over ideas and heading in negative directions, I decided it was time to start. Because the fabric is so expensive, I wanted to make a garment that would last more than one or two seasons and...

... since virtually every spring I say something along the lines of needing a spring coat and every fall I repeat myself and...

... since making a coat is the idea that's been tickling the loudest, I'm making a coat. And then...

... because I was starting to both hold precious and run out of time, I decided to make another version of the coat I sewed last year only much shorter with a different collar, neckline, and front opening shape - something sort of the same but different. Using this coat pattern eliminated any fear of the garment not fitting. I've sewn it already. It's in my closet. I know how it fits me right now.

It is a compilation of three different patterns. The flared shape is a familiar one. The sleeves fit and hang well. I've drafted some new lines especially at the front and have a general idea of what I want to accomplish but nothing too specific yet. I'll play from there.

At first, I intended to quilt the striped linen to diaper flannel only that bothered me because I knew there'd be a lot of waste around the pattern pieces - expensive waste.. A few weeks ago, I found a very drapey, denim colored fabric in the bargain center for $2.00 a meter and realized I could quilt the flannel to the lining instead. The quilted lining remnants would be then be available to make a child size garment and the unquilted linen remnants would be available for another project - like the blouse idea currently dancing in my head. That works for me.

Last night, I cut a rectangle of the lining fabric for each of the pattern pieces and used 505 basting spray to adhere diaper flannel to the back and then...

... folded each pattern piece together with its lining sections in preparation for...

... some very soft and subtle quilting. I'm stitching from the flannel side because on the lining side the stitched lines are barely visible. The denim thread matches the fabric perfectly. The lines of stitching are about a half inch apart and the fabric seems to be retaining its softness. You can see why I wanted a plan for the remnants. Quilting these pieces is a lot of work although - LOL - I tend to like labour intensive work.

With the pants from yesterday, I simply needed to pin the crotch curve more square into an L versus a J shape and the wrinkles disappeared. I learned this alteration from Pati Palmer and her book Pants For Real People. It's called a high front low back oddity in her book. Most people call it scooping and while there is a lot of debate over to scoop or not, I can't pull the back of my pants up high enough to get rid of those wrinkles without some serious damage. I've tried every alteration I can find for this scenario, read the books, watched the videos, and this is the alteration that works for me. My behind is low and square.

Early tomorrow morning, I'm off to Calgary to visit my daughter and her husband and snuggle my grandson. It's his first birthday on Thursday. We're spending the day together while his parent are at work because - LOL - one should not have to go to daycare on their first birthday if Grandma is around to spoil you. I'll be back next week.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - getting started, not holding precious, a plan to maximize the linen fabric


  1. I love that you can put your thought processes into words, then take the time to share them with us. I've learned so much just by reading your blog for a while, and that's giving me the courage to step up the re-entry back into garment sewing. Thank you.

    1. Charade Took The Words Out Of My Brain :)

      Happy 1St Birthday To Your Grandson! Have a Fun Visit :)

    2. Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad that what I share encourages you both. YES YES.

  2. Ok, I will try your recommended fix on my own pair. Lovely work shown in this post!

    1. I put them on inside out and then start pinning until it's about right. That makes the corner quite deep though so sometimes you have to fine tune when you can trim the seam allowance down more. It's better to do a bit at a time though.

  3. Your coat is going to be wonderful. I have a coat on my sewing goals list this year so I'l be watching yours take shape.


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