Friday, January 19, 2018

The Story of Outfit One

Once a month, I meet with three other women to knit before they go to work and I head to the studio. I met them through one of the groups I attended and when that group ended, this was a fun option for still getting together. I told the story of Outfit 1 to them yesterday and one of the women commented that she was tired just listening. It isn't exhausting; it's exhilarating. And even though I've been smack dab up against resistance all the way through this project, it's going to be fabulous in the end.

The outfit started with the inspiration of the hemline and the skirt above. I sewed it in six panels with a six panel lining that is 2" shorter than the finished skirt to create the bubble. The elastic hem band brings the bottom width in from 107" to 44" and is 2" wide. When I cut out the fabric, I was so concerned about having enough that I forgot to watch for pattern twinning and it didn't go well. There were big blobs of colour all around the hips. I resolved that by sewing patches in place to disguise the blobs but was never completely comfortable with wearing it.

So, I started over. First, I took all the learning from the first skirt and altered the lining and fashion fabric patterns and measured the elastic and casing and gathered all the measurements I needed and then I bought a velour fabric with the same colour scheme and a smaller print and cut out the fashion pieces as well as the lining pieces in a light-weight blue cotton. Sewing the pieces together, I discovered an alteration error on one section of both the fashion and the lining pattern pieces. Sigh. I re-cut those, sewed the lining together, sewed the fashion fabric together, and was about to add the waist and hem casings when I noticed that I had completely forgotten about nap... and it wasn't good... it was really ugly... and I couldn't wear this version either.

SO, I started over... again... only by this time I had committed to a spending fast and to using only what I have in my studio. The entire outfit was developed around a triadic colour scheme of gold, turquoise, and purple - especially after I found the prefect gold leather shoes at the thrift store - and I wanted to maintain that theme. There wasn't a print in stash that would work and black seemed the best choice so I chose a black taffeta with an eyelet border which would have been...

... absolutely perfect if I had had a purple fabric in stash for the lining. Bits of purple showing through to go with the necklace was a fabulous idea. But I didn't have any. And I already had a lining sewn. And it seemed wasteful not to use it.. So I opted for an entirely black skirt with a blue lining which is rather pretty stepping in... and I sewed it... and the pattern pieces all fit together... and the math worked out... and the seams pressed beautifully... and there is no nap so there are no nap problems... and there is no print so there are no twinning problems... and I love it. A black skirt, a turquoise t-shirt, a purple necklace, and gold shoes still worked so I thought I was happy only....

... at the same time, I was finishing the knotted button necklace. When it was at the stage above, I added black shadows in the groves which looked fabulous and then brushed on a metallic silver to highlight the edges which did not look fabulous. My knot was wrecked. So I mixed together purple and black paint to match the background colour, added a slight bit of metallic to blend the ugly highlights in, and painted one coat. It look fabulous. My knot was saved. And then I added a second coat and it looked horrible. My knot was wrecked so I threw it in the washing machine just to see what would happen since washing it had rescued an earlier project and it did nothing. My knot was dead.

In stash, I had larger or smaller upholstery cording but none the same size. The bigger knot was way too big and the smaller one turned out great so I went with it and and this time I knew what not to do. I painted the grooves, added the beads, and stayed away from metallic paint. And my knot was saved or is almost saved. It still needs a good cleaning to get the lint off and then a coat of clear finish. The black in the grooves doesn't show as much in real life as it does in the pictures but I'll see about cleaning that up a bit too... carefully... so I don't have to make a third one - VBG.

The turquoise t-shirt I'd started was getting to be a whole lot more work to finish than starting over. The hemline was too long, the sleeve cap needed adjustments, and yet... still... again... for the third time... I needed to lower the neckline. Sigh, sigh. Since I had more fabric, I cut another version using an already altered Vogue 9057 and now it's done and ready and good and enough. I'll use the first t-shirt for a refashion.

But the first skirt wouldn't leave me alone. It kept chatting away about how perfect the colours were and how it brought the outfit together and how surely couldn't I do something with it. I decided to make a cardigan and redrafted the t-shirt pattern to add slightly more width to the shoulders and lower the armhole a half inch for greater comport and then divided the pieces into sections so the fabric print would get chopped up and seamed together.

There wasn't enough fabric in the skirt for the whole cardigan so the front pieces and the lower back sections are cut from the skirt and the sleeves were removed from an 80s, complete with shoulder pads, black velour jacket I found at the thrift store (prior to the spending fast and now in stash) and the upper back was cut from the back of the jacket. When I sew them together, I can figure out if more is need on the upper back. We'll see.

HOW FUN... that the fabric that started this outfit is also the fabric ending the outfit. And what a great creative journey.

Although I did finish a purse to go with outfit one, I'm waiting on the rest of them until I've finished all the clothing and necklaces. I'd rather use one black purse for all then not complete the outfits.

Tonight is the opening reception of the 18 exhibit at the art gallery. I ended up finishing two piece - one the more realistic flat houses and the other an abstract. Both are 18" x 18" as is the whole show - hung in tiles. I'm looking forward to seeing that.

These are the first textile wall art pieces I've done in almost ten years so I'm pleased that I finished them and that I entered them in the exhibit since my skills are rusty AND I'm pleased to realize that they were fun to do for this exhibit and even so, I have no desire to return to textile wall art. I'm really enjoying exploring creative clothing. It does give me a way of participating though and that's good.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - nearing the finish with outfit one.


  1. Thanks for reminding me of the joy in sewing.

    1. I am VERY HAPPY to have done that.

  2. Wow! You have such a commitment to recycling garments that initially don't work. Sadly, I tend to toss all my fails - not seeing any possible redemption for them. I can't see past the failure as they make me sad and tossing them makes a happier state of mind in my studio. I do believe your final black skirt is a real winner. Perhaps having such an unusual shape works best in a solid color. I'm anxious to see the finished outfit. Karen

    1. I would guess that at some point I had to "make" myself do it only that was long ago and far away. Now, I know from experience that it'll be an interesting journey so I'm not hesitant to see what I can learn. If you want to begin to move in this direction, instead of tossing your fail, cut out the seams and retain the fabric, roll it all together, tie it with a pretty bow, and put it in a recycle basket and then when there's been enough time, take that fabric and start making something entirely different from it. For me that was often a child's garment, a purse, or making fabric from fabric by piecing it together. You'll start to see the potential and the more refashioning you do, the more you'll see... and even enjoy... as strange as that sounds now.

      I love the skirt in black.


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