Friday, February 23, 2018

A Puzzle Kind Of Playing

At the start of this week, I imagined getting a lot done and that's not at all how it unfolded. I had three things to finish at the beginning and two left to finish at the end. One of them shifted from being a necklace to a bracelet although if I just call it a piece of jewelry it sounds more stable.

I decided to evolve this vest that I started earlier from what it is in to a not-recognizable-as-the-original-pattern direction and wear it as planned with the hand painted pants. The fabric is just too perfect in texture and colour to not at least try. I started by separating all but the four main pieces of the two fronts and the two backs and then assessing what remained.

Refashioning is a combination of thinking and of not thinking. What I mean by that is that even though I think I know where this is going, I really don't and if I don't want to be completely frustrated attempting to get wherever it is I think I'm going, I can't be thinking too many steps down the line. I need to be on the step I'm on. In this case, I started with what I knew which was finishing the armholes. This is a vest. There are no sleeves. The armhole needed to be completed in some way and I chose self-made bias. That was probably the easiest thing I did all yesterday.

Some decisions will be limited by the amount of fabric I have. In this case, the vest is made from some raw silk that I bought several years ago. I have the parts and pieces I took off the original vest and a very small amount of yardage - less than a third of a meter - to work with and that's all. Above, I was looking at the placement of the existing - and already interfaced - front facings to find a way to use them. The folded down part is from a section of now non-existent neckline that was cut off.


I didn't want to retain this open funnel-like collar so I pinned the fronts together at center and then drew a chalk line where I thought the neckline should sit.  Before cutting the extra fabric off, I added a 5/8" seam allowance because all I know is the shape and not whether I'll be adding details of some kind above it. I find it best to err on the side of caution and to give myself room to make changes and further decisions. I've learned that as a piece unfolds, one decision leads to another and it evolves in what at first would have been an unthinkable way. In the last posting I mentioned that I don't like collars that much and here I am thinking of collar-like details - low, mandarin, no collar stand, types of things though. I imagine that'll be the final decision.

There will always be little bits to fine-tune and fix. It's just part of refashioning. The funnel neckline curves up from the shoulder seam. In this case, I want the seam to sit square on the shoulder so I stitched out that curve so it could lay flat.

Mistakes happen. While I was taking out some top stitching, I accidentally cut the fabric. It makes me giggle whenever that happens and I stick an interfacing-bandage over the cut because years ago when I was first sewing, I would have balled up the project and thrown it out thinking I'd ruined it.Years later, I just bandage it, see what happens to that area, and then decide when I need to what to do with it. In this case, the cut will end up within the hemline of one of the sections. If it was more visible, I would most likely have darned over the cut with a very narrow zigzag with well matched thread and no one would have noticed since it's at the side and tucked under the arm. I've learned not to panic, to keep going, to see what happens, and 99.9% of the time, it works out just fine.

Limited fabric is both a challenge and a blessing. It forces you to look at what you have and see it in a new way. While this looks like ruffles, that's only because the pieces are temporarily pinned for the picture to give you an idea of where I'm going. I have redrafted some of the pieces to create to tiers on the right side of the vest. One tier was created with existing pieces that had to be reversed so that what was the wrong side before could become the right side now - which makes me glad it's that kind of fabric - and the other was created by using the top tier pieces to create a pattern and then lengthening it by two inches. These sections can be cut from another bit of fabric that was removed from the original piece.

I try to keep in mind what I know about myself and what I know about design. While I don't like ruffles, I do like architectural interest and texture both of which can be created with layers and I know that layers that go under each other tend to make whatever is at the bottom look thinner... which is this case is me. YES YES.

That little bit of sewing took all of yesterday. Today, I know what I'm doing with those layers and that's it. While I'm stitching them in place, I'll be thinking about the right hemline as well as the neck line and I know the answers will come to me. It's a puzzle kind of playing. Eventually, there's a finished garment.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - one week to finish the outfits and one week to prepare for the trip - I can do this.


  1. oooh! I love this inside look into your mind as you sew!! Fascinating! Thanx for sharing!
    And an interfacing bandage!! Genius! I too tossed errors years ago. Wisdom is fun isn't it! Wish I hadn't had to wait so long to get it! :o) I now find ways to "save" the errors too. But had not thought of an interfacing bandage! A new tool! Thanx!

    1. You're welcome. Glad you can use the bandage idea.


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