There comes a time every season at work when the fabric team purges the library of all leftover samples. Recently it caused quite a stir in the office when we decided to clear out our collection of sequins. Normally I’m not one of the people who gets excited about this because I’ve been playing with these fabrics all season long. It tends to cause a frenzy though among the creative types in the office (“What are you doing with all of these perfectly good sequins in the garbage?!??!”) when they can dive into the fabric dumpster and pull out the bounty of our efforts. Yet, I have a confession to make, dear reader. This time around I was easily taken in by a little bit of sparkle and succumbed to the excitement.
I suppose it goes back to my childhood in Utah where no one ever wore anything fancy. My mother being a quasi-feminist at the time wore a lot of pantsuits and signed me up for basketball when all I really wanted was to go to ballet or tap or modern dance like a normal girl every Saturday morning. Sequins were scarce, to say the least. I had some pretty intense daydreams as a youngster about being a backup singer/dancer for someone like Tina Turner or The Boss. A very important aspect of this fantasy involved wearing a blue sequin dress ….not unlike something you would have seen on Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune back in the day.
I often think I’ve outgrown my taste for shiny objects, however upon closer inspection I should stop trying to fool myself. Case in point: the sweatshirt I made this weekend:
I like a little bit of weekend warrior sewing now and again. it’s the kind of sewing project I think I’m spending a couple hours on and then wind up getting lost in for more like 8 hours and my home looks like a tornado came through. here below as proof is my dining room table earlier today. What you also don’t see are the dishes I should have loaded into the washer this morning and the dust bunnies in my living room I should have vacuumed.
But these are the kind of choices that you can make when you’re single and live alone. Not that it was much different when I was younger… I know there were countless hours spent keeping my brother up late running the sewing machine when I was in school. I didn’t really recognize what tolerance surrounded me back then (so, thank you, Jason). I wouldn’t have done half the things I did in my life without my family’s patience.
So, about the project. Including pattern work it was a total of probably 6 hours. I did spend a little bit of that time last night doing the pattern while watching The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart. It’s made from this cottons knit mesh in black and white which I really would have preferred to be in the lighter grey combination I used to back the sequined panel on the front. Such are the compromises you make when you fish your fabric out of the dumpster at work. The sequins themselves are sewn in little polka dot formations that I thought my machine would not digest so easily but the great news is I didn’t have to replace the needle more than once! It gives me great hope for the other sequins I also stashed away including leather, stripes and something in a small blue geometric pattern that hearkens back to my childhood fantasies (pictured at the top of this post)
The pattern overall fits pretty well though I probably will make different adjustments in the future if I use it again. One interesting detail is that it has a dart in the shoulder to provide shaping in the raglan sleeve. It’s odd to see in a knit fabric pattern. It’s more typically used in a woven fabric to give a distinctive shape over the shoulder. This makes me wonder if this thing is just crying out for a shoulder pad in true 80’s fashion….
So you will see that I am NOT photographed wearing the sweatshirt. I am saving it for a later reveal. In fact I need to confess that today I did not wear something I made. I think that I get a free pass since I spent the day making something to wear. Right? For Saturday I didn’t write a separate blog post mostly because I just wasn’t feeling it, however I did indeed wear something I made.
This is one of a number of skirts I have from when I was teaching a class where the students had to make their own skirt. It became simpler to construct a skirt as a demonstration rather than using a student project as an example all the time. Before i knew it I would wind up sewing half of their garment. Which strikes me now as being incredibly OCD…. This one is made from a nice printed crepe but otherwise is not particularly remarkable. Which is maybe ok for standard Saturday dress. I find on Saturdays after wearing a weeks worth of “outfits” for meetings I just want to take it down a notch – no makeup, no shoes, no nothing about work! It’s a refresher from all the daily concerns about clothing and appearances we have at my office. It can often feel like an alternate reality where things like Boko Haram, earthquakes in Nepal, racial tensions and the melting ice caps are non-existent.
Ironically that is one of the things I enjoy most about a day spent in my sewing room. It is an ultimate escapist activity where I can be absorbed in my thoughts and have complete focus on what I am doing. All of the world’s ills and day-to-day frustrations tend to dissolve in that environment. It is one of the few commitments I can make where I decide on my own terms how much I want to take on, and if I do everything as planned, the outcome is exactly what I intended. There are so very few things in life that work out that way. So no matter if it seems like a material obsession – it is more than that to me, as my abilities can become a blessing.