Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The only thing plugged in was the sewing machine

Last weekend I went to a cabin in the woods with five friends and made things.

Feel free to insert multiple exclamation points after each word in that sentence. Because it was awesome.

There was inspiration.

Recreational reading. (And puppies!)

Colorful pens and sketchbooks.

Yarn and embroidery floss. Pattern tracing, fabric, and sewing machines. (A little cursing too, of course. Sewing just wouldn't be complete without it.)

Even Legos.

A hot tub, hot toddies, and the Nisqually River.

Fancy pastries, cheese and wine, delicious Brussels sprouts (two ways!), and the inevitable lively conversation about how great it would be if we could just all live together in a commune, or at least on the same block.

Really, everything you could ever want in a crafty weekend. I'll do a more "how-to" post in a few days, in case you should want to organize one yourself. (Take my word for it: you do.)

For now I'll just say that maybe the best part was knowing I was missed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The (Almost) Hundred Dresses

Do you remember that book from when you were a kid? It was one of my favorites.

It's a beautiful story about inclusion and forgiveness (not to mention imagination), but I have to admit that really I loved it because--a hundred dresses! I mean, think of it! (Similarly, I like to pretend that I like The House of Eliott for its proto-feminism, but really I watch it for the clothes.)

Anyway. I haven't sewn any clothing for myself since 2004. I remember exactly when it was, because the garment in question was my wedding dress. Time to stop resting on my laurels.

Here is some of the fabric I've accumulated with sewing for me in mind, and the plans I have for each piece. Not quite a hundred dresses, but a few tops thrown in for good measure:

From right to left:

1. Alexander Henry cotton lawn in dark blue: Simplicity 3835, view B--tunic with sleeve ties (pattern sadly out of print--thanks Victoria!)

2. Laura Gunn poppy print: Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress

3. Vintage bird-print cotton: Simplicity 2245 view B, lisette portfolio tunic. I think this piece of fabric is made for this pattern: it's a border print, so the plain gray fabric at the top will highlight the lines of the dress, while the birds will provide some interest near the hem.

I'm told that my girl really likes this fabric too, so I'm hoping I can squeeze a dress for each of us out of it. It occurs to me that the lines of the Portfolio dress are pretty similar to those of the Sunki dress by Figgy's. Oh my goodness, how cute would we be together? I am almost dying at the very thought of it.

And what would make it extra special is that this piece of fabric was given to me by my grandmother some years ago--she was destashing and I snapped it up. I'm trying to figure out the story behind it. I can see the name of the designer printed along the selvedge (see below)--Howard Steiner? Stringer? Does anyone know?

Anyway, some future tops:

 From left to right this time:

1. Alexander Henry cotton lawn in white/multi (yes I bought the same fabric in two colorways I KNOW WHAT I LIKE): Simplicity 2593, hoping I have enough to make view A with the cowl neck.

2. Random piece of thrifted cotton lawn: Pixielink designs kimono tee. Hard to beat cheap + free, am I right?

3. purple/chartreuse flowery fabric (Glacier lights by McKenna Ryan--scarfed it a while back off the remnant table): Stylish Dress Book U. Whoaaaa, yeah, probably biting off more than I can chew there.

I think these are destined to be dresses but I don't have patterns in mind yet:

1. Echino deer-in-forest print: something plain that will highlight the print.

2. Thrifted frog/lilypad/dragonfly print polyester (closeup of print below--omg thrift find of a lifetime!): a very comfy, easy to wear sundress with a smocked or elastic drop waist. I don't know, I can't quite explain what I have in mind, so that's probably why I can't find a pattern.

3. Yellow iris print polyester (also thrifted): something as close as possible to this. I mean, obviously.

Suggestions? Exceptions? Have you noticed that I've accumulated a big stash of lightweight cottons despite living in a city where such attire is weather-appropriate for approximately 3 weeks of the year? Well, that's why big black cardigans were invented, my friend.

But what should I do with that lovely voile in the top picture?