I had one of those days yesterday. Not enough sleep and a headache. Heartache too. Then a wonderful friend reached out to me. Just a simple texted conversation but it helped me get off my duff and get moving. I knew I had deadlines to meet but I had just enough room to put them off for a day or two and work on something just for fun. I turned off the news and turned on some happy music.
I’ve had a bit of an impulsive buying spree lately. I really, really love linen clothing. The wrinkly loose and comfy kind, not the tailored starched, don’t-sit-down-or-you-will-wrinkle kind. I’ve gained enough weight in the past couple years that most of my clothes no longer fit. Along comes Fabrics-store.com and I’m in trouble because their linen is luscious. Don’t sign up for their newsletter, whatever you do. Every day they will send you a new sale item and you sit there imagining the things you want to make and somehow you end up buying the stuff even though you know you have no time to actually sew.
I turned off the news and cleared off my work table and spent the day playing. My favorite shape to dress my current body (skinny legs, pot gut) in is a loose, swingy top and leggings with boots. I took two of my current favorite tops and sort of cut around them to create a pattern. Well, actually, I didn’t even make a pattern first. I just laid the sleeve or the body of the shirt onto the fabric and cut away. I figure if it’s loose and big enough it will work. I followed the hood from one top and the raglan sleeves from another and just improvised on the shape from the bust down.
Am I the only one who gets a little thrill from only having this much fabric left over? There is something supremely satisfying about puzzling out the most efficient way to cut the cloth so that pretty much every useable bit is used up. Have you seen Dorothy Turnham’s book, “Cut My Cote“? Published in 1973 but my mom had it (and it sort of came to live with me) and I was always fascinated by the detailed diagrams of historical clothing and how every bit of cloth was utilized. That makes perfect sense when it might have been your own hundreds of hours that picked and prepared and spun and wove the cloth you were using.It’s been a while since I’ve sewn something to wear. I took pleasure in going slow. Well – actually – I almost never sew slowly. Perhaps deliberately is a better word. You can do “deliberate” pedal to the metal, right? I sewed interior French seams beautifully finished and pressed even though I had a serger sitting right there next to me. Although honestly – I probably just didn’t want to mess with changing the thread from black to white. And here’s a tip – do you use an edge stitching foot when making hems or topstitching seams? It’s the BEST. I end up sewing almost the entire garment with that foot on.So after wearing it around for a while I think I’m OK with it. I had no expectations of perfection and knew I was taking a chance without making a muslin first. The V neck spread wide instead of down so the arms and the hood are shifted back farther than I’d like. I thing I have just enough left to make two ties so that I could attach them at the front of the hood and tie them if it bothers me. The pocket openings are cut on the bias so they are gapping as well. I sewed clear elastic inside the hem there but I might add a decorative tuck. I sewed the same elastic inside edge of the hood because I didn’t feel like making a long linen tie and threading it through. Deliberate and lazy at the same time. Or – I just know where I choose to intensify my efforts and where to take short cuts.
Can I encourage you to do something? Reach out to a friend. You never know how much that simple gesture can make a difference. Send a text. Pick up the phone. Write a letter. The world needs all the kindness it can get right now.