Just so you know, this is going to be a blog post all about sewing. I know that usually my midweek post is more photography based, but tonight I’m leaving for family vacation (Twelve adults – two parents, ten children – go into a cabin in the woods. Will any of them survive? Tune in next week to hear the conclusion of our thrilling saga!) and I haven’t had time to take any pictures I want to post. And instead of thinking about all the million details I need to take care of before I leave, this morning my mind has been stuck thinking about sewing. This is what I do when I’m getting ready for a sewing project, of course. I think about it for days and days, figuring out the details and logistics, daydreaming about the finished product, and how it will look and feel. The desire to just make the thing builds and builds until either I finally sit down and actually start sewing, or something else distracts me and I forget all about it. So far nothing has distracted me, but life keeps getting in the way. Instead of staying home with my sewing machine this weekend I’ll be off in the woods of southern Ohio (and, yes, my machine is portable, and yes, I’ve thought of taking it with me, and yes, I’m deciding to choose sanity instead). Since I can’t sew my project, I’m going to tell you all about it instead. Enjoy.
The last thing I sewed was a very full skirt from panels of fabric I got in a grab bag from the thrift store. It’s a heavy fabric, probably cotton or a cotton blend, printed with a huge turquoise, royal blue, and black paisley design. It looks like it was probably originally upholstery fabric, or possibly curtains, but as soon as I saw it I knew that it would make a really great skirt. I sewed the pieces into one big tube, with a nice onseam pocket on each side (I love pockets, and so few skirts have them!), and then gathered it onto a drawstring waist. The gathers turned out to be too bulky and unmanageable (it’s pretty heavy fabric), so I ended ripping that out and making hundreds of small, imprecise pleats instead. That worked pretty well. I didn’t want to sacrifice any length on the skirt for a hem (it was just about knee length as it was, and any shorter wouldn’t look right on a skirt that full), so instead I used narrow white double bias tape to finish the bottom. The resulting skirt is one of my favorite pieces of clothing. It goes with most of my wardrobe (so sue me, I love blue and turquoise), is super comfortable, and those pockets! I love them. Plus, every time I wear it I feel like an extra on Mad Men.
The only thing the skirt doesn’t really work for is swing dancing. Although it passed a moderate spin test, I discovered that when doing fast turns and quickly reversing directions the fabric swishes a little too high. And no one needs to see that. I’d been thinking for a little while that I want a pretty slip to wear under those skirts in my wardrobe that aren’t quite spin-appropriate. I had been thinking that my next project would be another swishy skirt made from some cotton eyelet with a gorgeous border design that has been living in my stash for some time. However, when I got it out, I discovered that any skirt I made out of it would have to be much more pencil skirt than New Look. And then I’d have to line it, and while intellectually I know that linings aren’t that big of a deal, there’s something about them that still makes me quail. However, it now occurs to me that the eyelet would make a really cute slip. A narrow waistband fastened with a hook and eye, just enough gathers (or maybe darts if I’m feeling ambitious) to keep it comfortable, and we’d be in business.
Once I had that I could move onto the other project I’ve been contemplating: the skirt I want to make from the silk The Young Queen brought me from Korea. It’s such a gorgeous fabric – rosy pink with a subtle brocade design – and she got me yards and yards of it. There’s enough that I could probably make a dress if I wanted. Except I don’t really want a dress, I want a skirt. The width is much narrower than we’re used to, but it’s just about the right length for a skirt, so I’m thinking that perhaps I could make another very full skirt with a minimum of seams, and then if I ever wanted to make a dress in the future, the silk would still be mostly usable. I had been planning to gather the skirt onto a drawstring waistband like I did with the paisley skirt, but now I think it’s maybe a little too casual to go with what is, after all, silk. I don’t want to cut into the silk to make a waistband, so that means finding another fabric to use instead. And I think I’ve found it. I have this beautiful vintage pillowcase made from that heavy, soft cotton percale you don’t find much anymore. Recently I noticed that in one place the fabric is starting to split, which means it’s time to retire it from active duty. Most of the fabric is still sound, so I’m thinking that it might make a lovely, comfortable waistband for my silk skirt. I could maybe use it as the fabric for the pockets too. It’s true that a white waistband on a pink skirt probably isn’t ideal, but I almost never tuck in my shirts anyway, so who’s to know?
Now if I could just find the time to actually sew it…