You don’t see it? come closer…
I was given this cute elephant covered fabric for my birthday (thanks mum and dad!) and despite its desire to be made into a shirtdress I felt I would probably get more wear out of a top. Several months later, the Monthly Stitch November challenge was “from a sewing book” and I decided that the simplicity of the portrait blouse, from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing would be a great way to showcase the print.
I also wanted to make a skirt to go with it, but did not think I had anything suitable in my stash until I remembered a rather fab gingery tweed which had been passed on to me, and I felt would be a great match for Gertie’s pencil skirt from the same book.
When an old friend, Paul’s mum died she left quite the fabric stash, which Paul did not really know what to do with. Over the years I have lost touch with Paul, but he is very close to my good friend, Sue and she gave a home to the fabric (making some of it into cushions for his camper van). As Sue is not really a sewist, beyond repairs and halloween costumes, the other week she suggested I look through the stash to see if there was anything I could make use of.
There is something hugely poignant about the things people leave behind, and I especially felt it looking through this collection of fabric with Sue. Was there a plan for each piece? Were they impulse buys or considered purchases? There were a couple of unfinished garments in there, too. Abandoned as UFOs – a change of mind or a lack of time?
I had no plan in mind when I chose this tweed, but I do think it goes well with both my elephant cotton and my brown boots.
I do own an iron, honest, but I had just put it away after a mammoth ironing session this morning when I realised that this could do with a press.
So, I have not been around the old blog much in the last few weeks, have I? I actually finished this outfit over two weeks ago, but then we just got hugely busy (which I will probably witter on about in another post) and I have not has time to get photos done. (This is also why I am super tired and look so shadowed of eye in these pics!).
So the patterns. I’ll try to make this quick (it’s not like you’re here about the sewing or anything, is it?).
The portrait blouse; great simple little pattern. Went together very easily. I should probably have done a swayback adjustment, as it pools a little in the small of my back, but you live and learn, eh? First go at a hand-picked lapped zipper and I was an immediate convert! Might add a bit of length to it next time.
The pencil skirt. Another great pattern, elevated above the simplest of pencil skirt patterns by its double darts and shaped waistband. Also went together very easily, even though I went to the trouble of lining it and using non-fusible interfacing for the first time. My second hand-picked lapped zipper and my enthusiasm remains. I added a couple of inches to the bottom.
So, Rach, I hear you say; if the skirt has such great waist details, how come you are wearing your shirt untucked?
Ha! Glad you asked! You know when you’re trying to lose a few pounds and how great it is when you do? Well, turns out the not great part comes when you make a well fitting pencil skirt and then drop those few pounds before you get around to even wearing it for blog photos…
In the early stages of the make this thing fitted my waist (OK, so I didn’t exactly make a full muslin, but I did wrap various bits around me…) I must have been having one of those bloater days, though, because no way have I lost that many inches in the last three weeks!
Whatever – here are those cute details:
So I’ll be fine if I walk around pinching it in at the back of the waistband! It’s not a disaster without me pulling it in, but my blouse does come untucked when I move…
I might get around to altering it one day – or I might just wait until I put weight on again! Either way it is wearable at the moment and will be a useful addition to my wardrobe.
I hope Margaret would have approved of what I have done with her fabric. I wonder what she had planned (I’ll bet it would have involved an good press!).
Love and thanks to Paul and to Sue. x