Sunday, 24 September 2017

Musings on pattern placement

This post has less to do with the patterns that I used (which are the Patterns for Pirates coccoon cardigan and the Sewaholic Renfrew) and more to do with planning, reflection and instinct in sewing.

I am reminded of something that Sophie first put on her instagram. (here) She didn't blog about it.  I'm not sure that link will work for everyone but the gist of it is: she bought fabric from the Fabric Store because a piece of fabric said Take me home and make this dress!  And the vision was absolutely electric - the dress is crazy but it works and she looks amazing in it.

When I do that - when I know exactly the fabric, when I have enough background about the pattern, and I have the skills, ie I'm not pushing my level too much and can therefore push the pattern to be its very best - when I demand that the result be not just wearable but amazing - it is.

And I don't bother to do that very often.
I think that instinct is the hallmark of the sewists that we follow, although taking good photographs probably helps.  They have, by luck or by hard work or by talent or by experience, figured out their own style and they are willing to put in the work here and now in this project to make it as close to perfect as possible.  And the results look amazing, they are worth the effort. They are that magical thing we all want to achieve: better than RTW.

I bought a huge amount of mountain print merino in Auckland at the Designer Textiles warehouse.  It had paint splotches on it and a few holes here and there so they gave it to me for 5 dollars per meter.  Of printed merino.  I took lots.  And my first goal was to make a top with a mountain on it, similar to a certain one that I coveted by icebreaker.

I had some plain cream fabric to use as the accents, but despite my instinct, I went with mountains for the sleeves.  This project quickly fell out of my favor.  The mountains on the chest are somehow in...the wrong place.  The mountains on the sleeves are...annoying the hell out of me.  The whole business doesn't work. 

I took this and toned it down.  I listened much harder to my inner voice and popped out this little Patterns for Pirates cocoon cardigan.  I was careful to make the upper sleeves only pieces of blue sky, and the cuffs and the hem band are cream merino, not the patterned stuff.

This one works a lot better.  In fact, this was a chance to test out this pattern and I went crazy shortly afterwards and made lots more cocoon cardis!  Patterns for Pirates has my attention!

I was very reflective after this experience.  Making one project badly definitely led to thinking harder about making the second project right.  But what kind of commitment do you have to make to each sewing project to make every single one count?

(PS I still had friends who liked the Renfrew so off it went to a new, happy home.)

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