Sunday, June 26, 2011

Clown pants (and a pretty top)

Yes, I know they look like clown pants.
I don't care. This pattern makes a pair of pants that is wildly comfortable, goes together quickly with next-to-no fitting, and is extremely adaptable.
I was first attracted to this pattern for its wearable art possibilities. I used the pattern's option of dividing the center panel into irregular blocks, and setting them cross-grain, straight-grain, on the the bias, and not quite any of those.

This was all ready figured, printed and cut, by the designer, Carol Lane-Saber. Another option would be to cut the center panel on the straight grain. here's where the possibilities begin:
1) center panels could be cut of a different color of the same fabric as rest of pants
2) center panels could be cut of different fabric as rest of pants
3) center panels could be print, with sides a coordinating solid
4) piping or lace could be inserted in panel's seams
5) panel's seams could be embellished with decorative topstitching
6) & beyond Whatever you can dream!

The fabric is one of those in my rather prodigious stash that I should like to tell you about, but can't. I am sure I didn't buy this fabric, because I think I would remember choosing something this bold. I think I would only buy something this distinctive if I had something particular in mind to do with it, and I would all ready have done it. I know it has been in my stash for several years. I could never decide what to do with it, but couldn't quite give it up, either. A burn test reveled it to be rayon, so I know that my mother didn't buy it - she hated rayon. The mystery may never be solved.

It was the blue that decided me.
One day a few weeks ago I wore a lapis blue sweater, and received 3 (three!) compliments before lunch! Each one saying, "That is your color!" I came home and searched my stash for some fabric in that color, and could only find this. One of the blue colors is the same as that sweater, the other blue in the stripe is a turquoise that I like very much. And so, the search for a pattern for this fabric began.
I can't really say why I thought that taking this busy stripe, and using it in an even busier pattern was a good idea, but somehow, it grew on me.

In my defense, I can only say that if those rat-bastards at AARP are going to persist in sending me invitations to join, thereby implying that I am old, then I am going to exercise the option of dressing like a crazy old lady.

Now for the coordinating top.
Again with the blue.
Thinking that the clown-pants were excitement enough for one ensemble, I wanted a top that was a little more subdued.
I bought this pattern, designed by Lyla J Messinger, at Sewing & Stitchery Expo last March, and have been looking for the perfect opportunity to make it up.
Now that I have, I am brimming with ideas for making it again, but differently. [stay tuned - next time, there might be colour-coordinating lace at the edges!]
Made of rayon chiffon in the two blue stripes found in the clown pants, this pattern went together quickly, and easily. I constructed it all of French seams, and used my Pfaff for the rolled hem.
The rolled hem could have been done a little more quickly on the serger, but that incorporates a lot of thread into the hem, and, as the fabric was very lightweight, and the hem cut, in parts, on the bias, I didn't want to risk a lettuce-edged effect. Pfaffie did not let me down!

Next up: a truly eclectic, crazy-old-lady dress of a lilac/blue silk jersey. Take that, AARP!!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why Quilters sometimes Sew.

I am currently taking a Block-of-the-Month class at Scharmann's Sewing in Longview. The gorgeous fabric collection selected for this quilt is all batik, called Tonga Rhapsody.

I have always loved batiks. Everything from traditional 1-colour wax-relief batiks, to the myriad of multi-coloured batik-style prints that are currently en vogue - I love them all.

A couple of months ago, when our block kits contained a new batik of mostly purples, corals and black; I took one look at 'Fig' and said, "Skirt!" The class thought I was nuts. [The preacher's wife in the class thought I had Tourrette's, and was simply grateful that I hadn't uttered something a little more classically Tourrette-like, but, I digress] They are getting used to my brand of nuttiness, so the instructor merely replied, "It's available by the yard."

It took a while to decide which skirt to make, and, although I have several recently-purchased skirt patterns that I haven't used yet, this New Look favorite from 1990 was selected. I chose the view with the front drape, and pleated swag. I wanted something a little atypical. Something casual, yet classy. Something no one else would wear, but not because it's too weird. {Although a little weird is always good with me.}

This skirt works up quickly, and resents few problems. The one thing I did different this time around is the waist treatment.
I do not have the same body I had in 1990. Yes, some grading up of sizes was involved. I decided to replace the 2-in straight, stiff waistband, with a 1/4 in bias-bound edge. I am very happy with this adaptation.

What do you think?
I can't wait to see this fabric made up into a quilt!