Quite a few years ago, I got this slip of paper in a fortune cookie:
While I get into this stuff sometimes for fun, in truth I am not superstitious — so in no way did I interpret this as “meant for me.” But regardless, it was incredibly applicable to me, and I loved the way I felt when I read it. It’s as if a soothing voice was whispering to me, It’s okay to go slowly. This is what works best for you.
I’ve displayed this note in a variety of places since I received it… desks at work, bathroom mirrors, above the stove, etc… and it’s been a good reminder in all of them. A couple of years ago, it found its permanent home in my sewing studio, and it never has been more appropriate. When I try to speed up my sewing, compare my output to others, or put pressure on myself with deadlines, I promptly stop having any fun. Plus, the mistakes begin to compound.
All of this is to explain the following. When I say a sewing project is “fast,” that means most sewists could probably complete it inside of a commercial break. This one took me about two hours start to finish, and I don’t even make tote bags that quickly.
A few weeks ago, one of my favorite local fabric haunts got this mustard ponte (poly/rayon/spandex blend) in stock. It’s the most gorgeous super-saturated color; I heard it called “turmeric” this past weekend and that fits perfectly. Then, my friend Miss Lulu made it into an awesome self-drafted skirt, similar to the Moss Miniskirt from Grainline. At that point, I knew that not only did I need this fabric in my life, but I needed it as a skirt! I flipped through my patterns and decided on New Look 6165:
I initially purchased this pattern for the pants in view A, which I have not yet made. Last year, I bought some RTW double knit pants with a fold-over waistband, and I have worn the shell outta them. So I knew that I intended to use this pattern to replicate that style, without the ruching in the design.
The pattern is printed for hip measurement 31″-49″, so I needed to grade up a little. Actually, I added more than my measurements dictated, because the pattern is designed for jersey or lightweight double knits with 50% stretch (according to the Pick-a-Knit ruler). This ponte is very stable and doesn’t stretch much despite a little spandex content, so I added a bit of design ease as well. This is the easiest pattern to grade, ever. The waistband is just a rectangle, and the front/back skirt piece literally just extends the side seam… see?
So zip zap grading done. Cut. Sew. Finished. I didn’t even hem it.
I have a little more to say about this make, though not about the construction or pattern itself. The finished product was exactly the design I had envisioned — fold over waistband, partial circle skirt, lovely color, exceedingly comfy — but as soon as I put it on, I knew that it wasn’t the most flattering look for me. Lines and extra bulk around the largest part of my body. Bright color on my lower half. The list of rules I was breaking was long. I felt deflated, because I loved the skirt! Then when I woke up this morning, this post from Steph was in my reader. In case you haven’t read it, the post is titled “Not Buying It: Styles for Body Shapes,” and I highly recommend it. I have sung myself quite similar tunes in the past, but somehow I had forgotten it this time. It was just what I needed to remember today.
Here’s a piece of my story to add to this thought. For over a year now, every time I have purchased a Vogue pattern, one of the first things I do is a little surgery on the envelope:
I had found my eyes gravitating towards those damn shapes every time, and the thing is, I started to get pissed off whether my shape was shown or not. If it wasn’t shown, I was defiant and felt I had to prove something. When it was shown, I felt I had been granted permission and that made me upset at myself. I didn’t even agree with it half the time anyway! Who needs that kind of provocation?? I can’t tell you how freeing it was to cut them out. Now, even when I browse the new releases on the Vogue website, I do so with an attempt to keep my finger over those shapes, so that I can decide whether I like or want the pattern exclusive of that input. Maybe one day I’ll find that I don’t react so fiercely to those shapes, instead interpreting them just as someone’s opinion with which I may or may not agree. But today, I’m not there yet, and this is what works for me.
I am glad for the reminder that I got from Steph’s article. I’m wearing my skirt today and it makes me happy. I hope your sewing brings satisfaction to your day as well. :-)