I can’t remember exactly why I wanted to start a blog. I have been a blog reader, especially sewing/crafty/foodie ones, for about 12 years, and I thought about writing my own for practically that entire time. I know I had lots of reasons for wanting to, but what I never anticipated was the friendships that would come from it — and the impact they would have on my process…
One of the friends I’ve made through the blogosphere is Lisa from notes from a mad housewife. She and I met through comments on each others’ blogs, and then we began connecting elsewhere, as you do. We share similar tastes in patterns and fabric. We exchange recipes. I think of her and chuckle anytime I hear someone say combination of hard and soft. I am regularly motivated by her creations and tutorials, and lately she’s had me crushing hard on chambray. So I already knew that I was being inspired by her when I bought this fabric, but I didn’t realize quite how much until I started adding it all up.
I am what I like to call “selectively frugal.” I will literally piece together small remnants of batting to make a pot holder. If there’s a foot of thread left on a bobbin spool, I’ll thread a hand sewing needle with it for the next time I need to baste or something. But then, when I buy fabric, I usually get ¼ to ½ yard more than I think I need, or I just get like 2-3 yards if I’m not sure what it will be for. So, I’m not typically very careful about stuff like cutting layouts, and I end up with lots of big scraps here, extra half-yards there. I’ve been trying to challenge myself a little in this area, so when I found this chambray (50% off at Hancock’s), I purchased 1¾ yards, from which I knew I could easily make a Scout. (I know it’s not a huge leap, but hey, at least I didn’t round up!)
Instead of just throwing down my pattern pieces* any old way, I decided to try to channel Lisa’s impressive fabric cutting layout skills to use as little fabric as I could. (Seriously, the woman could probably cut a circle skirt from a fat quarter.) Fortunately, since there was no print or directional issue to contend with, I was able to be really efficient. I got crazy and even had a little of the white selvage in one of my seam allowances. ;)
The only changes I made from my basic Scout pattern were to 1) add the Tiny Pocket, and 2) lengthen the sleeves by 1″. Just to see how I liked it. (I love the pocket, but I think I like the shorter sleeves slightly better.) I also used contrasting topstitching ’cause I lu-HUV contrast topstitching.
So, I had a scant ½ yard plus some partial-width scraps left. Typically, I’d throw this in my give-away-at-the-next-swap bag or into my small-yardage scrap stack (where it would languish indefinitely). But I really liked this fabric, and I was feeling particularly industrious, so I decided to see if I could pre-stashbust… by just never stashing it. Now, Lisa’s been stashbusting lately by making awesome stuff for her little ones. I don’t have little ones (and somehow I don’t think I could persuade Elphie to play dress-up). BUT! I do have a pattern that I’ve made and loved that uses a small amount of woven fabric…
I’ve been meaning to return to Butterick 5356 for a while. I really love my other version of it, and I’ve nearly worn it out. The yoke of this pattern doesn’t require a lot of fabric, but strictly speaking, I needed more than I had left. What Would the Mad Housewife Do? Center back seam added. Sleeves shortened. More selvage in the seam allowances. It was touch and go for a while there, but I pulled it off in the end. (And still, all pieces may or may not be perfectly on-grain.)
So, I have two new tops that I love, and I adore that the process was inspired in so many ways by my friend. Thanks, Lisa! :)
* This is another story for another time, but I’ve gone so long between Scouts because I. Lost. My. Tweaked. Pattern. Had to recreate it, which was harder than it should have been. More on that later.