Trio trousers

Continuing with the two patterns I bought online from The Sewing Workshop, I’ve made a pair of the Trio trousers. And another Trio tshirt with doubled front and back in merino wool. This tshirt isn’t exceptional in any way really. It has raglan sleeves, a high round neck, and is meant to be tight around the hips so it grabs rather than hangs. It’s a nice alternative to the TNT long-sleeved tshirt I’ve made many variations of. But what is exceptional about it is the double layered fronts and backs that I was inspired to create. They make the tops so much cosier and warmer. Yum. I get the merino from Our Social Fabric, which sells 3-metre cuts of whatever colour they have. Usually it’s a lightweight fabric, probably used industrially for what we call around here “base layers”, which is a new word for under-wear, right?

I also got the fabric for the trousers there.

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The vest is a refashion of a poncho I bought off the back of a truck in Rome, Italy, in 1976. There are some things you can’t let go of.

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I just LOVE the trousers. You know how sometimes — all too rarely it seems — you get the style and the fabric exactly right? I’m not talking about good here, I’m talking about perfection. That happened here.

The pants are relatively loose, with short pleats on the fronts, and with two vertical seams down the pant legs, one of them curving. There’s a long, loose cargo pocket with buttonhole on each pant leg. I had bought this fabric in the summer, thinking it had a lovely drape and would be great for a pair of ultra wide pants for winter. The colour was, I thought, a perfectly acceptable neutral. Well, I decided to use the fabric for this pattern, and cut boldly and confidently because this was cheap fabric, probably some sort of blend. When I was almost done making them, curiousity inspired me to do a burn test. And yup, it burned like silk and smelled like silk. It feels luscious against the skin. It’s silk alright, and I’m glad I didn’t know that at the start. Here it is with the Hudson top I made earlier and posted about last time.

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The colour is a grey-brown, which I would still call an acceptable neutral. It goes with about 90% of my closet, so bonus! I can’t wait to make more of these — in linen, I think, for summer.

And p.s. I’m pretty sure I’ve got the first top on backwards. There’s a use for labels …

The long and the medium of it

I started this blog about a year ago, and my first post was about tops I made from a self-drafted flared pattern with a high to low hem. I’ve returned to the same pattern. I love this pattern. It’s so simple and so adaptable.

IMG_0965  One reason I made this top this “medium” length is because that way it can function both as a top and as an underskirt. This is my Olivia Wrap, which could really use an underskirt, or something, as light does shine through.

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The fabric is a really soft bamboo jersey. I hope it holds up and doesn’t pill right away. I think it was comments by Kate of Fabrickated that I should wear more soft greys that impelled me to actually slap money down for this at this particular time.

When I finished that one, I pulled out some other fabric that I bought recently as a roll end, at a drastic reduction. It’s a merino wool that very few stores in town sell, but that I’ve been drooling over ever since I discovered it last year (and made a short sleeveless version of this pattern with). This fabric was so wide that I could make the front and back panels side by side, and have a more or less maxi length shift with 3/4 sleeves.

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I got the idea for the diagonal zipper after reading a post by Lori from Frivolous at Last, in which she showed some new patterns she bought. One of them had a diagonal zip, and I thought it looked fabulous. I think this magenta zip totally brightens the pea-green of the fabric. I think it’s pea green? Is it pea green? In some light it looks more golden-khakiish. Anyway I love the colour, as I tend to love colours that sort of slant away from the primaries.

I spent a few days mulling over how to cut the fabric and install the zipper. I knew if I just slashed the fabric on the diagonal, it could stretch way out of shape and I’d never get it back together. I’ve read some bloggers who have talked about using fusible non-stretch interfacing on stretch knit closures, so I thought I would try that, but I didn’t know where the interfacing should go — on the part that folds under, on the part that doesn’t fold under, or on both? After some experimentation I decided to put it on the part that folded under, so I cut a one inch wide strip and placed it where I wanted it. But I was really hesitant to fuse it to the fabric, you know? So I dawdled and sewed two parallel lines down the middle. I figured I would cut between those two parallel lines. Then, when I had confirmed and reconfirmed about a million times that this was the right placement for the zip, and that it would start at exactly the right place by the sleeve, and end at exactly the right place by the hip, I ironed on the interfacing, cut the fabric plus interfacing between the two lines of stitching, folded top and bottom pieces half an inch and pinned on the zip.

Whew!

Then I knew I had a problem. The zip, of course, is totally inflexible. The jersey, when pinned to it, looked a little bit rippely, or wavey, as if there was too much fabric for the length of the zip. I knew it would have to be eased in while sewing. I pulled out my walking foot. But the walking foot isn’t designed for zippers, so I had to experiment,again, with a spare zipper, to see if it would march right along on top of the zipper teeth. And it did!  That walking foot as a tank, man.  It’ll march over anything.

I’d say this zipper installation is about the closest I could possibly come to perfection. There’s no gap between the top of the zip and the sleeve and the zip lies perfectly. It’s not, by the way,  on a straight diagonal. I put in a very slight curve. And it’s fully functional!

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I’m not entirely sure what to do about the bottom hem. The missing part of the front is where I cut the sleeves. It created a steep low to high curve. Should I keep it, or make it more gradual? At the last moment I decided the sleeves would be too short if I turned them over to hem them, so instead I made facings which I attached to the sleeves, thereby actuallly lengthening the sleeves a bit.

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Crone robes, yesss. Fashion for the boomer wise-woman!

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Hmm. Looking a little too much like the good shepherd here. The belt is some kind of leash — for a dog? a horse? A yard-sale find. The sandals are a Salvation Army Thrift Store special. They actually have my name stamped on the leather insole — my name is the brand name of the shoe. Can you believe that?

I’ve noticed that among sewing bloggers there are those that love high-low hems and those that don’t. I love them for shorter tops, thigh-length tunics and maxi shifts primarily because they elongate my body. I’m about two inches shorter than I should be 😛 Everyone in my genetic family is taller than I am. And the length I’m missing is from my legs. They’re too short for my torso. So anything that lengthens my legs is good, anything that lengthens all of me is good, and anything that hides where my legs stop and my torso starts is good.

Anyway, I know it’s rude to talk money, but I want to say that this little number cost all of $10 CAD. I’m sure it would be way out of my price range in a store. Just one of the joys of sewing.

Roman-Bolognese scarf

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This is a scarf that I started knitting in Rome, where I stayed for three weeks as part of a backpack ramble through Italy and France. I was staying in a small apartment behind the Vatican and enjoying Rome (it was the Christmas season), but increasingly restless in the evenings, which I largely spent reading in the apartment.

During the day I pounded the pavement, or should I say the cobblestones, exploring the various piazzas and neighbourhoods of the central historical district. One afternoon, on my way to the Piazza Navona, I suddenly realized I had walked past a wool shop — those were balls of wool I’d seen out of the corner of my eye. I backtracked to have a closer look.

It was a tiny shop, about the size of my bathroom. An L-shaped counter made it even smaller so that only two or three customers could squeeze in at one time. In addition to wool, it sold lingerie.

I only started knitting a couple of years ago, when I took a couple of courses at a local knit shop. I’m not a skilled knitter, so I thought a simple scarf would be the best project to travel with.  I scooped up a handful of balls of blue and green baby merino, along with a pair of needles and went to the piazza to knit up a swatch.

I was trying to imitate the wool scarves I was seeing for sale at several street stalls. They were wide and loosely knit from fine wool so they draped nicely. By the time I’d knit a couple of inches, I realized I needed bigger needles, and fewer stitches. I went back to the wool shop, asked to try larger needles and stood at the counter for half an hour or so, knitting, while customers all around me bought bras and stockings.

Naturally I realized pretty soon that I didn’t have nearly enough yarn and by the time I got to my next stop, Bologna, I knew I had to get more. The first thing I learned as a novice knitter was never use yarn from more than one dye lot, but in Bologna I had to buy yarn from a completely different manufacturer. I can see the difference, but I’m not sure anybody else can. And for me, the flaw, the slight differences in colour and also in weight of the wool, will always remind me of this trip, and this story.IMG_0916 Maybe it’s always in the imperfections that the stories lie.