Sewing Up Some Vests

I finished two of these vests. This one is a color called Montana Berries and the other one is the color of my car….what I like to call correctly, “frog belly green.” Ford calls it “lime squeeze”.

I worked from my favorite pattern to make sure I had this as wide and loose as I wanted and even flared the sides just a bit to make it more “swingy”. The pattern was cut from some brown paper that was a table cover for a workshop I taught somewhere close by and couldn’t just throw out.

To cut it out of the single yard of linen I folded it with selvage folded back on itself…..across the grain, technically.  That way the front and back of the pattern could be placed on each end of the fold, leaving about 9 inches between the two bottoms. By cutting the shoulder seams on the selvages there was minimum raw seam treatment there.

With the center section that was left, I opened it up to get the three pieces of bias that I needed to finish off the armholes and neck. Granted they are not directly on the bias but enough to fit around the curves.

There was enough fabric still double to cut two pockets which was necessary because I wanted the pocket to drop off a bit in the front. It is just handy to have a quick place to drop those keys while loading groceries.

I used Shanna Leino’s beautiful weights to hold the pattern in place while cutting.

I never have the opportunity to buy thread to match the fabric anymore since the good fabric stores have all closed. So I work with what I have on hand. And even though I would never match this one up in the store, it became almost invisible when used.

And one more final thing….I definitely need a new ironing board cover. This one is pitiful because it is, or was, used with lots of mixed media. There is a black felt marker so far down from the narrow end. What this is for is every time I make pants or have to shorten ones I have purchased, I simply put the waistband at the tip of the narrow end of the ironing board and cut them long enough to allow a hem to this mark. It has saved me loads of time guessing and re-pinning those hems.

I always keep a cheap plastic spray bottle filled with water to spritz the cloth as I sew seams, etc.

Next I am going to work on modifying the shirt pattern here to get a more drapey cowl, narrower shoulders (remembering that I will have to lengthen the sleeve when I do this) and maybe a bit more swing. Two grey fabrics to go and then I will go back to drawing and painting.

More later.

Mending, Patching, Holding Things Together

It is sort of like this sometimes…just holding things together. Lee’s and my old clothing patches held together with spun coffee filters that contain hidden frustrations. Those small bits of gold for the times you just have to smile.

Anyway to be practical and because I am having a hard time giving things up right now, I am patching up shirts that feel so good that I need to keep them around me….literally. Sort of a hug in old cloth. Wouldn’t India Flint just love that. Actually I see that she is starting an online group that will do just that…patch things up one way or another.

Here is a linen shirt that I wore while doing some indigo dyeing at Beautiful Silks in Australia. You can’t be splashing all that blue around without getting some on your clothes. I almost tossed it out.

There were some scraps of a greyish linen left from making another shirt a few years ago. So I found some embroidery floss in “nice” colors to kantha stitch the patches that would cover all the splotches. See those buttons on the shirt. They cost $4 each so this is the third shirt they have been transferred to.

I took those buttons off….too much of a conflict with all these patches. I love how this feels and only have one more large patch on a side to finish before I can slip back into it. Also you can see that I am not so good with stitching which is a good thing as patching old clothes like the Japanese boro pieces seems to only require holding one thing to another.

And it is a soothing thing to do like stitching on the dementia shawl.

And a scarf I made of odd bits of old clothes and botanical print patches.

I have no idea why I can’t seem to keep those lines of stitching straight!

And while rescuing favorite shirts, I saved this one. It has a large loose cowl neck that tries to catch whatever it can. The unfortunate thing is that what goes over the cowl lands firmly on the chest or more correctly, bodice, of the garment. It is a big boxy shirt and worn so much that the softness is wonderful. The slits at the sides were fraying at the top, one of the cats let me know to put her down by making a neat hole near the shoulder and frankly the whole lower bottom looked a bit like a clean up rag for grease.

But here is the good thing. A pair of linen pants that were very close in color had their seat worn out and ended up in the “maybe I can patch it” pile. I cut a healthy chunk of the thigh to cover the front and made three smaller patches to do the side slits and cat tear.

I love this shirt. Here are the patches.

The weight of the patching cloth is a bit heavier but the color is a good match. I am not going to bother with that little mark on the corner hem here. And I machine stitched the patches…no crookety hand work. If I learn to lean over my plate more this shirt has a lot more wear left in it.

And here is what came in the mail the other day from the online fabric store….new linens to play with. The color ones will be sleeveless pull over short vests….sort of bibs over long shirts.

Company is coming today and that is a good thing for both of us. A few days of something different.

I can hear Lee running the weed eater which is a good thing. Thanks to a friend who repaired it and took away all the fuel cans that Lee was finding confusing. So now he has not only his weed eater back but his leaf blower as well. It is difficult for him to not remember how to do the things he was so good at. But put a piece of yard equipment in his hands and he is happy.

We are both trying to keep things straight.

My workshop in Australia next March filled straight away so I am happy to be planning that trip with students already. All the physical therapies for various parts of the body are going well and I am in shoes….wide ones….but shoes.

For now I will be off and finish the stitching on the last patch. Then I will wear the shirt…but not with my Eileen Fisher dressed friend. She will be secretly grateful I’m sure.

Not much else new right now.

More later.