Granite State of Mind
Summer. New Hampshire. Blue skies. Big rocks. Choppy fresh water. I put in a lot of hours on this lake/reservoir growing up. And jumped off this rock a lot, too! In fact, it was really strange scooting back down the makeshift gangway instead of jumping into the water. By the way, the picnic table is new on me – we always used driftwood or fallen trees.
I’m wearing this exact outfit as I type, which goes to show I’ve come round to blousy, loosey-goosey tops. How did that ever happen?! I consider them belonging in the realm of the lithe and thin-framed. Love the look of flowing fabric, dramatic drapes, but it would ultimately weigh me down and end in frump-fest. My body hasn’t changed all that much, so it must be the attitude. Or delusions. Or thrifted spotted silk. Maybe the warm temps and soothing breezes coming in off the lake. Whatever it is, I really like this top. More so because it was so ridiculously easy to sew, a total win in a sweltering sewing room. Especially after all the work on the shorts – more on them later.
This gem of a pattern is from the glorious yard sale booty two summers ago. Whoever Loraine Irish is, she was styling in ’82.
The silk was a major Goodwill score, in the form of an ugly gathered skirt (thanks for landing it in my hands, Ashley!) for $4.50. I have enough left for piecing or trims, though not another garment. I sewed up view 2, with a few minor adjustments. The pattern is a size 12 (bust 34″), and I’m a 10 according to the envelope (using high bust of 32″). Flat pattern measurements came in at
41.5″ 44.5″ (I initially blogged the waist measurement), a crazy amount of ease even for this look. So, I pinched out an inch on both the front & back, meaning a total of 4″, then followed suit with the yoke. Good enough for me. Not digging the facings, especially given the drape of the silk, I made some super-tiny bias binding for the slit neck, and simply turned the armscyes twice. The super-tiny bias binding has a super-tiny oopsy! I got a little feisty while cutting down the fold, and opened up all the way down to where the facing would end on the inside of the garment. Hello, cleavage! Once the binding was on, a 1.5″ slipstitch took care of that problem. Design feature. Yoke and side seams are French, and I utilized the existing hem of the skirt while laying out. Of course, I had to unpick a bit for the side seams, but it’s so much faster than measuring and sewing up a new blind hem.
I love how simply and breezy this blouse is. I was afraid it might turn out lunch lady at best, sloppy at worst. I think I’ve avoided that, but I’ll leave it for you to decide. And even if it doesn’t work for ya, that’s fine… it works for me. Maddie had a recent experience with an uninvited opinion on a slouchy, loose fit. Sheesh. I’ve toyed with belting this using a black leather obi belt Ryan gave me. It’s from Gordana (PR fame), and I’ve only worn it a few times. Aside from earrings and necklaces, I’m not all that fab at accessorizing. Maybe I’ll snap a photo and take a poll so you can weigh in.
In looking at the lines a bit more, I was totally struck by how similar it is to a shirt I’d recently seen and wanted to sew. Ry and I were having an awesome meal on our Texas trip, and I was so smitten with the blouse of our neighbor’s waitress, that I sketched it out with some notes. Not the first time, either! Ry just handed me a receipt-cum-bookmark that I’d drawn a pricey coat onto, in the store, passing over offers of assistance from sales staff. This was two years ago. Now I sometimes take a couple mobile shots of cool design details I’d like to incorporate. I’m sure I look like a counterfeiter, but often don’t even use the inspiration. And if I do, it’s for my own use, and never a total knock-off – just a detail or RTW construction technique. I’ve outed myself, and am fully prepared for the needles and shears headed my way :) But back to the blouse – with a few mods, I think I can get a similar look with a fabric in my stash.
Now onto the shorts. The color and length is fresh from the JC Penney catalog. I feel like I should get some crazy fabric and call them Jams. In reality, the length is due to these being a working muslin from the Jean-ius class. Although I haven’t been posting my progress, I’ve made three muslins from it so far, all studies in different fabric weights and stretch. The pair I’ve copied have elastane in them, and it was eye-opening to see the difference it makes. The first non-stretch draft I made was impossible to get on! Here’s the thing, though – I am so sick of stretch denim. I really want to get a solid jeans pattern down for a slim fit, non-stretch jean. I’ve never seen, let alone owned, selvage denim, but that’s what I’m going for. I remember a pair of 80s Jordache jeans that I bought new in college. They were straight, stiff and tight. And one of three pairs of pants I packed for my year-long stint in Russia after graduation. Like selvage denim, they eventually formed to my body. Until all the vodka and bliniy caught up with me.
The draft is getting close, but not perfect. This denim is not the best quality, and midweight. It’s leftover from my first pair of jeans, which I never wear by the way. The back on those dips down, the front is too high, and the length too short – I had just needed to finish them! Anyway, when I first tweaked these to what I thought was a decent enough fit, I went ahead with all of the faux flat-felling & topstitching. They were pretty much dead on while standing up. After a day of moving around, sitting, crouching, living, issues came to light. After three days – because who washes jeans after one wearing – the issues were in the spotlight. Sitting stretches out the rear, of course. This has made the under-bum a bit baggy, and also caused the lovely upward scoop of the back waistband to fall lower. I like that upward scoop for bending modesty. I’m going to simply pinch out more of the center back up near the waist, and bring the height of the yoke down 1/2″ to fix this. As-is, I’d never be able to go sans-belt. I’d really love to not need a belt after a few wears. But the question remains – how tight can I make the final pair in selvage denim? Of course, one can’t expect painted-on jeans. Some amount of bum mobility is necessary. One can’t go around standing on a conveyor belt. So, I’m down with the fact that a smidge of under-butt sag will happen over time. Yet I wonder if higher-quality selvage denim will stretch less, yet still be able to be squeezed into at initial wear. I’m hesitant to make this particular fabric extra snug initially, as I don’t quite trust it. Lastly, I will probably have to shift all of my outseams, which are now curved, because the point of selvage denim is to utilize the selvage (a straight line).
That’s a lot of thinking out loud. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with these. I didn’t add front pockets for the draft. I didn’t correct the curve of the outseam. But I did have fun with the back pockets! I always wanted an “L” embroidered on my shirts like Laverne. My sister has an “L” brooch that she’d better keep an eye on. I’ve been digging Amy’s pockets, too.
Here’s some cuteness, because we all love cuteness.
And here is some more cuteness. My dad turned 84 yesterday, so we celebrated early over the weekend. His health is changing quickly now, but boy is he still a charming man.