When "Not Enough" is Perfect

One theme that seems to be a constant in my work is:  

I never have enough fabric!

I don't mean the piles of fabric stacked up in my 'stash.'  Plenty there!  I'm talking about deciding on a design for a particular piece of yardage and realizing that it is about 3 inches short of a full garment!  I could of course change my mind about the design or pick another piece of fabric, but where's the challenge in that?  It's way more entertaining to figure out how to make it work.  My recent post about the 'warm and wooly tunic' is a perfect example of the dilemma I often face.  You might think that this would prompt me to buy more yardage.  Doesn't work...whatever length I decide on the design will require 3 more inches, it's some kind of karmic curse.  

Writing about the tunic reminded me that I made a garment a while ago that followed a very similar path.  This time I started with a cool remnant that was a mere 3/4 of a yard.  Yup, just 27 inches. 

When I picked up my 3/4 yard left over, seriously, it was the end cut with the hacked off end and the sticker with a staple through it, I thought I would probably make a skirt or a vest.  The knitted wool, partially felted fabric had great body and the ombre coloring was like working with a border print.  I quickly zeroed in on a top, instead of a bottom garment.

I usually start a project by draping the fabric on my dress form.  I try out silhouettes, necklines, lengths, motif placement, proportions...whatever.  These are the first set of trial balloons, before the scissors ever come out.  This is also the time that the "never enough" will become obvious!  Which will then require another round of draping and pondering.  

I can get quite a way down a path before I head off in a new direction.  I had a pattern draped and drafted, but wasn't feeling it...

So kept working it...

Now we're starting to get somewhere!

I loved the felted selvage and wanted to use that uncut, I was liking the random darts/pleats...the "not enough" moment showed up again in the lack of sleeves.  I just knew I would like it better as a jacket, not a vest.  The felted texture of the fabric was calling out for knitted sleeves.

Finding yarn proved to be trickier than I thought.  The browns were too dark, the golds really screamed, so I ended up with a bulky brown tweed and a variegated gold/brown worsted weight worked together as one yarn.  Once I had my gauge I charted the sleeve following a jacket sleeve pattern that would work for the cropped jacket style I was working on.

After all the different drapes and considerations, actually committing with my scissors was a bit scary.

I ended up putting the entire garment together by hand using the worsted yarn.  It worked really well with the raw edge construction and gave a 'sweater' feel to the jacket.

The yarn ends were left hanging from the pleats and the back collar seam with beads, the button is a one-of-a-kind ceramic button also with bead embellishments.

It used to make me grumpy when I would get to the "not enough" moment of a project...now I actually look forward to it.  It's the point that my brain really starts to have fun and my creative muscles get a good workout!  It often turns out that "not enough" is actually the perfect amount.

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