What's Old is New Again

I have been sewing...really....I just haven't been wearing anything that I've made because it has been so doggone cold this spring.  Every time we get a warmish day I think this is when I can put the sweaters away and get out my summery shirts and dresses, but then my plans are dashed...back to 50 degrees and rain.  That's it, I am going to share a couple of very summery tops that I have made and am dying to wear, somewhere!  (for now they have only been tried on in my sewing room.)

The story of these tops starts some time last fall when I had a major clean out of my drawers (dresser drawers 😉).  I had a biggo pile of scarves that had been collecting for quite a while.  There were several that I don't remember ever wearing!  Yikes!  I sorted and returned the current crop to the drawer, but had some really nice scarves that I wasn't wearing but wasn't ready to abandon quite yet.  They were out of the drawer but have been languishing on the edge of my sewing room table.  I decided there were a few that would be large enough to make into summer tops.

The first scarf I chose was a gorgeous grey silk chiffon and silk charmeuse combo.  I cut a chunk out of the middle and used the borders as they came to make a simple square tunic top.  It feels very luxurious and elegant.  We have season tickets to our local summer stock theater, this will be perfect!  I can't wait.


The second scarf was a very loosely woven rayon and cotton blend, with a bright "flame" pattern woven into it.  I tried the stripes both horizontally and vertically but didn't get very excited until I tried a biased layout.  The scarf was less than 20 inches wide so I had to get pretty creative with my cutting.  I also knew that it would drive me crazy if the bright orange, yellow and pink stripes didn't match.  It was definitely an eke it out project.  

The finished top is very light and drapey and will be excellent if and when we get our normal sweltering days in August.  Right now a little 'sweltering' doesn't sound half bad!

I still have a few scarves with plenty of potential.  It's fun to find ways to repurpose them and create things that will actually come out of the drawer.


Just Playin' Around

One of the big perks of retiring (which I did in 2016, so it's not really a new thing...) is being able to sew in the daytime!  For years I would grab sewing time whenever I could fit it in, and that usually meant late at night.  My obsession with 'mud colors' may come from the fact that I never saw colors in the light of day!  Having a leisurely afternoon in my sewing room has become one of my favorite pastimes.  And sometimes I even sew! 

Sewing when other people are awake, has also meant that "sewing with friends" is a possibility. 


Spending a day with a sewing buddy is 'sew' much fun.  (You knew the pun was just waiting to happen...) It also  gets my creativity charged up.  Sewing and creating for me is all about the process.  The opportunity to participate in someone else's creative process is an amazing privilege and always enriches and expands my own design thinking.  Brainstorming by definition is a group activity and bouncing around design alternatives and ways to get a whole garment out of 2/3 of a yard of fabric is totally energizing, and fun!  I have had several great play-dates this month that have really helped nudge me out of my winter sewing funk and jump start my spring and summer projects.

Factory Dress Play-date...
My love affair with Merchant and Mills continues, so when a friend saw my 'trial balloon' of the Factory Dress and fell in love too, it was a perfect sew together opportunity.  I had sewn up the pattern last fall to see if the shoulders and neckline were going to work for me.  I made up just the top part of the dress and ended up loving it as a linen T-shirt!  Our plan was to each make the actual dress version.

Just to make sure we had enough of a challenge, my friend chose a lovely soft linen, with a one directional plaid!!!  We spent a huge amount of time with the layout and cutting, which made all the difference in the end.  It's kind of like painting a room, the prep work takes 10 times longer than the actually painting.  The fabric was a perfect choice for the pattern and the effort to match the plaid really paid off. 

My fabric pick was a linen drapery fabric that I came across on a recent trip to Vogue Fabrics in Chicago.  I have been waiting for just the right fabric for the Factory Dress pattern and this was it!  It has enough body to hold up to the rolled sleeves and crisp collar, but still soft enough for the generous skirt.  If it didn't have in-seam pockets, I probably would have run in the side seams a bit, but that seemed like way too much work at the end of our Factory Dress day.  I slept on it and decided to pull in a bit of fullness at the waist by adding a little belt at the back.  I think I like it better than if I had actually taken in the sides.  If it ever gets to be summer here, I think this will be one of my go-to garments.


On the same Chicago outing, I had found a piece of linen that I thought would work for another Merchant and Mills pattern that I have been wanting to try. After our Factory Dress day I was on a roll and went ahead and made up the Ottoline Jacket.  It is designed with denim in mind so the heavier weight linen worked really well.   Another winner!



Sweatshirt Play-date....
A few weeks ago I worked out a pattern for a sweatshirt that I wrote about here.  The sleeves of the shirt have a generously cut armhole that is offset at the underarm.  Somewhere between a set-in and raglan sleeve.  I have a friend who has had her shoulder replaced and finds it difficult to get in and out of shirts that are too close at the underarm.  I thought she would really like this sweatshirt.  Yep!  It worked well for her....so another sew together opportunity was born.

We spent the day fitting the pattern and putting together a really cute navy and white striped version...which I totally forgot to get a picture of!!!  Never fear...my friend was so pleased with the pattern that she went home and whipped up a second one.  (she is really, really fast!)  Her version has a darling stand up collar with a drawstring and a front pocket.  She remembered to take a photo.

Sewing is so often a solitary activity.  I love it when sew together opportunities arise.  I am so grateful that I have friends who are willing to share their creativity with me.  I can't wait for my next play-date.