As it happens, a little while ago, I read Casey's post on some family-heirloom vintage patterns she recently received. This was one of the many gems:
Simplicity 4538, image courtesy of Casey's Elegant Musings
I was immediately enthralled. How chic, how body con, how (um) boxy in the construction. Those mid-century sewists really had it going on!
I searched online. I didn't find it. I even spoke with friends about this fascinating pattern I came across that's basically a square with holes for your head and arms. Just 2 seams! It went over well...
To compound the matter, Casey actually posted a photo of the finished garment today, and I almost climbed through the computer screen to snatch it from her then and there. (That sounds violent, I realize. I mean it only in the most pacific way.)
Oh, how I LOVE it!
It looks old fashioned, but not costume-y. It's got a great line. As a person of narrowish shoulders, it's just the kind of line that flatters me.
Fortunately, one of the commenters on Casey's latest post included a link to a similar vintage pattern: the Vintage Magic Blouse. I decided to spring for the pdf ($3.99 USD) and a minute later I had a new item for the metaphoric Sew List. Note that the pdf is just 2 pages of instruction. It doesn't include a bunch of 8.5x11 pages to tape together. It just tells you how to make the top, which includes some tubular knit having 54"circumference. (Note: Tubular knit is simply a width of fabric that's attached in a tube. That means it doesn't have any side seams. It's like a big cowl, if that makes any sense. Or a tube that a knitter would knit in the round.)
OK, I thought. I can get with this. I called a few of my usual stores in the garment district to ask about the availability of fabric that fits that description. Apparently, there's no challenge finding tube knits in that size range, but they're all variations on cotton aka t shirt knit aka not chic for a vintage garment!
Finally I asked the guy at King Textiles why I couldn't find myself a nice cashmere or merino. (I've noticed, in the past, the dearth of fine textiles in tube format.) And here's what he told me: You can't find tube fabric in luxe knits in Canada because, by and large, Canada doesn't mill fabric. It imports fabric.
Can you believe that cashmere tube knit is mega expensive to import and the demand just isn't that high? Honestly, the worst thing about living in Canada is trying to get stuff. You'd think we were in Australia. (Note to Australians: No offense! You're just kind of far away, and we're right here! All 12 of us.)
So, now my immediate life goal is to source some luxurious fabric having the kind of drape that will lend itself to constructing the Magic Blouse.
If you live in Europe or if you know of some Euro based online vendor - or even an US one that sells tube knit in high-end textiles - pls. advise. I'd love to know how to source this stuff.
The more I sew, the more I learn that I am only limited by the textiles available to me. And, being in the middle of a distribution wasteland, I have to expand my horizons.