Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top of Mind

Disclaimer: This new cowl top took a zillion hours and 2 full tries to to come together. Yes, I spent an extra 25 bucks on emergency cab fare to go spend another 15 bucks on fabric, resulting in my free pattern top costing approximately $60.00 when you factor in the tax.

Oh, and then there's the 20 hours of my life I'm never getting back - not to mention at least 5 hours of Scott's life.

Seriously, 3/4 of the way through this project, we started laughing compulsively because we couldn't fathom how any human being could do this for a living. It's SO FUCKING HARD - so unyieldingly brain-hurting every step of the way. I mean, we like to think we're pretty smart and we were jelly.

The pattern was free, and I think its lines are beautiful, so I guess I shouldn't complain about how mediocre the guide was. Note to reader: When instructions say "Skill required: Back neck facing", pay attention. And if you don't know what that is but how bad could it be, presume the answer is: pretty fucking bad.

The garment sports a shallow cowl, as you can see, and the fabric is gorgeous - a bitch to maneuver, but so solid and yet with give. All the shots below make it seem black, but it's a deep navy blue. I tried to overexpose a bit so that, despite the mid afternoon dusk, you can still make out some of the details. I've left the sleeves unfinished (knit doesn't fray and the lines were cut clean by a rotary blade) for a bit of interest.

(Oh, who am I kidding, I just didn't have it in me to hem them. Which takes nothing away from the fact that it works nonetheless.)

Please say nice things to keep me from completely giving up on this insanely challenging pursuit.


  1. That looks really nice. Keep it up!

  2. It looks beautiful, K :) I can't believe you made that while still learning how to sew! You have some natural talent for this!

  3. it fits so well! and it's a fantastic shirt... i have a feeling you'll be a one woman sweatshop in no time


  4. Jeebus, don't give up! That top is amazing, and looks utterly perfect on you.

  5. Well, I think it's gorgeous, and I love that you have a sense of humor about this. You are doing so well! I hope you will keep moving forward. Remember, new skills take time to learn.

    (I started training in Goju Ryu karate in February, and I'm only just now starting to do a good job at basics. Nine months, and finally Sensei said "your basics are beginning to look smooth and focused." "Beginning!" I relate this story to commiserate. As much as I love it, Goju Ryu tries my hurryup approach, and I've had to re-learn patience and detachment. I hope you will give yourself time. Sewing sounds like karate in the sense that it's a lifetime journey, not necessarily a game with a goalpost.)

    I'll be quiet now.

  6. Beautiful! When can I place my order?

  7. Oh, that looks really great! I love the truly subtle cowl--with the boat neck. Good for you!!!!!

  8. It's beautiful! Keep at it!

  9. I really love it- it looks so wearable!

  10. Wow, I really think it looks great, don't you? It looks well-made from here, and most of all it is REALLY flattering on you. No way are you going to give up. Learning to sew things you actually want to wear takes time, and learning to sew well enough to enjoy the process takes time too. You will get there! And this is a very promising start.

  11. Shut up!!!!!!:-)))) You made that???? I am VERY impressed. It is gorgeous. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if you told me that was a designer item and I assure you I am not being nice.

  12. D: Thank you!

    Y: Trust me, if you watched it happen, you might not see the "natural talent" part :-)

    E: Thanks - I think the key really is trying to seen the humour. And I appreciate your feedback about the karate. Even though you are professionally fit, it still takes work for you to learn a new skill. It's important to remember that new things take time.

    Sal: Thank you! I'll keep on. Just for the praise :-)

    Jennine: I've been joking about that. And I have M to put to work too :-)

    Dr. M: Thank you!

    Janet: Hilarious. The day's going to come - if I have anything to say about it.

    Miss C: I actually look horrible in a traditional boat neck. There's something about a cowl that works for me. And thank you!

    Raven: Thank you. I think you know a bit about what I'm up against, though you are more advanced in knitting than I am in sewing...

    RML: Thank you! It is really wearable. It's incredible that way. And I do love it.

    Genevieve: You are so sweet. Thank you for that advice. I do really like the garment, as I mentioned to RML. It suits me and I made it and I get a total high from that. Which will hopefully tide me through the dark moments. :-)

    Bel: Thank you! I really did make it. And you are being so nice to say it looks like a real designer garment. But I can deal with nice! Bring it on!!

  13. I think you did an AMAZING job!! It may have been a bit hard, time consuming and all that... but its all 'yours' how awesome is that! I think its beautiful on you.

  14. Iva: Thanks so much. I am really thrilled with it but it's shocking how challenging it is to sew. Just found an amazing new book called The Dressmaker's Bible by Lorna Knight (I think that's her name). It's so useful - for beginners or intermediates. Very clear. Unfortunately, I didn't have it on the weekend :-)

  15. um, it's gorgeous and totally sexy on ...like I said, I hate patterns ...and all that jargon ...which is why I do my own. but really, it's gorgeous!!! ...worth the $60 ;)

  16. It looks great on you. And, yeah, no one ever factors labor into the cost of DIY. That's why it's important to love the act of sewing/cooking/whatever and do it for love. Because your time is worth something meaning nothing is free!

  17. This is why I thank the 3rd World for sending me Yum Yum.

    With those impressive seamstress skills I might off you a job how does a move to South East Asia sound?

  18. pretty cool. it looks great on you.
    i hope you find it was worth the effort :)

  19. I cannot tell you how impressed I am. It looks gorgeous on you, on the hanger and just drapes perfectly--one of the hardest things to get right when it comes to sewing.

    Believe me, two and halfish years into being a self-taught seamstress, I still have my moments of having to remind myself that 1/3 of my projects are not going to turn out how I picture or how I like & that it's part of the process.

    But at times, yes, it's so fucking hard!

  20. That top looks fabulous on you! And you look amazing wearing it! Congratulations. And I mean all that -- it looks gorgeous and you did a great job. I would have thought you bought it at some high-end boutique if I hadn't known you made it.

    Which reminds me, there are a lot of un-hemmed knits running around high-end boutiques, so your top is in very good company.

  21. Maegan: Thank you! I actually love it so it was worth the 60 bucks. And I'm trying to work with the patterns because I don't yet have your eye...

    Wendy: Ain't it the truth. People always forget it. Well, not me. I'm eagle eyed that way. It's the account manager in me.

    Mattie: Will work for shoes.

    Dani: Thank you! The farther I get away from the hardness of the work, the more worth it it seems :-)

    Ambika: Thank you so much for your lovely, encouraging comment. I'm so impressed to know that you have only been doing this for a couple of years and that you are actually selling your lovely creations. It makes me feel very optimistic. And you are a realist - which I have got to be...

    ~h: Merci!

    Mardel: Well I credit you a lot for giving me the confidence (and the tips and support and the info about Hot Patterns) to get going on this. Thank you so much for you lovely comment!

  22. EXCELLENT top. I think the $60 and 20hrs were worth it.

    And I like the sound of this rotary blade you speak of. Off I got to look it up...

  23. Thanks Iris! And you have to get the rotary cutter. But be REALLY careful. It's easy to cut yourself, as I know from experience.