Monday, April 11, 2011

Shopping Your Closet...

...your fabric closet, that is.

Over the past couple of months I've had a delightful succession of experiences in the sewing room - all of which have been free! (work with me here) because I haven't had to buy a thing.

Yeah, for the better part of a year, I bought - seemingly endlessly - all kinds of fabric - never mind a gluttony of notions - to hoard in the fabric cupboard. But since then, I've made 2 shirts, an iPad case, a skirt and 2 kid dresses without buying so much as a spool of thread.

Scarily, cuz I'm not one of those fabric hoarder types by any stretch (hahaha, get it??), I still have a practically full fabric closet. What's with that??

You may know that I have a strict "if you can't fit it neatly in the fabric cupboard, you can't buy it" policy. And I am too scared to go against my own rules. So, when I hit the (wood) ceiling, that was it. I haven't purchased fabric since. And I'm not hurting.

I do feel that my wardrobe is in need of a painful, fashion-y shot in the ass. All of my recent hand made items have been a) for computers, b) for others or c) for winter. I appear to have no appropriate transitional home-sewn items. And I'm so freakin' sick to death of the 3 pairs of denim pants (2 trousers, 1 denim leggings) I made in mid-January, that I never want to see them again.

I also feel that I've made a few items which I love, but which don't get a lot of play because they're not "basic" enough. Y'all know I love vintage. I'm just not sure how I feel about stuff I've made that's meant to look vintage. I think something may be lost in the translation. And the fit on those items has been a work in progress.

All this is to say that I didn't get my ass in gear to do the Colette Patterns Spring Challenge (who has that kind of foresight in a Toronto winter), but I definitely want to produce a few new, highly-wearable pieces.

A book I haven't given a lot of thought to lately - though one I really enjoyed when first I purchased it - is Sew U Home Stretch, by Wendy Mullin. Wendy is all about empowering her sewist readers by providing "slopers" - or basic garment shapes - which can be modified in any number of ways. In this book she provides a crew neck T, a raglan sleeve knit shirt and a stretch dress sloper. I really love the dress which I've made twice, successfully. Note to sewists with sergers: She does include a reasonable, if accessible, amount of information about using this machine with knits.

I think it may be time to shop the fabric stash for the optimal knit to make a couple of variations on the T (long sleeve, short sleeve etc.) from Sew U Home Stretch.

Here are some fabrics I'm thinking of using:

Soft taupe knit - looks almost woolen but it must be cotton... Steen and Nicole bought this for me when they were in Italy over Xmas.

This is fabric I've had forever! I bought it at Spandex House and had it shipped. Talk about an expensive shipping proposition. You can't see it easily here, but it's an indigo fabric designed to mimic denim.

This is a fabric I've used twice before. I may not have enough to make a T but we'll see. It's a very stretchy rayon that drapes really nicely and stays cool.

This is another one that S & N bought in Italy. It's quite an open weave. I have no idea how it will sew and it's a small amount given that there's a tear rather centrally located. I will try to get a shirt out of it though...

The T shirt variations - and here's hoping I can adjust the sloper to fit me fantastically - will complement the jeans I'll be making shortly with the MPB Sew Along.

What do you think?


  1. I love the green stripes. I have that book too and haven't used it. Maybe I should pull it out. I tend to make a lot of more stand alone items and need to scale it back and make some basics too.

  2. I love all those knits! Particularly the tigerish stuff...

    During me-made-march I was (of course) feeling the pain of not having enough handmade "basics" and managed to make the most basic outfit ever... jeans and a white tshirt. THEN I was all like "this stuff is too boring!!"

    I'm just finishing up a new sweater that I really like - just a plain scoop necked knit, but I did a little funky thing with the collar band and shortened the 3/4 length sleeves to my new favorite just-above-the-elbow length. Now that I feel like I've got the basics of sewing knits down, I'm liking the making-the-basic-a-little-more-interesting stuff.

    And I just rearranged my stash - I have a upstairs/assigned stash and a downstairs/stash-stash. So many ideas, never executed, left to languish in the basement....

  3. You remind me that I must get my fabric organized into some kind of cabinet as it is piling up.

    Thank you for the book tip -- I just ordered it. I would like to have a good T pattern.

    Your fabrics look great!

  4. Lovely knits! I also have a too full with fabric cabinet which every now and again I look at and decide I'm not buying more. Part of my plan is to use what I have to do things I will wear, and that included separates.

  5. Oh, that reminds me, I never posted pictures of my new fabric wall! I should do that. I'll be shopping my stash for a while too, as I've got so much stacked up right now that I don't know what I would do with any extra fabric. But, reorganizing it felt almost like shopping, so that was kind of cool too. ;-)

  6. Do it!!! I love playing with my knit sloper so much... Endless fun. I don't have the Sew U stretch book, but I like the information on specific alterations she gives in her jackets and coats book.

    I, too, need to organize my stash. Badly.

  7. Same problem here: not enough "basics" and too much quirky vintage! I am trying to concentrate on plain-coloured bottom halves to get me wearing all the busy prints I made for up top. I am thinking of buying the Wendy book too - my experiments with stretch fabrics have been a bit more miss than hit!

  8. I heart that taupe knit. Is it melange? Looks like it might be cotton/viscose. I'm anxious to see what you come up with!

  9. Kim: You should pull it out and tell me how it works for you. I wish more people were writing about the patterns therein.

    Patty: Somehow you manage to bring out the exciting in jeans and a T. Must be all those refitted cute cardis!

    Susan: Keep me posted.

    Suzy: Imagine a day when you make everything - and the fabric all has a worth (highly wearable) project alotted to it.

    CGC: I love looking at fabric! I don't know why I don't post more of mine more frequently.

    Taran: You should get the book. I think you'd like it - not that you need it. You've already found a way to make your own things so fantastically.

    Roobee: I have all 4 of the Wendy books and what I really like about them is that they provide patterns and info on very current RTW. Though I love vintage - this isn't her spin. It's good to see all the stories when you're learning how to make things, I think.

    Stacy: I don't know. If it's viscose it didn't have trouble in the dryer - doesn't viscose hate the dryer? I love it too. It feels fantastic. Can't wait to use it but I need some more practice on less special fabric first.