I made a hat. And went on a march. And before that I made a skirt.

I haven't really been sure how to write this post. I absolutely want to tell all the lovely people who relate when I say sewing keeps me sane, and come here to read about fabric and stitching about the sumptuous velvet skirt I made (see details below). But, also, given that the majority of lovely people who do come here are women, I have to mention the stunningly powerful thing women all around the world did last weekend. The Women's March.

I knit a Pussy Hat and I got on caravan of buses and I went to DC. To show that I am not prepared to accept the archaic, bigoted and dangerous policies of the new administration. To show solidarity. To stand with the millions of other women, and men, who feel that basic human rights and equality are at stake.

I have always seen myself as a well-informed, liberal person who is not afraid to stand up to defend myself when required. But mostly, as a white middle-class woman, there aren't so many times that is required. I protest vehemently on Facebook (to other mostly white, middle-class people), I've marched a couple of times for things that matter to me and I always exercise my right to vote, but I've never actually "needed" to be politically active. 

And then I went to DC and I realised that whether I need things or not, is not the point. I am a woman, so I should help defend the rights of all women. I am an immigrant, a privileged, white immigrant, so I should be helping defend the rights of all immigrants, especially those who don't have the "benefit" of my skin colour or background. I have never had an abortion but I know many women who have and I should defend their right to do with their body what they choose with the same ferocity I defend my own right to choose what happens to my body. I have children who I was lucky enough to carry and give birth to in a country where pre-natal care is free, non-judgmental and available to all (that being the UK not the US). So I should speak up so that others have that right no matter where they live or who they are. 

Somebody enabled me to have all of those things. They didn't just happen. People, women, protested, sacrificed and were well aware that the changes they achieved might not happen in their lifetime; but they did it because it was right. 

For the first time in my life I understand that it's not enough to just nod and agree and talk. If I believe in true equality for everyone; believe in the fact that a human being can not be illegal; believe in keeping others' minds and hands off my and my daughter's bodies, then I have to DO something.

And so I'll be doing. And when I'm not I'll be sewing. (Because I'm a woman and we can do and be anything and everything.)

Here's the pretty skirt (details at the bottom):

The Sewing Stuff:

  • Top is a modified Named Clothing Inari Tee - I used the V neckline from Papercut Patterns Sway dress as the template for the neck. I made a facing to correspond to that and omitted the sleeve cuffs.
  • The sandy black silk charmeuse is from Mood Fabrics.
  • The absolutely beautiful fluid, shiny, mushroom grey silk velvet for the skirt is from Chic Fabrics, which I believe is sadly closing. It was only $15 / yard.
  • The pattern is adapted from a 1970s shirt dress pattern (Vogue French Boutique 1860 from the Renata line) that was my mums and I also used for the skirt of this dress.
  • I added a 1 inch elastic waistband, stretching and serging the elastic to the waistband and skirt fabric, before folding the waistband in on itself to create even gathers.
  • The pockets are lined with dark grey cotton voile.
  • I finger pressed all the seams and steamed them with the iron and catch stitched the hem.

I hope my political enlightenment wasn't too much for a sewing blog and to see you soon. xx


Repeat offending: Inari No. 3

I can list on probably two fingers the number of sewing patterns I've made more than once.  But there is something about the Inari dress / tee from Named Clothing that I keep coming back to. So here I am to bore you with details of Inari No. 3.

I'm not sure what it is I like about it.  Well it's the perfect shape, has the perfect hem, is perfectly casual, but also a bit sassy when fancied up in silk, is perfectly comfortable, pretty trendy (ugh I loathe that word but laziness is allowing its use right here), has the perfect neckline and is simple to make.  Oh and it fits with my life so it actually gets worn.  Unlike my many acres of beautiful handmade dresses that don't.

I'm also not sure why I don't remake patterns.  Maybe it's for the same reason I never used to buy more than one of an item.  I'm impatient and like variety and perhaps I've not yet found my tried and true patterns.  Well Inari, you can count yourself tried and true.  Oh God did I really just write that?

I finally made some fit adjustments to this version and either that or the fact it's a knit (or both) have substantially improved the fit.  My earlier versions I graded up at the hip but on this I also added 2 inches to the length to make it decent to wear as a dress, and made a forward shoulder adjustment as well as adding half an inch to the shoulder seam.  

I still find it astounding that it is only in the last six months that I've realised what peculiarly broad shoulders I have.  What on earth was I thinking was causing my jackets and shirts to be so tight across the back beforehand? 

So let's get to the main event here, this fabric.  This is just delicious.  Super delicious.  It's a cotton ponte with a camouflage print in some kind of plasticy stuff.  It's not sparkly as it can look in these pictures and is the same colour as the fabric, just has a sheen that makes the camo print visible.  

As an aside, my son, who is 2, looked at this dress and asked me what it had on it.  I told him it was called camouflage.  He then asked me if they were fast swimmers .... Nope, me neither. And he now asks the exact same question every time I wear it. 

Aaanyway, it's utterly glorious.  

This is one of the few knit projects I've made that I actually like the finish of and I'm sure it's to do with the quality of the ponte and how easy it was to manipulate.  It came from Miss Matatabi and is the first thing I have ordered from her.  I will be repeat customering as the product quality, customer service and faster delivery from Japan than from a few states away is just amazing.  She lives up to all the hype around the webs.

So now I'll leave you with more pictures of perfect fabric and perfect pattern (and terrible windswept hair and eyebags for days) and go off and try to make something that isn't an Inari. Oh and I promise not to bore you with another one, (unless I make the tee version, or it's in really fabulous fabric.) 

See you soon x