Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finger lickin' good, or why sewing makes a bad day better...

Today was a pretty rotten day at work, I have to say. Probably one of the top five in the past two years. A real doozy, so much so I had to shop, sew, and have a good cry to start feeling better. I went shopping for some new skirts, actually. I picked up a four more to add to the collection and a skort, too! I love those, BTW. It's a girly skirt but you don't have to be all modest and such when moving about since there is no risk of flashing the general public.

Lately, I've been biking the 10 miles to work each way and it's hot here. Imagine biking in a convection oven and you can probably understand (although, I ask no sympathy here; it's true what they say about the humidity being the true villain). I actually find it most comfortable to bike in a skirt. Now, most people are surprised - shocked, even! - when I reveal this, but really, it's great to have freedom of movement and be able to take full advantage of the breeze. Seriously. It does however have it's limitations: I pretty much have to stick to either jersey or a-line, preferably a combo of the two. Straight skirts are doable, they simply require a smidgen of elastane in the fabric and at least a 4" vent plus a relatively uncaring attitude towards being a wrinkled mess. I spend much of my day seated behind a desk so i don't care too much. Mostly. Anyway.

In the time since I have started biking to work, I have gone through the few skirts I willing to subject to the abuse of 20 miles on a bike rather quickly. What else to do but sew up a few more? In that vein, I cracked my very first vintage pattern: Simplicity 5454, copy write 1972, Misses and Women's Jacket, Skirt & Pants.
It does have a bit of a vintage feel in that the pants and skirt are seated just at the waist. Otherwise, it's pretty classic. The jacket is a princess seamed, slightly wider (though in the line drawing not so much it is dated). Plus, it's the only pattern I own with a box pleat in the front. Cute, right? And, look! The directions are printed in two colors for my viewing ease!
How great is that?! Also, as much as I understand multi-sized patterns revolutionized the home sewing experience in terms of fit, really, it's pretty awesome to have the seam lines printed on the pattern.

Since I'm on a (sort of) fabric diet until the end of the year, the stash was shopped for choice of fabric. The winner ended up being a seasonless poly-blend olive with variegated pin stripes woven without any stretch. It has decent drape and I thought the stripes would add good visual interest in the box pleat. Perhaps non-traditional, but if it doesn't work, I'll consider it a muslin. I have 5 yards of the stuff and I haven't touched it since it came home from SAS Fabrics Tempe, where I found it for $1.99/yd.
I started it yesterday and expected to finish it tonight, but I had a little sewing accident that I would imagine every sewer will experience eventually: yes, I basically sewed through my fingertip. It didn't hurt that bad, actually. The needle just sort of sliced the tip of my index finger as I was easing the waistband on to the skirt. You can see my bandaged finger in the photo of the pattern piece. It did make me cry a little bit, though, which I rather needed.

Tomorrow, I'll be finishing the waistband and hemming the skirt. The line drawing shows mid-knee, but right now it's a pretty dreadful and stumpifying mid-calf. Normally, this is not a bad length on me, but the cut of the skirt with the pleat serves to make me look somewhat squat :( I think I'll have to chop at least an inch off and then turn the hem the given 2.5" on the pattern.

The moral of my story is this: it's good to have a task that I can forget myself totally in. I hope you have one, too!


Adrienne said...

LOVE that pleat!!!!!! Very cute skirt!

Sewer-Sewist said...

So sorry you had such a crappy day.

When I used to ride my bike to grad school I almost always wore skirts, mainly because I thought I looked cool and "European" but also because it was really comfy.

That vintage pattern is super cute!


Chicago Sarah said...

Strong work. I rode my bike to work at my old job occasionally and always felt very old-school when I wore a skirt with my 1972 girls bike! :)