Thursday, March 6, 2014

Perks of Sewing: A Perfect Outfit for Every Pair of Shoes!

Let's be honest, there is nothing more bitchin' than topping off a stunning outfit with a perfect pair of shoes.

Black-on-black checkerboard created in squares of different fabrics, like leather, velvet, satin, all molded around your foot...TOO AWESOME
Most people try to match their shoes to their garments; but a seamstress can match a garment to her shoes ;)


I pretty much had to get some of this just so I could wear it with my boots. Don't get me wrong--the fabric is inherently gorgeous; it's slippery, shiny, fluid silk, with this subtle but intriguing pattern; it almost reminds of Alice in Wonderland, in the most sophisticated sense possible. But yes, it really caught my attention because of these boots. When I went to show my mom the bolt, she pointed out that she had extracted it from the heap of surrounding silks in the first place on the strength of the same correlation. (She was also quick to remind me that the boots are actually her boots, and I just borrow them occasionally because she is the best mom in the world and shares my shoe size.)

I rushed home to choose a shirt pattern from my mom's stash.

There are a lot of shirts in my mom's stash, but I found myself gravitating towards this one. I love the idea of how the central gathering would distort the regimented checkerboard pattern. 

And that's when B5494 threw a monkey wrench in all my perfectly coordinated plans. Stretchy fabric??? Being told to use jersey when you're holding silk is like being told to write a hamburger paragraph in high school. 

So guess what I did anyway :D  

I didn't want to cut into my checkered fabric without any idea if my whole non-stretch theory would actually work, so I decided to make a "muslin" to make sure I could actually pull the thing over my head. 

I put "muslin" in quotes because I don't actually own any of that tan-colored textile typically used by real designers for mock-ups. What my mom does have hiding in her stash, is a bunch of printed floral cottons that she bought when I was younger with the intention of making me pajamas or toddler dresses or something.

Makes for some very interesting mock-up garments. 
Pretty obvious that this obnoxious fabric, rendered in a grossly incongruous design, would not actually be intended for me ANYONE to wear, right? 

WRONG. Last time I constructed a hideous floral muslin for something, I made the mistake of taking pictures. Long story short, this image ended up getting attached to an email to an institution I am actually trying to impress.
Spring outfit?!?! I wouldn't spring off a cliff in this outfit!!!

I have since learned my lesson from being portrayed as the Scarlett O'Hara of tablecloths. So this time, I have taken special precautions to make absolutely, positively sure that no one can mistake this mock-up for anything I would actually wear in public.

If you can see through the watermark, this shirt actually blocks out pretty  nicely the side panels of the tunic. ;)
Stuff the muslin taught me: I made a size 12 just in case, whereas I'm normally a size 8 for tops, and it fit pretty exactly, so I'm glad I went for the bigger size!

Unfortunately, when I went to lay out my real, exquisite, non-floral fabric, I realized I had purchased the wrong amount :( and bought for 60'' instead of 45'' fabric. Fortunately, with some inventive orientations, I managed to squeeze everything in anyway!

I had a tiny bit of overlap at the very bottom edge of the tunic, which was within the seam allowance and ended up getting cut off anyway.
And I had to lay the side waist portions--pictured in the greenish fabric in my effulgent muslin above--perpendicular to instead of parallel to the grain, which wasn't that big a deal because the design on the fabric is consistent in all four directions.

Aside from the sizing, the main adjustment I made was adding a zipper, because after all I couldn't get the thing over my head :)
I also hemmed it to my taste, which was shorter than was called for in the pattern (since I intended to wear it as a tunic with pants underneath, I was pretty liberal with the length.) 

Another thing I noticed--you can see it pretty well in this picture--is that the curved side panels stand out slightly in terms of sheen from the rest of the garment. Either it's because of the skewed orientation of that (very funky-looking) piece, or it's because I cut it against the grain, but the light tended to strike it differently. I actually kind of like it; it brings out the design a little more and in this case and is sort of slimming :)

Hanger glory

Can't forget the boots!

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