Thursday, June 24, 2010

in progress - Simplicity 3835 & BS 2/10

I've been muslining a pair of super-fitted stretch pants (nearly leggings) from Burda Style 2/2010, #111. I saw them on a flickr for the Summer Essentials Sewalong, and decided I must have them. Here's the line drawing:

No, they're not a style that would be particularly flattering for this plus-size girl. No, I don't normally wear my pants quite so fitted (except for leggings that never show). But there's something so chic about these pants. I muslined once in a very stretchy denim, and immediately tossed them. Showed every lump and bump and crevice. Ugh. (They weren't exactly a self-esteem booster.)

The next day I hacked and drew and taped the pattern making changes from the first pair and muslined again in a beefier stretch denim. we're getting closer. Would I wear them in public without a tunic? Nope. But I can see possibilities. So I added here, split there, taped tissue in places and I'm ready to muslin again. Here's the denim (the 2nd muslin actually).

It's very darkwash, with the perfect stretch. (The denim in the photo above is pretty accurate as far as color, but my grass is NOT chartreuse, haha. I think I had the wrong lighting set on my camera.) I have just enough for one more pair, so my next muslin will be out of unwanted cotton before I cut into the real stuff.

I've also cut out a Simplicity 3835, in the dress length, from my "trees" fabric.

It's stitched together to the point that I'm ready to attach the neckband and the invisible zip:

I really, really love this fabric, so I do NOT want to screw this up. I hope its as cute as I envision it! Hopefully the dress (if not both projects) will be finished today.

Monday I had a school-oriented workshop that was actually pretty fun, and on my way home I stopped at a local flea market to peruse their vintage patterns. No patterns to be found, but I did get these amazing buttons.

Note that not a single button was made in China. No, they were all made in the USA except for the black glass buttons, which were made in France & Germany.

It's funny how one little thing, like the manufacturing origin of these color little buttons, triggers a visceral response.

I recently had the opportunity to watch an HBO documentary called "Schmatta - Rags to Riches to Rags". It was a very enlightening program about the history (and decline) of the garment industry in the United States. If you can catch it on HBO or even a few clips on the HBO site (or *cough* youtube *cough*), I highly, highly recommend it.

I've been struggling for a while now with the purchased clothing concept. And not from a size standpoint (although, being a girl who's a non-standard size, there is that too.) When was the last time you were able to find a mass-produced garment made in your home country? What was the price tag?

Better yet, what's the TRUE price we, as a country (any country), pay for consuming cheap clothing? Is that $6 tee really worth what's happening to us, all around us globally, as a result? For me, the answer is ultimately no.

I can't in good conscious contribute to what greed and profiteering have done to the garment industry. I'm now a label-checker. And its hard, because I'm a bargain shopper by necessity! But I'm also resourceful and lucky in that I can sew my own clothing.

I'm doing some other things as well. Exploring second hand and thrifted clothing, even DIY'ing those pieces that might otherwise be unwearable. Teaching my children about being good stewards of our disposable income, our planet, and about basic human rights.

Along that same vein, I'm participating in the aforementioned Summer Sewing Essentials sealong. My essentials list is quite a bit longer than some, just because I only have time to sew really in the summer, and I'd like to have some transition to fall pieces as well. As soon as I have a proper list or plan sorted out, I'll post more about that.

I've also pledged to join Self-Stitched September. I, Angie.A, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear a minimum of one handmade or refashioned item of clothing every day for the duration of September 2010.

My ultimate goal would be for this to be every day, for the rest of my life! Baby steps.

As long as we're talking about essential clothing pieces, and things to wear "every day"...the February issue of Burda Style is amazingly full of classic, wearable pieces I didn't notice on the first viewing. The above, chic, slim pants. And also this fabulous boatneck tee:

And look, I have this great navy/white striped knit in stash:

There's also this simple a-line skirt:
And a basic "white shirt" pattern too:

A great little pencil skirt:

And not to mention this FABULOUS shirt dress in the plus section:

(The plus section in general is fabulous in this issue with a "Chanel" jacket, a basic trouser, a gorgeous sheath dress, a trench coat, and another great top pattern.)

That's what I love about Burda magazine. An issue can percolate for months (or more) and then WHAM. I'm inspired by everything in it!

Ok, this post is WAY TOO LONG. But if you made it to the end you win a cookie. (Ok, not really, but feel free to go to your cupboard and have a cookie on me.)


  1. Very cute garments you have picked out, I like them all and can't wait to see your new wardrobe. I had a Little Debbie at the end of the post, does that count:)?

  2. Your summer wardrobe will be very cute. Love the stripe.

  3. Whats funny is, I was eating a cookie while I read your post, so it all works out :)

    Can't wait to see the new pants. And I'm holding you to finishing that gorgeous green vintage skirt! lol

  4. Just finished my 100 cal. bag of Keebler Grasshoppers, but thanks anyway! I agree wholeheartedly about "buying American" and also try to do so, as best as I can. Great buttons, and good luck with the pants!

  5. I confess I just got some cheap sleeveless Ts from W*Mart because I was desperate for simple, cool tops. Learning to sew my own is high on my sewing list, but hasn't happened yet. Goal is to make all my own knit tops (casual and nicer), from organic fabrics when possible. Thanks for hudging me to do this, instead of just thinking about it!

  6. Cute stuff! I think your dress will be ah-mazing! That fabric is really cool!

  7. Cherry cheesecake for me for finishing. Have you tried the zipper foot yet?

  8. Those pants are going to be great! I can't wait to see some of your projects as they are finished!

  9. I guess I have to look at that February issue again... it's even sitting on my bedside table and I still don't remember any of that junk. Weirdness. 'Course, I can't fit into most of that stuff so that's maybe why.

    Totally cool buttons, btw.

    I had an icecream bar. Uh. Well I had it before I sat down to read. You know. Uh. Because I just knew...

  10. Oh - I need to move the issue to my bedside apparently.

    They are very cute basics and I do try to make more and more of mine. thanks for the reminder.

    umm - I had handfuls of almond joy pieces. :) g


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