Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Out of the ordinary

The other day I attended a resilience and conflict resolution seminar (obviously my workplace is trying to make itself a shiny, happy place to be), and the presenter said one thing that resonated with me: that you wouldn’t worry about what people thought about you if you realised how seldom they thought.

How does this relate to me sewing? Well, for as long as I have been sewing my own clothes, I become this anxious, mess of a person the first time I wear my own-made garment. We’re talking increased heart rate, sweaty palms and hell, there have been occasions when I’ve broken out in hives. It’s crazy, but I have this little voice in my head that questions if what I am wearing is a) good enough to be worn outside the house, b) if people will point, laugh and ridicule me for my outfits, or even worse, c) notice my wonky stitches and declare me a failed seamstress.

Given my anxious reaction, you’d think I would have given up sewing by now, or at least abstain from wearing my makes out of the house. But I haven’t because I love making my own things, and the act of sewing is actually calming (for me anyway). With the presenter’s words resonating in my ears, I realised it was time to wear whatever I want because the reality is my new garment is probably not what my colleagues are thinking about.

So on that note, I embraced the unconventional and sewed up a pair of ‘out of the ordinary’ pants. And surprisingly, I love the result. So much so that I pushed my monochromatic work clothes aside, paired these pants with boots and strutted into work. And you know what? I didn’t worry what people thought.

These pants are Papercut’s latest pattern, the Anima Pant. When I first saw these I imagined comfy, lounge pants or exercise pants. I didn’t imagine a pair I could wear to work. But after Papercut announced their Anima competition, I was inspired to turn these comfy pants into an extraordinary work outfit.

The pants themselves came together relatively easy. I have sewn my fair share of papercut patterns and I love the simplicity of the instructions, coupled with diagrams. My only qualm with this pattern would be with the insertion of the waistband. The instructions call for sewing the waistband edge to the edge of the elastic and then rolling the elastic inside the waistband to cover the seam allowance. I tried this on my muslin, and the result was a dogs breakfast – there seemed to be too much material and I struggled to attach the bottom of the turned over waistband/elastic to the pants. It was bulky around the seam and definitely not pretty. For my real pants (the real deal), I decided to attach the whole waistband to the pants, leaving a 2” gap at the back of the pants to insert the elastic – I then pulled the elastic through, overlapped the elastic (as per the instructions) and sewed the elastic into a loop. I sewed up the gap, distributed the ‘gathers’ and top-stitched the two lines through the elastic and waistband, stretching as I went. Voila.

I am definitely happy with these pants. If you haven’t tried out the pattern, I would definitely recommend them. They are as close to wearing pyjamas as you can get. All I need is to sneak in my uggs under my desk at work, change shoes and I’m sure I can visualise myself snuggled up on the couch instead of punching away at my keyboard. A little bit of comfy bliss to counteract the drudgery of work. A definite winner.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Because one was not enough

You know how when I really like a finished make, I seem to make that make over and over again until someone tells me ‘enough is enough’? Well, today I present to you my second striped ensis…. because one striped ensis wasn’t enough.

Funnily though, this ensis looks totally different to my cream and beige striped one. I have racked my brain as to why the fit is so much more fitted in this one, and I just don’t get it! The only thing I can think of is that because the fabric is much thinner, maybe when I was laying out the fabric and trying to coax the selvage ends straight (instead of wonky and warped), I stretched the fabric and then proceeded to cut it slightly stretched? In which case on relaxing I lost some width? Who knows! However it happened, I like the result. I like that it seems dressier than my other one. And I like that different fabrics made up into the same pattern can yield totally different results. It adds a touch of mystery to sewing.

I don’t really know if there is a lot to say about this make, as I have already blogged about the other. I successfully matched all of the stripes along the side seams, sleeve seams and at the base of the armscye. I have come to the realisation that it is impossible to totally match the stripes over the sleeve head. Duh. Definitely a ditsy moment.

I think this ensis will be on high rotation, matched with black work pants, my self-drafted mini (as in the pictures), my moss or even with skinny jeans. Oh, and it would look great with the grey papercut pleated pants currently on my sewing table.

My only problem is that we are now in the height of winter and this top just isn’t warm enough to brave the outdoors. I swear I had to defrost in front of the heater for an hour after these photos were taken. Unfortunately I foresee this ensis hanging in my wardrobe for a couple of months, begging to be worn but overlooked until the sun decides to shine again. Damn winter. At least it will give me a new top to wear come spring.

I’ve been sewing up a storm lately… and I think I have a date with my sewing machine on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog about my papercut pleated pants next week. Oh, and I am toying with the idea of entering the papercut anima pant competition. I bought the most outrageous bold patterned fabric last weekend with these in mind… they will either end up uber funky, or plain ridiculous. If nothing else, they will definitely make me smile. I’m bringing back happy pants.