I have been reading sewing blogs for about a year now and I have always just been astounded at the sewists who can make up their own patterns. Now, pardon the time for confession; learned to sew in the school of being ABSOLUTELY controlled by the pattern and its written instructions. If S*mpl*city said sew this – I did. If V*gu* said cut on this line – I did! I didn’t do anything to alter beyond letting out or taking in a side seam here or there… It was a sad, cruel, unfitted world in which I lived. Now, this is nothing against my various sewing teachers. I think I would simply go to a teacher until I learned a new pattern technique, the then I thought I knew it all (yes, I may have been at high school at the time).
Honestly, I never really wore things I made unless they were costumes. I would whip up a skirt but only see the poor hem line, make a shirt, but only notice the gap at the bust. I wasn’t until I began reading the wonderful blogs of people like Gertie (take a look insider her wonderful new book!), the lovely ladies of Coletterie, or Oona, that I realized people aren’t actually made in pattern perfect shapes!!!
I’ll admit it, I was hooked. So this summer (between teaching jobs and, subsequently, out of work) I decided to begin making things I would actually wear. Moving to my New City, I knew my wardrobe would need some updating. I’m beginning a new PhD program in the fall and I will be teaching senior level student and I would really like to look more than the 2 years older than they are. I have some semi-professional clothes from other teaching jobs, and then some very professional things from speech competition in college… but nothing that really communicates adult professionalism. I needed to find a professional look that works for both the classroom when I’m teaching and when I’m a student, and that works on the public transit system on my way back and forth. Another consideration, is that I would really like to have clothes that don’t come from Asian child labor markets or exploited individuals – I’m not a crusader, but I can’t justify paying good money for those things. The problem then becomes, I don’t make enough to get the kind of clothes I would want – Enter my favorite sewing machine!
You have all seen my beginnings in the floaty collar blouse, and now dundadundaaaa… My First Self Drafted Pattern!!!
Perhaps a vest is a bit of a cop-out for a first self draft, but I had the suiting remnant left over from a winter dress last year, and I could see exactly what I wanted to do with it. I know I avoided the most troublesome areas of collar and sleeves, but it makes me happy, and that is that!
(Hear the previous sentence in the petulant voice of a 7 year old)
I went through about 3 muslins before I finally reached the final stage. I just based the pattern of a basic t-shirt so I had to create the princess seams myself, as well as the neck line
I fully lined the vest (honestly – so I didn’t have to mess with seam finishes), used buttons from my stash, and the same lining I had used on the previous dress made of this fabric.
I actually have almost a dozen projects sitting on my sewing table (also known as the kitchen table in my tiny tiny apartment) that will be contributing to my new professional wardrobe. I’ll keep you updated on the many projects… in the mean time, any guess what this might be?