Monday, December 10, 2012

On Fabric Temptation...

It all began with a morning visit to Kashi. Yes, that Kashi... of Metro Textiles.

I guided a garment district "Speakeasy" tour back in September, and vowed that no fabric shopping money would leave my pocket that day.   I was not there as a shopper, but a guide, I kept telling myself.  I had to be an effective one, too, curbing my raging fabric lust long enough to effectively show, assist, explain, and discover along with the participants I was leading through the offerings of the amazing stores we visited that day.  After all, I'm an adult. A grownup, in fact. Yes, with a solid and manageable quality stash, limited "free" time, and... and... I just have to be practical.

I tried to focus in on my job.  Really tried.  But...This fabric winked at me from the corner.  It did.

A cotton stretch knit - waves of deep eggplant purple, a sedate varsity purple, and a mellow frosted baby purple (like equivalent of baby blue, but purple, ya know)? Very soft, kinda stretchy (one way), sheer-ish in the right light, and wonderfully drapey. Fiber content tested at home with burn/smell/melt test.

I didn't buy it, although I did gently brush it flirtatiously a few times as I walked past.  It was available in two colorways.  Both of them exciting.  But one of them (pictured above) was just swirling with possibilities. It kept whispering to me.  I felt a bit dizzy.  Maybe even a bit weak.  I tried to think about other things, help people find what they were looking for, and even tried to help them find what they didn't know they were looking for, consult on how this or that fabric would look as a dress, a top, a pair of pants... But... It kept calling my name. I was blushing. My palms were sweating.  I fanned myself. What had come over me?

I tried to shake it off, and forget all about it, as we went on to other stores, saw piles and stacks and bolts and piles and PILES of other options, but the memory of that encounter just wouldn't leave me. Unable to forget the magic of that moment, I ventured back to Metro a few days later to sweep up some of that delightful yardage, hugged it tightly, and brought it back to my workspace.  What would it be?

I knew it needed to be a shirt.  It had told me so. A deliberately eccentric one, with raglan sleeves.  Maybe a pocket? Comfortable and cozy for winter. I wanted an asymmetrical twist or turn somehow at the neckline, and... well, maybe a pocket.  "Let's keep it roomy," I thought.

My inspiration:


Aiming for something similar to view B (the blue one), I drastically changed/recreated the pattern to accommodate my body, a stretch knit, and my other fit and style preferences.  My daughter, age 11, called this pattern "boring". During the redesign process, the shirt, on its way to "becoming", passed through a few weird phases.  I'll call them (1) Tween Pajama Top, (2) Post-Menopausal -hide and seek (still at least 15 years or so away, I think), and finally, (3) Dr. Seuss meets "Where's Waldo". Those impractical peekaboo slits changed form, ultimately disappearing entirely, and the shape of the shirt oh-so gradually morphed as I worked the silhouette and design idea from what was once a sort of vague, blurry vision, to the happy, totally "me" shirt it is now.
Yes, I inserted an invisible center back short zipper in a stretch knit (after stabilizing), so I could create a close neckline that wouldn't stretch out.

I gently elasticized the sleeve hems and hem of shirt, to get a gentle "blousing" to happen.

No stripe matching.  Deliberately.  Makes the fabric dance.
The tucked fabric "cascade" from the neckline to hem has no seams.


And then I put it on, for about the 10th time (and even that might be an exaggeration - as in TOO FEW times) at the end of the design process, looked in the mirror, and involuntarily whispered aloud, "I love you it." True story.  And I mean that.





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