Tuesday, 20 September 2016

embrace the crazy

Sometimes in life it is necessary to just embrace the crazy. Sometimes the sane response is not appropriate.

And for me the end of this year has proved to be one of those times. Heartbreak, betrayal, lies and broken promises. Friendships trampled in the dust. The deaths of loved ones and of dreams. And that was just for me. Was 2016 good for anyone, anywhere in this world?  Or were even golden chalices poisoned?

A buddhist friend has told me that it won't improve until the Chinese New Year. I've always preferred that horoscope for my horoscopical fiction needs, but that news was challenging.  For this monkey, the year started bad and ended worse, and the prospect of another whole month? I could just go back to bed and wait to die. But that isn't a possible solution, because life must go on.

So - embrace the crazy. The tsunami will probably kill you but at least you can try for the bodysurf of your life first, right?

Lets talk about sewing. Nothing will change.  Nothing will improve.  But at least we can rest our weary eyes and minds and think of something pleasing.  Use the good crazy to chase away the bad crazy. So here we go...

good printy madness
 I think that with this project I have sucessfully embodied cuddling up to insanity, on so many levels.

Firstly, consider this print.   It combines a fruity floral roccoco loopiness with Lily Pulitzer colours to extremely good effect. No-one could look upon it and not comment (and, reader, no-one did).

But what really brought home the crazy was my decision, at 9.00 am, to make a dress of it to wear to lunch. After I'd washed the dog. And made bread. And helped with biscuits.
And I did it.

Many things worked in my favour.  I didn't make any egregious mistakes requiring a full day of unpicking, and that certainly helped. I used a tried and true pattern, based on a Burda dress which now would not recognise its offspring. A new pattern would have sent the enterprise to bad-crazy town in short order.

Interfacing used as facing - fast, cheap (& outta control!)
I used a trick I'd read about to interface and bind the front slit - which worked for the day.  I expect I'll be changing that though as I don't love it.

Pocket stub. Unfinished seam. Bad sewist!

I didn't try for pockets on the day - but did leave stubs for later inseam additions.  I also didn't fret about the side seam finishing, knowing that those pockets were to come. There were no pleats, darts, gathers, buttons, fastenings at all.

 And I was lucky.  I wanted a collar for sun protection and to finish the neckline quickly. I used one from another (Burda) pattern and it fit perfectly. BooYah!! And I'm extraordinarily lucky in that I belong to a family for whom mad last minute dressmaking is not unknown, and who knew and accepted that I'm a bit mad right now. So I was granted the indulgence of being 3/4 hour late for lunch.  In my new casual, perfect for a poolside Christmas, dress.

And a random selection of belts. Which I snuck off and changed at intervals until I realised that as with so many things in life, my first impulse was the best.

One final word of advice before I go.  If you try this at home - and do, please, really, try this at home - use a fabric that you love.  There is no point in aiming for adequate here.  You want transcendent.  Use that piece you've been saving. Try not to stuff it irrevocably. But if you fail, you won't feel worse for having also cut up a gem of your collection. And if it comes off you will have triumphed. You can fix up the seams later, you know!
I am OBSESSED with sewing bags. Handbags, overnight bags, weekend bags.  I doodle them. Daydream them. Play with fabric. Am I actually sewing bags? Um, actually, not so much at this point.  But I have been reading books about it. I haunt the library and read and re-read everything I can get my hands on. I currently have "sew cute bags" as my dip into whenever I have a minute book. I also haunt sewing blogs with really cool bags. (Hi Kyle, love your bag! http://vacuumingthelawn.blogspot.com.au/)
Shown against red rug for max impact!

Well, I suppose that is a little unfair. I made this bag a few weeks ago to test some ideas I had on the subject of bag construction and internal pocketing.

internal pocket - only one though and more would be useful
 But it's not a colour I can easily work into a late winter work wardrobe for a mildly professional life  - and also I have this piece of leather which would. Oh how it would (And the whole thing was not my fault m'lud, as I was provoked.  I came out of the Fabric Store in Surry Hills to find that someone, naming no names, ..hmmprtner!.., had locked the keys in the car.  So I turned on my heel and went and bought the leather I had been petting.)
And I am still petting it. But leather is for bags not patting, and so I have to screw my courage to the sticking point and cut into it at some point and soon.

But life's great cycle is all about creative destruction before construction, right? * Which is why I chopped up this other leather handbag.

The victim came from a well known brand, Marina Galanti, and had a pigskin lining
(quality!) and nice looking fittings (quality!) I bought this bag for a not derisory sum, by my standards and would have expected it to be good for a long time. Such was not to be.  After some use, the handles started splitting and a split in the lining.  It was too late to return but not long enough to let me be comfortable chucking it (I know!).  So I put it away for occasional use.And then over time the leather itself developed what I can only describe as severe eczema, as the surface started peeling off in little flakes.  Revealing the fabric underneath.  Quality! They must have put too much solvent in the leather paste that day.

Filth! Cardboard!

But the square ring links were nice and the zipper might be useful.  So I hacked it up. And
I learnt many useful things during this slightly ghoulish process. The commitment to quality shown in the materials extended to the inside, with cardboard being the medium of choice for interfacing. I learnt that there is a good reason for feeling a little squeamish about sticking your hand into the lining of a bag, should it split and let your lipliner through - filthy is the only word.

I learnt that contact cement is apparently quite a good and convenient method for tacking a zip to the cardboard and leatherfabric, though it does make it unfit for harvesting.
But I ended, sadder and wiser, with four rather nice gun-metal square rings.

So we will call that a win.