Monday, May 1, 2017

Adventures in dressing oneself for the mid-century mark.

Naramata, British Columbia, August 2010.
Remember when we road-tripped all the way to British Columbia to do an Ironman? Twice? Yeah, I barely do, but I've got the medal to prove it, right here in my desk drawer. I've also got the heartbreakingly beautiful blog post to prove it (Naramata Linen Pants), and,  I also have the floral linen pants that I bought at Shades of Linen, in Naramata.  Every year when I drag out my *summer wardrobe bins* my beloved linen pants get their due attention. This year it got hot so fast (gee, I wonder why), I found myself wearing the floral print in late March. Go figure.  And so, now that I'm practically fifty years old, I'm ready to revamp some of my looks, and, what better way to dress my fifty-year old self than with long flowy pants that aren't too hot, or made of stretchy synthetic stuff.  
 Most of you know I'm a yarn goddess, almost to the exclusion of other wearable crafts.  But...I can sew a mean outfit when and if necessary, and certainly if inspired.  Sewing can make me a little crazy (machinery and extensive planning and non-portability beware), but sewing is also unparalleled in the realm of speed. While months can be involved in yarn-art endeavors, once the measuring, architecting, and planning phase is behind us, one only has to confront good old fashioned procrastination, and, of course, the mistakes of sewing (usually corrected by tearing seams out, cutting new sections of cloth, or trashing the whole project if it's gone horribly wrong (there are many reasons a piece can go horribly wrong--think back to junior high sewing class.)).
 Frustrations aside, when the bug bites, I'm all in.  I browsed the web (don't get me started on the demise of the Local Fabric Store) and I found myself on the website of an old San Francisco (now closed) favorite, Britex.  With a broad selection of high quality linen I knew I was in  business. One thing about being practically over fifty, when a woman finds a pattern she loves, she's ready to wear the same thing every day.  I vowed to start with one pair of pants, but promise that if these bad boys work, I'll have every color and print available in no time.  I landed on this chartreuse (honeydew) fabric and estimated how much fabric I would need. Backtrack: before I ordered fabric, I cut  a pattern based upon the floral Naramata pants.  It's something I can do, given the pattern is simple enough. Throw me a tailored design and I need a load of professional (published pattern) advice and support.
 Britex shipped the fabric so quickly I wondered if they'd moved their operation to Chicago. After all, friends in the Bay Area told me, with great sadness, that Britex's great storefront had closed in the past year or so.
 I usually sew in the basement, where I've got two machines, all my supplies, a big card table, ironing board, and a big TV queud up with Netflix, etc... But with the TV on the fritz and an amazing spring day outside, I dragged the necessary accoutrements upstairs to sew and assemble on the fully extended Heywood Wakefield Dining room table (thanks, Mom--and I got plastic to cover the whole thing).  Yeah, I know, I roll like that.
Singer: 197_? Elna 1992.  Tried and true: domestic machinery. Lost arts.
 So, I can't say that there were too many frustrating barriers here. They're the easiest elastic waist pants to assemble, and a great reminder why I like sewing for myself more than for other people, because the most challenging part is fit, and i can make sure the fit is going to work, because, ummm...I can try them on as I go (this is a hint to why sewing always frustrated me--I think of sewing as architecture and crochet as sculpture--and as far as I can tell, with architecture you have to know exactly what you're doing before you start, which doesn't really match my process).  Yeah, I know, you could pick on me for bad process, but I'm practically fifty so what are you gonna do about it?
Don't blame me (said the cat, every day).
 Here's a finished view, ready for wear.  For those who need to know, it was a crotch seam, an inseam,  side seam, hem to encase elastic waistband, and a nice fat hem at the bottom.  Everything is easier with the industrial Serger, which now is over twenty five years old (wow--how did that happen!) and my junior high Singer single seam machine.  That I've got two operable sewing machines is pretty cool, as far as I'm concerned, and I can't even start on how sad it is that no one else in my family makes this stuff.
That's a decent day's work.
 Finished and ready to wear. That my pants match my office fabric is telling. I LOVE chartreuse, and have for many years.  For enquiring minds, I used the self timing on the Canon Power Shot for these images. No one else was around for this modeling session, so take the photos as they are.  Just to be clear, this is a *nearly fifty-year old* out dancing around in mid April modeling for herself while, supposedly, no one else is looking (yeah, I roll that way, too).
When they say, *pull on your big girl pants* what do they mean?
Is this what they mean when they say...
Don't just sit there, do something!
Oak Park, 2017.

1 comment:

  1. I'm on an ancestry search and this morning looked into your images of your face for clues of Keatley connections. You certainly have my grandmother's proclivity for needles, fabric, and yarn. Her mother, Mary Virginia, was a Keatley, and I believe that by extension you are a Keatley, too. Your great-grandmother, Emily, was her sister. We're third cousins! And, yes, I sew, knit, and crochet, but probably not as much as you do.