Sunday, September 10, 2006
Sunny and cooler
Elizabeth Berg often quilts as she writes, and I can see how one fuels the other. Of course, I mean that she writes awhile, she quilts awhile, she writes awhile – although she’s thinking about the novel as she quilts, I’m sure. I have to say, though, the finish line comes faster in a garment than a novel. I wonder how many clothes I could make during the course of a novel, start to finish?
The fabric store in Hartsdale was complete chaos. In a good way – busy, classes starting, people confused. The staff kept apologizing, and I said, “You know what? I’ll just browse fabric. You get all the classes settled and I’ll still be here. I’m not on a schedule today. It’s no big deal.”
They were surprised and made an extra effort to help me when things calmed down. The instruction manual’s been ordered and should arrive in about a week. The zipper foot question was answered – but I’m still confused, because I thought of another question once I got home.
I found a luscious soft brown micro-suede and bought enough to make a skirt and maybe a vest or jacket. But I had the yardage for a skirt, to that’s the priority – tea length, with a bit of fullness at the bottom. The fabric drapes well on me (best fabric tip I ever learned was you never buy fabric for clothes unless you drape it over your body and look at it in the mirror. It can be the best fabric in the world and still not look good on you) and is self-lined, so I don’t have to worry about lining.
Worked on the blouse. It was not sitting correctly on my body. The problem was the facing. Even without the interfacing, it was pulling and causing problems. So I trimmed it WAAAAAY back and cut the neck facing from the armhole facing (it was all one piece, which made no sense) and now the garment sits properly. I also had to take two darts (one in each panel to the side of the zipper) in the center back – although the rest of the fit is very good, my upper back isn’t as broad as most people’s who wear the size, and I had to adjust. The fabric is a blend I wouldn’t choose to work with again, although this particular print is great. Working with a full silk would have been much easier. But this print only came in this particular blend. I bought a lower quality fabric because I liked the print (and happened to find it in the remainder bin) and I paid the difference in difficulty.
I’m detailing my steps here to show you how important it really is to do the muslin in a pattern you’ve never worked with before. Of course, I’m still too damned lazy to do a muslin first, unless it’s an evening gown and I’ve paid $50/yard for the fabric. So I muddle along.
Do as I say, not as I do.
I could have saved myself a lot of grief by working it all out in muslin first. I think I’ll do a muslin when I get to the pants.
Call me semi-reformed.
Oh, a couple of people thought I meant, a few posts back, that I don’t like Jo-Ann’s. I LOVE Jo-Ann’s and bless them for keeping their prices down. But they are a store to make quilts(they have the best quilting fabric selection of anyone, IMO), your kids’ Halloween costumes, drapes, and cute little sundresses. If you’re going to do serious sewing for evening clothes or business dress clothes, they’re not going to be able to meet your needs. When I went to do my fall fabric shopping a few months back, their selection and quality was not what I was looking for in relation to the pieces I need to make. And the interfacing they sold me – insisting, in spite of my protests that I didn’t think it was right for what I was doing – not only is the wrong weight, but doesn’t fuse.
I don’t get my patterns there – I buy directly from Vogue Patterns with the discount they give me – for whatever reason it is that they give it to me. Because I’m in wardrobe or something.
I can get material for sundresses or basic shirts or whatever at Jo-Ann. But I get my silks at Paron West Annex here in the garment district because they have the best quality at the best price point. I get quite a few of the wools and wool blends there or at other stores in the district because they have what I need – the particular weight of wool or the particular size of a texture pattern in a tweed. Jo-Ann’s couldn’t be that specific and keep their price points where they do. I’m hardly a brilliant seamstress (I cut every corner – it’s amazing some of the garments don’t fall off me as I walk down the street), but I’m a bit fussier than the casual home sewer (as opposed to a home seamstress or the women who are able to sew couture at home).
In other words, when I relocate, I still have to come to NYC garment district twice a year for fabric. Paron’s agreed to swatch me and then I can order online or over the phone. Of course, I’ve been a regular customer there for nearly a dozen years now.
Note to self: Katrina anniversary + 9/11 anniversary + PMS is not a good mix.
Hand me the Godiva, NOW, dammit!
Another pet peeve: those silly couples on design shows who prattle about how they want their bedrooms to look like a “resort”. Why the eff do you want YOUR HOME to look like a HOTEL? I’ve yet to see a hotel, even an extremely expensive one, that I’d rather have instead of my HOME.
I wrote the next section of “Ris An Abrar” in my head and now have to get it down on paper. Kinnur was supposed to be a throw-away character; instead, he pivots a major plot point. Interesting.