Last month I headed to Chicago to visit one of my best friends. The focus of our weekend was a bread making class, but we managed to fit in lots of other adventures, including a trip to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. We perused bolt after bolt of apparel fabrics and knits, and by the end of our time there I had to make some hard decisions about how much fabric I could reasonably take back to Indianapolis on the Megabus.
It’s pretty amazing what a good fabric store can do for motivation. The selection of fabrics was inspiring, but more than that, in just 10 minutes at the pattern table we’d made new friends with the other ladies gathered around — eager to help us look for patterns, suggest fabrics for certain designs and generally encourage the act of sewing. Good stuff.
In the end I walked out with about 10 yards of knit fabric, all slightly sheer. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with most of the fabric, but I finally got around to making a top in order to discover how this blend drapes and how it wears with time. I’ve been wearing it with a contrasting tank top under it, but skipped that detail for photos so you could get the full effect of the sheer pattern. Scandalous.
The fabric is really light and lacks the nice drape you tend to get with a slightly heavier, silkier knit fabric. It also pills pretty easily where my purse rubs against it. But I’m OK with these little imperfections because it was really cheaply priced per yard. More than the quality of the fabric, I was drawn pattern. In creating a top from this fabric, I kept it as simple as possible by leaving the cuffs, hem and neck unfinished — there’s something about raw edges and natural fibers I’ve been really digging lately.
It was a quick project, made from an easily drafted pattern based on a well-worn Raglan I’ve owned for years. Clothing that you own and love already can be a really great place to start when beginning to make your own patterns. Between what I’ve learned by reading Cal Patch’s, Design-it-Yourself Clothes and by examining the construction of my wardrobe in greater detail, I’ve realized the simplicity of most of the garments I regularly wear. With this knowledge I have started to rely on store-bought patterns less and less.
I am really interested in the different processes people go through as they learn new skills. If you make your own clothes, what types of patterns do you use — purchased patterns, drafted patterns of your own creation or patterns based on your existing clothes? If you are eager to begin making your own clothes, what kinds of information do you think would best help you?
raw edged detail at top