So I always wondered why it is we don't speak when we're at the pattern table looking through the books. We obviously all have a common interest, and while I like to look at the patterns on offer with a critical eye it doesn't require sooooo much concentration that I can't also exchange pleasantries. It seems like the perfect setting for a modern day quilting bee kind of thing...you know, pick a little, talk a little.
Last Saturday I went out to the suburbs for the G Street Fashion Sewing Club meeting, only to discover that it was yet only the first Saturday of the month, not the second. I might want to look into something called a calendar. Anyway, I wasn't too annoyed about it because Joann had Simplicity, McCall, and Vogue on sale, so I headed up to the Joann and beelined for the pattern table. It was pretty crowded but I scored a seat and a book and was content.
I was wearing the seersucker version of Vogue 2859, and one of the women complimented me on it. I recommended the pattern, which just happened to be on sale, and this got all of us at the table chatting a little. It was so nice! The girl to my left had pretty much my figure (well, what I could see above the table, I didn't get a chance to check out her booty!) and so we were exchanging pattern recommendations and tips for dressing a flat-chested pear. When I left I handed her my card and she emailed me! On my recommendation, she is going to Fashion Sewing Club (which actually *will* take place this coming Saturday) and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. Yay for new sewing friends!
So I got a ton of patterns (and of course there are a few Buttericks that I must have, on sale this coming weekend at Joann), and one of them that really pulled me in was McCall 5577. Something about the upside-down U shape of the bodice and the witty (as BWOF would say) suspender-esque back that evokes the 80s but doesn't go full-on 80s just drew me.
It went to the front of the project queue, from some Ikea fabric I got last year and an old table cloth I bought from a vintage store. Cidell is coming to DC this weekend and will be taking photos of my recent projects. I don't think she quite grasps how many recent projects that is--I'm probably up to 9 or 10 unphotographed by this point. So I'll get her to take photos on Sunday, but for now I *have* to show off the buttons. Choosing buttons is one of my favorite parts of a project but I didn't have any really great options in my rather large stash for this jumper.
So I made some from polymer clay. I'd been wanting to try it for a while, and since this needed only two it was an easy project. I used to make a lot of beads out of polymer clay (aka sculpey, fimo, premo, etc.), but jewelrymaking has been put aside for sewing the last couple of years and I hadn't done polyclay in ages. One of the beautiful things about this medium is that the clay keeps almost indefinitely. All the clay is at least four years old (I am sure I haven't bought any since I moved into my condo), and I'm fairly certain some of it is over six years old, from before I moved to DC. Several of the blocks were quite hard and required a fair amount of conditioning (this is just a fancy way of saying kneading) and a few drops of mineral oil (aka baby oil) to become pliable, but I got it all to work.
I tried several styles before I decided on the buttons for the jumper. Here are the rest of them. The ones with the millefiori style design are only the second cane I've ever made! I have a lot to learn about canes, obvs. The colors were great when they were in fairly large doses, but unfortunately once I reduced it the tiny bands of red, green, and blue around the yellow cores just read dark. They'd be great for a safari style item, because they're a little animal print looking. If you want any of these leftover buttons, email me and I'll send them off (t r e n a [dot] b at g m a i l--take out the spaces, turn the [dot] into punctuation). I still have half the cane left, so there's plenty of those to go around.
If it interests you at all, I highly recommend doing a project like this sometime. It's just fun! There are many tutorials out there, just google "polymer clay cane" or "clay cane tutorial" and you'll find them. To make the buttonholes, I used a commercial button as a template, put it over the clay disk, and used a yarn needle to poke the holes. Bake for 30 minutes at 275 F, sand with a couple of grits to smooth them out, coat with Future Floor Polish for shine, bake the glaze on at 275 for 10 minutes and they're ready to go.
I wanted to give a better picture of my Paris Dress! When I got home I: unpicked the binding from the bottom of the armscyes, took it in four(!!!) inches at the bottom of the armscye to snug up the bust, reapplied the now-altered binding (and they had done it the cheap/easy/lazy way of binding the front and back and just doing the side seam; I sewed the garment front and back and then overlapped the binding so there's no obvious join/seam), and hand-sewed a batiste underlining for the skirt part to the yoke seam allowance because it was rather sheer. And this was what needed to be done to a well-made garment! Sheesh. Now I remember why I don't buy ready-to-wear. But once all that was done, I was very happy with my Paris Dress. I love the little details, like the pockets and the epaulet tabs. And the best part is, I can wear it with a blouse as a jumper or without a blouse as a dress to make it three seasons. It may only be in style for a few years, but I'll get as much wear out of it as I possibly can in those years!