Over the holidays I have been working on a vintage jacket for myself. Several years ago on a trip to Madison Wi. I had the pleasure of visiting Gayfeathers, a lovely little fabric store. I found a number of unique fabrics, but my favorite find was a large houndstooth in wool and angora. The color is a favorite of mine...chartreuse on creme, how could I resist. Not knowing what I would do with it I purchased what she had and it has been hanging in my studio tempting and inspiring me ever since. About a year ago I decided on the pattern, a "retro Butterick" originally printed in 1936. This shorter style jacket is flattering for my figure and I felt the larger collar would suit the scale of the houndstooth well. I am also intrigued with a detail on this pattern that you do not see to often anymore which is a hand running stitch along the princess seams, and hemlines. Now I do not have much practice at this stitch, as I do not hand quilt much although I have tried Sashiko stitch work which I adore. Well adoring something does not mean you are proficient at it, but there is only one way to get better at something and that is by the doing. I have been enjoying the process of the handwork on this jacket, but it does not bear close scrutiny. I prefer for things to be done very well, but find that I tend to be reasonable when working on a new skill, so although the stitch work is not perfect, I can accept that especially on things I make for myself. I have plans to line the jacket in a silk charmeuse to match the green and have been designing a creme silk chiffon dress as I work on the handwork. Currently I have the body of the jacket together, one sleeve is set and I am finishing up the handwork on the 2nd sleeve which you do prior to the setting.
I suspect another contributing factor to starting this project over some of the others that are about the studio can be found in a BBC television series my husband and I have been viewing called "The House of Elliot". In this series there are many scenes in the production sewing room where the seamstresses are sitting around a table hand sewing many lovely silk garments. These scenes appealed to me, the camaraderie of the stitchers, the light streaming through the windows highlighting some incredibly beautiful embroidery and beading on deliciously delicate feminine garments. Needless to say I recommend the series to anyone curious about a very interesting time in women's fashion. These scenes certainly made me anxious to work slowly on some beautiful fabric.
These are some detail pictures of the vintage jacket. It is now ready for its lining, which still must be ordered, but I do hate just ordering one piece of fabric so I am reviewing my upcoming needs. The picture at left shows the detail of the sleeve hem. I chose a creme pearl cotton for the hand stitching.
Upon running aground with my jacket I did need to get some paying work done so....for the next day or two I worked on some top-secret projects for DC. Next some progress on the Jayden Medley Jacket for Williams Studio 2 patterns. I am in the process of creating the sample for the cover, as well as writing the instructions. A very lengthy process but I am trying to create some very easy to follow and comprehensive instructions for all of the patterns. I did manage to squeeze in a quilt block for my "Just Plain Nuts" exercise...always fun. I call it an exercise because I am really not sure that I will make it into a quilt or even a wall hanging I am just "Enjoying the Process" as I always like to say. It develops accuracy in cutting and sewing due to the small scale of the blocks ( 6" ) But it is primarily a fun way to play with color. Its always good to allow yourself to play and not feel that everything has to become something! Sometimes the something is just allowing your creative brain to accept new possibilities.
Today though I do need to do handwork on 3 Cowls! And I understand there will be 3 more for this month. I wonder who the fortunate owners will be? Handwork means old movies to watch/listen to. "Casa Blanca" is certainly on the viewing list for the day and another favorite "My man Godfrey". Well lets get to it.