Sunday, October 10, 2010

Twists and Turns

My last blog was about my lovely experience as the only witness to a crime. The blog that I wrote the day before was written when my feelings were raw. At that point, I wasn't ready to share the pictures from the competition. I went into the competition feeling as though I had a good chance of at least placing in the top three, and as I said, I wasn't even in the top six. As the week wore on, and the more I thought about it, I began to feel a little angry, but, determined. Then the final blow came, the judges comments. They said that the garment that I had created fit the criteria of the contest and that the garment was impeccably crafted and fitted. You can see from the picture that this statement is a given. No one in their right mind could say anything negative about the construction or the fit of the garment. The leggings did not have a bump, a gather, nothing. They fit the model as if they had been poured over her body. I actually draped the pants over some pants that I wore that day. The model even said that she has never and will probably never again have a pair of pants that will fit her so well.

But here is the part that I just couldn't believe was said. "We wanted to see the runway or boutique version, not the department store version." First of all, this garment could not be bought at a department store. Anyone who shops at department stores knows that the clothing is a mass of cookie cutter garments, nothing exciting, nothing different, and very little of it has any real style.

The two pictures above were taken at my station. I finished the outfit by 10 o'clock on Saturday morning and then had nothing to do the rest of the day. So I took pictures and then did some shopping. The first picture is a front view of the top and the jacket. From these pictures, it is rather difficult to see the top and how it is made. The piece that you see that is draped across the front is actually attached to the shoulder and side seam of the garment and then wraps around where it is attached to the sleeve and then draped over the shoulder.

The jacket is, I think, very interesting. It's actually two rectangles that have been turned on the bias and then sewn together creating a chevron effect at the center back. To form the "sleeves," I made buttons holes in the back of the piece that a belt slipped through and then tabs were sewn underneath to the front which held everything in place.
As we say in Texas, the best thing to do when you are thrown from the horse, is get back on, so that is what I have done. It took a few day, but at least I got back on. I decided to make some tops for myself. The first is exactly the same top I did for the contest only it is out of a cotton and spandex plaid. I absolutely love this top for a number of reasons. I love the play of the plaid and all the movement. The way the plaid drapes across the back reminds me so much of my celtic heritage. I have a piece of quilted plaid coating that I am going to make to wear with this top. It's going to be a fantastic outfit. I am going to have to be careful as the top goes with so many things, I could wear it out before I get the coat made! Only a joke, with as many clothes as I have, I ratherly wear anything out. By the way, the fabric I used for this top was purchased at the Needle Shop here in Chicago. The store carries great cottons, but they also have a selection of knits and wools. It's not a large selection, but I love the shop so I always like to at least give them a try if I have time.
The top below is the same basic pattern as the top above, just minus the drape. I just wanted to try something out. I made it so that the top can be worn on either side. It's totally reversable. On the blue side is where I did my experient. I made slits all the way down the sleeve, exposing the peach fabric from underneathe. Then I tool a strip of the peach fabric and tied the slits forming little bowties. It's really rather fun when it's on. If you decide to give this a try, test your fabric first and make sure that once you cut it that it won't run. By the way, all three of the tops I am showing you are made from two-way stretch fabric. The blue fabric is a tencel and the peach is a bamboo. I love both of the fabrics and they handle well together. I can't wait for ski season. This top will be great for apres ski evenings.



My final top is the same as the contest top as well as the plaid. The fabric is a wool and spandex blend that I also found at the Needle Shop. The pants I made last year. When I saw the wool, I thought that it would match my pants and it's as if they were thrown in the dye bath together. How lucky can one get? The fabric for the pants was a gift. I originally made the pants to go with a sweater that I made from some wool that I bought on one of our trips to Germany.

The sweater is from a vintage Vogue pattern originally printed in the 40's. Lots and lots of cables. My favorite thing!!


Since I wanted the pants to have a bit of a Bavarian feel, I used pewter
accents. Rather than use a traditional hook at the waist, I found these pewter clasps that work really well.

The back pockets also have pewter buttons. In the center of the button is a stag.
At the hem, I added inverted pleats and then accented them with another pewter clasp. As I walk, the pants have a bit of movement and the pleat pulls the eye down giving the leg a longer feel.

So twists and turns. Life does an awful lot of twisting and turning and sometimes the twisting and turning is very difficult to deal with. When my husband and I married, there was nothing I wanted more than to have a family. But regardless of what we did or the avenues that we took, it just didn't work out. So we took those twists and turns, we felt the pain, we grieved, but then we picked ourselves up and continued down our life road which lead us to hosting 11 exchange students. Some of the experiences were good, some not so good, but in the end, I would do it all over again.

The recent experience has been good in the sense that it made me look at what I really want. I am now determined to get my pattern line out which makes quite a few people very happy. At least two of my patterns will be ready for sale by the first of the year. A great way to begin the new year, a new year and a new focus.

Take the twists and turns as they come. The road will continue on and it may be a better road in the end.