After the success of my first Archer, I immediately started working on a second version. I was feeling really confident, so I decided to get a little fancy and use a cut of 14mm silk crepe from Thai Silks. Like Archer #1, this fabric is a bolder print than I'm used to wearing, but the colors are more familiar and I really love it. It was also a very easy piece of fabric for me to cut, because I bought 3 yards of it at an estate sale for $1.
You may be wondering how I know such specific information about this estate sale fabric. At this particular sale, Mike found a box full of silks in their original packaging with the sales receipt. The box had barely been opened. Dear Iris, the owner of the estate, has an internet shopping addiction and exquisite taste (this is the same sale where I bought a sofa full of yarn). Friends, I love estate sales. I say it all the time, because I love to share the things I love in hope that maybe you'll try your first estate sale and fall in love too. They're full of treasures. Sometimes, it's difficult to put a value on those treasures. In this case, I had the original receipt of purchase, and I knew I was walking away with over $400 worth of silk for $7/$8. It's been my experience that the people who run estate sales have very little concept of the value of sewing and knitting supplies. I came home from this sale with wool, linen and silk all priced at $1-$2 a piece. I've been to sales where I've been given a Rubbermaid bin to fill for $10. You never know what you'll find; that's part of the thrill! There are some busts, but I've not found many. Additionally, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you're keeping these perfectly good materials out of a landfill. Alright, you get the picture...
At any rate, it's a much easier mental exercise for me cut into and risk ruining a piece of fabric that cost $1 than it is for me to muster the courage/confidence to cut into pieces of fabric I dug deep into my pocket to pay for. I know it's silly and nonsensical. I'm unable to convince myself otherwise. I have one piece of silk in particular I bought at The Silk Society in London (they still stock it) that I don't feel qualified to use yet. I actually get nervous when I think about cutting it. I consider projects like this shirt practice for the day I get brave.
Speaking of brave, I think that's going to be my word for 2015. I don't know how the idea of certain projects became so daunting and scary for me. I'm not a chicken when it comes to knitting. I go out of my way to encourage new knitters to try and learn from projects with new skills. It's time I take my own advice and apply it to my sewing projects! It's not all going to be easy, and I expect some wadders, but I also expect to surprise myself.
One item at the top of my list of feared projects is pants. I am constantly reading other people's accounts of difficulties with pants and fitting. A lot of people don't sew them. Many who do report a lot frustration with the process while they work-out their best fitting pants. After a while, I convinced myself that pants sewing was a horrifying endeavor. This seemed to make perfect sense, because, even in RTW settings, pants are a beast. But how scary is pants sewing, really? Turns out, not nearly as scary as I thought.
The pants you see here are my first attempt at Butterick B5682, view A. This pattern produces pants that have a fly, front pockets, and a yoked back- all of which are features I want in a pair of pants. This pair of pants is a wearable muslin. I cut these straight out the envelope, no modifications, in a mid-weight, wool-poly blend fabric. They're not the perfect fitting pants I dream of, but I've gained some really valuable information from them. First, most importantly, I can sew pants! It wasn't even hard. I invested more hours in the construction of my Archer than I did in the sewing of these pants. There are two fit changes I would like to make on my next attempt: 1. I need to shorten the front crotch-length a good 1.5 inches 2. I need to grade between sizes from the waist to the hip on the back pieces only. I have read cautionary tales about making more than one modification to the fit of a pair of pants, so I'm considering trying these changes individually to see how they effect the overall fit. Additionally, I plan to make more versions of these pants as trousers, not jeans as the pattern intends, so I will swap the rear patch pockets for welt pockets in the future.
It's impossible for me to hide how excited I am about my latest sewing adventures. I chose a great time to get over my fear of blouse sewing. Sewaholic has recently released a really nice looking fitted blouse that I'm tempted to buy and start sewing immediately. I feel like I have a new found freedom since I started sewing separates. I can make outfits now. Mix-and-match. It's neat. And, I love how things are starting to come together in unexpected ways. I have a finished cardigan that is going to look superb with this blouse. I had hoped to complete it in time for this post, but I got stuck when it came time to choose buttons. So, soon.
Are you a risk taker with your sewing/knitting? Does it work-out more often than not? Do you surprise yourself?
1/14/2015 06:10:56 am
You SHOULD be excited and so proud of your sewing adventures. You've accomplished a lot in this outfit and it turned out really cute.
I should write a post on this subject, but in the meantime, I'll respond here and email you in case you don't see.
I love the outfit - well done you!
1/14/2015 11:50:52 am
Wow, they're great looking pants for your first pair - I hope those small changes give you the fit you're after. I know what you mean about being reluctant to cut into expensive fabric - in some ways it's totally sensible (wait till those skills develop and you can make something worthy!) but if you get too cautious you end up sewing lots of not so good fabric while sitting on a treasure chest of exquisite fabrics... Sadly I seem to fall in that risk averse, hoarder category! Estate sales sound wonderful - I've never been to one.
When I was talking about the fear of cutting into my 'fancy' fabric with my friend, Liz, she brought-up the possibility that the gorgeous fabrics I find at estate sales were victim to similar treatment by their previous owner. It got me thinking. It would be a shame to let them sit on the shelf indefinitely. Someday. :-D I hope you're able to use yours too!
1/14/2015 08:24:28 pm
Wow, this post is a double whammy! A button up AND pants! So impressive. Also, I'm impressed how elegant you can look in snow. I'm shivering just looking at these stunning pictures!
These are both great colours, on you personally, and together. I've just attempted my first pair of trousers too, though not nearly so complicated as yours! Mine are very close to fitting, but just not quite, but you're right, they weren't anywhere near as difficult as I'd imagined...
1/15/2015 04:01:01 am
Seriously, you're adorable! I keep saying I need to learn how to sew...I mean, I get the gist of it but I don't have a sewing machine anymore. My last two and I did not get along. Ever. I can read a manual a zillion times, troubleshoot like no one's business but when it comes down to the brass tacks, I can't sew on a machine. I can do minor hand repairs, which is lovely because I have destructive children...but if I needed to make a shirt, nope. Not my thing.
Well hey! You look like Miss 70s (I mean that in a good way). I'm jealous of your silk stash! Chicago seems to be the land of the great estate sale, Molly's always finding treasures. Congratulations on getting over your fear of pants sewing! I've done shorts but never pants....someday.
1/15/2015 01:16:17 pm
Oh, man, you are awesome!! Another great shirt and a superb pair of pants! Separates are sure great to make, especially when you make an outfit. :) You are so darn lucky to find such wonderful things at estate sales. I should probably find some to go to here, but haven't had much luck in the past. Sewing things are generally undervalued at thrift stores and antique shops. Would just love to delve into the stash of a seamstress. I was thinking about my stash and things I haven't cut into. Most of mine is just there because I haven't got to it yet although I've been putting off cutting into some glorious eyelet for a while. Someday I will do it! :) I just love your London silk. I can't wait to see what you sew with that!
Leave a Reply.