Saturday Post Part 1

So as planned, Emmylou came around last night and helped me with the hem on the top I began making last weekend. She encouraged me to finish off the tweed with a bias-binding edging and to leave the inner lining floating free, rather than in any way attaching it to the outer layer of tweed and endangering the lovely fullsomeness of the top. For fullsomeness was always my aim with this garment. Before I made it, I thought about the things I would like to do whilst wearing it, such as walking in the countryside, (big pockets for camera, I SPY book and Edirol) harvesting berries and seeds for future planting projects and doing light work around Mark’s garden of a Sunday afternoon. These are all tasks I enjoy immensely, and I wanted something to wear that would reflect my pleasure in these activities. Also, I was interested in making something sturdy and warm, yet breatheable too, as I often get very hot while walking or gardening. Finally, I always feel in Winter as if I would like to hide a little in my clothes and dig my hands down deep into some nice pockets. This top, I am happy to say, fulfils all the requisite requirements and I spent a happy half an hour with Mark this afternoon testing its efficacy in the considerably colder climate, and harvesting the sloes we planted a couple of years ago.

All that is left to do on this top is the handstitching of the lining hem around the bottom. I do not mind this task at all since I have a nice spool of vintage thread for the task and I love sewing with this. It’s slightly thicker than the thread you buy nowadays from your bog-standard haberdashery, and the wooden spool is a continual source of delight with its lovely little sticker and warm, wooden feeling. Incidentally, I prefer the sound of wooden spools. I find the plastic spools have a tinny, unsatisfying sound when they fall on the floor, or when the thread snags in them. The wooden ones, on the other hand, have a lovely, arboreal ring to them and never feel sharp or unsatisfyingly light in your hand.

I love that in slowing down to make this top, I was able to put a little bit of attention into each stage. I am pleased with how my hand-stitching looks inside where the top part of the garment is attached to the main body. They are not the neatest stitches in the world but they represent a significant improvement on my efforts last year and I like that they are done by my own hands to keep me warm in Winter.

I also like the hallucinogenic shade of yellow that I used in the pillowcase lining. I love this insane, luminous thread. Since it is on the inside, nobody else will see it. But like the whimsical cabbage print fabric (which even I wouldn’t wear in large swathes on the outside of a garment) it is a secret little stage in the garment’s construction that imbues it with mischief and personality.

The found pillowcases at my bedsit were unusable in their original state as they came in customised and very particular sizes. Somebody clearly made them themselves, and though it pained me slightly to undo someone else’s sewing, it pleased me to find a use for this otherwise redundant fabric. I like how, due to the size of the piece, I had to undo and keep a hem. The holes from the original hem are still there.

Also, one of the pillows clearly got more light than the other, since it is faded to a much paler shade.

I have enjoyed this process immensely. I haven’t destroyed or ruined the vintage tweed and I have learnt more about how to make my own clothes and follow patterns, and I finally have something to wear with appropriately strong and large pockets! Luckily I have the perfect button badge with which to accessorise this joyous top.

Incidentally, I had to buy a second copy of this pattern since I had lost the instruction sheet in the original pattern! This means I have a pristine, uncut edition of Butterick B5217 which I am willing to sell to anyone who wants it, at the cost price of £6.50. I shall cover the cost of postage myself. I have it in sizes 8 – 14, which are different from ready-to-wear sizes, and usually a lot smaller. However I usually take a 14-16 in ready-to-wear clothes and the largest size of this pattern is, as you can see, quite large enough for me. I like this pattern, since it is easy enough for me to follow and doesn’t involve too many complicated techniques!

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