It seems like I’ve gone all sorts of crafty crazy this past week, and I’ve needed something a little different from my normal ‘knit-all-the-things’ therapy to fill the void. Don’t get me wrong, knitting is still the thing that I crave to be doing every waking moment when my hands aren’t otherwise engaged, but I think in the aftermath of Christmas knitting, and a brief bit of knitting for hire, even I, a self-diagnosed compulsive knitting addict, need a slight change.
It is important that I give myself a brief respite. It would be devastating to my sanity for my knitting to become chore-like, as it is my salvation from many worldly anxieties, tedious subway rides, and infrequent long waits in doctors’ offices. And I haven’t even given up knitting completely on this ‘break’ either; I’ve managed to add a few inches to the boyfriend’s “late and getting later” Christmas present, Jared Flood’s Timberline cardigan, and I’m also carrying around Alexis Winslow’s Arrowhead Mittens when commuting (knitting is magical; it makes public transit almost bearable). But over the past week, I have been rediscovering an old crafty love I had forgotten about, and that love is sewing.
What started off as a knitting related sewing experiment ( I was only attempting to make a cute project bag for the aforementioned Arrowhead Mittens) ended up becoming a full scale garment construction project. I started off by following the Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial from Jeni Baker’s In Colour Order, using three fat quarters to create two adorable project bags for small knitting projects. The pattern is incredibly easy to follow, and the bag is simple to put together.
I resisted the urge to run out to the nearest fabric store and buy up as many fat quarters as I could lay my hands on, and instead decided that I might set the bar a little higher and attempt to make a skirt.
There is this little independent clothing shop near my apartment that sells wonderful vintage inspired clothing, and a few months ago they had this beautiful turquoise and black polka dotted full circle skirt with a shaped waistband. I seriously coveted it, but they only had one remaining and it was a size xs, so while covet it I might, wear it I could not. A few weeks ago, they moved the skirt to the front window of the shop, as if they were trying to taunt me with what I could not have. But this got me thinking, certainly if I could manage to make a bag, I could also make a skirt, right?
So on the weekend I headed down to The Workroom, and had the ladies in the store steer me towards some appropriate materials. There were a few options for patterns, but I ended up selecting Victory Patterns Madeleine for the skirt, and a nice chambray fabric to construct it out of. With all my bits and bobs paid for, I headed home for an afternoon of sewing.
The original Madeleine pattern is designed with exterior pockets, suspenders, and a straight waistband. I opted to forgo the pockets and suspenders, and changed the waistband to the shaped style I had been coveting. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure how to modify the waistband, and my Pinterest searches turned out to be fruitless, so I improvised by folding the waistband pattern blueprint for the size I wanted in half, and then added the shaped peaks to the centre in scrap pattern paper. Instead of cutting only one waist piece, I cut two, added interfacing to both, placed right sides together, and sewed them together along the shaped edge. I then followed the pattern as written for the remainder of the waistband.
I am actually pretty pleased with how it turned out. I am not embarrassed to wear it out in public, which is more than I can say for some of the creations I sewed together in my high school days.