Monday, November 02, 2009

The Incident with the Plaid

What Not to Do

KwikSew 3850
Much of the sewing that I'm doing at this moment is driven not by what I would love to make, but by obligation. I'm teaching several classes at SewItSeams in St Louis, and class samples are a must. So, awhile ago Cindy asked me to teach a class on matching plaids. She's been bringing in plaids, however has been hearing comments that people are reluctant to buy them because they don't feel confident matching plaids.
ok. This of course means that I can't use an old piece from stash. It's imperative to use fabrics available at the store.
The plaid pictured here is not my typical color palette, but it's the best of what she had in stock when I needed to pick out fabric. Oh, and I have to use patterns available to her - which means Kwik Sew or one of the independents.

So I chose Kwik Sew 3850 - Pattern pic up top. Cute skirt. Pencil skirt shape - which means it's not a straight skirt but narrows at the hem. That's ok, it'll illustrate what happens to your plaid.

The night I bought the fabric, the bolt had just come in. Thursday. Evening. I got the first 1 1/2 yd of 60" wide Pendleton wool plaid from this bolt.
At the cutting table on Sunday afternoon I got a wild hair, and decided that the skirt with the pocket and pleat front was much more interesting. I'd purchased fabric intending to make view B, no pleat, no pocket. So I traced and laid out version A.
As you can see, I simply couldn't make the pocket fit. No problem I mused. I'll just pick up another 1/4 to 1/2 yd, depending on where the plaid fell, on Tuesday when I was there for my next class.
Honestly, as I picked up scissors to cut, the thought occurred to me that I should wait. I had plenty of yardage to cut view B and match everything. But, surely, since I just took home the fabric on Thursday evening, the bolt would still be in the store. Surely.

Um, nope. I called Monday to put a hold on 1/2 yd. And was told the fabric was gone already.
See that area in the above pic where I laid the pocket. I had cut up that area for facings. So there wasn't even the possibility of piecing the top of the pocket.
I considered using a contrast for the side front. But really, aside from the fact that it would look dopey - what kind of teacher holds a class on matching plaids then wimps out with a contrast solid in the area where the match is most challenging? This skirt languished and hung up my mental ability to sew again. Stupid stupid mistake.
Then, last weekend, a store employee - Dawn - to the rescue. She'd purchased a large piece, and had already changed her mind about what to do with it, so she allowed me to cut my pocket from her yardage. I paid her for 1/2 a yard, since I had to cut a rather large rectangle from way off the edge of her goods.

Honestly! Costly mistake. I get a good discount for yardage I use for class samples. I paid Dawn the regular price of the fabric. Ouch - for a pocket side front. But, I limited her possibilities because of my dumb mistake.

Construction pictures on The skirt: Pictures taken after dark as the camera battery died taking other pics during daylight hours. oops (yet again, an oops)

Pocket and pleat installed. You can see that the plaid doesn't match at the side seam. It's important to choose which match is more important when it's evident that only a portion will match. I'm very pleased though with the match vertically and horizontally across the pocket side front. The lower skirt front is slightly wider than the pocket side front, so I worked from the center, where the pleat is stitched down and therefore closer to the pocket. The lower skirt sticks out further away from the body more toward the side seam.
Skirt back. There is a kick pleat at the hem, so right now it's just basted below the black line I drew on the CB seam.

Side seam. Because I centered the plaid motif on this unbalanced plaid at CF and CB, the squares along the side seam fall where they will. It's a good example though for the class.

So now this skirt too is to the point of needing lining and belt carriers.
I thought I had plenty of Ambiance still in stash in light colors. Not so.
So while I was still in the stages of wondering what to do about the pocket I read about Buttons and Bolts sale. Unfortunately another independent fabric store is closing. I'd never heard of them until they announced their close, when someone put up a notice on Stitchers Guild.
I placed an order and acc'd to the website it shipped Oct 26. Still not here. When it gets here I'll line the skirt. Then it goes on display at the store, in anticipation of a January class.
edit to update: I wrote this blog post yesterday and scheduled it to post tonight. Well, I got home from work a little bit ago, but just this minute opened the box from Buttons and Bolts. None of the lining I anticipated getting was in there. Crap! Another delay on finishing this skirt. I'm teaching tomorrow night, after working tomorrow day. I'll have to buy lining then.

Moral of the story Do not cut until you've checked your layout and are sure you can fit all your pieces on the fabric. I'm still feeling a bit of the sting of such a moronic move on my part.
Stash Acquisition
Not what I'm supposed to be about these days. Ha! Once the sewing bug bit again I've been sorely tempted more than once. I've been adding a piece here and there.
From Buttons and Bolts I've got 20 yds total of China silk (habotai, not the poly stuff) and Ambiance coming, all purchased for less than $3/yd.
and, two pieces of denim, a white shirting fabric (thought I already had one but cannot find it), a black wool crepe (which I just found in the trunk, the piece I did have but thought had used up), and a piece of cotton lawn.

More Stash Acquisition
If you follow Stitchers Guild you also know that SWAP rules and plans are up. The last fabric that I have yet to add a pic for for my planned SWAP - I'm thinking of calling it Winter Blues, is a piece from Emma One Sock. Purchased last month.

Think I'll still be buying fabric once we move to the boat? Isn't this blog supposed to be about using up the STASH?


Mardel said...

OOh, I feel your pain. I think I have even done that. I certainly might have done that. I'm glad you got a piece of fabric for the pocket.

I love the blues and greys.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

About the stash acquisition...unless it don't fit in your PO box - yeah you will still be buying fabric. You always need new crayons to color with!

gwensews said...

I would have to have stash, even living on a boat! Ah, haven't we all had the fabric shortage dilema?