Thursday, February 12, 2009
Reveal 3. The Study Hall Skirt. When I was a kid, and sewing, my mom (the consumate 4-h seamstress) encouraged me to sew from patterns. Keep in mind I was likely not even ten yet, but I tried and became frustrated by the language and terms that where used that I had never heard before. The illustrations helped me more than the text, but sometimes they were more confusing. I can remember when I finally just stopped looking at the instructions, and instead looked at the pieces I had cut out. Cutting out was my favorite part because I knew I could do that. I loved the way it felt to push a straight pin through the delicate tissue then through the thickness of a few layers of fabric. It just felt right. Which was encouraging. But anyway. I looked at those funny shapes and started thinking about them in a new way. In a way that was maybe more like a young architect than a young sewer, and I eventually figured stuff out, and continued to sew pattern-free until I made my own patterns. My mom compared me to my aunts in Greece who would just take scissors to cloth and cut a dress pattern, knowing their daughters' sizes well enough to go free-form from the beginning. It was my most favorite comparison. It was the most inspiring comparison, no doubt.
As I draft and write and illustrate this collection of patterns, I've thought so often of those young days standing at the long bar where we cut and pinned everything in our 70's style den. I try to keep my own memories of sewing being new in mind as I go, and sort of teach young me how to do it all again. The satisfaction of making it right. But not the pressure of making it right. I think that's the balance for lots of us who (wish to) pick up a needle nearly every day (if only, right?).
But onto this pattern. Something else I learned VERY early in just getting dressed as a child was a disdain for waistbands. Any kind of waistbands. Elastic all the way around. Elastic just in the back. Didn't matter. I just wanted everything to sit at my upper hips, band free. Still do. Which is one of the reasons I made this skirt. My own, and I think several figure types are way more flattered by something that fits your hips well and leaves your waist alone. Isn't this why we always reach for our jeans? And this particular pattern also leaves your lower hip alone with flirty pleats front and back.
Do you remember this little skirt from way back when? I have worn that skirt everywhere, and because of that, I knew that a form of it had to be a pattern. It always feels right to wear it. Like pushing pins through pattern tissue and fabric. Right. And I love the idea of doing fancy work on the front panel like the original, should you feel the need. Don't you?