Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Shall Sew Clothes

Linen on sale is a dangerous thing.
I am still off sewing. I have been sewing, which seems contradictory, but it is possible to not feel excited about something and still do it, right? I mean, there are still children's holey tights to mend, husband's baseball caps to adjust, gifts to complete and young eager learners to teach. But me, myself and I - we don't feel much sewing magic these days. I think it's largely because the outdoors is beckoning me.

But today I bought linen, because
(a) I like linen.
(b) It was on sale.
(c) I touched it, and images of non-ugly garments came into my mind.
(d) I have a sloper sitting on my sewing table, decaying from neglect.
(e) I need clothes.

I asked the nice lady at the cutting counter, "what would I need for a bias-cut blouse with short sleeves?" I am always hopeful that people can tell me so I don't have to calculate the yardage myself. She didn't know, so I picked a random value and she cut it for me and I took it home.

Before I cut into the linen, though, I need to make Kate a Strawberry Shortcake outfit. She is so cute walking around the house, dragging her Strawberry Shortcake pillow, quilt and plastic doll with her. She will wear her Strawberry Shortcake PJs all day if we let her (which, to her sorrow, we don't). I asked her if she would like a Strawberry Shortcake dress and she solemnly nodded and then stood (somewhat) still while I took her measurements so I could draft it. Kate never stands still for anything, so she must really want this. Then she took my color pencils and my roll of drafting paper and ran to a corner of the room and pretended to make patterns.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get started on it. The weather is supposed to be horrid tomorrow, becoming even worse on Friday - there might even be snow. Ah yes, nothing like snow in May to get a person back at the sewing machine.


  1. I love that your kids are pretending to make patterns! So cute!
    Am curious what the the dress for Kate will look like. My daughter too has been requesting clothes for me to sew lately ... which is odd because when I made her the last dresses she never wanted to try them on to see whether they fit and stuff ... She does wear them and likes them but I never really had the feeling that it is important to her that I MADE them. Couple days ago she even picked out a fabric - I am stupid enough to let my fabric lay around - which she wants me to make something out of! WOW! I don't really have time at the moment to make her any clothes - and she does not really need any at the moment. But the fact that she wants me to make something for her feels so good that I am very tempted to give in ... :-)

  2. I buy fabric and then rarely get round to the sewing part. Look forward to the strawberry shortcake outfit.

  3. Tell me more about using linen. I've got a couple of pieces, but they are so wrinkly and not soft. Also, every linen garment I've ever purchased is also wrinkly.
    Tell me why you like it and why I may be having such an experience.
    A linen newbie..

  4. Linen... I live linen. I, too, would love a fabric store where people know how to sew better than I do. I used to go to one like that in France, I actually learned a lot just shopping there !
    I saw a strawberry shortcake doll that you (or your daughter) might like... check that :

  5. I can't wait to see the strawberry shortcake outfit. My daughter, Lily is also a fan of strawberry shortcake. I hope you find some time to make an outfit for yourself.

  6. i love how you balance all of you crafts, sewing and time with your kids.

  7. Oh, I love linen - and I can't wait to see what you make with it!

    I need to make or buy clothes, but haven't found the time for either yet...

  8. Cecile, thank you for the link to that adorable doll! It IS much nicer than the character dolls that we buy from Target.

    Debbie, yes, linen can get wrinkly! And some need drycleaning! Definitely not one of those wash-and-wear type fabrics - they need ironing!

    Here are some things I've learned recently about working with linen (and over the years wearing it):
    (i) When you buy it, you don't have to prewash it. But you must then be prepared to have it shrink a little, so adapt your patterns accordingly, OR forever dryclean the garment to prevent shrinking after sewing.
    (ii) If you want to prewash it, first iron it to seal the whatchamacallit chemical that it's been treated with (I forgot the name). I also serge the edges. After washing, it will be preshrunk and thereafter you will not need to dryclean it, and it can be washed.
    (iii)When it comes out of the wash, it often gets wrinkly and a little shrunken. I set the iron on a high setting, and either use steam or a water spray, and the wrinkles come out nicely. It also stretches (because it is now flat) back to its usual size.

    Otherwise, sew with it like any other apparel fabric.

    Why do I like it? I don't like it more than any other particular apparel fabric. I just like it as ONE of the many available apparel fabrics. It is soft, drapes nicely, has a good weight and therefore falls gorgeously on a body. You can use it for bottoms (the heavier weights) or tops (the lighter weights). Cut on the bias it has a lot of movement and give. I have a blouse that has NO darts at all, that is linen and cut on the bias and every time I wear I look pounds lighter. With no darts!

  9. Did you get the snow today? I think you're north of me, but every 2 hours or so down here in Rochester it looked like kosher salt was sprinkling down on us. Bleh. Good day to stay at the sewing machine.


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.