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Midland, Texas, United States
I write. I make stuff.


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Tina Givens' Marisha Jacket Incarnation #3: The Peter Max Coat

Holy moly, this one was A Project. You've seen it in its earlier stage:

You can read more about it here.

And it was OK, but it wasn't what I wanted. So I started playing around with it and added some stuff to it, and then last Sunday I spent the whole day figuring out where it was going to go. Figuring out size and shape and how many layers I could deal with, feasibly (there were times when I ended up hand stitching through 8 layers of fabric, something I most heartily do NOT recommend). I had to go out and find a CMC splint (carpometacarpal joint stabilizer) to wear to try to help with the pain (it didn't do much, so I spent too much time this past week whinging and wearing microwaved heat mittens).

Anyway, after a week of doing little else except working on it, it's done. I may go back and do something with the blank orange panels at some point, but for now, I'm pleased having them this way. I may also add some sort of closure, some buttons and some jersey pull loops, but I don't know that I would ever wear it buttoned, so I'm letting that wait for now, as well.

So here it is, my Peter Max Coat:

The edges are all beaded; that's what I did all day yesterday.
And with a scarf I made last year that goes perfectly.

Now I've got to start something new, something that will be a lot easier on the thumb joint so it can recover. (It's arthritis, so it's good to know this is not the kind of project I want to do a lot of in the future.)

I'm very pleased with it and can't wait to wear it, like, you know: everywhere. Out, and around the house, and in the studio, and to sleep in. All this work? I may live in this puppy for the rest of my life.

Thanks for coming by! XO

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tina Givens' Marisha Jacket Project So Far

So here's a progress report. Of course I'm obsessed with this pattern, and so of course I'm making more than one. What a surprise, right?

Here's what it looks like on the TG site:
 And here's what it looks like if you make it in the actual size and following the actual pattern.
 Here's the first one I made, below:
 with that tacky Butt Flap:
You can see that I lengthened the front panels. I sewed the bottom all the way to the edge rather than leaving them loose, as you can see in the pattern photo.

I've since removed the Butt Flap and turned under and hand stitched the cut edge:

OK. That was after I made #2, so let's see if I can explain the chronology. I made the red one, #1, and then I made the purple one, below, #2. Then I made #3, which is coming up, below. Then I went back and altered #1, the red one, and then I embellished #2, the purple one. Then I made #4, coming up later, and then I went back and started embellishing #3. It's confusing, but it makes sense to me because I see the construction and the embellishment as two separate projects. Left brain and right brain. Work and play. OK. So here's #2:
 I think I lengthened the front panels a little more. I made the other panels longer, as well, and I flared them a little more at the bottom edges. Instead of having a collar, I reversed it and topstitched so the neckline is a finished edge.
It's finished and now looks like this:

And here's #3:
 I've long been fascinated by the idea of a coat of many colors, and I had a bunch of left-over pieces of linen that weren't enough for a jacket by themselves but that would work with other left-overs.

On this one, I did the same thing with the neckline (no collar), but I didn't topstitch because I had 4 layers of fabric. I used cotton jersey binding, a la Alabama Chanin (as I did in #2), to go around all the edges. I had a bunch left over from other projects and just used that, which was very satisfying. I love finding uses for left-over stuff.
 I'm thinking the back lends itself perfectly to some sort of appliquéd scenery or something. Still mulling over that part.
 I wanted it to be warm, and I had a lot of left-over chunks of cotton jersey, including some raspberry/purple mix that I'm not crazy about on its own but that would be great as a lining. So I lined the whole thing. Not traditional lining, where it's loose and separate from the garment itself, but rather two layers constructed together.
 I kind of mixed it, trying to thwart my natural tendency toward symmetry. Ha.
 So there's that one. I've worn it, and it's warm and very wearable, but it was way too blocky and boring, so I've started a long, tedious appliqué process on it. I started that yesterday: right now I'm hand stitching circles of color all up and down each sleeve. I *loathe* working on sleeves after they're already in place, but there's no way in hell I'm going to take them off, so. . . .It will take a long while, but it will be fabulously colorful when I'm done.

But before I started embellishing #3, I made #4, below, from upholstery-weight hand-dyed linen sent to me as a gift. On this one, I didn't even want to try to top-stitch the seams because the fabric was so thick, so I thought I'd do raw edges. I also shortened the front panels even shorter than the original pattern and made longer flaps so I could flap the front over more. I zigzagged around all the cut-out pieces before I started putting the jacket together so the edges would ravel but not too much. I've never done this before, and I made some mistakes somehow: when I washed the jacket, some of the seams unraveled. Plus I got carried away and tossed it in the wash before I trimmed and zigzagged the bottom edge, which is the last part of the construction. So there was a huge mess, with tons of random linen lint EVERYWHERE (The EGE took it outside and shook it out reallyreallyreally hard for me. It was dark, and the next morning when we looked out, it looked like orange snow in the driveway), and I had to mend a bunch of seams before it was even completely dry. Next time I'll do a tighter zigzag and be more careful about seam placement.

But! The good news is that I love it a lot, never mind that I haven't worn it yet.
 Above: obviously, I didn't get the jacket centered on Ricë. One side isn't that much lower than the other.

 Although the fabric around the button and buttonhole, below, looks different, it's the same. It was sewn on after the jacket was laundered, so it hasn't frayed yet. I stitched it in place on the machine and then hand-stitched.

We went to the yarn shop yesterday and I bought some special floss for it in oranges that are close but not exact. I'll do some easy hand stitching on it at some point.

So that's what I've done so far with this pattern. I had thought I'd keep lengthening the front panels and make it into a regular coat. You know, that meets all the way down the front. But I realized that I hardly ever wear a coat that way; it's always loose and open. I wear layers of stuff, and this jacket is perfect the way it was designed: the front can be buttoned, but it's open the rest of the way down, and layers show really nicely. Plus it's easier to walk in. So I think I'll stick to the shorter front panels after all. I do want to tweak the top: the shoulders could be wider and the underarm part be narrower: in other words, that whole shape could be more blocky instead of being so wide under the arms and narrow at the shoulders. I'll keep the huge pockets; that's one of my favorite parts. I'd like to make one with gores added in, but I can get that same effect, I think, by widening the bottom edge a little more. It feels like anything is possible.

What's next? I want to make on out of chambray from cut-up shirts, but first I need to, duh: cut up the shirts. Then I've got the 30 yards of linen I just dyed, so I could make jackets in orange and green and blue and deep hot pink. I don't know yet; I'm just kind of going along one at a time, seeing what seems like it wants to be next.

So here they are, #1-#4:

The thing I hope y'all get out of this is what some of you were telling me in the first place: you make things your own. As you work with anything—a pattern, a technique, a medium, a skill—you learn it, but you also learn about yourself through it: what's comfortable for you, what challenges you love, what things make you mental, what things you'd like to learn. For instance, as I worked with this, I discovered I like working with raw edges but need to practice my skills (I don't want a serger, but I've got to work out the optimal settings for zigzagging. I don't really like the look of zigzag stitches, but they're useful, so I need to deal with my reluctance to use it). On this pattern, I pushed it in one direction (longer front panels) and then backed off. I had to do it to see what it would look like and to experiment, but now I'm done with that experiment and will try something else.

I can never make just one of anything unless I don't like it, and I seldom even get involved with something unless I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it. If I use a pattern for a garment, I almost always end up making *a lot*. The dress I made when I was subbing—I've mentioned that before—that I ended up making 50 times. Most people cringe at the idea, but my brain adores that. It's repetitive, but it's experimental at the same time. I'm pretty sure I won't make 50 of these, in large part because that would be 150 yards of linen, and that makes my eyes cross. Dyeing and prepping 30 yards was a multi-day task, with enough lint floating around to make carpet.

OK. Lots to do today. A walk while it's nice (it's supposed to be 75 degrees today and then 42 tomorrow), laundry, more stitching on #3. I want to get outside this afternoon while it's warm and disassemble chambray shirts; too messy to do in the house.

Thanks for coming by! I hope you're having a lovely weekend~~XO

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Project #1

For the first of the three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day) for which I do this—do a project all in one day (theoretically) as my way of celebrating—I did pretty well but did not, alas, finish. I posted throughout the day on Facebook, to share with others who might not be in there feasting and watching football on television or whatever regular people do on Thanksgiving in the US but also to keep myself motivated. Usually I switch back and forth between things throughout the day: working on an assignment, doing some hand-stitching, doing some other work (cutting out fabric or working on the sewing machine). But for these, I have to plug along, and posting my progress is fun *and* motivating.

Anyway, I started out with a couple of old tops I had planned to use as fabric for appliqués or whatever. This was yesterday morning:
 I got Ricë to help me figure out where to cut the darker one down for a sort of bolero/shrug. I did this once before with a cheap (a good brand, but old and faded from a resale shop) top, and I wear it all the time at home instead of turning up the heat. You know: you get chilled but don't want to wear something bulky while you're working, so you just turn up the heat a little. I try not to do that if I can stand it. I mean, I keep it pretty warm already. Normal people start to sweat when they walk in.
 So we got it cut down, and then I started dicking around with the lining. This pink t-shirt is soft and supple, and it will feel great. But trying to insert a lining *without* taking off the sleeves and opening up the seams is just nuts. I'm lazy, though, and the top was small enough so that I had to be careful that there's still room for a long-sleeved t under it.
 There was a lot of pinning and depinning and repinning at this stage
 I like to appliqué something in the middle of the back to stabilize the lining before I start hand stitching. I was going to use felted wool and do maybe a heart or something equally trite. Then my eyes caught this, which I had unearthed from somewhere last week. It's from an old t-shirt, from years ago. I wore it, dyed it pink, altered it, finally quit wearing it and cut out the design to save. Perfect!
 Yes, I did stamp the "yes" all those years ago. Now I wish I'd stamped "Duh."
 Did the appliqué stitching and then pinned on some binding I had left over from another garment project.

And this is how far I got by 1 am when I gave up and went to bed. This morning I got up and took these photos:

 I used variegated floss I dyed a while back, and that was cool:
 Now I have to hand stitch around the seams where the lining ends/meets on the inside. I didn't line the sleeves; the first one's sleeves aren't lined, and I like that really well: it's not bulky around the arms and shoulders, and it still keeps me warm enough.

 Below you can see where I have to stitch and stabilize the lining around the armhole. I can do that by hand, too, though, so it will be OK. Tedious because I have to make sure it doesn't bunch up in there, but OK.

Then I may add a closure, maybe a cotton jersey pull loop and a big button. I can do random kantha-like stitching all over it if I want to, but I plan (ha: "plan") to wear it first.

On the one hand, I'm disappointed I didn't get it completed. On the other hand, though, I did pretty well getting through the project in one day, and I'm pleased with how it's turning out.