I think I've discovered something . . .
I really love stripes and plaids! It wasn't until I blogged about the striped dress and the diamond quilting on MG that I realized this. I don't wear a lot of flowery prints (ok, I do own one flowered print dress, the silk one I made this summer), but I do wear a lot of stripes and plaids along with solids and paisleys.
So why do I like them so much? First, I enjoy the challenge of matching the fabric at seam lines. Many people shy away from what can be a difficult, tedious task. For me, it's always fun to see if I can match up everything properly. That might involve adding seams to make it work, but that's part of the game. For example, did you know that I had to add a center back seam to the yoke and bodice back of the vintage shirt dress? I was short on fabric, plus because the stripes were uneven, and I wanted them to mirror image from the center back to the side seams. You can barely see it, but look closely just below the collar and you'll see the mirror image.
Second, I like them because of all the neat effects you can do with them. When cut on the bias, stripes can form chevrons (either up or down!), even plaids can form diamonds and uneven plaids can form an elongated diamond effect. Below you can see the effect of cutting stripes on the bias to make chevrons in a knit top I made last year.
When combined with pieces cut on the straight of grain in the same garment, the effects can be rather interesting, like the recent Marfy plaid skirt. (BTW, the center front is pieced, too. It was supposed to have a fly zip, but I changed my mind and used a side invisible zip.)
Purposely removing the spacing between the stripe with tucks can make a neat effect, too. This is what I did with the upper bodice on my brown vintage Easter dress, the original fabric is what the midriff pieces are cut from:
So, I've got two questions for you. What are your favorite prints to work with? If you don't sew, you might be able to answer my second question: What have you learned about yourself through blogging or journaling?
Thanks for all the compliments on the shirt dress! Quite a few you mentioned that the burgundy is a good color for me - thank you - I do try to pick fabrics that will work with the coloring I've been given! I got rave reviews on the shoes from my students, the dress was comfortable to wear and work in, less than the $150+ price tags (thank you Cidell, for that bit of info!), so I guess it is a winner!
Q/A: There are two today. First, from Dawn: "I wonder, do your students generally know that you make so many of your clothes and are they impressed? Does it inspire them to want to sew too?" Most of my students do know that I sew most of my clothes. I would have to say that they like most of what I make, especially if it's a very fashion-forward garment. Jr. and Sr. high school students can be some of the toughest critics when it comes to how you dress and look! There are a few who do sew (I've taught a few) and have made some rather nice things that I see them wearing to school.
Second, from designdreamer, she wanted to know why the shirt dress needed a zipper, and if the buttons went all the way to the hem. The buttons don't go all the way to the hem, that's part of the reason for the side zipper. Because the bodice is fitted and has a button placket to the waist only, it needs a side zipper so that it can be put on and taken off easily. This particular dress has a collar, yoke and box pleat at center back, so there's no place for a zipper there. The side zipper seems to have been a regular feature in vintage patterns especially in fitted bodice styles without or without front closures. I will often use a side zip with modern patterns if I don't want to mar the back lines of a garment with a zipper opening. Even an invisible zipper can be distracting with the tab.
Parting Shot: Not only do I teach science, but I maintain my equipment as much as I can on my own. Today, one my students broke a microscope, so I got out my handy toolbox (provided by our janitor - complete with all sorts of useful tools and duct tape!) and fixed it. Let's hope that tomorrow I won't have to fix another one.