24 February 2013

Purple, Green and Yellow

Or: I don't know fancy colour names, so what.

There's this scene in Robertson Davies' What's Bred in the Bone where Francis Cornish, an aspiring young artist, is told to draw a perfectly and impeccably straight line. Being a dedicated student of drawing, he does so. Easy.

Then he's asked to draw a second line, equally straight, precisely on top of and parallel to the first. And then another that bisects those two indistinguishable lines. And then another that intersects those three lines exactly at their meeting point. Francis gives it his best, of course, but wonders at the near-impossibility of his task.

Hey, I wonder why the process of topstitching always, always reminds me of that scene.

I made the above shirt (jacket?) out of the fabric left over from two projects, this shirt and these pants, as part of the Itty Bits section of Cation Designs' Stashbusting sewalong. (Yes, that was the January theme. Better late than never, and all that!) The "yellow" in the title comes from the cream topstitching.

I'm actually not sure why I was sewing with leftovers when I have 5 different untouched fabrics in my bin, but I used up those scraps like you wouldn't believe. They were barely enough for the jacket—actually, they weren't enough for the jacket, and I ended up having to use two other scraps for the inside back yoke (see above) and the undercollar:

Uneven stitches on lilac fabric? I won't be popping this collar.

This was also my first project using Mabel Erwin's Practical Dress Design (scanned and shared months ago by TJ at The Perfect Nose). I read through a big chunk of the book way back during winter break, but hadn't got a chance to use the techniques from it until now. For anyone who's skimmed the designs in this book—and understood the implied promise that you, too, can learn how to sew all of them!—do I even need to explain the excitement of finally making something from it?

As much as I liked the drawings, though, vintage-style dresses aren't exactly my thing, so I pulled out an oldish Levi's jacket for inspiration, trying to ensure that the yokes, rolled collar, and breast pockets I had in mind would turn out looking like the real thing. Then I reached for my bodice sloper and got to work on making the jacket pattern.

What did I do? (Alert: Detailed and possibly boring sewing procedures ahead) (Just kidding; you know you want to read them)