The Sweaters Everywhere Skirt

Guys, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s cold here in New York. It’s really quite cold. It’s a bit on the scale away from warm. Comparing this to a tropical island would be almost impossible except for the island parts. The east coast is in the middle of a painful freeze and it seems to be taxing all but the most diabolical Christmas special claymation villains.  Mr. Struggle, who hails from a sultry exotic climate, turned to me the other day and mournfully asked me when it would be warm again, as though this is somehow under my control. I told him he would have to wait until springtime. I strongly suspect that if he could, Mr. Struggle would hibernate like a bear. Unfortunately none of us are built that way, except actually bears, so we all have to figure out ways to deal with winter, should we live in such places.

Now, honestly, I don’t really mind the cold that much. I like having seasons, I find the weather fairly bracing, and I feel that as long as you have appropriate clothing you can kind of deal with anything. Layers are key, wool is key, etc. Actually the issues I have with winter don’t have much to do with my personal reaction to the weather and have more to do with how awful people become during the months after December.

See, during the holiday season people are very excited and cheerful and everything is romantic and lovely, at least, if you’re into that sort of thing. But people WANT it to snow, the fools, they want that White Christmas any everything. After New Years, though, once the snow has stopped being charming and just looks like sad gray sludge mixed with garbage and rock salt (isn’t New York a magical place?), people grow bitter and take up a great deal of space on the subway with their coats. I do not begrudge them the coats. I feel weird when I see someone whose coat is not made of down when the temperature is under 30 degrees. I don’t care how good you think that cloth coat looks. No one looks good with pneumonia. Fact. But people just get grumpy and short-tempered in bad weather and who can blame them, only this is a city of so many people who you sort of wish everyone wasn’t like this at the same time. I know it’s hard to be cheerful when you are freezing and your boots are slowly being eaten by whatever they put on the roads here to prevent ice, but my goodness can’t we just try?

However, I might have this attitude because I try to dress for the weather and make sure I have lots of warm comfortable layers to help me make it through. First of all, you must have sweaters. And maybe you shouldn’t limit them to your upper body….

SE 1Maybe you should put them on all over your body! RIGHT? Genius! This is a sweater skirt! I love it so much. It’s gotten really big because wool stretches so it used to be closer fitting and more flattering and better, but I don’t care because I’ve worn it like ten times already so this is only my fault and it’s worth it. This is a wool sweater knit that came from Mood and it is actually the remnant of another garment, this dress! Which I also wear all the time these days because this wool is seriously warm. This wool is thick and cozy and actually not really itchy at all, so it’s basically a miracle. The only issue is that it stretches, so the waistband has already stretched and you are going to see some fun gaping on that subject in the side view. I have already washed it and it didn’t quite return to its original size so….who knows, really. Ah, well. It’s warm. That’s all that matters right now.

SE 6See, you can see a little bit of sagging in the fabric. What do you guys do to tighten up your wools? Anything? It’s okay, honestly, just wondering, though. So the pattern was Colette Patterns Mabel, which I lengthened and took in at the hem to give it a more pencil-skirt shape. It was insanely easy to put together. That is all.

SE 3A little rear view for those who are interested. If I had had more fabric I would have tried to match up the back better but I didn’t and c’est la vie, I don’t mind, all that is behind me.

SE 5Here we go. See the back-gaping? Upside, I can fit a lot in this waistband, downside, will it stay in place? One never knows. SE 2So there you have it, a little something to help beat the cold. As for Mr. Struggle, he’s avoiding the outside world as much as possible, forcing me to bring him supplies and report to him what’s going on. Hmmm, maybe he IS hibernating….

Of course, there are some who would say it’s madness to wear skirts in winter at all. To those I would say, I can’t hear you over the feeling of insane warmth in my legs from this SWEATER SKIRT.

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The Winter Uniform Outfit

Hey, there, people! So sorry for the long delay in posting, though I know that with all the internet content out there very few people even noticed because you know, reality television exists. I have to say, the holidays make hell with my posting. I’ve made a lot of things, but my work schedule is crazy and I can never get them documented, and then I’m spending all this time making gifts for other people and KNITTING which takes so much damn time, it really makes you appreciate sewing, right? Knitting really encourages me to see more movies because that’s when I end up knitting the most, otherwise I will never get it done. That being said, there are a lot of bad movies out there, and I would know, I’ve dropped stitches through all of them.

So I feel I should give you a quick recap on my January. Let’s see, a lot of sewing, working, more working, sewing, surviving the New York winter, getting into Jane the Virgin (SERIOUSLY WATCH JANE THE VIRGIN IT’S AMAZING) and then being sad that I watched Jane the Virgin so quickly and now I have to wait for more episodes. Oh, and wedding planning and life and writing and whatever. All such non-important nonsense because it has nothing to do with Jane the Virgin.

I am seriously jealous of the insanely good costuming throughout that show, for women AND for men. It’s set in Florida so everyone looks warm and happy all the time. Now, I’m not actually that anti-winter. I don’t mind the cold much, I grew up with this weather over in Philadelphia and do so enjoy wool. But watching this bright and sunny show after trudging through the sludge of the city does make me just the slightest bit jealous. The thing about New York in the winter is that it just destroys your sense of dressing, for most of us, at least. Your boots get eaten by salt, your body grows due to puffy coats, layers and, to be fair, eating your feelings, which makes subway rides even more crowded, and at some point you just figure, god, why am I bothering to look nice? Let me just lean into this, invest in the biggest sweater I can find, and call this a look. It’s deeply tempting to do this, and I admit, I have. Additionally, on the days I’m working from home, writing on the couch, it’s even MORE tempting to just live in pajamas, especially of the flannel variety. But I’m trying to feel a little more pulled together even when I’m writing, because it’s important to take writing seriously and treat it like the job that it is, so I have decided that even my lounge-wear needs to be nice, and, if possible, handmade.

Enter the Papercut Patterns Anima pant and the Megan Nielson Briar Top, stages right and left, respectively. Separately, they are wonderful patterns. Together? They are my winter writing uniform:

WU 1I made both of these pieces over a month ago at least, and hadn’t gotten around to documenting them before yesterday because it’s hard to pry them off of my body unless it’s to put them in the washing machine.

WU 2They are both super-easy to put together. The anima pants have pockets which is just fantastic and the construction is actually fairly fun for those, I liked that a lot. Otherwise these pique knit pants came together like a dream.

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Next time I would use wider elastic for the waistband, because the thinner elastic I used makes it a little bunchy, but hey, these are basically high-class sweatpants, does anyone actively care? My laptop sure doesn’t and that’s the real audience for these….

There were no other fitting issues. I cut a medium for the top and the bottoms, and they both fit like a dream, but to be fair, these are comfortable knits, the fit is, shall we say, an easy thing. But the last thing you want when wrestling with words on a page is a woven, I can assure you…

WU 5The shirt is super easy, I love it. The hi-lo thing, I wasn’t initially a fan but I kind of like it now, and when I wear this with real pants I throw a tank top on underneath, and there you go. Layers. Like an onion of an outfit.

The fabric for the pants came from FabricMart.com and was insanely cheap, I think it was like 3.50 a yard. I used some to make this skirt. The shirt came from a length of fabric from Paron’s. The cat hair is all Cadfael.

WU 6Plus, it’s always nice to have some extra butt-coverage. Am I right? I mean, when you have this much to cover….

WU 7There’s that high-lo for you. I look like I’m in deep pain, but go with it. I promise I’m very comfortable and happy in this outfit. Mr. Struggle, who kindly took these photos, was also kind enough to brush at least a large portion of the cat hair off of me before these were taken. Cadfael also likes this outfit, clearly…

WU 3So there you go. Comfortable, easy, the perfect winter writer’s uniform. Who can ask for anything more?

I promise that now that all my gifts have been given and my life has calmed down I will be giving you more posts and more photos! Including wedding updates coming soon! So many things to make, so little time. Why can’t everything be made of Jersey? It really does make things easier….well at least I have my winter writing look down…

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Filed under Megan Nielsen, Papercut Patterns, Sewing

The Return of the Lady Lumberjack Dress

I just want to state for the record that I would be a terrible lumberjack. When I was a junior in high school I spent a semester living on an organic farm in Maine, it’s actually a fantastic program with your normal junior year classes plus a crash course in community building, sustainable living, and salt marsh farming. I rarely do that last one anymore, but the first two, I’m all about, and I credit the Chewonki Foundation with much of my interest and abilities. It’s basically using Thoreau’s edict in Walden to “Live Deliberately” and teaching it to 17 year old kids, which works a lot better than you might think it would. Plus, you get to hang out with lambs fresh of out their maternal ovens, which is both cute and strange. All the things I’m into!

But back to the lumberjack thing, we did have to do a day or two on the forest rotation, where we observed how they grow wood for lumber and fuel and are careful to vary their cutting and rotate their gathering so that they don’t deplete too much of their woodlands at any one time. And we had to use a chainsaw. And it was terrifying. It sounded like a wild beast growling at me and it moved really fast and I was totally sure I was going to cut my own arm off, who knows how. So that was my first and last time with a chainsaw and I certainly wouldn’t trust myself with an axe, because I’m clumsy with a pillow, so what would I do with and axe? I would be the worst damn lumberjack. It’s a fact. But that doesn’t mean I can’t dress like one, right?

So here it is, my second Lady Lumberjack incarnation, following last year’s Archer Shirt in a cozy flannel. This year, it’s a red plaid wool that was given to me by a costume designer who worked with me last year. Oh, how I miss the costume shop…..I miss you all! This pattern is the Grainline Studio Archer, lengthened to a dress and shaped with a belt because, you know, that’s how I do. Check it out!

RLL1I was sitting in this for a while before I took these photos so it’s a bit more wrinkled than I had anticipated. Sigh. I’m the worst. I never consider wrinkles when I take these photos, or when I bask in the sun.

RLL4A blurry photo because of the rapidly setting winter sun. These photos were taken at, like, 4pm. I hate winter for this reason, we spend our days mourning the death of light. I wanted to show the curve in the side of the hem, though, so there you go.

RLL5Here’s the back. I have nothing much to say about this, really, I think it looks nice!

This dress was very easy to make. I’ve made this pattern so many times that it’s sort of second nature to me now, it still takes time and effort and is complicated in its way, but I get it, I get how it works, and I kind of enjoy how labor intensive it is, not that it is so labor intensive, really, it’s not a coat, for goodness sakes. I now flatfell all the shoulder and arm seams, and I french seam the sleeve and side seams in one continuous motion. I like the collar and I like the collar stand, and this time I had enough fabric to make the outside yoke cut on the bias, so, that’s a win! I really have a hard time justifying buying more fabric even if it does allow me to have the details I want. It’s a constant internal struggle, I must say. Sigh. Between my dashed lumberjack dreams and these dilemmas my life is SO hard, isn’t it?

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That bias cut situation really makes the shoulders so deeply comfortable, does anyone else think this? I feel like it stretches over your shoulders so nicely.

RLL7That strange line of white is actually the markers mark on the selvage which I used to cut the button band. I really didn’t mean for it to be visible but I actually think it’s kind of nice! I never mind when that kind of thing is visible, I usually enjoy it.

RLL2So there you go, a new dress, and by the way, I know I know I know I’ve been on a dress roll and I’m not going to apologize for that. Dresses are easy and they are fun and I love them. It’s an instant outfit. Who can argue with that? I will stop making dresses when they stop being awesome which will be NEVER.

In other news, a recent stay in Philadelphia with my parents included a late Hanukkah gift exchange which had me leaving the table with an endangered species my mother adopted in my name, which Morse, one of their cats, really could not figure out at all.

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Are you a new friend?

RLL9OR A MORTAL ENEMY? We may never know. Meanwhile, I’ll be making a dress. Excuse me.

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, Sewing

The Easy Being Green Dress

Ever since I started sewing, Black Friday has taken on a strange feeling for me. I’ve never been all that into Black Friday, honestly, my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas because….Judaism, so I never needed to take advantage of the sales to make sure I have gifts for everyone. But since I started sewing, even though I got into it because it seemed fun, I think quite differently about consumption and buying and the impact of my buying choices. Of course, some might say that I’ve shifted my commerce from clothing to FABRIC but these are lies, lies I say! No, I am trying not to buy fabric unless it’s for a specific project, which is HARD, people, I swear. Anyway, regardless of my fabric consumption which depending on who you talk to is minimal (me) to out of control (Mr. Struggle, foolish silly man, he should know better than to get between me and my fabric…) I just don’t really buy clothing anymore. The rare sports bra or a piece of outerwear, perhaps, but nothing more. So when I see all of the sales and the flurry of activity on the Friday after Thanksgiving, it’s interesting to me but I see it from far away, like I’m watching a movie. Which is probably bad, because there are things I should buy, but I can’t bear to be a part of that experience, honestly, it just seems awful and exhausting and besides, the idea of undressing and trying on a bunch of clothing in dress-room lighting after a huge meal the day before sounds about as fun as a root canal. Without drugs.

I know there are people who love this holiday, Black Friday, that is, and you always hear about crowds lining up earlier and earlier outside of large stores waiting for their deals, but honestly, I can’t imagine that. And then you always hear about people who get injured in some way trying to fight someone for that amazing bargain and you have to figure, holiday gifts, expensive, a trip to the hospital over a pair of designer jeans? Priceless. That being said, if Mood Fabric had a Black Friday sale I would probably end up killing someone, straight up, so I shouldn’t judge, right?

So instead of doing any shopping, I spent the day hanging out with my family, writing, and of course, taking a Pilates class to try and deal with the meal situation of the day before. And instead of buying something, I wore a dress I made. Like I do. And I DID buy this fabric on sale almost six months ago in a sweater knit close-out from my beloved Girl Charlee, so, hey, look at that!

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This is another Sewaholic Renfrew. I’ve made so many of this pattern I can’t even count them. I probably should stop documenting them but OH well, you’re welcome.

The sweater knit was easy as pie to work with, and I even managed to match up stripes which is surprising as I really didn’t have a ton of this fabric with which to work! This is a deeply simple pattern. If you haven’t made it, you probably should. That’s just all I have to say about that. EBG3I’m not usually a stripe person, because of my propensity for eating large amounts of bread most of the time, but I think these kind of work, the thin stripes with the thick ones, it’s a little kinder, don’t you think?

EBG4Ohhhh, blurry. Sigh. Cold weather and early sunsets really don’t help my sewing photos, do they? Indoor photos, meh.

EBG6A little side view where you can admire my awesome stripe matching right there. That’s another thing about Black Friday, once you start sewing and you see what a mess of a lot of discount clothing is, you kind of just roll your eyes like the snob sewing makes you and sigh, impatiently, over mis-matched stripes and plaids and other such nonsense.

EBG2And there we go. Another lightweight sweater dress photographed by my lovely mother and a nice substitute for anything I could have possibly bought.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to money versus time. Right now, I have the time to make things for myself, and so I do, and I can, and that changes my relationship to consumerism. But if my life looked different and my time was differently allocated, maybe I would NEED those Black Friday sales, because I wouldn’t have the time to sew, buying clothing would be a necessity. So it’s easy for me not to participate in shopping culture because I have the time to find an alternative. If I didn’t, I just don’t know. But I hope I keep making this a priority, because I really don’t want to get stabbed at a Target someday….

 

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The Subtlety is Overrated Dress

Much as it pains me to admit it sometimes, life is not a play by Henrik Ibsen. If it was, I would be dressed a lot better and I would have much pithier dialogue on a daily basis that concerned secrets from my past and euphemisms for sexually transmitted diseases. I would be constantly fighting the subtle ways that injustice works in human relationships and I would probably have at least one suicide attempt under my belt, and I would be pale and interesting and troubled in some way, but not Tennessee Williams heroine kind of way, more in a European flavored way, with restraint and depth and unnamed manias. Sigh. Yes, it would be a grand way to live, surrounded by subtext and Scandinavian foods. But I don’t live that way, no one does, anymore, except maybe the cast of Downton Abbey, and so I must accept that mine is a more direct kind of life.

And perhaps that is a consequence of being a New Worlder. Ours is not a world of quiet revelations, but rather, of loud and clear confrontations. No one encounters a new continent a little at a time. From the very beginning, it was all about the obvious. So who can blame me for not being the most subtle person around? We are, on some small level at least, a product of our environments.

Perhaps this is why for this Thanksgiving, I made the most specific and least subtle garment possible. I could have done many things with my Thanksgiving outfit, many subtle shades of fall leaves, but instead, I decided to wear ALL of them. Because….why not?

SIOR1You will have to forgive the wrinkled nature of this dress, this happens when you take photos AFTER the meal, instead of before.

SIOR4This is another Elisalex dress from By Hand London. I did a full bust adjustment this time on the bodice, but I might have over-adjusted, as it’s a little big, which is fine, more room for turkey!

SIOR5I did a hand-picked zipper, and I realized I should not have put my hands in this position in all my photos, but ohhhhh welllllll. I also hand stitched the hem and lined the bodice, but not the skirt. The fabric is pretty stiff, so it holds the pleats neatly.

SIOR7My lovely mother took these photos, as exhausted as we both were from cooking (Although Mr. Struggle DID contribute an Indian dish, Butter Chicken, because there just WASN’T enough poultry on the table with that 13 pound turkey, you know?). She took the side view and made a face, like, why do you make so many pouffy dresses? Because I can, Mom. Because I can.

SIOR2Look, I love this dress. I also have no idea when I could or would ever wear it again. I mean, it’s hardly adaptable to other seasons…..but from September to November I guess it can be my loud and proud autumn loving go-to!

SIOR6See, I’m trying to look coy but the fabric JUST WONT LET ME. I bought this online over a year ago and didn’t know what do to with it. It was on sale, and I guess we all know why, because not everyone embraces their total lack of subtlety the way I do!

SIOR3At least it’s good fall forest camouflage, right?

I hope you all had wonderful happy and safe Thanksgivings, and welcome to unending Christmas carols that make me want to put my head through a plate glass windows, er, that is, holiday season!

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Filed under By Hand London, Clothing, Elisalex Dress, Sewing

The You Oughta Be Ottoman Shirt

I can’t think of much I hate more than arguing, so it always strikes me as strange that in many places shopping is tantamount to arguing, if you think about it. The culture of bargaining has long been abandoned by many parts of the West, and I can see why, as arguing with someone over the price of things makes me feel like I’m basically telling them their stuff is worth less than they think it is. Which, in a way, I suppose, is the point, that they price it too high and you come in too low and together you presumably reach a reasonable price but I don’t know why I have to be a part of that process, you know? I don’t feel like I’m qualified to be a part of the pricing process, I’m not a pricing professional, you know! There are people out there who say they like bargaining, and I’m sure that is true, but I am not among them.

This is why a family trip to Istanbul a few years ago, while delightful, was also exhausting. The Turks expect you to bargain, they seem to like it, God knows why, and there is this whole ceremony of buying things that confuses all but the most savvy world traveler. That’s another thing, I hate the idea that buying things has to be a whole THING, I want to feel like a ninja, or a tomb raider, I get in there, I get my stuff, I get out. I don’t want to have tea. I don’t want to see ALL of your carpets. I know you have a lot of carpets. Oh, you have another room of carpets back there? That’s fascinating but that’s infinitely more carpets than I want to see because I literally want zero carpets so…nope, yes, looking at the carpets. Sure, more tea, why not.

And then suddenly you’re paying all the Turkish lira in the world for a carpet you don’t want and can’t fit in your suitcase. And you KNOW you didn’t bargain well because they start throwing in free gifts. When they give you gifts, that’s it, you’ve lost, they are literally giving things away because they pity you, they pity how much they are charging you for what you are buying, and their pity translates to small Evil Eye icons and lamps that look like pomegranates (these are both real things we received with goods we were actually buying).

That being said, I never actually felt CHEATED by anyone in Istanbul, which is not the case with an Ebay purchase I bought several years ago which told me I was buying Liberty of London but instead sent me….not that. Only, I honestly wasn’t sure, because I bought it so early in my sewing adventures that I had never actually seen a Liberty of London print, and once I realized my mistake and that creepy jerk of an Ebay salesman had already made off with me money (not THAT much, it was priced at 20 a yard which really should have been an indicator, looking back….) the fabric languished in my stash, as the proof of my folly and terrible buying abilities. The thing is, I like the print, it actually really reminded me of Turkish Iznik tile, which I had adored on that same trip to Istanbul where I realized that bargaining is the worst. I took many photos of this tile, as you can see:

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Iznik tile and ceramic is very beautiful, at least, to my mind, and it has a long history as an art form and ceramic process. You can read more about that here, and here, if you want to do so.

So as I said, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this fabric for a long time. I liked it, but I also felt that it was evidence of my foolishness, my bad buying skills, and the fact that I had been taken in and sold a fake Liberty print, like a manufactured artifact in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, which I had skillfully avoided buying, only to be cheated now. But eventually I got over that, because you can only hate yourself for a fabric purchase for so long, I mean, how much time is there in a day, really. So finally I decided to embrace my faux-Liberty (which I now would NEVER mistake for a Liberty print) and enjoy my Ottoman Empire inspired cloth. And this is what I made:

OBO4Yay! Another Grainline Archer! I lengthened it a few inches, which no one else seems to have to do, but I feel like it has to be long to compensate for the journey the fabric takes over my chest region, and I like my shirts to hit below my hip if possible.

OBO7I am making a weird face here, like I’m not sure why this Turkish man is trying to get me to buy a carpet so badly, like, do I look like someone who NEEDS a carpet in their lives? I must do.

I also made the pants, which I never blogged, because if I wrote about every pair of Colette Patterns Clover Pants I made this blog would be called The Colette Patterns Clover Pants Blog. And no one would read that except weird internet guys. So there you go.

OBO8For some reason my machine was acting cruel and insane when I made the buttonholes on this, so they are AWFUL, and you can’t see them. I don’t get it, they made the ones for Mr. Struggle’s shirt JUST fine. Sidenote, I do make things for Mr. Struggle but he wont let me photograph him ever so you will never see those, take it up with him if you are mad.

The archer often pulls a little to the left on me, does anyone else have that experience? Nevertheless I adore it, I’ve made several and have no plans to stop, in fact, I recently cut an Archer dress so that’s on the menu coming up. I do want to try Deer and Doe’s new Bruyere shirt, soon, so that might hop the cue too.

This shirt was fine apart from the button-hole debacle, I like the construction a lot and don’t have any trouble with it anymore, honestly, I think it’s well drafted and I love how impressive it feels to make a collared shirt!

OBO11Here is a rather wrinkled shot of the back, but I thought it might make the bright print even clearer for you. Even though this fabric was an imposter, I have to say, I’ve kind of come to love it, having started associating it with Istanbul instead of with my being gullible. After all, even when you get cheated in Turkey, it comes with a little gift and a cup of tea, so really, how bad can it be?

OBO9There you go! Istanbul-inspired in more ways than one. I should go back there, I can blend in with the landscape now…

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Fabric, Grainline Patterns, Life, Sewing, Travel

The Knit Wit Outfit

I love a good knit. This may or may not come from my mother. If Megan Trainor is all about that bass, my mother is all about the knits. And who can blame her? A knit is a godsend to all women. Say what you will about Coco Chanel, but that woman made other women more comfortable by her innovative use of knits. Look, I love wovens. Who doesn’t? I would never surrender my love for them. But knits are just so deeply comfortable. They make anything cozier and easier to wear. If the casting off of the corset after the First World War transformed the way women felt in their clothing, then knits have done that once again, embracing curves and angles without darts or fabric geometry, stretching with the human body, moving as they move. They are more forgiving than any Catholic priest ever could be. They don’t mind too much if you have a big lunch, and they also shrink to you when you’ve been good about your running routine. Knits are like a sweet non-judgemental friend you can watch dumb movies with and enjoy large bottles of wine and large bowls of ice cream. Wovens are like that friend that motivates you and makes you feel ambitious and high achieving and professional and adult, but wovens aren’t going to hang out with you on a Sunday night while you watch The John Oliver Show, because wovens are busy, wovens are important, wovens don’t approve of getting their news with a side of comedy, wovens have ALREADY read the New York Times article and seen the BBC report on that issue and have OPINIONS before you even have context. Knits kind of make fun of wovens, as soon as they are out the door, and you smile, and sigh, and say “I’m friends with both of you, okay? But yes. Wovens can be a little uptight.  Now. Back to John Oliver. More wine?”

See, I would watch that show. That show with those three characters. It would be great. I wish someone would pay me to make a show where it’s just me talking to my fabric. Wouldn’t you watch that?

NO? Fine. Whatever. I wouldn’t watch your dumb show either.

Ahem. Anyway. Knits also make everything a little less formal, which I generally don’t approve of, as I like to feel fancy like a grown up, but I do think that knits can get there, with a little bit of sophistication and style. Of course, with silk jersey and rayons you can have a drapey slinky 1970’s dream, but what about the in between of this? Isn’t there something between sweatpants and draped halter?

And that’s why I like some of the new knit patterns that have been released by independent companies in the last few years. They have flare and they have fun. They are comfortable but they don’t only look like they are comfortable. You know what I mean?

Take, for example, Tilly and the Buttons Coco. I did:

KW1Oh, and what’s that on the bottom, lurking underneath? Is that a Colette Patterns Mabel? I DO BELIEVE IT IS! How delightful.

KW3

Yes yes! See, it’s all knit there, but I don’t look like I’m wearing a Juicy Couture Sweatsuit, I look like a person who has a job, and ambitions, and dreams.

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I made my friend Liz take these photos when we went to Philadelphia for the day to see the Patrick Kelly show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I knew nothing about this designer, and the show is excellent, as is his work. Really a fascinating and vivacious man, bursting with talent and innovation, whose appropriation of cultural and racial stigmas and stereotypes richly activated his work. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of him before, and saddened by the brevity of his amazing life. If you have the chance to see this show, please do, it’s really lovely and worth the trip if you aren’t in the area.

Liz sews too, in fact she works at the Museum at FIT, so she is always a wonderful person to see these shows with, to force to take my photograph, and to enjoy drinks and fries with afterwards. She’s a multi-talented human being.

What can I say about the construction of this. Knits are easy, man, especially the ponte de roma that makes up this top. It’s got structure for days, for a knit, but still moves with your body. Score.

KW9I used the three-quarter length sleeves and the funnel neck, which is as close to turtleneck as I can get without feeling horribly self-conscious about my chest.

KW7

There is also  a little split action on the sides, which I like a lot. You can just see that in the photo above.

KW4Close up! I love the cuffs on this shirt, they are genius. I’ve made this once before, as a dress, actually.

KW8

The skirt is the longest of the Mabels, because I’m not a micro-mini kind of girl. It’s seamed up the front, which is hard to see on this black.

KW6See? Even I can’t see it! This skirt is just the easiest thing I have made in months. It literally took me 40 minutes, from cutting to hemming. That’s the real length of a one hour drama minus the commercials. With breaks. To drink wine.

I got that scarf at a vintage store in Austin, by the way. It has ships all over it. I love it.

KW2See, that is the face of a comfortable YET decently dressed person. Simple, easy, cozy, yet with flare. What else can one ask for as the weather grows cold? Don’t worry that I have abandoned my wovens, I will always be more type A then type K (GET IT? K FOR KNITS? Seriously, this would be a great show), but it’s nice to have the option, isn’t it?

 

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