Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three TNT Tops

I recently made up three knit tops over a weekend.  I had pulled the fabrics out and had them sitting on the work table while I admired them and tried to decide what they wanted to be.  One I had purchased several years ago, one purchased last summer and the last purchased just about a month ago.  I love each for its striking and unique look.

I often get on myself for not using and expressing more creativity in my sewing, whether that be by redesigning and changing up how I use my TNT (Tried and True) patterns, or by experimenting more with combining fabrics, or by working more with fabric manipulation/embellishment.  I feel often like I'm copping out or not pushing myself enough in my sewing.  Especially when I read others' blogs and am so impressed with their creativity in what they do.

But then, sometimes, I look at a fabric and just want to let its beauty sing on its own in a simple design that I know will work and I will love wearing.

These photos aren't the best at showing the details of the garments (they kind of just look like blobs of fabric), but they do show the fabrics.  And you've seen other versions of these patterns made by both myself and others in the sewing world.

I believe I got this first fabric several years ago from Marcy Tilton.  I'm not positive, because I couldn't find an entry for it in my record book, but I'm pretty sure it was MT.  I used the StyleArc Adele Top pattern for this one because I thought the angles of the pattern went well with the angles of the fabric.

This is a nice lightweight rayon knit that should work well going into early summer, even with long sleeves.  I love the rough raw-edge feel to the lines in the fabric.  (please try to ignore the wobbly-looking hem--it's not that bad in real life)

Next up was a gorgeous rayon/lycra knit that I got from EmmaOneSock last July.  It's kind of a spotty stripe print in black, gray and white.  For the pattern, I used Vogue 8582 (now OOP), the Marcy Tilton designed knit top with the side drape.

I use this pattern a lot because it fits nicely through the shoulders and upper torso, but has an easy loose fit elsewhere that makes it extremely comfortable to wear.  I'm sure I'll be using it again soon with the sleeves shortened for a couple summer tops.

Finally, there was this more recent acquisition--a rayon/lycra knit print from Sawyer Brook.  As soon as I saw this fabric come up on their website, I knew I had to have some.  I just love the African theme of the print and the colors that were used.  I also knew pretty much right away that it wanted to be another Sewing Workshop Liberty top.  (and that one figure's head does not actually land right on my boob when I'm wearing the shirt, it just looks that way on the dress form)

I apologize if you all are getting completely bored with how often I make this pattern, but I just can't resist.  You know when people ask that question:  If you were marooned on a desert island with a sewing machine and all the fabric/notions you could desire, what would be the top 10 patterns you would want to have with you?  Well, the SW Liberty Shirt would be number 1 on my list.  And I'm fairly positive this pattern also will be showing up a couple of times in my summer sewing.

And so I go on, torn between the thought that I should be more creative in using and applying the sewing skills I know I have and the knowledge that sometimes it's good to let the uniqueness of the fabric and patterns speak for themselves.  Where do you fall on this continuum?

Last weekend I went through the majority of my fabric collection, reorganizing and culling some of the (to me) dead weight.  I now have five big black trash bags of fabric in the trunk of the car waiting to go to the thrift shop.  I still have A LOT of fabric, but I feel better about what I have and it's all up off the floor and on the shelving units (yes "units" plural).  I still have to go through the sewing closet before I'm finished, but I am a bit rejuvenated and ready to sew.  Sewing so far this weekend has been a little boring--I made two pair of black pants from my TNT pattern to replace two pair in the closet that have become pretty worn out.  I used a cotton/lycra sateen for one and a 100% linen for the other, both fabrics very nice and found at JoAnn's, surprisingly enough.  I always try to have several pairs of basic black pants in my closet as they are my go to garment for my bottom half.

My other project for this weekend is to finish up the last of my late winter projects.  I'm working on Vogue 1347, the Chado Ralph Rucci shirt/jacket.  It's been sitting on the work table half-completed for two weeks now and I want to get it done.

We've finally had a few sunny and relatively warm days here in my neck of Montana, so I'm finally starting to think about summer sewing.  I've pulled the stack of fabrics I want to work with for summer and I've been thinking about joining the Stitchers' Guild Summer 6-PAC sew-a-long.  Warm weather clothes are not my favorite to sew, so I need all the incentive and cheering on that I can get!

Finally, on my last post, Martha asked about faille.  There are several descriptions of faille at  Essentially, faille is known by its kind of ribbed texture created by differing weights of the fibers used in the warp and weft of the fabric.  Faille comes in all types of fiber content; I currently have pieces of faille in both silk and cotton, and I have seen it also in both polyester and acetate.  As far as drapiness, in my experience that can vary quite a bit.  I have always washed any piece of faille I've acquired (because I wash virtually everything in my collection before it goes on the shelves, except a few special pieces of wool or silk), and I've had some become very drapey and some not.  The drape of the fabric also can depend on the fiber content and the thickness of the warp/weft fibers used.  The cotton and poly blend faille I used in my skirt clearly had a nice drape to it that lent itself well to the tucks and volume of that pattern.  Other failles I have encountered have a much more stiff hand to them.

I have a large hunk of black cotton faille I got a while back from FabricMart.  I purchased this piece because I needed to make a couple of art garments and I was hoping the fabric would discharge well.  Nicely, upon applying a bleach/water discharge, the fabric became a lovely rust which then moved toward a lighter salmon/pink color.  I shall have to take some photos of the vests I made with this fabric and write up a post on it soon.