Friday, April 02, 2010

linen & leather

I've started sewing. It's rather free-form ... I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm having a ball playing around with fabrics and simple garment construction.

My initial pieces are in a linen-blend fabric. I cut out an A-line shape that's just big enough to fit over my hips. Sewed up the side seams, hemmed the bottom, threaded elastic into the top hem, and voila!


My sister teased that I looked like I was wearing a gunny sack, but I was undeterred. I love this skirt. LOVE it. Love it so much that I turned the remaining fabric into a dress.

I had just enough fabric to cut out another version, with the same skirt but then continuing straight upward into a tube top. I hemmed the bottom and top. Threaded 1/8" elastic into the top. Stiched on some simple straps made from scrap fabric. And sewed a wide belt out of linen fabric and a remnant of leather.


The first straps I'd sewn on were of leather, too. Two inches wide. But when Mountain Man started to tease me about how I'd need to carry a wooden club as an accessory, I decided to back off the cavewoman look and just keep leather at the belt.

I'm exceedingly proud of the belt. I built it around an asymmetrical scrap of soft, olive-colored suede that I'd found at a fabric store. I cut two piece of linen that were about an inch bigger around than the piece of leather, and which then tapered to narrow ties, about five feet long in all. I sewed the right sides of the linen pieces together, turned it inside out, top-stitched the linen, and then laboriously hand-sewed the leather on top with buttonhole thread.


The hand-stitching through the leather took a painful 2 hours, even though it was just a simple basting stitch. All I can say is that it was damn good that the one sewing book I've bought so far is the amazing Alabama Stitch Book. It emphasizes the artisanal art of hand-sewing and applique. And it taught me to "love" my thread before I start stitching (I thought this was silly when I first read it, but it started to make sense when I was in the depths of frustration with the stitching).

Anyways, these are simple pieces, but I'm happy. Here's one more shot for the full "cro-magnon couture" effect, along with my cave bear ...

14 comments:

pigbook1 said...

I love that dress, absolutely stunning. Flattering, simple, but that leather belt makes it. 2 hours of hand sewing was completely worthwhile!

Nalamienea said...

Totally super cute!! I've been eying some really inexpensive sewing machines lately because I've been wanting to start playing. You've given me the courage to just jump in! :D

Turtle said...

your doing great for not knowing what your doing! you are blessed to have one of those body types that i think look great in most anything thought! :)

Kathy said...

Love the final image! Great great belt and dress. Wonderful look on you

JM said...

wow, great job, I'm too scared to sew any garments bags and purses yes but clothes not yet........keep up the good work..

Kathryn said...

Very cute!

Anonymous said...

I think you did a great job on all the outfits and I absolutely would love that belt!!! but im a bit largish for it...
But it ALL looks great on you.
Congratulations
Lea-Anne

Sarah Jackson said...

Dang, woman. Can I bring my unfinished baby sewing over to you? :)

Rachel said...

I'm seriously impressed. I've been thinking more and more about sewing lately and Alabama Stitch Book is winging it's way toward me as we speak...so this post was especially inspirational.

That leather belt...ingenious and perfect.

yahaira said...

both the skirt and the dress are amazing. they fit you perfectly! you just did these on the fly?!! so jealous! and that belt, to die for!

SylvChezPlum said...

They all look great, and the belt is particularly fantastic !!
I also recently started sewing again, empowering to be able to sew your own things :-)

Kim O'Brien said...

You are so darn talented with fabric. Well done!

Acorn to Oak said...

Your skirt and dress look great! Congratulations! I love the look on your dog's face! So cute!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why hand stitching is described as laborious? 2 hours is not very long. I don't think very many things would be knitted in that time so why should sewing need to be any quicker? Funny that people will take weeks to make something knitted by hand but expect to whizz up something on a machine in hours. The result is with you for years so what is a few hours construction time?