Summer in Winter

1920's Singlet. Wool/Nylon, 2014.
To ward off the snowy chill there is wool, silk, and...dancing (the perfect antidote to winter's inducement to hibernate). Wore multiple layers for the journey to a party on Sunday night. Then, on the dance floor, layers were shed. It was among the pleasures for all who, in staunch denial of the long darkness and deep freeze of a Sunday night mid-January, had come to revel. Revealed under coats swiftly tossed aside were tee shirts, singlets and partially unbuttoned shirts. Summer attire. Bodies in motion swayed and stomped to the beat in boots that had recently trudged through the snow. 

Wore a soft wool singlet with a low scoop neck. Its material and style are reminiscent of a 1920's bathing costume. The pattern was easy to design and assembly was quick--wool absorbs stitches like a thirsty sponge. Yum. 

It took much longer to make a silk jersey camisole with a minimalist design (photo below). It has wide straps which taper as they meet the front and back panels and a tiny scalloped hem. As soon as it was finished (two weeks ago) wanted to wear it every day. Developed the pattern a little further, slimming the width of the straps, repositioning where they attach to the back, raising the height under the arm and narrowing the front panel. Then, with these modifications, sewed another camisole. The silk is warm and alluringly fluid along the body's surface. ("What?" asks the invaluable proofreader, "fluid"? Am explaining when she confesses that she happens to be wearing the silk long undershirt I'd sent her last year. "Comfortable" she says softly, "and luxurious.")

Wrapped again in layers left the party and headed home. Was warm for hours.... It was the wool, the dancing, the happiness.

Camisole with Scalloped Hem. Silk, 2014.
Camisole. Silk, 2014.

Corset Detail

Detail: Corset Back
A Victorian corset. Gradually almost all the overhead lights in this lovely brownstone flat ceased to function. Practically a Victorian night scene: hand-stitching the corset binding by lamplight, wearing a long chemise and a woolen shawl. Amused.

The looser a garment, the more one-size-fits-all a pattern is. A corset is the antithesis of a muumuu! It's hyper-individualized according to measurements. (After a day of wearing a corset donning a muumuu is appealing.)

Adventures in Underwear

7 pairs of underwear: silk, cotton, rayon, elastic
Began by making hats. Then underwear. Now there's a mini-stack of underwear in the closet and a hall tree with hats by the front door.

It is happiness-inducing to begin getting dressed each day with handmade underwear!

These are from different years--the deep purple from the initial year, fuschia made last year and printed silk jersey undies assembled this winter using fabric salvaged from cutting long underwear tops.

(Tend to write much more before editing down to the essentials. Ah, the many philosophical musings about self-reliance in draft form!)

Under It All There's Silk

Silk Underwear, 2012
I've a dear mother who is both loyal and critical. (It is criticism in a constructive vein, she'd insist.) She's worn a silk top (photo, with matching undies) since it was made for her and phoned to ask whether I'd sew her another. High praise indeed!

With its warmth and absorbency, silk is beneficial in winter. And when grey skies, shorter days and lower temperatures might lead to the doldrums, the sleek, airy luxury of silk provides elegant armor.

Laundry Gets Done

The Soak: lingerie
There is the adage about public/laundry. Forgive me.

The local laundry is a few blocks away. The routine: fill a sack and walk with arms wrapped around the bundle. After the wash cycle, bring (lug!) the damp collection home and drape it over drying racks. It has a satisfying appearance, like a table set with a meal one has made.

Some lingerie gets washed by hand.


detail: Merino wool/cotton lace, 2010
Pioneer theme continues. A chill wind is here. Made knickers, a design fitting the climate. I put them on as soon as the threads were clipped.

Making a garment involves engineering. Even the simplest aspects go awry when making haste. Working with fabric and thread involves a relationship of respect. They are alive. Purple prose to say. Nevertheless, it's true.

Knickers: Cotton w/ crochet trim, 2010
Some projects involve weeks of wondering, planning, experimenting and solving. Have come to understand for balance, working on simpler garments is satisfying.

The Modern Garter

Garter: cotton/lycra, nylon, elastic
Why did garters go out of fashion? Tights, which replace a garter and stockings, are aptly named.

The solution: modernize! Plush garters are sewn to a band of gentle lace and soft jersey with an adjustable hook & eye closure. Here is a modern garter belt. The little bow in the front was a last minute consideration. It is a small detail yet it seemed to balance the design.