Monday, February 16, 2009

Pretty in Pink and Other Cliches

Many years ago, I learned from an artist friend, Mei Shu, to give myself the gift of sewing for my birthday. Mei Shu created a painting for herself every birthday. Since then, my friends and family have learned not to throw a party on my behalf, and that I would stand them up for any luncheon they would try to arrange. My husband learned not to expect a special dinner. One year he was greatly disappointed to learn that I had run to the store to purchase Cotton Duck, and not one to roast.

This year, I allowed myself the time to be inspired by the beauty of my birthday garden. There are a few trees that were collected as birthday gifts. One of these is my pink magnolia. In February, when most of the Northern Hemisphere is hiding from the snow, my pink magnolia opens its saucer blooms announcing that Spring is here.

This year as I walked through the garden I found that the Magnolia was not alone. Nearly everything in bloom was a shade of pink.

The cosmos are obviously confused because they are not supposed to be here until Summer.

The garden inspired me to run astray and consider making myself a St. John knit inspired coat of pink ribbon tweed. Maybe pull the the ribbons and braid them for closures, but without much pink in my wardrobe, I could not stop there. I would have to then make myself a pair of pink cotton with lycra pants, and a new white broadcloth blouse....... and before I could stop myself, I'd be spending a birthday week of sewing new creative projects, something I cannot afford myself the luxury of this year.

So, this year I stayed focused and played my sewing practical. I completed items 2 and 3 for the 11 piece SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) Projects I am working my way through, along with many other women who frequent Artisanssquare. SWAP is part of a commitment to sew what works for my daily life for awhile. To create a wardrobe that allows for me at anytime to open my closet and be able to pick what is perfect to wear that day.

The pieces I completed are this Donna Karan suit made using Vogue sewing pattern 2064 out of a very stretchy and very comfortable rayon with lycra double knit. I highly recommend this pattern and design. The pants are easy to make as easy can be. There are no side seams, just side darts that keep a clean line on the hips and waist.

Construction involves pinning, cutting, sewing inner leg and crotch seams, adjusting fit, casing and threading elastic, hemming and your done! The top is a little more involved, but technique wise does not involve anything more. Just follow the instructions and you have a suit that can be worn from gym, to warehouse, to office, to dinner. It bridges the gap between casual and well-dressed. It works for hanging around the house and going out. Just what the closet ordered!