I’m dead terrified of upsetting the Mistress of the Jar. So I’m not going to talk about whether or not my finished top would be appropriate for my response to the challenge she set us. It might be. It might not be. I’m more blogging about getting there, not what “there” might be. So I firstly want to have a little whinge about PDF patterns! Yes, in the big scheme of things they’re fantastic. It’s fabulous that you can download them instantly and it’s truly wonderful that so many designers do make them available at little or even no cost. Those are big gains indeed.
All of those gains, however, can disappear in a fit of the grumbles when you spend two days crawling around on the floor trying to match up all the squares to glue one of them together so you can actually use it. After that, there’s the usual having to trace your pattern off that so that you can then pin it – or weight it; whichever method you use, there’s an added step – to your fabric and then cut out the garment. That might normally take [me] a day; but if you’ve just spent two getting to that point, all of that additional, ordinary stuff seems like a very great deal when you’re working on a deadline. And, let’s be honest, who ever works to anything but a deadline? Some might be tighter than others but we’re always trying to do more than we can realistically fit into the hours we’ve allocated for the task. We might plan to be ahead of ourselves but life gets in the way. That’s just how life is!
For me, there are other deterrents. We don’t have a decent floor in the place (the carpet is old and bumpy and if we continue to store pushbikes in the hallway and use the lounge room as a substitute gym in the winter, I can’t see that changing), the lino in the kitchen is a bit the same and there’s certainly not enough space in the kitchen for it to be a possibility even were it not, you know, the kitchen) and certainly no table large enough for gluing together large expanses of paper. That’s definitely a factor in my lack of enthusiasm for PDF patterns.
I like to think you’re all a great deal better organised than I am, even though I know it’s not the case, and that you’d never be battling PDFs and cutting out and sewing up your new garment a few hours before the party at which you need to wear it (because, heck, if you don’t wear that, then what on earth will you wear?). I’ve seen evidence around the blogosphere that there are others who are also of the school that thinks hems on knits are optional at a pinch; and therefore, knowing I’m in good company, I’m about to reel off a few of my heinous actions.
So what if I ended up using a shoelace as a tie because I didn’t have time to make a cord? Under a jacket, the shoelace wasn’t visible. So what if the garment wasn’t hemmed? I think most would agree that’s sometimes a deliberate choice for a very stable knit fabric. I might hem it eventually, along with sorting out a better way of achieving the desired gathers because I found the effect of the shoelace quite bulky and don’t imagine that a self-fabric cord would be any less so. The not-so-good fit across the back? It’s sleeveless but I’d always intended to wear it under a jacket. Given time, I might put a Chanel trim on the armscyes to tidy things up and bring in the profile to a better fit. Then again, I might not. The drape on the cowl? Far too deep to be a good look, but I take the responsibility for that because it relates to my absolute indolence with regard to measuring myself properly.
I know I’m a funny shape – I’ve had a lot of years to accept that! – and that my proportions make adjustments tricky. Still, I could have been more careful with starting out at about a size 12 across the shoulders on both back and front and then deciding how on earth I was going to ensure that the rest of the garment was big enough for the rest of me. You know how I was in a hurry? Yeah, well, that’s it, you know. I was in a hurry, so I did the best I could in what little time I had. I certainly graded from a smaller size at the shoulder to a bigger size at the bottom; it just might not been the right size in either spot. Oops.
Despite all the dramas and problems, the finished garment looked okay under the jacket. The colour is pretty and was appropriate for the evening (chosen carefully to reflect one of the favourite colours of the birthday girl) and if my top was a mess under the jacket, then only I knew. Another guest, someone who wouldn’t care about any of those shortcomings even if she’d known about them, said how nice it looked and particularly loved the cowl. 🙂