Wednesday, 7 July 2010
The two R's cause unplanned, late-night sewing
The last couple of weeks have been busy ones...I have been doing lots of sewing, as well as trying to get lots of loose ends tied up before the summer holidays begin...like doing my tax return and other excitements. So last night I had a rare early night planned. With several jobs ticked off my list (tax return finally completed too - hurrah!), everything was going to plan. Until the postman knocked at the door at about 4pm.
He was bringing packages of fabric that I had ordered for Zebra-girl's quilt - but that's goodness to show you for another day. However, inside the package from Ray-Stitch was a surprising, extra piece of fabric. Half a metre of some summery white goodness with trailing lines of embroidery over its' threads, suspiciously reminiscent of dobby loveliness. It was love at first sight. The cotton is organic (and I later read when I checked it on the website here, produced by a fair-trade organisation), soft, has beautiful drape and the embroidery just makes it so, so lovely. And it's called Lappet Voile, which makes me think of rabbits with long velvety ears (don't worry, I'm not thinking that's a French translation). And looking at it gave me that feeling of impish sewing butterflies, where you simply have to sew. All through teatime, through swimming lessons, through tidying up the house I thought about what top I might make with it. I realised that as I could only afford to spend about an hour and half on this, it would need to be something quick. Something that didn't require me to make a toile first to find out whether it would fit. Something that could be cut in such a way that it would only require 1/2 a metre. And something that would definitely turn out to be wearable and lovely, because I didn't want to waste the beautiful material.
Rae's Spring Ruffle Top kept on appearing in my head...and the fact that I've never, ever, seen a poorly fitting one anywhere on the internet; that I remember reading someone saying how quick it was to make; and being aware that it can be made to your own specific dimensions, so that the top looks like it belongs to you, rather than someone larger or smaller. These all felt like Good Things to be remembering. Yes, I would make a Spring Ruffle Top and think about reducing my under-eye-bags another evening.
The top fitted perfectly into 1/2 a metre, and was a complete dream to make. It fitted just right first time without any irksome adjustments needing to be made and was completed in less than an hour and half because I used my overlocker, which meant that I didn't need to worry over french seams or other bits of fiddlyness. I love that Rae gives you options the whole way through: you can make more shaping to the arm holes, you can add ruffles, or add shaping to the body...but you don't have to. It makes it feel as though you can put as much time and effort into the top as you have to give (I did shaped arms holes and added shaping to the body, but left the ruffles out). It also makes me think that it would be the perfect top for someone new to dressmaking to make as the simpler version wouldn't overwhelm in any way. And the fabric? I'm in love. It drapes in exactly the way I want it to, has a lovely summer sheerness to it, but is made respectable through the thickness of the pleats over the bust area.
And when I hung it up from the picture rail before going to bed three thoughts occurred to me. The first is that I may order some of the lovely fabric so that I can make a dress for Zebra-girl from it. The second is that the dress could be made using a lengthened version Rae's Ruffley Spring Top pattern and that her dress would have the ruffley bits, which I'd omitted from the top. The third is that this top has no shirring and that my sewing machine had sounded strangely quiet without the now familiar rattle of elastic thread in the bobbin case. It was temporarily refreshing...because even a shirring obsessive can have too much of a very good thing sometimes.
There was a fourth thought as I drifted off thinking thankful thoughts to both Rachel and Rae: it was that both their names both begin with 'R'. It's nice to know that my thought-process reverts to nursery-school simplicity just before sleep.