Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cocoon Sweater and Proportion Proportion Proportion

A shortcut to Proportion Proportion Proportion.

Last night I attended an annual party featuring the greedy gift grab game. This year I decided to make a cocoon sweater.

A cocoon sweater is super easy to make - it only requires 48", or 1-1/3 yd, of a knit fabric. You can use any knit, so long as it has a nice drape. I used a periwinkle blue sweater knit. I used the full width of the fabric, from selvedge to selvedge, which is about 62". A narrower fabric results in shorter sleeves, and also works quite well.

The following diagram shows how this is constructed.

With the fabric folded "the short way", the piece is cut to 24" long, which happens to (conveniently) be the length of my Olfa ruler. The cut edge becomes both the hem and the neckline.

Sew the side seams, leaving about 10" unsewn down from the folded edge. These openings become the armholes.

Finish the seams, hem, edges, as you like. In my case, I sewed the seams by hand and finished all edges, including the selvedges, by turning the under twice and hand stitching. The stitches were pretty much lost in the lofty knit.

That's it. Voila. Fini.

I also attached an antiqued kilt pin that I purchased on Etsy - the recipient can use it to hold the sweater closed.

I always angst about wrapping the gift as I am quite gift-wrap impaired. Then, yesterday, Rhonda Buss posted a fortuitous post on how to make tissue paper flowers to decorate a gift box.

I raided my pattern box for a pattern I had made that was a wadder. The instructions became the wrapping paper and the pattern tissue became the bow. The ribbon came from a huge roll of cotton twill tape. I don't think I made the bow correctly, but it worked well enough. Thanks for this cute idea, Rhonda!

Here is the same garment in a black slinky.

Now, what did I receive in this game? I received a Sewing Workshop Tamari apron made by Rita. I have always wanted to make one of these aprons, but wasn't sure if it would work on my shape.

I LOVE it!!

Proportion Proportion Proportion

I had fun getting dressed for the event last night.

After much thought, I decided to wear a duster I purchased a long time ago, which is made from a combination of black organza and a black cotton jersey knit. I wore it over a black t-shirt and my black Au Bonheir capri length pants that I often wear for evening events. For some color I added a short scarf with red fur flowers. The outfit was completed with my black Trippen boots.

I thought it looked quite cute in the mirror.

I took a few quick pictures and realized that the outfit wasn't quite working. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to take pictures of yourself in an outfit.

Looking at a photo shows proportion in a way that you just can't see in a mirror.

I quickly swapped out the pants for a slim legged pant. I couldn't find my Katherine Tilton black skinny pant that I made recently (it's probably hiding in the laundry), so I wore my Style Arc heathered grey Cassie pant. I also swapped out the short scarf for a long red scarf that I purchased last August at the ACC Craft Fair. I have worn this scarf more than anything else I've bought in the last year.

I took a few more pictures and could see that this version of the outfit worked much better.

If I could convince sewists to do just one thing, it would be to make use of a camera, remote with 2-second timer, and tripod. Even if you don't share them anywhere, you will learn *so* much from the exercise. I find it's much better to take my own photos because I'm less self conscious and can take as many as I need. I can then upload them to my laptop to get a closer look. Sometimes I will notice something is off - is that tree growing out of my head? I can then re-take them with no one growling about the inconvenience.

Since I starting taking pictures of myself wearing my clothing, I have completely changed what I sew for myself and how I fit it. Looking in the mirror just does not convey the same information about proportion.

I'm still working on my coat. Unfortunately, I've hit a snag and have to see what I can do to remediate the situation.

I hope you all have a nice weekend!