Friday, July 5, 2013

Reverse-Thinking (aka Planning)

You'll see from my posts about batik and ikat that one thing that really impresses me about these techniques is the planning required to think "backwards."  By which I mean starting out with the lighter color, then going darker & darker to create a multi-colored piece of art.

As I've mentioned before, ikat & batik are the 2D/textile versions of relief carving techniques for wood or marble...both of which completely mess with my brain.

What it comes down to is planning.  Which I think I'm pretty good at, but when sewing I often find that maybe I'm not as good as I think I am!

For example, the Western shirt I'm making for the Roommate, Simplicity 6693, which I found at Etsy after being inspired by Zoe's shirt for Paddy.  I decided to use this wax print we got in Cote d'Ivoire for the contrasting yoke & cuffs, because though it's amazing, it's a huge print, which I can't get anywhere near my body--the hugeness might overcome us all--and there's not really enough to do much with, other than pillows.  

(Maybe I mentioned that most fabric in West Africa is sold in 2 yard or 6 yard pieces?  Because 2 yards are needed for a pagne, from which you can make a skirt, a top, a headdress, or a carrying cloth for your baby.  So that's why I didn't buy a whole lot of fabric...I was going for variety so bought many 2-yard pieces, or smaller scraps, rather than a few 6 yard pieces.  We brought home 80 pounds of textiles, leaving almost everything else we had taken behind, so I wasn't going to waste space or weight on big batches of a few samples.)

Anyway, so, without really thinking I cut out the contrasting yoke & cuffs.  Then, when I went to sew the yoke onto the shirt, I saw this:  

Without noticing, I had a huge medallion right in the middle of the contrasting yoke.  Except it wasn't exactly right in the middle, darn it!  It was about 9pm, so I decided I'd take a look in the morning.  

This often happens when I make a mistake.  I walk away from it, especially if it's getting close to bedtime, because I often find I just make even more mistakes, which require more ripping out & re-sewing.  I also very often have to talk myself into the ripping out/re-sewing part!  I am essentially quite a lazy person & avoid do-overs whenever possible.  I'm much more of a make-it-work and hope no one notices girl.  

So I get up Saturday morning, take a look at the shirt, and though I know that the Roommate wouldn't notice, and probably most people wouldn't either, the amazing medallion will be most effective if I un-sew/re-cut/re-sew.  And really, I brought the darned fabric all the way from Ivory Coast...why not use it well?!  And after yoga...

Here's the new yoke, after the re-cutting.  I think you'll agree that it's going to look great...and sort of goes along with the suggested embroidery featured on the pattern's cover.  

My least-favorite, but most-used tool, along with a preview
of the main fabric for the Western shirt.

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