Monday, April 20, 2009

A Perfect Saturday

I live in West Philadelphia. It's not a neighborhood for everyone - I have friends who raise eyebrows that I want to live "all the way out there" (too far from everything) and other friends who think it's the ghetto. It's neither, although at certain points in its history it's been both, but I choose to enjoy my home and not waste my energies trying to convert the unconverted.

Saturday was one of those days where I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We woke up to sunshine streaming across the bed and all the cats lying around stunned by sunshine. We went across the street to the coffee shop for breakfast. My neighborhood has one of the few all-year-round farmer's markets at Clark Park, and that was the next stop. Fresh asparagus, yay! And I picked up a few more potted herbs and some spring mix to plant in the back garden.

Then, since it was Earth Day, there was a flea market in the park which had all sorts of goodies, most of which I was able to resist - this time. On the way home, we hit three yard sales, and then I played in my back yard for 5 hours. It was in the mid-70s and I got to put on a tank top and shorts for the first time this year. I dug out two underperforming roses and replaced them with blueberry bushes, and got the latest batch of herbs and the spring mix planted. It's kind of lonely working in the back yard without Vlad the cat to help out, but he's still in my guest room; though I did consider letting him out to keep me company, I didn't know if I'd be able to corral him back inside.

When Mario got back from his errands at 6:00, I was sitting out back under the lilac bush with a glass of wine. The lilacs are blooming early, and I don't think there's a better smell in the world.
Then we went in and steamed that fresh asparagus as part of our dinner, and once we finished eating, I retired to the sewing room.

Kisha picked up a few of the new Simplicity patterns for me last week, and I was itching to try one of them out. I knew I was too tired to actually be sewing, so I cut out Simplicity 2601 and then cut the fabric. I'm repurposing a plus-size cotton skirt I got at the thrift store because I loved the stripe and the color, and of course, near the end of the cutting, I realized I was running out of fabric. The entire back peplum is pieced (5 pieces) but it's not too noticeable, especially with the gathers and the fact that the stripe is on the diagonal.

All in all, this pattern is a winner in my book. I made one change prior to cutting, which was to lengthen the top of the bodice by about 3/4" - when I held the paper pattern up to me, the bust gathers ended somewhere above my underwire and that's not a good look. There are certain other things I would do differently next time(including have enough fabric), but overall this was a good test run. I'd like to get proper loop tape rather than make my own loops. If I make the loop small enough to look right, it's too small for my tube turner, but what I have here looks a little too clunky and unprofessional - and stands out too much because it's white (but I ran out of fabric). I really like the little sleeves, and the neckline is pretty with or without the collar. The flounce is cute, but I'm not the flounce type.

I also cheated on this one and used rayon seam binding for all the edges, including the hem. There are no facings for this top and most of the views include some kind of collar. For the collar-less version, they recommend folded bias tape, of which I had none, so out came some of the rayon seam binding from Betty's sewing basket. I even used it for the hem, because I really had no fabric to spare to even turn up there.

Sometimes the joy of sewing includes cutting a few corners that you know you shouldn't. It looks good on the outside, it's not going to fall apart in the washer, and I know what to do and will do it next time, so for now, that's good enough for me. There's someone on Patternreview whose tagline is "Done is better than perfect," and I'm of the same mind.

15 comments:

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

This is a very pretty style shirt. It looks so comfortable.

Sewfast said...

Love the fabric and the style! Another winner!

luckylibbet said...

Looks great! Didn't even notice the seaming at the back peplum. Gorgeous color, love the pattern.

Elaray said...

I love your neighborhood! The next time someone calls it a ghetto, quote the old 70's song by War: "The World is a Ghetto"

I also love the blouse. Betty's sewing basket to the rescue!

Shannon said...

Love it - the pattern matching is fabulous!

Lisette M said...

Your day sounds perfect to me! And you also ended up with a very pretty blouse, can't get any better!

Becky said...

It's such a pretty shirt!

gwensews said...

It sounds like you live in the ideal place--as if came right out of a movie!

Your blouse is so pretty. Enjoy wearing it.

Tracy said...

Like Elaray, I too love your neighborhood. I had the opportunity to work with the Clark Park Association many years ago helping out with the fair they have in early May. Enjoy your surroundings and don't worry about what is or isn't the Ghetto. I live right across the bridge in South Philly and I love my home/neighborhood.

Short cuts sometimes work out best, the blouse is a beauty.

Rachel said...

That is such a pretty shirt. It is so ladylike.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

That is a SUPER CUTE blouse. Dang. Just when I think i have every worthwhile Simplicity pattern you have to go make something new.

Lindsay T said...

Really nice, Karen. How about a photo of you wearing it in West Philly?

Connie Bontje said...

Ooh I can picture your wonderful house and neighbourhood now! I think you live in a great area. Lucky you to have lilacs blooming already.

Marsha said...

I love your choice of fabric for this blouse! Nicely done!

Isabelle said...

Perfect indeed! Your blouse is so pretty.
Have a good weekend!