Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Rooster Crows at Midnight

I feel like my sewing is changing.  I've always loved prints but I now think that maybe part of the reason I love sewing with them is because they serve the purpose of embellishment without having to go to the trouble of actually doing anything.  Who would embellish a garment that already had that many colors or patterns going on?  But lately I've changed - I'm enjoying the work of making my garments more interesting, not relying on a print to make a statement.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up on prints - you only have to look at my stash shelves to realize that's not happening - but I'm thinking about ways to make my garments speak softly, and say interesting things, instead of being a somewhat loud and rowdy party.  Does that make sense?

In that regard, here's my latest skirt - certainly not a print, but definitely not just a boring blue linen skirt either.  The pattern is Burda 8677, and it's one of the first patterns I bought after I joined Patternreview and discovered there were pattern companies out there other than the Big 4.  It's a pretty good skirt on me - not a full circle, so I don't have to deal with all that bias sag, and from a wide yoke rather than a waistband, which is always more comfortable.  And since I generally wear my tops untucked, no one will be the wiser, except you all.

Why a rooster?  Why not, I guess.  Because even though I don't have a great emotional attachment to my chickens, I think they're cool-looking and there are even more interesting looking ones than my girls.  I've also been looking at a lot of vintage embroidery lately, though most of that has been linens.  And I've been doing a lot of picky handwork because of the 1912 Project but I didn't feel like working on one of their patterns.

The original idea was to do a reverse appliqué (a la Alabama Chanin, whose projects are all over the internet these days and whose work I like, though I don't know as it's totally me).  I've tried reverse appliqué in a knit and didn't much like it, but I thought about doing it on this linen skirt (which is sturdy enough to have holes cut into it), and then when I was rummaging around for an appropriate background fabric - I wanted loud stripes - I ended up finding this vintage yellow cotton from my great grandmom's remnant bin, and it had chickens on it!  Perfect, right?

Except as I started outlining the stencil (which I made), I started liking how just the red outline of the rooster looked on the linen.  I chose red initially because there's some red in the vintage cotton; I also think it looks good on the gray/blue - it perks it up a little.  When I realized my bright idea might be going sideways, I just kept going.  What else was there to do?  When I finished the rooster, I decided I really liked him plain.  Then I added some green "grass" on either side of him.  Then I got another idea.

I could still do the reverse applique, but in a less obvious place.  How many people are going to look at this skirt and think "rooster?"  They're going to think "chicken."  And chickens lay eggs.

Coolest vintage fabric EVER?
So I drew an egg on the back of the skirt, embroidered some more grass around it, and outlined the egg in red thread.  I backed the egg in the vintage chicken print, and this time I cut the linen away - an egg with a chicken in it.  I guess that makes it a fertilized egg, and I guess that means the rooster needs to be there after all. So where's the chicken?  Maybe that's the subject for another skirt.


AuntieAllyn said...

Love it! Great embroidery!

Lisette M said...

Love it Karen!

Connie said...

You finished it! Looks great Karen- and I love the little egg.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Fabulous embroidery! I need to find an appropriate piece, I used to enjoy embroidery quite a bit.

SEWN said...

This is impressive!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

That is so kewl! Love the embroidery that you added.

velosewer said...

There's always something more to do and to learn. No wonder your sewing has changed.