Sunday 18 May 2014

The Prodigal Quilt

It was the quilt that nearly got away. Yes, it was probably naive of me to send it by post, without tracking. But it was also exceptionally unlucky that this happened to be one of the (rare? frequent?) occasions on which the postal services of Europe let a carefully wrapped and packaged parcel slip through their fingers. Just like that, a quilt I made at my sister's request for her best friend's new baby - a very special quilt, therefore - disappeared without a trace.

I felt terrible about this for a multitude of reasons.  One, because gah why didn't I use the tracking option??  Two, because this was actually my very first order as the Seamstress Sans Frontières, my small-scale scheme of sewing special orders to raise money for charity. An emotionally charged one, because this was a very-much wanted baby born to a very-much loved friend.  My sister wanted to give something handmade specially for them, and I felt really privileged to be able to help. 

And without foreknowledge of the horrible postal disaster that was to come, it had been an absolute joy to make. The only really tough part was making fabric choices right at the start. We didn't know whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, and in any case I don't think I'd have consciously "gendered" the quilt anyway, but managing to keep it neutral and fun was a surprisingly challenging part of the process. I ended up with printed cottons and Kona solids from Plush Addict, and yellow backing from the Village Haberdashery, with scraps from the stash and binding and batting bought locally.  The zebras and "exotic places" prints are nods to time this little family has spent living in Africa.  And once I'd got the fabric picked, I sewed it into squares and played with it randomly arranged on the floor until I liked it. 

All in all, I don't think it turned out that bad* :

* That's British for: I think it f*cking rocked!!!!

Especially as this was my first EVER proper quilt.  Yeah, I was nervous about that.  I also spent the whole time thinking with amazement: who knew quilting was this much fun??! (I know, I know).  I mean - it sort of cracked me up to see all this spewing out of my sewing machine. I quilted till it was frothing at the mouth! And until my arms ached.  Again, who knew? (Um, all quilters, I suppose).

And then I wrapped it up and posted it and it got lost and we were all a bit devastated and I was just wondering whether to do it all over again and then, about three weeks ago, I got a note from our local post office.

It said I had a package to collect. What package, I thought? I haven't ordered anything.

So I went, and I handed over my note. And as the woman carried the parcel back over, it dawned on me. Against all expectations, here it was!

One manhandled but unharmed baby quilt, Returned To Sender.

I took it home, wrapped it up even better, and posted it again WITH TRACKING.

Signed, sealed and delivered: one happy ending!


Monday 5 May 2014

Hey daytripper! A Me Made staple

The obsession with overly long tops continues. Plus, pink shades pink shoes MATCHY MATCHY!

This is my new favourite top.  It's the longest length version of the Day Tripper from Pattern Anthology's Just Add Jeans collection - which I fell for because knit tops obvs and of course the slouchy one first thankyouverymuch.  I sort of thought it was too long when I finished it, but having now worn it on multiple occasions it's become clear that this is precisely why it works so well in my wardrobe. It covers everything, in style!  The blue/turquoise fabric is a sweater knit bought at Madame Tirette in Antwerp during the January Belgo-Dutch meet up, and  I intended it to be another Named batwing (my first here), but it ended up next to the scraps of my floral leggings and then this had to happen instead with accent cuffs and all.

While the length of the sweater itself suits me fine, what didn't work was the sleeves. I originally made the long sleeves included in the pattern, and they were SO long that I looked and felt swamped. My first attempt at shortening them didn't work: I failed to slim the sleeves enough, and ended up with a highly unattractive three-quarter length puff at the cuff. So, slimmed-down elbow length it was, and actually it's just right. Phew!

The kids had been playing happily for a good long time in the garden until I arrived with the camera, at which point world war three broke out.  This was my last attempt to just look at the floor and pretend I couldn't hear them:

As our garden is approx. 20 metres square, this was slightly delusional. I think you can see that in my smile, can't you?

Anyway, I really really like how this top turned out, because not only is it a shape that works perfectly for me as a wardrobe staple, it's also a lovely bright colour with just a pop of print, and manages to be simultaneously loud and more-or-less neutral. It went instantly into heavy rotation in my daily outfits - which brings me, nice and neatly, to the subject of Me Made May (follow that link in the unlikely event that you don't know what it is).

For one reason or another, I haven't felt in quite the right place to officially sign up this year. It's not just about the photos, it's also (and most significantly) about joining in. I have a few things on my plate and I'm not going to spend any mental/emotional energy on another 'thing' right now.  Which is fine! But here's the weird bit. Since May arrived, I have actually been wearing something me-made the whole time (even in bed), and have realised pretty quickly that I am, in spite of myself, challenging myself to do it. At work and at home, which as I work part-time and hang with the kids every afternoon usually means two different outfits during a day.  So I guess I might as well consider myself as a Me-Made-May-er after all.

But, I'm not posting any pledges and I'm not posting any pictures either. I'm just wearing and thinking about my everyday wardrobe. Which when I think about this particular top, makes me very happy indeed. End of!