Saturday, June 13, 2020

For the Love of Challis!




 Moving onward and upward from that last garment!!! Who doesn't love a good challis? We put up with it's incredible ability to fray, it's need for care in washing during it's entire lifetime and a bit of special attention when pressing (yes, it needs pressing) all because we love it's drape. It is soft, takes dyes beautifully and drapes over a fist like fondant on a wedding cake. It's not hot or cold, just swooshing around the body in styles that don't cling or fuss. 

This fabric seemed to abound in the 80's. I bought and sewed a lot of it back then. There was a lot in retail, too. There were even coveted versions of challis, like wool Viyella. I had a wool viyella skirt I made back then that  I still sigh for.  Well, it seems to be making a comeback.  Today most challis seems to be rayon or its cellulosic cousins, lyocell and tencel. I think as more newer sewists learn how to sew with this fabric and experience the joy of wearing it this will hopefully become more available. On a recent escape from Covid isewlation, one brought on by our Governor's "opening" of retail, I grabbed my mask and hit the big Joanns in Concord, NH. There were like no people in there which was good for me. There was also very little fabric, at least on that big wall of calico. Seems mask making made a serious dent in that and elastics. But newer garment fabrics were there and the prices were fire sale for what I was considering. Let's face it, no one had bought any for a couple months and they wanted to move this stuff. 

edited to better show, black is always hard.


 My head needed a serious sewing fix. I really needed to sew outside of my stash. I had been stash sewing since day one of Covid isewlation and with a complete fail on my latest project I just needed something fresh. I also needed to feel fabric draping off of bolts, have all the colors and textures excite me, have pattern books tease my brain. I really really needed all that. It felt good. I decided to do another "outfit" again, coordinating pants and top.  I am sure you have seen these pants floating around Pinterest. I have wanted them since the first time I have seen them and my brain has been trying to figure out how to make them. Along comes Simplicity 8922. I bought that along with a linen/lyocell blend for pants and a rayon/lyocell challis for a top. 




View D has the tulip hem. I used this pattern as a base with my Sure fit sloper. These will show my ankle, cropped a bit , not long like the pattern. 

I had to shorten the pant part as well as the tulip "cuff". I also wanted a bit more shape in the "tulip" so took my french curve to the sides and brought it in a little over a 1/4 inch at the side seams of the tulip. I stacked the top and bottom cuff pieces together to make sure I got them matching when I made the cut. 


 I also tucked and shortened it by about a half inch as well, that petite detail thing.  I lined up the cuff pieces and drew a line to fold the tuck on so they would match as well. 

 I gave a lot of thought to finishing the seams. The pant fabric is lovely, some drape, not heavy at all. I decided on Hong Kong  seams as I have always liked the way they add weight to a garment and contribute to a nicer "hang". I think this fabric will be better off for it. I am also going to face the tulip cuff as opposed to the "tiny hem" the pattern has you do. I just think that skinny hem looks cheap, IMO. Some on Pattern review did rolled hems but I think the faced hem will also add a nice weight at the bottom as well. We'll see how that goes. 



This is the pattern I chose for the top, Simplicity 9143. I just love the detail on this one, the collar, the tie, the loose shortened sleeves. I think my fabric  choice will transition nicely into fall. I will work on these two projects and show them to you as a unit when both are done.


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A few weeks ago I got up one morning and staring into my closet made a decision. I was not going to look like a Covid slob. I don't think I was doing too badly but I was in this rut of every day putting on a pair of old jeans the minute I got up and an old tee shirt and then waiting to see what the day brought. I made a conscious decision that morning to just stop that insanity. Each morning I get up now and unless I am going directly into my garden to work or to paint something on our house or such I am refusing to wear jeans, just refusing. I will not wear them!!! I start looking through all my lovelies and pic out some nice pants and a top or even a dress. I am enjoying this, It feels really good too. I have decided I will keep this up as much as I can. We will see what the depths of winter bring but for now it is just so nice to see real clothes on my body. They feel good. 

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VLOG THOUGHTS:  I have been watching a lot of  sewing vlogs  since we have our new big TV with all the apps. I'm getting to know a lot of  vloggers and am still picking up more. It is my early morning indulgence while hubs sleeps. Today I watched one, a well known vlogger, who is a delightful person, so positive and lovely. but her sewing leaves a lot to be desired. What she wears is never interfaced (doesn't believe in it)  showing  wrinkly collars and seams, etc. I won't share  any more negatives.  I am only saying this to make the point that there are wonderful people doing sewing vlogs who don't sew that well and I just feel for newbie sewists who are not getting the best of info. Sigh....... It is just the nature of the medium. There are also some really good vloggers out there who are amazing. There are some who are highly skilled but are kind of boring.  There are some all about industry technique. I don't want to sew like a stitcher in a factory. I worked in one of those, just no. Another sigh.........I am still new at this vlog thing and it is fun to search these out. Maybe one day I'll do a review of some but for now I am just discovering this world.  Some have bored me, some have inspired, some have taught, some have made me laugh, some have pissed me off, etc. but they are there for us! Isn't that wonderful? I love how we have this resource. It is just wonderful and good or bad, thank you to all who go to such great effort to vlog. Wow, what an effort it is! It is appreciated, whatever way it turns out.  You are bringing the love of sewing to everyone and that is all that really matters. Thank you.....Bunny

7 comments:

  1. The black and tan challis you show is lovely. Your self-motivation to be well-dressed is something I'd like to share. I work on it every day and don't always succeed. If you would publish a list of the best sewing vlogs that would be a valuable thing.

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    1. Thanks, Carol. I am still finding vlogs and just starting to watch new ones all the time. I will take suggestions too, as I am sure there are many I don't know about. Great suggestion. As far as dressing. I just look in my closet and the pretty things I've made and the big pile of old beat up jeans, except for a couple of pair, and tell myself, "you are not wearing jeans today. You are not. Now pick something else out." and that's how it goes. Today is a garden day but so far I have been pretty good at it.

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  2. Agree with you on the quality and variations of vloggers. I am not near the kind of seamstress you are but have been sewing for over 50 years and know the "old" rules now more like guidelines. I, too, don't understand how some can show up with the wrinkling and awful seams. Don't they press? Vertical buttonholes without a placket is another one for me. It makes me appreciate your blog all the more. Thank you for continuing. Jean

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    1. Thank you so much, Jean. I do appreciate the work that these vloggers go through. A blog is a lot of work but I just can't imagine the equipment and then having people to shoot the pictures, etc. It's a lot.I wouldn't go out there unless I knew it was some sort of sure thing.

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  3. I would love a list of bloggers too. I just love to watch people sew, or listen to them, especially while I’m going to sleep. Sounds a bit rude, but i think my mom must have run to her machine at nap time, and it’s soothing to me!

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    1. I can't tell you how many times Nancy Zieman's soothing voice has put me to sleep! Then I wake up and watch the show again because I've missed most of it!

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  4. I of course wrote vloggers and was corrected!

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Engaging commentary:

For the Love of Challis!

 Moving onward and upward from that last garment!!! Who doesn't love a good challis? We put up with it's incredible ability...