Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Simplicity 2192

This is top #11 for 2011 that I've sewn, but I haven't had much time to post about my sewing progress this year. It's Simplicity 2192 with modifications. I have a fantastic blue and white hat that I wanted to wear for photographing this shirt, but Iris packed that hat for her weekend in NorCal with my sister. I had to commandeer her pink hat instead. Nevertheless, the blue coffee mug matches the shirt. It's filled with Peet's coffee, very apropos for a couple of Berkeley alums on a child-free weekend beach stroll.

I was inspired to post about this particular top because Lindsay T posted her version of Simplicity 2192. She had written earlier that she grew up in Palos Verdes, the hill in the background behind me in the above photo.

I used mid-weight stretch cotton twill that I bought by the pound (~$3/lb, or ~$3 worth of fabric) from SAS Fabrics in Hawthorne. It is perfect for this design, except that the directional print required me to cut the top on the cross-wise grain and the stretch direction runs up and down the top.

Like Lindsay, I found the top extremely roomy. But, we have radically different builds and employed different fitting solutions. The design looks purposely drop-shouldered, but was overly so on my average frame. On the paper pattern, I made 2/3" tucks at the center front/back and midway between the shoulder and the neck but left the sides and hips alone. That took out 2.0" of width across the shoulder area and it sits nicely on my shoulders.

It has just the kind of slouchy casual vibe I was after. My only problem now is that the high neckline feels like it is strangling me. I may remove the topstitching and bring the front neckline down by 1/2".

I was inspired by the casual insouciance of the Stella McCartney citrus print from her Spring 2011 RTW line. (Photos courtesy of The SM top is ubiquitous in LA this Summer.

Lindsay wrote that she was inspired by Dries Van Noten's print mixing when she made her top. I thought I would show you top #10, my DVN-inspired top. I used an OOP Kwik Sew Pattern (KS 2874 is in print and I show more examples in this gallery) and two stretch wovens from SAS Fabrics and a scrap of rayon/lycra doubleknit from Metro Textiles. I bought some on our NYC trip in 2010. Then Kashi mailed me some swatches of fabrics that he thought I would like and I purchased it again. I didn't realize it until I was putting it away in my fabric closet. ;-)

I read an interview with DVN in which he said that he pulled out some of his past season fabrics and noticed how well they looked, mixed with one another. So he made a few samples and everyone who saw them loved them. And that's how he developed his first collection of mixed fabrics.

I like that story because it's a recycling/reuse story. These are tough economic times and he uses very costly fabrics. I am glad that he's able to put his old leftover bolts to creative new uses.

My fabrics are much more prosaic washable cotton/rayon/lycra blends for the most part. The purple/green paisley looks like it might have some acetate blended in there, too. Most of the stuff that I sew and wear for my everyday life are mystery pieces purchased by the pound at SAS Fabrics. They sell leftovers from the LA garment trade. Some of them are bolt ends, others are sample cuts. Some are damaged sections and I have to cut carefully around the defects.

I like the idea that factory waste can be reused by home sewers like myself instead of being sent to a landfill. It takes a bit more time to cut around the fabric flaws, but I do it because I am a dyed in the wool recycler. Moreover, the fabrics that I can purchase from SAS are not usually available to home sewers. Now that Florence Fabrics, TreadleArt and the Cotton Shop have closed, there are no apparel fabric stores in the South Bay region of LA.

I have purchased apparel fabric from Joann, but they have all been disappointing after washing. In fact, I returned three cottons that I purchased this year because they were unbearably scratchy after the fabric finishes were washed off. I've been tracking my sewing projects for the past couple of years and noticed that my favorite clothes have all been sewn with fabric from SAS or independent stores like the defunct Cotton Shop.

After the top photo was taken, we walked back up the hill along a "walk street". These homes have alley access in the rear. The times are a changing. The one-story beach cottages are being torn down and replaced with 3-story ones that take up the entire footprint on the small lots.

I, too, live on a redeveloped lot. At one time, our lot held one < 1000 sf one-story shack, which was torn down and replaced with two two-story townhouses.


  1. Yup, that's PV! I love your take on this top. I'm so glad I cut a muslin of it because now it's fast and easy to cut more patterns from it.

    I think DVN is providing many sewers with inspiration this season.

  2. I love your blue and white top, and your DVN-inspired top. I like to mix prints - how nice to have recycling be in style :)
    I have to buy my fabric online, as the only sources nearby are Hancock's amd JoAnns- which are not real choices.


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