Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cutting into the "good stuff"

We've all felt it, right? Fear of the good stuff? Fear that what we have in mind - that we - are not worthy of the good stuff.

It's not a good feeling.

I've got boxes of stuff inherited from female relatives who kept it, immaculate and folded in tissue or wrapped in newspaper, whatever was the appropriate method, that was all too good to use, and therefore survived them, untouched, for me to face down.

The responsibility for all their good stuff, in addition to my own, is just too much. I've given up good stuff.

Last year, during the Patternreview Baltimore shopping day at A Fabric Place, I bought the most expensive piece of fabric I've ever owned. Ever.

It was velvet. It was embroidered. It was Versace.

It was not exactly a shy and retiring piece of fabric, but then again, I'm not known for my love of solid colors; they're something I throw in there so I don't look like a crazy quilt.

I had to have it, and after a few moments of hyperventilating about the price and how long it would take to rot in the stash, I bought it - with the promise that I would not let it sit forever.

I would let it rest until I got an idea worthy of it, however; and I was willing to believe that my idea would be worthy.

And Friday, I knew the time had come.

At least, I was pretty sure it had.


I acquired a few new patterns this week, New Look 6914 among them. I love it when vests come back in style. I have a few old ones that I hang onto, but they're a great excuse for using up small cuts of fabric (and the Versace velvet, did I mention, was only 3/4 of a yard).

Kisha had made the same view I had in mind, and I emailed her. Did she think I could get View E out of 3/4 yard of 60" wide fabric? She told me what the envelope said, and then said, "if you line it right to the edges and do the undercollar in a contrast fabric, you might make it."

Which was what I thought, but when you're taking scissors to a $50 piece of fabric, you like corroboration. I cut out the pattern pieces Friday night, and reverently took the velvet down from the shelf where it's been staring at me reproachfully for over a year. (On the other hand, I'll bet that $150 per yard bolt is still sitting on the rack at A Fabric Place, so who knows.)

I carefully laid out the pieces on the velvet. Yep, only one collar piece fit, though I decided that was actually a blessing in disguise - you can see that the fabric is 3 layers, with an almost invisible layer of batting in between. I was afraid both collar pieces cut from that might be a little bulky anyway.

I took a deep breath, picked up the rotary cutter, and started. And stopped almost immediately, because the rotary cutter promptly clogged up with velvet fuzzies. Another deep breath, and pick up the shears.

That was it for Friday. After cutting, I had to stop and recover. I actually felt vaguely queasy from the fear that I would somehow cut incorrectly and ruin the fabric. I think that's called taking it a little too seriously.

My lining drawer had a perfect copper textured fabric that was originally intended for a dress, except it looked too much like lining fabric. On Saturday I cut out the lining pieces, and the undercollar from this.

The pattern went together like a breeze. Princess seams are a wonderful thing. Also, my new light made it easy for the first time to actually see the 5/8" seam line on my sewing machine. It made a diference. I had to stop twice to blow fluff out of the machine, but in a marathon of sewing from 8:00 until 11:30 last night, I constructed and lined the vest. All I have left to do today is a final pressing and to do the snaps and button. (The pattern calls for one button, but I decided to go for a snap instead and just sew my button on top).

Finished photos hopefully this evening. Notice how much SewingLily appreciated the leftovers. Which have actually since been de-haired and added to the scrap bin. Not throwing this stuff away - it's too good!


Maryissewfast said...

Beautiful Fabric...I'm sure the vest is going to be a stunner...can't wait to see the pictures!

Rose said...

Oh, Karen, that fabric is to die for! I know exactly what you mean about cutting into the good stuff. I have a gorgeous piece of silk chiffon that a neighbor purchased in China for me. I forgot to mention price when I asked her to bring me back fabric. It hurt when I wrote her the check but I love the fabric. I keep looking at it and wondering about the "perfect" pattern choice and if I can sew well enough. At the same time, I don't want someone to inherit it so it's got to go on the sewing list soon.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Congrats on overcoming the fear! And I'm sure it is one amazing vest can't wait to see a picture of it.

But girl you are better than me...I like quantity and I don't think I could ever spend $50 on 3/4 of a yard of fabric...but then again never say never!

Little Hunting Creek said...

Good for you! And kudos to Lily for her good taste :)

I try to forget how much I paid for fabric so i don't save it forever. I know I am capable of this because like you I have ingherited fabric from my mother and mother inlaw that is still waiting to be sewn.

redhotpepper said...

Oooo, I know what you mean. I bought some cashmere for a coat and paid $60 a yard from a lady who had paid much more but decided she would never sew anything from it. That was in 1983 too! I got my monies worth out of that coat because I won a sewing machine and a trip to Chicago for it.

Unfortunately, my boobs grew after that and it no longer fits. Occasionally, I take it out to admire.


Anonymous said...

OMG,I am so excited to see the finished vest. That fabric is gorgeous. Post pics asap!

Dawn said...

I totally know what you mean. I get jittery and have to read the directions 50 times to make sure I really know all I can know about the pattern.

Nancy K said...

LOL. You've written about this before, and I think that it must be an inherited thing. Neither my grandmother or mother had this disease. My mother didn't sew, and my grandmother hadn't sewn in years, but they all used their gorgeous good things and I do remember feeling the specialness of a beautiful table and how it adds to the enjoyment of a good meal. I can't wait to see the vest on you.
Oh, and if you really love it than it was a great expenditure and good for you that it only took you a year to use it!

meredithp said...

Lily really appreciates the "good stuff" too. I understand fear/paralysis completely, except I have at least a little on every project, no matter how old/cheap the fabric was. But speaking logically, it's a sunk cost, unless it can be re-sold. Those are some gorgeous scraps. I'm seeing some sort of handbag in them...

McVal said...

Oh my! You made me nervous and gave me heart palpitations just reading how the roller blade had trouble and then you put it down for a day or so... I'd probably wait a week at least!! You're a brave brave woman! said...

Good for you!

Kat said...

Ah...Feel the fear and do it anyways :) . That is such lovely fabric, Karen. Do you know that the great fur my sister bought at the leather/suede skin shop in NYC during PR Weekend 2007 is STILL untouched? I feel like shaking her and saying, "C'mon! What are you waiting for?!?!" Truthfully, for her it's not fear but for me it would be. But we simply can't let these fab fabrics languish in our stash.