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 (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

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

velosews said...

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