it’s a big day in my life as a seamstress. pictured above is the colette sorbetto top (free pattern! yeah!), my first ever selfish sewing project. the whole process was relatively painless and just the gateway experience i needed to finally nudge me over the edge into sewing for myself. finally! as an aside, i am neither angry nor sad nor perplexed in this photo though it appears i might be all of these… i just have bright sun directly in my eyes and intended to crop my face out of every photo, but i wanted to leave just one with these magnificent weeds in the background against the blue sky. this is the field just across from our house (you might recognize it from the baby quilt post when these flowers were much shorter purple blossoms) and i just love how towering and gargantuan they are. does anybody know what these are? i want to take as many photos there as possible before it gets mowed down!
anyhow, i’ve been wanting to sew clothes for myself since i was a small child. i never got very far in this endeavor in spite of home ec class, maybe an apron or skirt, but nothing notable enough that i can even remember it. the idea appeals to me on many levels…the control you can exercise on fit and fabric, and of course, just my general inclination to do things myself. i am really excited for the challenge of learning to fit and alter women’s clothing, and i think it’s mentally healthy for moms to invest time and care into projects for ourselves, particularly those that force us to embrace our bodies. i also have an aversion to supporting large industries, and after the factory collapse in dhaka a few weeks ago, it was enough motivation for me to pull my head out of my rear and become more mindful about where my clothes come from, a practice we’re already quite serious about when it comes to food. i suppose human rights violations ought to be taken as seriously as animal rights, eh? what a hideous thing greed is. but that’s for another day.
anyhow, what better place to start than a colette pattern?! i have owned the colette sewing handbook for several months and have been slowly soaking it in. it’s totally fascinating, clear, straight forward, and beautifully photographed. it’s so much more than a sewing handbook…it discusses styling and wardrobe and inspiration. hands down my favorite sewing book. i haven’t really gotten into the nitty gritty of pattern fitting and alteration, but even the basics about preparation are quite revelatory. the sorbetto top is a free tutorial on the website (which is just packed with incredible information and tutorials), and i knew sarai would gently guide me through this very basic pattern. i have quite a bit of this embroidered fabric on hand that my mom brought me from a trip back to her small hometown in india earlier this year. i figure if they can wear it in india, it should hold up just fine in our desert summer. and, white matches with everything. i wasn’t prepared to invest in a new pattern and new fabric for my first adult sewing attempt, so this combo worked out rather well.
very well, in fact! i followed this tutorial on removing the pleat, and this one on adding a scalloped hem, so it was a bit more involved than the original design, but still totally clear and easy to complete. fyi, my fabric is a very light cotton, so i added some light interfacing to the scallops, anticipating they’d be ravaged in the wash. as expected, i learned a lot from this pattern…like how to properly do a bias binding. apparently people hate these, but i was so excited to learn the correct method, i didn’t mind at all and they sit quite nicely, i think. i also sewed my first bust darts! i have heard all kinds of horror stories about these, so i was quite nervous…fortunately, colette patterns (i hear) are designed for a c cup, and i believe these darts hit in the right place without me needed to alter them at all. colette patterns are often retro and vintage inspired, so the only thing i would really change is to lengthen the torso. i’m rather short torsoed, so i like to wear long shirts as an optical illusion.
all in all, i would definitely call this a success, at least enough of one that i’m excited to sew more for myself. in fact, i’ve already finished another project, but haven’t had time to photograph it yet. i like, but don’t love the top (mostly the length), but i did wear it out to dinner as a symbolic gesture that something i made is wearable (these photos were taken en route). i’d definitely recommend the pattern, as it’s so basic and so versatile (check out 7 sorbettos in 7 days here).
so, what are your experiences with selfish sewing? i have my favorite kid sewing blogs catalogued…where do you guys go to read about selfish sewing? if you’ve got some favorites, please list in the comments. i’d love the inspiration!