Sunday, 10 February 2013

Two-Way Stole Your Heart Away

Though I haven't really posted any projects here, I have been working away on quite a few items. Firstly, there was Christmas and several handmade gifts to get ready (boy oh boy will I plan that more effectively in the future and start planning in August!).

Now I've got a request make, office wear (not sure how this hobby is going to get outed to my colleagues) and a project backlog to all get on with. Not to mention that my sewing table looks like this:

So the machine is basically out of action for a while.

But here's something I managed to make in the last month, squeezed out of the scraps of a Christmas gift:

The fabric is a sweater knit from MacCulloch & Wallis, so I'm amazed how much I got out of it. The price seemed steep, even as a gift, but it's turned out to be really good value!

The pattern is the Two-Way Stole from Natsuno Hiraiwa's book Shape Shape. The construction is fairly basic: two pieces joined with a French seam, and then hand hemmed using the knit's own yarn. The hem technique is basically improvised. The published image of this pattern was the whole reason I wanted the book, and was actually really surprised to see that no one on the web had really made or shown it off before. Not even Carolyn, who seems to be the anglophone press officer for Hiraiwa.

I hesitated in making it after seeing the pattern piece, as there is space for a large gap in the back. The book's model shots hide this fact really well, so just a warning, this is what the back looks like:

Still, the aim of the book is to sew clothing and accessories that can be worn in a variety of different ways. So what sort of things can be done with the stole? Here are a few ideas that are the result of buggering around with it on a Sunday afternoon. Just a warning, some of these may look better if I weren't in a black tee and jeans.

Well the obvious variations are to alter the drape in the front. Here you go from something very square with the excess folded under, to a ripple-y style with the excess rolled over the top. If you fold the excess under, you've probably got good scope to put together some sort of lapel effect.

Then you have the scarf/cravat, which probably works well with jackets.

Then, you've got The Poncho. Not a fan of ponchos. Similarly the Off The Shoulder. I guess that's useful if I ever get invited to a toga party...

So how about making use of the asymmetry? You could tuck one corner into the armhole of the opposite side, or tie them both up. I really like the second one, I can see that working well.

A lot of the book suggestions are to create draped effects so knots would work really nicely in a lighter fabric. A word of warning though, this fabric really doesn't lend itself well to any of that. So leaving the ends out isn't really an option.
Finally you'll need some pins, but making a v-neck cardi-vest works really well with this pattern. You could possibly even make some lapels if the fabric behaves well.

I hope some other sewists will be making this up in a different weight soon because I need new ideas!

On an interesting cultural note, I found this article today about translation and its far-reaching effect on everyday life. It reminded me how translation can be used to create a whole new canon in a specific subject in a target language, and I think this is what's happening with Japanese sewing books. Shape Shape as a translated title is an obvious mirror to another Japanese series Drape Drape, though the publishers and authors are different in each case. I'd bet that the translator is the same person for both sets of books, and they're essentially creating their own series of anglophone sewing books that encapsulate Japanese design and style. Any thoughts?


PS: The white tee in the images is the Side Gather Top from Burdastyle 09/2012 #130. Good pattern, definitely recommend it. Didn't follow the instructions, but FehrTrade has an excellent tutorial to finish the neckline.

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