11 June 2013


Hello again and welcome to the strange things I do with fabric. Today we will not be covering the topic of Sorry Sari: How I wrap myself in a [real] sari [from Indonesia] because I don't have a bathrobe only I do a very poor job of it because it's the middle of the night and I just need to go to the bathroom. Today's topic is:

::::::::::::: DAD PANTS!!!! :::::::::::::

Or as you may have learned to call it: CORDUROY. 

I have this cousin Laquina who [is a tiny bit older than me and therefore theoretically more mature] decided when I was 18 that after weekly family dinner, instead of chatting over tea she should teach me how to wrestle. Without warning me. She also gave me the sage dating advice to stop assuming I don't have a chance with a guy just because he's already got a girlfriend, after all, "He's not dead yet." And if you are wondering where I learned that provocative phrase in Russian.... And she is also the classiest lady you may ever meet.

Several years ago I was happily sporting a new pair of corduroy pants when Laquina turned to me and said, "Those are dad pants! It's just like you're dad, he's always wearing corduroy pants." And it turns out, this was a very astute observation. Once I showed up at family dinner and my uncle, my dad, and I were all wearing matching corduroy pants. The name has really stuck around, "corduroy" went out the window, and now my family and some people who have been around me too long prefer to use the term "dadpants." 

While I was away at college one year my mom sent me some pumpkin orange, large-wale dadpants fabric. I could never decide what to do with it. Frequently it was used as a picnic blanket, for a while I baste-stitched it into a large cushion cover. However, I've finally struck on the idea of making it into a very simple quilt by backing it with a grey micro-fleece blanket and hand-quilting it with large stitches (while watching Campion and baking oatmeal).

The only thing that remains is the binding. And it still remains seven months later. I just can't find the right binding to put on this quilt! After a while of pondering and perusing the local fabric store I decided to just run headlong into it like I do with everything else. I sewed a patchwork binding tape, all properly ironed and folded and had it half sewn on before I had to admit I hated it. After diligently and carefully unpicking that mess and several more months of thought and searching I thought: 

::::::::::::: "DENIM!" :::::::::::::
What goes better with dadpants than denim?!

I bought a light-weight denim jumper from the thrift store, washed it, unpicked all the seams. I UNPICKED YARDS OF FLATFELLED SEAMS, PEOPLE!!! But I wanted to do this the right way. Methodically.

Is this getting long? Well this project has been dragging on and on and on with long periods of no action so you must suffer, too.

I asked my mom for advice on the best way to make binding tape from the denim. She got out her hold notebook from college and measured and studied the bias before deciding we should just cut and sew straight in order to get the most out of the fabric. I ironed, sewed, and ironed some more before I carefully began pinning the tape in place. I was so close! I could've been done that night!

But I hated it, again.

So now I'm looking again.

At least this time I only had to unpin it.

01 June 2013

the beginning of project: TEXTILE

I've got dreams in my brain of things I want to make with textiles. The simple, wholesome, reassuring weaves of linen and muslin call to me from their bolts, they need to be freed from Joanne's and taken home but I resist. I need to learn the *how to* of everything I want to do before I accumulate any more stuff.

In some ways I'm a brilliant student--I'm pleasant and my spelling and grammar are OK. In other ways I'm attrocious--I want to be free to wander, snack, ask multitudes of questions, and do things my own way, following after my own ridiculous notions. For something like learning how to sew, I don't think one person should bear the brunt of my eccentricities. But teaching myself how to do things is sometimes a really cathartic, messy process. It reworks my innards, my patience, and grows my world. 

I'm about to purposely embark in teaching myself to sew--to sew well, like I want to. I've been wading into this water for a while now--I'm on crazy quilt #2, though I'm not sure if I learn from it, I'm just growing more comfortable. But now I've crawled into the good ship Textile. This blog will now serve as the place where I'll write the guide I want to have and document this (possibly backwards) adventure.

Do you have any sewing books, patterns, or blogs you'd like to recommend to a beginner like me?