voyage into the land of eileen fisher

by Charlotte

A quick announcement/request before we get started on today’s post.  Does anyone have/is anyone willing to part with this Vlisco fabric?

I’m actually quite surprised that there isn’t a huge Vlisco secondary market, like there is for Liberty, given how many yards you have to buy in one swoop.  I’ve scoured eBay and Etsy, and even reached out to a couple of people who were selling sketchy “inspired” garments, but have come up with nil.  My thesis is on sub-Saharan African gender equality, the textile and apparel eligibility provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and labor force participation, so I’d quite like to present it in this fabric.

Naturally, I would pay you.  In money.  Ain’t none of that hug shit happening here.  (I think I’ve given up on cleaning up the blog, reader.)  Please do let me know, reader.

*****

On to the actual post.  So, due to new medication and old stress, your old Seam Ripped is considerably rounder than she was this time last year.  Last October, I measured in at around 40-30-41, and now we’re around 42-32.5-44.  Perhaps I spend far too much time on the Internet, but it sometimes seems as if everyone is either rapturously in love with their bodies or providing us with #fitspo.  Meh.  I’m sure a lot of it is performative and self-perpetuating, and not everyone falls at the extrema, but damn it’s a little suffocating.  I’m mildly dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, but I’m addressing it by eating fewer doughnuts.  A surprisingly difficult task, as I live a mere eight blocks away from what, for my money, is the best doughnut shop in DC.  That’s neither here nor there.  I’m also having surgery in a week and a half, and getting shelved from rigorous physical activity for something like a further two-to-four months after that (which is why I am writing this from Charlotte’s House of Mirth, and not the overnight train to Chamonix, sigh).  I’m trying to figure out what this means for sewing.  As of now, it means elastic.

I remember Oprah giving a tour of her closet (note that I cannot, as of this moment, locate my glasses, keys, or wallet), and saying that she has every size in there from an 8 to the land of elastic.  There’s something weird about knowing that your general equilibrium weight is two stone (my favorite unit of measurement ever, ever, ever) less than where you’re sitting and happily slicing into your nice silk.  That said, I’m as uncomfortable with the notion of not cutting into the nice silk as I am with the notion of cutting into it.  Implicit in the act of saving it for “better days,” is the idea that your current body doesn’t deserve it, which is bullshit if I’ve ever heard it.  It runs completely orthogonal to all but two things that I believe in.  The two mischief makers?  There are better ways to spend time than doing alterations.  Thou shalt not cut into the good fabric if you foresee waste or unavoidable calamity.

There’s also the secondary issue of what your larger-you style looks like.  My true style self is a weird cross between eccentric, 1970s billionaire and disgraced politician’s second wife.  I want knuckle-sized earrings and garish prints on one day, and tasteful low-rent Jackie Kennedy khaki Halston with closer-to-God hair the next.  With the larger size wardrobe, I’ve been making a lot of solid knits.  I’ve been so bloody bored of them, a lot of them remain unfinished.

We’ve had the discussion about style, and figuring out what one’s style is.  When I had an enormous abdominal tumor, I wore vintage-style dresses with dish plate-size flowers.  It seemed subversive, to have a wildly non-traditional figure juxtaposed with such a traditional silhouette.  While intellectually, I thought that in my solid knits I was sewing versatile basics for work and size fluctuations, I wonder if maybe there’s something else at play.  Maybe part of this whole equation is the desire to not be noticed?

[Long aside: I was at Patagonia in Georgetown the other day, trying desperately to buy a ski jacket.  I walked in—it was a hair more crowded than usual—and tried to find some help.  [crickets]  “Excuse me, could you—”  “I was hoping to—”  “Pardon, but do you know—”  All of the sales associates seemed to beeline past me, to other customers, as I was talking.  One, and sometimes two, sales associates were hanging fleeces kitty-corner and within sight and hearing range of me, and they kept on as I accidentally knocked over a display while helping myself, without even turning my way.   My attempts were intercepted twice, and I had opened my mouth to ask for an associate’s help as he walked past me and asked the woman three feet behind me if she needed anything.  I suppose the most logical explanation is that the Witherspoons of years past ravaged the ancestral village of Yvon Chouinard, and the cool indifference is the product of a centuries old grudge.  Other than that, I’m thinking that I might not dress or behave to get noticed.  I think about the people—women, actually—who managed to wordlessly get the sales associates’ attention as I was trying rather desperately to do just the same thing.  Cool, tall blondes who needed only cock their heads before an associate beelined towards them, and I think about my mother’s ability to go into the shoe section of a department store and get all of the associates swarming her like moths to a flame (while she is in jeans and a t-shirt, no less).  I, meanwhile, always want to stand on a crate and say “WHO DO I HAVE TO [redacted] TO GET HAAAALLLPPP?!”]

I own a tripod, and a camera, but I have decided to keep in the tradition of crappy Seam Ripped photographs.  You’re welcome.

So, I made two more Monetas.  The second one had a wonky waist, and I have to fix a hole that I made while overzealously seam ripping the clear elastic (blog has its name for a reason, y’all), so you won’t see it, outside of the “clear elastic is the devil, whhhhhyyyy?!” Instagram photo.  By the bye, Trixie (my dress form) is always wearing a necklace, which I find curious, because I own several necklaces, but never wear them.  I like the idea of them, and see people like Jenny from Cashmerette and Kelly from True Bias doing the statement necklace thing and think, “That’s so chic.  I shall do that,” then I proceed to do nothing.  They feel so. . .conspicuous? on me.  I only just got over wearing sunglasses outside, though, so don’t take my word for it.

Also, this was my first time twin-needling, and I’m trying to figure out if the tunneling is the product of the unironed stitch witchery, or if I messed up.  I should probably just press the stupid hems to figure it out, but I like a little mystery in my sewing.

Seam Ripped: Now with more litter box and cat tree.  Don't ever say I don't keep it real, reader.  This is a weird, double-faced double-knit from Mood, which I happen to love, but its doing that weird boob flap thing.

Seam Ripped: Now with more litter box and cat tree. Don’t ever say I don’t keep it real, reader. This is a weird, double-faced double-knit from Mood, which I happen to love, but its doing that weird boob flap thing.

Are you bored yet?  Let’s check out the dark and seedy Instagram photo of its twin’s waist.

Ugh.  Clear elastic can officially kiss my grits.

Ugh. Clear elastic can officially kiss my grits.  Also, this looks off-grain, but actually isn’t when it isn’t on the dressform.  (Does that mean it is actually off-grain, but good at hiding it?  Is that a thing?)  I think I pulled it onto Trixie a bit too hastily.

Then, I made M6931, and perhaps ill-advisedly used a lightweight silk (I’d hesitantly call it a lightweight crêpe de Chine or a heavier georgette).  I underlined it with a slightly heavier crêpe de Chine, and now I look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man in it.  Not good.

Ignore the fact that the squares are uneven.  I haven't tacked down the waistband, and overtucked that one piece when I was trying to see how things were shaping up.

Ignore the fact that the squares are uneven. I haven’t tacked down the waistband, and overtucked that one piece when I was trying to see how things were shaping up.

I cut out a Mabel with a turquoise wool double knit from Mood, but got so damn bored just looking at it, I’ve yet to take the forty-five minutes to put it together.  Sigh.

Now, I’m on the hunt for tasteful muumuus.  Up next are Grainline studio’s Alder, McCall’s 6885 and 6952, Vogue 1236 (I feel like this was OOP at one point?  I’ve owned it for six years, and have only used it once, woefully).  Maybe the Sewaholic Saltspring, but I’m not 100% sure.  I’m shocked by how reticent I am to shell out real money for patterns, when my threshold is so much higher for fabric.  I suppose it’s because fitting skills and a good eye for drafting can help patterns, and because the Big Four make available some truly good (I know, I am one of five people who think this), affordable patterns for my student budget.  Anyhow, find the proposed patterns below, in the above order, clockwise from top left.

Proposed post-surgical schmattas

Proposed post-surgical schmattas

Do you have any other muumuu ideas for my post surgical, paunchy lifestyle?  Should I just say screw it and make a caftan?

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