Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fabric Exercise

I spent most of yesterday, the second rainy day of the week, re-organizing, or as I frequently call it, "curating," my fabric collection.  I have bins of fabric that returned north in those relocubes.  Now I face the task of deciding what to keep, what to donate, what to sell and where to put it all.  It is truly a process, not a one time event, to get this done and I am working to keep my serenity.  I do enjoy just fondling and "petting" my fabric when I reorganize it.  I cherish the colors, the textures and the potential for each piece.  It's also interesting to see how a dozen years of serious sewing effort has lead me to particular styles and wardrobe needs.  I'll be sharing some of the lessons all this year as the project continues.  Meanwhile there are two large bags of fabric heading to next week's project of sewing professional looking skirts for low-income women interviewing for jobs.  And there are two large boxes so far heading for future sewing guild "free tables."

On Monday, the first rainy day, I took on combining the clothes from the FL condo clean out with my wardrobe here in Baltimore.  I took out all the "bottoms"....jeans, pants, capris, shorts, leggings, and skirts.  Each one I tried on to see: does it fit? (I've lost weight this year so some things were just too big and not worth altering), was it flattering? (that nixed all but two pairs of capri pants since I have skirts that are cool and much more flattering for summer wear) did I wear it in the last two years?  Turns out I have more LL Bean outdoor pants to wear than I really need.  Three large bags and a half dozen suits and jackets on hangers left today for the Junior League resale shop.  

Here's one lesson so far.  A dozen or more years ago I thought I would be sewing a lot of art to wear items, particularly jackets.  I know several wonderfully talented fabric artists in this area....Stephanie Goddard, Rae Cumbie, Nancy Schreiber....and have enjoyed classes with them tremendously.  Turns out "artsy" is their style, but not mine, in any serious way.  Nonetheless I purchased fabrics over the past years to make pieced, elaborate jackets...and of course, have either never made them or else don't regularly wear those that I have sewn.  That's where today's sewing project started its life in my house.  
Hand painted59"  panel from Mekong River Textiles
I bought this lovely hand painted raw linen or silk panel from the equally lovely Susan McCauley  Mekong River Textiles with the idea that it would be pieced onto some artsy jacket.  Not going to happen in my lifetime it seems.  Instead I get to enjoy the beauty of it as a runner on my dining room table.   I basted it onto a piece of cotton flannel then bound it with a silk-cotton blend from Fabric Mart.  I'll hand sew the binding on the back while visiting with sewing friends in the next two days.  Hooray, space cleared in my stuffed fabric closets and I'll be enjoying this fabric instead of feeling guilty for having purchased it and not used it.
A better life as a dining room table runner in progress
Clever idea I saw to manage your binding while stitching it to the edge
It was a gorgeous, sunny day today and before dinner Mr. Lucky and I took another drive to see those magnificent Sherwood Gardens.  It's been 12 days since our last visit and new beds of tulips have blossomed and while the cherry trees are almost done with their display, the azaleas are just coming out in all their glory.  

Aren't those tulips glorious near this bright orange hydrant?
Look, raw edged tulips, just like some of my jacket trims!!
 Some of you thought at first that these glorious gardens might be in my backyard.  No, my green thumb efforts are far more modest although quite a bit of work for the two of us each spring and fall.  Our latest project was planting a River Birch tree cluster in the backyard last week in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day.  You can just make it out to the right center of the back lawn area.
New River Birch cluster 
Next sewing project will be something more in my own fashion and style.  I hope you too are sewing something that you will enjoy and appreciate.