Lowering the Pedestal

Can we take a moment to talk about “pedestal fabrics”? You know the ones – you saw it in a shop, it was too gorgeous to not buy, but now it’s too gorgeous to cut into? And now that you’ve put it up on that pedestal, it just sits in your stash, making you sigh with its beauty but ashamed that you haven’t used it yet…

I don’t often have this problem, but I have recognised that I’ve done this with a particular silk in my stash, a ridiculously gorgeous silk in a silver and black chrysanthemum print. It was a gift from AllisonC when I was about to go into hospital, and I initially didn’t cut into it because I’d gained some weight from my illness and I didn’t want to waste it on something that wouldn’t fit in a few months.

But I’ve been back to my usual size for a good year now, and it continued to sit in my stash, until I finally cut into it this weekend. It took some doing, but here’s some thoughts that helped me overcome this:

  • In what form will I wear this most? In my case, this was a good 2m of silk, so I kept thinking for ages that it had to be a dress, so I’d use the whole yardage. But then it occurred to me that I don’t often wear my silk dress because it’s so formal, and it’d be a shame to sew this silk only to not wear it very much. I thought about what I wear most often in similar fabrics, and it’s definitely blouses. So even though a blouse won’t use the whole yardage, I’ll wear it much more often than a dress, and I can always make something else with the rest.
  • It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking. You’ve already got fabric you love – that’s half the battle in a successful garment, so you don’t have to do a new, experimental, or technically challenging new pattern to interest you. Use a pattern you already know you love and fits you well, and then you don’t even have to do a muslin, either. Since it’s already a tested pattern, your chances of failure are greatly diminished.

The silk chrysanthemum blouse

As I discussed in my post on “pedestal fabrics” last week, I’ve had a ridiculously gorgeous silver and black chrysanthemum print silk in my stash ever since AllisonC gifted it to me two years ago when I was about to go into hospital.

But I’d brought it out again recently and thought about how I’d best like to wear it and I decided that I love and wear my silk blouses so much (and my birthday blouse in particular!) that I should sew this into a blouse to get the most wear and love out of this “pedestal fabric”!

In this case I chose to use the same pattern as my birthday blouse, Manequim Feb 2011 #158, because it fits great, I love the style, and I knew it worked well with a drapey silk.

You know what? I am so happy I took the plunge and cut into this fabric, because I just adore this blouse!

Manequim June 2011

If you’re reading this and sweating, then you may wish to imagine yourself instead in chilly Rio de Janeiro for the latest instalment of Manequim magazine. Brrrr along with me now…

First up is a rather useful two-page spread on how to customise your accessories with fur. I quite like the idea of adding fur to existing gloves, though the way they’ve added it to a dress here seems strange. Surely it’s better to create a detachable fur collar, a’la this coat tutorial?

I really like the dress on the left, with its cool peplum side panels and the wide, cross back straps: