Ahhh, where do I begin?
2010 has been a great year.
There were the usual time-markers for me (The arrival of the Alewives and the Fish Ladder Festival, Sales, Craft Swaps, Quilt Shows, Giant Pumpkins, Soulemama Giveaways and the like)...
As with all years, there were some low-times (a three day power-outage, and the biggest loss of all was the passing of my Step-Grandmother, Margie)...
And like all years, there were some high-times (Meeting Heather Ross and Liesl Gibson, and of course there was that whole "getting-married" thing)...
And there has been a lot of sewing this year (Simplicity 3835's, Museum Tunics, Sandlewood Jackets, Winslow Market Totes and La La Log Cabins)...
Which leads me to my last sewing project of 2010: my very own Schoolhouse Tunic!
I finished this tunic on Wednesday night and have pretty much been wearing it ever since.
I made the tunic length from one of Anna Maria Horner's "Innocent Crush" voiles, in the Mixed-Signals print, Cornfield colorway.
Like most projects with me, I can't wait to make more.
This pattern was really fun to make: I love that there are no buttonholes, no zippers, no darts, barely any markings to make, something you can just cut out and then sink your teeth into and sew.
I love the way the voile washes up: I can't recommend it enough. And the prints are gorgeous.
I always use a size 70/10 needle with the voiles and with the new lawns, too: a nice, new, sharp one that will slice right through the tight, fine weave of the fabric.
I cut the pattern pieces out one night, and then over the next two days worked on the Schoolhouse Tunic here and there.
Before I knew it, I was all done!
I was anxious (and optimistic) to see how the School House Tunic would look on me.
The split bodice is not always a busty-gal's best friend.
But I was so pleased with the finished results and I was very careful to take my measurements and check them against the sizing on the pattern.
According to the pattern, I am a couple sizes larger than I normally admit to being, but my measurements matched up with this sizing perfectly, so I cut out that size and in the end found that the garment fit me perfectly.
Which reminds me of a story I have been meaning to share with you all. Here goes.
A few years ago, I taught a couple of teenage girls a private lesson on dressmaking.
The girls were using a Vogue pattern, and the first thing I made them do was tell me what size of jeans they normally bought.
These teenage girls were both a size 2 jean, I believe. Or possibly a size 4. I can't remember. The point was, they were teeny, tiny little things, these teenage girls.
(I have never been a size 2, except when I was 2. I have vague memories of being a size 8, but that was a looong, looong time ago).
"Okay," I said.
Next, I taught the girls how to take their measurements: holding the tape-measure tight, but not too tight, measuring across the fullest part of the hips and bust, measuring at the waist where you naturally bend, etc., etc., etc...
Then I had them write down their measurements and compare them to the measurements on the back of the Vogue pattern.
Then I sat back and waited for the hollering to begin.
As if on cue, these size 2 teenage girls started shreaking and eventually one of them screamed something that sounded like "O.M.G...This says I'm, like, a Size 10!!!," but what she was really saying was "O.M.G. I'm so fat and no guy is ever going to like me and my life is over!"
I shared a look of duplicity with the girl's mother (it was then, I think, that I realized I had officially become old).
Next, I asked the girls to take deep breaths and reminded them that some people wished they were size 10's and that size 10 was in fact pretty small, and that just because the back of the Vogue pattern said they were size 10's didn't mean anything at all.
It just meant that they had to follow the size 10 pattern pieces while they cut out their dresses in order to get a good fit.
The girls asked me why their sizes on the Vogue pattern were so different from their jeans sizes.
I told them I wasn't officially sure, but I imagined that standard off-the-rack clothing sizes have changed quite a bit over the years, but Vogue pattern sizing had not changed so much over the years, and that virtually anytime you are cutting out a "traditional" (Vogue, Simplicity, McCall's, etc.) pattern, or any pattern for that matter, you had to take your measurements, check them against the pattern's sizing and unfortunately it will probably be a blow to your ego every time.
My size has always been larger when cutting out a traditional pattern than my off-the-rack size is.
I made peace with that little bit of information a long time ago.
And where I am going with this whole story is to tell you that I had a similar experience with the sizing of the Schoolhouse Tunic.
Once I got over the initial shock of "You say I'm a size what?" and cut out my pattern pieces and made the whole garment I was so pleased with the fit.
I think this is one of the comfiest, most versatile patterns out there and flattering, too!
(Even on an insecure, curvy, busty, slightly neurotic gal like myself!).
What a success for my last 201o stitches!
If you want to make a Schoolhouse Tunic with me, I am teaching this class at the shop starting Sunday, January 9th.
This class is geared towards the absolute beginning garment sewer: someone who knows how to use their machine, but who wants to learn how to take their measurements, cut out a pattern, mark pattern pieces, set-in sleeves, hem and construct the garment, all of the above.
There won't be any homework in this workshop: the class spans three Sundays in a row so there will be plenty of time to do the work in-house.
Students will need to select their fabric and have it washed and dried before class, so if you would like to join me that is the only thing you will need to do ahead of time.
We are closed today, Saturday and Sunday for the holidays, but will be back in the saddle again on Monday morning.
Enjoy these last few moments of 2010 and have a Happy New Year!