Patterns are expensive... around $20, sometimes, for the Big Four ones. I understand why they cost a lot: a ton of work goes into making a decent sewing pattern! But I am glad of that work and want to support the people who do it.
I also like to scrounge through the second- or third-hand patterns at a thrift store and find cool patterns to try! I find patterns I might not spend $20 on (because I would save that amount for a truly unique or special pattern), but patterns that nonetheless are fun to sew and often become favorites. My thrift store experience is broad: I grew up with the Salvation Army thrift store and local church and charity shops, and as an adult, I now frequent Goodwill thrift stores, which are plentiful in my area. So if you want to buy second-hand patterns, here are a few tips.
Today, I want to talk about ikat fabric, because I find it fascinating. Ikat (say "EEE-kat") is a yarn-dyed fabric where the yarns are selectively resist dyed before weaving, and the pattern emerges once woven. Some pictures in this post are from Wikimedia Commons (click to see their sourcepages). The ones that don't go to Wikimedia Commons are my own pictures.
I have long felt that--for me, at least--clothing is a kind of armor. Of course, it can also be a diary, a poem, an invitation, or a window... but some days, it's the armor I need.
Recently, I encountered the word "gorget", realized I didn't know how the pronounce it*, and looked it up. A gorget is a piece of medieval armor that covers the neck. That lead me to do a Google image search, which led me to this interesting bit of machine embroidery. So much to love: the concept of a purely decorative fabric gorget, the way it's a variation on the idea of a tie, the tesselated bird pattern...
Now, obviously, a wee little gorget like that wouldn't protect anyone's neck in battle, even if it were made of metal, but gorgets have evolved with modern warfare into badges of authority rather than actual armor:
This is more of an idea-post than a project-post... but wouldn't it be cool to make a similar embroidered gorget, to wear with collared shirts? It's a neat idea!
* It's pronounced with a hard-G: "GORE-jit". "gor-ZHAY" is a common alternative pronunciation, as people think it's a French word and they make the -et sound like -ay by analogy with "ballet" and "valet". However, it's not a French word; it's an English word with a French root. It comes from the Old French word "gorgete", but the modern French word is "gorgerin". I'll say "GORE-jit" but not correct people who say "gor-ZHAY".
For various personal reasons I have not been blogging lately, but several people (I'm looking at you, Rosanne!) have told me they miiiiiisss meeeee! So here are some random updates to tide you over until the next scheduled post (a long research-y one will go live on March 25th) or the next time I write one (not sure when that'll be).
When I am avoiding a task, I'll often procrastinate by doing other, easier tasks, to give myself a false sense of accomplishment. It doesn't work, as I still know I'm avoiding the thing that needs to get done. Recently, I sat down and wrote two lists of sewing projects, my "Hafta List" and my "Wanna List". My Hafta List is neither long nor difficult, yet it's been keeping me from my Wanna List for too long, and in the meantime, I've been blogging, because writing a blog post is a pleasant distraction and an easy "accomplishment". (This was, in fact, one of the reasons I resisted the idea of blogging for many years... I knew I could become addicted to doing it, and use it to avoid my life instead of living it.)
I desire to break this pattern of procrastination, and to be able to blog again as a pleasant side project. So I'm taking the month of October to power through my Hafta list, and in the meantime am not allowing myself to blog. I'm also barring myself from other time-wasting activities that I use in the same way. When I'm done my Hafta List, I can do my Wanna List, and that'll give me fresh things to blog about!
So for the next little while, there will be no posts here. You can expect a post to go live on October 22nd, but I wrote that ages ago and it's simply in the queue. I'll be back to posting regularly sometime in November!
When people go to a fabric store and ask for "raw silk", or tell you their wedding dress was made of "raw silk"... what do they mean? What is raw silk?
There is plenty of confusion about the topic, with common use of the term being very different from technical use in sericulture. I'll start with the technical definition, because it's most precise, then move on to the more popular conceptions and give you better terms for them, so you can find what you want at fabric stores or online!
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