Well, it’s not perfect, but I sure love it.
I’ve been mulling over learning to design my own clothes ever since this post, and I knew I wanted to start with an oversized, batwing, chunky cardigan that I could throw on this fall/winter, and feel warm and cozy but also a little stylish. Almost the look of a sweater coat, but not quite. I love some of the oversized outerwear pieces that the Olsen girls tend to wear, so creating something along those lines was my goal…which is tricky for a petite gal, because there’s a fine line between oversized/slouchy and just being swallowed whole by a garment. But those girls are the same size as I am, so I figured if they can pull it off I can too.
I bought an amazing Anna Sui wool blend boucle from Mood Fabrics here in NYC, and was so in love with it that it just sat there. For weeks. Basically I was terrified to cut into it and ruin it. I felt like I couldn’t really make a muslin from another (cheaper) fabric because this boucle has such a unique drape. And since the drape is everything in this garment, it seemed like choosing a different fabric for a test version would be a waste of time. Hence the fear. And the sitting there for weeks. And the nervous eating.
Eventually I got up the guts to…drape it over my dress form. Not cut, not pin, just literally hang it over it. HAH. (If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember seeing a shot of this fabric a very, very long time ago.) Anyway, it sat there on the dress form for another two weeks or so until I got so disgusted by myself that I just dove in.
I suddenly disappeared from the living room one night around 9pm, and the hubby finally called out. “What are you doing?”
“I’m DOING IT! I’m JUST FREAKING DOING IT!” I hollered back. Obviously he knew exactly what I was talking about, because we’ve been together long enough to decipher crazy-speak.
I decided to use the cool selvage of the fabric as a border around the whole front, but it posed some serious problems behind my neck, because I obviously couldn’t get it to curve with my neck, so I just kind of “made it work” back there. We won’t focus on that part. Cause it doesn’t really “work” so much as just kinda… hangs there. (Note to self: Grow my hair longer. Problem solved.) Oh and I also used the selvage embellishment on the sleeve hems. I simply cut strips of the selvage edge and serged it right onto the cut edges of the garment… as if I were attaching a doubled up piece of fabric as a band, except this was just a flat, single layer of fabric. I was also careful to make the cardigan long enough to cover my bum, to help make a few tops I own more legging-appropriate.
In the end, the only thing I’d do differently if I were to make this again (I’m sure I will), would be to draft the front a little differently. I feel like it extends a little bit too far in toward the center front… I’d probably have the front pieces end maybe 1 1/2 to 2 inches further away from my center front than they do now. I think it would help the whole thing hang a little better. The way it’s currently drafted, the front pieces curve a little bit toward the center of my chest and then hang down. That was the boo-boo. Next time I’ll just go straight down.
Here are the photos! It was weird blurry-making light outside, and the sun was setting fast, and there was a strange lady standing right beside my hubby, talking to him about taking pictures, and staring at me, despite my pleas for her to just go away, and Sadie was screaming that she was done with her lollipop, and I had neglected to bring a backup lollipop (which is just amateur), so there are several headless photos here…No one should have to see what my face looked like in these shots. Lots of talking to/begging the strange lady, pretending I was dressed warmly enough, and trying to look like I was giving serene Mona Lisa smiles at Sadie to get her to STOP. SCREAMING. Which all just ended up with me looking visibly one step away from the nuthouse.
(All photos by the endlessly patient Mercer Street Photography)