I love to see and touch my fabrics. I love to experience firsthand the colors and the hand of the fabrics, get a sense of the drape and let my mind just go until it settles on a vision of the outfit/design.
A few years ago, I ordered fabric online for the first time. It was a gigantic leap for me. I am an ex-New Yorker spoiled by the abundance of independent fabric stores in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. I settled in Maryland and I had a hard time settling for the stores and selections available here. While I appreciate my local Joann Fabric store, I like fine fabrics and that’s not why Joann exists.
Deciding to give online fabric shopping a try, a whole new world opened up. I found a beautiful brocade in chartreuse yellow and beige online at Fabric Mart with coordinating wool/silk fabric in beige and in chartreuse yellow. All the fabrics were from the same designer line, so I was confident the fabrics would work together. I envisioned a brocade vest, beige pants and a chartreuse yellow ¾ length coat. I ordered beige cotton for a shirt as well.
Well, when I received the fabrics I loved the brocade, but didn’t like the beige color of the wool/silk. Although the wool/silk was from the same designer line of fabrics, the brocade was more taupe (cool tone) and the beige wool/silk fabric had warm tones. My eyes and brain would not accept the pairing of these fabrics and that ended the coat, pant, vest ensemble. A year later I cut the chartreuse yellow fabric and made a sleeveless lined dress combining the bodice from Simplicity 2648 and a self-drafted gore skirt. I finished the hem of the dress with three rows of topstitching. I always wore a sweater with the dress.
A few weeks ago I came across the beige fabric and decided to make a jacket. I like the combination of the beige and chartreuse yellow, and decided to make the jacket to coordinate with the dress made two years ago. Each day I worked on the jacket (Simplicity 2446) for a couple of hours letting the design of the jacket evolved as I made it. First, the under sleeves, collar and pocket flaps were cut from the chartreuse yellow. I added inside patch pockets to the lining so I could carry my cell phone with me during a meeting. One day I got the idea to add chartreuse yellow shoulder inserts before putting the sleeves in. I didn’t want plain inserts and noticed the topstitching on the hem of the dress, so I topstitched the shoulder inserts and the pocket flaps. The next day I thought about the collar and decided to topstitch that as well. The next day, I thought about the under sleeves which were the only place on the jacket that the chartreuse yellow had not been topstitched and I knew I would not be happy leaving the under sleeves plain. I removed the bottom button from the sleeve vents, topstitched just the under sleeve hems, and sewed the vent buttons back on.
Now that I was happy with the design of the jacket, the hem of the dress haunted my thoughts. Why? I had five rows of topstitching on the jacket and only three rows on the dress hem. The stitching on the jacket was ¼” apart and the stitching on the dress hem was ⅜” apart. I couldn’t just add two more rows of topstitching to the dress; no, no, noooo. It’s the little details that bug me sometimes. I removed the middle row of topstitching on the dress and added three rows of topstitching. Now, I was happy because ALL the topstitching matched.
While the colors displayed on my monitor when I ordered the fabrics did not match exactly the colors of the fabrics I received, the color combination in the brocade inspired me. I never would have combined beige with chartreuse yellow, but I like the color combination and I enjoy wearing the dress and jacket.