In the mad dash to get ready for Paris, I needed a sewing break. Over the past weeks I've photographed and pre-posted a month's worth of fabrics, assuring that there will be a stream of new fabrics for our customers all during the month I am away. When I want to make something fast and reliable, I make a t-shirt using a tried and true pattern, and, as my friend Mary says, 'a little sewing makes any day just that much better.'
This digital print, (viscose/elastine jersey from a French mill),a photo montage of toothy smiles makes me smile. A dramatic print like this can beg the question of 'what to do with it?' As part of my Paris plan to play with more dramatic prints, I took a look around the ArtBarn to see what fabrics we have on hand to work with it and found the 4 that are incorporated into the tunic shown here. Love that it will work with all my basic blacks and add a sense of American humor, and will be fun to wear.
The pattern is Vogue 9057. I used View D/E, eliminating the angled dip in the front hem; simply re-drew the hem line from center front to the side seam so the front hem line replicates the back one. The sewing techniques are straight from our Tilton sisters' Craftsy Class, The Artful T-Shirt. I've made all the necessary alterations so it fits and I can usually stitch a top like this in a few sessions. In this case, my reward at the beginning or end of the day to slip in a bit of sewing. The neckband is a black sheer/opaque mesh knit and the sleeves are the same fabric in 2 color ways with the colors reversed at the faced sleeve.
We had enough of each of the fabrics to put together a limited edition Cool Combo, named Smiling Through, shown below.
12 available, using the same fabrics. We have to move fast to make our combos as the fabrics sell out quickly, so we need to reserve enough of each one. Included are: 1 yard Enter Laughing French Digital rayon/lycra knit, 1 yard Black Cotton/Lycra knit from St. John, fat 1/2 hard of each of the following, for sleeves/neckband: Graphite Knit, Fine Line Knit, Pizzaz Mesh Knit. A Fat Half is a half yard of fabric cut in half the length....so you have enough to cut a sleeve and neckband of each. Shown in the photo below. I love how this shot turned out to look like an old school photo contact sheet.
Here are a few guidelines for putting together your own combinations of fabrics that work in one garment. First of all, it helps to have a stash. We have hundreds of fabrics to choose from and are very particular about what works. The colors, the right combo of light/dark, cool/warm and the scale of the print, pattern and stripe/dot all need to click and harmonize in a good way. It is for this reason that I recommend that you collect certain kinds of fabrics to have on hand to choose from. This process is like putting together a bouquet or cooking so there are the right ingredients to work with.
In the combo above, the main fabric has tones of black and gray, and the white is a creamy warm white/ivory, so the stripes need to be in the same tone of warmth. The scale of the two stripes used in the sleeves and the scale of the opaque/sheer black stripe all harmonized well. Stripes and dots work well as 'blenders', bringing together colors, shapes and scale. Shades and hues come into the equation too. In mixing pigment colors, shades are made with black and tend to be darker, while hues are mixed with white and are lighter and more pale in tone. In the ArtBarn when we make our combos we need to have a selection of fabrics to choose from and have spirited discussions of what works with what. In buying for the online store I seek out stripes and dots that will blend and unify other colors and patterns, and in my own personal stash I not only collect stripes and dots, but save scraps to use as accent pieces.