Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The First Cut

Five or so years ago, I was browsing through the clearance section of a big box fabric store. Now, when I browse through the clearance section of fabric, I don't simply walk by, looking at things. No, I dig around, move bolts, crawl on the floor in an effort to see the bottom shelf more clearly; all in an effort to find that gem. On the bottom shelf, buried under some rather okay looking upholstery fabric was a bolt of crimson red velvet. Mind you, not the highest quality velvet, but a nice medium quality, nonetheless. It had been marked down from $28.00/yard, to $6.00/yard. As I danced my way to the cutting counter, many of  the other patrons ogled my luscious find. As I was standing in line on this very busy holiday weekend, one lady behind me commented on my lovely fabric.
     "That's beautiful fabric! How much is it?"
     "$6.00/yard! I can't believe there's so much of it here!"
     "Wow! I'll take whatever you're not taking."
     "Oh, I'm sorry, I'll be taking it all."
     "What could you possibly do with that much red velvet?"
     "I create Elizabethan court gowns."
The woman at the counter starts to measure out the fabric. 
     "Are you sure you need all if it? I'd be fine with just a yard or two for some throw pillows." says the woman behind me, still staring at the velvety pool at the end of the cutting table.
     "I'm sure. I'll use most of it for the gown and the rest for accessories. It takes a lot of fabric to create a gown with a proper train."
The woman in line behind her chimes in. 
     "What about just 1/2 of a yard? I would love to use just a little of it as a trim. There's so much there!"
I stare, smiling, at the garden of fabric piled on the counter, envisioning the gown that will eventually blossom from this plush bed of rose. "I'm sorry, ladies." 

In all, there were just over 13 yards of fabric. When I went to pay, the new associate at the register allowed me to use a 50% off coupon, leaving me with balance of less than $40.00!

This rather large preface leads me to my actual purpose of this post: my new partlet. (Eventually I'll have a better picture.) I had been wanting to make a partlet for some time. I knew what I wanted, I just needed to get up the nerve to take scissors to the velvet. 

I pulled out The Tudor Tailor and turned to page 70, a page I had visited and read many times before. Having had very little experience with upscaling patterns (and not wanting to risk wasting any of my velvet), I decided to first make a 1:1 muslin of the pattern in the book. I held the muslin to myself and determined that it was far too small. I then took measurements and determined the scale I needed and again cut a muslin pattern. While I realize the first muslin was completely unnecessary, I also realize I was putting off that inevitable moment when the crimson threads would finally be broken. 

Then came the big moment; the one I had waited for, for 5 years: time to cut the velvet! Now, typically this moment in a blog post would say something like, "I cut the fabric." However, this is not a typical blog post. Nor is it typical fabric. I brought the bolt upstairs and laid it on the floor, gently unrolling it a few turns. I pinned the muslin and knelt in front of the fabric with my scissors. 

*deep breath* 

Then, I cut. 

Okay, it wasn't so bad. It was only a small bit of fabric. 

I cut the black linen for the lining and ties, then sewed it all together. I did make one small mistake. I forgot that velvet can't be ironed normally. Whoops! So, now the velvet is slightly crushed in a small area. Though, I'm told it's hardly noticeable. 

Overall, I'm satisfied with the outcome. The pattern was simple to follow & upscale. I've re-learned that you don't iron velvet the way you iron everything else. It will also be easier to upscale a pattern next time I need to. 

Next up: a linen partlet (or 4) for warmer weather.