08 November 2007

par le siège de mon pantalon

The French are known for many wonderful things. Cheeses that caress one's taste buds. Seductive, full-body wines {there are 27 wine regions in France} that cleanse the palate and pair nicely with a group of friends. Designers who push the limits of fashion.

Let's talk about fashion: more specifically, about sewing patterns written in France. I've been sewing since I was twelve. Serious sewing: reading patterns, using a sewing machine, making my own patterns. I know my way around fabric shops. I know the language. I am well within my comfort zone. I am a native. I can sew "par le siège de mon pantalon" (by the seat of my pants).

Patterns are great. They are, for me, a jumping-off point, much like recipes are: a good structure, but meant to be tweaked as needed. I am blessed with the ability to take something that's an idea, a sketch, and be able to visualize it in three dimensions.

I knew I wanted to make a project bag but didn't want to stay with my "standard" design. I looked through the various pattern books at a local fabric store, finding nothing inspiring. Then I looked in a "specialty" fabric shop, where I found a pattern I loved. A French pattern. No, I don't speak or read French. It didn't stop me. There were translated instructions in English and Spanish. I must admit, I didn't pause in purchasing the pattern...it was only a bag, after all.

With the material spread out and correct pieces (2 and 3--4, it turns out was not needed unless one wanted to do embroidery work) ready to pin and cut, I sat down to glance at the directions--you know, just to see if I was on the right track. After half an hour of reading and re-reading the vague instructions, of studying the incomplete diagrams of how the pieces were to fit together, I started highlighting the needed steps. It turned out the first few steps were generic for all the bags, then I needed to skip down several steps to where my bag's instructions began. I brushed off the poorly written directions, and decided I would just look at the diagrams and "fly by the seat of my pants" through the creative process. A person with lesser experience would have given up. No, not me. I made adjustments, ripped out stitches, created new pieces, ripped out stitches, and forged forward (well, maybe a few more ripping of stitches here and there, along the way).

Following an afternoon of steaming my fingers with the iron and adjusting (re-writing) the pattern, I present to you a bag for knitting projects.

**This post was originally dated for October 26, but I didn't actually post it until now so that my HSKS partner would not see the bag until she received her package from me.


brooklynx said...

That's adorable! You're way cute.

Sandy said...

I love my bag and matching needle roll! Go ahead and brag it is wonderful! I also love that the yarn matches the bag!

Neila said...

Absolutely gorgeous!! I'm duly impressed.