Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Fade and A Fen

I'm really pleased to have two finished objects to share with you today.  A recent string of good days allowed me to get back to my sewing machine and check another item off my 2018 Make Nine List.  But first, the cardigan.  I am really proud of this cardigan.  It's the Comfort Fade Cardi by Andrea Mowry and it's my first fade garment project that I really love.  I treated myself and used indie dyed and eco yarn in this project.  From the top, I used the following yarns:  Estelle Eco Andean DK in cream, the next three are superwash merino from Hue Loco in Salt Water, Ohana, and Sunday Bike Ride (a one pot wonder), and the last yarn is Naive Watercolour 2 from Stranded Dyeworks.  I used the Estelle yarn for the collar, cuffs, and waist

I have wanted a mid-weight sweater in my wardrobe for some time and I kept going back to the Comfort Fade Cardi time and again.  After searching the hashtag on Instagram and seeing so many beautiful versions, I knew that I wanted to try knitting my own.  At worst, if I didn't like the fade, I could knit it in solid cream with the Estelle Eco Andean DK in my stash.  Fortunately, I love how the speckled yarns work together and the cardigan is already getting loads of wear.  The colour combination reminds me of salt water taffy :)

As you can see, I made a few modifications.  I knit the cardigan in plain stockinette rather than reverse stockinette, as I prefer the look.  I knit a garter stitch hem rather than 2x2 rib, and 2x2 rib for the cuffs and collar.  I really like how that looks on my Lillian cardigan and knew I would prefer it on this project.  Despite the Estelle being a more rustic yarn when knitting, it bloomed beautifully during blocking and is as soft as the superwash merino speckled yarn. 

Meet my new favourite dress :)  It's the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts and is another project to check off on my Make Nine list.  I did make a plain navy wool suiting version earlier which served as a very useful muslin.  The fit was just how I wanted it but the plain navy fabric wasn't at all flattering and didn't look as bright as I'd hoped even layered with my striped t-shirt collection. 

This version; however, ticks all of the boxes for me.  I found this beautiful plaid double gauze at my local Fabricland at least a year and a half ago for the princely sum of $7 per metre.  You bet I snapped it up! Now, I didn't quite have enough yardage to cut everything as suggested, so I added a CB seam on the skirt back and didn't bother with plaid matching.  I also sewed everything with French seams, which is so satisfying.

This is my first garment made with double gauze and, holy cow!, I'm in love!  It is butter soft which is perfect for my sensitive skin, and it sews like a dream.  I cut a size 12, grading to a size 14 at the hips and the fit is spot on.  The only minor alteration I made was to put a small pleat at the CB neck as the neckline is a bit wide, despite staystiching.  I could redraw the neckline but I like the detail that little pleat adds. 

I've spent a lot of time over the past two years learning to love this 'new' body of mine.  Aside from changes wrought by chronic illness, there have been changes due to aging.  I'll be 45 this September and this is the first time in my adult life, aside from pregnancy, that my measurements have been larger than 36-28-38.  I'm now a 40-34-43 and, while it took a lot of work, I like myself this way.  I have lovely curves for the first time since pregnancy and breastfeeding and I really like my shape; I'm now a plump pear.  The added weight means that I have approximately 1.7 chins and a belly but I'm also no longer freezing in the cold weather. 

Having the courage accept my chronic illness and how it makes me vulnerable; look at myself unflinchingly in the mirror and marvel at my body's ability to change; as well as laugh about the various body changes with trusted friends has really helped.  So has this amazingly inclusive and supportive online creative community.  Every time I post, either on my Instagram or blog, I receive a flood of positive compliments.  These really, really help me, as I hope they help others, to embrace the person they are now and to fully accept and love yourself, lumps and all.

I've had to re-evaluate my entire aesthetic, including the silhouettes I wear and sew, but I feel I'm finally getting to a place where I can turn out pretty garments that flatter my new figure and boost my self-confidence.  Totally acceptance of my personal style (kindergardener + Pippi Longstocking + crazy art teacher) has also help me find more personal joy in my appearance and in my making.  

After all, isn't life to short not to eat that extra piece of cake or to fearlessly wear the colours and patterns that truly bring you joy?

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