Month: June 2019

Made by a Fabricista: Lander Pants and Kalle Shirt

Oh my goodness…it’s summer! What does summer mean for you and your family? Summer is one of our busiest times of the year. Kids are gearing up for camps (each of mine have at least two camps) and this year I am too! I’m headed off to my first ever summer camp to help be an adult leader with the middle school girls…wish me luck! I’m sitting down to write this the night before we head out bright and early. I am so excited to share my two newest makes…a new pair of Lander Pants and a Kalle Shirt.

I have made the Lander Pants pattern so many times and I still absolutely love this pattern! Maybe you remember the linen pair I shared over here on the Fabric Mart Blog! This time I wanted my Lander Pants to look a little more like jeans. I grabbed some denim fabric from Fabric Mart (it’s no longer in stock, but look around and see what other denim they have). The denim I sewed these Landers with have 0 stretch and are 100% cotton. The fabric is pretty stiff and rigid, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
You may be looking at these pants and thinking they look a little different than the Landers you have seen. I made a handful of changes. First, I created a scooped front pocket by laying my Ginger Jeans pattern piece right on top of the Lander Pattern. I also used the pocket bag patterns pieces from the Ginger Jeans. The next big change was the button fly. I polled the family on what they thought I should do, button fly or zipper, and the vote was unanimous, zipper. I used the Lander Pant zipper expansion for the zipper pattern. 
Onto the next change, the back pockets. I used the back pocket pattern piece from the Ginger Jeans to give these Landers a true jeans look. The last change I made was the waistband. The Lander Pants Pattern comes with a straight waistband, and I wanted a curved waistband to fit a little more snuggly. Again, I used the Ginger Jeans waistband pattern. Maybe I should be calling these the Lander Ginger mashup!
These Lander Pants turned out exactly how I had hoped! I’m not the trediest dresser, so these cropped wide leg jeans feel like I am stepping a little outside my comfort zone, but I love them! It’s kind of fun to try new styles, and what better way to do it than when you are sewing!
Want to hear a bit about the Kalle Shirt? This pattern comes with so many options, which I love! This is a mix between a few different views. View A is a cropped view, which I have sewed before and it’s a little too cropped for me. Instead, I used the length of the back pattern piece of view A and lengthened the front to match! I then used the curved hem (finished with bias binding) from view B. View A is finished with a facing and I love that, but it didn’t work with the full button placket I was wanting. 
That’s it for the Kalle Shirt! Alright, I better run back and finish packing for summer camp! I hope your summer is off to a great start. Below I have a quick little recap so you can easily find the patterns, fabric and modifications I made!
Quick Recap
Pattern: Lander Pants
Fabric: denim from Fabric Mart (no longer in stock)
Modifications: I used so many pattern pieces from Ginger Jeans, front pockets, back pockets, waistband. Also used the lander pants zipper expansion pattern.
Fabric: cotton shirting from Fabric Mart
Modifications: I combined view A and B, lengthening the front pattern piece of view A to match the length of the back. I used the hem finish of view B.
Thank you so much Fabric Mart for the great fabrics! Teresa

Finished – a pared down Helmi

A week or two back I shared this sweet little project on the Stitch 56 blog – it’s definitely a favourite! 
It’s the Named Clothing Helmi blouse, sans the ‘trench details’ – no shoulder flaps or cape, and no sleeve buckles. 

The fabric is an Atelier Brunette cotton in Blue-Black Shine – lovely to sew with, a cream with a very hint of blush as the base colour. It does crease a little but I still adore it. I felt that with a slightly sheer and more crisp cotton the shirt would be better pared back – those trench details would look great in a solid drapey fabric, like a silk or rayon.

I’m very impressed with the pattern, so pleased with the fit. Miraculously I fit into a single size – no triangle blending for me on this one. I made a small FSA of 1cm and thats it!

Pop over to Stitch 56 and have a read a few tips to perfect the collar and the placket. I love this pattern and it’s covered button placket (perfect if you practice buttonhole-advoidance like myself).

Style 17 Giveaway Winner!

Hey gang!

Laura is the winner for a pair of tickets to Style ’17! Here was your entry:

Laura    April 10, 2017 at 9:46 AM
I hadn’t heard about that show yet, thanks for the heads-up. I’d love to be entered into the drawing.

Please email me (my email address is listed at the top of this page), so I can connect you up with your eTickets!

And don’t forget that you can still get 40% off the ticket price with the code SHAMS40. For more information about this event, see my post on Style 17.


I had so much fun this weekend! I spent all of Saturday in a History of Italian Fashion class. I spent all day Sunday researching the designer that I’m giving a presentation on in Florence. I had planned to spend the day preparing for another sewing retreat, but I realized that I’m pretty much ready from the prep I did for my last retreat!

Have a great week!

The Blackberry Suit – Free Sewing Pattern

Free Suit Sewing Pattern, free short suit sewing pattern

When it comes to styling a great suit, we can all appreciate a well-tailored pinstriped or plaid ensemble made from the finest wools. But how often do we take a moment to re-imagine our wardrobe staples with an unconventional eye? The Blackberry Suit is the perfect pattern to try out a new fabric! This fitted long-sleeved short suit has a stunning silhouette that would look great in a variety of fun and exciting textiles. For my suit, I used one of Mood Fabrics’ supple two-toned double knits. With a beautiful color on each side, I’m sure to be right on trend as I sport my suit to a fabulous day party! Try using silksequins, or any other fun novelty fabric for your suit; and with the right interlinings and facings, the possibilities are endless! What fabric are you thinking of using?

Free Suit Sewing Pattern, free short suit sewing pattern

Purchase Materials Used Below:

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All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 30.

Mood Sewing Pattern Size Chart

The shorts slip on easily with no need for closures. Sewing is a follows:

First, sew in your darts on your back short pieces.

Next, with right sides of the fabric together, pin the backs together at the center back seam and stitch. Set aside.

Then do the same for your front pieces pining and stitching at the center front seam.

Once you have the back and front sewn, pin them together with right sides of the fabric together and sew along the side seams.

Now, pin each side together at the center crotch seam and stitch.

Set the shorts aside and work on the waistband. With right sides of the fabric together, pin the front and back waistband pieces at the side seam edges and stitch.

Grab your shorts and pin the waistband to the top of your waist opening and sew all the way around. Fold over your waistband to create the facing, press under the seam allowance and topstitch along the inside of the waistband to finish.

Hem shorts as desired: I used a twin needle to edge stitch my hem.

Now we can move on to the blazer:

Sew in the dart on your front pieces.

Then, sew in the pleat on the front peplum piece.

Pin the peplum pieces together at the center back seam then sew.

Now, with the right sides of the fabric together, pin your back peplum piece to your center back and stitch in place.

Do the same for the front peplum pieces and stitch. Press all seam allowances open.

Next, you can assemble your undercollar and front facing pieces.

For help on sewing notched collars, check out this helpful tutorial!

https://www.moodfabrics.com/blog/the-zea-blazer-free-sewing-pattern/

Sew your sleeves by attaching the undersleeve to the upper sleeve. Once you have your sleeve assembled, you can sew it together at the sleeve seam.

Pin your sleeve to your armhole and set them in.

I used each side of my double knit to create my belt. Your belt should be cut in 4 pattern pieces (2 of each color as the good side)

Assemble 2 of each color at the center back seam and stitch. Now you should have 2 long strips.

With right sides (contrasting sides) together, pin belt and sew along the edges and length of the belt. Make sure to leave a small 3″ opening to turn belt right side out.

Once finished, press and slip stitch the opening closed. Adding belt loops are optional. You can wear the belt over your jacket as well!

Free Suit Sewing Pattern, free short suit sewing pattern
Free Suit Sewing Pattern, free short suit sewing pattern

The post The Blackberry Suit – Free Sewing Pattern appeared first on Mood Sewciety.

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!

Contents:


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those “you may also like…” emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten. This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. 🙂

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was just.so.pretty!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn’t like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn’t bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60″ from selvedge to selvedge, or 58″ if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52″.

What… you don’t tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6″ from the width. I didn’t want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16″ wide. To complicate matters, I didn’t want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10″ for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3″ on each side of the neck opening (or 6″ total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn’t have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3″ on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2″ tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn’t want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks – I don’t like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn’t have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace “valley”. The valleys occur every 4-1/4″, so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting
I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.

Twirling
This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60″ by 69″ rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn’t the best look, but I didn’t want to carry a satchel. I doubt I’ll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!


Style ’17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style ’16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style ’17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style ’17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don’t win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don’t mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short… a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it’s a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)


Can you believe it’s April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I’ve selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn’t heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I’ve just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I’ve selected a pattern, so that’s my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti’s Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!

Contents:


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those “you may also like…” emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten. This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. 🙂

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was just.so.pretty!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn’t like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn’t bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60″ from selvedge to selvedge, or 58″ if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52″.

What… you don’t tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6″ from the width. I didn’t want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16″ wide. To complicate matters, I didn’t want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10″ for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3″ on each side of the neck opening (or 6″ total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn’t have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3″ on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2″ tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn’t want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks – I don’t like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn’t have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace “valley”. The valleys occur every 4-1/4″, so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting
I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.

Twirling
This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60″ by 69″ rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn’t the best look, but I didn’t want to carry a satchel. I doubt I’ll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!


Style ’17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style ’16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style ’17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style ’17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don’t win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don’t mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short… a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it’s a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)


Can you believe it’s April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I’ve selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn’t heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I’ve just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I’ve selected a pattern, so that’s my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti’s Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!

How can cities protect common green space for the future?

Newcastle Town Moor. Image: Chabe01/Wikimedia Commons.

Urban green space comes in a variety of forms – parks, allotments, gardens, ‘strays’ to mention just a few. One of the most iconic is the urban “common” – these are often extensive tracts of green space in or adjacent to large urban areas that provide publicly accountable, open, green, spaces vital for culture, health, wellbeing and biodiversity in the metropolitan context. Examples include Epping Forest and Wimbledon common in London, Town Moor in Newcastle, Mousehold Heath in Norwich, or Clifton Downs in Bristol.

The term “common” creates in the public consciousness notions of communal ownership, control and use. In fact, this is often a misconception. Most urban “commons” are not community-owned assets, and many have different legal identities, and differing degrees of legal protection and security. These are often the result of a history of different political, social and economic forces shaping land use in each metropolitan context. Epping Forest and Town Moor in Newcastle are, for example, protected by Acts of Parliament. Clifton Down in Bristol is a “traditional” common registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965, which guarantees its status as common land.

Other areas commonly regarded by the public as commons are in actual fact simply urban green space that is preserved by some lesser legal protection – for example, through the planning system, which may designate them as green space or as conservation areas within the local development plan. But plans can change, and much green space is lost to development annually.

Indeed, in the age of austerity, local authorities have been driven to sell much green space that they themselves own to raise funds to provide front line local services, like schools and social care. In this context, true urban commons – those that have the legal status of common land – are extremely precious community assets, in that they are protected from development and preserved for future generations.

But do we value them highly enough? Do we appreciate their importance in shaping our community’s consciousness of its own identity and history? Do we use them to the full as recreational open spaces and if not, how can we champion our urban commons and develop new ways to engage the urban public more fully in their use, management and stewardship?   


A new interdisciplinary 3-year project (“Wastes and Strays”) involving academics from Newcastle University, Exeter University, Sheffield University and Brighton University will address many of these issues. The project will explore the complex social and political history of the urban common, as well as their legal and cultural status today, and in doing so devise tools and methods of negotiation, inclusivity and creativity to inform their future.

The project will make in-depth studies of four iconic urban commons: Town Moor, Newcastle; Valley Gardens, Brighton; Mousehold Heath, Norwich; and Clifton Down, Bristol. It will look at the multiple, negotiated historic uses and legal origins of the common in each case, and its contemporary meaning, popular perception, biodiversity and public use.

One strand of the research is closely focussed to encouraging the more extensive use of urban commons as vital green space for recreation and other community uses, important for mental and physical wellbeing. It will be looking to develop new strategies for community engagement with the urban commons as community assets and will work in partnership with local communities and relevant stakeholder groups to generate ideas for the future of urban commons, in the spirit of their negotiated pasts.

The big idea is to generate a multifaceted definition of the urban common to provide a robust base for education initiatives and future public policy guidance, informing their development and use as a diverse cultural and ecological space.

For hundreds of years, these unique, open spaces have played a varied, but important, role in the individual stories of our towns and cities. We need to develop new and imaginative ways to use them and foster a greater sense of community involvement if we are to preserve them for future generations.

Chris Rodgers is a professor of Law at Newcastle University.

WHAT A TRIP! PART 1

It’s taken me more than a month to get back to blogging…I posted some pictures as I went along on Facebook and Instagram, but I needed some downtime after I returned on the 14th.

photo by Shams


Here I am, in front of my favorite Paris sculpture, by Pol Bury, in the Palais
Royal. Shams and I arrived in Paris four days before the Tilton Trip began, and managed to do a little retail therapy and learn the Metro system on our own.

In our hotel lobby, raring to go!

But first, a little fuel in the form of escargots, good bread and a glass of wine…

Then, off to the Trippen Store (of course)

photo by Shams


LOVE my new Trippens! 
Shams and I had a fun meet-up with Jeanne of 365 dresses, who spends
several months in Paris every year. We had wine and hors d’oeuvres with
her and her husband in their apartment; then Jeanne joined us the next day, took
us to the Bon Marche department store, and did a little shopping.


Bon Marche
photo by Shams

Meet ups are so much fun, especially thousands of miles away!

Here we are, learning our way around Paris on the Metro…
photo by Shams

and waiting for the next train…

photo by Shams

Then, the Paris Tilton Tour began!


Thirteen fabulous women and Katherine and Marcy Tilton…what a recipe for fun!
After meeting each other and orienting ourselves, we set off for the
wonderful D’Orsay Museum.


Original Station Window


Familiar Degas ballerina


weird lounge in the museum

Lots of shopping took place (of course)…
Shoes



Hats

photo by Shams

Ruth and Shams shopping

photo by Shams

Ruth’s Hat


One of the most fun things was meeting Ruth H., who lives in Santa Fe
and Indiana (and soon to be Minnesota). Ruth was on the Tilton trip last fall
and returned for a second trip. She is tall, beautiful,wears gorgeous self-sewn clothes, usually in black, red and white, is great fun, and loves her glass of 
wine, just like me!

in her gorgeous Koos coat

photo by Shams
We also like distinctive glasses (both wine- and eye-)
photo by Shams
The Paris Tilton trip involves LOTS of walking, which is perfect, as Paris
is a fantastic walking city. Luckily, my foot injury was beaten into submission
and I was able to walk 5 or 6 miles a day.

Les Copains” photo by Marcy Tilton

photo by Shams

photo by Shams

I foolishly thought I could cover the whole trip in one post…it’s not gonna happen! Too much fun stuff left to share. For anyone wanting instant gratification, go to Shams’ blog; she is much more prolific than I am, both in 
photos and blog posts. I’ll be back soon to finish my tale!

Meanwhile…Thanksgiving happened, and we had a small gathering. Maggie, David and my nephew Dan, the glass artist


Here we are, this morning, having a good time at breakfast…

David and Dan 

Maggie



and moi, laughing!

You can find me over at Patti’s Visible Monday this afternoon…and also at Judith’s (The Style Crone)

TTYL

On football, belonging and being a Liverpool-supporting Londoner

Come on you reds: the victory parade. Image: Getty.

There are 15 professional football clubs in London, and I don’t support any of them.

I was born and grew up in Lambeth, London, and I can see the Oval cricket ground from my window. If you ever cross the River Thames at night, you’re seeing my favourite view in the world. One side of my family is German, the other’s from Kent, but I love being able to say I’m from this city.

And yet, aged 5 – seeing Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup – I decided to support Liverpool. And apparently nobody in my football-hating family was minded to correct me.

In terms of the distance from my house, it might as well have been France’s Paris St Germain, Belgium’s Anderlecht or the Netherland’s Feyenoord.

It’s one thing Liverpudlians debating the notion of “Scouse exceptionalism”; it was quite another being a teenage Londoner arguing with other geographically-confused friends about the Manchester Ship Canal.

As a student, shuttling between Bristol and Liverpool by coach provided an outlet for the energy. Thoughtfully, Bristol continues to abstain from top-flight football, which gave us an excuse to head up the M5. The 2011-12 season was particularly memorable, as Liverpool rewarded our endeavour by cheerfully hitting the post and crossbar more times than any other team in Premier League history.

Belonging is normally something inherited, but club football has been global for decades. And if nobody’s there to indoctrinate you, then you do it yourself. In Official Supporters’ Clubs from San Francisco to Seoul, people re-structure their lives to wake up and stare very hard at this strange, infectious, red thing. They fall in love with the heroes and the miracles. They learn about Hillsborough, and Heysel, and managed decline.

I know that university friends now living in Nairobi, or Washington D.C, still sometimes feel guilty about how much mental energy goes into guarding the flame.


Can you really belong to something you’ve chosen? If we do tell ourselves stories in order to live, do we weave ourselves into the stories of the things we love – or do we weave theirs into us?

On Saturday 1 June, Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur to win the Champions League, European football’s premier club competition, for the 6th time.

The following day, a crowd of 750,000 people attended the victory parade in Liverpool. The last time Liverpool won the competition, in 2005, the BBC reported estimates that the crowd reached 1 million – or to put it differently, 2 per cent of everybody in England at the time.

For emphasis, those are the two largest crowds ever seen outside London. After the 2003 Stop the War March, the 2nd and 3rd largest crowds in all of British history were to celebrate Liverpool winning the Champions League.

These people could have gathered for religion, or music, or ornithology, but they didn’t. It’s true that many will have gone with friends and family, or for the spectacle, but just as many will have gone there for communion. Whether you care about football, and especially if you don’t, it’s important to appreciate the depth and power of self-selecting communities – and the lengths we go to sustain them.

As with any kind of fanaticism, it becomes your escape, soundtrack, punctuation. It’s how you measure time. You seek out your own media (or create it yourself), develop cultures and habits, and wage factional conflicts. You marinate in it.

It’s supposed to be a leisure activity. But I’m not the only one who, after a horrible week, has irrationally needed a result from my team like a personal favour. And I’m not the only one who has felt that when your team is doing well, they’re doing it for you, personally. Uncomfortably, unforgivably, it’s also likely that the “sanctioned madness” around football goes some way to explaining why rates of domestic abuse soar during international football tournaments. It’s supposed to be a leisure activity.

The club season has officially ended, and the fever has temporarily broken. Irrationally, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little relieved. We can all pretend we’re excited for the Hampton Court Flower Show now, or the Proms.

But this enduring weirdness, this addicted worm, clearly isn’t going to go anywhere. Kindly, firmly, it’s sat itself down in my frontal lobe with a lifelong tenancy agreement. But come August, I’m glad the decision’s been made for me.

Samuel Kerr works in events for the New Statesman.

The dress that saved me, sartorially speaking…. New Look 6411 V2.0

Hello lovely people, it has been a few weeks between posts, hasn’t it? We are now in the depths of winter, but we had the coldest May in a very long time, causing quite the shock to my reptilian system. Did you take part in Me Made May? I did, by default, only because 90% of my wardrobe is now self made, but did little to document. Mostly because I spent the month either in work clothes consisting of old Style Arc Elle trousers and old Mandy Boat tees, or in a variety of Hudson Pants or leggings. It was an extremely unphotogenic month for me, made all the more unpleasant by the almost constant nausea lasting all of April, May and the start of June, interrupted only by an overwhelming need to eat Cheezels or bacon every 2 hours. And the cause? Chez Tragic is expecting a mini tragic in early December.
So happy news and happy days, but my word it’s been a long couple of months. That is behind me now and we are here to talk about sewing! and clothes! But, for the next little while they will be clothes made to accomodate a rapidly changing body, so my blogging may not be that interesting for all of you…..
I’m not sure if it was the nausea or the explosion in my appetite combined with a crippling inability to exercise but very early on (as in 5 weeks) I stopped feeling comfortable wearing my jeans. They’re snug high waisted RTW skinnies and with that sartorial limitation plus the freezing weather my wardrobe options were very quickly limited to couple of knit dresses with tights and Hudson pants. Action needed to be taken but it was here that my scientific, sensible and rational brain got swept aside by a new, unwelcome and superstitious occupant, and thus arrived the fear of the jinx.  I got it into my head that I was risking jinxing the whole damn thing by purchasing ANY maternity patterns or clothing before the all important 12 week green-light. Idiotic I know, but it’s been a very long and difficult path to get here and I just couldn’t talk myself out of it. What I could talk myself into was making clothes using regular patterns, without any specific adjustments that just happened to be stretchy or more forgiving in fit, to tide me over and expand my wardrobe but were not, technically, maternity.

And so I present another version of New Look 6411 – this time a winter version, and made in the most delicious navy heathered rayon ponte from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe (the neckline facing is from a scrap of denim, for stabilisation). A stable knit is on the list of recommended fabrics for this pattern, and after stuffing a small cushion up the front of my summery non-stretch denim version I decided there’d be enough room at least for a few months of wear.

 

I made the same adjustments as my first version by cutting a couple of sizes up in the waist and hips, adding a cross body seam and pockets that I love so much, a forward shoulder adjustment and some darts in the back for shaping. I had to add little cuffs to the sleeves for length as I just didn’t quite have enough fabric for full length sleeves. 

It’s roomy enough for some layers underneath. It actually works very well for my growing tum – the seam sits just below the bump and the cocoon shape provides some extra mid-abdominal room. Despite the rather alarming increase in the size of both my bust and bottom the ponte is comfortable and I feel quite chic. I’ve worn it an absolute heap already. It’s a winner. 

I do wish I’d thought to narrow the neckline a little, as it is a little breezy and wide in the cold but I pretty much always wear a scarf with it so it’s not that much of a problem.  I knitted this particular scarf based on the Purl Bee No-Purl Rib Scarf pattern – it uses the Cartridge Belt Rib stitch, an ingenious combination of slipped stitches and knit stitches that creates a gorgeous easy rib without the need for purling. It’s a combination of a Rowan mohair/silk yarn and a Debbie Bliss Donegal tweed, and is the perfect warm and squishy accessory in winter. 

I’m nearly 17 weeks now, and these were taken about a week ago. As you can see there’s really only a hint of a bump there (I assure you I have no intentions of striking the cheesy pregnancy pose, pulling my clothing tight around me; you know I keep it real here at Chez Tragic and I’ve never seen a pregnant woman stand like that in real life). It’s quite a significant size now though, so that gives you an idea on how roomy this pattern is. Fingers crossed it gets me through winter. I’ve got a sort of maternity capsule wardrobe planned. I’m trying to find that balance between still feeling myself in clothes I love without overcapitalising on garments I can only wear for a few months. I’ve already been loaned/gifted some maternity patterns from lovely sewing friends and have some maternity hacks planned with patterns I’ve already made, plus I’ll be planning ahead for a nice summery nursing-friendly wardrobe. Aren’t we lucky we sew?