Problem #1: What on earth shall I do with this green and white linen blend I've owned for 4 years?
Solution: Buy a box of Dylon dye in Navy and throw it & the fabric in my washing machine.
|The original fabric|
I bought this linen blend fabric during my initial series of Bad Fabric Decisions back in early 2012 and when it arrived I didn't like the yellow-y green colour of it AT ALL. It wasn't crazy expensive, but it cost enough that I have been resisting the idea of donating it, using it for muslins or trying to sell it. I kept thinking surely I would think of something I could do with it, but with very little actual success in thinking of anything. However, I have had some success with washing machine dying using Dylon dyes. I woke up the other day and had the lighbulb moment that I should try dying this fabric as well, even though all I knew about fibre content was "linen blend", which could mean anything.
|Fabric after dye and in close up|
Problem #2: What to do with 2m of semi-opaque white tactel (a nylon knit)?
Solution: Make vest tops to wear under blouses etc.
Outcome: Pretty good, for a definition of good that includes going into this knowing the neck bindings would not come out well.
The long story: I bought a pile black and white tactel at the very end of 2014 and it was a mistake. Tactel is a nylon knit, and when I was thinking about buying it I read somewhere that it was extensively used in activewear because it wicks moisture away from the body. Well, I don't know if it's used in activewear but after making a few things with it I can tell you it absolutely DOES NOT wick. Instead the synthetic fibre content just makes you sweaty and then traps the sweat against your body. Yuck. Plus, the fabric scorches horribly at anything above a lukewarm iron which makes it difficult to get a really good press or finish on my bindings and hems no matter what method I tried.
I have attempted a few garments with these fabrics, and in the end I have gotten some wear out the two plain tees I made mainly by using them as insulating bottom layers on cold/inactive days. As I knew the bindings and hems would end up being ugly, I decided making sleeveless tops to go under blouses and shirts that won't be visible to anyone else seemed ideal. In the end I managed to squeeze three tops out of the 2m of fabric, but two of them are identical so I didn't bother with a third photo.
|Two of three white vest tops in tactel, using a pattern from Diane Moden 66 (Spring 2008)|
Despite the fabric and the binding problems, I'm sure these will get quite a lot of wear as layering garments, I got rid of my 2m of fabric and I have learned my lesson: no more nylon knits under any circumstances!
Problem #3: The knit trouser patterns I have been using are very loungewear/casual and I'd like something a little smarter.
Solution: Try out the StyleArc Barb pattern.
Outcome: Needs some work.
I like knit trousers and I wear them all the time on days when I am not leaving the house. They are are warm and much more comfortable to sit around the house in than jeans or cords with fixed waistbands. However if I am going out in public I don't really like to wear the sort of baggy knit half-a-step-away-from-pyjamas trousers I've made in the past. I also dislike getting changed in the middle of the day if I realize I need to go out somewhere unexpectedly. I decided recently to see if I could find a more refined looking knit trouser pattern that I could wear around the house but that would also look OK out in public.
Enter StyleArc Barb. The description claims they are ideal for work which I am not 100% in agreement with (but I am also not Australian and I haven't generally worked in very casual or even 'business casual' environments, so who am I to say). Regardless of work suitability, however, they are clearly much less pyjama like than the patterns I have previously used. I made StyleArc size 12 straight from the envelope in 2m of a micro-striped black ponte knit.
Note: I ramped the light all the way up to try to show the stripes and fit on the photos, so my bare arms are an alarming shade of white. Be assured I am not actually a ghost. Readers of a sensitive disposition should look away now, as the rear-of-body fit straight out of the envelope is truly appalling. Also, I should really have put shoes on for this shot because (a) I hemmed them for shoes and they look stupid when I'm in socks and (b) I am wearing socks with yellow toes.
|Front of trousers: not bad. Back of trousers: EEEEK.|
Next up: Problem solving session complete, I am now working on a Knipmode blouse.