Poor choices and kismet

Raspberry linen top with cherries

This was not the right fabric for this blouse. Not even close. I knew it at the time, but I pressed on. I’m far too easily hypnotized by the siren song of a bolt of linen.

Much too thick. Not enough drape. But boy oh boy did it sew and press like a dream. Easy peasy construction. The kind your sewing dreams are made of.

Raspberry linen top detail

I should mention that, contrary to photographic evidence herewith, when I first cut into this fabric it was a calm and classy off-white colour. The kind of colour an heiress might wear to a casual luncheon at the yacht club. You know, that effortless white that’s all “oh this? picked this up in Casablanca last fall… at that small bazaar where I found that fabulous kilim… daahhling.”

Well, as it turns out, off-whites (especially those with pinky brown undertones) make me look like death. And a deathly off-white fashioned into an oddly constructed slightly too stiff blouse? Oof. Hospital custodian chic to my translucent complexion.

So, my crafty little brain got to thinking “what doesn’t a little embroidery fix?”. Slap a few colours ’round the neckline and  it’ll go from morgue orderly to Ukrainian folk beauty.

I dutifully picked out three lovely embroidery flosses. A warm and bold raspberry-rouge as a main colour and a paler blush + off-white as accents. I bought new needles, I planned, I organized, and then I left in all in a drawer for many many months. As I so often do.

Raspberry linen top back

When finally I realized it was do or die with this top (read: fix it or get rid of it), I came up with a novel solution. I couldn’t change the weight of the fabric, but I could change the colour. So, I picked up a pack of Dylon dye in “Bordeaux”: my first real try at a synthetic dye. Fingers crossed for a pleasing result – dyeing can be so hit or miss.

Do or dye! (Sorry, I must.)

And wouldn’t you know it? The final colour was EXACTLY the same as the original embroidery floss I bought. Same. Damn. Colour. Maybe I’m meant to keep this top?

Raspberry linen top detail flower front

  • Pattern: Rachel Comey, Vogue 1247
  • Size: 12
  • Fabric: Linen, stovetop dyed
  • Notes: This pattern is obviously meant to be sewn in a drapey silk or the like. It goes together quite nicely: all french seamed so that the guts are as nice as the outside.

Raspberry top insides detail

Also pictured:

Electric pencil skirt

  • Pattern: McCall’s 3830
  • Size: Cut a 12 or 14 but lobbed off a bunch on the sides when it was too loose
  • Fabric: Linen blend, what else?

Montreal Cherries, c/o Paul’s tree

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Brahma Bull

Brahma Bull Tshirt

Because this is how I want to enter every room.

Inspired by the Rock’s Wrestlemania 32 t-shirt (now available for sale, I believe), I bought myself a piece of linocut and carved a decent looking brahma bull. I hacked off a piece of cardboard from an old binder, duct taped the edges, super glued a handle to the back and rubber cemented the linocut to the front. We’re talking real, down and dirty crafting here.

(I’d just recently had to throw out a bunch of handspun yarn so I was desperate for some instant gratification and couldn’t be bothered to work slowly and carefully. And nothing’s more instantly gratifying than carving your own block print, n’est-ce pas?!)

Bull blockprint front

Bull blockprint back

The speedball block printing ink that had been sitting in my drawer for a while had separated into a black layer and an oily layer. I mixed it as best I could. The test prints I made were pretty solid and nice looking, but they crocked (def. 2) like a jabroni. I wonder what went wrong?

I used a black screenprinting ink instead. It was harder to make a solid, dark print with it, but I kinda liked the marbled, rough effect it gave. Tougher looking, I think. More… electrifying?

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