Oh lordy, do I have some catching up to do?! Here I am in chilly, rainy October thinking about garments I made for Harriet back in summer. So, to recap, July's installment of the P&C project consisted of a vintage floral linen skirt and the infamous red swing linen swing trousers, the later being the subject of Harriet's most recent poem which I will share with you shortly.
In the meantime, allow me to show you how I kept my side of the bargain for this project a couple of months ago. August's garment started life as a remnant of fabric (pictured above) that I found in a dustbin bag at work heading to be pulped with a load of other scraps of unwanted fabric. It's some sort of synthetic or synthetic/cotton blend but has the feel and handle of light weight cotton. It's mint green with a nice white paintbrush effect printed design, it reminds me pretty hard of some summer dresses my mum made me in the mid-80's. The fabric looked like it had once formed a section of a dress or skirt that had since been shortened or hacked up at some point. Since the previous package contained only 'bottoms', sending Harriet a sweet summer blouse for August seemed like a plan.
No prizes for guessing what pattern I used for this top!!! Yep, that's right, it's good old Simplicity 3835 (can you believe that they are no longer printing that pattern?! It's such a good pattern for beginners). This is probably the ga-zillionth garment I've made straight or adapted from this pattern. It's a great pattern for light weight fabric like this, and pretty economical fabric-wise too.
To make it's basic form a little more interesting, I included a couple of features I've applied in the past when making things from this pattern. At the back I added a cheeky key hole, the edge of which is bound in self-bias binding. On the front I added two tiny pockets using the same tiny pocket pattern I developed for this version.
Now it's time to take a look at the poem Harriet wrote in response to July's package. She wrote this during her epic cycling trip from Toulouse to Venice and around Greece.
July (Red Trousers)
They are reminiscent of my grandmother,
both of them in fact.
The one: high waist and slim legs
The other: the way she walked as she grew older,
in printed polyester and the way such love weighed her down.
I've no use for red trousers right now -
I'm all lycra and sleeveless vests
little drops of sweat drizzling into shiny spokes
new wheels whizzing along ancient roads.
Still, the vague notion of my grandmothers
creeps in from time to time and penetrates
the day with a sense of thread
tying them to me, stitching this experience
to something they perhaps dreamt of -
a pattern of a fantasy filed
on a shelf but never sewn.
Likewise, I sometimes see the red trousers
strolling towards me across rice fields, pines,
wading through fast running streams,
flagging up some future fantasy
so far unfathomable
or caught in the bottomless sky
like a bright scrap of home.
I think it's so lovely that those trousers have triggered memories of distant grandmothers, in lands that are so far in space and time from the grandmothers' realities of life when they were Harriet's age. It reminds me how lucky we are now, or conversely how unlucky they were, to not have the choices open to them that women like Harriet and I have open to us today. The poem reminds me to take those opportunities with both hands. Not just to travel, because that often has its own set of debates attached to it these days, with the approaching reality of Peak Oil (which I am feeling a bit guilty about right now, having just returned from four days in Istanbul. But to make choices about how to live your life in a way that is most authentic to you, not to let time whizz by like the passing scenery.