Wednesday 23 November 2011

Poetry and Clothing Project: October

The P&C project is now over half-way through and the garments I've been making for Harriet have started to reflect a nod to the colder weather. October's clothing side of the bargain comprised of two garments which could potentially be worn together as an outfit. The first is the Peter Pan collar leopard print top pictured above.

This is the first garment I've made for this project since June which actually started out as a different garment, rather than a flat piece of fabric, before I got my hands on it. This stretch fabric leopard print dress (pictured above and below) had a broken zip and had been returned to the famous high street shop that donates a lot of its seconds to the charity I work for. You would be correct in thinking that the fabric of this garment is totally up my street, and I must admit I did consider the possibility of resurrecting it for myself. However, it is a size 10 (and a very small one at that), and my dimensions most certainly aren't. I decided it would be a waste to hack it up just to harvest some fabric to use as contrast panels or something when I could use most of it by transforming it for Harriet instead who is a size or so smaller than me.

I started by carefully harvesting the Peter Pan collar before deconstructing the rest of the dress. Harriet is often smitten by a Peter Pan collar so I definately wanted that to still be the key feature of the final garment. Using a fairly fitted T-shirt block, I then re-cut the rest of the dress into a top by aligning the bottom edge of the pattern pieces with the existing dress hem. This meant the final top could be a bit larger than the tiny dress was initially.

I overlocked the centre back seam closed where the zip had been, then re-cut a back key-hole to allow for getting in and out of the final thing. I reattached the collar and stitched a little hook and eye closure. Bish bash bosh, job done.

The second garment is a full skirt with box pleats and a curved waistband. It is designed to sit snugly on the natural waistline and emphasise that part of the body. The fabric is charcoal suiting with a nice drape and slight stretch. I thought a plain coloured classic fabric like this would make the skirt more versatile for different occassions and easier to match with different tops.

This skirt design (the 'Camille'!) is one I developed for the range at work, and is sometimes available in various fabrics on the website here. I really enjoy making these Camille skirts because they look best when made in medium weight woven fabrics (my favourite to work with) and you can get a nice crisp finish to the garment if you use an iron to press each stage of construction.

I haven't made myself any of these skirts however, because my stupidly high natural waistline means the top of the skirt's waistband is basically touching my boobs! NOT a strong look. But is was a pleasure to make it for Harriet, and I've been informed it fits her perfectly and she's got heaps of wear from it so far. Can't ask for more than that!

So, enough of my garment-based warbling, 'Where's the poetry?! Damn it, that's what we've come here for', I hear you cry. Indeed. Today's poem, if you recall, is in reference to the slinky batwing jersey dress from September's installment if this project. It may interest you to know that Harriet teaches English in an international school in Spain.


The goat bells are ringing in a nearby field
one of the children looks up and smiles.
On the wall is a poster of similes
made by a Japanese boy who speaks next to no English.
By each simileis a picture
the last of them reads
It is as rough as a moth's wing
each word carefully unearthed from the dictionary
his face crumpled in disgust as he searches for
a picture of this creature he hates.
He probably still wonders how it is that gh
makes an f sound. I save it for later:
the question of how we defy phonetics -
how foggy and phoney our definitions can be.
The bells continue their ringing
(a vapid, unsatisfactory word)
and mingle with the slippery soft bat wings
against my arm and the side of my back.
Bat wings leave just enough room -
flexible, forgiving.
They hang the way that words ought to hang
brushing the skin gently
twisting the fibres of colour and sense.


Kathryn said...

This is my favourite poem of the project yet - the connection between fabric and words is great. The last line is very evocative.

Love the leopard print top too. Just got my hands on an overlocker so hoping to do more sewing with knits (they scare me)

Marie said...

Zoe, I think these are two of my favourite 'poetry' things you've made. I love leopard print full stop, but combined with a peter pan collar is like my dream come true! And the skirt you designed is just gorgeous, a bit like a more flowy Ginger!

Anonymous said...

Teehee! Curved waistbands have entered the collective unconcious, all the way on t'other side of the world...

Love your work

Scruffybadger said...

Gosh. Every p&c just keeps getting more gorgeous. Love it all ( super cute Peter pan collar!) and it's useful to have a different shape winter skirt to be inspired by. Lovely. The poem is my fave to date too.

Alessa said...

Both garments look wonderful! I love the heart-shaped skirt waistband and the peter pan collar. Both are details I've been meaning to incorporate into one of my garments for ages! :)

The poetry is really beautiful. Phonetics and language are a fascinating subject and Harriet really has a way with words. :)

Bunnykins said...

Love the leopard! You've made it much more stylish that what it started out as. Ah, high waistbands. Not for me, either, darn it. It's gorgeous though.

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