Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Viola: She Wore Green Velvet!

As a David Lynch fan, I had to with the title of this post! And though I’m wearing green and not blue like the film, there’s a bit of the Blue Velvet theme running in this skirt! On the surface, it appears all beautiful and happy green (although very wintery!)… but below, beneath the surface, things are a bit different!

The velvet-ish fabric is from Dongmen Lu Fabric Market in Shanghai, in the Basement. I hardly go to the basement, mostly because I forget it’s there… but it does have some different textures like vinyl, stretch velours and other stranger tulles and satins and a little cheaper in price and quality than upstairs at the regular ‘tailor’ part of the market… so it’s fun to have a poke around there. I once saw a shopkeeper burning a wood sign… like carving with hot tools to get a burnt shop sign… so it can be a fun eye-opener DIY explore too!

The shopkeeper with the velvet said it was ‘silk’ and the rolls were in bold colours and wider and taller than me… I’d say about 10 rolls of them in her tiny shop… I almost got some red but opted for trying green (trying to find more ‘jewel’ colours to suit this hair colour of mine).. and I think it’s a great colour… it’s not exactly too emerald or too bush colour (have no idea if that’s a real colour - but you know that bush/khaki green colour?). ANYWAYS, again not knowing enough Chinese I couldn’t ask more about the fabric, it seemed cheap enough so I don’t think it’s super good quality and the pile of velvet is only slight… not higher than 5mm in thickness so I doubt it’s good… but it was slippery to sew with and irons weird like other velvet or velour. It doesn’t have a right way or a wrong way though… so if you’re a velvet expert let me know what you think…

Before making the Brumby Skirt, I firstly tried a simple shift dress with sleeves… but the pattern I used had both a plunging neckline both front and back with thin straps… so in my haste to make a dress before Christmas I didn’t carefully research how to sew with velvety fabric, opting for the straightforward fuck it approach, I then ended up with frayed seams that broke out… and wonky necklines with the attached cotton lining. IRK! I guess it was only just over a metre of wasted fabric though, because I had enough to cut this length Brumby Skirt… I must have got 3 metres of the stuff for about maybe around 20 bucks Australian.

The Brumby Skirt Pattern was a present for my Birthday Giveaway last year, kindly gifted by the lovely Megan Nielsen to myself and giveaway winner Kathryn… and it’s a nice familiar feeling to use one of the MN patterns again… very straightforward and helpful… I made version 1 with the pockets and the less fullness (due to the velvet, I treated it as thicker fabric) but made it a little longer to see what the length would look like for winter… I’m not super into longer skirts, but thought I might be ok with this one and if not I’ll chop it short!

I love how the velvet hangs around the pockets, very happy … because it’s super tricky to topstich (it looks bad) velvet, I just left them unstitched but otherwise made no other changes to the pattern… it’s a size S, with a 71 cm waist, and perhaps on the snug size as the zipper needs a big tug to get over the seam of the waistband…

Velvet like this, as it’s pretty cheapy and flowy, was hard to press. and it’s still showing my original bad pressing (I since added thick folded knitted fabric ot the ironing board to help and hung it for ages in the sun to get rid of the iron board pattern - most notably was around the middle seam)… in retrospect, I should have perhaps ditched the middle seam and just cut the front piece on the fold… but also, I probably should have paid more attention the some of the seams on the inside as they're fraying like crazy…. so hence my David Lynch vibes of something terrible on the inside.

Whoa, I cut that zipper off in a rush too - didn't even notice that rough cut til now!

Oh well, testing new fabrics is my vibe here in Shanghai… I'm happy with this one! It's probably going to be heap nicer to style in a few weeks from now... it was freezing again when we took these photos... and so dull around Shanghai. I need some springtime delightful colours next I think!

Hope you're having a good week, and hooray for Spring! Thank you again lovely Meg for my birthday giveaway present! WOO!

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