I am the latest and greatest fan of the American west. My recent trip last month to Nevada, then the drive to and from Los Angeles, has opened my eyes to a whole new environment I’ve never experienced before. I – of course – have watched the “Wild West” in classic films and such, yet the great expanses out there are best appreciated in person, I can attest. My casual and active wear wardrobe is always lacking and so I whipped up a cozy pullover sweater in preparation for the day I planned on going hiking. It was perfect to wear for the occasion… it adds to my experiences to have a memorable handmade item for wearing when I do equally memorable events! Most importantly, though, was the lovely time in the sunshine, the beautiful atmosphere, and the company I had visiting with my friend!
For most of my pictures, my top will be partially covered by my overalls. Hiking through the breathtaking Red Rock Canyon – where everything is prickly, rocky, rough and dusty – required something sturdy, sensible, and secure. Heck with fashion photography this time, here is what I sew, being seen exactly how I enjoy it. Thus I paired my self-made creation with Hell Bunny brand heavy cotton denim, vintage-inspired overalls (“Elly May Denim Dungaree”) for a sort of ‘Rosie the riveter’ flair with a modern, utilitarian aesthetic. I guess vintage fashion is so ingrained in my life that I cannot help but take a pattern from today and merge it into my lifestyle’s flair for the styles of the past.
On my way down to Las Vegas, I paired my pullover with my Burda Style 1930s style Marlene trousers (posted here) for yet other variant of the whole vintage-made-modern thing I like to do, consciously or not. At the airport, my son did not want to see me leave him behind with daddy! He’s mommy’s boy…at least for now!
FABRIC: a one yard polyester knit remnant – it has a wonderful brushed outside which makes it appear like a sweater, yet there is a smooth knit, plain white inside
PATTERN: Seamwork’s “Astoria” pullover
NOTIONS: Nothing but thread!
TIME TO COMPLETE: This pullover was made in one evening as a last minute project before leaving – in under 2 hours I had this top done on February 2, 2020.
TOTAL COST: As the fabric was picked up at a rummage sale where all the sewing supplies are $1 a pound – and this lofty knit weighs practically nothing – this can be counted as good as free!
I am such a fan of the Astoria pattern on many accounts. I love the shaping of the design, it has a figure-complimenting, high-waisted seaming, it only needs one yard, is super quick to make, and easy to sew together. Except for the bother of printing out and taping together the PDF pattern, I truly felt like I blinked and it was done. Isn’t there more that needs to be done, I kept asking? Apparently, I am not used to such successful 3 hours or less sewing projects. I figured it had to be a winner purely on account of the over 1,000 cute versions of it shared on Instagram alone!
Luckily, I read through many of the shared posts about others Astoria sweaters, and noticed the frequent mention that the sizing ran small, especially when it came to the sleeves. My chosen knit barely had the recommended minimum of 25% stretch for I figured that fitting trend could cause an issue. This was my true first Seamwork pattern (not exactly counting this sundress because, although it came from Seamwork, it is a Colette brand pattern) and so I had no idea what sizing to go by besides their chart. Just to be safe, I went up a whole size than what their chart showed I should be making. Now – even though my Astoria pullover does fit me, only in a snug fashion – I wish I had went up yet another whole size still. I don’t know if this fit applies to all Seamwork patterns or just this Astoria, but it is easier to err on the side of caution for next time I try their designs and cut a generous size.
Please look closely and take a moment to appreciate the plaid matching I was able to achieve on an only one yard limitation! This was not an easy to match, repeating print, either. No matter how simple or quick and easy of a project I may be working on, I always make sure to do a really good job. Among other reasons like personal satisfaction, a job well done gives me a reason to feel that my time is worthwhile enough to spend sewing versus buying something ready-to-wear. (Most of the time RTW doesn’t offer anything close to what I have in mind to wear, so never mind!) The wide, hem panel matches as well as the entire side seams into the sleeves. Every little sewing victory deserves to be celebrated!
I realize it may seem frivolous to many to be focused on fashion and not dire events at hand happening in our world today, especially when it comes to travel. However, in order to get through tough times, we need to find whatever helps us stay whole. I am not the best version of myself being cooped up. The memories of just last month – when I was free to travel out in the sun, fresh air, and open land, seeing new sights and going out of my comfort zone to visit someone I care about – needs to be refreshed for me. Hopefully this post and its pictures provide a moment of respite for you, too, especially if you find yourself living vicariously through social media and telephone calls these days! Oh, the great wide world out there might feel scary right now, but it is beautiful and it is calling for you to enjoy it! Maybe don’t explore too ambitiously right this moment or in the next several weeks, but make sure to not grow content with the grind or stop seeing with your own eyes the real world outside of a digital screen.
I recently came across a quote from Travis Rice, as shared by the “Kind Humans Movement”, which strikes me as very relatable to both my post as well as today. “Our lives have become digital. Our friends, now virtual. And, anything you could ever wanna know is just a click away. Experiencing the world through second-hand information is not enough. If we want authenticity we have to initiate it. We will never now our full potential until we push ourselves to find it. It’s this self-discovery that inevitably takes us to the wildest places on earth.” My thoughts exactly.