Saturday, February 10, 2018

Saltbox Tee, Twenty Seven Years in the Making

There is so much more to this blog post than this pattern, this fabric or this make. I have a story to tell about my oldest friend and the 27 years of friendship that lie behind this handmade tee.
  Handprinted Saltbox Tee

In the seventh grade I started a new school. Picture me, super shy, super awkward and the new kid in a tiny, country middle school. The Forty some odd kids in my class had mostly been in school together since kindergarten. It was hard. I met Gretchen Schermerhorn that year. It was 1986 to be exact. She was popular, but different than most kids in that she was interested in art. She was always nice to me, but it wasn't until the summer after 9th grade (1990) that I got up the courage to call her and invite her over to my house. I asked her if she wanted to come over and make purses, and she did. My mom had a craft and sewing room above our garage and we took full advantage of the space and her materials. We painted with acrylics and 3-D fabric paint and glued together envelope purses with ribbon for straps. I will leave those to your imagination, though I do have one or two still. Those purses were our first handmade bond, a tradition that carries on to this day.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

Gretchen and I remained close friends and graduated both high school and college together. We took watercolor, metals and ceramics classes together and were roommates in college. I majored in metals and she went into printmaking, ultimately pursuing an MFA in the field. Gretchen is a working artist and teacher, in printmaking, paper making and bookmaking. She works at Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

Clearly I have brushed over the intervening years since college, but the point is, that our handmade bond continues. G gives the best gifts, always something unique and often handmade (by her or other artists). We have continued to make things for each other and together. When I saw her post a video on Instagram of herself printing on fabric I was, of course, intrigued. My interest was met with an offer, if I would make her a top with her fabric I could have some for myself as well. Yes, of course I said yes. This has to be the most special fabric that I have ever sewn with or worn. It was designed and printed by my life long friend and she trusted me to sew with it. I felt honored.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

Gretchen picked the Saltbox tee by BluePrints for Sewing. I made the size C/D for myself. I love the details and structure of this top. The forward shoulder seam gives the appearance of a yoke, and the simple side vents lend a really nice fit. I was skeptical about the instructions for attaching the sleeves, but they really did ease in nicely. The contrast fabric is thrifted linen that I indigo dyed. It started a light mustard yellow, so it has a bit of green in with the indigo blue. This top is an excellent pattern for highlighting special prints, or even pattern mixing could be fun. This was my first time using a pattern from Blueprints for Sewing but it won't be my last.

Taylor the pattern designer says:

Blueprints for Sewing patterns are simple, flattering, comfortable, and classic with an artistic edge. They emphasize functionality and simplicity and feature thoughtful embellishments and adaptable cuts. Each pattern takes its inspiration from an architectural style.

I find all that to be true and it fits well with my personal aesthetic. I loved all the nods to architectural blueprints in the pattern layout. 

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

The handprinted fabric is quite stiff, but may soften up some with washing and wear. It is printed on Kona cotton. I had a really hard time picking from the 4 prints that G sent me, but the cactus won out in the end. I just adore this fabric so, so much.

Handprinted Saltbox Tee

I am waiting for Gretchen to send me a photo of her in her Saltbox Tee. We took a photo together at Christmas but it is dark and blurry. I will post her photo and some of my pics of the fabrics soon. You can see a bit more here. Thanks for letting me share a bit of my personal history with you.

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

What a sweet read. I’m lucky that you called me 27 years ago! Our days making, scheming, laughing are in my list of best days.