Print, Pattern, Sew: August 2015

Print, Pattern, Sew: August 2015 by Jen Hewett. Two-color block print on Robert Kaufman's Essex linen-cotton blend. Sewing pattern is Dress #2 by Sonya Philip.

Print, Pattern, Sew: August 2015 by Jen Hewett. Two-color block print on Robert Kaufman's Essex linen-cotton blend. Sewing pattern is Dress #2 by Sonya Philip.

August

Two-color block print on a linen-cotton blend.

Garment pattern: Sonya Philip’s Dress #2 (shortened, and with an altered neckline)

Fabric: Robert Kaufman’s Essex

Ink: Blick

Print, Pattern, Sew: August 2015 by Jen Hewett. Two-color block print on Robert Kaufman's Essex linen-cotton blend. Sewing pattern is Dress #2 by Sonya Philip.

Print, Pattern, Sew: August 2015 by Jen Hewett. Two-color block print on Robert Kaufman's Essex linen-cotton blend. Sewing pattern is Dress #2 by Sonya Philip.

Marimekko released its fall collection this month, so I decided that I wanted to sew a loose, boxy blouse with a large, bold print for August’s garment.

The really nice thing about large, bold prints is that they require large blocks. And large blocks mean less printing, because one block covers more space than a smaller one. This was important, since I (once again) find myself really busy. With a show in just over a month, a trip to LA this week, an online class launch in a few days, and a video series to be filmed in a couple of weeks, I am stretched a little thin.

But my monthly garments demand to be printed and sewn. I’m always happy when I’ve finished a new one, and I must say that this blouse is my favorite garment yet (do I say that every month? I probably do). It was completely worth giving up my Sunday to print the fabric for it.

Which reminds me that I’ve wanted to talk about the reasons why I don’t sell the clothes I make. I’m so flattered by the requests to buy the clothes I make, but the time required to hand print fabric means that these garments would be really expensive for me to make, and for you to buy. Plus, I use a lot of commercial patterns in this project. In order to resell clothing sewn with commercial patterns, I would have to pay a licensing fee to the pattern designer. Then most commercial sewing contractors require that I order a minimum of 200 units (I have no time to sew a lot of garments myself for resale). And, on top of all of that, I don’t really want to be a clothing designer!

I love this project because it’s just a personal project. I’m doing it to challenge myself, to stretch my skills. So much of the work I do has to have a monetary value; it feels like a luxury to be able to do something for the fun of it.

And, on that note, I hope you enjoy what remains of autumn!

 

 

Print, Pattern, Sew: July 2015

Print, Pattern, Sew: July 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print by the artist on Robert Kaufman's Essex cotton-linen blend. Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

Print, Pattern, Sew: July 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print by the artist on Robert Kaufman's Essex cotton-linen blend. Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

July

One-color block print on a linen-cotton blend

Garment pattern: Tilly and the Buttons’ Miette pattern

Fabric: Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen-cotton blend

Ink: Blick

Print, Pattern, Sew: July 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print by the artist on Robert Kaufman's Essex cotton-linen blend. Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

The other day, a teenaged girl walked past me, wearing high-waisted acid-wash jeans and a crop top, and I felt the way I imagine my mom felt when bell-bottomed jeans briefly made a comeback in the early 90s. The bad fashion of my youth (much of which I wore) is coming back, and it’s making me feel old.

But then I made this wrap skirt, and remembered that I lived much of my college years in wrap skirts (often with bodysuits, which I will *not* be resurrecting) – and for good reason. They are comfy and flattering and shrink (or expand) to fit one’s waistline. After I sewed the skirt in this print, I promptly sewed another one in a striped hemp-cotton blend. And then I paired it with some red clogs, which, I suppose, is something my mom would’ve done in the Seventies. No, not all fashion flashbacks are bad.

Print, Pattern, Sew: July 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print by the artist on Robert Kaufman's Essex cotton-linen blend. Sewing pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

I will say, though, that I really didn’t feel like working on a garment this month. Five years ago this month, I quit my last full-time job to start consulting. And two months ago, I gave notice to one of my last consulting clients so I could focus on my art career. That meant that I’ve spent most of July wrapping up consulting projects, squeezing in tiny bits of creative time where I could. And, honestly, the last things I wanted to do were print yardage and sew clothes.

But that’s why I like to give myself these projects – I have to do it. It doesn’t matter if I’m not getting paid for this project; I said I was going to do it, so I have to do it. Momentum doesn’t listen to excuses. And momentum leads to good things (like a financially viable art career).

I’ll sign off now, but will be back next month with new work and a few announcements – and, yes, a new garment. Happy almost-August, friends!

Print, Pattern, Sew: June 2015

Print, Pattern, Sew: June 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print on cotton chambray.

Print, Pattern, Sew: June 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print on cotton chambray.

 

 

Print, Pattern, Sew: June 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print on cotton chambray.

June

One-color block print on cotton chambray

Garment pattern: Self-drafted (loosely based on April Rhodes Staple Dress)

Fabric: 100% cotton (brand unknown)

Ink: Blick

Print, Pattern, Sew: June 2015 by Jen Hewett. One-color block print on cotton chambray.

There is so much I want to tell you – about leaving another consulting client and inching that much closer to being a full-time working artist, about all the incredible opportunities that have come my way the past couple of months, about suddenly finding myself in a position to pay off all my debt – but going into detail would just take too much time. So, instead, I will tell you about this fabric and this garment.

I realized that I’m just not that interested in fashion anymore. Someone recently remarked on Twitter that she felt that she’d inadvertently slipped into the Eileen Fisher years, and I knew exactly what she meant. I’m so there. Give me unfussy, comfortable, well-made clothes in flattering styles. Make those clothes out of natural fibers. Let me pair them with flats and clogs. I spent my twenties and much of my thirties in uncomfortable clothes and shoes, believing that torturing myself was the key to beauty. I’m so over that (though I’m still not ready to venture into elastic jeans waistband territory yet).

But I digress a bit.

Anyway, I do like interesting prints, as long as they’re not fussy. Add those prints to simple, well-made clothing, and I’m sold.

I plan to wear this top everywhere and all the time. There may even be a few more in my future. I do like a good uniform.

 

Print, Pattern, Sew: May 2015

Print, Pattern, Sew: May 2015 by Jen Hewett. Block printed fabric and dress pattern by the artist.

Print, Pattern, Sew: May 2015 by Jen Hewett. Block printed fabric and dress pattern by the artist.

Print, Pattern, Sew: May 2015 by Jen Hewett. Block printed fabric and dress pattern by the artist.

May

Two-color block print on linen

Garment pattern: Self-drafted (top based on Grainline Studio’s Tiny Pocket Tee)

Fabric: 100% linen (brand unknown; from my wholesale linen supplier)

Ink: Blick

Print, Pattern, Sew: May 2015 by Jen Hewett. Block printed fabric and dress pattern by the artist.

I’d originally planned to make this dress with more of a blouson top (and had drafted the pattern and created a muslin to reflect that). But when I tried the dress on to figure out how much elastic to put in the waistband, I liked the dress exactly as it was. There’s something very flapper-esque about the cut of this pattern, though the print keeps it from feeling too retro.

Block by Jen Hewett for her Print, Pattern, Sew: May 2015 project

I didn’t think I’d make a dress so soon into this project, because I didn’t know how I’d print all that fabric in my tiny studio. Printing  fabric for blouses and skirts is easier; I don’t need to print continuous yardage since the length of each garment isn’t that long.

This is my favorite garment – and my favorite print – so far. I can see myself wearing it a lot.

Now I just need an invitation to a Roaring Twenties party. Or, at the very least, to a wedding.