For some months I have been working on a new garment, which has actually been years in the making. Perhaps not quite finished to claim for #memademay, but happy to share anyway.
My fascination with the simple bird design started in 2015 when we were living in Nørrebro in Copenhagen. Walking the streets thin in all kinds of weather, I loved grafitti spotting. I liked themes that repeated themselves across the public spaces of the city, and in particular I noticed, photographed and wrote about birds in the graffiti cityscape.
Inspired by the clever, but unknown graffiti artists (Spyo? Bravo?) I designed a pattern with six bird drawings for the beautiful purple linen I bought from The Fabric Store in Brisbane in December. You may suggest that I appropriated the design, as some are direct copies of what I saw in Copenhagen and from Brisbane can enjoy via #thebirdsthebirds on Instagram. I would love to attribute the original creators if anyone can let me know who they are.
I developed a silk screen with the pattern design and started printing, screen after screen. Unfortunately, the print quality deteriorated as I went along and I had to acquire new emulsion and develop a new silk screen half way through the process. This left an uneven pattern with some birds very vague in their prints while others are showcasing sparkling yellow lines.
It was challenging to fit the pattern to the finished fabric, so the best of the birds would be put to best use in the final garment. With help – again – from my sewing fiend (and friend) of a neighbour, we modified the Simplicity pattern from a wrap dress to a wrap shirt, so I was sure there was enough fabric.
Birgitte helped me aligning the organic pattern across the pieces so I could get the most out of my fabric in the cut.
Then off I went with my beginners sewing machine in the spot Mick has gracefully granted me in his studio. Sewing a button-up shirt with a wrap was challenging for a relative novice, and Youtube was definitely my virtual friend in explaining things like understitching (thank you Evelyn Wood!) and other unfamiliar terms the pattern threw up.
I thought I was going crazy when I got to the yoke. I simply could not get the logic straight, and I watched countless Youtube clips explaining the burrito method in so many ways that I went nearly cross-eyed. I basted and practiced pulling through the fabric unsuccessfully a few times before I finally got it. It is nothing short of miraculous, like so many other things with sewing.
I still need to hem the shirt, create the button holes and sew in buttons, but I am pretty pleased with the result already.
What have you been making in May?