The Long and the Shorts of It

A year ago, when I ran out of fabric while weaving the Memory Rya Rug, a few friends gave me some garments to cut up. Among them was a pair of batik caftans. While batik is great for rag rugs because it’s coloured on both sides, the patterning on these caftans was so lovely I didn’t want to cut them up. I had immediate ideas of turning them into dresses, and put them aside.

In among Late Lucy’s clothing was a similar caftan, newer and printed with more colours, but in a pattern I didn’t like much. Leah at the vintage clothing store told me caftans don’t sell, so I put it aside to use for rag rugs.

Last week I experienced a sewing jape. I’d moved most of my weaving stuff from the Craft Room to the Loom Room and packed up the Katie Loom because I needed space on the Craft Room table to mend a few garments. With the weaving stuff out of the way I had space in the wardrobe to hang clothing I wanted to refashion. I’d also been to the vintage store and settled my account, leaving most of the unsold garments with Leah, but taking home four pieces of clothing from the 80s that I felt oddly attached to, and wanted to refashion.

I did the mending, then moved on to a refashion. That led to a review of all my sewing projects, which led to me looking at those old caftans while my favourite shorts pattern happened to be sitting at the side, waving its papery hands and saying ‘pick me!’.

Who am I to argue with a sewing pattern? And I could definitely do with some cheerful new shorts. So I started unpicking the seams of Lucy’s caftan. That’s when I discovered that it was much brighter and redder on the inside – definitely more me than the peachy colour on the right side.

Laying out the pattern took care, as so I didn’t wind up with an unfortunate shape in an unfortunate place. I managed it with Lucy’s caftan, which became this:

And one of the old caftans, which was also brighter on the inside, became these:

I also, with Paul’s help, tweaked the carry bag for the Jane loom and sewed a table runner out of an old piece of Japanese fabric. Though I’d spaced the sewing across four days my back was reminding me that it doesn’t like me sewing much, so I took a break.

The projects I want to tackle next are more complicated. I’ve already sewn a calico of a pair of a new pants pattern I’d bought recently… with the usual result of finding the waist is too low and the crotch too high – darn annoying things to adjust for. I may end up putting that one aside, as the idea of making a long skirt out of the fabric appeals just as much.

But in the meantime another 4 shaft class has happened, and I’m back to being all about the weaving.