Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Pants interrupted


This cushion should have been a pair of boxer shorts. I'd bought the fabric from Liberty months ago when the Edwyn Collins Ornithology line first appeared - I fell in love with the china blue background, the stunning bird sketches and the story behind the fabric. In December I bought Kwik Sew 1672 as I had too little time to draft my own pattern. The envelope showed the kind of fit I was imagining might make for a good pair of cotton boxer shorts, but when I came to cut out my fabric I discovered that boxer shorts require more fabric than I'd envisaged. A short is not a mere slip of a garment, but more a hungry, fabric gobbling item that rendered me lacking a rather vital 1.5" of fabric...so near, yet so very far from pant production. My husband was able to console me when he glanced at the pattern envelope: was it really safe to transform my dear Papa into something akin to the image on the packet?


Perhaps not. And so my father unexpectedly became the recipient of a cushion, rather than the long-planned boxer shorts.


I made piping to border the cushion edge.


And for the cushion back I used my favourite midnight blue Venezia fabric that I have been hoarding greedily because I love it so much.


To leave two of my most favourite fabrics uninterrupted on both sides an invisible zip in one of the seams was called for. I've never installed an invisible zipper in the same seam as piping before...it wasn't an installation entirely without error, but it was,at least, easier than I'd anticipated it might be.

I gave my father a little sheet detailing the story behind the bird sketches and a copy of Edwyn Collins' biography, Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins, which I'm planning to borrow back after he's read it. In case you didn't read about it at the time, here's a little background for you. You may remember Edwyn Collins from the 90s - he had a hit single with 'Never Met a Girl Like you Before'. Seven years ago, still a young man, he suffered a series of strokes which left him with brain damage; unable to feed himself, walk, talk, read or write, and paralysed down one side. He was forced to relearn all these tasks with the added complication of having to master holding a pencil in his left hand, having been right-handed all his life. As part of his later rehabilitation he drew a sketch of a bird each day: it's these sketches that feature in his Ornithology fabric prints for the Liberty Rocks collection.  That story leaves me completely moved, particularly when you consider how incredibly beautiful the fabric is in its own right. I think my father thought so too.

Florence x


14 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, when I read Edwyn Collins I immediately thought 'How strange, that fabric designer has exactly the same name as the guy out of Orange Juice', I am going to have to find that book now, (and the fabric if I can)

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  2. I am gobsmacked! You had me at every turn with that lovely story. Love the cushion, fabric, piping, boxer pattern (!) and the story behind it. I'd love to read the book!

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  3. I've been thinking of making pants too, because organic cotton boxers are expensive (and there isn't much choice of colours etc). But I had observed that one pair of pants takes a whole rung on the airer - same as one of my t-shirts - so I'm not totally surprised about the fabric requirements. That pattern envelope's pretty shocking, too! Lovely cushion.

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  4. ha ha last night I made a pair of boxers from the same pattern!the sewn pair looks great, but havent seen them in the model yet : )
    Mariana

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  5. That fabric is way too gorgeous to be hidden under trousers! The cushion is beautiful, and the story to accompany it was so lovely.

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  6. Beautiful Florence - the perfect make for this beautiful fabric. You MUST read the book when you get it back, I wrote very briefly about it here: http://handmadejane.blogspot.com/2011/10/liberty-rocks.html
    and I thoroughly recommend it. Both Edwyn Collins and his partner Grace are a true inspiration: he for coming so very far from a position of total incapacity and she for being such a terrier and never taking no for an answer. I guarantee you'll be hooked. x

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  7. Fabulous fabric and far too nice for pants!! I love your cushion :)

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  8. I must have missed this about Edwyn Collins - I adored 'Never met a girl....' and had no idea what had happened to him,thank you - I'm off to follow the link now!

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  9. How lovely! I've just discovered your blog via the craftyblogs website and I'm hooked! I'm new to crafting myself and so far I'm enjoying it.

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  10. What a moving story, and the fabric looks great as a cushion.

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  11. Thank you so much for your comments and thank you, Jane, I shall try and encourage my father to read quickly so that I can dive into it myself!

    Nina - yes, you're right - I hadn't thought about how much room they take hung up...

    Anonymous - do report back - I'd love to know if it's a pattern worth following if I have the right amount of fabric.

    Florence x

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  12. What a lovely story..I'm going to look for both the book and the fabric too. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  13. I just YOU TUBED him. Oh my... my kind of music. Music that pulls at my heart strings.

    I have CDs with his music and the song you mentioned. Always loved him but never knew he was. Never looked at the artists on my CDs. I need to update music on my iphone.

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  14. Forgot to mention LOVE the cushion and the fabric. Exquisite!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x