Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be able to make my own wardrobe, and the more I learn about unsustainable practices in the fashion industry, the more interested I am in creating more of my clothes by hand. I obviously have the knitwear side of the equation pretty well figured out, but sewing, especially with sewing machines, has always been a bit more intimidating to me. But with the machine I got a couple of years ago, I feel like I have to fight the machine less, and that’s made it easier for me to use as a learner. I made myself that York Pinafore last fall, and today, I want to show off my next clothing project: a Cleo Skirt!
I used Andover’s Kaleidoscope Plaid in “Lichen” for this skirt, and I followed the View B instructions for a midi-length with on-seam pockets. I learned a LOT from this pattern! The last time I sewed a skirt was when I was pregnant, and I had my dear friend Kris as a tutor to help me; this is the first skirt I’ve sewn all by myself! (Though I did have the Creativebug class videos to guide me!)
I’m really delighted with how it turned out, and also with how it looks with this sweater (my Honeydew turtleneck). Definitely a good teaching outfit, once we get back to a situation where it matters what my bottom half looks like. I think that the bright yellowy greens and blues in this skirt will actually look great with quite a few of my sweaters, which is part of what drew me to it. (Also, I just love plaid, and bright colors in general, so the combination of the two things was very happy-making).
I bought 2.5 yards, because the pattern called for 2 and 1/3rd yards and 2.5 was as close as I could get, but I did end up with quite a bit left over. Some of the leftovers are in a nice wide rectangle that I could possibly use for another project, but there was a long skinny rectangle left over at the sides that I didn’t want to waste, either. Then I remembered a YouTube video from Marcy Harriell showing how to make a 3D mask from one pattern piece, and after cutting out my template, found that it JUST fit in that long skinny rectangle, which made it possible to cut out 3 masks worth of pieces. Here’s a closeup of the first one (I still need to sew the others):
I used the followup video to create a filter pocket in mine, so it’s effectively 3 layers over the main part of the mask, plus I can add a filter for more layers if I want. I really like it! I’ve been fighting with the shaped masks that I made last summer, because the seam running down the middle makes it so that my glasses won’t sit on top of the mask (it’s just too bulky under the nose bridge) and then I get crazy glasses-fogging. But with this, since it’s a flat piece under the nose bridge, I can tuck it under the bridge of my glasses and not get much if any fogging! And that’s without a nose wire; it would probably be even better with one, and I have an idea for how I can add one without adding too much bulk to the part that goes over the nose. Here it is flat:
And here it is folded out:
I love the design of this – it’s really simple to put together! And it fascinates me that it’s all from one pattern piece! You can (kinda) see the filter pocket in the picture below:
And finally, here’s a video of me talking in it, without my glasses fogging up!
I have more of the Andover Kaleidoscope Plaid in “Magenta”, and I’m really excited about the idea of making another Cleo Skirt plus a few more masks from it!
Since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’ll close with a little reflection:
Today, as on MLK Days past, I’m revisiting King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, and sharing a link to it here so that you can do the same. Something I think about a lot is the fact that King was born the same year as my grandpa (who was a minister deeply engaged in the Civil Rights Movement)…and my grandpa is still alive and kicking today. (In fact, he just emailed me the other day to share the resources from his book club about Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste”, because during the last Harrison Family Zoom, he said they were reading it and I’d mentioned that I was waiting for the ebook from the library, which I still am.)
We like to pretend that this is old history but it isn’t. The people who were civil rights activists then? Some of them, like my grandpa, are still with us. King could be too, if he hadn’t been murdered. It just wasn’t that long ago. And the very same dynamics that King writes about in this letter are also still alive today. People say the very same things about the Black Lives Matter movement as they said about King and the civil rights movement then. Literally.
I want to think that things will be different this time. That what we’re experiencing is a backlash, a last gasp of those who fear they are losing their place at the top of the hierarchy, and who either don’t realize that the beloved community we are trying to make real is not zero-sum, or would simply rather be on top of a broken world than co-exist in a whole one with others who are different from them. I think it’s important to reckon honestly with what came before, because we cannot have any hope of achieving a different ending if we don’t recognize the ways in which we are replaying the same arguments, and I desperately hope that those who find themselves mouthing, in relation to the BLM movement, the lines of the white moderates King describes in his letter recognize themselves and then work to do better.