Monday, February 12, 2007

Time Warp: Ritual Cloth

Enter the Time Machine with me and travel back to June of '06, and heed the (then-on-Blogger) Sewing Divas' Call for Posts on Ritual Cloth. At that time, I scrounged around in boxes looking for a particular shirt that had been made by my grandmother and completely failed to find it. So, instead, I posted about my sewing grandmas,here and here, if you missed those posts. But, lo and behold, I did find the missing shirt and thought I would rather belatedly share it.

Grandma made shirts like this for almost all her grandchildren sometime in the 1975-1976 time frame. This shirt was meant for my sister and me to share, but it fit me better so I ended up with it. On looking at it more closely today, I can see that some of my assumptions about how she made it were not correct. I thought she'd done a variation of the stitch-and-flip crazy patch, but, since there's only one row of zig-zag stitching visible on the underlining, I believe she cut the shirt front and back pieces from the backing fabric (which, knowing Grandma, could've been old bedsheets...but the thread count looks pretty low for sheeting), then cut the scraps to size, pressed all the raw edges under, and zig-zagged them to to the underlining. The sleeves were not underlined; she cut rectangles of fabric and straight-seamed them together, then pressed the seam allowances to one side and topstitched it with a zig-zag stitch. I believe she did that to create the 'sleeve fabric', then cut the sleeves from the resulting yardage. (She may have sewn yards of that together and cut all the sleeves at once...hard to tell, now. I know she made somewhere in the vicinity of 10 shirts. It's a pity we never all wore the shirts to one of her regularly scheduled Sunday Family Dinners and took a picture.) The buttons are all the same half-ball shank style, but they are different colors.

I (and my sister...a time or two, anyway) really and truly wore that shirt in the late 70's...didn't get any strange looks, either. A few years later I used it as part of an outfit I wore as a clown for various church activities; it didn't get truly retired until the mid 90's when the preggy fluff I gained with baby #3 took up permanent residence on my body and the shirt no longer buttoned comfortably. So it could easily have been 15 years since this shirt was last actually worn on a body.

But, even though the underlining is shredding and disappearing, this is one garment that will likely hang around for a long, long time... ;)

1 comment:

  1. Oh Thank You! Lisa. I'm still fascinated by Ritual Cloth items and your post means a lot to me. Thanks to Grandma, too, what ingenuity! Some of us wwould have had to buy a pattern to do a patchwork shirt (blush!) back then...