Merriam-Webster defines it thus:
lagniappe: something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.
I would describe it as:
the pleasant discovery that the entire coat pattern fits into only 8 yards of that lovely cashmere coat fabric, leaving me with 6 extra yards!
Today I was feeling depressed, bored, and obsessively contemplating all the myriad things that were wrong with my life. Weight, finances, job, housekeeping…the list went on and on. After about ten minutes of listening to my depressed maunderings, Mike said, “Well, two things. First, you didn’t eat dinner. Second, I don’t think you’ve done anything creative recently. Why don’t you go do something creative?”
At that point I realized that yes, the depression probably had something to do with my blood sugar. I rarely get that morose, and when I do, it’s almost always because I’ve forgotten to eat. So I figured I’d hit the depression with a two pronged attack.
First, I made myself a cup of Real Hot Chocolate. This is not ordinary hot chocolate. Oh no. This is two ounces of Valrhona chocolate, mixed with 2-3 ounces of heavy whipping cream, brought to a boil in the microwave, and stirred into a rich ganache (emulsion). Then dilute with hot milk just until it’s drinkable thickness. The result is rich, creamy, thick, and incredibly chocolatey – essentially, drinkable truffle centers. (Remember: anything worth doing is worth overdoing!) Between the sugar and the chocolate, if a nice warm cup of that doesn’t pick up your mood, you should probably make an immediate appointment with a psychiatrist.
That dispelled the depression. (I’m sure my psychiatrist is breathing a sigh of relief.)
Second, I pulled out the cashmere coat fabric, the fabric I’ve been lusciously slavering over. I had cut out the fabric for the practice coat in the morning, but it left me “flat”: it’s ugly fabric in ugly colors, and I really don’t enjoy working with things that are not beautiful. It’s utilitarian, not enjoyable, and I am positively Dionysian in my philosophy of craft. I had been feeling rather depressed about doing one MORE practice garment before getting to “play with the good stuff”, and I figured that getting to play with the actual fabric would cheer me up. So I pulled out the pattern pieces and arranged them on the larger piece of fabric (about 8 yards) – and lo and behold, they all fit!
So now I have 6 extra yards of fabric to play with. 2.5 yards will be a shawl for my friend Lena (the Tibetan Buddhist lama), who is visiting from India this month. I haven’t thought of what to do with the other 3.5 yards yet….perhaps I’ll make another shawl for myself, or save it as yardage. I’m really excited at the prospect of having extra – and so much more than I expected!
I also laid out the pattern pieces on the black suede (I’ve decided to use real suede instead of Ultrasuede, I think). My suede hide isn’t quite long enough for the full length of the facing, but I have enough to go down past the buttons (about knee length). I think that if I use black suede down to the knee, and then switch over to the coat fabric, I can make it look decorative and intentional rather than “oops, ran out of suede!”. So I think that is what I will do.
I have also discovered a place online that makes cloth-covered buttons professionally. I plan to send them my scraps of suede to convert into buttons for the coat. It will take about two weeks, so I’ll have to wait to get them back, but I think it’ll be worth it. The make-your-own-button kits have a tendency to pop apart, and suede is pretty thick fabric, so I think I’ll get better results by “going pro”.
I have not yet decided what to do next. The wise path would be to put together the entire practice garment first, learning the ins and outs along the way, and then tackle the cashmere coat fabric. That is what I intended. But I don’t enjoy that fabric, and I’m not looking forward to Yet More Practice. And work has been stressing me out a lot lately, so (even more than usual), I want to work with something I’ll enjoy. After all, it’s not just about getting the best result, but about enjoying the process every step of the way! So I am considering using a blended technique – working one step ahead in the practice fabric, but starting the cashmere coat at the same time. Finish one step in practice fabric, check results, do the step in the cashmere coat fabric. This will not be quite as good as doing an entire practice garment first, but it should give me some practice with each step before doing the actual coat, and it will keep me engaged and happy. Which is important – life is too short to spend it doing things you don’t enjoy!
So I think my next step will be preparing the cashmere fabric for cutting, by fusing the lightweight knit interfacing to it to stabilize the fabric. The sew-in hair canvas that I am using for interfacing won’t arrive until the end of the week, so I think I will spend part of the week cutting pattern pieces and thread-tracing markings in the “real” fabric, and the other part working a step ahead on the practice coat (for which I can use the cheaper, fusible hair canvas that I already have).
Out with the doldrums! Forward ho!
A word of caution”” I would probably sew up the ugly sample coat first, not proceed in tandem. Unfortunately, you might discover at step 24 that you wish you would have done step 3 differently…
(This from the person who made the man’s shirt in the Convergence/Denver fashion show 2004.) I made two shirts prior to the real deal, and screwed up the first. I didn’t realize until I got to the collar. And gee whiz, a man’s shirt really isn’t THAT hard!
Daryl Lancaster says
I agree with Sally, make the practice piece up first, and then the real deal. And I would cut out the cashmere, and then fuse the interfacing. Less waste, and less chance you will fuse it with the grainlines skewed.