Sometimes new designs come easy to me and seem to take no time at all. Other times designs need lots of tweaking - a little change here, a little change there - before they solidify. As an artist, this reminds me a lot of how I paint. There is always a give and take around the edges. Objects are almost never sharp and crystal clear in the beginning, a little light shines through in places or the color changes as an object recedes from view. It's these nuances that can give an object greater depth and it's the same with design. Good design is efficient and efficiency means paring down anything that isn't essential to an item. Like editing a poem, or a book, or blocking out colors in a painting - you start with big ideas and generalizations and slowly trim them down into a concise, focused, detailed finished product.
This is where I'm at in regards to my wrap skirt design. What seemed like a simple design in my mind, is actually full of minute decisions about even the smallest of details, like how to taper the waistband ties or where to place a buttonhole. As unexpected as it's been, I feel good making choices that are slowly boiling down into a streamlined efficient design. Lately, I've been focusing on fine tuning the details of the buttons, how to differentiate which buttons attach to which button holes; how to tweak the design to save time on the sewing; and most of all which fabric to use.
That last one has been tricky, mostly because I already knew what fabric I wanted to use - a linen-cotton blend - but I was hoping to find one that was woven here in the States. Apparently that's nearly impossible to find. I'm paraphrasing what one industry expert told me, when I say that they're mostly made abroad these days. Sure, there is cotton grown in North Carolina and fabric mills across the Southeast, but unless I can afford to have my own special fabric made or want to go with a cotton jersey, there isn't a made-in-the-USA linen-cotton blend to be found. Anyone out there that can prove that statement wrong? Please? I've been looking for about five months now, no lie.
In the meantime, I'm deciding between a medium weight linen-cotton blend or a hemp-cotton blend from two different reputable fabric companies. The linen-cotton blend seems to be softer after first wash and is less wrinkly (my favorite from the very beginning). It is whiter than the hemp-cotton blend, which is more of a cream color. The hemp-cotton blend is not quite as soft after the first wash but will soften more over time, and is slightly more wrinkly. They are both durable, but stylish fabric options, and I know that either one will work just fine. I plan to make one skirt from each and see how they look side-by-side. Regardless of which fabric I ultimately decide upon, all materials used in the skirt will be made from biodegradable natural fibers, so they won't live on forever in a landfill somewhere 100 years from now. The skirts will be sewn here in the USA, and I plan to dye them myself using the most eco-friendly dye on the market (fiber reactive dyes, which use less water during the dying process).