Idea Log: the mildly Folksy tunic

Idea Log: The mildly Folksy tunic

Earlier this summer, I was having lunch with my friends Anna Maria and Rebekka one day and Anna started telling us a sweet and funny story about a Panamanian woman who had just been in her shop, Craft South, who Anna felt sure was judging her harshly (based on the look on her face as she looked around) but who actually apparently liked what she saw — to the point that she wound up giving Anna a trove of small embroidered pieces from her home country. They’re made by the Kuna people, and she was convinced that Anna was a person who would appreciate them. Anna was blown away by the gift and by the pieces themselves, especially the more unusual embroidered collar-and-cuff combos that were part of the collection, called molas. She wound up pulling them all out for us to see, and insisted Rebekka and I each take one of the pieces to do something fun with. I immediately chose this charming fish and knew I wanted it to be a pocket. On something!

In the ensuing weeks, I decided yes, definitely a pocket, and that while it would be fantastic and appropriate on something like Cal Patch’s Folk Blouse sewn at dress length, I would almost certainly never wear it. So what I want is just a nod to that — a loose, casual, simple tunic on which my pocket can shine. The challenge would be fabric, since the embroidery is done on a sort of off-black cotton that wouldn’t be easy to match.

Well. Along came serendipity in the guise of Jaime and Amber of Fancy Tiger Crafts. They were coming to Nashville for a workshop at Craft South, as it happens, and Jaime sent me a text one day that just said “olive drab or off black?” I thought it was a message typed into the wrong text window — you know how it is — and responded “?” She said that’s all, I just had to pick, and I said I couldn’t possibly since those are basically my two favorite colors plus I had no idea what I was picking. When they arrived, they handed me a little bundle adorably stitched up in a brown paper bag, and what I pulled out of that parcel was a length of Japanese linen-cotton that is a dead ringer for the background of my fish pocket, which they knew nothing about.

I am so grateful for my friends, and not just because they give me gifts that add up to awesome clothing.

So what about the pattern? Surfing around the internet the other day, I saw a dress someone had sewn that led me to the Sutton Blouse pattern, which seems to be just about perfect for this.

(Beloved Fashionary panels from Fringe Supply Co., of course.)


By the way, speaking of Craft South, I should mention that I’m going to be there on Tuesday eve the 15th, hanging out, knitting, and answering any knitting questions anyone might have. Anna calls this “knit picking my brain.” I’ll also have the thoroughly awesome Kathy Cadigan in tow that night. So if you’re in Nashville, please come! Details on their site (and I promise to brush my hair).


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9 thoughts on “Idea Log: the mildly Folksy tunic

  1. Absolutely LOVE the embroidered fish…and like the tunic you selected much better than the peasant blouse (reminds me too much of an old fashioned maternity top). Can’t wait to see the finished product – it will be almost as wonderful as you are!

  2. So meant to be, cuz blacks are impossibly hard to match if you’re trying. The shape of the top reminds me of Guatemalan huipils. I used to have one in college. Embroidered all over, just amazing. Wish I still had it, darn it.

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