Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Better late than never: Grunge November and the sweet smell of Eddie's shirt

Towards the end of last year, my lovely friend Gillian suggested a Grunge November sewalong. To say I'm a little fond of all things Pearl Jam, Seattle and Subpop is an understatement. Gillian had barely sent her email before I jumped all over it with my scuffed Docs and ripped tights - count me in Toronto sister, I'm channeling back to 1993 RIGHT NOW and drafting a plaid shirt.

Okay okay...there's a slight problem here right? It's now February and fireworks and Christmas are but a hazy blur in the background. To be fair, I had time management issues, dates with Don, work, a trip to Canada and the general frivolity of being a Szabo to contend with. But, I'm back and my sewing mojo is cooking on gas with my first proper make of 2014 being what is now my most beloved plaid shirt.

For the photos and styling, I decided to go with one of my favourite grunge princesses of the time, Janet Livermore from the film Singles, played by the ageless Bridget Fonda (she's now 50, WTF?).

Janet outside the Duplex where I so badly
wanted to live

Me outside the Chez Szabo 'duplex'. Pattern is my own and 
fabric is a brushed cotton from Calico Lane 


When I first saw Singles, I was 13 and life was a daily torment of teenage angst, buying Kerrang! and plotting my escape and life in Seattle with my best friend Amanda. These were the days when MTV was great and you could turn it on at any time and see Guns N Roses or Brett Michaels singing about roses and thorns. One day, bored, I turned on the TV and watched a black & white video with hot, sweaty, plaid-soaked men crowd surfing. Immediately, I needed to know who this was! My hormones demanded it. The cheekbones of the lead singer alone sent my adolescent world spiralling. 

It was Pearl Jam's 'Alive' video and the cheekbones belonged to the one and only Eddie Vedder. Instantly, my little world changed. 


From that day on, all I remember is that life revolved around Pearl Jam. My room became a shrine, my pocket-money went on music, magazines and my evenings were spent writing endless letters to Amanda (that I would give to her the next day at school, even though we'd spend the whole day together!) about our fantasy life as Eddie and Stone's girlfriends.


Amanda and I told everyone we'd get to Seattle one day, and all I wanted was to work in a coffee shop dating a guy that wore tube socks and had long hair.... okay this hasn't happened but Mr Szabo does wear the socks and Amanda and I have got as far as Vegas and Phoenix together. It's only a matter of time. 

State of love and plaid matching

For this shirt, I drafted my own pattern. I'm beyond pleased with how it's turned out. It has a button placket (cut on the bias), collar, collar stand, cuffs and sleeve plackets. The whole shiz! 

I matched the plaid and flat felled all seams (except armhole). This shirt is truly a testament of my love to grunge.

Bias cut yoke oh yeah I like you

I ran into a problem at the end however. I had completely forgot to stay-stitch the raw edges on my neckline and the whole thing had pretty much stretched to that of a man's neck size. Doh! I was left with a perfect fitting shirt but with a man's neck size - holy pearl jam I was upset. HOWEVER, this is when Twitter comes and hugs you and spoon-feeds you melted chocolate and peanut butter cups. Some gorgeous people (you know who you are) helped me realise that wait! What are you talking about, Clare? This isn't my shirt - this shirt I picked up off of Eddie's floor one morning after a crazy night of writing songs and making out, AND it's nothing but a repair job that when finished, I'd be rocking as boyfriend-thrift-chic. RIGHT, that's made me happier!


So I continued finishing the shirt and I am so in love with it. The brushed cotton feels incredible and when wearing it over a t-shirt, it really doesn't show the man-collar. Plus, it looks so good when I am hanging out with my boyfriend and his band. 

Thanks Steffen Horak for taking this pic :)

Buttoned up, I think the shirt looks okay - I mean how can you not be distracted by that front plaid matching? I am also pleased with my top-stitching on this shirt, especially the collar points. Normally my top-stitching looks a bit drunk (knowing me, probably is!) but if you're struggling to stitch those points try using a walking foot, I found it really helped grip onto those pesky corners. 

Moody album back cover. Yeah, I dated 
Layne Staley, so what?

Here's a little proof of how much I love(d) Pearl Jam. I joined the Ten Club way back in 1993 and my friend Thomas (hi Thomas!) bought me Ten on cassette off of one of the US air bases near where we lived. I was so happy because it meant my version was actually American, as if that made it more authentic somehow! HA!


So that's Grunge Novebruary. I'd like to dedicate this post to one of my favourite people in the entire world, my bestest friend Amanda. We never get to see each other as she lives in Utah, but she means the world to me and there's no Pearl Jam without her. 

<Playlist: Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns - Mother Love Bone>

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