Getting in the Pink with Blessington

Posted by Blythe Tait
It’s coming up to October- Breast Cancer Awareness month worldwide- and that time of year when Blessington raises money for the McGrath Foundation, one of Australia’s best-known breast cancer awareness and support charities.  It’s a great time to talk about The Colour Pink and how to sew with it.
Pink ribbons are the official representation for breast cancer awareness, and all throughout October, you can expect to be invited to various pink-themed events. It is mostly expected that you get into the spirit of things and wear pink (or risk seeming uncharitable!). 
I don’t have a lot of pink in my wardrobe- many shades don’t suit me at all.  But as sewists who create our personal wear, we have a lot of control over our clothing.  I made a pink jumper in the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness month (I currently mostly sew knits), and I love it! Here are my top three tips for getting into the spirit of Breast Awareness month and sewing up some rosy hues to wear!
This is definitely my number one tip- everyone can find a shade of pink which flatters them. Neon pink may do you no favours, but you may come truly alive in a warm salmon pink- or vice versa!


Here is a great example of making sure you use your ‘best’ pink.  I made the maxi dress on the left a couple of years ago out of some kind of polyester knit from Spotlight. Two years ago, I didn’t know about any of the wonderful Australian suppliers of knit fabrics, and to be honest, pickings are usually pretty slim at Spotlight when it comes to knit fabric with plenty of stretch.  I was thrilled to have found a fabric with enough stretch for the pattern I used, McCalls 6700, but you can see that the colour really washes me out. 
Fast forward two years, and now I know ALL ABOUT buying fabric online from Australian suppliers (to the detriment of our savings account!).  I can now be far more selective and only buy things which suit me.  The warm coral pink sweater is what I made for my October sew, and this colour is a far better pink for me. This lovely jumper sweater knit fabric is from Sewing Australia Unique Fabric for Collectors (   


If you aren’t able to ensure your fabric is your best shade of pink, you can at least make sure your project is in a style which suits you.  Do you receive the most compliments wearing plunging v-necks or high halter necks?  Flowy circle skirts or tight pencil skirts? 
V-necks are not my best look- my d├ęcolletage (chest area) is a bit bony and not something I generally want to be highlighting.  It’s another mistake I made with my dark pink maxi dress.


Using a tried and true pattern means you won’t be spending excessive time working with a fabric you dislike.  And since you’ve sewn the pattern before, the sewing will flow seamlessly (ha ha).  This is not the time for trialling a new pattern or a new style.  
With my deep pink maxi dress, it was the first time I had sewed McCalls 6700.  The armscyes were too tight.   I ended up with a poorly fitted dress in the wrong colour and the wrong style.


Unsurprisingly, my deep pink McCalls 6700 maxi dress no longer shares a place in my wardrobe.
Details on my Warm Coral Pink Sweater
I used Jalie’s Marie Claude raglan pullover pattern, suggested for knits with four way stretch.  My sweater knit fabric only has horizontal stretch, but none of my store-bought sweaters have four way stretch, so I decided Marie Claude would just need to work with a two way stretch knit.  I added a couple of inches to the sleeves to allow for the lack of vertical stretch, but I could have got away with just one inch.  The raglan is long as is, so I didn’t bother adding length to the torso.
This sweater knit follows tips 1 and 2- good colour, good style- but I went against Tip 3; it’s the first time I tried this pattern, which is a bit risky.  However, Jalie is one of my favourite pattern companies, and I have sewn so many of their patterns that I know I can generally sew my size without any modifications, and it always works out.
It was also the first time I had ever sewn a sweater knit this thick.I am pleased to report that my beloved Husqvarna Viking Huskylock sewed this sweater knit up like a dream.I love you so much, Husky.
So there you have it:  a selection of my tips for rocking the colour pink for Breast Awareness Month.  Oh, hang on.  One more…

This may be my best sewing tip of all.If you cannot find fabric
  1. in a shade of pink which suits you
  2. to sew up with a tried and true pattern
  3. in a style which makes you look your best…
simply don’t bother!  Wear a pink ribbon instead and save your precious sewing budget to spend with Blessington throughout the month of October.  You’ll be getting something useful for your sewing studio AND supporting the McGrath Foundation at the same time!
Did somebody say ‘new Husqvarna sewing machine’?

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