Stitch Exchange: The West Water Tunic

You know how you hear about an event for years, and you see lots of photos of happy people at the event, and they make things you dream of making, and you hope that one day you might be able to go yourself. For me, this event is Squam. It is a pilgrimage of sorts. People from around the world, get in cars, buses, trains, and planes, and convene around a crystal clear lake in New Hampshire. They stay in quaint rustic cabins. And they take knitting, sewing, painting, weaving, and writing classes. I am so excited because for the first time ever, this June, I am traveling to Squam (car, bus, plane, shuttle) to teach indigo and eco-printing. The genius behind Squam is Elizabeth Duvivier. As Elizabeth and I worked out the classes I would teach at Squam she told me about a  new project she has been working on - a sewing pattern - named The West Water Tunic. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy and to start sewing!

I asked Elizabeth about the history of the West Water Tunic and how it came to be. She told me that her collaborator on the project is named Sam Lamb and she came to know Sam though Squam. One day, Elizabeth saw a photo of Sam wearing in this tunic, and loved the way it looked "very Audrey Hepburn meets artist chic" and asked Sam if she would be interested in working together on releasing the pattern. They began a correspondence. And voila now we have this amazing pattern!

I like the West Water Tunic - which I refer to as the Squam Smock - because it combines utility and beauty. I adore the idea that this is something I can throw on akin to apron but with a bit more style. When I asked Elizabeth how she styles her own West Water Tunic she said "I'm a total smock/tunic kinda girl. I love wearing a t-shirt and jeans. If I need to dress it up, I might wear more of a scoop neck t-shirt but mostly I wear tunics as part of my daily uniform. Super comfy and practical, especially if you have added pockets."

With this in mind, I began to think about when and how I might wear my version. I considered making one to wear in my dyeing studio, a place where I can never have enough aprons, and to make it out of a heavy denim. Though then, I remembered last Summer, when we grew a bunch of dye plants on a local farm, and how hot is was, and how I so desperately desired pockets to put my pruners. So I decided to use the garden and the field as my inspiration when making my tunic. I chose a neutral, herringbone linen as my main fabric, as linen is so breathable. And for the bias trim, I chose a fabric very close to my heart, made of 100% organic cotton and grown just 90 miles from my shop, by cotton breeder Sally Fox. In the future, I would love to use fabric I have naturally-dyed! Under my West Water Tunic, I am wearing a shirt sewing pattern we created here at A Verb for Keeping Warm, named Nell. I love how the two pieces go together - especially how the collars sit within one another. I decided instead of putting a button at the top, to use this beautiful, rustic pin made by Fog Linen, which we sell in our shop.

The instructions for The West Water Tunic are very easy to follow and have many helpful photos inset. I also like how there are many variations to this pattern; two different choices for the front, different types of pockets (inset or patch), and more! This pattern is great for all levels. You can purchase the pattern directly from Elizabeth. We also carry this pattern in our brick and mortar shop.

To celebrate Elizabeth's new venture, let's have a give-away, leave a comment - and tell us how you would wear The West Water Tunic - and what kind of fabric you would use - and you will be entered to win a free copy of The West Water Tunic. Contest ends Monday, April 18th, noon pst.

P.S. Elizabeth has a great podcast titled Morning On the Dock, which I imagine is named after the infamous dock on the lake, where happy campers gather to knit, sew, and swim, watch the sunrise (and sunset). I received the opportunity to be on her podcast and today, my episode goes live. So take a listen!