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Sunday, 20 May 2012

What you sew vs What you wear

Having finished SWAP, I'm reviewing my actual life and the clothes I wear over and over.

It comes down to this
- tops to wear with jeans for going out for meal/pub.
- trouser suits + knit tops or tops/trousers with jacket for work (though sometimes I do wear knit dresses with a jacket for work)
- walking/travel clothing for weekends and holidays
- PJs
seriously that's about it.
I haven't bothered with a category for posh parties/weddings etc as they are so rare. 

I'm also a bit fatter than I was so not everything fits very well, in particualr the two smartest suits.

OK, so to the categories:-
Going out
- fave altered RTW jeans about to wear out, bummer. Various self sewn ones are not that great - what to do?
- one or two knit tops that are a bit more special, could do with a little more choice. Easy enough to sew.

I keep wearing two brown trouser suits, one is seriously on its last legs and needs binning really. I have two nice suits that are too tight. I have a black suit that is very boring.
I need to do a suit audit and create some whole outfits which I can just grab and wear.
These could be a dark top& trousers with bright jacket combo though.
I am wondering about actually buying a suit, but hoping the above strategy would be enough.

Travel Clothing
Now I am more into walking and want to plan some budget holidays I would like to have a proper wardrobe of fast drying tops, travel pants etc. The kind of stuff you can buy at Craghoppers.
I do have fabric for making some trousers, but might just buy some instead from a practical perspective.
Not quite sure if I can make base layer tees from fabric I have in stash or not.
Since I am not superskilled like Karen, I shall buy a waterproof coat.

I own the saddest PJs ever and could do with making some new ones.
Silk would be lovely for a luxurious feel, though I don't have any suitable yardage.
In the meantime I shall make some in a fab cream and brown cotton print with matching robe (dressing gown).



M-C said...

Do you work with me :-)?
Seriously, you really should address the better suit issue at work, before it becomes an emergency, and at least toss the falling-apart brown. And yes, I've been thinking if Angela Merkel can wear boring black pants/top with a vivid color jacket, that can work for me too (I don't think like AM, but I look like her enough..). The drawback is that once they've seen your lavender jacket, they remember it well. Perhaps it'd be more sewing-effective for you (us) to tart up the boring black suit with some very nice tops? And those could double up for going out too.

I find that travel goes better when I wear technical fabrics made up into regular-looking clothes. Supplex pants made up totally normal. Sweats in designer patterns. Polarfleece in nice Burda jackets. Then you can have the function of "travel wear" without looking like a dork when you wander into a city. If you do that in tasteful urban colors it's even better. I guess you're allowed some occasional fluorescents so they can find the body, but "walking" does not flag that as a necessity :-). Anyway I do take note of which ones of my regular clothes dry fastest, so I can privilege those going into a suitcase.

Finally, I can't encourage you enough to make some nice pjs :-). Nothing makes you feel so cheerful as to have breakfast in lovely pjs. I fantasize about Hollywood silk too, but meanwhile nice cotton will do fine. Be sre to throw some of the old ones out too when you're done.

Ann said...

I would look at two things - jeans and a suit. First, buy a pair of jeans that fit you. I pay upwards to $75.00 for mine. Then you have something to compare to when you make your own jeans. I have Sandra Betzina's jeans pattern (Vogue) and it still needs some tweaking before I cut into the black denim. Palmer Pletch (McCalls) might work also.

As for a suit, choose a simple jacket to start with. I am not sure what kind of alteration you do at the neckline. Make up a muslin and see how it looks and then move on to tweaking it into a TNT. I really love P'diddly's channel jacket pattern and there is one similar; New Look 6028. I made it and it is a nice pattern to work with.

Have fun sewing.

LyndaSewing.blogspot.com said...

Hi Ruthie. JMO, but you asked. :P}}

Work wear is important! People judge you and your capabilities on the way you dress. I know it's not right, but that's the way it is. You may want to check out last year's series of newsletters by Nancy Nix Rice on wardrobe building. http://www.nancynixrice.com/signup.html

I think it's perfect for a business wardrobe. You start with your core garments in your colors like navy, chocolate, and black or grey, or whatever yours are. Make one complete outfit first of pants, skirt, jacket in each of the core colors preferably that you can wear with the others. ie, navy pants with grey jacket and vice versa. Then you add your tops in colors that go with two or more of the solids. Like a navy, grey, cream blouse in a subdued print. Then you can add a dress that will go with at least two of the jackets, and so on and so on. It looks like you've got a massive wardrobe with a few pieces. I've been watching the "Petite and Sewing" blog this month for her Made by Me outfits, and it looks like she does this exceptionally well.

Pants... My opinion is to get a great Burda trouser pattern and keep making muslins until you get it to fit perfectly. I think it's colder there than here, but what I did as I was perfecting my patterns was to make my muslins in cotton flannel which I then used for PJ pants with a cute complimentary tee shirt. Once you have your patterns perfected, invest in a nice wool for work pants and some silk for your good pjs. That way along the way you have things you can wear.

If your favorite jeans fit well and are worn out, can you very carefully cut them apart and make a pattern out of them? If you take your time and go slowly, you can easily make a great pair of jeans. If not, use the perfectly fitted Burda pattern and adapt one of their jeans patterns with the alterations you made to the trouser pattern.

Walking, you can adapt the above pants pattern to a closer fit and make out of either fleece, jersey, or one of the wicking fabrics.

And most of all, as you get your new and beautiful clothing made, each piece cancels out one of the old pieces, which gets tossed out. You're upgrading your wardrobe at the same time you're emptying your closet to make room for the new clothing!

Have fun with this!

kbenco said...

Ruthie re clothes for a walking holiday - if you are handwashing and wanting things to dry overnight rather than using machines, I find merino knits and silk jersey more lovely and just as practical as wicking polyester as you find in retail outdoor wear.They also last so much longer that I've found the price over the length of the garment is very similar.
For trousers, if you can find dark wicking Supplex nylon, this dries very well. I used the Rainshed in Oregon, but the only dark colour at the time was black,which I don't like.
My thoughts on work wear are that it is the most dull to sew, and the most important to have looking smart and in good nick. I would make some trousers in your current size or the lack of them will annoy you every week day morning! I should take my own advice on this ;)

Barbara said...

More thoughts than will fit in one post. First buy a suit, they are a pain to sew and you can make a series of tops to go with, and those are fun to sew. I am with you on the black suit. I bought one as a "classic" and hated wearing it, felt like a nun on her way to a funeral. You look terrific in colour and have a great natural sense for colour so a suit in a good colour would make sense. Indulge yourself in your sewing, buy what is boring to make and have fun with the rest. BTW I think you are looking particularly beautiful these days.