Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Waste not, want not - and a project organization help

Tonight was declared cutting night.  I had my blue/grey plaid on my mind and I couldn't shake it loose.  (Mom brought me some wool plaid from her trip to Oregon this fall).  So, off to the cutting table we went. 

Having finished cutting my skirt, I was left with quite a lot of very pretty plaid.  Not - with the grey - a color I want to wear near my face, so not an option to use as a vest, even if my scrap drawers weren't bulging.  But!  My daughter looks amazing in grey and aqua... and I had a dress pattern that I'd altered for her in the fall and that I thought there just might be enough fabric for.  There was!  So ... she'll have a dear little dress, and I'll have a matching skirt.  (They don't match at *all* in style, only in fabric). 

I usually have leftover fabric, what with being fond of long full skirts, so having a pattern or two in my inventory that can make use of the scraps - when appropriate - is a money saver and prevents waste.  (I hate looking at the trashcan after cutting time, and I just don't have the space to keep more than a few drawers of scraps). 

What did I do with my projects?  I put them in big ziploc bags and toss them into my closet to be sewn up at a later date.  A fair few casual dresses belonging to my daughter are still in there, waiting for Mama to decide that her little girl needs to wear tinkerbell. 

Here's what that looks like: 

Lining, fabric, zipper, hem tape and pattern.  All ready to go.  :)  (The bright turquoise is the lining). 


A resolution:  Not to sew anything for my wardrobe that I don't truly love.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The dressy jacket

Item finished!

I learned quite a lot about sewing while going through this process... none of which were particularly *pleasant* lessons.  But I'm done, and Mom is going to look simply smashing in this tonight.  (Remember my mom's hair is about the same color as this jacket, if you replace the black with darkest brown). 


Sunday, December 18, 2011


I've been looking at colors and whatnot quite a lot lately... some things that speak to me:




Fluidity of line

I tried making some palettes on one of the color programs, and it went well enough, I suppose, but the flat colors feel so - flat.  When I see a flower petal or a piece of cloth, I'm attracted to the depth of color, not just the color itself.  This is probably why I like certain types of cloth (and certain weaves) and why I'm totally uninspired by others.  (It's also why I don't like kitch, as a rule). 

Water and trees and movement... these inspire me. 

Now to take that inspiration and move it into cloth.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why does it matter if I'm wearing "my" style?

Why does it matter that we nail down our own styles?  Isn't this all a wee bit solipsistic?  Instead of navel-gazing, are we hem-gazing?  What's the deal?

The reason that it matters that we nail down our own style - even though it will continually evolve - is that having nailed down our style, we can forget ourselves in our clothing.  Having brought our style into the outside circle, we can walk ahead confidently, being ourselves, as true fully dressed as fully naked, and perhaps more so.

Clothing tells the world about you, tells it who you are.  So, nailing down what you want to say to the world is a good thing to do.  It's not just the world at large - it's your mirror.  Every time you walk past a mirror - do you look like yourself?

When I wear certain styles of clothing, I feel like I'm wearing a costume.  There's nothing wrong with costuming... but it isn't something that you want to do day-to-day.  And that's what I've been stuck on with some of my clothes.  I feel like I'm wearing someone else's things.  I don't look like me, I don't feel like myself. 

It's been baffling me... after all, didn't I make those things?  But the things that are most costumey are honestly the things that look most like my *mom* or other women I look up to, not me!  F'r instance, I have a lovely pair of button-up shirts.  I made them, so they fit me.  They're in my colors.  I'm quite fond of the buttons.  Everything should work out, right?  But no.  Because button-up, collared shirts. are a classic look.  You think "classic = everyone can wear it", and that's not true.  I look and feel awkward in classic tailoring.  If I'm going to have a button-up shirt, I'm going to have to modify it.  (Right now I'm thinking a collarless shirt would work, but I might have to give that up and stick with buttons up my back).   If I were working in an office I'd probably wear a shell or a blouse instead of a button-down. 

That's also the point of nailing down your style - sometimes you'll have to modify it.  If I were working in an office, I wouldn't have the freedom to wear floor-skimming skirts 90% of the time, which is what I wear at home.  I'd have to find something that brought that femininity (or that naturalness) into the office realm.  (I know how to do this if anyone needs help).   Even in the home, I have to consider practicality - I can't scrub toilets in lace, and it's usually too hot here to wear a wool cloak. 

When  you feel like yourself, you can act like yourself.  Being as true to yourself as possible is a good thing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm still working on it

Two sizing muslins.
I redrew the entire sleeve area and did some adjustments for back width. 
Cutting the slippery slippery fabric.  Lining included.  I will NEVER use regular lining fabric again, just FYI.

This is taking a *lot* longer than I had hoped!  I *hope* to sew up the sleeves this morning and be able to give this to my mom to try on and decide on final length today.  (She didn't want it quite this long, as it turns out). 

But y'all have been patient, and deserve an "in progress" picture.

There you are.  One sleeveless dressy jacket shell.  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A pause in the action to talk about Aesthetics and Pinterest

I'm trying Pinterest out as an online lookbook.   So far, so good.  My aesthetic is very well defined.  The clothing I "pin" is all very similar in mood.  The "just for pretties" fit in that mood. 

The odd thing is that my "to sew" projects *dont'* fit that mood, they're much more structured.    My aesthetic tends to be art nouevea/edwardian/fairy tale and my sewing projects are straight out of the fifities. 

In other words, I think I've found the disconnect and some of the source of dissatisfaction with the things I create.  I need to stay conscious of my organic natural romantic bent - even while paying homage to my figure's need for structured outerwear.

This is the point of lookbooks.  Or one of them.  To see what you are craving, and to figure out how to get that craving integrated with your dailiness.  All is possible, one must merely make it work!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Skirt Ripples, two possible solutions

Two possible reasons for the ripples in my skirt zipper area.

1) The zipper area wants interfacing.  I would agree with this one - I see the most rippling on lighter fabrics, fabrics that are substantially lighter than the zipper fabric.  Found this in one of the sewing books I got this week for my birthday.

2)  http://gorgeousfabrics.com/blog/2011/12/06/there-are-no-hard-and-fast-rules-in-sewing/  Sew from wide to narrow?  No rippling?  Could it be that easy?

So... the next skirt I make - two changes coming up.  Also, I'm going to go back to the overlapped waistband with button rather than the waistband with hook & eye that I have been using.  I might also put a waist stay in - my waist circumference isn't very small, and it's more or less the same for 3-4" up and down, so I either have to fit the waistband *tight* (which can get uncomfy) or find my waistband moving up and down at a whim. 

Why yes, I have been reading the couture sewing guides.  How can you tell?  :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Dressy Evening Jacket

The next project to hit the sewing machine is a lovely little basic that my mom requested as her 70th birthday present. 

Very popular (and with excellent reason) with women of a certain age, the dressy jacket is a staple of the holiday/special occasion wardrobe.  One lovely jacket can take you through years of wear.  It can dress up a nice pair of jeans, sparkle up a pair of utilitarian slacks, or imitate an evening gown with a chiffon (or satin) evening skirt. 

Usually these jackets have black backgrounds with either brocade, embroidery, or jeweled enhancements.  Less is *not* more with this jacket - the jacket *is* the accessory. 

Mom has chosen black covered with silver brocade for her jacket.  It's going to go splendidly with her dark brown and silver hair.  (She's a Winter, so the cold colors look wonderful on her). 

While the evening jacket is most aligned with middle-aged and older ladies, there is no reason that younger women can't enjoy this classic style.  Younger women's statement jackets tend to be bolder and brighter in color, and more whimsical of pattern - either that, or they tend to much lighter and more feminine colors, and lace.  These were particularly popular in the late '80s and through the '90s.   Younger women's jackets also tend to be less formal in structure - as with most younger clothing. 

Regardless of your age, it's a nice thing to have tucked away to make basic clothing instantly fun and dressy.

I'll keep you posted with the sewing progress!