Sunday, April 22, 2012

You *can* wear any color

I know that those of you who know how much allegiance I still have for the Color Me Beautiful system of seasonal color will be sitting by, shocked, at this title.  Never fear!  I haven't lost my mind.

However, my cat Gigi decided to give me a bit of education and example today. 
Scarlet and brown?


But ... the person who wears scarlet doesn't look well in brown, and vice versa!


Ah, but what you do... if you have a Winter (cold/clear colors) who looks fabulous in scarlet but wants to wear brown?  You give her coldest, darkest brown accessories and a taupe neutral to bring the mood of the scarlet down.  You use the emotions, the evocative mood of the clothing to make it appear that she is wearing brown.

If you have an Autumn (warm/muted colors) who looks splendid in virtually every shade of brown?  You mix a cocoa colored dress with a ruby cuff bracelet, or possibly a scarlet leather belt.  (Even the most scarlet of scarlets will be muted by being on leather).

Everyone *can* wear every color... everyone can simply not wear every color in large doses, particularly next to their faces.  (Although you will not find me wearing a cobalt blue skirt anytime soon!)

Colors all have moods, things which they evoke from the viewer (and the wearer) and you can bring that emotion out and use it to make the person "feel" like they're wearing a color that they normally cannot pull off. 

Thanks, Gigi!   

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Speaking of pinterest, if anyone wishes to follow me, or just be nosy and find out what I love, my board is here:


I love jewelry! 

Part of being lovely is accessorizing.  I've let that part of myself completely slide in the past years, as I didn't think I was worth the occasional bit of frippery.  After all, you *have* to put clothes on... you don't necessarily have to put on a bracelet. 

You really don't have to spend very much money to accessorize well.  I know that the jewelry companies are all about making you think that you have to spend a mint - but you don't.  In fact, the best jewelry that I have came from independent jewelers.  (Independent crafters are, imo, the wave of the future).

But you don't have to buy the "real stuff" - or at least the "really expensive stuff" to accessorize.  You can find fun stuff at Target or at teenybopper stores or... well, keep your eyes open and a price limit in your head.  :)  I've gotten some great - and heavily complimented - pieces for $5.  When shopping, do keep an eye on production quality.  You don't want to get something that *looks* like you spent $5!

Accessories are a terrific place to let the parts of your clothing personality that your figure can't quite pull off out of the box.    There are no caftans in my future - unless my future includes looking quite pregnant - but I can be a little bohemian if I stack up the bracelets.   I think steampunk is clever and cool - but again, corsets to kid-pick-up?  Not working for me.  I can use a leather/clockwork belt though.

If you've got really basic pieces that fit well and look well on you, accessories, properly used, can change everything! 

Oh, and I fell manifestly in love with this yesterday and yes, I want to put it on pinterest, so I'm going to link it.  Less than $25, I found it at a Native American store - which was chock full of stunning jewelry.  I wasn't going to get it (It was a few dollars more than my usual mental limit for accessories) but my husband laughed at my carrying it around the store and told me to buy it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fit isn't easy

I've promised not to fall upon my scissors in frustration, but I will say that I'm encountering an exciting opportunity to learn more about the behavior of fabric in its native habitat.   I did a bang-up job on fitting my muslin, and happily bounced off to make the mark 1.

Here's me in my last muslin.  I look a little annoyed at the fitting burbles, but I fixed them on the way to the Mark 1.  Notice how well the upper chest and shoulders are lying.  Notice the loveliness of the armscye! 

Notice the (grumble grumble) ripples as soon as I got the flash hooked up and moving.  Bah.

But the Mark 1 was going to be better!  And it *was*.  So much better.  And the fabric, lush.  Only, the leftover bits that I decided to line it with didn't flex at all... And then I sewed the lining TO the fashion fabric, and ... yuck.  Everything I worked for here that looks so good?  Awful.

I'm ripping the whole thing out, every stinking seam, and resewing it.  I'm also going to be tossing the broadcloth that I'd lined the Mark 1 with and replacing it with batiste.  (I know, broadcloth.  What was I *thinking*?)

But I did non-sewing things today in my real life, so ... not today.  I might rip a seam or two tonight.  Maybe.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Ready-to-wear clothes don't fit anyone perfectly.  How imperfectly they fit varies from person to person, but for maximum figure flattery, your clothes must fit perfectly.

One of the first reasons for my learning to sew for myself is that I'm on the list of "imperfect fit".  Even if I am at my ideal weight - which I am not - I don't fit well into clothing off the rack.  I wish that I could say, like my mom used to, that a little tweak here or there would fix it, but in my case, the clothing needs to be virtually remade (unless it's made of a knit, like a tshirt or somesuch). 

The list of my fitting woes could take up most of this blog - and since the idea is that this blog is a tad more general in nature, I'll spare you. 

Really great fit is something that I'm working on this summer. 

My first approach is going to be a sleeveless blouse.  Since I live in a warm-weather climate, this is a basic that I can wear literally year-round.  Bodice fit is also where I spend most of my time crying.  I had fit a lovely dress about six months ago, done a great job through the bustline, and then ... well, I didn't know about fitting the armscye (armpit area) and how that would leave weird room through the upper chest and reduced mobility.  My dress looked like it fit - but it didn't. 

I'm not going to cry about not knowing about this - after all, it took three fitting books and a consultation to find out what the problem was in the first place.  I might snuffle a bit about that dress, it was just so pretty!  (I gave it away).

The reason that vintage clothing looks so much more attractive on women of all sizes and shapes is that the clothing fits.  (The other reasons include underpinnings and fabric quality).

The very first sloper I made - out of ugly yellow gingham curtains - was startlingly flattering.  Why?  Because my darts were in the right place.  Suddenly the wide part of my skirt was where *I* was widest, and there wasn't extra fabric where I am unwide.

Anyway.  I am pursuing excellence in my dress and sewing endeavors, so my first target is fit.  This is where I started, with traced off bits from various decently-fitting pattern sheets:

This is what I ended up with, four muslins later:

There's still something weird about the space on the bust... I'm not sure if it's extra fabric, too little fabric, or just a need to clip and press my seams.  I'm going to take it to the real fabric and find out.  (Betsy's bosom is a bit higher than mine is, so this bagginess is substantially less apparent on me). 

I don't say that I'm THERE - but what I do say is that I know that I, more than most, *must* get there in order to look at all well-dressed. 

Fit.  It's essential.  And no, it's not easy.