Sunday, June 22, 2014

Clothing for flirtation

Caveat:  This post is written for the unmarried woman.  This is meant to be advice for breaking past the "I don't want to show that much skin, but gee - the guys just pretend like I'm not there!"

My dear girls.   Please let me apologize.  I'm not sure where we misplaced this advice, but most of the women my age have at least some clue about these little ways of getting attention.  Must have lost them in the mail.  Perhaps we forgot to tell you that all clothing conveys a message - and that it is possible to convey more than one level of information at once!  You can say, "I am intelligent, work hard - and I'm sweet and young and just ripe for marriage" in one outfit.  Really.

Men like women.  Hopefully this is not news.   Men like pretty women with nice figures.  Shocking.  And all the girls around you have this information, and they're using it to buy bandage dresses and 5" heels.

Yes.  It works.  But that's not for you, because you value your modesty.  But what do you do?

You can convey the message that you are a young, healthy woman with a nice figure without buying a bandage dress.  What you want to do is to convey first that you are a woman - radiate femininity.  Men like women, rule one.  The next thing you want to do is to draw attention... to your face.  Draw the eye to your best features.  (Smile lots, by the way - and light makeup is good).  The third thing to do on the physical level is to wear clothing designed to show that you have a nice waistline and soft curves on either side.  (Soft but trim:  Yes, that's what they want.  Trim = young/fit, soft = fertile).

Wear clothing that moves.  I love a good sundress... but any long, loose-ish skirt has potential.  Light fabrics in the warm weather - the floatier the better.   Wool with plenty of swish in cold weather - look cozy.

Your clothes should be designed to make you look more feminine than you already are.  They should have plenty of color - but generally not super bright.  Pink is a winner.  Blue & white?  Perfection.  Men don't LIKE the "latest thing".  You're dressing for men now, not for your girlfriends.  (Fashion is women dressing for women).  Let your colors flatter you... if you have coloring like Snow White, okay - wear the red.  But maybe the white dress and the red bow belt might be better than a red dress?

You want to look approachable.  Clean cut enough that you don't freak them out (kitch is not on this list.  Save it for your maiden aunt), enough fluff to soften the edges.  Wear clothing that makes soft noises or that looks soft and touchable.  (There's not a man born who can resist an angora sweater - don't wear it on a date though, okay?  You will be petted).

Light perfume - something that smells at close range, something personal and memorable, but something nice.  Don't wear just anything.  Baby powder is better than really perfumy-perfume.

That having been accomplished, what you can pack away to clean the bathrooms:  Thick denim.  Thick tshirts, or tshirts that aren't tailored for a woman's figure.  Androgyny sends a strong signal these days - there are five women who can ignore this advice, if you're reading this you're not them.  Anything that completely conceals your figure (that fisherman's sweater or the denim jumper).   Clothing that looks hard or industrial or androgynous (no twee tuxedos).

Going to work?  Buy a silk blouse.  Charmeuse, something thick and not immodest.  Plain and simple, maybe a bow neck - go vintage.  Wear your jewelry, always.  It's completely work-appropriate to look pretty.  You'll be expected to wear a more tailored skirt at the office... nice fabric is your next best friend.  Don't overdo the pink at the office, though.  Can backfire.  Do wear a nice sweater - something fine gauge, nice buttons.  Details are important.

Color.  Texture.  Movement.  Sound/smell.  Sparkle - in your eyes.  Don't be afraid to be pretty.  Every other girl is going for 'sexy'.  Pretty is *your* game, work it to the max.

Pinterest boards:
Color psychology:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Just 'cause

Hulking bodyguard for the win.... :D

He's bending over - he had to to loop his arms around like this.  If he doesn't bend over, usually he wraps his arms around my shoulders.

His mom took this photo when we were about 19ish.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Doing what you love

Reading over at Jenny's place the other day: and over at Mark's Daily Apple:

I've been through this cycle lately - well, end of last year.  I was dieting very strictly, which was awesome until it stopped working... except that it wasn't awesome, because it left me really obsessed with food.  And exhausted.  It took months to get back to myself - and I gained all the weight back, plus more.  Typical for most radical diets, not typical for my diets.  :/  Usually I pop up a bit, but not past the mark.

So I started back up with health in mind, rather than "I must lose 10lb by next week".  Started doing T-Tapp again, which my body likes.  It gives me better posture, shortens my cycles, etc.  Puts on muscle, tightens me up quickly, but it doesn't lead to quick weight loss.  C'est la vie.  But though my body likes the results, sometimes I do have to poke myself to get the workouts in.  Being muscle-sore gets old, and I get muscle sore from filing my nails, I think.

Yesterday the kids and I hit the beach for the first time this summer.  The kids have gotten big enough, and good enough at swimming that I don't have to hold hands constantly and watch them every-single-second, which means I can swim along with and really swim and have fun.  It was FUN.  I was sooo stiff last night, having bounced and frolicked in the waves for an hour (jump, dive, bounce, fight current).  But I had soo much fun.  And today I got up and T-Tapped - because I loved how much stronger I am and how much more flexible.  Motivation.  I want to go back, and I want to go back soon!  :)

So, this is dove-tailing with some stuff I was thinking about, some stuff I'm working on in my life, and over at HHH.

Sometimes you have to do the right things because they're the right things.  In fact, I think that's mostly what we really should be concentrating on - doing the right things and chilling out about the results.  We're not always in control of the results.  Oh, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't adjust our course if something is clearly off... but if you know you're doing right?  Just keep doing it.

My new order of operations goes like this:

Pray. (Ask direction, ask blessing)
Show up.
Do your best.
Leave the results to God.

Now.... let's see how I do with putting that into action.  ;)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

ASG Meeting: Recommended

I hit the American Sewing Guild meeting yesterday.  Well, I hit the local meeting - there is a local meeting, a county meeting, and a national meeting.  And you can go to any or all of them, and they break down further than that and... yeah, it gets tots crazypants if you want to go there.

There were all levels of seamstresses there, and seamstresses of all different stripes.  Quite a lot of the ladies specialize in quilts and/or home dec/crafts but there were a few that concentrate on garments, and even one or two who concentrate on other sorts of needlework (crocheting, embroidery, etc).   All different levels of sewing expertise too - the lady who runs my chapter taught Home Ec for 36 years at the high school in the town just down from mine and there was a younger lady who'd just started sewing.

I was surprised to find that, as a proper non-profit group, they log their community service hours/donations.  Lots of philanthropy going on!  The lady across the table from me was making a walker bag to donate to one of the local rest homes, and the display bags that they make in the booth at the county fair are given to the battered women's shelters.

Very friendly ladies, they were encouraging and everyone was madly trading tips - and odd bits of fabric.

I had a splendid time.  I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but it was SO fun.  I'm looking forward to being a part of this community.

So - if you sew - I recommend joining the American Sewing Guild today!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A fighter! (Shirt #3 for the husband)

1) Somewhere along the way I realized that the problem with this shirt sloper is the problem with 99% of Big Four patterns - the armscye (the roominess of the armpit) is *way too deep*.   Of course that was after shirt #2 was sewn.
- Honey, your shirt fits fine around the front, fine around the back, that's the right amount of sleeve, why is it bunching under your arms?
- Bah humbug.  I'll remember this for the next run of shirts though.  I'm not going to throw myself off a cliff - most clothing is now made with ridiculous amounts of room in the armscye.  (It gives you more leeway in the torso fit - unfortunately it makes it difficult to move properly).

2)  This was meant to be my "perfect shirt".  Hah.  I don't know how, but somehow one sleeve ended up being narrower than the other, one shirt hem ended up being longer than the other... it ought to have been completed last night, but today I spent a couple of hours fixing those things.  :p

3)  But it's still pretty awesome... and who doesn't need a blue linen shirt?  Well, if you're a guy in an office anyway.  I like the grey stitching on this baby blue, and I like the pocket detail.  So - it might have fought, but I still call it a win.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hobby vs. Craft

It's time.  It's time to stop thinking of my sewing as a hobby and think of it as my craft.

I've actually been doing that the last two projects, and you can tell.  Boyhowdy can you tell on the periwinkle shirt.  It's so much nicer... although certainly some of that is the difference in fabric.  But - it's the attention to detail.  The "make it right" not "just let's get through it".  It's putting the mental effort in, to take the lessons I've learned over the past five? years I've been sewing and put them to work.  To try new techniques that I've read about, to try new stitches, to experiment with notions and fabric.  To bring it all together and move on.

I don't know why it's so hard, to give over the idea of "hobby" or "pastime" and replace it with "craft" or "passion".  I guess because it moves the base-level of expectation way up.  No more sloppy-jalopy finishing, no way.  I'm a craftsperson!

Part of the transition - I finally joined the American Sewing Guild.  It's not like there's a bar to membership.  You register, send them some money, they send you a card and tell you when the next meeting is.  And you get a very nifty magazine subscription.  (I think the goodies that go with the membership will offset the price).  So why get so kerfuffled?  Because to *me*... I'm saying, "I'm worthy of hanging out with other seamstresses".  I feel like I'm moving from junior high to high school - scared and nervous and knowing it's all pretty silly but... still.  I'm claiming it.

Yes, I'm silly.

I wonder who I'll be NEXT year?

The other side of the coin:

Shirt #2: Periwinkle Blue Medium-weight Linen with details

I finished the shirt!  :)  And DH says "he likes this one".  (Instead of throwing myself off a cliff in despair about what he must think about the other ones, I'm going to assume that this nails all his favorite colors).

Small comments on the details - you see I put the button-hole/blanket stitch (that's what it's called, you don't actually use it for buttonholes on a machine) on both sleeves and the hem.  I *almost* put it on the collar, but decided to keep it simple.

Things I love about making my own stuff - I can be persnickety about the colors of *everything*.  I am passionate about color, and getting it right, so this makes me really happy.

The buttons on this shirt are just the cold buff color that my husband's hair shines in the light.  He's not blonde, but he has very shiny ash brown hair.  I'm very pleased to have found some cool-toned brown buttons to use on his shirts.  (Same buttons on the next shirt).  Periwinkle is a very-nearly universal color - but this is a cold, light periwinkle.  (It was originally ordered as a shirt for me - but just a touch cool for me).

I'm also pleased to crank things up a notch and use the decorative stitches on my machine to produce a more hand-made effect to the final product.  I have a bit more learning to do.... but I'm *really* liking this level of detail for him.

Overall - is it perfect?  I wish.  But it's good.  It's better than the last shirt I made, and the next shirt will be better than this one.  Men's clothing is precise, and somewhat challenging.  I'm happy with the final product, and pleased to call it my own.  (And I'll be very pleased to see it on my hubs!)  (No, he doesn't try on anything.  He hates trying on clothing.  Hates it.  I got the first shirt  - with the stripes - on him and I'm just working from there).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pockets and Details

I'm working on shirt #2 (collar and plackets to finish tomorrow) and I did a few things differently.  (A few, she said...)

First, I'd seen somewhere in internet land that lining your pockets and turning them inside out was THE way to do perfect pockets.  I didn't do that on the last one, I didn't want the visible bulk on that gauze.  I didn't really want it on this linen either - too thick.  (I don't think self-lining is the way to go with shirt pockets).  But gathering the corners and turning things *perfectly* is a pain.  So ... I had a bit of cotton batiste in stash.  I cut matching pockets from the batiste and sewed them inside out.

Prior to pressing them down - you have to fidget with the edges to make sure they don't show.  I was hoping for a fidget-free solution, which this is not.  Worth a try though - I'm more pleased with these pockets than I was with either of the first two shirts I made.  

Quite pleased with the finished pocket - before stitching it on... 

And after stitching it on the shirt.  I added some decorative stitching too - I wasn't totally pleased with the margins around the pockets.  You'll see that tomorrow (hopefully).

As an aside, this is why we do a sample stitch before committing.  I wanted to check stitch length, but doing the "drape a length of thread over the fabric" testing - the darker looked really great and the lighter was sooo  bright and annoying.  Stitch test showed that the darker was going to be too dark.  These are the little things that make a difference..... 

And here's a sneak peek... I put this decorative stitching around the pocket, and have put it around the sleeve bands too.  (You want continuity in your decoration or it looks homemade rather than handmade).  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Plaid Shirt

I finally finished this!  Took a week off to ... um... deal with life?  :p  Seemed like there were several days there where sewing time just didn't happen.  I'm SURE that didn't have anything to do with me leaving off in the middle of the second front placket and before the collar.  Nope, not having to deal with fiddly bits and plaid ... that wouldn't be it.   Nope.

Learned:  This cotton gauze is just as fabulously soft and thin as it looks.  Yes, you CAN see the hanger through the shirt fabric with the flash.  It's that thin.

I still love the pattern.  Tie dyed navy plaid?  Gosh and golly, tots awesome.

But put gauze and plaid together?  That wasn't nice.  Stretching off of grain every chance it got.  I was strict, and it's pretty well matched - but I think I'll hold my plaid fantasies to wool or something closely woven from here on out.  (Watch me totally break my word if the charcoal ever comes back in stock).

It is NOT perfect.  But it's good.  Very good.  I found the most awesome buttons in my button stash, I think they pick the colors up well.

And DH has another shirt.  :)  Which he needed!  Two more to go - no plaid, just nice sensible linen.