Window Shopping

I went to a high-end mall last night. The anchor stores are Nordstoms and Neiman Marcus. First I have to say I love trying on clothes at expensive stores. I wear clothes two sizes smaller than at the chain stores. Great for the ego! I have the same fit issues no matter what the cost, but it would bother me more to spend $200 for a dress and still have to remake it. Sorry there are no pictures…cameras were not welcomed.

I am never going to follow trends again. I haven’t felt good in my clothes since the 1960’s. Now that the retro styles are back, suddenly I look good in clothes again, in spite of the fact that I weight 100 pounds more than I did in the 60’s. I feel like I wasted half my life in ugly clothes. Never again!

I went to the mall to look at construction and fabric used. I felt a silk/wool for the first time. It will be great for Florida winters. I also saw a beautiful silk jersey print on a DVF wrap dress. The front edge of the wrap dress was finished with self-fabric binding. I was surprised how many of the sundresses were lined with batiste…..and all the sundresses were lined. All the unlined jackets had Hong Kong finishes, and the lined jackets had piping in the seam between the facing and lining. Seams were pressed open and serge finished on dresses and blouses. Invisible zippers were used on everything. They basicly just used good construction techniques with really great fabric.

I was amazed at the difference good fabric made in the way a garment looks on the body. Things that I thought I couldn’t wear looked great because of the drape of the fabric. I have been very frugal with my clothing for years, but it was not a good plan. I am definitely going to change my fabric buying habits.

Here are some of the changes I am planning to make as a result of this experience.
1. Buy only good fabric. The expense is worth it.
2. Make more things with princess seams.
3. Make a-line and straight skirts.
4. Make things with a fitted waistline.
5. Make a gathered skirt out of voile and move the gathers to the center, sides almost flat.
6. Make things out of a mid-weight linen fabric. It drapes but has enough body to keep things hidden I don’t want to show.
7. Marry a rich man so that I have the money to buy all that expensive fabric.

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Not Again!

I have been playing with muslins and they just are not working out. Too big. I tried on the jacket and skirt that I was planning to build my wardrobe around, and they are too big. I am going to have to dig out some smaller clothes and see what I can wear now.

I learned something about measurements. Even if you are not loosing weight, if you start exercising, you have to take frequent measurements, because the measurements do change much faster than one might anticipate.

Color Trends

I discovered a new site today that I think will really help those of us who sew plan ahead. It is Fashion Trendsetter.

Every season I go to the mall and try to determine what colors and styles are the must haves for that season. This site shows the popular colors months in advance. Having this information in advance will really help me plan for the coming season, as I usually start my sewing several months before clothes appear in the stores. They list the Pantone colors so I won’t have to try to figure out the colors that are not always accurately reflected on my computer screen. I was really surprised that the colors for fall are very soft.

In their review of upcoming styles for Fall 2009 they say clothes are going to be oversized with leggings and big shoulders. Maybe I shouldn’t get rid of those 1980’s patterns!

Change of Plans

I have had a terrible time getting motivated with the mini wardrobe sew along. After looking at the fabric again last night, I realized that I don’t like the fabrics, or even the skirt that was the center of the wardrobe. The dressy fabrics also do not fit my current lifestyle. Even though they were just meant to be muslins, they did not inspire me to sew. I decided to dump the entire plan and start over.

I checked out my closet and found in the dark corner a denim jacket I love, but have rarely worn, because I have nothing the wear with it.

I went through my stash and found these fabrics that will set it off.

I haven’t decided exactly what I am going to do with it, but I am looking forward to sewing this wardrobe, and I think it will get a lot of use. The three fabrics on the left are knits that will be made into shirts. The fabrics on the right are a tan twill and a plaid seersucker. They will probably be skirts, as I wear mostly skirts during the summer.

My Lifestyle Wardrobe

I need to replace my wardrobe, everything is either worn out or doesn’t fit properly. The research that I have been doing indicates that one should first look at their activities or lifestyle to determine what clothes they need.

I first started with the things that I do (I decided to keep this list to 10 things.)
1. sleep (I need clothes for this since I don’t sleep in the buff)
2. hanging out at home
3. gardening
4. visiting my dad at the nursing home
5. doctor appointments for myself and my father
6. doing things with friends
7. shopping
8. parties
9. concerts
10. church

Then I added the type of clothes that I wear to those activities.
1a. sleep-pajamas, nightgowns, bathrobe
2b. hanging out-casual
3b. gardening-casual, aprons, hats
4b. nursing home-dressy casual
5b. doctor’s- dressy casual
6b. friends-dressy casual, dressy
7b. shopping-casual, dressy casual
8b. parties-dressy casual, dressy, semi-formal
9b. concerts-dressy casual, dressy
10b. church-dressy casual, dressy

The next step was to determine how often I participated in those activities and determine how many outfits I would need for each category if I did laundry once a week and wanted some variety in selections.

1c. sleep, daily

  • 5 pajamas
  • 2 nightgowns
  • 1 bathrobe

2c. hang out, daily

  • 7 casual pants
  • 7 casual tops

3c. gardening, 6 days/week, cannot overlap with other casual clothes

  • 6 casual pants, must be made from a cool fabric
  • 6 casual tops, must be made from a cool fabric

4c. nursing home, 7 days a week

  • 4 dressy casual pants
  • 3 dressy casual skirts
  • 7 dressy casual tops

5c. doctor’s appointments, once a week

  • 1 dressy casual pants
  • 1 dressy casual skirt
  • 1 dressy casual top
  • 1 dressy casual dress
  • 1 dressy casual jacket

6c. friends, once a week

  • 1 dressy casual pant
  • 1 dressy casual skirt
  • 1 dressy casual top
  • 1 dressy casual dress
  • 1 dressy casual jacket

7c. shopping, 2 days a week

  • 2 casual pant
  • 2 casual tops
  • 1 dressy casual pant
  • 1 dressy casual pant
  • 1 dressy casual skirt
  • 1 jacket

8c. parties, once a month

  • 1 semi-formal dress
  • 1 dressy pant
  • 1 dressy skirt
  • 1 dressy top
  • 1 dressy dress
  • 1 dressy casual pant
  • 1 dressy casual skirt
  • 1 dressy casual top
  • 1 dressy casual dress
  • 1 dressy jacket
  • 1 dressy casual jacket

9c. concerts

  • 1 dressy casual dress
  • 1 dressy dress

10c, church, three times a week

  • 2 dressy dresses
  • 2 suits
  • 2 dressy tops
  • 2 dressy casual skirts
  • 1 dressy casual pant
  • 2 dressy casual tops
  • 3 dressy casual dresses
  • 3 dressy casual jackets

Now I know why I do so much laundry for one person.
What makes something casual vs. dressy casual? The fabric.
If I coordinate everything what do I need? I have no idea. I have never had a coordinated wardrobe, so I guess my list will just cover the basics as I see them.

Summary

By clothing category:
Pajamas

  • pajamas-5

Nightgowns

  • nightgowns-2

Bathrobe

  • bathrobe-1

Pants

  • casual pants-7
  • cool casual pants-6
  • dressy casual pants-4
  • dressy pant-1

Tops

  • casual tops-7
  • cool casual tops-6
  • dressy casual tops-7
  • dressy tops-2

Skirts

  • dressy casual skirts-3
  • dressy skirt-1

Dresses

  • dressy casual dress-3
  • dressy dresses-2
  • semi-formal dress-1

Jackets

  • dressy casual jackets-3
  • dressy jacket-1

Suits

  • suits, with both skirt and pants-2

By lifestyle category:

Semi-formal

  • 1 dress

Dressy

  • 1 jacket
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 shirts
  • 1 pant

Dressy Casual

  • 2 suits, with both skirt and pants
  • 3 jackets
  • 3 dresses
  • 3 skirts
  • 7 tops
  • 4 pants

Casual

  • 7 pants
  • 6 cool pants
  • 7 tops
  • 6 cool tops

Nightwear

  • 5 pajamas
  • 2 nightgowns
  • 1 bathrobe

That is a lot of sewing! I guess I went over the 11 garments recommended by SWAP. I am going to start with a SWAP, so hopefully I can learn about a coordinated wardrobe. Next I have to decide on my colors.

S.W.A.P.

Today I learned a new sewing concept, S.W.A.P., Sewing With A Plan. The objective of the plan is to sew a wardrobe that is appropriate for your lifestyle, so you will have the clothes you need.

The plan recommends evaluating one’s lifesyle, then sewing 11 garments out of 2 basic colors and 1 complementary color.
2 pairs of pants
2 skirts, one solid, one print
6 tops, matching and coordinating
1 jacket

Here are some links about this concept:

Sewing with a Plan,
Planning the wardrobe

Sewing with a Plan Update

Casual Wardrobe Planning

Stitches Article

Sewliz’s Template

Jemima Bean’s Storyboard Tutorial

Another suggestion that I read was to organize fabric into containers with coordinated outfits, and sew one container at a time so that one would have something to wear when the container is empty, instead of a bunch of mismatched clothes.