- Alessa mentioned that she and her friends have a swap party, and yes, this is a great way to get rid of some of your clothes (and have fun!). A friend hosted one last year and asked us each to bring a bag of clothes and a bottle of wine. By the end of it, we each had new clothes, were a bit tipsy, and donated the leftovers together.
- Kristen and Solvi deal with items they no longer wear but can't seem to get rid of by forcing themselves to wear it for an entire day. At the end of the day, they usually remember why they no longer wear it, or it can re-enter rotation.
- Two great tips about discovering what you're wearing and what you're not. The first, from Shirley: "Every year - I hang all my hangers the opposite way (so the hook hangs towards me instead of away from me). Then as something gets worn, I place the hanger back the originally way. After a few weeks, you can tell which pieces get worn the most and which pieces can get donated!" Solvi, is going the high-tech route, and tracking her outfits with Dress Assistant. See her plans here.
On a related note, I have just accepted a job (blogging, no less!) and so my first inclination was to go out and buy new work clothes since this'll be the first time in three and a half years that I'll have to enter an office daily. But in my new-clothes-daydreaming, I took a deep breath. And you know what? I realized I don't really need anything.
And when I really thought about what I wanted, I was surprised to find they were all things that I can't make for myself (at least at this point in time). I wanted a black bra, a belt, a pair of black heels (and maybe maroon...), stockings in various dark shades to wear skirts in the cool months, colorful scarves and colorful cardigans.
For me, the lesson was not so much that I wanted to make the bulk of my clothes, but that I'm getting closer to what it means to have a balanced and interesting wardrobe. Since I'm doing pretty good in the basics department, these are the foundations and accessories that I foresee will get me the most mileage out of basic clothes. To me, nothing sparks up a plain outfit like a spark of color. I'd be curious how you accessorize in the cooler months: Scarves? Tights?
There's been lots going on sewing-wise, I've just been too lazy to take photos. Most recently, I've sewn two A-Line skirts. The first, I posted a few weeks ago, was for the job interview.
The pattern was from Wendy Mullin's Sew U, and I (deludedly) cut a small and have to leave out the back darts because it was too tight. But look at the hem. I'd topstitched it as suggested, but there's all that rippling above the hem.
So I decided it was high-time for me to draft my own pattern using Cal Patch's Design It Yourself Clothes. I was worried about the waist measurement, as I'm new to wearing skirts but skirts always seem to me to be too tight and uncomfortable or too loose and shifting about. I posted this question on the book's Flickr group and got a response from Cal herself! I thought I'd post it here, to share:
believe it or not,if an A-line skirt is too small in the waist that can also cause it to ride up. being too loose can cause it to shift around but not usually upward. what i do is measure myself where i want the skirt to actually sit, generally my low waist (about an inch or two below my belly button). measure snugly, but not too tight. this should lead to a skirt that sits in the right place, but other factors (fabric choice, side seam/hip shaping, darts, lining or not) will also affect the outcome.So I took my low hip-measurement and made it a bit snug. I had so much fun drafting the pattern! Really, despite the forthcoming explanation about what went wrong in this process, I just really love drafting.
Here's my pattern:
And I used an vintage skirt that I'd tried to refashion months ago and had been sitting in my stash half ripped apart. I'm not too good at fabric recognition, but it's a lightweight, slightly silky, and crisp fabric.
In the book, a suggested wearing ease is 1 inch for the waist, hip and sweep and the sweep has a suggested minimum measurement of 4 inches over your hip measurement. So for me that was 37.5+4 = 41.5.
What happened is that the waist was too loose and the hips were too tight (they'd pull in the front, creating horizontal lines) and the A-line was, well, way too A. At my height, I prefer my skirts to hit about 1-inch above my knee, so I also scaled back the sweep to a mere inch above my hip measurement. So here's the skirt, with these adjustments:
I should say that when I wore it, I was totally tickled. Actually, I like both of these skirts—perfect length and width for walking—but when I see the photos I feel a whole lotta "meh." And on the left of the photo you can see that strange dip in the skirt, and I can't figure out why it's there.
Here's the back:
And the side:
I realize perfecting a skirt pattern will take some time, but this process has made me realize that there are just a lot of skirt basics I'm unaware of and that I'll probably learn through trial and error. I suspect, besides fitting (it's still loose even though I've taken in the waist twice), this is largely a fabric choice issue. I'm probably best off trying to sew my revised pattern with a thick fabric.
But I'd love to glean some of your skirt know-how. A few questions I'd batter you with, if you were in the room:
- Does your height (and/or shape) affect the type of skirt you wear and your hemline? If you wear A-line skirts, what's a typical sweep for you?
- Do you prefer to topstich a hemline or do it by hand? Is there a benefit to one or the other?
- What fabrics do you prefer to use for skirts? Which would you avoid?
- Do you wear your skirt at your natural or low waist?
- What's a perfectly fitting skirt to you? Is the front perpendicular to the floor or does it dip in with you pelvis (think: Joan Holloway)?
- What's your favorite way to pair a skirt? (Okay, I'm recycling this one from the summer, but I'm still curious! I've read that tops you wear with pants should hit at low hip and tops with skirts should hit mid-hip and, alas, all my tops are too long ...)