Archive for the ‘brainstorm’ Category

Wardrobe storyboard

8 May, 2010

So I spent the evening riffling through patterns and magazines and brainstorming, and made not one but two storyboards(!) with a sort of rough-draft plan.

The first is a sort of here and now spring/summer plan:

It was fun to see what I actually chose when I had to narrow down my choices to “feasible”. The dresses I kept coming back to as critical choices. The black linen sheath dress I settled on because of funereal dread as well as its immense practicality; it’s something I can wear to the grocery store AND to, well, a funeral. (Nobody I know is actually at death’s door at the moment.) The other dress is one I’m actually in the process of making right now, to wear to a wedding. It’s definitely not grocery store material, and I will finally have a fancy dress that fits! The style is not particularly formal, but I think I will get more wear out of something that isn’t “evening”, and the fabric is terrifyingly luxurious. Plus the grey color means I can wear it most of the year.

It was hard to cut down on the bottoms, but I do have some jeans so I’ve decided to push back the long pants until the end of summer. I’ve been wanting to make the Beignet skirt for a long time, and I’ve made the cropped linen pants from that pattern before.

The Butterick blouse pattern I’ve actually already made in the yellow voile – I love pale yellow in the summer but I need a little colour on me first. I’m just not sure I would wear it with black, so I might chuck that out of the collection. We’ll see.

The two fabric choices under the Parfait are from the stash, I’m not sure that there’s enough of the grey linen, but that would be my first choice. I don’t know if the lemon-coloured fabric will be versatile enough – on the other hand, I’ve got 5 meters of it and I need to use it for something.

Here’s the other storyboard – there are still some holes in it, and I threw a coat in there but reserve the right to make changes to that:

This is more autumn into winter. The linen trousers might need to be not in linen, because linen isn’t that great here after the first couple of weeks of September. I seriously want that dress!

So here’s the plan – we’ll see how it goes and if I can stick to it without getting distracted!

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Wardrobing

7 May, 2010

My Reader has approximately 40% religious blogs, 40% sewing/craft blogs and maybe 10% blogs from friends or family plus 10% random. So when multiple sewing bloggers all start spontaneously (unless it’s a conspiracy?!) posting about the idea of a cohesive wardrobe, I sort of notice. Susannah at cargo cult craft did an eye-opening wardrobe inventory, Mena at The Sew Weekly is planning her vacation wardrobe, and Sarai at Colette Patterns put up the coolest post on “Costumes for your life” with vintage clothing etiquette. I always get giddy when any of these three blogs update.

Too this is something I’ve been thinking about, since even as I’ve gotten way better at sewing for myself and my wonky bod, I still have weird results that are not always usable. I think this is (at least partly) because:

  1. Above all, magpie-ism, aka “ooh, shiny!”: I see stuff that strikes me as cute/cool/interesting and I add it to my stash of fabrics or patterns without considering whether this is something I can or will wear. This is why I have a stash bulging with quilting fabrics that are undeniably pretty, but which are totally unsuited to clothing for an adult woman both in terms of colours, prints, and ability to be coordinated. Not to mention that quilting weight cotton gets old pretty fast in terms of texture. Or a pattern collection that has far, far too many period reproduction pieces requiring period foundations.
  2. Lack of experience dressing myself as an adult: Most of my wardrobe is tshirts and jeans. To some extent this is ok, as it’s extremely practical, especially because I wear a uniform at work and it’s hardly worth the cognition at 5:30 in the morning to figure out what I’m going to wear if I’m going to take it off anyway. This is also because I’m a hard fit – I’m tall and have been more or less overweight forever, and tailored off-the-rack clothes don’t fit me properly because of genuine fit issues.
  3. Lack of a personal style (if tshirts and jeans don’t count…). This is partly related to number 2. I have vague ideas of what I like, but nothing that is cohesive. Vague ideas about what suits me physically and in terms of how I wear my clothes (practicality, comfort, laundering, etc.).

No wonder I end up with questionable non-coordinating pieces that can only be worn with a pair of jeans.

I’m not sure that the solution is an overnight one, but I know things are getting better… It helps that I’ve recently lost some weight and feel more comfortable with myself. It helps realising that I have an hourglass figure and need to emphasize my waist, or else I’ll look even bigger than I am. Too, just because I like the way something looks doesn’t mean it will look good on me. (cough, cough: empire waists)

I’ll readily admit that there are things I need to be way better at in order to feel that my clothes are stylish – how to use vintage or vintage inspired pieces without being too costumed, how to look at fashion magazines and use them as inspiration for actual practical clothing, how to accessorize. Also, I tend to read blogs and magazines in English (both American and British) and the style on the street here is subtly different, more fussy and Bohemian. It would be nice if I could nod to both worlds and still suit myself – especially because the flowing/layered/eclectic/tunics-up-the-yazoo look is too baggy on me and I need something more tailored.

So, as the above bloggers imply, what is needed is a plan. But this is easier said than done, because planning requires you to know what you need, and if you don’t know what you need, you can’t make a plan. I noticed that someone mentioned SWAP, which turns out to be Sewing With A Plan. I googled this and found this: instructions for making your very own galling, early-nineties office-wear wardrobe. I also found this forum where they have updated the basics “required” into a series of groups more suitable for anno 2010, thank heavens, and made it into a competition.

Basically, you choose the garment group that best suits your daily life, make yourself a storyboard, and then get sewing. Perfect!

So, some consideration is in order:

  • what I have, that fits, that I ACTUALLY WEAR: 2 pairs of jeans, a few long-sleeved tshirts, a few elbow-length tshirts, and some short-sleeved tshirts, lots of undershirts/camisoles (I always wear camis). I have one black with white sprigs Parfait that I’m going to disregard as it’s spring here and I can’t wear it without solid black tights under, because it’s so short on me.
  • colours: the original article recommends two basic colours plus one complementary colour. They recommend navy and beige, which for some reason makes me think of Jessica Fletcher. Although actually Jessica Fletcher is usually a pretty stylish dame, but not really my age/style. They recommend navy and burgundy as an alternative, which just makes me ill. I do not look good in brown, so that is out. My summer jacket is black, my dress shoes are black, and I have three pairs of ballerinas: two pairs black, and one blue with violet. Actually I also have a red pair, but I’ve never worn them, so leave them out. I have 1 pair grey Converse All-Stars which I bought while I was in London and find vintage-y, sneakerishly fantastic. (I also have some nerdy technical Keens, but have come to realize that, while they are practical for hiking, which I rarely have the opportunity for here, they are unsuitable for city wear.) I have one pair of leather Romanish sandals which admittedly are brown. Of cardigans I have one completely worn out black one, one grey one that I’ve been wearing constantly recently, and one chunky cream-coloured with cables, and one short cream-coloured wrap one. Conclusion: colours should either be or coordinate with black (grey) + cream/white and/or navy/denim.
  • Clothes should be tailored, with a fitted waist, not too boxy or blousy around the belly. In my opinion, low-cut tops on large-busted women look vulgar, while a jewel neckline can look frumpy. I like my collar not lower than one handswidth under my collarbone and I love a boatneck. I have skinny ankles and the lower part of my legs look ok, but I don’t like either skirts or shirts to be shorter than just above the knee. I will buy, not sew, my jeans (been there, done that, not doing it again) and the majority of my tshirts.
  • It frets me that I don’t have nice dresses, so that I’m always running around in a panic when we get invited to something, and I live in fear of a funeral. Plus I like to wear skirts to Mass. But as much as I idealize a wardrobe full of dresses and skirts, it’s not practical for me in the long run because I use a bicycle for transportation daily and it’s often windy and rainy here, even in the summer.

So, from all this, I’m going to pick the basics group that consists of 2 dresses, 6 tops, 2 bottoms and 1 your choice. Now I need to storyboard and see where this leads me.