Friday, May 2, 2008

Wardrobe thoughts

Everyone, thanks for your words of support about the break-in, it really means a lot to me. What has surprised me the most is how much I have heard, "Oh, that happened to me, too." How unfortunate that this is so common. I used to be one of those "it'll never happen to me" people. Lesson learned! Yesterday we got all the wheels turning to protect our identities, credit, etc. Our contractor came by to check out the damage to the doors. I do regret that I didn't have stuff better hidden/locked away, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. They are the ones who used physical force to illegally enter my home and hopefully someday they'll feel the guilt. Still, I won't be so naive anymore.

Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled programming!


The wardrobe. Usually I approach my sewing projects one at a time, and occasionally I’ve done a coordinating top and bottom. Coming up with 10 coordinating pieces was a real eye opener.

1. Selecting 4 tops and 4 bottoms that could all be mixed and matched was more of a challenge than I realized. I think this is because I wanted to choose tops with varying silhouettes, and bottoms that might go with one silhouette wouldn’t work with another. Also, the colors! That was a challenge. Initially I identified quite a few coordinating fabrics in my stash that were black, white, and plum that looked so lovely when I had them all stacked together. I was all set to go with that until I realized I didn’t want that many black/white/plum outfits. Using neutrals was definitely the easy way out and I really admire others who brought together wonderful colors, like Dawn.

2. Okay, so you’ve decided on a color scheme. Now you need to find the fabrics! (Assuming they’re not already in your stash.) I had a particular green color in my head, but I just couldn’t find it as an appropriate bottomweight. Or rather, I did, but I didn’t want to spend $30/yard for the designer name that went with it. If possible, when you find a fabric you like, buy enough so that you can get two (or more) pieces from it – pants and a skirt, or a skirt and a jacket. I think I need to get into this habit, wardrobe or not. I carried all kinds of swatches in my purse with me so that I was always ready to fabric shop if the right opportunity came along.

3. One very sensible strategy is to use TNT (tried & true) patterns, that way you don’t spend time fiddling with fit issues, plus have you noticed how it’s always faster to sew something the second time around? I don’t really have any TNTs, and my list of new things I’d like to sew is long. This year I’d like to develop a TNT pants pattern – I really want to make a pair of plaid pants; maybe next winter? The first person who comes to mind when I think of TNTs is Carolyn, though her closet is anything but homogenous because she adds unique details to each garment.

4. My timing. I spent way too long in the planning phase, because I just had so much fun browsing patterns and dreaming of the possibilities! (If you ever want help with wardrobe planning, just ask me!) Also, in this kind of situation, where a deadline is months away, the procrastinator in me comes out. This meant in the end I was sewing during every possible opportunity – I skipped the gym, bought prepared meals instead of cooking, declined weekend brunch with friends – not a strategy I’d recommend.

5. If you go the procrastinator route like I did, you’re really gonna need understanding family and friends. You will be ignoring them for days, or weeks! I am so glad to be spending quality time with people again.

6. I know this sounds cliché, but it’s not about winning the contest. This was a personal challenge for me, and participating in an organized contest was the only way I would ever have sewn TEN coordinating pieces. I pushed my boundaries by sticking to an actual plan, and even trying out some new techniques (couture button loops, fly front) along the way.

7. Most importantly, I could not have done it without you, readers! Your interest and encouragement are truly what kept me going. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Okay, no more posts without pictures! The next one will have some good eye candy…


Vicki said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and also the process with us. I usually buy basics in lenghts that will cater for jacket, skirt and pants. My problem is getting into action :(

Melissa said...

Lots of great advice Christina! I have wanted to enter a wardrobe contest for at least a year. I even started last summer when PR had one, but only got a few pieces finished. It's overwhelming to me to pick ten items that coordinate with each other (both patterns & fabrics). I'm a one hit wonder when it comes to sewing - one thing at a time and nothing really seems to go together. I am thinking I should enter the mini wardrobe contest on PR right now - maybe that will kick start my wardrobe juices.

Anonymous said...

OMG That you for the advice. I am in the vice grips of the latest 4 pc challenge without possibly too little skill to complete it. I do plan on giving it a go though. I spent way too much time shopping today instead of sewing. Must is not sewing, internet browsing is not sewing. Only 29 more days for that mantra :O)

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...'ve been indoctrinated! You are now a member of the "sewing with a plan" club! *LOL* You have provided some wonderful advice to all the novices out there wanting to join the club...and may I say one more time that your wardrobe is AWESOME!!!

AllisonC said...

Interesting post (even without pictures!). My sewing is similar to yours - I just like trying new things. I'm starting planning on a much smaller scale than you though with the 4 piece mini wardrobe contest on PR. Definitely going to use at least 1 TNT though - thanks for all your advice.

Tany said...

Great post, Christina, you have some very good advice here!

Paula Gardner said...

Thanks for sharing your process, Christina. I'm trying to pull something togehter for the Wardrobe sew along, so this was timely.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christina,
I just discovered your blog today. I don't usually have time to read all the wonderful sewing blogs that are out there but I just wanted to say that I LOVED your entry in the PR Wardrobe Contest. There were a lot of wonderful entries but yours really stood out for me. Wonderful work! Thanks for the inspiration!