Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Mid-Week Update: Your Wardrobe, Life and Lifestyle

As we get ready for our Thanksgiving celebrations I wanted to pop in and tell what I am thinking while I am making pies, quick breads, cookies and noodles. I am the baker, even though I am not much of a baker anymore, I am the Thanksgiving baker....and noodle maker! Wonders never cease.

Life and Lifestyle, that is the topic for the day. It is one of those topics that should be dominate in our decisions to sew our clothes. When you consider that you are going to spend lots of time, energy and talent to create your core pieces, it is essential that each piece fits your life and lifestyle perfectly. This will not be throw away fashion. This is the good stuff, the items that you would purchase in a high end boutique with good fabric, good fit, and personalized details.

Using myself as an example I will explain how I sort it all out. Of course, retirement has totally changed my needs. I spend most of my time at home. My outings are shopping, meetings, dinners out with friends and family, church and church related events as well as dog walking and gardening. In my journal I have divided these categories to give me a more defined objective such as ...."I want to make a new Spring coat." 
You might like to think about your lifestyle like a pie chart. Examine your time and activities and what core wardrobe you need to be comfortably and appropriately dressed.

Part One:
The largest section of my life is spent at home. I handle all the home office work, clean, cook, do laundry, assist family members and sew. I want to be well dressed so that I can answer the door without embarrassment, if I need to pop out for an errand I don't want to change clothes to be publicly appropriate. This is efficient to me, it is comfortable. I don't want to spend any time fussing about clothes. After dressing I want to live my day. This is why a "toss on" Spring Jacket is under consideration.

I do plan to work on fitting a new TNT (tried and true) T shirt pattern. I did this a few years ago and it served me well. I want to re-visit that process and probably adjust the length a bit, more to a tunic length rather that high hip length. I will add side vents as well. See, I have already started my process in my head and on paper. Do not underestimate the importance of a well drafted simple pattern. In a pinch you can make one without all the fitting fuss. This will add significantly to your wardrobe. The core pieces will work around these.
Essential Supima® Boatneck Tee, Clear Periwinkle, large

Comfort is essential. I will add knits and woven fabrics in this category.  These items are transition wear. Late Winter/Early Spring. If Spring comes early for you the long sleeve items will likely not be appropriate. A short sleeve option is more reasonable. While I may need more than one of this item, it is a core piece because it will be a much tested pattern. A pattern that can be interpreted for each seasonal block. 

Q and A
1. Why do you use silk thread for hand basting? I took a few classes years ago that detailed some couture techniques to upgrade one's level of "home sewing." Silk thread is lovely to work but it does tangle easily. It is gossamer thin and literally disappears in the seam. It presses right into the fibers and actually does not have to be removed after completing the seam. Because it is a natural fiber it shapes well too. I hand baste certain elements because I have better control of the seam. For example, on a woven fabric setting a sleeve can be a bit tricky. A pucker will drive me mad! When I baste the ease with a silk thread, I can ease that fullness evenly and reduce the possibility of shifting when rounding a bias curve. When I start a sewing session this is what I do:
  •  choose the silk thread that closely matches the fabric, of course
  • thread my hand needles, I like quality needles, with a medium size eye. a large eye will shred the silk and a small eye, well you already know!
  • I double my thread for some needles and single strand for some others. depending on the weight of the fabric and the tension that will be stressing that baste.
  • I cut the thread 8 to 10 inches long, no longer...tangle, shred. I sometimes use a thread preparation such as Thread Heaven or Bees Wax to coat the strands.
  • then I lay the thread out on my ironing board with a muslin press cloth and lightly steam press the thread. yes, I press my thread. it relaxes the fiber, adds a little moisture and makes it much kinder to work with.    

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