Before she left on Saturday afternoon, Caroline tried on my new skirt and like the jacket, it looked fabulous on her. She went away with two realizations - that styles she'd never considered before could actually be flattering and that starting with too large a size and including far too much ease was making her rather gorgeous figure look dumpy instead of feminine. This is good.
On the other hand, it was not nearly so good for me to see how flattering the skirt was on her because face to face with the mirror, I had thought it looked fattening and after seeing it on slimmer hips, I was pretty sure it was fattening on my wider ones and then - after seeing the pictures - my conclusion was DEFINITELY fattening. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
It's not the skirt. It's the skirt on me or the way I feel in the skirt or that illusive combo of the two. You might find it lovely. The pattern is Sandra Betzina's Vogue 1333 sewn in an unknown fibre which appears to be a linen/rayon blend. To wash out the chalk lines, I threw it back in the washer and it shrunk some more. It was a shock but a happy one since it actually looked better smaller... but not better enough... I'm going to take it apart and make something else from the fabric. It's too yummy to waste.
Seeing those pictures, I wondered how other skirts that I think look great on me actually look in pictures. The skirt above looks better in the picture than the mirror. The skirt below looks better in the mirror than in the pictures. Picture talk can be slewed and it's still a most helpful tool.
Taking all these images was a real stretch for me. I'm not this comfortable in front of the camera but I wanted to know so I set up the tripod, wore the same t-shirt and shoes in each picture, and stood in roughly the same location. It's informative.
This is the linen skirt that I refashioned from a jumper that Diane had refashioned. I'd worn it all day before this pictures was taken and not only does linen stretch with wear, I've lost a few pounds. It looks big on me. As well, dark on the top and light on the bottom is definitely not my best combo. I love the skirt and it would be far more flattering in a darker color. What I see in this picture is the importance of bringing the details away from the hip line and of pegging the bottom more to give me shape like...
... Marcy's Vogue 8499 skirt. I have two versions of this skirt and wear them frequently. Next time, I might go down a size and shorten the skirt slightly however, I think this bell shape is much more flattering than the previous two. What do you think?
The next three skirts are slightly too tight. I could just barely get them on. A couple more pounds and they'll fit much better. This straight skirt is one of my favourite styles. With the narrower bottom, I think - and tell me if I'm wrong - that it shows off the curve of my hip and creates a long, lean line. Again, after seeing this image, I think it could be slightly shorter. Normally, I wear it with higher heels. The pattern is McCall's 3830, a basic pencil skirt.
This is my most favourite style - trumpet - sewn from a stretch denim. It is, as I said earlier, a bit too tight but even so, I think it's quite flattering. The pattern is Burda 8213 which I've sewn numerous times in everything from knits to casual woven fabrics to silk dupioni to lace. Quite a few of the patterns in my stash are variations on this theme.
I don't normally wear short skirts without tights or pantyhose as my legs are not my best feature which means I wear longer skirts in summer and shorter ones in winter and that works. That said, I wasn't putting on tights so you're getting the bare leg version. This is my favourite short skirt style hemmed just above the knee which is - I think - a flattering length. Again, let me know. It's McCall's 5523. The back...
... is very fun - view D with two lower back flounces. The fabric is a stretch woven which is why it's doing such a good job of following my curves. I haven't worn the Sandra skirt in public however, I get frequent compliments when I wear any of these other skirts.
I am short waisted. Recently, I've started to think more specifically about how that impacts garment and style choices and choices like a dress versus a skirt with a top. The topic came up because of an interesting observation. The skirt above was sewn from Sham's tutorial which was based on a dress her friend had seen in a store that was similar - if not identical - to Vogue 1312. The skirt....
... looks incredibly fattening while the dress gets numerous compliments and feels fabulous on. Above is the muslin. The actual dress was sewn from a knit with less ease, a V neckline, and 3/4 sleeves but I don't have a picture of me wearing it.
Realizing that fuller skirt details seem to look better on my figure when attached to a bodice makes me wonder if the pleated overlay on the Sandra skirt would look better if it was one element of a dress and not a separate skirt or if it was over a slimmer skirt. As a dress, it would have similarities to Vogue 1297 which is on my sew list only it needs a knit fabric and I don't have a suitable cotton or linen knit in stash. It would be similar to the RTW dress below.
I've also been doing a lot of thinking about curvy figures and fussier styles with fussy meaning things like the pleats in the Vogue 1333 skirt. Of course, there are degrees of fussy. I'm experimenting with possibilities. Many styles I think are attractive are not so attractive on me and - just as before - what I see is that my preferences come back to less fussy and more clean lines, simple shapes, texture, and streamlined details as well as softer fabrics with drape.
Perhaps I should stop experimenting - since wadder after wadder can be demoralizing BUT... probably not. Experimenting seems to be part of my sewing DNA and I like to try what tickles and see what happens. You never know.
Right now, I'm working on a McCall's 6286 blouse from a light-weight denim. It's proving a challenge as I don't normally work with raglan sleeves and this design has an unusual center front panel and doesn't contain useful information like the center back length. I have had to think through my usual adjustments in new ways and I'm not sure that the choices I made while prepping the pattern are correct... but I'm having fun anyway... and we'll see when I'm done.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - I really appreciate the private emails, encouragement, contact info, and book recommendations I've received for dealing with my allergies and chemical sensitivities. I've learned some valuable information that is, I hope, the answer. It won't be easy or quick but improved health is definitely worth working toward and I'm highly motivated.
Update - when our house guest moved in, we discussed our non-negotiable rules and that there would be no second chances and unfortunately, he is no longer living with us. We're all quite upset over his choices but not questioning the consequences. It's a tough learning curve for my soft hearted son and an eye opener into his own life on some levels.