Thursday, April 16, 2015

Climbing Out Of The Box

Have you ever put on a favourite outfit, one that one you've worn time and again, and then stood in front of the mirror and thought ugh this looks horrible on me? Me too. Just yesterday in fact.

Looking at those two pictures in yesterday's posting of the tank with the more angled hemline and the one with the traditional hemline was a a mini epiphany. Face-to-face with the mirror, the traditional hemline feels right but when I put those pictures side-by-side, I can't miss the fact that the softer, more draped hemline is far more flattering.





This isn't the first time this has happened. I need to look closer before I chop off a hemline because not only is the drape and angle better, I'm starting to think that I need more length as well. When I saw it in the mirror, I didn't like the angle fuchsia hemline (above left) but in the picture I think it has potential. Same with the black tank. Perhaps that explains why Vogue 8691 (far right) is my favourite pattern. It would seem that magically and by complete accident, I hit on the not straight, flowing hemline that works good on me. I sewed it in the same black knit as that middle tank and LOVE IT.





This is really not a good time for epiphanies around the styles I've been wearing forever. I thought I could sew safe for the cruise by picking the familiar and suddenly safe is feeling somewhat frumpy and fat. Go figure. Yesterday, I sewed Simplicity 2058 - a six gore skirt - in the black knit and it turned out great, feels good on, and looking in the mirror, I'm not sure. It's definitely a classic but I'm not feeling classic.

It seems to me that perhaps it's not the clothes that are the problem. Perhaps, I'm the problem. I can see in these pictures that the tops with soft curving hemlines are flattering and it makes me wonder what I could do differently with bottoms that would also be more flattering. And at the same time, I recognize that I'll need to learn how to see a different look in the mirror, adjust to the change, and feel fantastic in it.





AND THEN... just when I was thinking about it... a woman came into Starbucks where I was journalling wearing exactly the top I had wanted to sew and I realized I still want to sew it. And wear it. And feel comfortable in it. This strange is that me; does it look good? question is - apparently - part of climbing out of the box and moving in new directions. I'm going to try Butterick 5925 but first another skirt.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - digital images, eyes to see

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

16 comments:

  1. I love all the new uneven (non-traditional) hems currently in fashion but I question how they work in a travel wardrobe where you count on lots of mixing. I find myself questioning if my adorable latest-made curvy-hem top will look good with all my bottoms or just one. For me it becomes a question of suitcase space. This is just my thinking but I usually leave the trendy top at home. That said, it is very important to pack only those items you feel are flattering since you probably won't wear those that aren't taking up (again) wasted suitcase space! I so enjoy your blog. Karen

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    1. I think you're right. I had that chat with myself last night after I scheduled the posting and then I cut out a long, straight denim skirt that I know will flatter, feel comfortable, and be versatile with the styles of tops I've sewn. I'm glad I'll have time to test the garments before we leave so I don't pack anything that doesn't work.

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  2. I am having similar issues with what I see in the mirror vs what I see in photos. I think some of it is in the camera angles. I struggle with how to get a natural placement of the camera. For example, in your photos above, you are holding the camera at waist level, so it seems your photos are from the perspective of someone sitting down looking up at you. When I take my photos this way, I feel like it is hard to judge the proportions. I don't know what to do about it myself, and it is made more complicated by the fact that I am very very tall, so my view in the mirror would not be from the same point of view as an average person looking at me would have.

    All of this musing over photos has really sort of paralyzed me. I am sewing, but not blogging, and also not really feeling like I have a realistic view of how the styles suit me.

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    1. I'm trying to take my photos at center of the body straight on so I can see the proportions best. It'd be easier if I set up my tripod. I don't think height - or in my case the lack of height - is a factor in terms of proportion because we want people to see the whole of us and our garments to be proportional to our size. They may have to look up or down but at least what they see will - hopefully - be right.

      I know what you mean about paralyzing. What I do when that happens is go to something safe that I know for sure works and make one or more of those by playing with the lines and having fun so I can go back to exploring with fresh energy.

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  3. When I look and compare the two hemlines in your previous post, one of the things that I notice is that the longer one is closer to the three fifths/two fifths proportion and the shorter more "even" one looks closer to the half/half proportion. Not sure it is an accurate preception, but the longer slightly asymmetrical one looks a lot more "graceful"
    - Alison of Acorn Cottage

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    1. Thanks. It's so funny to suddenly find myself wanting longer and that's good since it keeps things new and fresh and moving forward. I think you're right that a bit more length is more graceful and I'm seeing that more width is a contributing factor as well where the garment falls from and skims the hips as opposed to being tighter to them.

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  4. Ok....this is weird. When your first posted the fuschia angled top, I didn't like the hem line that much.

    Now that you have it posted next to the other two, the fuchsia angled one is my favorite!
    Maybe because it's more versatile as far as which pants it will go with?
    Maybe it's because I like that top better? I like the slightly scooped, rounded neckline, adore the diagonal seams on the yoke, love them! So slimming and elegant. And I like the color on you very much.

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    1. Bingo. Exactly the problem I'm having. In retrospect, looking at the images, I'm seeing different things. The one that really works for me though is the fuchsia top on the right. It seems to have the component of graceful hemline and shape that I feel comfortable in.

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  5. It is a conundrum. Figures change, and styles change as well so after looking at different styles we start to think differently about proportions, hemlines, etc.

    I preferred the longer line in your post yesterday but didn't get around to posting.

    Also - like sewingkm points out, it all comes down to outfits. A shorter, more fitted tank may indeed mix more easily with jacktets, cardis, etc. and you may get the length and hemline you prefer from that third piece - in which case that type of tank would be great. But if you are just going for a bottom and a top, then maybe not.

    And again, it depends what type of bottom you wear with the tank. Again, down to outfits.

    I agree with Alison's point about the proportions as well. I also find that with more pear shaped figures it can feel out of balance if you chop the figure up too high - it can make the bodice area look way too small compared to the hips/thighs.

    One way to get a handle on all this is to focus on complete outfits - find even one that you like, then you can kind of reverse-engineer it to see what you need to create similar looks. I like the two assymetrical tops at the top of your post with the jeans you have on. But i'm not sure how they would look with the 6 gore skirt you have posted - it could start to feel too heavy farther down the figure.

    Hang in there! You've already made some really great pieces, which is wonderful!

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    1. A conundrum... yes... but at least I won't get bored. I'm surprised to see how much more flattering the longer lines are. New eyes and all. Once I have everything else together, I'll definitely explore added length more.

      In my chat to myself last night, I said exactly what you just said... there is a space for both of these in my wardrobe. I hadn't thought about the pear shaped figure from the chopping too high point of view but that makes sense. One thing I do notice is that I can get away with lines in a dress that I can't get away with in a top and I think that's the continuity and flow through.

      In thinking about it, I realized that a six gore skirt is the type of garment I would wear with high heels and probably not the best for this cruise collection since I'm not packing heels. It feels so gorgeous on that I'm putting it aside for later and focusing on what I know I'd wear with flatter shoes or sandals and luckily I have a list of garments that I wear frequently that match that description. It'll be good. I think when the top is wider, the bottom needs to be narrower.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

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  6. Each and every piece is beautiful... You are definitely zeroing in on some stunning outfits. You said it all in your last comment about wider tops needing narrower bottoms. Perhaps if you try on the same three tops with your absolutely narrowest pant???

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    1. Thank you. Of those three tops, only the third one still exists. The other two were chopped off before I looked at the pictures close enough to see the potential.

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  7. I think the middle one works better from a figure flattery point of view. Avoiding hemlines that split you in half like the third one does and I think the first one sort of eludes to that as well will be more figure flattering if that is your goal. Either have the hem come up higher on your hips or go just past the fullest part. And then there is always the just flattering enough approach :) I don't think making a bodice split up too high is a no go for a pear.If you are concerned with appearing bottom heavy then doing something to keep the eye upward like either a v neck or accentuating the shoulders to balance the hips would work. I also think the middle one has less contrast between the top and bottom colors. The first image the contrast between the black and purple is fairly high and I notice your hem lines more. I also prefer the middle one because it gives that length to break your body in thirds but only at the sides vs if it was an even hem, its more interesting visually.

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    1. LOL - that third one is the only one that actually exists. I've made that pattern a "million" times and now I think I need to add some length to it. Interesting how we see ourselves differently over time. Something is good and then it isn't. Thanks for the feedback.

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  8. Many discussions could be had on the word flatter. Should we dress to make ourselves happy and is that what flatters. Whose opinions should count and who should we ignore. Who is the best expert? In the long run, we dress for ourselves........I learned along time ago, don't believe everything you think. You could be wrong! So now what?

    You really put yourself on the line when you blog because some times this written medium can be not so kind.
    IMHO. I like the longer softer shaped top on you and I think when you have worn a slimmer legged pant I have liked that as well. I just watched another video on proportion. Measure from your shoulder to your knee. Do not go over your bust, just straight down. If the measurement is 40" like on me, then use 1:1, 2:1, 3:1 or 5:1 measure. So a top could be 20" or 30" etc from shoulder to hem. That seems to work well on me.
    Cooler day in vienna today. On my way down town to Komolka Stoffe to fabric shop. They can be googled.

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    1. You're right.There is a mix of opinions and in the end, I have to decide. For me, it's partly the looks good/feels good thing and when I want to initiate a change that takes time to get comfortable with. I'm going to study proportion some more when I have time.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.