Friday, January 26, 2018

Swapping Partners

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of a SWAP or capsule wardrobe and the advantages they offer toward a co-ordinated and interchangeable wardrobe. I've started them with great enthusiasm before but once the planning is all done, I lose interest because for me part of the fun is the mystery of the unfolding. The outfit project that I'm working on now is the closest I've ever come to either of those options and it is proving a point for me - that if I buy what I like for my stash and I sew what I like from my stash, what I like is going to, more often than not, work together.

Some of the garments I've already sewn are swapping partners - as I sit and sew I get ideas for mixing them up and sometimes the new combination is even better than the previous one so - LOL - nothing is final, not even my selections.

Considering how little time I have, I probably should have stuck to shapes and patterns I'd already tested but that's not my nature. I have enough clothes in my closet to dress myself for five days so instead, I've been trying out new ideas and not all of them work as in I wouldn't wear that or some of them work - like the orange top - but not for this event. And that's okay. It's interesting and informative and the fabric is never lost.

Yesterday, I sewed Vogue 1297, a Sandra Betzina pattern with very few pieces. I thought it'd be a quick and easy sew since I've made this pattern several times, have enjoyed wearing it with no issues, and love the compliments it gets only this time it didn't go together as planned. How strange. So much for T & T.

Both dresses are from the exact same pattern. The earlier picture was sewn about four or five years ago and I used the same pieces, no changes, when I sewed this blue check version. This time, I found a mistake with my alterations making the front piece about an inch longer than the back - which leads me to think it may have to do with the full bust adjustment - and to wonder why I never noticed before. Definitely, I sewed this version more carefully, slow sewing, and enjoying stitching and pressing each seam and growing the garment seam-by-seam. And yet - another strange thing - it feels too short. I'd like it to be about 2-3" longer.

How does this happen? I've sewn the dress before, several times, and worn it before, for years, and now the exact same length is too short! I know for sure that I didn't grow. Experiences like this amuse me especially when I've been wearing a garment or combination of garments for years and then suddenly look in the mirror and think oh, yuck, how could you wear that? What changed? Was it me... or the garment... or.... ? ? ? Do you have that experience too?

I chose the blue check fabric because it went well with the navy topper that I just finished knitting. I don't have the earlier dress any longer so I couldn't try them together and when I did, the shapes don't - IMHO - work well together on my body. Perhaps if I had a longer waist, it would be great but there's a string's width between the bottom of my rib cage and the top of my hip bones. It's easy to lose my waist and once that happens I look like a big triangle.

Since I have another short topper that I love wearing and thought this one was an easy in, I was curious about what would look together. I think that while the topper/dress combo looks heavy, the topper/skirt combo is a more flattering match. Again, isn't that interesting?

A short cardigan/bolero/topper is a new shape for me that I'm having mixed success with. Sometimes it works but not always. What I like about a new shape is the ability to play dress-up in my own closet and see how things look together. What I'm discovering is that as much as I might think I want to push the edges, there are certain combinations that always feel more natural and comfortable. One is a defined waist and the other is low contrast.

I really like the dress and it's very comfortable to wear. Last night, I tried it on with different cardigan shapes and I'm debating using the fabric scraps to make a bolero. I'm not sure about lengthening the dress mostly because I'm not sure how to do that well. I'll wait to try it on with proper undergarments, shoes and jewelry before deciding.

I had planned to wear the lime necklace with the blue garments only this particular shade of blue looks fabulous with fuchsia and the piece I made in September could work great. LOL - it is entirely possible that until  I actually get to the workshop and put on the outfit and take the picture that day, everything is open to change... including what I do next.

I started knitting a turquoise sweater to wear with the hand painted pants in the "orange" outfit only the shape is similar to this topper so I'll try those two on together first to make sure the combo works before continuing. I'm only part way through one sleeve so there is time to change the style.

I just finished reading Small Move, Big Change by Caroline L. Arnold. It's a book about microresolutions which are resolutions so small that you can't help but succeed. They take on average about four to five weeks to become habit and working with two at a time, you can accomplish about twenty microresolutions a year.

The author talks about attaching your microresolution to something that will prompt you to success. For example, several years ago, I wanted to remember to take a multi-vitamin so I put the bottle with my toothbrush and when I brush my teeth in the morning, I take my vitamin. That works for me just like adding walking to journalling is working. There are lots of  examples in the book through a variety of life situations in the section called microresolutions in action. For me, the phrase it's way more fun to pay cash reminds me of my financial goals. I have it taped to my wallet and my computer screen and see it any time I'm thinking of buying something.

Great things can come through small changes. Yesterday, I realized that if I were to lose half a pound a week, that I would lose twenty-six pounds by the end of the year. Half a pound seems entirely doable, a slow and permanent weight loss plan. To that end, I've made a zero-tolerance policy of no eating after 8:00 pm.

I also realized that if I switched from a tall to a short coffee at Starbucks, I would save $145 a year and if I got one free refill instead of going home and making an instant Starbucks, I would save another $365 dollars - the instant is about a dollar a pouch.  Although saving $510 a year sounded great, going to a short felt cheap so I'm having the tall and the refill and still saving.

The important thing about my resolutions is that they match my personality and are doable in the long run. I can go for coffee instead of lunch with friends but I can't stop going out because relationships are important to me, they are what I think life is about.

I have no idea what I'm working on today. Depending on how trying on clothes went last night, I'll decide what I'm sewing or knitting or jewelry making next. LOL - more on Wednesday.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new shapes, new learning


  1. I'm long waisted -- longer from my shoulders to my waist line. Actually longer through my torso a sales lady told me. Like you, my waist sits about a string's width between it and my hips. It does make it harder to fit some clothing and to get some silhouettes to look like they should. Top it off, my shape is a rectangle so my waist is usually less than 10" smaller than my waist even when thin.
    I've been to WW now for 3 weeks and have lost 9.1 pounds (in 4 weeks as we missed a meeting due to a blizzard). My goal is to be healthy and to sew some nice outfits for myself as I loose weight. Simple clothing such as t-shirts. I will be making a pattern in the next couple of weeks so I can start on my first one sometime in February.

    1. You might enjoy the book Ann. In the last section on microresolutions in action, it gives plenty of illustrations around weight and exercise. Congrats and good luck.

  2. Earlier you were adding bands to the bottoms of your skirts/dresses – would that be a solution to the length of this dress? Did you make the chain for your fuchsia neckpiece? Very impressive. Which pattern did you use for the skirt?

    1. Adding a band is a solution only it would really alter the shape since it's really wide above to narrow below. It's strange that it suddenly feels short so I'm hoping I was tired and when it's all dressed up it'll work. I did make the chain. It's viking knit and then wrapped with more wire and redrawn to condense further. The skirt is Butterick 4136, a six panel A-line skirt. After determining the best length, I used the same pattern pieces to draft a lining pattern that was two inches shorter to create the bubble and then added a casing to the bottom to fit the 2" elastic. The original width was 107" reduced it to 44". Let me know if you need more info.

  3. I think the necklace looks perfect with the blue dress... Thanks for the hints on weight loss; I'm down 5# to 145...yay! I made the Vogue 9020 skirt and it looks pretty good: material is gray plaid on cream, put together with gray turtleneck and gray boots. ..not bad for this farmer! This was not a good week here so I appreciate your blog a lot!!

    1. Congrats on the weight loss and the skirt. It's a great one and your combination sounds fabulous. A classy farmer ! ! ! I'm sorry you've had a rough week. HUGS. I hope things go better.


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