Create a Travel Wardrobe
By Marcy Tilton
from Threads #100
I come from a family of travelers and have spent much of my life on the road. As an adult, I have traveled from Denmark to Kenya for nine months in a Mercedes van packed to the gills, and I've enjoyed numerous travels to Europe, including one three-week jaunt that fused urban Paris, a workshop in the Swiss Alps, and an exploration of Venice. I have crisscrossed the United States to teach sewing, hauling big black suitcases with a tag labeled "heavy" permanently attached, and have driven my fully laden minivan to innumerable sewing retreats. As a result, I realized a few years ago that my favorite travel fantasy was to travel light, to easily carry or pull on wheels everything needed for a three-week trip, and to look and feel great while doing so.
I've worked on realizing that vision for several years, and last year, I fine-tuned my previous efforts when planning for another three weeks in Europe. For this trip, I decided to combine past personal experience with advice from travel experts to develop the perfect globe-trotting wardrobe. I sent off for travel catalogs and began haunting travel stores to see what I could learn. I picked veteran travelers' minds for what each considered essential. I read stacks of books and shopped for luggage in upscale stores and in outlet malls-I even took classes in packing. Here, I'll share the lessons I've learned and the strategies I've developed.
At the outset, give up thinking that a travel wardrobe has to be sewn entirely from scratch and that everything must be brand new. That's just not realistic for most of us. And let's face it: How much time do we have to sew nowadays? When I went to Italy last fall, with six weeks in which to get ready, I had to decide how many pieces I could complete in the available time. I surveyed what I already had, determined which pieces were the most important to make, and decided what I would like to wear. This, of course, was greatly influenced by where I was going, for how long, and what I was planning to do while I was there. In short, I developed a strategy for creating this travel wardrobe.
First I reviewed my current wardrobe, fabric stash, and collection of patterns to see what I already had to work with. Next I took time to define what I expected and wanted from the clothing I would live in day in and day out on my travels, and to determine exactly what and how many pieces I needed. Then I made a point of spending my major sewing time where it counted-on key pieces.