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Conversational Threads

What are you wearing& sewing: cre…

Marcy_Tilton | Posted in The Archives on

I’m looking for feedback on an upcoming class on creating a simple/ideal wardrobe for women who sew…clothes that look and feel great and reflect the spirit of who you are, called Millenium Makeover. So many women tell me that they are looking for a fresh approach on re-creating their personal style. What do you wear and love? Do you have a ‘uniform’? and what is it?…(when I am home and in my studio, I live in stretch velvet leggings, and oversized fleece tops layered with a vest and scarf). I’m interested in the clothes you wear and make for the way you spend your days and for special occasions. I’m also interested in what is NOT working in your wardrobe. The class is called Millenium Makeover, held at The SEwing Place in San Jose, January 14 & 15.
Marcy Tilton


  1. Sarah_Jacobs | | #1

    I sew for a living but have several roles in my life. I have a uniform for each of those roles.
    For regular work/mom life i wear jeans boots and a t shirt -white cotton for summer and black velvet for winter.
    my husband is a muckymuck in the business world so I have a black-tie wardrobe for events - a combination of new and vintage couture stuff( my local salvation army has a donor with great taste and is just my size). Lots of very plain dresses, skirts and drop-dead jackets.
    I also need to look like an" artiste" with some of my more corporate clients so i will often push the limits there. Apair of very faded jeans, black cowboy boots and a Moschino jacket that looks like it came from an usher at radio City Music Hall in the 1930's - black with tiny white pocketsall over closed with large red covered buttons. Or black leggings, boots and another Moschino jacket that looks like a de-constructed riding jacket. It is very weird and very witty. These outfits let my clients know that i know fabric and quality and can think outside the box.
    I know that on the one hand clothing is shallow. Butit alsotells a good deal about who you are and the messages you are sending out to the world. I find that the clothing I wear when I am selling my work or making a presentation has a definite corolation on sales. I have lots more to say about this. I think about these issues all the time.

    1. barbara_quinn | | #2

      *Marcy - What a great idea! Since coming back from your recent classes on bias and T-shirts at The Sewing Workshop, I have begun to re-think my work wardrobe to incorporate a polished but more relaxed and comfortable look. What doesn't work: very constructed blazer-type jackets that are not comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. What really doesn't work: short skirts that risk indecent exposure when sitting unless at military attention.I'm looking at more knit tops and jackets, delving into a Geoffrey Beene Miayake-style wrap jacket in cherry red double knit. (I'd give you the pattern number but I am at work.) I am also going to put some real effort into elegant Tshirts for work. I am a paralegal at a fairly upscale law office in downtown Seattle, where everyone "dresses" so I have to toe the line, but I am tired of feeling so constricted at work all day. Also, I still like to stick to black/grey/navy with touches of color. My worst problem in the morning is figuring out WHAT TO WEAR so neutral colors reduce the indecision time.For casual I still wear lots of jeans and Tshirts and sweaters. Waterproof shoes are a must here in Seattle. I have never been successful with tights because of the no-pocket problem. Dress up for me is pretty minimal. Usually a pretty burnout velvet or silk blouse with wool knit or silk crepe pants will get me through about any occasion. (I would love to get more dressed up for the opera, but my husband refuses to cooperate.)

      1. Noreen_Huber | | #3

        *What an interesting topic! I recently took an early retirement from a stressful job and now I have time to do all the things I love - go to the theatre, movies, travel and best of all - sew. My work wardrobe consisted of tailored jackets and pants. I've tailored a good number of jackets. The rest I bought from Talbot's or Liz Claiborne. I now look at these clothes and find them very boring!. I've developed an interest in very soft and easy casual clothes. Currently love Eileen Fisher clothes. I've made a rash of Textile Studio jacket, tops and pants in linens and light wools and love them. They seem to go everywhere that jeans do not. They're easy to wear and travel with. I'm now planning to try some of the Park Bench patterns. Your seminar sounds very interesting. Unfortunately, a little too far from New York. Noreen

        1. Debbie_Lancaster | | #4

          *My favorite and most versatile topper is a hapi coat (a Folkwear pattern). I have one in a lightweight patterned cotton for summer and one in a lined wool blend in basic black for winter. They go with everything! Underneath could be a basic black skirt and shocking pink t-shirt or vice versa. I love loose, fluid clothes that DON'T BIND anywhere, and it seems to be getting more extreme the older I get ... I like to layer, too, since I never know when I'll be too hot, or too cold, but rarely ever just right!

          1. Sue_Wilson | | #5

            *Right now, I'm expecting, so I've been trying to find/wear clothes that fit the workplace (which is business casual, but also includes suits) as well as home. Nicer maternity clothes are expensive, and hard to find in tall sizes. I've made a suit from Vogue with some mix & match skirts and pants. I'm finishing a Geoffery Beene jacket now that actually is a regular pattern, but I cut a little oversized. My ideal post-baby-and working look would be soft-suiting that feels comfy and looks contemporary and professional, like Armani. Some of the smaller pattern studios like Textile Studios and the Sewing Workshop and La Fred have great and different patterns that I'm excited to try to get that 'look'!

          2. S._Roman | | #6

            *This has been my life-long obsession. Wadrobe analysis with the emphasis on a wadrobe that works well together but not boring.I have bought books, read articles, but it is a very elusive goal. I redo my closet once a year and still I feel that there is too much that does not go with anything else. I would like to see put together first a list of patterns and styles that would be easy to make and not take too long. (Time to sew is at a premium when you work outside of the home.) Then what colors, the basics first and then the accents. The last but really not least is the accessories. There is where you can really change the look of an outfit and it will never look like you wore it twice in a week.Because you are so far away from some of us, it would be nice if you could put this course on paper/video and let us "eastcoast sewers" be able to achieve a great put together look. Thanks.

          3. maggie_kappenstein | | #7

            *S. Roman, I agree with you that this is a very elusive goal. I wear mostly suits. Generally speaking, this means: black, grey, taupe, in some kind of seasonless fabric. I always try to make jacket, slacks (sometimes two pair for each jacket, as my slacks seem to wear out before the jackets do) and a skirt. A lot of times I make a vest too, then I can mix around a lot. I also like to get some kind of print in a soft fabric that will work with a couple of different jackets, slacks so that I can make either soft, drapey pants, or a dress. Suits can look like uniforms unless they are softened up with either a soft piece or accessory. At home I wear mostly leggings and jeans and big sweaters. Because I have limited time to sew I would like to see a group of patterns such as S. Roman mentioned. We "eastcoast sewers" need more resources like you. Marcy, please either publish or produce your results for us. I always enjoy your articles in Threads and own two of your "Easy Guides ..."

          4. Jen_Donnelly | | #8

            *Marcy, this is a great topic! I would not be able to attend a workshop in California, but maybe you could do a condensed version at one of the touring sewing conventions. (I took your t-shirt class at Original Sewing Expo near Chicago in October, I was the one who had the cell phone when you ran out of fliers.) I am, I think, much younger than most of the women on this forum, and newer to the work world, so I don't have much of value to add here. I'm most interested in what others have to say on balancing sewing, work, and children, and what to make & wear to get through it all. I'll be watching this thread, and I would certainly buy a book or attend a seminar you put together on the topic.

          5. Shannon_Gifford | | #9

            *I am a SAHM, and my wardrobe consists of washable and comfortable items. I have my "at home yukkies" (the sweatpants have shrunk to where they're a little short, etc.), my "going to the grocery store" clothes (nice jeans and basic shirts), and my "church clothes" which are usually two-piece dresses in classic styles and fluid, soft fabrics. I do not currently own anything which requires dry-cleaning, and anything I sew for myself must be simple lines and comfortable. In contrast to this, I am in the process of preparing a dd for college in 2000, and we are working on a wardrobe for her, adding pieces as time and budget allow. We are thinking ahead in that the pieces we are spending the most money and time sewing are the long-term use items, such as pleated, lined wool plaid skirts and neutral colored basics. A recent find was a black silk velvet skirt, fully lined, at a thrift shop for $2. I made a red silk shirt for wearing with this, and she is making a short sleeved black satin shirt to go with it for dressier occasions. In short, I think any wardrobe must reflect not only your lifestyle, but also your personality, and will probably change several times during your lifetime.

          6. Martha_M. | | #10

            *Speaking as another east coaster, I would love something like this on the internet - seems like a lot of good stuff is going on in California. Marcy, I think your everyday outfit is terribly chic - I am another who cannot seem to find what I'm looking for to sew for myself. So far, my best success has been with the Japonesque Top by Sewing Workshop, without the embellishments. I make Burda pants, but can't seem to come up with a top/jacket that I can fall in love with. A lot of the Oriental-inspired tops are just too big for my taste - too much and too low sleeve.What doesn't work for me is anything tucked in and fabrics that require dry cleaning or other heroic measures.

          7. Vicki_Wingo_Grant | | #11

            *As a 43 year old mom of two small boys, recently disabled firefighter who wore uniforms, I'm having to rebuild my wardrobe.I think about clothing ideas all the time and spend time studying my pattern collection as a part of my "sewing for sanity" efforts. I'm also aware that this next life chapter is to nurture me and experiment with my creativity.What works: Casual. I'm quite drawn to asymmetric lines and unexpected design details. I like that action and the visual excitement so my pattern collection seems to revolve around Burda and Neue Mode, and the smaller pattern companies like LaFred, Pawprints, Lois and Diane Erickson's designs, Sewing Workshop, Pavelka designs,etc. What works: Softer, fluid fabric. I'm sewing a lot with fleece--different weights,some with spandex,the lighter bi-polar knits(Rainshed and MacPhee Workshop are my favorite mail order places). Come to think of it,I guess mail order is something new I'm doing to find the "right" kind of fabric--especially the "high tech" outdoor stuff. What works: The uniform idea. Dresses no longer work but jumpers do. The Mom uniform is t-shirts/t-necks and jeans but is starting to stray into tunic length tops and stretch pants. Mix and match separates consist of vests and "unstructured", finger tip length jackets over pants. My dressy uniform is an asymmetric tunic length top in a soft, fluid fabric over same fabric pants or black stretch velvet. What works: Fit. I'm a lot happier with my sewing results when I know it'll fit me. I know my tunic top made from fluid fabric needs to be 34" long with at least 6 inches of ease at my upper thigh wide spot, which is 13" below my waist. Likewise, fine tuning the fit of one pair of pull-on pants has yielded practical results.What works: Take more time. I'm finding if I slow down and spend the time analyzing my next piece, spend money to get the right fabric to pattern match, spend the time to get the fit and make the insides looking as good as the outside, I'm generally thrilled with the results and wear it all the time. Each part takes effort but ultimately it's worth it.What doesn't work: drycleaning, ironing, dresses, classic tailored jackets, button down shirts, quilting fabrics for shirts.

          8. Bettina_ | | #12

            *A few months ago I received 4 of the Textile Studio patterns, and they look so comfortable. Just needing the time to get going on them. But all of the comments here seem to be toward the comfortable, easy going, non-binding styles that flow. I notice even in the upscale restaurants, few weddings lately, etc., that women are wearing more easy to wear, easy to relax in, comfort clothes. The whole trend seems to be less stress in a lot of lifestyles, jobs, recreation, entertaining. Dry cleaning is a drag, I like to care for my own clothes so the fabrics have to be compatible with washer/dryer/ironing etc. Easy to construct, not a lot of what my mom calls "fru fru". My nickel's worth. :)

          9. cathi_chambley-miller | | #13

            *I think its very interesting that so many of us are interested in the more fluid, Japanese-inspired, almost art-to-wear, kinds of clothing. Marcy, there's an almost 60's dynamic at work here. By that I don't mean that we all want to wear lovebeads and sniff incense, but instead that we are more willing to experiment in our personal styles, and wear what suits us and is comfortable, rather than what is strictly dictated to us by the more conservative RTW manufacturers/designers. But... its also interesting that we still consider our "working wardrobes" to be composed of classic suits, probably wool/silk blends, conservative styling, classic shoes and accessories, etc. Is this because there is still the need in so many fields to compete with men, who have fewer choices in their wardrobes to begin with?I bet that a lot of us are in the same boat I am; we have a traditional job (I teach computer science at a local college) and generally dress to fit a traditional role, but the frustrated-artist in us makes us turn to the more unique patterns and styles for our play and dress attire.Just one girl's opinion, for what its worth! Anyway, the things I am attracted to for sewing myself are vintage suit styles (I loved the Chanel Fall-Winter stuff), Eileen Fisher-style separates, and ParkBench/Sewing Workshop/Dos de Tejas kinds of styles. I wear a lot of solid colors, browns, blacks, navy and red, with the occasional teal, turquoise, green, yellow, orange thrown in. I love black 6 or 8 gore skirts that go with all kinds of jackets and blouses, and wear a lot of wrap around or sarong skirts as well. I have probably 4 suits that I don't mix and match, maybe 4 dresses, but everything else can work with everything else in some combination. ccm

          10. Linda_in_Colorado | | #14

            *Marcy, What a great project!! I am a working student who must dress to fit two cultures. I find that semi tailored pants with vests work well for me. I can wear a tee or turtle neck under the closed vest or a big shirt with the vest open for school where dress is very casual. I can throw a plain blazer over the whole thing for work (tucking in the shirt, the vest hides the fact that it is oversized when closed). Granted, the accepted work attire here in the Central Rockies is quite casual by some standards. I find the vest is a key piece in this type of transformation. It allows me to add color and pattern to what is basically a very plain wardrobe. The plain pants, blouses, tops and blazers when mixed with a colorful or patterned vest (loose or fitted) give me a lot of options. Vests are really quick and easy to sew, can be embellished readily, and lots of different styles of patterns are readily available.I would also be interested in anything from this class you publish online. I think a lot of us could benefit from this sort of information.

          11. Debbie_in_Dallas | | #15

            *Noreen, first let me say that I envy your early retirement status. I have only....12 years to go :)With regard to your interest in Park Bench patterns, I can only tell you that I love them. I have made the Williamsburg jacket twice, and I'm currently working on the Martha's Vineyard. The patterns are very innovative, easy to adjust for sizing, and are extremely versatile. For instance, on the Williamsburg, the first time I made it I used a tencel/rayon blend that I wear as a lightweight jacket over a silk turtleneck. The second time I made it in a wool boucle and lined it in wool crepe. It made a wonderful outdoors jacket. Go for it!

          12. Barb_ | | #16

            *I think this is a great topic for a seminar. I like to dress in comfortable clothes, since I stay at home with kids I dress very casually even when I "dress up". I too like clothes which will mix and match and get inspired more by cataloges than the recent fashion magazines. What I see often are fairly easy pieces to sew provided one can get the nice material (such as cotton cashmere, wool knit, and good quality cotton knit) I think the trend isn't so much details but simpler styles. However I am a fairly good sewer and want to make something with more style and some added details. I don't mean wearable art as much as inset pockets or nice topstitching. a good line and one that flatters is important. I usually wear jeans and a t-shirt (or turtleneck) when I am home and for running around. When I have something to do I try to dress a bit better and that is when I like the seperates to call upon. I know I can dress as a frump when I have kids but that doesn't negate my desire to have some style othertimes.

          13. Lee_K. | | #17

            *Marcy, what a great topic. My workplace is business casual, fairly conservative, technical field in a major metropolitan city. It's hot and humid outside, but I'm always cold inside.I almost always dress in "threes": top/vest or jacket/skirt or pants, or top/jumper/great necklace or scarf. I only wear long, flowing skirts. I find I am now more comfortable in pants, it used to be just the opposite. I always wear flats, often with a rubber sole so I can get around quickly and quietly. Pockets are a must!The Coldwater Canyon (catalog) look works quite well for professional women at my company. Fairly monochromatic, great fabrics, flowing lines, somewhat sporty, simple cut with the occasional embellishment.I wear khakis a lot, but that's boring. I also wear flowing rayon pants. I have grabbed a black cotton velour tunic and a grey merino sweater set a lot.I need high-quality, matte, fluid fabrics with body. I have a tough if not impossible time finding good knits and velours such as in the Coldwater Canyon catalog. I lucked into some #100 Polarfleece in a muted brick color that's great, but I'd be willing to spend on good knits if I could find them. With my lifestyle, I either need washable fabrics or resilient wools. I don't have time for drycleaning errands. My favorite colors are taupe, greige, navy and especially grey, not a lot of black. I accent with muted watercolor blue/grey/green/celadon in the summer, buttr yellow in the spring, garnet red and plum in cooler months. I love the rich depth of color you get with wools (especially), silks and linens. Fastenings need to be kept to a minimum because of my arthritis.I love the Sewing Workshop type patterns, but I don't feel that the designs are terribly well suited to an hourglass figure. Park Bench Patterns seem a better choice.My sewing time is limited, so I tend to choose simple lines. I prefer that I wear my clothes, not that my clothes wear me, so again, that's simple lines with perhaps hemstitching or nice binding/piping to accent the construction, muted heathered shades, rarely any prints, but give me texture! I normally buy multiples of a ready to wear item in different core colors, and sew multiples of the same pattern with variation. I have a basic silhouette and stick to it.

          14. Sarah_Jacobs | | #18

            *If you are not too large, wear smaller than a RTW 14 or so, you can just wear plus sized ladies' tops. I finally figured that one out after 3 pregnancies. Some of those knit velvet tops are probably all on sale now too. I found that the arms were big in circumference but otherwise a XXX top was proportioned just right for even the end of my pregnancy. It cost a whole lot less than maternity and the quality wasn't bad either. You could probably also get a few white/ivory silk tunics too and wear them over stretch skirts or maternity skirts.

          15. Barb_ | | #19

            *Lee's response reminded me of another thing I wanted to mention. I am a proficient sewer yet I find myself buying clothes because the materials are unavailable to me as a home sewer or their price is so prohibitive. Sometimes it is actually less expensive to buy the garment.For example a knit shirt priced at $58 is a deal if the material to make it is $20 a yard and I need 2 1/2 yards.

          16. Janet | | #20

            *Marcy,In response to your question about what are you wearing/sewing, when I sew for myself, I sew tailored jactets and suits and cocktail dresses. I can sew these with as much or more style than ready-to-wear, design them to please me and often sew them for less than what it would cost to purchase similar workmanship.Hope this info helps - Janet

          17. Lynn_D. | | #21

            *I think I'm the lone wolf in this discussion about soft, flowing fabrics and loose, casual styles. I, too, work in an office (as a magazine editor), and am often called upon to give speeches or even appear on TV. Our environment is very casual; however I do go on the occasional sales call, press briefing, etc.The very best clothes for me are blazers, tailored pants and skirts, and crisp white blouses (although I have a terrific collection of silk shirts). Also, I just can't pass up a nice, basic dress in an interesting fabric. Unlike others who have responded to this thread, I find a tailored jacket to be very comfortable to sit and work in (today's choice: tan wool gab from Talbot's). I do the blue jeans thing at the office sometimes, but find more tailored pants (give me good khakis, any day) send a better message and are just as comfortable--sometimes more so. Because I find it difficult to get clothes that fit me correctly (I'm an hour-glass plus size with most of the sand in the bottom of the glass, if you know what I mean), I tend to sew quite a bit. I've got a pants pattern perfected, plus a basic straight skirt, V-neck one-button jacket, and a plain, fitted sheath-type dress. That's not all I sew for myself; I just know I can rely on these pieces when I have little time or an expensive fabric--my muslins for these pieces are ones I wear every week.Sounds incredibly boring? Not until you see my scarf collection! Big, small, silk, wool, every shape and color you can imagine, they pull together all my mainly solid-color clothing. My goal for the coming year, however, is to make myself some really great vests. Someone else responding to this thread mentioned that; when I read it I resolved that I want to be like the character in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" who was known for "the wild originality of his waistcoats" (although I don't want to be quite his size!).I tend to wear navy, every other shade of blue, tan, gray, red, and white/cream. I've long wanted to be able to organize a wardrobe in which virtually every piece coordinates (great for travel, which I do quite a bit). I haven't quite gotten that down.For casual/weekends, my uniform seems to be jeans, shirt (or t-neck), blazer, loafers. For dress-up occasions, I have two fabulous dresses--one floor-length navy/gold evening gown and another bright navy burnout velvet. Otherwise, those blazers and silk shirts dress up really well for most other no-so-formal evening occasions.A class like yours would be terrific, especially if it did not focus just on a certain style of clothing, but rather on how to make different fabrics, patterns, pieces, etc., work together efficiently.

          18. Jan | | #22

            *For 2 years I've been sewing one-of-a-kind vests and jackets - all my own designs. I've done quilted, patchwork, manipulated fabric, etc., etc. Some are subdued; some are flamboyant. For work, I wear the flamboyant tops with (generally) black skirts and subdued blouses/turtlenecks/tanks. I just retired from a conservative newsroom but found the one flamboyant piece was quite acceptable. Now working parttime I'm still wearing same styles!

          19. Robin_Storesund | | #23

            *I've been wearing the same "uniform" at work for over a dcade now--tailored pleated trousers, silk blouses, cashmere cardigans--and I have to say I'm finally getting bored with it. Fortunately I work in the "creative" department (publishing design) so I can probably get away with it, so I'm starting to get some of those Sewing Workshop patterns and I am on the lookout for fantastic fabrics to make those interesting jackets from and maybe make some fluid loose trousers to wear under them. I love the *look* of those structured styles but don't want to have to wear the foundation garments required to have them look right.

          20. Ann | | #24

            *Hi,I think this is a marvelous course, and Marcy, I only wish you would offer it in Boston! I'm in high-tech sales, and my uniform has evolved over the course of the 90s from skirt suits to pants with beautiful blouses. Occasionally I'll jazz things up with an unusual piece (I have a couple of Karl Lagerfeld jacket patterns that have really interesting lines). What works: tailored styles in soft fabrics, natural fibers, the highest quality I can afford. What doesn't: man tailoring in hard fabrics, all black (too "I'm going to play it safe"), anything that's tightly fitted - can't do that after two babies, and I prefer comfort.Good luck with the class and let us know how it turns out.

          21. Susan_in_CA | | #25

            *Hi everyone. My uniform is a uniform. I'm a nurse who works in a wonderful hospital with a dress code that allows a lot of freedom in self expression. White shoes are a must, but some RN's wear white jeans and tailored blouses or tee shirts with Nurse designs on them. Most wear uniform pants and colorful tops. I love shopping for fabric to make scrub tops or blouses that suit my mood or the season. I can choose themes I like such as cats or fruit and use prints I might not wear in regular street clothes. I also love matching my earings to my tops. Many patients have stated their approval and enjoyment of our uniforms. Susan

          22. Janelle | | #26

            *What a great discussion! I'm sitting here in my best, salt & pepper tweed suit as I read. As soon as I get home, it's sweats, t-neck and sweatshirt. I'm mostly tailored at work, I'm just a classics kind of person. One of my favorite outfits is khakis, crisp white blouse and navy blazer. I love the look of Eileen Fisher/Textile Studio/Coldwater Creek (and I'm 50 miles from their outlet!) but I can't see dressing that way for work. If I didn't work in a conservative business community, I might. I too love scarves and wear one 3-4 days a week.

          23. Rosemarie | | #27

            *I've enjoyed reading this discussion. I'm a plus size and started my own business over 4 years ago (after more than twenty years as a homemaker). What I want is a polished appearance (have had too much of the frumpy) both for a professional image and for self-confidence. I do most of my business (wholesale water treatment) on the phone but feel very self conscious in person, partly because of my weight. Great clothes that are flattering help to ease that feeling.I've particularly enjoyed the women's personal model on the Lands End web page (www.landsend.com). It helped to see what is most flattering for my figure type. I also use catalogs instead of fashion magazines for clothing ideas, paying a lot of attention to the shape, color, and fabric that is shown.I also have been paying attention to the way stylists on TV shows or the movies dress the stars. They use all the visual tricks we were taught way back in Jr. High Home Ec class! And then I realized one day that the fat woman on the Drew Carey show (is her name Mimi? I don't really watch it) is dressed to make her seem larger by breaking all the rules: big loud prints, horizontal stripes, no "long line", etc. Compare that to the heavy lawyer on the Practice (I have no idea her name) who is probably no larger than the one on the Drew Carey Show but she is often in dark color pant suits with a v-neck.So a polished flattering look is most important to me, if comfort were the main criteria in clothing we would all be wearing our bathrobes to work.

          24. L_Schmitt | | #28

            *I've enjoyed reading this discussion, and I have wondered several times whether I should step in. It hardly seems that there can be a single answer to the question Marcy poses. If I were younger, I'm sure I'd devote more time to my wardrobe selections. But as an older person, I feel somewhat free to wear what I want. I am thankful that I can manage with a rather small wardrobe. One thing, for sure, that doesn't work in my wardrobe is stretch velvet leggings and oversized fleece tops layered with a vest and scarf.

          25. Dawn_Vaneyk | | #29

            *As a clergyperson in a "northern" climate I need a professional look and a casual/professional look. I'm in and out of the car all the time, so need comfort and wearing ease. I'm a Mother, too, and don't have a lot of time to sew, so I aim for simplicity in sewing and try to get great fabrics in wonderful colours. I just bought some Sewing Workshop patterns for a more feminine style. I live in an "outdoorsy" kind of town, but I don't want to look like I've shopped at "Angler and Hunter". I may ignore the puny Canadian dollar and go for some Textile Studio patterns. I'm looking for the perfect elastic waist pant: one that doesn't look like a balloon at the hips. My millenium project in clothing is colour, style and functional comfort. Is that too much to ask?

          26. Pam_Hermes | | #30

            *Hello to all! This fantastic topic has prompted my first post. "Clothes that reflect the spirit of who you are" is something with which I've been wrestling.Two years ago, after leaving the US Navy, I began work as a civilian for the first time in 20 years. I bought a whole wardrobe of clothes I thought I should wear in a relatively conservative office, giving no thought to what I *wanted*. Six months later we relocated unexpectedly; I am not working in this new location, and have decided to return to school. I am trying to find my sartorial voice, which feels rather strange to someone who looked in the mirror recently and realized that she is 47. For the past year or so, I've gone through my closet every other week, and it's always the same self-talk: "I'll never wear this again," or "What was I thinking?" or "I wonder if there are any women's programs in the area that pick up?" The problem is that I don't act on any of those thoughts, and I'd really like to ditch everything except the Flax, jeans, knits and sweats, and sew Textile Studio and Burda patterns from there. Let's see, what is today's reality? Around the house I live in sweatpants and a sweatshirt with a collared shirt underneath. Sometimes it's Lands' End or Coldwater Canyon or LL Bean knits (I cannot beat their quality and price combos). When I go out, it's jeans or loose trousers (once in a while a long skirt) and an oversized linen, silk, rayon or denim shirt; maybe an unstructured jacket and/or vest. I, too, love the idea of being known for a signature article of clothing, and vests do fit the bill most easily -- and weren't those vests in 3 Weddings & a Funeral marvelous?!?!I have many wonderful sweaters (mostly cardigans) that I have lately taken to wearing buttoned up next to my skin with my oversized shirt on top of the sweater. I don't know what's happening there, but at least I'm wearing them instead of leaving them to languish in the drawer. It's all very relaxed and casual. 90% of the time I wear felt or leather clogs.I have never been much good at accessorizing with scarves, etc., and I envy those wizards who are. My only "extra" is usually some type of brooch, very often one of several "Bead Ladies" I have by local artist Karen Cunagin. My one secret love is camisoles; they are my outlet for heirloom sewing and a way for me to wear lace and delicate fabrics without feeling uncomfortable. I am definitely *not* what I think of as "the lace type" (someone who is gently mannered, delicately boned, and careful with her things)!!What's not working in my wardrobe: high heels, any skirt length other than ankle or mid-calf, fitted jackets, tailored pants, suits, structured blouses, anything that doesn't fit well, and anything I haven't worn in the past six months.Thanks, Marcy, for asking the question, and everyone else for participating. Reading your replies and writing one of my own has helped me to focus on what I need to do and where to begin weeding. Anyone free tomorrow?!Pam HermesVista, CA

          27. Pamela_Kee | | #31

            *Loose-flowing clothes that can be trapped in door, floppy sleeves that are dragged through food, etc. . . it just doesn't work in a professional environment. Frankly, at 5' 3", I am tired of getting hit in the face by someone wearing art-to-wear clothing. That holds true for the long and wild tresses look.That written, my lifestyle is best described as Sporty-Elegant. For work, my wardrobe includes tailored slacks, suits, and skirts that I can walk in. Generally, I wear tailored cotton shirts. On the weekend, jeans in lieu of the dresswear."Mommy attire" such as leggings and a T-shirt, sweatsuits, denim dresses etc. are best suited to a different personality. I'll concede to leggings and a T-shirt when I'm hiking but that's not when I'm expecting to meet people. I really don't care what the deer think!But scooting around town, a minimum of decent jeans, a clean T-shirt, and a decent foundation garment. The number of times that I've run into friends, clients, and bosses at the supermarket, grabbing a paper, at Starbucks, etc. I'd like to leave a positive impression. "Mommy" attire is great for being at home in but I wouldn't be seen in public in the stuff!

          28. Carolyn_Warner | | #32

            *Great topic! I agree, it's helping me focus. I work in a professional enviornment. At 48, and heavy I want a polished look. I have to be careful not to look frumpy. I like loose, comfortable, classic lines. Tailored (stretch) slacks with loose flowing jacket and simple flowing shell. Or skirt, that kind of thing. Comfort is a must. I feel I look my best when I'm not tugging on my clothes.Not working: gave up those heels and go for excellent quality, comfort shoes. If I can stand, walk and talk with confidence and comfort, I hope to give better all around appearance. Thanks for sharing ladies.

          29. Laurie_ | | #33

            *Great question! As a matter of fact, I am online today looking for new ideas. My basic wardrobe consists of solid color skirts and slacks, and unusual or art-type tops. I can get away with this at work because I am an art teacher, and if I come up with a strange combination, people just kind of look and think, "oh...it's the art thing." I have a lot of accessories, silver jewelry with lots of bangle-jangle bracelets, dangly earrings, and handmade jewelry as well (I also teach a jewelry class). One of my favorite outfits is a black velour v-necked tunic, black stockings, a tie-dyed black and purple skirt and these luscious purple suede pumps! Lots of jewelry on that day....I'm a sucker for comfort at home, but on the job I find that my clients (ok, ok, they're teenagers..) are much more respectful if I dress to the nines, and that means heels. Of course it doesn't work every day (doing a demonstration on using a potter's wheel wearing a skirt just won't do), so I wear leather clogs a lot with the pants. At home, its blue jeans and white t-shirts, with a comfy big knit sweater on chilly days.

          30. Elizabeth_Krentz-Wee | | #34

            *I am a pastor, and my clothing has definitely evolved over the years. I began with (and still wear 1-2 times a week) the basic black suit with black clerical collar. Someone above referred to black as "safe" - for clergy, it also makes it easy to get into hospital ICU's and the like.But I have found I can feel the collar pressing on my blood vessels in the back of my neck, and too tight a collar literally gives me a headache. I now have an alternative work wardrobe for times when the people I see are all well aware of who I am, and don't need the uniform for me to be their pastor.I have 6-8 dresses, mostly linen for summer, a variety of fabrics for winter. The ones I wear most are all solid colors. My style is very simple, so accessories are minimal, but I have a few scarves that really dress things up. I like the super long ones that I can look around my neck.My other old stand-by is a grey suit in a heavy interlock fabric made with a swing style jacket (a Vogue pattern), the latter fully interlined in tricot. I made it in the early 90's, and still get compliments on it.

          31. Andrea | | #35

            *> great subject. I too live in Boston and hope you will put your course on video.I have three split personalities: mom, violinist, and computer programmer. The mom thing usually is the flannel pants with bleach holes and old ratty tshirts. My husband hates them, of course! The violinist in me wants very tailored, black, knee-skimming, one-of-a-kind outfits that do not detract from the music. And the programmer look at my office is khakis or jeans and tailored tops. The programmer look is what goes to the store, movies, etc. I want to dress better at home, but still be comfortable. I have the same problem everyone else does, no time to sew, so quick and easy is my motto. I am also very attracted to soft fabrics, the softer the better.

          32. Marcy_Tilton | | #36

            *This discussion is so interesting. I appreciate the diverse approaches to the 'what to wear' question, and gained insights that have influenced my class prep...and have me thinking about expanding this topic for an on-line class or for a writing project and for future classes. The book I've been inspired by as I create my outline, questionnaire and handouts is Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance. She offers an approach to dressing to satisfy the way we feel and the way we look as a complete concept and I like that. Lets keep this discussion going. I am interested in compiling a list of patterns that work well for basics. For instance, I like to have a few pant patterns that I can use again and again. My current favorites for a basic pull on non-dowdy pant are: Stretch and SEw 706, The SEwing Wrokshop's Kinenbi and Textile Studio pant...each has been tweaked for my figure and I add/delete fullness as fabric and figure dictate. I'm making Burda 3313 in a stretch woven, fitting it loosely as a narrow leg basic to wear under tunics. I love LaFred's Thalia pant for a full leg pant, and look forward to her new narrow leg darted pant....and this is the way it goes in my wardrobe....each season I add one or two new versions of a basic. I will share all your comments with my class this week. Thank you so much for sharing your unique perspectives on our shared interest for fabric and sewing and patterns and design and for the sheer fun in making clothes and making the act of getting dressed a creative one.Marcy Tilton

          33. Nancy_Seibert | | #37

            *Hi Marcy! What an interesting topic...wish I could be there for your class tomorrow. My wardrobe has evolved much as my self-acceptance and confidence have matured through the years. I now dress to please me and not a spouse, boss or parent. For the first part of my professional life I was a nurse so my clothing choices were limited. Even after I took an administrative position, I was expected to look "professional" and had an entire closet of navy blue suits. I now teach sewing and my only "rule" is that I wear things that I make. I like the Sewing Workshop Patterns and try to use beautiful fabrics for a unique look. Most of my studio wardrobe consists of black leggings and oversized shirts and/or sweaters but I must confess I do a lot of sewing in my PJ's. The only things that don't work in my wardrobe are uncomfortable shoes and tight blue jeans.Thanks for kicking off a great discussion. I'll look for more follow-ups.

          34. paddy | | #38

            *Creating one ideal wardrobe is pretty impossible for me, since I do not like to be limited by one basic color! I work on "wardrobe clusters", and I do this by color. For example-presently there are 3 color clusters in my closet-black-browns-purples. When I make a new garment, i.e. a jacket which I am about to begin, I am usually drawn to the fabric colors. I decide what cluster accent to use, and off I go. I put so much passion into my garments, that I do not like to limit the wear, so I find that clusters allow me to know right off the bat that I will have coordinating shoes, bags, outer wear, socks, etc. This plan just seemed to have evolved and works well.Jackets are important to me, this new one will be made out of a wine-label tapestry, of which I would find only 1 yard, and green ultra leather. I may even use a zip-out lining, to increase its versatility. This will be my second project with ultra leather-the first was a coat-what gorgeous fabric!Fabric,sewing, creating clothing is my passion. I have a label, having had a small business for a short amount of time - actually, until I realized that my passion did not translate into business.

          35. Marian_ | | #39

            *An earlier post about flowing clothes that get caught in doors or other places reminded me of a coat that I loved but had to give up. It was mid-calf-length, and it was usually warm enough to wear without going through the effort of bending over to reach the bottom of the zipper and zip it.But it liked to drag through the muck on the running board of my truck when I was getting in or out and didn't have a hand free to hold it up. It also liked to jump under my foot as I climbed stairs, which meant that I couldn't straighten up enough to take the next step, causing me to trip. After a couple of close calls on my own front steps (concrete and ice), I put away that coat and bought a graceless squall jacket.How did our grandmothers cope with ankle-length clothing? Did someone else always carry their handbags, briefcases, groceries, dry-cleaning, kids, and so forth? I suppose that having someone to open doors for me would help, but that seems like a problem of another kind.

          36. Lois_Garcia | | #40

            *At my job as a receptionist I may wear just about anything as long as it is not blue jeans (I may wear black, white or cream jeans!?!). I think that the best thing I wear is a long-ish dress that I developed quite a few years ago. I based my "design" on my largest measurement (in my case my hips). I then allow ease and cut two rectangles (half of my hip measurement plus half of my ease measurement wide and however long I want the dress to be plus an inch or so for a hem at the bottom and at least a half inch at the top for shoulder seams). The neck opening is cut as a scoop or jewel neck and bound with bias tape, hidden on the inside and top stitched in place. The sleeves are just in the seams on the sides and can be turned under or bound with bias as with the neck opening. I have quite a few of these dresses that I wear with a jacket clip to define the waste and a scarf. They also look awsome with a jacket. I sometimes add a sleeve or a mock turtle neck. I love to make this in a good jersey knit or a floaty rayon. I think the possibilities are endless.

          37. Sylvia_ | | #41

            *I live in Arizona - blazing hot in summer, never very cold in winter. Need suggestions on colors, fabric for year round mix and match. I don't need business or formal clothes - mostly favor the "arty look" with elegant overtones.

          38. cathi_chambley-miller | | #42

            *Hi, I live in SC and have mostly hot and humid weather, with maybe two months of cool to cold weather. I wear a lot of linen and silk, with the occasional light wool. You're going to be happiest with natural fibers or tencel or rayon blends. I find that even microfiber polyesters seem hot to me. Try to make things with design ease, as looser fitting clothing is generally cooler. Also, make stuff that you can add layers to, such as a wrap skirt that you can wear with a simple blouse, or with a blouse and a jacket, or with a blouse, vest and jacket, depending on the weather. I like red, black, off-white, navy and brown as my basic colors, since they work no matter what season it is. You can't been a black silk jacket, no matter the season. Good Luck-ccm

          39. Julie | | #43

            *I don't quite understand Patty's color capsule comment. How does forest green fit in a wardrobe of black, purple and brown? Do you add one of those colors to each garment? More detail please.

          40. fiyo | | #44

            *I really identified with Andrea’s wardrobe, especially the flannel pants with the bleach holes! Except now that my girls are grown, and I work at home, it has become my standard uniform. Going out usually means jeans and a t-shirt, and dressing up means jeans and silk or cashmere. To tell the truth, as I get older, I find that I have less and less interest in clothing for myself; I love to design and sew for others, and I can dress “to kill,” if I absolutely must, but comfort and bright colors are the main things for me. I believe that dresses are highly underrated, both for comfort and ease in dressing (we’re talking lazy here) - just slip it on and go! Dress it up with a scarf and jewelry and shoes when you need to. Yep, I avoid shoes, too, which I can do here in New Orleans. One problem: where is this perfect dress? I would love some ideas! T-shirt dresses don’t look right (too sloppy), but anything with a little spandex would be soooo forgiving! I am short and have a fair size bust (where was this bustline in high school, when I needed it?), so it’s difficult to find ready-made dresses that look good, even if I did want to buy a couple. The perfect dress would be somewhat fitted, have short sleeves, look great at any length, and would lend itself to a multitude of fabrics, especially linen and silks. Wait, maybe it would be flowy and long. Oh, yeah, and just for fun, it would have lots of sequins, beading, and metallic thread! Maybe then my daughters would no longer tell me that I need to “go into middle age gracefully;” they would just give up! Oh, Andrea, paint your toenails red, and wear a gold ankle chain, and your husband won't notice the flannel pants... okay, you don't have to wear the ankle chain. ;) Fi

          41. cat_in_canada | | #45

            *fiyo i loved you post. lol lol lol lol lol lol. my standards are blue jeans, and whatever top is clean and presentable, usually a t. or sweat shirt. the only time I dress up alittle is sunday. Right now that means it's colored jeans or one of my daughters skirts. Have gained weight in the last year and have not sewn anything new for myself. Not sure I want to at this point. I have really neglected my wardrobe in the last few years. Last time I bought or sewn much was 5 yrs. ago. Not that I spent much on myself before.

          42. Jean_ | | #46

            *Sister!!! Where have you been?????????

          43. Leslie_Bonner | | #47

            *Marcy,At The S.F. Sewing Workshop's retreat in Asilomar this past Thursday-Sunday, three of us brought the Sewing Workshop's "Cityscapes" to work on. We were all making the dress in black knit (this was not planned or coordinated). The pattern has both dress and jumper and the illustration shows the dress worn under the jumper. You recommended this pattern in your last Threads article and I think the dress would be a good wardrobe basic by itself. It would travel well and also looks good under jacket and/or vest. I'm looking now for a knit for summer. I would advise a ligthweight knit with a lot of stretch and, if you have a knit that you aren't sure of, cut it 1 or 2 sizes larger. The other major plus on this dress-it's super easy-no zippers, buttons, facings and pulls on over your head.Another wardrobe basic, of course, is S.F. Workshop's Hong Kong Vest. This vest can go over anything. This vest worn to work gives me a finished look but it's different enough from the suit look that I feel it expresses my creative side. Since I tend to be hippy, it looks better on me without the back straps.Hope your class went well.Leslie B.

          44. Stacey | | #48

            *I'd love to get a little more creative with my clothing. It's hard, though since I have a casual dress code at work. When you can get away with thrift-shop jeans and shirts, you don't want to bother with sewing for yourself. After emptying my scrap bins, I have plans for some uniquely cut pants and blouses, as well as a scrapped apron dress and shorts for summer.

          45. Hillary_Fraser | | #49

            *Marcy TiltonI have found the replies to your request for wardrobe information most interesting. I live in Cape Town, South Africa - hot summer and wet, cold winter. My working wardrobe consists mainly of skirts/tailored pants with matching or other jacket, and a blouse or shirt. I am an accountant, so the environment is fairly conservative. Home is casualwear, mainly jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts. I never seem to have enough smart-casual clothes to use for going out without having to dress up. I feel my clothes fit into two categories of smart = work (and I don't really want to wear them outside office hours) and basic old and comfortable = home. Are there other women who feel the same?Colour wise, I tend to have navy, black and some grey basic one colour suits with mostly plain or understated patterned shirts. Scarves are what I use to brighten up the outfit.A lot of the replies mention Sewing Workshop and Textile Studio patterns - I have never heard of them. From the comments they appear to be popular - easy to sew and comfortable. We can purchase the usual well-known brands of commercial patterns - where could I get information on the Sewing Workshop and Textile Studio patterns?I have enjoyed the few Threads magazines I have been able to find here, and visit the website when I can - unfortunately not as often as I would like. Good luck with your class.

          46. Rosemarie | | #50

            *Hi Hillary! There is a lot of discussion on the smaller pattern companies, including Sewing Workshop and Textile Studio patterns, at Sewing World (www.sewingworld.com) At Sewing World look under the "Patterns, Fitting, Alterations" folder. Hope this helps.

          47. maggie_kappenstein | | #51

            *Hillary, for Sewing Workshop go to http://www.sewingworkshop.com. For Textile Studio Patterns go to http://www.finelinefabrics.com/patterns2.html. For the latter, you need to keep scrolling down and going to the next page, but I think all of the patterns are represented there - both line drawings and photographs. Enjoy.

          48. Katharina_Otani | | #52

            *Hi Hillary, I am living in Japan: mail-order is the solution. You can subscribe to Thread. In their Marketplace and Classified section, there are plenty of mail-order addresses for whatever you want.I feel the same about never having enough smart-casual cloths. Here, in winter, houses are not well heated. I am wearing thick woolen sweaters and jeans outside work. At home, I like corduroy pants because of the softness and comfort but really do not like the look. Also, the knees get shabby too soon. Jersey never seems warm enough. Long skirts seem to be comfortable but also not warm enough. What to wear on top? I would like something more sophisticated but warm and comfortable.Sommer is really hot and humid with too much airconditioning inside. I am wearing natural fibers: long skirts, T-shirts, tops, blouses, and very thin blouse-like jackets. Short skirts without stockings are not accepted for working, even in the summer.In my former work, it was tailored suits in grey/black/navy tones, coloured blouses or T-shirts were OK. Recently, I changed my work to freelance technical journalist and are looking for less conservative cloths but sophisticated and intelligent

          49. Robin_Green | | #53

            *Hi, I'm a little late to this discussion, but I have seriously been thinking these issues through, as I am 45, voluptuous, and must interview for a new job/career. My choices are somewhat limited in rtw, so patterns that I want to make over & over again (read pants, blazers, shells) I pay a dressmaker to fit me. I work in the creative areas, so I have some leeway & also I've decided to present my most polished me, whatever that is and if the interviewer doesn't like it, then I've screened them, too. I favor big tops & jackets, lots of color (I'm a redhead) and black pants or long,flowing skirts, with shoes you can walk in.

          50. Linda_C. | | #54

            *As a busy Mom of four, comfort and ease are musts!My "uniform" this past year has been jeans or casual pants (usually purchased) with a short or long-sleeved t-shirt (jewel necks make them a bit dressier) and a sewn-by-me creative vest. I have favorites in applique and patchwork with colors that work with my separates. The vest makes me feel "finished" and a little dressier. I feel very comfortable and enjoy wearing my creations!

          51. Margie_Padron | | #55

            *Hillary,I completely understand about having two types of wardrobe: work and home. Never nothing in between. When I worked (also as an accountant), it was the same with me. Even when we had casual Fridays, I usually didn't have anything worthy enough to wear. It was either sloppy or too "smart". When I quit working to stay at home, I found myself sewing more "church" type of clothes, because I didn't have anything to wear to church besides suits. Now I am beginning to sew "fun" casual clothes. I enjoy working with knits and have recently taken a pattern making class. The class helped because now I am not limited to finding a pattern that I like or fits. I simply get ideas from catalogs, shopping trips or creative impulses. I enjoy my sewing much more now than ever in the past.

          52. sally | | #56

            *This topic is one of my favorite discussion so I'll put in two cents to help keep it going.I used to like tailored preppy clothes for work (engineer and manager) - jackets, slacks, blouses, but comfortable. No more heels either. An interesting pin or necklace was about as adventurous as I got. Also no time to sew. The creative me was lurking there waiting to get out.Now I am retired for two years and I like to sew again. New sewing machine and first serger (love it). I like knits for basics but want flair with interesting, arty, assymetric tops and colors. And easy fitting clothes, not tailored. Just got a bunch of new patterns at Sew Expo including Sewing Workshop's Lotus skirt, several tops from Park Bench and Lois Ericson, and Safe-T-Pockets Journey Jacket. Lately I like black and brown or rust together and seem be able to find lots of stuff for the fabric stash. I like silk noil, washed rayon, good cotton knits, microfiber (haven't used it yet. No more drycleaning please. Purple is also a basic color for me.Take lots of classs here and there including Palmer Pletsch Pant Fitting. Learned a lot but really don't like pleated trousers. Maybe I will try one of the Burda patterns - have one in the stash.When I retired I knew I wanted to do something artistic maybe learn watercolors. I had forgotten about sewing. Now I am on the right track. Fabrics are my palette.Its a pleasure to read all your comments and share your passion for sewing.

          53. Victoria_ | | #57

            *I love this topic. I too would love to see the results of this in threads or on the internet.My work clothes consist of khakis(yeah, I know boring but it's almost required-I work at a golf course) but instead of a Polo shirt, I choose to wear linen blouses layered with a t-shirt or t-shirt with a vest. I also like to wear sweater sets with my khakis. Colors I like to wear are soft colors-pumpkin, lt. olive, butter etc.What I choose to make are traditional garments with style. I enjoy making my own sweaters from sweater bodies in rayon, cotton or wool knits-I find that making these(with a serger)allows me to create a one of a kind sweater in very little time. I use my serger alot for making clothing because it saves me so much time. I often redesign a pattern or copy a ready to wear garment for use with the serger. I also agree that soft dressing is key, although, with my figure type(hourglass with broad shoulders) I choose styles that accent my waist as in silk trousers with a tailored waist, soft sweater sets to go with and accenting with a scarf.As far as care, I hate doing laundry, I'd rather be sewing, so having 'dry clean only' clothes is not a problem for me.

          54. K.Kelly | | #58

            *Hi,I looooove charcoal grey anything. This has been going on long before it became the hot color. I generally wear knits,and monchromatic palettes of black, eggplant,midnight and browns. I have been wearing simple suits, but I work in a museum and the flavor is decidedly funky. So I am also a Miyake fanatic, which I have heard you are also. So, I am trying to get some of the vintage patterns I have made.

          55. Lisa | | #59

            *Hello out there. I don't get to sew enough anymore, but this topic was way too much fun to pass up. I don't really have separate wardrobes for work and home, more for messy and non-messy activities. I am an administrator in a university so casually professional is the norm, and I would wear what I like, even if it wasn't! Here in Kansas we have two extremes, too hot and too cold. So I wear layers, even in the summer. I developed a super-versatile vest-coat dress pattern that I modify as the whim takes me. It is a simple four piece with darts. I can make it into any length with any kind of neck. I tend to long, either mid-thigh, mid-calf or ankle. For a dress or coat I add gores at sides and back. I usually make them sleeveless, v-necked w/o lapels, and split to bottom of my hips. A few snaps or frogs down the waist and that's it. I wear them over skirts (lots of broomstick and many-gored skirts, gauze and lightweight fabrics, unlined) for summer, tailored pants for winter. Tank tops, t-shirts, turtlenecks and lots of oversized silk shirts. At home I generally just wear the skirts and t tops for comfort (when I am not in hole-filled plaster and sawdust covered jeans and ratty tanks). Scads of arty scarves and earrings to go up or down. I love natural fabrics, in strong colors, with lots of surface design. Hand dyed and painted, batik, beading, yada yada yada...Dry cleaning, heels, nylons have been banished from my life - well, given to my daughter as dress up. This is a great topic and I am really enjoying reading all of your ideas.Lisa (who isn't lost)

          56. lin_hendrix | | #60

            *I find that the most comfortable things to wear are those that fit well and are not too revealing or body hugging. My work life is casual with a suit thrown in every now and then; a step up from jeans. A well fitting pair of pants from wool or cotton denim is crucial! Everything else pales besides this one requirement. I'll wear these pants with everything from a polo shirt to an artsy pieced vest to a flowing silk shirt. Pleated, flat front, or elastic...The second most crucial piece of clothing is what I call the "third layer." Working in a predominantly male profession and having a "curvy" figure keeps me conscious of exposure and vulnerability. A third layer, be it vest, jacket, sweater, or even a nice scarf keeps me feeling confident that my ideas are being noticed, not my body.For off-work wear I'll remove the third layer or un-tuck the flowing silk shirt... same clothes/different goal.--lin

          57. Maura | | #61

            *Her wardrobe probably isn't exactly black, purple and brown. By which I mean she doesn't combine those three colors in an outfit. She has black clothes and things that go with them, purple clothes and things that go with them, and brown clothes and things that go with them. The "things that go with them" may cross over from one set to the next. I think the forest green might be a crossover piece--depending on the exact colors and shapes, it could go with any one of the three groups.

          58. Maura | | #62

            *I work in a super casual environment, so I usually wear t-shirts with nothing printed on them and jeans to work, and of course, at home.But I really would like to be more myself in my clothes. I'm a costumer and I love historical and ethnic looks, embellishment, etc. But for years I was too shy to wear that kind of thing and I'm only now beginning to experiment.I like my clothes to show that I have a figure (another thing I was formerly too shy for), but I don't want them to look or feel too tight. Princess lines and scoop necks are my favorites. I like tunics and leggings, but I'm very particular about how the tunic fits. The wrong tunic can add a lot of weight.I love long skirts, but foot comfort is very important to me, and finding shoes that look good with skirts and which will be comfortable for the hours I stand on a cement floor at work is difficult. Even with flats, stockings let my feet slip in the shoes and rub. (Has anyone tried wearing "peds"-- the little socks that hide inside your shoes?)I just recently realized that I can make, remake, and tweak a pattern until I'm happy with it (DUH), and have started perfecting a few things.My biggest problems right now are proportion (Figuring out what really looks right together), getting up the nerve to wear something, and what shoes to wear with the finished outfit. Proportion is the one I struggle with the most. I can watch other women to see how they solve the shoe problem, and I'll build nerve as I go, but for proportion, I have to combine watching other women (who seldom wear what I want to) with trial and error. I have a pair of pants in my closet now that I don't have anything to go with. I can't figure out what to buy/make, because I'm not sure what is wrong with the things I do have.

          59. Mollie_ | | #63

            *I have been wearing a lot of stretch chinos with linen or wool blazers lately. They're casual, comfortable but look respectable. I really like unconstructed jackets, and asymmetrical looks. One of my favorite work outfits is a jacket made from a herringbone weave hemp/cotton which I wear with black chinos.

          60. Marjiree | | #64

            *That proportion thing - it's a tough one especially when you're in a hurry or shopping alone.Take a camera along shopping.Ask the clerk to take your photo.If you think the item of clothing may work - ask them to hold it.Then, at your leisure you can assess the look. If it's a 'go' buy that lovely piece.You can also do this at home. Have a fashion show and debut your outfits in various combinations.A picture is worth a thousand words.*** sparklesMarjiree

          61. Klute | | #65

            *Havent been near a sewing machine in years. I am looking forward to sewing again. Reading all your ideas and suggestions makes me want to take classes as soon as possible.I have a Memory Craft sewing machine and a serger and have not a clue how to use them. Thankyou

          62. Alison_ | | #66

            *I work in a corporate environment where I get officially reprimanded if I skip my makeup, so whatever else I wear I always wear a high-necked T-shirt. That way my makeup rubs off on my machine-washable T-shirt and not my dry-clean-only suit.My T-shirts are fitted custom jobs with zip necks and high armholes (my tailor charges me $20 Canadian funds, around $14 US), so they are elgant and work fine.Then I wear a skirt/pants/jumper with Lin’s “Third Layer.” Because of the T-shirt the suit part never actually touches my skin and can be dry-cleaned once a month.

          63. Misty | | #67

            *Hello, Marcy! I love your class idea - I'll have to get on Gale's mailing list. I definitely do "uniform dressing" these days. Basics are black and white, with lots of blue/viloet accents. As my figure changes I am more and more interested in comfort with a certain creative flair. I'm an artist masquerading by day as an admin. assistant, and like to be expressive of my own taste, while pushing the boundaries on "work clothes." So far I've found the Textile Studio patterns to work extremely well for my slightly thickening hourglass shape. They're relaxed and interesting, and lend themselves to wonderful fabric choices. They're also easy and fast to sew so I get lots of gratification quickly. And, as always, wonderful buttons make all the difference on simple, elegant clothing styles.

          64. Julia_Jones | | #68

            *With long skirts, and broomstick skirts, I like my flat sandals from SAS. The soles are both soft and supportive, and the uppers are a bit more finished than my Birkenstocks. I must confess, I haven't tried them on concrete floors for a whole day, though. I have tried them both with and without pantihose, and they work fine both ways. And foot comfort is imperative - "you're never fully dressed without your smile," and if my feet hurt I don't have a smile!

          65. Silvia_H_Waites | | #69

            *This may come up twice. My work wardrobe and other is same. For basic, I chose black; blazer, slim skirt to march;printed blouse and skirt (black background of course); pants to march blazer; cardigan sweater; another skirt in different length to mix/match blazer; turtleneck pullover; plaid shirt/blouse to be worn in or out in colors to blend with other colors chosen. Black shoes (heels or flats or sandles) and black socks or stockings. Add color with scarves, etc.

          66. SueWhelan26 | | #70

            *Alison - where do you get custom T-shirt for $20 each? They sound terrific. Please share. TIA, Sue W.

          67. Silvana | | #71

            *This past year I have been wearing pants more and more. I've really simplified my look. I'm looking for some simple blouse/shirt patterns that I can wear over the pants. Does anyone know what the pattern is for the collarless shirt that was on the front cover of Threads last month? They've featured it several times but never mention it. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for a basic tunic style top.

          68. Jan | | #72

            *I'm a stay-at-home mom who hasn't updated recently. When the girls were little I settled on khaki pants (in all basic colors - khaki, black, navy, stone) or khaki shorts for washability. In summer I wear polo shirts (best proportion for my slightly pear-shaped figure with narrow, sloping shoulders and slightly low bustline) or mock-neck or scoop-neck or crew-neck T-shirts. In winter, turtlenecks. In winter I always wear a third layer for warmth, and in summer I usually have one nearby, for just-in-case.I like belts and a color that contrasts with my pants or has an interesting buckle seems to be needed to balance the proportions between my upper and lower halves. I like to coordinate the metal of the buckle with my earrings and watch. Sweaters are the most comfortable third layer for me, but they are not the best for providing a polished look. Vests are fun and easy to make, but often don't provide enough warmth. I have recently added several blazers, which also work well on the few occasions when I wear a skirt or simple dress.Sometimes I get bored with my image, but it is very workable for me. I've tried adding a hat or two lately, but often don't have the snappy attitude needed to carry it off. I have been wanting to make several embellished or quilted jackets, which should add some interest.I settled on this "look" when my girls were small and I needed to transition quickly and without fuss from home to playground to store to volunteering. They are entering their teens now and I may need to update, but not too much because I am addicted to the comfortable shoes (and warm socks in winter) that I can wear with this look. I am also addicted to pockets and practicality. I like to accessorize, but nothing that keeps me from being able to move and be active. Scarves don't work for me, they slip out of place and I look like a kid playing dress-up.I am just recently beginning again to sew for myself. I need to learn how to get things to fit very well with very few goofs. My body is not the same one I used to sew for before kids. And I want to use better fabrics, which I can't afford to mess up.I am attracted to unusual drapes and patterns such as The Sewing Workshop ones, but I am afraid that they wouldn't really fit into what I am already wearing, which is safe and works for me.

          69. Jan | | #73

            *You may not want to invest too much in dd's college wardrobe. Most freshmen women add about 15 lbs. the first year! Have you visited the campus to see if what you are planning "fits in"? And many dds try on a whole new persona once they are away from home.

          70. Lexie_von_Yeast | | #74

            *I did not have time to read all the previous messages; therefore I hope I'm not repeating someone else's question. This is a fascinating forum. I do have one question: are any of you "big, beautiful women" - and what are you wearing?I am a 50's housewife and make all my own clothes. For casual summer wear, I've made several long dresses, shorts, and classic shirts. I do need some dressier clothes for DH's business functions and business travel. I'd love to hear any suggestions with patterns (if this is permissible on the Internet). As you can see I am a relatively new user to this world of technology. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

          71. Ginna | | #75

            *Lexie - Try the web sitehttp://www.fullfab.comThis site is geared toward sizes larger than 12. Max sizes vary by company. It's a one stop shopping of many small pattern companies that supply larger size patterns. The owner also offers 10% off. The owner also runs an email list - fullfab - that can be found at http://www.quiltropolis.comAlso tryhttp://www.fashionpatterns.comThis site has patterns that go up to 7X and the sloper is based on a 3X size. Great for larger sized ladies who don't have football player shoulders .Welcome to the web.

          72. Clairezbo_ | | #76

            *I am a new webbster and fasinated with all the info from you sewers. Just read about the web sites for larger sizes from Gina. How about sites for smaller sizes. 8,10,12. As I get older i find I need size 8 pattern but size 12 for waiste.

          73. Lexie_von_Yeast | | #77

            *Ginna, thanks for information on fullfab. I just looked at the Park Bench patterns and love them. However, I was wondering if anyone has ever altered Park Bench for 3X or 30W sizing? I've tried to do this on a Sewing Workshop pattern and had problems - I also tried a design change. Guess that was really the biggest problem of all. I'd love to try Park Bench, but hesitate spending so much time only to be frustrated. Has anyone done this? Thanks for any help - I need it. I love the big beautiful patterns in the big 4 now, but would love to try the unusual styles by Park Bench. Again, thanks.

          74. Ginna | | #78

            *Lexie - Go to http://www.sewingworld.comRegister, then select Patterns & Fitting (or something like that). You'll find many threads there covering a number of the small independent pattern companies.

          75. lin_hendrix | | #79

            *Hi Lexie, I've never tried up-sizing the Park Bench patterns, however I do have the Martha's Vineyard, Williamsburg, Charlesbank, Santa Fe, and Grant.Based on my experience with these patterns I think you could easily up-size theMartha's Vineyardpants from WilliamsburgSanta FeThe Grant jacket is a little strange; I found that it hangs kinda weird and there's not enough back neck scoop. The Williamsburg jacket has a lot of pieces and some of the instructions are misleading/drawn incorrectly. The Charlesbank dress has an unusual bodice underlining that might give you trouble.hope this helps,--lin

          76. Ginna | | #80

            *Lexie -Sewing World has been down today. This happens sometimes. Hopefully it will be back tomorrow.Ginna

          77. Victoria_Miesle | | #81

            *I have heard from a reliable source that Park Bench provides their patterns IN ONE SIZE ONLY(I think I was told size 14) If you are proficient in sizing up a pattern then go for it! If not, I would find a pattern you know fits you, and play with some design changes to get the look of the Park Bench patterns. If you need help in accomplishing this, there are many women(and men) here willing to share their expertise.

          78. Diane | | #82

            *It is true that Park Bench patterns come in one size only which is supposed to be about a 14. However, one jacket I tried was more like a 10. She does give instructions on how to alter up and down.

          79. Lexie_ | | #83

            *Thank you all for the suggestions in re Park Bench patterns. I really do think it would be easier to use a pattern that fits and try design changes. I've never thought of that! Duh!! I've been sewing forever and even have a minor in home ec, but still dislike most alterations. However, design changes sound like fun, don't they? I'm really anxious to try some designs of my own. Thank you all again for your help. It's really too hot to do anything but sew. What a great excuse to retreat to my sewing room. Thanks again!Lexie

          80. susan1970 | | #84

            *In my ideal wardrobe clothes would be: *simple, sleek, fitted enough not to be messy or look silly with a cardigan over it ( I have too many things to do than to always be pulling down-tucking-in-a-shirt-adjusting-jacket-untwisting-skirt-checking-hose-tugging-necklace-to-center!!*Be of WASHABLE lycra and microfiber poplin, twills etc, so I can move and don't have to tell my nephew to not touch me or pay ten gajillion dollars to a dry cleaner!! I've seen stuff ALMOST like that in the stores, but I'm not rich enough to afford $70 per garment, so I'm just hunting for place that I can buy such fabric.... Anyone know where I can get stretchey woven fabrics like you see designers using these days?I've seen stretchey charmuse garments, poplin (at Banana Republic, most recently) and twills (presently at Express) Surely there's SOMEPLCE that sells these goodies to the public.... (sigh)

          81. Naomi_price | | #85

            *Hi I love Unique Patterns who do have a web site, one becomes a member of a club for $40 and they get a measuring kit, patterns are made then to your very own size I have made up 5 of the patterns so far with great sucess (not a bad one in the lot and plan to do a lot more) the patterns are wonderfully basic and look good on most figures and are also easy to personalize with your own embellisment designs. I love the new microfibers and being able to order fabric through the mail, I am hoping to eventually get to having about 14 perfect pieces in my wardrobe which can be layered for an almost seasonless closest and forget dry cleanning. I am looking forward to sewing up fabrics from the solarweave company which advertise in the back of threads as I spend a lot of time outdoors.

          82. WTate | | #86

            *What I've found works best for work is dresses. I work as a legal research assistant for a judge. I need to look business like but look dumpy in suits and separates. I make sure I have 5 dresses and shoes in coordinating neutrals. It makes life easy. I just drop the dress over my head and go. In this climate (Louisiana) I like jumpers (sheath type) for winter. I can put either short or long sleeve shirts under it depending on the temperature.

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