Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

What kind of clothes do you like to wear

carolfresia | Posted in Talk With Us on

There should be a question mark at the end of the subject line, but I ran out of character spaces…

Anyway, I’m curious to know what sort of clothes you all wear, where you shop, what you like to sew, and more. Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit? Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

I think that’s enough for now! I’ll be interested to hear your answers.



  1. anneelsberry | | #1

    Let's see. . .

    I'm a 35 year-old attorney with two kids, so I generally wear suits/separates to work that I purchase at Ann Taylor.  When I sew I do more artistic things, usually for my daughter or other people.  Because I sit in front of a computer all day, I prefer to do handwork -- embellishment, smocking, handknitting, etc.  So, no computerized machine or machine embroidery. 

    My mother actually does most of the sewing for me, as she is more interested in tailoring.  Often we alter Vogue patterns to suit me or make patterns from my ready-to-wear.   We're also more likely to make special occasion clothes than purchase them.  Currently we're working on an easter dress for my daughter (Vogue 7945), a ballgown for a friend's teenager (black silk skirt and corset top with silk ribbon embroidery and beading), and valances for my home.  In my to-do pile is a linen blend churidar kamiz that I will embellish with embroidery.

    1. sarahnyc | | #2

      I'm 42, a mother to three and I make jewish ritual objects in fabric out of my home... my usual uniform is a pair of tailored pants or jeans, a fitted t or a tank and when i have to go out of the house. I put on a sweater.  sometines I will wear a to the knee straight skirt and dark tights.  I tned to get sinus infections so I nearly always wear a hat and a scarf when I'm outside in cool weather..  because I work witrh fabric...I need to take care of my hands so i wear gloves. I inherited a great  many beautiful vintage gloves.. so oddly enough...even though what I wear is pretty much thrown together.. it tooks pulled together.. It may help that I live on the upper west side of manhattan which is pretty relaxed by new york standards.. more april cornel than chanel.. during the summer months I tned to live in skirts.. I have made a bunch of straight skirts from a burda pattern - I also made myself two tank dresses after reading last summer's article on pre piecing fabric  for bias cut clothing.. it is the next best thing to being naked. I wear comfy funky shoes.

      I also have occasions when I need to look like more of a grown up. I love to thrift shop and own lots of wonderfull jackets. I wear them with plain black RTW black knit sleeveless dresses and either a belt or a scarf. As time goes on - more of my skirts and  my tanks are home made. I need clothing that's easy to wear.. and un fussy.

      sarah in nyc

  2. sewingkmulkey | | #3

    Carol, I'm a 56 year old grandmother who works outside the home as an office manager.  I live in Houston, TX and have really seen a change in office dressing attire in the last few years.  Ten years ago I wore mainly skirt suits or dresses w/jackets.  Now I've given up pantyhose and wear tailored slack/top separates or pantsuits exclusively.  Sometimes I even feel a bit overdressed in these pantsuits but pride myself in looking professional.  I purchase most of my business clothes and save my precious sewing time for artsy, embellished jackets (winter weeks) and silk pant outfits w/ hand painting, etc (summer months) to wear "on my time".    I have a 2 year old granddaughter that now takes a slot of my sewing time so I have an opportunity to try out new techniques in a small, fun version!  I have yet to feel a desire to purchase an embroidery machine as I prefer fabric manipulation or freeform applique rather than pre-programmed designs. 

    I've been sewing for 47 years and spent half of that time sewing professionally for clients.  My sincere wish is that Threads will continue to inspire the experienced seamstress as well as promote young people to sew by showcasing young designers and their "out of the box" designs!


    Edited 4/2/2004 2:43 pm ET by SEWINGKMULKE

  3. pdclose | | #4

    "what sort of clothes you all wear"

    I wear tailored pants with either chanel-style jackets or t-style tops (the Marcy Tilton style t-shirt), or embellished tops or embellished, cropped cotton sweaters.  I really like to wear the embellished jacket part of a Christopher and Banks set as a top alone, and not as a jacket.  When relaxing I ditch the tailored pants part and wear wild pants (wild colors or huge pockets) with plain t-shirts or t-shirt jackets (a more casual twin set look).

    "where you shop"

    Target, Nordstom's Rack, Christopher and Banks.

    "what you like to sew"

    Tops and pants.  I love Sewing Workshop and Vogue and will make my own patterns or copy from ready-to-wear.  I don't do much copying from r-t-w, and I only copy what I already own and love (and is no longer available elsewhere, or not in materials I like).  I don't copy from store windows or racks.  I love Issey Miyake and Geoffrey Beene patterns and designs.  I like to play with geometry and especially moving the 2-d into the 3-d form.

    "Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality?"

    No, I prefer well-fitting and comfortable clothes.  I can add individuality with a pin. :-)

    "If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?"

    Most definitely I will (and have) make it myself!  That's one area where I sew to get exactly what I want and in materials I like.  I make all my own, and my husband's, formal wear.

    "How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?"

    I prefer minimal embroidery.  I'd rather get embellishment through the design of the garment itself.  My idea of a great garment comes from the cut of the clothes (think Vionnet or even Miyake's "Japonesque Top" from the Sewing Workshop) or in the small details like piping, buttons, fabric choices (think Chanel) or in the placement of design (think Koos or the Taunton Press book on Creative Surface Design).  I do wear Christopher and Banks jackets, which are embroidered, but the designs tend to be along the hemline and add to the overall look rather than shout "look at me, I'm embroidered"!

  4. SewNancy | | #5

    I am a 53 year old landscape designer.  Most of the time I wear pants or jeans and sweaters or t-shirts.  I have a few skirts that I have made, straight knee legnth,  or an 8 gore knee length from Vogue that I love.  I definitely make my dressy clothes.  I love great fabrics and cut.  I don't wear any kind of embellishments on my clothes, nor do I like prints.  I prefer clothes that can showcase my collection of handmade silver jewelry.  I like well cut semi fitted clothes that work with my large bust.   When I buy, I usually buy from a friends boutique or at Saks or Bloomingdales, especially the sale rack! I have been on a quest to make perfect pants.  I am getting closer! I also buy simpler things at Chico's.  No prints or embroidery.  I like to find expensive ready to wear and copy the style.  Right now my project is a Chanel style jacket  (you may have seen my questions about current Chanel ) and that 8 gore skirt in an aqua silk with black silk strap seams ala Proenza Schouler.  This is to wear at my daughters high school graduation.  I make some things for her too.  A Vogue Michael Kors evening gown for her prom and other dressy clothes. 


  5. LindaG | | #6

    Hi Carol,

    I wear the tailored jackets and pants that I make to work (I have no purchased jackets or pants right now).   Since I can't find the right fit, fabric or color in the stores, I make well fitting versions of fairly conservative styles out of the best fabric I can afford.   I have one standard pattern for trousers that started life as Simplicity's "Simply Chinos" and have been converted into my master pattern.

    I've copied a simple RTW blazer blouse and made it up in eggplant textured rayon; red printed rayon;  and white cotton jaquard.  For a formal event, I copied a simply cut, not very fancy RTW bias cut top and flowing pants and made it in sueded washed silk.   Since I do use relatively expensive fabric, I want the garment to look stylish for at least a couple of years, and so I don't invest the time in copying very trendy styles. 

    I like looking at designer clothing because there are such terrific details.  For example, there was a photo of a menswear jacket in the paper (yesterday?) that had an interesting right side laced closure.  I'd never wear anything exactly like that but it was a very interesting piece.  The right designer details look fashionable for years.

    Hope this helps.


    1. sueb | | #7

      I left my job last summer to stay at home at make my own line of handbags so I pretty much live in jeans, sweats and casual skirts.  I like to sew home dec items, pants, shorts and easy tops and of course handbags and accessories. 

      I used to shop at Ann Taylor for my suits and business clothing but now I pretty much stick to J Jill, Ann Taylor Loft and Chico's.



  6. JudyWilliment | | #8

    I'm 34, at home Mum of three.  I have a degree in Clothing and Textile Science  which I fervently hope will get dusted off when the youngest starts school.....

    I sew as much as I can.  I like unusual clothes - I don't like walking down the street and seeing "my" clothes on other people.  Having said that, neither do I want to stick out like a sore thumb!  I like Vogue designer patterns, and use a lot of Burda WOFs.  I like some of their avant garde patterns especially.  If not for the horrendous cost of getting them here to New Zealand, I'd love to make some of the Sewing Workshop designs.  I often make "dressy" styles in everyday fabrics.  (My everyday light coat is an Issey Miyake).  My general rule is to have an unusual pattern in an ordinary fabric, or vice versa.

    At the moment I'm wearing a top I made by copying one I was given.  I don't often copy garments by pricking off (as I did for this one), I usually take a WOF patern which has the right elements (set in sleeves, darts in the right place - that sort of thing) and manipulate the pattern as though it were a basic block.  It is a lot quicker than drafting from scratch, and for simple shapes is easier than pricking off.  This top had a perfect neckline though, which I wanted to duplicate.

    Since I have small kids, ease of care is important - all our clothes have to be easily laundered.  For the SO and myself for "good" is a different story.  I make all of my "going-out-with-adults" clothes, and most of the SO's.  After finding him the perfect pant and shirt patterns, he's set for life.  I make quite a lot of the kids clothes, but since time is limited I tend to do the fun stuff, and buy basics.

    I dress casually, and would be lost without my 501's.  One pair has so many repairs that if I took them all out there's be nothing left - but those jeans are SO soft.


    1. Beth | | #9

      I am a 62 year old retired nurse who returned to sewing about 5 years ago. I live in casual clothes, mostly pants with knit tops. My goal is to make comfortable pants that fit very well. My homemade pants fit better than RTW. Yeah! Purchased knit tops are better sewn than my own attempts. Improving on sewing with knits is a future project.

      I don't care for embroidery or clothing that says "look at me". I buy most of my dressy clothes.

  7. rjf | | #10

    I have two uniforms, one for winter, one for summer.  In the winter, I wear turtlenecks and LLBean or Land'sEnd corduroy slacks since I no longer fit into my favorite wool trousers and I can't seem to alter the pattern I made from a Threads article long ago.  In the summer, I wear polo shirts and LLBean or Land'sEnd shorts.  I think there is a dress in one of the closets around here.  What I really enjoy wearing are my handknit sweaters, of which I have many, many, and most are designed by me.  They're like a secret signal to other knitters.  It's fun to watch people suddenly realize that what I'm wearing is handknit.  The non-knitters will say "You didn't knit that, did you?"  But the knitters will say "You knit that, didn't you?"    rjf   

  8. lin327 | | #11

    I'll be happy to answer!

    >>>>I'm curious to know what sort of clothes you all wear, where you shop, what you like to sew, and more. Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit? Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

    I am an aspiring artist/designer/writer...whichever takes off is the path I will take.  I've been a stay at home mom and I promised myself when my youngest turned sixteen, I would follow my dreams.  He turns sixteen next week and those three dreams are calling the loudest.

    Clothing has always been a method of personal expression.  I am a unique individual and I try not to look like anyone else.  I shop anywhere and everywhere.  I like vintage and second hand stores, I've gotten things from wal mart and I've bought in the men's department.  Anything, whether its a t-shirt or a formal gown has to "speak" to me.  I don't just buy a pair of black pants because they are a basic wardrobe starter...even the basics must have something interesting that "speaks to me.  I often embellish purchased clothing to make it unique.

    I prefer skirts to pants most of the time.  For formal events I will make  something..but because formal events often have strict rules about appropriate attire,  I make simple things in spectacular fabrics.  It's safer that way.  I wear my truly one of a kind items wherever...shopping, visiting, school meetings, art galleries, anywhere.  (Except gardening and camping...needless to say!) 

    I find inspiration almost anywhere.  When I look in my closet and think..."I need new clothes..." I sit with my sketch book and plan around a theme, last spring I was inspired by the "summer of love" made hippy styled things.  In the fall it was "paisley" from some vintage rayons I got at an auction.  This spring the two have morphed into India, and I find myself inspired by some of the luxury fabrics from India.  Where this inspiration will lead...I don't know.

    I try not to get too carried away by embellishments.  One or two carefully executed well placed embellishments are much more flattering than something covered with every embellishment technique known.  (I recall those embellished jackets that were the rage in sewing circles about ten years ago...slashed and quilted and overdyed and painted and beaded and quilted--- eighteen fabrics and twelve techniques...most of them were hideous and had the shape of cardboard boxes.)  And with only a couple well placed embellishments, I can wear them together, such as a beaded sweater with an appliqued skirt and not look like a clown. 

    Unique individual...yet still tasteful!

    I think that's enough and I hope I don't sound too much like a hopeless flake!

    1. rjf | | #12

      You sound as if you're having fun!  This is a great topic, don't you think?  These days people seem free to create their own style instead of getting the standard outfits that say "I'm an office person",  "I'm a stay-at-home mother", "I'm an old lady" (although they might have a little more trouble being adventursome).  It's much easier to face the world when you feel that you look good.           rjf

      1. callie1 | | #13

        What do I like to wear?  I work in a Natural Food Store so dress is very casual and I can wear Issey Miyake pants, and Sewing Workshop outfits and everyone thinks they're cool.  I like to dress very individually and try to purchase as few items as possible (except t-shirts).  Comfort is very important to me so I look for patterns with comfort and style.  I'm not much for button down shirts or tailored jackets. 

             As far as formal wear I will always make it myself.  It's so much fun and since I hate black, pink and white it's hard to find anything I like in a store, and then it's sooo overpriced.  I can make myself a nice silk outfit for what I could buy a polyester one for. 

             As far as embellishment, I like fairly clean and simple looks.  I prefer texture and color over pattern and go for more subtle embellishment.  Once in a while I go crazy like green pants with green leaves appliqued up the sides ( a big hit at work). 

      2. lin327 | | #14

        Yes...I do have fun with clothes...  I remember when I was younger there were so many rules about what to wear and when to wear it...I could never figure out the rules...I went down south with someone and she spent the entire time in black pumps because it was after labour day...she refused to wear anything white even thought it was over ninety degrees! 

  9. cmarie12 | | #15

    <<Do you try to copy ready-to-wear?>>

    Yes, I do.  Especially if I see a garment that really excites me.  When I copy RTW I don't usually do it line for line or in the exact same color or print.  Then you can see yourself coming and going.  It is more like an interpretation than a direct copy.

    <<Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? >>

    I have a few one-of-a-kind garments but this is not what I usually make.

    <<Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? >>

    Our office is business casual and I make 90% of my work wear.  It is easier to list what I don't make than what I do.  In the winter ~ turtlenecks, sweaters.  In the summer ~ tank tops, some shirts.

    <<If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?>>

    Depends on the occasion.  Most of the time I end up making a garment because I can get exactly what I want in the style, color, length, etc.

    <<Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? >>

    JJill, Coldwater Creek, Ann Taylor, August Max, Barrie Pace for work clothes, Liz Claiborne for inspiration.

    <<How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes? >>

    Very little.  I like clean, simple lines where the fabric or the color/print is the dominant feature.  I use jewelry and scarves to accessorize outfits.

    I have been sewing for 34 years now.  I am the mother of 4 and my passion is sewing.  I take the time each season to plan out a new wardrobe and what I will sew.  My greatest pleasure comes from spending quality time with my sewing machine and making new garments.

    Edited 4/5/2004 11:46 am ET by cmarie12

  10. marijke | | #16

    It was fun to read all the responses to this query.

    I'm a working mom with two 4-year old daughters.  I wished I had more time and energy to sew.  Right now, I sew a lot of pants for my girls and an occasional dress (like one from Bob the Builder fabric, because all the ready-made clothes with this character are for boys).  For the summer, I'll be making a bunch of capris and shorts for them.  I buy the T-shirts to go with them.

    I have made tailored jackets, skirts, dresses, vests, etc. for both work and casual for myself, but right now the largest proportion of my wardrobe is ready-to-wear because of a lack of time for more sewing (Talbots, Lands End, J.Jill, mostly online and catalog shopping because of the lack of access to stores).  J.Jill and some other catalogs are also good inspiration.  I keep wishing for more time to sew!!!  In addition to garments, I'd like to do more quilting than I can manage with the time I can devote to sewing... 


  11. kjp | | #17

    Hi Carol!  I am a 38 year old mom of one son in kindergarten.  I dress casually - jeans & fitted sweaters/tnecks or t-shirts and hand-knit sweaters.  I think I wear jeans every day (ready-to wear).  For special occasion, night out with the girls, or formal wear, I make most of my clothes.  I wear a lot of pants, except for formal where long dresses are my choice.  I do very little embellishment, as I prefer clean lines& looks. 

    I shop at Jjill, Ann Taylor and Talbots sales.  I use ready to wear for inspiration, but usually look for a pattern that is similar.  I like Burda patterns most.  Occasionally I shop at upscale specialty shops, where I love the fit of the pants, but can only buy when they have a 70% off clearance sale.  I greatly prefer fabric and yarn shopping to clothing stores! 


  12. JeanEsther | | #18

    I work from home, and mostly wear RTW jeans with t-shirts or sweaters. My skirts for church and such are either fun or denim, all made and all bias or A-line. I made my formal wear skirt and pair it with RTW top. When I meet with clients, I usually wear a wool pant suit with buttoned down shirt. I made about a third of my shirts. I'm trying to perfect pants and am about to make my first jacket. It'll be denim and if it goes well, the next will be wool with matching pants (or skirt). I like making knit tops, but have trouble finding good knits. I made a denim hat recently and will probably make a Panama hat soon.

    I shop at Talbots, Nordstrom's, Robinsons (Liz Claiborne mostly) and Mervyns. I like conservative, comfortable styles. I've made one pair of pants by copying RTW; I've copied parts of shirts to help fit similar patterns (I will be copying a favorite jacket to help with the pattern I bought). I check out RTW to help decide fabrics that ought to work for patterns, but often have trouble finding similar fabrics. I haven't embellished much, except for nice buttons or decorative top-stitching. I'd like to try braids or couching some time, but am not too interested in embroidery on clothes.

  13. emmepirate | | #19

    I am a 31 year old costume shop manager.  Most of the stuff I sew is vintage inspired, and I try not to use commercial patterns.  I just like the challenge of manipulating my slopers, and it helps me hone my skills for work, too.   I do copy ready-to-wear...well, I have a morgue of pics out of magazine, but I havent had the time to try all of them.  I usually  buy Vogue in the spring and fall (when its really thick) and tear stuff out for my morgue.  My theatre has at least 10 opening nights each year, and while they aren't formal, I like to kick it up a bit as I'm representing the costume shop.  I usually make something, mostly from the New Look era.  However, sometimes the show opening we are celebrating took 4 weeks of 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  These are the times I fall back to my vintage collection, or I'll pull something out of the theatre's stock.   I have a hard time shopping, because I cant get past the thought, "I could make this and I could choose the fabric *and* make it fit"  Thus, I usually shop at thrift stores.  The only things I buy new, unless it's really really cool, are swimwear, undies, and suits (although tailoring is next on my list!)  

    1. Nancylee | | #35

      I mostly like to wear smart casual clothing and I do check out the more expensive women's retail stores for design ideas I can copy.  Also of course I check out Threads and also books from the library.  My sewing level is moderate so design ideas I've "borrowed"  need to be within my grasp.  I don't have ambition to be a couture sewer despite my admiration for them.

      I like to embellish my clothes somewhat altho my stlyle is tailored.   However over the past few years it seems to me as though we are getting a bit bored with the same old and embellishments, scarves, beading etc are beginning to be used in a chic way.  Personally I'm not a fan of the sort of "craft" look that some home sewers enjoy.  The quilted vests and speciality bags etc that do appeal to a number of people (I can see why, they're just not my "thing".)

      I tend to fabric shop at a local store that features an enormous array of bolts and trims.  Crummy part of town but good selection. 

      The more I sew the more I've begun to enjoy making a greater range of clothes; now I make my nightgowns, pjs, undershirts, underpants, the occasional purse, etc. And have bored my husband with an eyeglasses case which he hid.  He does however wear the fleece hat I made.

      Also find it fun to sew for the nieces--matching fleece hats, scarves & gloves.

      All I can think of for now.  Really enoy and get inspired by this forum and the mag.

  14. SEWSERIOU1 | | #20

    I work in an office part-time as a medical transcriptionist and, fortunately, I can wear casual clothes.  Twill or denim pants (i.e. jeans mostly as long as they are not faded or badly worn), nice t-shirts. 

    I also teach sewing part-time and do alterations and custom dressmaking.  I dress it up a bit more for that.  Nicer dress pants and a nice t-shirt or other 'casual' top, a causual dress with sandals, maybe a semi-tailored jacket.  I try to make everything I wear when teaching.  After all, if I am teaching it, I have to do it also! 

    I don't have anywhere to go to wear evening wear, so I have only made that for others.  I have some that fits me, but I made those to use as samples in my business. 

  15. CTI | | #21

    what sort of clothes you all wear,

    When home alone I live in sweats, jeans, lightweight pants, shorts, T-shirts. When at work I dress up in suits for fancy (usually stupid) meetings, and otherwise go with the dress code which has varied from jeans and a baseball cap are ok to unspoken but understood that "girls must show at least their calves and thus always be cold in the winter during fire drills, and vulnerable to showing whatever if it's windy."

    where you shop,

    Used or discount or import stores except for undies and most shoes and outerwear. I bought a raincoat from JC Penney online a few years ago, but except for socks I haven't bought anything new except things in Goodwill with the tags still on.

    what you like to sew, and more. Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality?

    Except for the simplest of design ideas I wouldn't try to copy, especially if I would be disappointed if it didn't work. I'd love to deconstruct, pattern-make, and reconstruct, but I'm not that proficient. I'd probably rather be one-of-a-kind than wearing something that 10 other people are wearing that night, but I don't want to stand out either.

    Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses?

    This changes with every job, and lots of other variables. Pants make the most sense, especially if you come to an overscheduled meeting late and have to sit on the floor.

    If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?

    That's about 50-50 for me, but lately it's more like construct or put together an outfit, rather than sew it, plus I don't like formal events anymore.

    Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing?

    That's sort of a leading question, no? How about Threads and this forum for inspiration :) I definitely do not have a favorite store. I think popular TV shows and world clothing both influence me. That so many "primitive" cultures have beautiful and functional wrap clothing makes me think I would like to go in that direction when possible. Fewer and easier seams.  

    How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

    Very little. I like a belt, or scarf, or pin, or necklace, or earrings, or wrap, or exotic buttons or fasteners. I used to have about 10 varieties of watches, but I have learned to live without them as they seem to get broken, lost, or something. Instead, I would prefer that the cuffs have a certain flair, or a kickpleat surprises, buttons are reversible, that sort of thing, and that it can handle a funky different sort of accompaniment while still being a well-fitting design.

    On a sunny day you can do a lot with a hat, and if you don't do sunscreen you should probably bring along a hat. I've done a sleeveless black dress in the heat of summer with a straw visor cap, hair coming out the top but not touching my neck. It depends on your locale and the customs too. Now that I'm older I'd add a linen loose fitting jacket so as not to show my arms and make sure I don't freeze in restaurants.

    Fun topic Carol, thanks!

    1. Barbaran8 | | #22

      I work in a biotech lab, so slacks and jeans - since I wear a white lab coat - I always wear a colored top - turtlenecks in winter and shirts/blouses in Summer. For important meeting days a tailored slacks suit. My way of expressing my individuality is all of the vests and sweaters I have embellished or knit. I shop Nordstrom's Rack, Talbot's outlet, Pendelton seconds store, and if I manage a trip to the East Coast, I take a second suitcase and hit Filene's basement. I find that I can buy most ready to wear better made and cheaper than I am capable of putting together - so I only make unique items that have a bit of "splash" to them. My usual formal event is the company Christmas party, which they have always thoughtfully scheduled in mid January - so I usually buy my outfit just before the event, *deeply* discounted since all of the other Holiday events are over by then. By now I have quite a stack of some pretty nice formal wear, since I have to have a new outfit each year (of course!) and none of them are faddish enough to be "out of style".

      I don't care for patchwork, but like stitched quilting techniques like sashiko, or some machine quilting techniques, (bobbinwork etc.) I've been making some vests using the fabric collage techniques in Rosemary Eichorn's book and I love them, and people are always very impressed by them. As far as I'm concerned, machine embroidery is for the company to stitch its logo on freebie clothing that they give me - why would I bother with it?

  16. annejolly | | #23

    I'm nearly 70 and still working (teacing), and I have to wear skirts or dresses to work. I'm also large - anything from 18-22 (Australian sizing) so I wear skirts, shirts and jackets to work, and I make my own clothes, except tailored jackets because what I can afford to buy is so badly made and ill-fitting. Consequently I make timeless simple tuck-in shirts - short sleeved for summer and long sleeved for winter, and simple skirts - A line or wrap around. I buy my jackets because I don't have the time to tailor such a garment properly. I buy good material - liberty cotton, linen, pure wool as much as possible, and whilst I could buy them here in Australia I used Neue Mode patterns as much as possible. I also used the old Burda patterns without seam allowances. I like patterns without seam allowances because I cut out with a quilter's wheel and measuring arm and get a smooth accurate cut. Furthermore it makes moving from one size to another very easy. Finally, here in rural Tasmania where I live buying well made clothes is very difficult, so making them myself is the solution.

    Anne Jolly

    1. MarshaK | | #24

      My life-style is casual, so I am usually dressed in jeans and shirts, all made by me, with a t-shirt, or turtleneck. I learned how to sew in school, when there were still such things as Home Ec classes, back when dirt was new. I am tall, 5'11" so it became easier to sew garments than to try find long enough sleeves or legs. For a time I stopped sewing, except for basic mending, but returned to it with a vengance after attending a wedding and seeing a much older woman wearing the same dress I had on that we'd both ordered from the Sears catalog. Haven't stopped sewing since, that was almost 25 years ago, now almost all the clothes I wear have been sewn by me. I like to look through catalogs, to get ideas of what's out there, one of my favorites is Isabella Bird, and any others I can get my paws on. I save any pictures that have interesting details or embellishment designs. I like 'Western' styles, so other catalogs like Cheyenne Outfitters get some attention from me. I'm not much for tailored styles, there aren't many opportunities to wear them in a small town whose population is around a thousand. People tend to look at you in a certain way when you go grocery shopping wearing some thing that is obviously not from stores like Wal-mart, or Sears. My embellished garments are worn to sewing shows, and when we leave town on vacation.


  17. Mauao | | #25

    I found the discussion very interesting, and noticed some significant cultural differences between the US and New Zealand.... I work as a health policy analyst and planner.... work full time and have two children... I make all my clothes, I'd have a go at shoes too, if I could find the materials. As for what I wear at work smart tailored in natural fabrics silk wool cotton, with casual sports wear at home... I sew for my teenage daughter and my mother... the cultural difference? Highly individualised/ embellished and fabric art type clothes  are definitly not the thing here, more the garment shape, hems fabric types etc. We are probably far more casual in our dress and have a more relaxed approach at work

  18. User avater
    MrsRussell | | #26

    Hi Carol,

    I'm a clinical dietitian at a hospital--at work I have to wear a lab coat, so I typically wear long dresses, sweeping skirts or tailored pants with lightweight sweaters (in winter) or basic tops. Dressing with a lab coat can be a little limiting--you can't do jackets or other bulky tops. White or off-white blouses don't work with the white lab coat either--too washed out! Many embellishments get hidden by the jacket too. When I am out on my days off (carting the kids to dance class, shopping, etc.) I usually wear Calvin Klein jeans with simple, fitted t-shirts.

    I like to shop the big sales at the local higher-end department stores and hunt for bargains at places like TJ Maxx. I sometimes alter items that aren't quite perfect-- I would really like more Threads articles that address alterations to already made clothing (not just to patterns or fitting during construction). I also would like some information on how to better "cannibalize" bargain or used clothing to utilize the fabric. I think Threads does a great job of talking about embellishments that can work on RTW as well as handmade items.

    When I sew from scratch, I try to make things that look like RTW, but I do like to include subtle special touches--I've gotten more than a few ideas from Delicious Details! I also love the articles that dissect designer clothing--either to utilize these construction techniques or just to appreciate the amazing garments!

    Thanks for all the years of inspiration!


    1. hcookie | | #27

      I am retired and plus size

        I wear - cotton pants, button front linen shirts, soft cotton tee shirts.  I want my everyday clothes to be washable and easy care.

        I shop - mostly mail order (Silhouettes, L. L. Bean, Lands End) but have bought clothes at Kohl's, Parisian and August Max in the more recent past.   There are a few other stores nearby I mean to try.

        My preferred style is classic casual.  I don't attend formal events and prefer simple styles even when the fabric is dressy.  I haven't worn pantyhose since I retired in 1996 and don't plan to ever again.

        I plan to sew some of the classic clothes so I can afford a few of the more fashionable.  Altering a pattern is a big job and it is not worth it for a fleeting style.

    2. Michelle | | #28

      Once again, I need to clarify that the 'Shelly' of the previous posting and yours truly (residing in Jerusalem) are not one and the same - although I'm rather surprised that this program allows two people to use the same user name. In the meanwhile, if the new 'Shelly' wouldn't mind altering her user name (eg Shelly2) in order to avoid confusion I would be grateful.

      It's really fascinating to read about different lifestyles of various members of the group. 

       I'm an aspiring artist/ designer/ musician (pianist) - My 'career ' doesn't make any demands on my mode of dress - however, since we are ultra-orthodox Jews, there are certain set dress restrictions (women not wearing trousers, requiring of head covering at all times, sleeves that cover our elbows and dress hems that cover our knees at all times, wearing of stockings etc)

      Never the less, this doesn't prevent us from enjoying attractive clothing - My personal preference is for the less tailored look - plain fabric, interesting cut with one interesting detail (be it on the collar, pockets, or an unusual button) - Generally an 'understated' look. 


      1. User avater
        MrsRussell | | #29

        Sorry shelly!

        I guess this program must be case-sensitive so it let us use both shelly and Shelly. At any rate, I agree it could be confusing. I tried to change my user name but apparently there is some sort of "cookie" business that won't let me do it. So, I'll have my husband (who knows much more about these things) try to fix it before I post again.

        (It's ironic because I go by Shelly simply because my full name, Michelle, is SO popular!)

        With best regards,

        The "other" Shelly

        1. Michelle | | #30

          Hi (other) Shelly!

          Sorry if I sounded 'short' - After rereading my message, I was reminded that I didn't even have the good grace to welcome you to the group:)

          As you have no doubt seen for yourself, this is really very special group of people who are extremely kind and generous with their knowledge -

          Warm regards from Jerusalem,


          PS. My real name is also Michelle -  one more thing in common:)

  19. becksnyc | | #31

    what sort of clothes you all wear?

    I tailor my own classic clothing (ala Talbots, Anne Taylor) in high quality, (usually natural) fibers or blends.  I usually add one unique design element to the patterns I use (Vogue, Butterick are my favorites).  I comb boutiques and expensive catalogues for ideas, and then copy or use them as a springboard for inspiration.  Sometimes I even have *GASP* original ideas.  :-)

    where you shop?

    I only shop for clothes I cannot sew, like fine-guage silk sweaters or items that are too time-consuming (raincoats, bras).  Otherwise, I sew my own.

    what you like to sew?

    Everything else!  Softly tailored jackets in wool crepe, linen, silk.  Knit tops with bias bound necklines, armholes.  Skirts, pants, shirt-jackets.

    Do you try to copy ready-to-wear?

    I get my inspiration from it.  Before I sew for the new season, I go to the most exclusive, expensive shops.  I look for trends, colors and design elements.  Then I shop for fabric, patterns and spend a week planning my wardrobe.  When everything is planned and I've added a few unique or challenging features to several of my garments, I sew!

    Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality?

    I express my individuality in subtle ways.  A twist to a tailored design element, a unique piece of jewellery (much of which I design and make with polymer clay).  I don't want my garment to shout my individuality--I'm more understated. 

    Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses?

    I'm in tailored dress about 75% of the time.  My casual clothes are knit pants and sleeveless knit tops (good quality cotton or silk) with a linen or wool shirt jacket as a topper.  Silk scarves, silver.

    If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?

    Make.  Definitely make.

    Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you ...get inspiration for sewing?

    Ann Taylor, local boutiques in NYC.  THREADS!!!  I find design ideas in a range of cataloges.  Even those whose style I don't like will have details to file away or modify.  I love looking at vintage clothes for ideas, although I don't wear a vintage look.

    How much embellishment (if any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

    Very little, if any.  Rows of topstitching on a collar or front band, pin-tucks around a linen jacket sleeve, one diamond shaped bound buttonhole with an outstanding button.  No embroidery or quilting on my clothes, although I will use those techniques on bags made to match my clothes..


  20. mem1 | | #32

    Hello, I am a 45 year old mother of 3 boys  and work nearly full time as a physiotherapist . I love to sew and started when I was 8 sitting at an old treadle sewing machine under the mango tree in our back garden . I live in pants and shirts as I need to be able to move freely and go from seeing patients individually to running an exercise class which can get quite hot and sweaty! I also need to tailor my clothes to my footwear as I have to wear orthotics in my shoes and I cant rely on finding the shoes to go with my clothes all of the time .

    I love plain or textured fabrics and very rarely dress in patterned fabrics .I also love pants made out of stretch wovens .All my clothes are easy to wash .I make most of my clothes and those of one of my sons who is very difficult to buy clothes for .As I live is Australia the shops that I frequent wouldn't mean much to you.I do make most of my special occasion clothes and winter coats etc .I am constantly trying to design new and interesting versions of the shirt so some articles on that in Threads would be great.I have over time ,come up with the  perfect pants pattern . I use mostly commercial patterns as Idont have the time to draft my own. As I am very tall, I always have to alter them significantly. 

    I love jackets and have made many . I have  problems trying to work out complementary necklines between jackets and the tops underneath. I REALLY HATE sleeveless patterns and am often frustrated by the sleeveless pattern which often accompanies the jacket pattern. I am not clever enough to have worked out how to alter a sleeveless pattern to incorporate a sleeve and how to alter the jacket pattern to accommodate the sleeve. I would REALLY appreciate an article on that!

    I also love soft layered clothes and have admired many in ready to wear ranges . Again i am yet to work out "The Rules " when it comes to combining shapes and proportions in the most flattering way.

    1. CTI | | #33

      "I have  problems trying to work out complementary necklines between jackets and the tops underneath. "

      Mem, I agree that is a problem whether with store-bought or homemade. I don't think there is an easy answer but I'm trying to think of a coding system that tells me if a blouse with a particular neck treatment works with a jacket. It frustrates me as some work if you are always seated but then go haywire when you stand up or reach - say, one side of the shirt collar is standing on end when you get back into the relaxed position.

      It's not the best solution but what I've been doing is looking at my collarless coats to pair with collared blouses, and vice versa. When the blouse is too low cut I add a scarf.

      What I'd like to explore is detachable collars for blouses. With yolk detail to disguise the attachment points I think there are possibilities, but this idea only came to me just this moment so I don't have much to add except that you can have a basic "shell" blouse, or V-neck, or scooped-neck, and you can do almost anything with them - a bit of a standup ruffle or draped fabric, a tie, your imagination is your limit.

      I'm doing a Spring cleanup of one of my closets and might come up with other ideas which I'll pass along. 

  21. lbbray | | #34

    I hope its not too late to weigh in.  I love your question.  I am a paralegal in a very casual office.  And I have sewn everything from formal wear to lots of "jams" for my kids.

    At this stage of my life, I am mainly sewing more casual wear and getting back into making toddler clothes for a granddaughter.

    I almost always start off with just almost what is on the pattern, even down to the colors since I find that when I am struck by a pattern, it is the exact look I want.  I have a Butterick skirt pattern that I've used for nearly 20 years in every fabric possible, but the first even had the same type buttons.

    My favorite catalog is Cold Water Canyon and I've never met a Liz Claiborn that I didn't like.

    I have weakness for hat patterns, and wear a hat to church (and sometimes gloves if I'm in the right mood).  Now, if I could learn to make shoes......

  22. colleency | | #36

    I work in engineering, so I wear jeans and t-shirts (the kind built for women with no pictures or words) every day. For clothes I shop at Target or Land's End or Mervyn's.

    I sew costumes: historical, recreations from movie, and futuristic. I also sew bowling-type shirts for my husband. I recently decided that since I like the style of 40's clothing, I'm going to start making myself clothing from that era.

    My only formal events are balls and parties set in the Victorian, Edwardian, etc. time period. So I usually make my own clothing for these. I would like to start making my husband's formal clothing for these events, too.

    I get inspiration from movies, photos or drawings of the period I'm trying to create or from photos that people have posted online.

    I purchase most of my fabric at the downtown garment district, but if I need just one thing, a couple of notions, or I'm in a hurry, I will buy from JoAnn's, which has become one of the few local shops around. I'm not particularly happy with their quality, however.

  23. punky | | #37

    Hi. My current favorite catalog is Peruvian Connection. I incorporate some of their skirt designs into those I make. I also crochet and have used some of their pull-on sweater ideas, as well. I like to sew with ethnically-inspired fabrics and all-natural ones such as hemp, linen and cotton.

    I work in a casual environment, so wear jeans, t-shirts, and when I commute on my bike, leggings and jerseys. I have a few pull-on skirts that I like to knock around in.

    Tracy (also known as Punky)

    1. JulieP25 | | #38

      Hi! I found this very interesting, you gave me a peak at what everyone wears and sews. Like many I wear jeans and t shirt most of the time. My occupation is farming with a strong lean to the cow/calf operation. I also love sewing for more formal attire, not for copying RTW styles but for choosing a color I like. I often use Vogue and Burda. Sometimes I use Kwik Sew and Simplicity. It really depends on what I want to make. Making jackets is also fun and does require perfect fitting. I'm still learning more on that. Thank you for your help there. I like making just about anything, the only thing I have not tackled yet is tailoring. I think it might be too time consuming for me and fitting is still a challenge. But one never knows, just might try anyway. I love learning about all aspects of sewing even if I don't have the time to do it. But my passion is for sewing backpacks, to give away. I often have little time and they are small enough to work into a hectic schedule. Getting good fabric is a challenge here as well. WalMart and Fanny's( these don't have great fabric but they have some which is better than not getting any fabric) and one great store  (Estee's) that I do not always get to. I also sew for the grandkids but that's fun stuff where I get to embellish, applique and play with stitches all I want and I don't have to buy the most expensive fabrics for them.  Unless it's for a special occasion.Fitting for them is not required , they are too young.  Some more on those fancy stitches would help.

      1. FitnessNut | | #41

        Hi, Jules.

        I see that you mentioned Estée's as the "one great store" that you shop at.....does that mean you're in the Edmonton area? (I live in Sherwood Park.) I visit Estée's probably once a week or so, sometimes with clients, sometimes by myself LOL! Have you been to Sig Plach....they don't have as good quality fabric as Estée's IMHO, but sometimes you can find something that the other stores don't have.


        1. JulieP25 | | #42

          Hi Sandy! I'm about a 2 hr drive NE of Edmonton. Between Athabasca and Redwater. I haven't been to Sig Platch yet. I'm not very fimiliar with the downtown area but am learning ( parking counts). I love Estees, they have great fabric and try to get there when I can. Though I do frequent Fanny's and Walmart, They are ususally along the direction in which I get to go. Being on the farm,  you have to plan your trip to the city for not only fabric shopping but all of the other stuff, parts, tires, princess auto, canadian tire, rona what ever else is needed. If DH knows that I'm going to the city he always sends me in for the things he needs. It ususally takes me all day. Lucky if I get to any of the fabric shops. You sound like you sew for clients, lucky you if you do. I used to make Ukranian Dance costumes but in the last few years the group found it cheaper to buy them from Russia. I miss it now and try to vist them often. So I fill my time in with making backpacks and bags, clothes for the grandkids and stuff for me and DH. Julie aka Jules

  24. AnnTS | | #39

    I am a graphic designer with a fairly casual office, so I like distinctive fun clothes. I am the rainmaker partner, so I do have to meet with clients, but they expect me to look arty. I do copy RTW, but from european designers or Style.com, not what I see at the Gap. I buy fabric from Vogue Fabrics (chicago) on trips there, or at Fabric Gallery (high end store near my home), or at Fashion Fabrics Club online. I sew purely for personal expression, and prefer simple styles with a minimum of tailoring - I don't want to duplicate the detailed, intense process of my work on my free time. So, something like the small tips included (the try it out section) are so appealing to me. Projects like the thirty minute jacket are delightful, and fit my life.

    1. Stefanie | | #40

      I'm a SAHM so I don't tend to wear anything too fussy and it must be wash and wear. I've mostly been sewing for my kids the past 10 years and am only now starting to sew for myself so I will be changing from basic jeans and tshirts, or skirts and tshirts to more interesting styles. But I still need to be able to go to the park in it.

      I use a lot of Burda, Kwik Sew and some Big 4. I've been doing well with Simplicity lately. Trying a few specialty pattern companies too - like Sewing Workshop or Loes Hinse. I like fun details and am going to start picking out some new techniques to practice with tried and true patterns. I am very inspired by Threads.

      RTW influences are Anthropologie mostly. If I shop with my sister we go to Arden B, Limited, Bebe, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor. I usually just look and think "I could make that in a lot nicer fabric." But the details are trendy and fun.


  25. Merryll | | #43

    Hi, Carol!  I hope it's not too late to reply to this interesting topic.  I haven't visited in a while, so it's fun catching up on all the posts.

    What clothes do you like to wear?

    Unless I am out with clients, I dress casually for stay-at-home:  warm sweats, long-sleeve T's under coordinating sweatshirts, tennis shoes and lately, lots of exercise wear.  Often, after I exercise in the morning, if I'm not going out I pop a shirt over the spandex and wear it all day. Since I live in New England, warmth is important. ;~} When I am out with clients or going someplace like into New york, I dress much more formally: designer pantsuits and other suits.  Same with church attire. I wear dressy casual when we go out. I am probably a bit different from most of the responses here, since I adore designer duds and formal attire.  Armani, Valentino, Chanel are my passions. When I worked everyday in an office in an executive capacity, I wore tailored suits, silk blouses, and dressy sweaters. I still have a closet full.

    Where do you shop?

    Unfortunately for my husband <VBG>, I shop at N-M, Saks, Bergdorfs.  Their catalogs are wonderful inspiration, too. For casual wear, I usually favor Ellen Tracy Company  and crisp Faconnable shirts. Although I shop at high-end spots, I always find myself looking at the garments and saying, 'I could make this.' Consequently, I only purchase those items I cannot duplicate.

    What do you like to sew?

    I make those items I cannot afford to purchase--Chanel suits (out of Chanel fabric), pantsuits, evening wear, coats, jackets and most summer clothing (simply cannot bring myself to pay high prices for cotton items I can make better myself).  I was always the girl who loved all the designer duds in Vogue but couldn't afford to buy them, so I love to copy them. I also make all our interlined draperies, window treatments and home dec items. I may attempt a few handbags this summer, since there are some terrific patterns out there, and if they turn out well, I'll also make some for gifts. I enjoy tailoring, and it's a pleasure finally to have the time to pursue it.  I enjoy working with fine fabrics, always natural fiber.

    Do you embellish?

    I haven't gotten into that yet, even though I bought some beading items in the city a year ago. I'll probably begin by adding some beading to a hand-picked zipper for  evening wear. Generally, I steer clear of any "crafty" looks.

    Do you prefer professional-vs-casual?

    Definitely the professional, dressed-up look. I know, I'm an anomaly. :-P



    1. FitnessNut | | #44

      Actually, you're not an anomaly at all! I love a professional, dressed-up look, but it doesn't suit my lifestyle right now. I definitely dress up when I see clients, but change back into jeans/t-shirt when they leave. As I'm sketching, making patterns, muslins, cutting and sewing for much of the day, I find that I'm pretty hard on my clothes and jeans are comfortable and durable. And acceptable if someone just happens to drop in. I exercise daily, so have a selection of appropriate clothing for pumping iron and running, most of which I've made....copying the high-end stuff in the shops.

      I shop at Holt Renfrew and several other high-end stores here in Canada, but usually don't buy. I search for ideas and trends to incorporate into my own designs. The same with magazines....I read Vogue, Elle, Flare and Canada Fashion and keep clipping files for reference. I love to look at well-made clothing for inspiration. What I buy is the stuff I wear each day....jeans, t's. My time isn't worth making these items for myself. I sew everything else, including jackets and coats. I've taken a bra-making class and am having a go at duplicating those ridiculously expensive bras for myself.....its a small project that I can squeeze in between things for clients.

      I'm another person who steers clear of "art to wear" or anything crafty. I like a clean, professional look, not something that screams home-made, as much of this stuff does. However, I do embellishment work on things for clients - beading and the like, particularly on bridal garments, again being careful to keep it looking more "designer" than "crafty".


      Edited to add that I have formal functions to attend about 3 or 4 times per year. I make outfits to wear to these as well, seeking inspiration from expensive designer RTW or couture. Web sites such as style.com or firstview.com are really helpful as a resource.

      Edited 5/20/2004 12:12 pm ET by Sandy

      1. Merryll | | #45

        Sandy, I appreciate your comments.  After reading the long thread, I was afraid no one liked to dress anymore.  Actually, my husband and I lived outside the country for four years in the '90s, and when we returned, the casual phenomena had arrived.  It probably slipped past my radar unaware.  I mean this with all full and due respect, but sometimes, I am appalled at what people consider appropriate attire.  It comes, I guess, from looking at others through the eyes of foreigners, which is what I did after returning to the US to live.

        Anyway, I now find one of my greatest sources of inspiration is the exquisite store catalogs that come in my mail at the beginning of each season.  Also, I adore closely examining the construction of couture garments.  It's difficult to do this without being too obvious, but after snoop shopping, my mind is abuzz with ideas. Happy sewing, Sandy!


        1. FitnessNut | | #46

          I know exactly what you mean! As my husband is in the Canadian army, we move around a fair bit, so I do tend to feel much like an outsider in most of the places we live. Here in the Canadian West, it is extremely casual, which is quite a contrast from the last place I lived, Montréal, with its European style sense. There, you dress up to go to the grocery store. You aren't alone in being appalled at what is considered to be appropriate dress. Even in my jeans (clean and neat, often coloured) and t-shirt (fitted, good quality), I often am better put together than many I see when I go out. Family members in Toronto tell me that there is somewhat of a backlash against the overly casual attire of late, and it is becoming more of a trend to dress up. Can't come too soon for me!

          I'm with you in examining couture garments....not that I've seen many! I regularly snoop in the better lines at Holt's (Max Mara, Armani, Lida Baday, Dolce & Gabanna, etc) to have a look at construction. You can learn so much in a dressing room! Have fun!


  26. HollyT | | #47

    Thanks for asking this question.  I work in the executive office of a US Federal govt agency, and need a professional look during the work week.  Too many hours at the desk and not enough at the gym have pushed up my clothing size, so I wear mostly lined pants from Nordstrom or Lord & Taylor or Bloomingdales, and silk sweaters.  I almost always wear a jacket or sweater for a more professional look.  I like the simple, well-cut jackets from Dana Buchman and Ellen Tracy.  I'm making my second one in linen, and they are turning out reasonably well.  Wish you had done an article on them when they first came out.  I would like to perfect this technique--the simple jacket with a great shape, perhaps lined in organza.  Summer and winter versions.  Also maybe reversible silk or wool or linen lined with silk, with interesting binding.  I respect the creativity and flair of many of your writers and readers, but that's not me--I need a more conservative look.  Would love to see some articles on how to do these jackets better.

    For casual wear, I wear the same items in cotton and get the pants, sweaters, etc. from LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Nordstrom, etc.

    1. HollyT | | #48

      I left out a sentence from comments above---re the jackets I like from Dana Buchman and Ellen Tracy, they are the doublecloth ones in wool and linen.  Haven't tried making a wool one--just linen.  Wish I could figure out how they turn in the edges on the wool doublecloth versions.

    2. User avater
      ehBeth | | #49

      I wear black pants to work 4 or 5 days a week. During the summer they're more likely to be 7/8 length than full length.  I've got 3 or 4 differently styled black jackets to vary the formality of the look.  I've got about a dozen black 3/4 quarter sleeve dressy t's with very discreet patterning at the neck, and about a dozen variations on the white v-neck dressy t.  The excitement (?) in my look is generally in the detail at the bottom of the pant leg. I've got pants with fringe from the ankle down, pants with bands of lace for the bottom 3", pants with zippers at the side and back at the ankle, pants with slits at the back, front and side, pants with lacing in the open slits for the bottom 2" or 3" of the pant leg.  I have a few dressy brocade vests, some to be worn under the jackets, and a couple go over the jackets, which really vary the look.

      When you realize that my wardrobe is black pants, black jackets, and either white or black tops - you'd think that I'm invisible at work. But the comment I get most often is "how much clothing do you have".  The detail in the pant legs, the variation provided by the vests, scarves and pins I wear make it seem like I've got an endless wardrobe.

      I don't like to wear 'crafty' looking things for work. It wouldn't be appropriate for the setting or level of client/vendor contact.  Some of the dressy t's have a small bit of embroidering at the neck, but it is invariably white on white or black on black.

      I could definitely use more ideas for variations on the pant leg finishing.

  27. carobanano | | #50

    For the sake of offering a completely different viewpoint.....

    I'm 18 and still in high school. Obviously then, my style's pretty casual! Jeans and khakis for winter, shorts in the summer. Nearly all of my tops are knits, and I'd venture to say that most of them are solid-colored. I often wear cardigans and sweaters during the winter, too.

    I'll sew almost anything, pretty much, although lately I feel like I'm kind of "turned off" by just sitting down with a pattern- I'd much rather design my own! The clothes I make are usually more one-of-a-kind than the uber-trendy (and often trashy) RTW that's out there for teens. I definitely favor bargain hunting/thrift store/garage sale finds over trendy clothes. I need to feel very unique about my style!

    For formal events, I would most definitely make my outfit. I designed and sewed my prom dress for this year (and am planning to enter it in the Inspired by Threads contest!) Unfortunately, though, medical problems and general time management issues kept me from finishing it until 1.5 hours before the prom actually started, and even then it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. When my mother suggested that next year I just buy a dress, though, I vehemently disagreed! :D It's just so wonderful to be able to tell people that you created an outfit, especially on a special night.

    Threads, of course, is great for inspiration, as is Vogue. Embellishment ideas come from a variety of sources, but it's something I want to explore more. Embroidery is great, I think it's so....peaceful.

    And I agree with Karen (SEWINGKMULKE) when she said that Threads should be "showcasing young designers and their "out of the box" designs!" (Pick me, please?)

    Edited 7/14/2004 10:05 am ET by Caro

    1. carolfresia | | #51

      Hi, Caro,

      How nice to hear from one of our younger readers. Even though your lifestyle is a little different from the rest of us, it sounds as if you sew for many of the same reasons: to have a unique look, and for the satisfaction of making it yourself. Of course, I believe most of us have experienced the 11th hour completion thing as well!

      Glad to hear you're entering the prom dress in the "Inspired" challenge. We've been getting some great stuff from the under-25 group the past couple of years.


    2. sarahkayla | | #52

      Dear Caro...

      we al finish our stuff at the last minute.. and it never seems as good as what you invisioned.. until you go back and look at the garment a couple of months or years later..

      whenever i finish a piece.. all i can see is the flaws... after several months.. i can see what's good about it..

      I wish I had sewn when I was in highschool - I had a bdy that didn't fir into junior sized clothes.. i was proportioned..not quite right for them...although I was pretty thin..

      I like that i can make clothing for my highschool aged DD that works for her and for her needshow her body is proportioned. We design and make clothing together that's fun for her to wear.. keep sewing and keep having fun with it...

      sarah in nyc

  28. KBWINSON | | #53

    I hope that I'm not too late to join this discussion...

    Anyway, I'm curious to know what sort of clothes you all wear: In my personal life, I'm in jeans and knit tops.  For going out, I *love* to dress up.  I'll usually wear a woven top with a pair of capris or a skirt.  Work is flat-front pants, business length skirts, and a jacket over a sleeveless top.  Since I live in a very humid climate, I tend toward natural, breathable fabrics.  No dry-clean only fabrics!

     where you shop:  If money were no object, Banana Republic, J. Crew and Anthropologie.  That's where I get my sewing inspirations from. Otherwise I'll shop at Old Navy, Ross, and even Walmart.

     what you like to sew: I have a very straight figure, so fitted styles flatter the best.  I sew because I either cannot afford what I want or RTW doesn't fit.  I can usually find knit tops that fit.  Woven tops, skirts, and pants are nearly impossible for me to find in RTW.  Dressy styles are generally fit but I've discovered that I'm becoming very picky about style know that I sew. 

    Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Um, I'm not quite at that level...yet!  RTW is definitely my inspiration when I'm looking for a specific style in a pattern.

     Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? I like unique details, but nothing too individualistic ( read: avant garde).  I tend towards very classic, elegant styles, details, and accessories.

    Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? All of the above :)  Right now I've hit a bit of a wall in sewing...finding quality fabric in colors that I want.  So oftentimes I'll buy something because I know that I won't be able to find the fabric that I want.  I tend more towards solids since most prints overwhelm my figure.  Hard to find a lot of coordinating solids!

    If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit? At this point in my sewing skills and confidence, I'm more likely to buy it. 

    Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? See above :)  I also love Petite Sophisticate and Ann Taylor Loft.

    How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?  I hardly ever purchase clothing with any kind of embellisment.  I do have a few well-loved pieces that have a touch of embellishment for added style (like a ribbon at the hem).  Again, I prefer my embelishments to have an elegant, artistic style.

    Thank you for asking!  I hope my reply wasn't too long.


  29. MegVT | | #54

    I prefer to wear pants (pattern #1001 by Textile Studio Patterns) which I usually make up in a woven rayon batik.  I've a few funky jackets.   On top I wear a purchased sweater.  I found a great-looking jacket pattern which I'll make up in a wild lime-green & white Irish linen my mother bought about 30 years ago (what ever possessed her to buy this, I'll never know - LOL).  I think I've figured out that I'm old enough to wear whatever I want. 

    For special occasions I usually make something funky-elegant.  My brother-in-law got married for the 3rd time and I made a patchwork/collage jacket a la Judy Murrah.  I think it turned out quite well.

    For at-home wear, I've usually got on a pair of knit pants and t-shirt or sweatshirt, depending on the season here in Vermont.  I wear pants all the time because I have foot problems which prevent me from wearing 'shoes' - I wear orthotics in my sneakers all the time.  I'm not fond of the sneaker-dress/skirt look.  Besides, I'm very sun-sensitive, and wearing long pants helps to cover my skin without having to use sunscreen (to which I'm not very tolerant...).

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All