Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thoughts on Garments Past

Apologies for disappearing, but I've got a bit of a mold situation at my apartment so I've been spending my nights with my parents and off the computer, and unfortunately away from my sewing machine and knitting projects. So in this lull while I'm scheming and dreaming over warmer weather clothing, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on this past handmade season (fall/winter) to take some Lessons into the next handmade season (spring/summer). Admittedly, this is where my DIY skill tends to fall short and the thrifter in me goes a bit nuts. So! In the name of tipping that balance, let's look back on the past 6 months, shall we? Favorite sewn garment: Not that it had a lot of competition! I made/refashioned a total of 4 skirts, 3 pencil and 1 A-line, all intended for work. I like how the pencil skirts were made with quirky or patterned fabrics, and the A-line in a conservative but veresatile gray suiting. If you followed me in MMM you'll know that the gray skirt was probably my most-worn garment, but this skirt wins the "favorite" crown via two simple tests: I still get that goofy smile each time I put it on, and it's probably the most quirky = the most "me." I'll have to keep that in mind when planning for spring/summer, then, because I've found that the me-made garments I like most are the ones that best reflect my style - whimsical, practical, offbeat, layers well, flattering cuts that leave me feeling comfortable. Right now I'm looking at two favorites from last year and thinking how I can rotate them into my work wardrobe (tricky, but if you have any advice I'd love to hear it!), and I'm thinking that whatever I make this year will have to integrate a quirky personality into a structure of formality. Favorite knitted garments: I've knit up a lot of things I really like this winter, but I find myself snatching these up as default comfy, versatile options. Is it any coincidence that they're the two sweaters where I stranded silk/mohair with wool to create a warm, soft, fuzzy, cuddly, drapey fabric with beautiful sheen and subtle depth? That stuff is expensive though, but it clearly makes me happy, happy, happy. Next year, I think I'm going to have to rethink my handknit strategy to compensate.


My primary lesson from MMM'11 is that I wear a heck of a lot of dark colors in winter. Subconsciously, I think I knew that all my formal/versatile work pieces were black or dark gray, but I didn't realize how much black and gray that was until I started reviewing the daily outfit photos. Even my bright accent pieces, while fun and interesting, didn't do enough to lift the funereal mood. It's time to stop with the black and dark gray and start in on some lighter neutrals. Recently I thrifted a light gray wool jumper and a medium blue wool pencil skirt, which I think will be a nice start.



Ah, that's better! Color AND pattern AND lightness! In spring/summer I think this will be less of a problem, but I know how easy it is for me to default to gray or black to "anchor" an outfit, and I should try to mix that up with other neutrals instead. Or, view the neutrals as the accent piece and the colors as the main course!


So, what's on tap for spring/summer? Dresses, for one! I've finally caught the dress bug and I think they'll be super fun, layered under a little cardigan or maybe a blazer if I really need to bring on the formalness. Prints, too. My mom likes to tell me how there was some crazy Italian designer in the 80's whose MO was to layer pattern on top of pattern on top of pattern, the more the better the bolder the better the louder the better, and when I was about five I was looking through a magazine with her and stopped at his page and said, "Ooooh, I like that." I'm so glad that patterning prints are currently viewed as non-clashing ... and somehow suspect that I will continue to dress this way once fashion trends have reversed course, once again. Which means ... bring on the prints, baby!

8 comments:

poet said...

Great roundup! (I must do one too once I get pictures of all my recently refashioned items!) Ugh, mold situation doesn't sound good ... hopefully it hasn't attacked your stash and hopefully you'll be able to get rid of it. Good luck!

Erica Louise said...

I really like the first skirt pictured here, its really nice!

Roobeedoo said...

It's really interesting to analyse your clothes like this before making more, isn't it? I know I make loads of jazzy tops and then forget I have nothing plain enough to wear below... but maybe I should go "designer" and mix the prints! ; )

Sigrid said...

I was just packing up my deep winter clothes and thought I should be a bit more analytical about what I actually wore. Maybe even make a chart (are you still doing that?)

I can see why you wear those sweaters, they are both gorgeous. My favorite sweaters are double stranded with kid silk haze. Yes expensive per ball, but the yardage is amazing.

Good luck with the mold battle.

Alessa said...

Good luck with the mould situation...
I love your quirky patchwork skirts!

Minnado said...

I really like the patchwork skirt . And your knit wear always looks wearable and lovely. I hope the mould situation gets fixed. x

Roobeedoo said...

Jessica, i just wanted to thank you for your comment today - it absolutely hit the nail on the head of how I am feeling about my evolving sense of what suits me, "fitting myself" for the first time. Thank you for those words! :)

Sigrid said...

P.S.Just in case you don't have enough on your plate, I gave you Another Annoying Award (AAA).