Friday, September 28, 2012

Seasonal Sewing Assessment: Autumn Edition

Ms Scruffy Badger recently wrote an interesting piece on her most-often-worn wardrobe items, before packing away her summer clothes.
It amuses me to think that a lady who has managed to accumulate enough sunlight to get a tan this year has performed the seasonal switchover before me, up here in the frozen north, where I can honestly remember a grand total of 5 properly hot days across the entire summer!
This weekend, I will be putting away clothes that have never actually seen the (sun)light of day...
In these circumstances, I need to concentrate harder on developing a flexible range of clothing that can be worn come hail or high water.
Self-Stitched September was such a useful exercise  - it came at exactly the right time of the year to span most weather conditions.  I missed it this year!

September 2012 Breakdown:
Maybe I can piece together from memory what I have worn to work for the past two weeks, just to see...

What I wore:

17 - South Riding blouse, dark denim Kelly skirt, navy cardigan
18 - Stripey Renfrew, grey Lisette Portfolio trousers, navy cardigan, spotty scarf
19 - Dotty Renfrew, Betsey Johnson flares, Betty Jean McNeil cardigan
20 - Aubergine t shirt (shop-bought), Mushroom print Ginger skirt, Audrey-in-Unst cardigan
21 - Vicar's Wife blouse, dark denim Kelly skirt, navy cardigan

*****le weekend*****

24 - Robe Sureau, Percy shawl, navy cardigan
25 - Dotty Renfrew, Betsey Johnson flares, Betty Jean McNeil cardigan, simple but effective shawl
26 - Stripey Renfrew, dark denim Kelly skirt, navy cardigan, Orla Kiely for Uniqlo scarf
27 - Dark pink l-sleeve t (shop), dark denim Kelly skirt, navy cardigan, Laura Ashley for Uniqlo scarf
28 - Black polo neck sweater (shop), Heart Print Kelly skirt, Japanese pattern black jacket.
Stats and analysis:
In two weeks, I have only worn four garments that I did not make myself:  two long-sleeved t shirts, a black polo neck sweater and the navy cardigan of dubious ethics.  I also wore a few RTW big scarves - essential neck coverage in my draughty office.

  • I wore my dark denim Kelly skirt 4 times!  She looks fab with a preppy blouse and cardi :)
  • I wore my Renfrews twice each.
  • I wore the navy cardigan six times.
  • I was wonderfully warm and comfortable and felt smart in my new Robe Sureau - woo hoo!

What does this tell me?
I could definitely use more long-sleeved tops.
The absence of a black cardigan and/or simple non-polo-neck black  long sleeved top or sweater in my wardrobe is just embarrassingly stoopid!  Wearing my Japanese pattern jacket was a compromise - I would much prefer something less structured for everyday wear. There are things in my wardrobe I can't wear for the lack of black top layers.  But having said that, I probably looked smarter in the jacket!
It is not going to be warm enough to have bare arms under any of my cardigans for at least the next 6 months, so why is my wardrobe stuffed with sleeveless tops?  I won't wear them!

If I had more warm dresses, I would wear them!
If I had more "plain" skirts I would wear them!

Another pair of warm smart trousers wouldn't go wrong.

Before the switchover, 28/09/12

So what am I going to do?
Stick to my plan of making a mustard cord Kelly skirt and a tangerine flippy skirt:  simple basics with a pop of colour.
If I also made a black skirt and a brown skirt I would officially have too many skirts... but every eventuality would be covered and it would not matter if I dropped my breakfast on my skirt one morning ;)
I need to sew a black top or cardigan, as knitting takes too long and I would be cross-eyed and cold by the time I finished.
It is time to pack away any sleeveless top that does not work as a "layering" garment.
I must make more long-sleeved tops:  Renfrews?  Or how about the Deer and Doe Blouse Airelle pattern I haven't ordered yet? ; )
I won't rule out the possibility of making more long-sleeved warm dresses... but it's not a high priority.
I ought to pull my finger out and rustle up another pair of Lisette Portfolio trousers using aubergine stretch wool I bought  ages ago.
Is that a plan?  Could be!
Hang on a minute -  is that new fabric I see, Roo?
Oh... um... yes.  I had a bit of a splurge over at Cousette Market (a French fabric site).
They have a seriously gorgeous selection of high-quality fabrics.  Not cheap. But not extortionate either.

From left to right:  silk / cotton dobby voile in a gorgeous capuccino colour - so soft!;  super-fine blue chambray with a printed black spot - ooh!; and some deep purple cotton voile with spots and flowers - a much darker colour in real life and very drapey.  The chambray was intended for a Robe Bleuet, but may be too thin.
The other two fabrics are also probably seasonally-inappropriate, but oh so beautiful.  As long as I can keep them safe from moths, they will probably have to wait until spring.
Maybe I need to emigrate!

So what am I stitching now?
I have two sewing WIPs:  my cobalt blue raincoat and my Pattern Pyramid Dress.  The dress has a deadline of 8 October, so that's my first priority... but I really really want to finish knitting my September socks this weekend. 
So much to do, so little time!


sylkotwist said...

I too have had a wardrobe tidy up and virtually all of my handmade items have been put in a suitcase for next Spring. It's dawned on me that I've never made warm clothes, this is going to be my first cold season of sewing! The Airelle looks so sweet, and I like your new fabric … Oh, and don't think I haven't noticed that little Orla number in your wardrobe!!

jessica said...

Always interesting to see what gets worn the most and what languishes, isn't it? I know black cardigans are yaaaaaaaawn, but wouldn't you know, I wear my winter wool v-neck cardigan at least once or twice each week (searching desperately for a replacement on eBay!). It will extend your fall/winter wardrobe tremendously!

By the way, I love that latest dress! You may have singlehandedly sold me on the pattern ;-). Looks like I cannot follow rule #9! :-P.

I would imagine that if you make your mustard and tangerine skirts, you might be surprised at how much more 'filed out' your wardrobe becomes ... I've noticed I never wear my brown winter skirt and I don't even have a black winter skirt, and I'm never short on clothing combos in winter (rather there aren't enough days to wear everything in the combinations that I want!) Layering with cardigans and sweaters and boots seems to amp up the 'fun' factor tremendously!

I've been thinking of knitting up the Tangled Yoke cardigan or garter stitch yoke cardigan in a navy Rowan Felted Tweed. If you want to do a knit-along (target date: beginning of 2013?) let me know!

jessica said...

Oops, I meant target finished date, although maybe that's unrealistic. Valentine's Day?

Judith said...

Well I am in the process of doing the same thing as you, but for the reverse season!!! Love the sound of the mustard cord Kelly - might pop that on my list for next winter...

Amity Originals said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amity Originals said...

I only found your blog semi recently but I went back to the beginning and read all the way through...I was that impressed! Your makes have inspired me...I even bought a pattern purely because I loved the way it looked on you! I also nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. The original link is here:

Linda said...

Wardrobe tidy-ups are in the air, even for helpless non-crafty people like me. My shorts and sleeveless tops came down from the loft at the start of August this year, and have sat on the bedroom floor. Shorts worn once, sleeveless tops 3 times. As for the rest of the wardrobe, it seems to date from around 1989. My problem is that I hate looking for clothes for work, because I object to spending good money just to sit in front of a computer screen. So I never do. But now I need to do something about it! And the high street is so dire! Again I say it - you're so lucky to be able to make what you want.

Scruffybadger said...

I love seeing what you have worn...your wardrobe and me mades are just fabulously envy-making!! It's exciting now isn't it to think about the next season's sewing...I was a bit bleurgh about it, but reading your post has reminded me that I'm ready. I have a black jersey cardi on my very soon list, I actually want to avoid black, but have so much black fabric or fabric that coordinates with black that I *have* to admit defeat and use it. I like the idea of preppy blouses and skirts look for work...and am still pondering a Kelly skirt equivalent. Hmmmmmm!

Felicity from Down Under said...

I think your wonderful self-drafted tee would make a nice L/S top if you're looking for something you already have that fits and looks fantastic. It just needs a bit of tinkering to add the sleeves and I know you won't have any trouble at all doing that.

Marie said...

What a useful exercise, brilliant way of determining what to sew next. Your plans sound fab and your new fabric is making me very jealous!!

jessica said...

OK, I will stop stalking you! But if you underline the chambray with something light it might wind up the correct weight for a Robe Bleuet?

shivani said...

love the wardrobe analysis - such a good idea! You've got such a brilliant self-made wardrobe - really flexible pieces that work really well together.

Oh and I just love those new fabrics!! Can't wait to see them made up.

unpeudecouture said...

I really love your assessment! it's great to stop and look back at what you're wearing sometimes - you probabl end up with more useful sewing after that.
I resisted the temptation of the Cousette Market, but it was very hard..