The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Another Wardrobe Investment question

Next is Rosaline:

As I put much time and energy in making my clothes, it is impossible for me to threw away something i made myself.  Have you a suggestion on this matter ?  I can not give it away because it is made on my body.

Rosaline, here’s the deal:  if the item is no longer being worn, or otherwise used by you, then it is taking up space – you are paying rent for it, air-conditioning it in the summer, heating it in the winter, or at the very minimum just taking up space that could be filled with clothes that you use, not those that remind you that they need to be cleaned out or other guilt trips clothes that you do not wear, can put on you.

I know this is hard, particularly for something you’ve spent a lot of time on.  If it can not be altered or otherwise transformed (taken apart and re-cut for modern use/style), then it needs to go.  I know, it’s a good friend, you’ve had a wonderful time together and you have wonderful memories, but it’s taking up space and your mind with those memories, when you need to be making current ones.  Let it go.

And again, I know this is hard.  My first French Quilted Jacket was such a joy.  I had purchased the fabric in Hong Kong (before the Brits had left), and it was a gorgeous silk tweed.  Even purchasing the fabric was a whole adventure and had a wonderful memory in  my mind.  Then found these  fabulously heavy buttons that had a lion’s head on them (Mme. Chanel was a Leo and had many lions as a decorative element in her creations).  But the jacket was that boxy look of the late 70’s and early 80’s (even though it was a killer Yves St. Laurent pattern).  My execution was impeccable and it fit like a dream, but  to take it apart and re-quilt and redo many of the seams would have taken a month of work – working full time.  So I put it away.  The next year, there it sat, not having been worn in a decade (been 9 years in my closet taking up space), and that made the decision to let it go easier.  I pulled the buttons off and said good bye to a very dear, dear friend.

It took me forever to get those mitered corners on the grosgrain ribbon trim just right.  The trim was about 3½” wide and had to be folded over to make this work.

If on the other hand, you can take it apart, or otherwise transform it to make it work for you (I have taken many of my 80’s shoulder pads a la Joan Crawford jackets and pulled the pads out and re-cut the sleeve head and shoulder and have a much more classic shoulder line.  There are a lot of things you can do with the garment that will make this work for you.

Taking in the waist, fitting around the bust, under bust area, lightening it up, making it more feminine, raising the armscye (which can only be done a little) are all things that can make your garments more up-to-date.

For example, today’s looks are a little dressier than the Grunge of the past.  Additionally the sack look is out (thank heavens), and clothes have more shape to them.  If you’re bringing something from the 80’s back, that requires a little shoulder and armscye work, but it can be done.  The shape is not just shaped to the body and you’re done, it’s a specific shape.  The shape is centered around the bust, and under bust area.

Here’s a terrific example….notice how everyone of these dresses from the Spring 2013 runway all of them are fitted around the waist…belts, darted or otherwise fitted.  Also notice that the waistlines are high – not empire, but what I call baby doll – you know that high waist that little girls’ dresses have when they are about 3 to about 6  y/o?….that only modified.  These designers above are some of the prettier designers…Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, but they are modern and the look is being noticed and picked up by reviewers of fashion.

This is the sort of fresh look I’m talking about.  Now how do you do that to a gunny-sack of a dress?….put in on your mannequin and fit it, or take your garment apart enough that you can get into it and do an FBA if there isn’t already one there.  If there is, try doing another, and do waist/bust darts – these all help fit that area around the bust & just under the bust and above the true waist.  As you get to the waist, about 1″ above it, start easing out.  This makes a much gentler line from the waist to the hip rather than hitting right at the hip – like an old Marilyn Monroe dress:

These dresses were made to fit to the lowest part of the waist so that when they followed the hip line out, it was further accentuated.  This was the style back then.  Today it would be called muffin-top and thought of as worse that wearing  see- thru clothing, which isn’t all that bad today and I can’t really think of anything that hasn’t been work, practically.  But you know what I mean here

The look today is a softer, smoother and gentler line from the waist to the hip, which means the waist line usually has to be higher.

I hope that gives you some ideas about what you can do for your wardrobe for those things that are not being worn, however it is really my experience that the things you are not wearing are taking up space of things that you could be wearing if you had that space available.

I also feel firmly about mistakes or wadders in my studio.  I learn from them, and then throw them out and on to make the project correctly.  Having them around even put away, where I might see them again, is bad karma just hanging around to interrupt some day of total creative bliss!

Good luck, Rosaline and thanks for asking your question.

1 Comment
  1. How timely your comments are! Yesterday while attempting to make a simple pair of oven mitts, the clutter stopped me dead in my tracks. I was looking for lining, insulation and bias tape only to find clutter instead. Next time in my sewing room, I’ll use your well thought out words…and let it go.

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