Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wardrobe Considerations: McCall's Sewing Book 1968

I found this classic at a second hand store and have enjoyed the tips and tricks presented.  It gives a lot of detailed sewing instruction as well as other useful information.

This is the article that I am pleased to quote here:

                                                            WARDROBE NEEDS

                                                                     At Home

                                  "The homemaker often makes the big mistake of thinking she    
                                  does not have to look her best when doing her daily chores.                                                                                                            Actually, ill-fitting clothes lower her morale and make her less
                                   able to cope with everyday trials.  This doesn't mean she has to
                                   dress up, but it does mean that she should look neat and trim.
                                  .......A simple shirtwaist dress or wrap-around with flared
                                   or pleated skirt will often present a much more attractive
                                   appearance and be just as comfortable as pants.

                                   For evenings at home a simple dress is always in good taste.
                                   But dress up a little bit if you wish.  It adds a touch of gaiety
                                   or elegance to a family gathering.  However, the degree of
                                   dressing-up depends on your situation."

Even though pants were becoming more prevalent it is interesting to note that this book encourages women to look neat and dress in good taste.  Quite the contrary to today's standards.  We have standards to uphold in our homes.  We want to show our family that we are women in the best possible position to minister to the needs of our family by our demeanor and decorum.  Like the Boy Scout adage:  Be Prepared, we want to be in readiness for a much as possible as homemakers.  Being clothed with garments that bring honor to the Lord and our families will boost their morale  and  encourage them to look neat.  We do have to wear clothes so why not make them nice as well as comfortable as the investment of time and money is one of our stewardship obligations.

Here is a 1968 outfit that would work now.  The skirt needs lengthening, but it is a practical style for many homemaker responsibilities.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Capsulizing a Wardrobe: Good deal on skirts, tops, and dress patterns on sale-- ends Friday,Feb. 13

Butterick is closing out some patterns and some of these would make very workable pieces.

A very comfortable and easy to sew skirt pattern.

The jacket tops from B3037 have classic lines and would work nicely with the skirts in B3134.   The cardigan  and shirtdress in B5760  would be addtional pieces to incorporate into the wardrobe.  These are on sale at Butterick.  I imagine they will not be carried anymore in their catalog.  For $3.00 each or discounted for the Club Members and if you are not able to find any on sale at your favorite fabric stores for around $2.00, these would be worth considering for adding classic lines to your wardrobe.  This sale ends Friday, February 13, 2015.

These could easily be made in heavier cotton fabrics for everyday wear.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Capsulizing a wardrobe: Checking out skirts

My new favorite pattern.

These inspirations are a little disjointed but all aiming at a minimal wardrobe for the two major seasons.  If you happen to live where you only deal with warm and cool, then perhaps your expenses on your wardrobe will be less.  Americans tend to overdo in many aspects, and one of them is making sure we have clothes to wear, albeit, when we look upon the items in the closet and wonder "what am I going to wear?"  I think that has more to do with careless planning or whim-ful shopping.

My hopes are to encourage you to use your favorite classical styles incorporating a few basic colors that look best on you and using them to mix and match to the greatest extent.

For example, using grey, black and burgundy for skirts, jackets and/or sweaters .  Then add tops that complement these colors or contrast.  A couple dresses that match also and some wonderful accessories of scarves, jewelry, vests, etc., that will make it more expandable.

Now the determining factor of what kind of wardrobe you need depends on what your occupations is. There are so many wardrobe ideas out there for business/professional women.  I will devote these posts to the women of all ages who are stay-at-home mothers , empty-nesters,  grandmothers, aunts, cousins, daughters, and homemakers of all kinds.

The major pattern companies put out capsule wardrobes, but most are not practical for everyday use.
I suggest finding a favorite pattern or skirt style that you like and stick with it, maybe varying the width or flare.  Keep them  simple and easy to make for your investment of time and money.  Jackets and sweaters should match the skirts.  The idea being that you can be dressed for anything if you are coordinated in neat and clean clothes and just throw a jacket or sweater on if you have to run an errand.  Tops should be pretty and feminine.  It is nice to see women in a pretty top as compared to our T-shirt comrades where beauty and grace lack.  I am of the old school where T-shirts were considered underwear as they were made to fit close to the body and whatever revealed our obvious curves was usually underneath a looser garment.  Hints of feminine shape are much better received  than the embarrassing tightness easily noticed.   Just remember we are to protect our fellow Christian brothers; and men and boys in general, from wayward glances by dressing discreetly and modestly.

One new skirt pattern that I like and find it easy to work with is the Hollyburn Skirt pattern from Sewaholic.  More information here about pattern envelope back. I usually make my skirts with a left side pocket opening so I don't have to sew a zipper.  This one has slashed pockets and a zipper in the back.  I have made one skirt so far and have fabric for more.  The skirt is a dark green poplin and I have cotton blouse fabric for the top. This is a  test run from my stash to see how it fits and wears as I like the style.   I want to use some basic colors  for mixing and matching  tops and skirts. I will see if I can post some pictures when I finish the skirt and blouse.

You will find that A-line skirts or slightly flared skirts are flattering to all women--it's the length that makes the difference.  This pattern has 3 different lengths and I would suggest that you cut about 4 inches extra on the hem on View A and try it on just to make sure you have a length that you like.  Otherwise make it your preferred length adding the correct inches plus 1 inch hem.  After searching for some good images of the finished skirt, I decided not to put any on until I had  a good shot of one that had a hem below the knees!  I don't think women realize that knees do not make a pretty picture!  It may be that they think it is an attraction or calling for attention, but they don't realize how pretty and feminine they look when the skirt length is mid calf or lower--it just balances out the body so nicely!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shirtwaist Primer



I do like shirtwaist dresses as they are so practical.  

How do you choose the best shirtwaist for yourself?

There are many options you can cycle through to figure out what you would like and what would look best on you.

  Shirtwaists are a classic style.  Be careful not to use faddish ideas as those don't last more than half a season sometimes.  This includes the trends that are popular now:  short skirts, tight bodices, cap sleeves,  odd colors, flashy fabrics, overpowering prints or designs to name a few.  Basically, a shirtwaist  that incorporates a classic style and a complementary color in quality fabric will make it a worthwhile piece in your wardrobe.

Decide what BODICE style you  like.

  • fitted with waist and bust darts--allow body  measurement plus wearing ease plus design ease for comfort
  • semi-fitted with slight waist gathers and bust dart--will work well for large bosom, large hips, long waisted, and skinny frame (pictured right)
  • blouson with loose fit and no darts--flattering to the large bosom, large hips, long waisted,  skinny frame
  • yoked bodice with gathers or pleats--good for small bosom, narrow shoulders
  • forward shoulder seams meeting gathers on front bodice--good for small bosom and narrow shoulders
Vogue 9000

Decide what COLLAR style you like:

  • shirt collar, no band--good for short neck, broad shoulders, large bosom on short frame, small bosom on tall frame
  • shirt  collar with band, tailored (or stand collar) --flattering for long neck
  • peter pan collar--not recommended for tall large frame
  • wing collar--flattering for broad shoulders
  • shawl collar--flattering to  large bosom also for a small bosom on tall frame
  • no collar--good for short neck
Vogue 8829

McCall's 6696

 Decide what SLEEVE style you want:

  • long for winter and heavier fabrics
    • cuffed--flattering  for thin or heavy arms on short frame
    • long with button on fold
    • long and fitted --no cuff or button
    • 3/4 sleeve
  • short-- good for transitional seasons to add sweater or jacket
  • the less  arm exposed the more feminine the appearance--includes  thin, heavy, and the older one gets the more it should be covered.
  • some patterns have a raglan  or dolman sleeve styles
McCall's 6891
Vogue 9051

Decide what SKIRT style you like:   these can be either buttoned to the hem or made without buttons.  Please do make the skirts to come below the knees so that it is flattering to the feminine figure.

  • A-line--flattering to all figures
  • gathered
    • slightly--more A-line shape with some gathers
    • full gathered--these are flattering to the long waisted and small hips
  • gored--flattering to large hips
  • flared (4 sections to skirt)--flattering to large hips
  • single front pleat--very flattering to short waists
  • double front pleat-- good for all body types
  • pleated is flattering to small hips
  • yoke--flattering to short waist on tall frame

    McCalls 7084

Then, there are the styles that are truly cut in ONE PIECE so it includes the bodice and skirt.  Some are straight and others are slightly flared.  If it is cut with princess seams as this one pictured below the skirt can be cut flared.
McCall's 5847
  If the shirt is just extended to the hem length then a little width can  be added at the sides.  If adding width to the front it would take more effort to make it flared with buttons to the hem.  It would be easier to not have the buttons but make the buttons come down to the waist and put in a placket or make it wide enough to go over the head and put a belt on and /or add elastic at the waist. 

There are so many interesting  VINTAGE SHIRTWAIST DRESS PATTERNS that offer a wonderful variety of styles.  Vintage dress patterns have more details with bodice styles and offer interesting variety as opposed to the simple styles in the major pattern books this year.

 Even if there aren't any patterns satisfy your needs you can always combine a top with a skirt to make it a  one piece dress.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What can you do with a shirtwaist dress in winter?

A Winter Outfit

I find the shirtwaist dress a wonderful wardrobe addition. It can be made in a variety of colors with darker jewel tones for winter wear.  There are infinite styles available for choosing one that is the best suited for the different  body types which makes it a most practical item for the wardrobe.


The above photo shows the various ways of combining tops and accessories to make the shirtwaist versatile.
For a winter shirtwaist, corduroy, wool flannel, wool knit, cotton flannel, and weights of mid to heavier fabrics would keep one warmer.  Having turtle-neck or a higher-necked under-sweater or even adding a vest to the combination would be comfortable.  Leggings and boots would keep the legs warmer.  Winter is a good time to wear longer skirts as it keeps the wind off and insulates the legs.  I would add a few more inches to the skirt of this shirtwaist pictured above as it is much more flattering and femininely pleasing to have the skirt come to about mid calf length.  It just balances that  wonderfully feminine look.

Here are some other ideas for interchangeable ideas for winter wear.  I cut these pages out of a magazine years ago as I liked the ideas shown.  I can not remember the name of the  magazine but it was aimed at Christian women.  I hope you can read the fine print.

Here are some simple ideas from vintage patterns that would add a little interest to the neckline.
Clever things to do with the neckline.

Then there are also a variety of scarves on the market to add color  and  versatility to your shirtwaist.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter wardrobing

In the Park
George Dunlop Leslie

I  like to be warm in the winter.  I remember as  young lady when it was freezing cold that I had short dresses with (scarcely) warm  tights and a heavy coat.  I was not one to wear things that weren't in style.  I was too thoughtful of my own desires and suffered from cold legs.  It took me  many years to come around to God's plans for modesty and comfort.  Now that some wisdom has accumulated into my thought processes from reading, studying, understanding God's desires, and putting them into practice I find life a little easier on that account.  I have not arrived by any means but it is comforting to know that I can dress according to His standards and have real peace about how I look as His representative where ever I go.  Winters are so much more bearable.

Winter time is the the time for layering.  Fabrics chosen should be natural fibers, with warmer fabrics like wool in a soft weave that is comfortable, perhaps with a cotton long sleeve knit top underneath in case  the wool makes the skin itch, and then another layer of a cardigan or heavy sweater over the wool, also an infinity scarf around the neck.  Vests of varying types are also an extra layer to help keep the heat in around the torso which is important to keep warm. Here is a guide for fabric types used in the various layers as well their reasons.  Here is another place to check out what would work best to layer.  This is for cycling in the winter but the principles still apply.  I would add a long skirt and petti-pants and/or a cotton slip.
Some layering ideas with skirts are here.  More aimed at the younger ages.

With the various lengths and styles available, chose colors that complement or contrast.  This is when basic solid colors make it easier to combine layers.   When considering colors therefore if you are shorter, the more one-color or monochromatic pieces you have will give a more vertical appearance.  For the taller person  the contrast will bring a look of  more softer look if using more rounded lines on clothing and accessories.  Now, if a person is heavier, darker colors tend to recede and bright colors tend to draw attention.  Perhaps the bright contrast, e.g.; scarves, should be close to the face in order to draw attention  to reflect  Christ in one's countenance.

The smaller figures should not use bulky pieces which would be better suited for the taller and more slender body types.  The heavier figures would do better in darker and greyed colors as they tend to not make the outline of the figure so definitive  but will give a more flattering look.

Coats, jackets and winter cover-ups vary with individual tastes.  Do remember that purchasing quality fabrics and workmanship in a classic style will last for many years.  Changes would include accessories for updating.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Some more wardrobing tips

Waiting on the Veranda
 Francois-Marie Firmin-Girard 

Fall is a wonderful season to wear the last of the heavier summer clothing and to start with some warm outfits for those days that stay cool.  This is the season to begin with layering lightly and progressively put on heavier layers as the days draw nearer to the winter cold.  This is the time for contrast and complimentary coloring.

The infinity scarves are still in vogue and work nicely for adding some warmth with a lighter woven top and a cardigan sweater.  I don't find them practical for working around the house though.  They are great for shopping and running errands.

There are practical accessories that add updated touches to your classic wardrobe.  The scarves that wrap around the neck without an end-infinity scarves-or with flowing tails-wrap scarves-- are great for windy and chilly days.

I would encourage you to buy fabrics that are natural as compared to synthetic as during any season that synthetics are worn in the man-made fabrics do not make the wearer comfortable.  Synthetics have been upgraded to wick moisture away from the body and I don't believe they are the healthiest for your body.  Natural fibers help hold in heat  for cold times or keep you cool in heat.

This is also the time to wear longer skirts with leggings, layered looks, and leather boots to keep your feet and legs warm.  Coat styles vary mostly determined by the wearer's character.  Tightly woven wool will help with underlinings that are warm.  Furs that hold in the warmth around the neck and face are more for comfort than looks.   Smooth leathers are usually cold.  They might be good with sheared wool underneath to hold in the warmth.

Classic styles usually are the best buys as they will  not be faddish and have to be discarded in a year or two being outdated.  The length is chosen by considering how often the coat is worn and where one basically wears it (i.e., church, shopping groceries, running errands, taking family to lessons, etc.)  Practical planning would call for a shorter coat/jacket for just everyday wear, and a longer woolen one for dressier oocasions.

More coming soon.