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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Practical summer blouse

Roses from a Victorian Garden
Albert Williams

With unusual events occurring in the past couple months, I have finally been able to get back to posting and sewing.  I have decided to update my blouse wardrobe for summer wear.  I have found a new favorite pattern that I want to share the ease of working with it.

I try to find fabric on sale as I think that is the best use of the funds God has provided me with and so I go to our Hancock Fabric store and JoAnns Fabrics and Crafts.  I like to buy patterns from the major pattern books on sale as well  as they are exorbitantly priced otherwise.

We have a local quilt shop that has sale fabrics,  100% cotton,  for around $6 to $7 per yard.  It is difficult to find quality cotton anymore.  I chose some from this shop that would wear well and go with skirts I have.

I purchased  Butterick 6085  and found the pattern has few pieces and easy to sew.  The only problem I noticed was the sleeve didn't have enough ease in it when setting in so I would suggest reading this blog as she explained how she took care of that problem.  I used a  sleeve from Simplicity  9210 ( which is no longer in print), as she suggested in her blog to make a better fit in the sleeve cap. Once you get that fixed, the pattern goes together quickly as there is no facing to sew to the blouse front as it is cut with the front so when it is finished it is nice and flat rather than having a seam there which tends to pucker sometimes.

The picture below shows the difference in sleeves.  I made my first blouse from the pattern using the original sleeve pattern that came with it. The fit was OK and I will wear it.  I adjusted the next  to about half of the difference  between the two patterns.  The first picture shows  how low the top curve of the sleeve is compared to the Simplicity 9210 underneath it.

 This next picture shows the difference of the underarm seam when the top of the sleeve patterns are matched.
The bottom picture shows where I cut my underarm seam as I didn't want too much fullness either since the first blouse using the original  sleeve pattern wasn't too far off for my liking.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Interim Thoughts - Pausing for maternity's sake

The Cradle
Berthe Morisot  

We have a lot of babies popping up around us and are so tickled to see the little ones so welcomed and loved in their families--even the new adoptions.  Life is too short to miss these sweet times.  It is an almost overwhelming responsibility and with out the strength and guidance from our Lord it would wear a woman out.  Building godly character never changes with the times.  This is where the injunction for older women who have behavior that becometh holiness are instructed to teach the younger women the precious life-calling of being a wife and mother and all that goes with it as written in Titus 2:3-5.

As for the attire that goes with this period in a lady's life, Modestly Sew has been a little puzzled as to the style of maternity clothes seen on the general  expectant population.  To err on the side of modesty would benefit many.   Hence, I have searched the pattern catalogs for something discreet and modest for the  short waiting period and found a few.  I am sure there can be many adaptations made from many  patterns.
Kwik Sew 3486
Butterick 5763 A nice top over a skirt.
(Buttoning up the neckline and raising it if necessary.)
This one would need a  high-necked camisole or some sort of covering  over the low neckline in order to be modest.
I have not seen these kind of over blouses on any.

Butterick 5763
(Buttoning up the neckline and raising it if necessary.) The sleeves could be shorted to above elbow.

This c;ould be made out of cotton and dress length with a higher neckline buttoned up.  A blouse pattern would work for ideas.
Here is a simply constructed top that would work nicely over skirts or extended to dress length.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I hope you keep your knees under cover!

I found this style on Amazon in March and was aghast
at how it really made her appear.
 She would certainly look pretty in a dress like the following pattern.
This is a pattern from the 80s that is very simple in style with a fitted lower waist, gathered skirt, puff on the sleeve cap, and a modest length for the sleeves, either short or long, and a lace accent collar that frames  the face nicely.  Notice it is not so fitted as to be tight, but have a comfortable looseness that flatters the feminine figure.  This style would work nicely for a slender small hipped young lady.  There are many other styles that would enhance figures of various types but I am hard pressed to find some nice patterns in the major pattern
 catalogues as most are draped, wrapped, clingy, short,  stark designs,  or low necked.  I like to look at the 80s patterns because there was a return to curls, pretty and soft feminine looks with pastels and florals.

 The feminine looks of a Christian deem it important to place a high value on modesty, deportment, and style that honors God.  We look at little girls' clothing and see a lot of pretty and  almost dainty and delicate  styling and ponder fondly on them and yet there are styles that just do more harm than good on those young girls which are becoming rampant in modern America.  As Christian mothers we need to train our daughters to respect the fact that they are going to be young ladies --His princesses--and they are worthy of dressing modestly in all aspects so that attention is not drawn to the prettiness of the outfits and the demeanor of the girl but to her spirit and godly character.  Clothing styles tend to give  to standards we choose:  for example;  putting on clothes that boys are expected to wear such as jeans, t-shirt, ball cap, etc., gives credence to run with the guys or boys.  Wearing very tight clothing  that either sex wears also gives rise to the feeling of wearing a second layer of skin and the exhibitionist character that goes with it.  We can all imagine what couch potatoes wear!

I really think that we have little glimpses of what parts we think looks good and are not able to see ourselves as a whole picture.  It may help to have someone take a picture of us front, back, and side  in our  favorite outfit and then we should analyze it carefully.

Again, please do not be dictated by the styles that are for sale.  You are responsible to wear God-honoring clothes and that means nice, neat, orderly, modest, yet feminine and pretty clothes that look good on you.  ( I have never heard anyone say "those are pretty pants" or the same about a t-shirt.)  If you don't know how to sew, this would be an impetus to start.  There are many pretty fabrics available.  Have someone help you choose colors that complement you.  Find clothing styles that go with your figure type.  There are beginner patterns and if you feel brave try them on your own do it with cheap cotton or an old sheet to see how it fits.  Use a fabric that is similar to what you want to make it out of.  Find a person who has sewn a lot in your church and ask her for help.  Sewing stores as well as fabric shops often have beginner classes.  Even quilt stores will guide you through beginner classes with quilts and that would be a start.  There are also tutorials on DVDs that should be a great help.

As far as knees go,  the only "cute" knees are on little children.  Once a girl is  5 years old, knees tend to get pretty worn and look better covered.  It's probably a good thing we don't have to look at elbows!  The less skin showing the more modest one is--not that I endorse burkas or anything close to that.   My recommendations are raised necklines, covered waists, loose enough garments, and  hemlines that might be about 8-12 inches from the floor so that when you move and bend nothing shows that would cause embarrassment to anyone.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pertinent points

Sewing by a Window by William Kay Blacklock

 When contemplating new items for your wardrobe you may ask yourself some very pertinent questions such as these:
  • Who do I live for?  ( Whom do I want to please the most--myself, my husband, the crowd I hang with, the people at work, other women, other men, I don't care, my whims, the Lord ?) 
  • How much money do I want to invest?  Cost of item divided by number of times worn equals value.
  • How often will I wear it?
  • Am I getting/making it to keep up with current fads or is it a classic style?
  • Is it a flattering style for me?
  • Will the colors make me look my best?
  • Will I look feminine in it?
  • Will it look seductive at any angle?
  • Will it work with other pieces that I have to make my wardrobe extend ?
  • Does my husband (or parents, if young ladies) like it?
  • Does it draw attention to my face, my countenance?
  • Do I have time to get it sewn?

Sewing Machine Ad, 1900
Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wardrobing for looks, style, success. A little about skirts.

Figuring a wardrobe takes into consideration many aspects of life.  As women we have many careers at home--first and foremost we are a grateful ( i.e. I am a woman made by God for His glory and I want to look and dress like I am pleased with how He made me)  daughter of the King,
wife to our husband,
 mother to our children

home maker and home keeper

meal preparer



food preserver

and mistress of the farm just to name a few.

For our different roles it requires different practical clothing.  For much of the homemaking activities, a lovely apron covering a simple, yet pretty-on-you frock would work nicely.  For going to town, one can add a nice jacket or cardigan or perhaps a dressier outfit would be better.  I believe that we should dress nicely because we expect those we go to see--doctor, dentist, shop-keeper, repairman, etc. to be dressed for his occupation.  If we dress nicely I believe we should expect good service.  However, our attitude makes a difference whether we dress nicely or not.

There are many opinions as to what to wear for feminine clothing.  As far as that goes, we will stick to dresses and skirts.  This post is more about skirt styles than wearing a skirt and top as opposed to a dress.  So whether you wear a dress or 2-piece outfit, you still need to figure which style is best for you.

The shape we are in determines what type of skirts and tops we would look best in.  Basically there are 2 categories:  short, 5'4" and under;  tall, 5'7" and over.   Then it breaks down into different sections  of  our body build.   If you fall between these two you have to decide which looks better on you of the styles you like.

For the short gal:   gathered skirts are not recommended for short waists, large hips ( nor a yoke also),  or a large frame.  Gathered skirts are very flattering on  long waists and small hips.  Large hips look nice  in skirts with a panel front, gored,  and  flared .   Small hips look nice in pleated,  hip stitched pleats or flares from the hip.  A single front pleat becomes a short waisted figure.

For the tall gal:  gathered skirts are not so flattering on a short waist, but a front pleat and a yoke would do nicely.  Long waisted gals can easily wear gathered skirts.  Small hips can wear gathers, panels pleated,  and hip stitched pleats and flares from a wide band.   Large hips need to avoid gathers but focus on a  panel front, gored, flared, and wrap styles.  A skinny gal should avoid straight skirts.

These are just suggestions gleaned from an older Vogue Sewing Book.  The main idea is to bring the focus to our face which should reveal our countenance and thus bring ultimate honor and glory to our Savior.

As far as general dressing in feminine clothing goes, I just came across an interesting site  called Large Families on Purpose and she states why they decided to wear feminine clothing (i.e., skirts, tops, and dresses) and also explains how they manage to do it.  She also gives tips on how to afford to start such a wardrobe.  It is an interesting read with lots of good comments and solutions.

I will post pictures with types in another post.  I am a visual person and like to see examples.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Do you know what a frock is?

I decided to look up the Wikipedia definition of frock and then check some images for frock in the search engine.  I know that it has meant dresses for girls and women, but when I checked the images, there came up a variety of India dresses listed as "frocks".  I found them reminiscent of princess style clothing--they are graceful and elegant and I would feel like a "princess" in one!  I love the beautiful detail of the various designs and colors.  I noticed that they had matching pants, perhaps a lighter weight variation of our leggings we wear in our colder climates under our skirts and dresses. Notice they are also "modest" yet fitted but not to distraction.
This is such a flattering style.  The hem trimming reminds me of  Russian  folk wear.

The length is very flattering.  It balances the dress nicely.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring wear coming up

Here's a soft hued outfit.  I would change the white t-top to a denser weave not opaque,

A style with poufy sleeves.

Inspirations can come from a variety of sources.  Watching others for color combinations, styles that are modest,  and deportment.  Magazines, catalogs, pattern catalogs, online sites that offer modest clothing are some of the easier to peruse.  I received a catalog from Serengeti  which offers some nice modest clothing in a variety of styles.  Here's just a few that they offer:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Catching up?

It is that time of year when marketing is heading towards spring and summer and I'm feeling as though I am barely getting caught up in the winter cyle. I try to get patterns and fabric ready for the next season, but many times it ends up being made the following year's season! I think it would be easier to concentrate on just trying to accomplish smaller projects for those of us with limited time.

I hope that you don't have as many projects unfinished as I have!

With the weather giving us some unwanted coolness,  it may be a while before those  in the northern section of the US can change winter wardrobes to spring clothing.  Here is a modest one from this site.

Styles seem to be whatever one feels inclined to wear so there should be just as much skin showing again as the weather warms.  As believers, we need to check our motives for what we wear and why.  Always make sure it does not cause embarrassment to anyone as wider necklines, tighter fitting, and higher skirts call attention to our physical being instead of the countenance of our face which should reflect our identity with Christ  because we  love  the Savior and need to remember what He has done for us so that we are not held to the bonds of approval of the world's system.  

Our desire should be to reflect the attributes that mark a Christian or set one apart from the world.  We are to be in the world but not of it. We don't want to wear fig leaves--our own ideas of covering the body;  we are covered with God's covering--he killed an animal to clothe Adam and Eve.  In other words, God sets the standards by which we live which will bring honor and glory to him through everything we do including the clothing we wear.  We must ask ourselves is Christ magnified by what I am wearing?  Modesty is a heart issue.  Your body language and actions and what you wear speaks who you represent.

May your choices reflect what you believe.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fabric choices for wardrobing


The above samples are actually home dec fabric and the groupings give ideas on color combinations, textures, and the variety  of accents.  Many jackets have been made from home dec fabric as there are many pretty patterns and choices of heavier weights.  

Butterick 3037

What I think would give a lot of mileage to a wardrobe would be to make a jacket out of  a home dec fabric and make skirts, tops, dresses to match.  The skirts could be out of silk, linen, heavier cottons, homespun types, etc.  Tops can be knit, preferable in cotton or other natural fibers;  wovens in cottons, linens, silks, and dresses made in similar fabrics. 
Vogue 7975  This is one that could be used in the Chanel Jacket contest.

Marfy pattern

I know there are many patterns coming out now that mimic the seventies styles when polyester fabric came out and everyone either bought a dress or made one. In fact wardrobes were filled with simple poyester shifts. They were easy to make. Wearing them and being comfortable was another issue. I don't think we realized that man made fibers could never compete with natural fibers for keeping cool or staying warm. The polyesters kept me hot when it was hot and when I wanted to keep warm, it was almost impossible. I am so glad that we have fabrics that we can live comfortably in.
Simple skirt and top using the raised neckline for modest style.

I do like to get all natural fabrics, i.e. 100% cotton, 100% linen, 100% wool, and 100% silk, rather than portions mixed with man-made fibers. They just have a different feel, perhaps the more expensive, the better the feel. I haven't purchased any organic fabrics yet and would like to try some.
This New Look below is a very simple dress that needs some neckline altering and skirt lengthening, but would work nicely under a jacket.

One thing has always puzzled me is in the Bible it talks about mixed fibers; i.e. linen and wool as in
Leviticus 19:19 "Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee."  Again in Deuteronomy 22:11 "Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together."  Some suggest that it weakens the fabric strength. I am not sure and will have to do some studying.  But it definitely said not to wear a garment consisting of linen and wool mixed together. I am thinking this is woven fibers together. One is vegetative and the other is from an animal. Something to think about.