11 January 2019

The Dilemna of the Straight Skirt.

Ok has anyone else playing along gone totally off script before they started? 

It is not just me, right? 

When I started planning for SWAP, I decided to just use the sewing plan from last year.  It was a bit on the boring side but it followed the EF concept of classic basics.  The fact I didn't finish sewing the wardrobe plan the last time should have told me something.  The fact that I wasn't excited to just get sewing should have told me something.  For fun  (and because I didn't feel like cleaning the sewing room) I spent several days watching Silhouette Pattern sewing videos.   Watching those videos really made me rethink my plan.

Case in point: the Pencil Skirt

EF uses a pencil skirt as her basic 8 skirt.  I actually don't wear pencil skirts--they are too restricting for my life and job as an elementary school teacher.  I wear clothing that is neat but allows me to move--skorts, maxi skirts, gypsy skirts.  I have made many pencil skirts over the years that got dusty and ignored.  Even if EF sticks it in her wardrobe plan, I am not going to wear it. 

The bottom line is that if I want a skirt in my wardrobe, I need to find a pattern that works for me that I would make many different ways in many different fabrics. Enter Silhouettes 18 gore skirt. 

I would never have even looked at that pattern without watching the skirt episode, mostly because the photo on the pattern has the wrong combination of proportions (long skirt with a short jacket, not a long jacket) and that pattern illustration does nothing for me. I hate most of the pattern illustrations and photos from Silhouette patterns. I don't think they do justice to the patterns in any way.  But after watching the videos, I realized this skirt pattern is fitted around the hips and flared at the bottom and I would absolutely wear this skirt. I actually need a nice basic black skirt suitable to wear as choir blacks.

So, (and yes, this is totally off script for SWAP) I went into the sewing cave and rejigged my 8 gore skirt pattern from Jalie in order to create an 18 gore skirt pattern with a shape similar to Michelle's one piece skirt. My first mock up was a size disaster: eighteen gores fit my daughter's friend who is a size 24.  Since the skirt looked amazing on her I just finished it and gave it to her.  My second try was better and hubbie actually commented positively. 

Step one: pattern down.

I decided to make a double layered skirt variation using black stretch lace on the top layer and rayon poly-lycra for the under-layer. It would totally work with lots of garments in my wardrobe including my current choir blacks.

Yeah, no.  The 18 gore skirt pattern is a a fabric hog. It takes four or five times the pattern length (there is only one pattern piece) and even though the fabric resource closet is overflowing, I didn't have enough fabric. 

Plan, version two: change the gore size from 18 gores to 9 gores (something she shows in the video).  That was successful.   My black skirt is comfortable and lovely.  I have plans for at least five more from the sewing resource cave.  And the experience reinforced why I didn't finish last year's SWAP sewing: the plan did not work for me.  

6 January 2019

EF wardrobe Basic Core Patterns, Part 1

The goal of the EF Core Eight is to give you a mix and match wardrobe that works as a foundational layer, clothing that is the cake of your wardrobe not the icing.  EF picks eight basic pieces (four pants shapes and four tops) along with a dress, to create the foundation.  Then she adds icing pieces.  One of the reasons people love this concept is that it works.  The shapes are basic enough to work with a lot of ages and personal styles.

I love this concept and I really wanted to play with it last year and I wasn't the only one.  One of my sewing buddies on Artisan Square talked about the videos by Silhouette Patterns looking at sewing an Eileen Inspired basic wardrobe.  If you have never tried to sew SWAP and want some basic concepts, these videos are a really good place to start. 

EF Core 8, episode one:

EF Core 8, episode 2:

The Plan:

If you break the EF core garment shapes down into a list, the basic eight are taken from this list of basic garments, usually four tops and four bottoms.
  • woven tank top, long or cropped  (high hip length), usually dark
  • knit layering tank top or tank dress, dark knit
  • slim pull on pencil pants (dark, stretch woven)
  • slim leg jeans (denim)
  • cropped wide leg pants  (light, usually woven or stretch woven)
  • leggings (dark)
  • woven joggers (your basic every day silk sweat pants, usually dark)
  • pull on pencil skirt, stretch woven
Two to three dark tops, two to three light tops, jeans, two to three dark bottoms and a light bottom.  And a dress because everyone needs a basic black (dark basic) dress.   If you a couple of twin sets with a twist and a couple of interesting layer pieces every season in your basic new colour, you are good to go.

As long as you start with pattern shapes that actually flatter your body and fabrics that work with your lifestyle, this is a fantastic formula to work from.

Two things really struck me when I watched the two videos from Silhouette patterns.  One, they switched the knit and wovens for the tanks.  And two, they picked patterns for bottoms that were more reflective of the lifestyle of the person they were sewing for. I don't know why this option never occurred to me when I was putting together my EF basic 8 wardrobe last year.  I think I was trying to level it up with that wardrobe in a way that really didn't work for me.

One of my few big sewing successes last year was the emergency TRI wardrobe I made: two knit tanks from the Free Spirit Tank pattern that are organic bamboo knits, a pair of black pencil pants in stretch crepe with pockets and a pair of black full legged yoga pants.  They fit my lifestyle (wash and wear) and my body shape.  The fabric makes them just dressy enough I don't look like I am wearing pjs to work.  And they mix and match with everything I already own.

Isn't that the point of  EF's basic eight and SWAP--to have clothes that work with everything you wear and already own?

This year with SWAP, I am using the lessons I learned from my SWAP fail last year and sewing for my real life, not my imaginary life or body.  

Outfit One:

Bateau Layering Tank which is a woven boxy shell in silk crepe, and a pair of stretch crepe slim pants, aka pencil pants in a basic dark colour.  The grey and navy EF uses come and go but there are always black and natural/white basics in the core. 

EF slim leg pants are generally ankle length pants but they can be cropped in summer.

Readers at home will recognize that any pull on slim pant can be used as a base for the pant pattern.  I am going to use the Mama Can Do It Fit Pants pattern found here: https://mammacandoit.com/collections/women/products/fit-pants-pattern-women-sizes-00-20.  It has pockets and I already have the pattern adjusted to fit me.  But, honestly, any slim leg pants pattern that fits you will work.  (Let me repeat for long time readers of this blog: if you need the StyleArc Flat bottom Flo pants, you will probably not like my pattern choices so with what works for you.)

The System woven layering shell comes in two lengths: a high hip length (the boxy shell) and a low hip length (the long layering shell which currently has a high low straight hem) but they are essentially the same pattern shape.

Last year I stuck to the EF concept really closely. The closest I came to finding a pattern that works as a woven tank top was the tank from the Mixit Pattern from Sewing Workshop, found here:

I am going to be brutally honest:  I made three tops from this pattern last year a white one, a black high/low one and hip length black one).  I do not wear them.  They do not work for my body shape. The tops are too straight and they are not flattering or comfortable.  You can get a better idea about how straight the pattern is from the pattern flat:

It is a great pattern and it works for the concept. I recommend it if it will work for your body shape.
It made me sad it didn't work for mine and it was one of the reasons I didn't finish SWAP last year.

My body shape is more Sophia Loren but six inches shorter and thirty pounds heavier with the beginning of a menopause waist.  I have curves.  I am not fashion model straight and tall and willowy, all of which seem to be the current focus of fashion. EF is no exception to this trend.  Her vibe fits her target market: wealthy, older women starting to have menopause body with a very straight silhouette. 

Too straight for my body shape really sums up my whole wardrobe sewing experience last year.  This wasn't my only pattern fail.  Between the too straight and the inflated size issues, I didn't sew a lot of winners.     

This year for my woven tanks, I am going to start with the Silhouette Tank Top pattern.

It may take some work to get my head around the way these patterns are sized (from clothing you love to wear, not from body measurements).  But this pattern is closer to my body shape, and it comes with the D cup pattern work already done.

Basic Outfit Two:

This is a knit layering tank, a pair of straight leg pull on pants in crepe and a nice sweater with texture. I may sew a coloured sweater, depending on what I have in the Fabric Resource Closet.

Most of the time the layering tank is made in organic knit (natural or black) but EF sometime recreates the tank in interesting fabrics like stretch velvet and silk knits.  If the top is created in colours, there is often an interesting layer top made of a coordinating fabric (think interesting twin set).  Here is a neutral coloured example of a 'twin set':


EF does all kinds of variations on the twin set.  Long sweater, short sweater.  Thin drapey knit tie sweater, soft jacket, button up shirt.  I am going to have to really play with this one.

I have two different options for patterns for the knit layering tank.  Both are Patterns for Pirates patterns.  P4P drafts for a 5'4" hourglass/curvy figure with an ample behind which means I don't need to do a lot of work except for shorten the pattern to the right point for my body.  When I say curvy figure, I mean a figure with curves, not a plus sized figure.  Patterns for Pirates patterns come size 2 to size 24.  Your body shape doesn't really change that much with adding or subtracting weight; it gets wider, not differently proportioned.  This is one of the things I hate about the use of Curvy to indicate plus sized.  

I prefer the Free Spirit tank top because it is fitted at the bust but not so fitted at the waist and it is easy to change all the other things about the hem lengths but the Essential Tank pattern is closer to the EF concept.

Essential Tank Pattern: https://www.patternsforpirates.com/product/essential-tank/
Free Spirit Tank Pattern: https://www.patternsforpirates.com/product/free-spirit-tank/

For the straight leg pants (which are made of stretch crepe or stretch organic cotton or linen, depending on the season), I have two options.  The Mama Can Do It Fit Pants Pattern, possibly sizing up one size depending on the stretch of the fabric since pattern includes all the leg styles you could ever want and all the leg lengths, and pockets and it already fits me.  Or I will walk on the wild side and try the Silhouette Stretch Woven Pant.

4 January 2019

Imitating Eileen, take two. Inspiration

I finally decided to use this art piece.  I love the lines and the fractured look of it.  Even though I don't wear any of the yellows, many of the browns and greens are in my colour set.  I'm going for my standard colours: black, grey and cream base and adding in my usual colour accents: blue, rose and plum with a little dash of green.  (Yes, I know there are too many there at the moment; I expect I will do a Ruthie and sew more than I need and then mix and match to make it work).  I have lots of black basics but not so many grey or cream basics.  A review of the Resource Closet shows that I have lots of fabrics in my colours that are plain. 

I want to base my SWAP on Eileen Fischer's amazing basics concept but I need to make something that will fit both my wash and wear lifestyle and my 5'1" not so slender frame. A lot of the inspiration clothing photos for my SWAP are collected here on my Pintrest board. Eileen is known for flattering simple shapes with expensive lovely fabrics.  I spent most of last year getting the basics down in terms of patterns and fit but I didn't manage SWAP.

Her basic eight garments are tanks, tees, and pants in black and winter white along with denim.  A woven long layering tank, a cropped woven tank, a knit layering tank, a straight dress, a pair of pencil pants, a pair of cropped pants, a pair of denim pants and a pair of silk joggers.  She adds interesting twin sets, sweaters, shirts and layers to these basic eight garments  and all of it ends up mix and match (as long as you pick garments that flatter your basic shape).

Some inspiration photos:
Basic Black long tank, pencil pants and a layering sweater

Button shirt, layering tank in white and denim joggers.

I'm going to start with some variation of these outfits.

Pull on knit pencil pants and the jobbers will be based on the Mama Can Do It Fit Pant Pattern which I have made about ten times since I purchased it. I own a pair of full legged pants with pockets already that I made before the rules came out.  I may add a pair of black or cream straight leg pants to this that can be rolled up and down.

Knit Tank Top: Free Spirit Tank top by P4P.  Again, I've made this one many time so it is a real basic for me--grey, cream, black

I am not sure about the shirt pattern yet.  I don't have a basic pattern so this is one I am going to have to fit. 

As well as those two outfits, I am going to add a basic black dress: either a sleeveless StyleArc Kim dress pattern, shortened to knee length in black rayon poly lycra or the ballet style dress in black with three quarter sleeves.  I am actually more likely to wear the second with pockets.

After that, we add colour. 

2 January 2019

Cashmere and Glue Sticks...

AKA why do I put myself through this planning headache?

 SWAP Fantasy: sewing the perfect and elusive mix and match wardrobe

 in just eleven garments. 

When I start the process of SWAP I always have this odd belief I will sew the perfect wardrobe in eleven garments, no waste, no fails. I imagine I will end up with a wardrobe that looks like this:

Look at all those pretty, neatly organized neutrals made of silk and velvet and organza and rayon hanging in a row...

And then reality strikes 

and I start laughing myself silly in the corner.  I know you are easing away right now, muttering about needing to be somewhere else.  Neutrals on that level make me itch.  Sewing should be a gleeful joy, a riot of fabric and fantasy of patterns. Bring on the colour, the chaos, the joy of print, the...

Time for a plan and a reality check, here. I have limited time and energy post concussion and I need to be able to use my time and energy wisely.

This year I have to at least start with a plan.

Planning SWAP will (hopefully) help prevent  me from sewing another wardrobe failure. '

I've sewn some pretty memorable SWAP fails over the years.  I learned from them even when they were infuriating and expensive learning experiences.  My previous wardrobe sewing fails can be summarized as:
  •  failure to sew what I really wear and need (aka sewing for my imaginary life, the evening dress wardrobe when I was a home maker with a two year old and a six year old)
  •  failure to think through how many basics I really needed to make (aka: black may be my basic but when did I decide to become goth?)
  •  failure to recognize what actually looks good on my body (the Lagenlook sack experiment)
  •  failure to recognize how the fabrics will work together as garments and when I will wear them (aka the memorable silk georgette and wool melton SWAP for high summer because the fabrics were perfect colour matches)  
There have been years my final wardrobe effort looked like this:

 I like colour but....why didn't I sew pants again?

And years it looked like this :
I look like an extra in a black and white film...


I also struggle with the intersection between reality and personal taste. 

I love, love, love the Eileen Fisher wardrobe concepts: perfect mix and match basics that work together to create one cohesive look.  She uses simple shapes, fabulous fabrics, ethical sourcing and creates some really great basics.  I lust after those fabulous fabrics: silk crepe, cashmere, organic stretch linen, organic stretch denim, silk organza....be still my beating heart.  Unfortunately for my champagne taste, my life style is beer budget wash and wear.  I spend my days on the run between classes, sitting on the floor with grade 1's period one and dancing with grade 8's period six and then jet-setting to choir or writing group in the evening.  I deal with glue and paint and little kid germs.  Anyone else see my dilemma?

Just picture it:

Cashmere and glue sticks...

Silk linen and paint splatters...

Perhaps not the best fabric choices for my everyday wardrobe.

I need to make an Every Day Wardrobe Plan, not a Fantasy Plan 


I need to put my energy into sewing clothing that fits my every day life.  The rules for SWAP 2019 are practical and flexible.  Two base colours, up to five contrasting fabrics, eleven garments. 

I will not be fitting six new patterns this year (what was I thinking last year?)  I don't have the energy for that level of new pattern chaos.  I have already fitted, good basics I sew over and over again (tank top, pull on pant, skirt) and adding a couple of new ones: a jean, a shirt and an jacket pattern. But even if I don't, I can make a good start with what I already know will fit me.

Fabrics may be an issue.  The resource center is really heavy on basics. Black basics abound. Grey is a pretty close second.  Winter white is represented, so is dark blue and denim.  But the icing pieces, the pretty prints that make my heart sing?  They are few and far between.

My head is full of colour choices and garment shapes, the intersecting jenga of choices and the reality of budgets.  

Planning will hopefully leave me with a cohesive wardrobe at the end of the experience. 

30 December 2018

SWAP 2019: Start with Art

The first step of wardrobe planning is finding inspiration.  Well, maybe a more realistic first step of wardrobe planning is really taking everything that you never wear out of your wardrobe, figuring out your holes, and then finding inspiration.  But this time I am starting with inspiration. 

The problem is that I can't decide which piece of art I want to be inspired by. The first piece I was inspired by was this piece:

I am playing around with a colour sampler program by Sherwin-Williams and a lot of images. 
If you are interested in trying it, it is here: http://snapyourcolors.com/

I love the lines, and the blues and greens and pinks.  It has the black base I need, but it is very light and bright and my colours are more on the dulled than these. I like Caviar and Commodore as colours but the yellows and some of the greens are not right. 

Honestly, this scarf is more along the blacks, greys and pinks I wear.  I was surprised when the blues and the greens didn't show up in the colour samples. 

 But I also like the greens, blues, pinks and reds shown in these images:

The greys like Dark Night and Still Water are wardrobe colours I wear.  The Black is right.  And similar colours show up.  But that first stained glass piece just speaks on a real level, the gut level.

Then again, maybe I will do what other stitchers have done--use a piece of fabric in my stash as inspiration. 

Stitcher's Guild Sewing with a Plan 2019

Yay!  SWAP is starting over at Stitcher's Guild.  

I 've done SWAP for years.  It is a sewing jigsaw puzzle to make things you will like and wear.  I still wear pieces from my very first Timmel Swap.  To keep myself organized I like to post the rules here on the blog.  I know I am going to 'pull a Ruthie' with this SWAP--sew more than I need and then mix and match to get everything to follow the rules--but I am OK with that.  Sewing is my hobby and making more is not a problem.

2019 Seasonal Designer Collection II SWAP Rules

You are still the Designer. Create a cohesive seasonal collection of eleven garments of your choice.

Choose an inspiration piece of your choice --  Could be a scarf, artwork, fabric print, photograph, etc
Choose two neutrals that coordinate with your inspiration piece
Add 1-5 accents and/or prints that will work with your inspiration piece (ie: not clash)
Make 9 garments that form your core.
You must create multiple outfits using at least two core garment items that work for your personal style.
Make 2 wild card pieces that can be worn alone or with other core items or with other wardrobe items.
Wild card pieces should still blend in with inspiration piece.
Combining fabrics is fine.
No restrictions on type of garments

Sewing begins on 26 December 2018 and ends 30 April 2019
One garment may be completed by today (28 October 2018)
One garment may be started on 29 October 2018 and completed prior to 26 December 2018
One RTW garment may be included (it can be existing or purchased at any time before or during the SWAP)
Garments knitted, crocheted or woven by you may be included (limit of two since we are a sewing site)
Garments such as poncho, cape or wrap must include at least two pattern pieces, be one of your knitted, crocheted or woven items or have stitch work done by you to be considered a garment
Neutrals do not need to be the same fabrics
Neutrals may be textured
Note that accents fabric must be the same (so not two different fabrics of the same accent color)
You will need a photo of your inspiration piece
Addendum: If you make your own inspiration piece it must be completed, photographed and posted prior to 26 Decomeber 2018

A few thoughts after a year of no RTW purchases

  Photo by rawpixl on Pixabay
What I did not do this year: shop for clothing

This is the third time I've done a ready to wear fast and the first time I've managed to go a full year without purchasing ready to wear, even second hand ready to wear.  The notable exception was uniform shorts and a bathing suit for my summer volunteer work.  And socks.  All my socks started developing holes in October so I had to buy socks. I was gifted several pieces of clothing for Christmas by my daughter: a leather jacket that fits me perfectly, even over my curves, and a wonderful double knit wool cape with a perfect hood.  But other than socks, shoes and a couple of handbags, I really didn't shop.

I didn't need to shop.  And I didn't want to shop. I have patterns that work for my lifestyle and my body like the P4P tees and tanks, and the MamaCanDoIt Fit pants pattern  and I have a stash.  Fabric is getting harder to come by around here but I can go diving in the sewing cave and make something that will work as long as I have the energy to make decisions.  When I needed comfortable, loose clothes for a week of assessments in October, it was easy to go into the sewing cave and sew three outfits.  I didn't have to think about anything but colour.  I just picked fabric, cut it out, sewed it up, and threw the clothes in my suitcase.

My success rate was fifty fifty for any sewing project that needed more complex decision making.  If it was a new pattern to me or hadn't already been fitted I didn't always get through it because I didn't have the energy. I didn't manage to make any of the more complex items on my list (jeans, a button up white shirt, dress pants, fitted dress, all items on my sewing list for this year).  I have the fabric, washed and ready to go.  But the last three months I've been too tired to do much more than go to work and come home and fall into bed. Even writing has been challenging.  This meant I didn't blog as much as I probably should have about the journey. 

I also struggled with being realistic about my size and shape. I've gained weight due to lack of activity post-concussion.  It is only around eight pounds but somewhere along the line I decided I was bigger than I really am.  I had a couple of months when I made several new to me garments in my mythical size. I made a beautiful white shirt that fit my SIL perfectly but drowned me, a lovely center front pleated v neck popover that also looks amazing on my SIL and a 16 gore skirt mock up that fit one of my daughter's best friends.

The problem was I only had enough energy to make one garment, not the three I needed to make to get to a pattern I can use repeatedly (one mock up fail, one mock up that works and the actual garment).  At least with the gored skirt, I was finally better enough I had enough energy to get myself through the project to garment.

I also ran into a month when I just made do because I didn't have the energy to deal with figuring out what size I really was and making all the decisions that went with sewing.  My concert blacks are just a little snug but I wore them anyway for both concerts.  If I had been planning ahead, I would have made a couple of back up pieces during the summer, but by the time the concert came around I was doing well to be upright.  Sewing didn't happen.   

Overall, though,  it was a successful year and I won't go back to shopping for RTW.  I may pick up some second hand pieces that I can use to clone or use as fabric, but I would rather sew than shop.  I am picking through my garments and making decisions--keep or go.  Do I love it enough to give it house room or can I pass it on to someone else who will love it?

My reward for not spending money on clothing will be a down coat. This is something I would never make myself because one: who needs to find feathers for the next ten years through the entire house if you sneeze in the sewing room and two: my school yard duty coat is getting sad and starting to shed and desperately needs replacing. But I don't think I will ever go back to purchasing RTW regularly.  Sewing was easier most of the time. 

16 April 2018

Still Fasting, just...

I haven't purchased anything other than fabric, shoes, and purses since January 1 of this year.  I walk three times a week with a friend at the mall and I'm not tempted to purchase clothing.  I'm not even tempted to try anything on so that is good.  I've seen maybe three items in the last three months that interest me enough that I want to try to make them--a pretty white top, an interesting jacket with metal eyelet trim details, and a lace over cotton dress in a fabric I cannot find.  So I'm surviving the fast.

The only problem is that I haven't been sewing, or for that matter, writing.  

The biggest reason is that my rehabilitation post-concussion, and the exhaustion that goes with an improving brain post-concussion, mean more activity.  The activity and the energy that is going into healing has seriously affected my enthusiasm to hide in the sewing room cave.  I'm five and a half months past the accident.   Reading on the computer came back just after New Years but reading books and physical print items didn't come back until the middle of February and I still struggle.  Sewing is actually excellent visual tracking therapy.  I just get tired.

The other big reason is that I've developed some new food sensitivities.  Cooking has taken more time than I expected because I have to make many more things from scratch. I'm putting energy into experimenting with food that I can eat and that doesn't take all day and night to make. I'm sorting through cookbooks (and letting a lot of them go), creating a new master cook book, and figuring out food planning and preparation for the new me.   

It will all balance out eventually. 

I've slowed down my purchasing of everything (even patterns).  I made a deal with myself that I would not buy something unless I could use it within the month and I have no energy to sew.  The only good side of this drought is that I did enough sewing during my Pirates spree that I can comfortably dress myself every day with lots of choices and the vast majority of my options are made by me options.  It is actually hard to even consider trying on clothing when the made by me options fit better and are more comfortable than anything I can purchase ready-to-wear.

I don't know if I will manage to finish my Stitcher's Guild SWAP by the deadline though I will finish it eventually.   I've made two long sleeve shirts in the current 'drop shoulder' style, one in a cool black sparkle print that doesn't photograph, and another in a plum and white stripe.  The jury is still out on that drop shoulder style.  I don't know if it is my age, my height or my curvy body type, but I am not convinced. The sleeveless tops are wonderful. I have fabric for pants; I just haven't gotten farther than taping the pattern together.   I have a pattern for jeans that is as far as purchased but not yet printed.  The fabric is pre-treated and waiting.  Between the huge Facebook Scandal and my lack of energy to read anything, I haven't checked up on everyone else.  I will get there.  It just may take time. 

11 February 2018

The Goodbye Valentino RTW fast--January Report

I'm one of  the members of the Goodbye Valentino Ready to Wear Fast 2018.  Sewing what I wear was a lifestyle choice for me long before I joined the fast, so why am I participating?  There are great prizes.  This is a chance to elevate sewing as a viable life option.  I get a chance to stretch my sewing skills with a group of like minded tailors and seamstresses and it is fun being part of a group that sews, participating in the discussion and seeing what other people make and how it fits in their lives.

Since January 1, my only purchases have been fabrics.  I've been shopping with my family and not been tempted to buy myself any RTW.  I'm also not over-compensating by purchasing all kinds of clothing for the rest of family, something I did the last time I tried a RTW Fast. The Fast has really made me think about why I purchase clothing instead of spending time in the sewing room.

We had a series of heated discussions this week about 'allowed to purchase' and 'Not allowed to Purchase' over on the private Facebook Group.  For those who aren't members of the Fast, the official rules are no purchases except for your dream Wedding dress, undergarments and uniforms.  I don't shop for the 'emotional satisfaction' or buy things because they are a bargain, but I do shop second hand. I realized I buy second hand RTW when I have unanticipated lifestyle needs combined with a lack of time, energy or resources to solve the need with sewing.  

I've done one  RTW fast before, February to February.  I bought nothing that year except for one item: a coat. I was at a conference in late May.  I had packed for my trip based on a forecast of warm spring weather. And it snowed. In Canada, particularly at Universities and other institutions, central heat gets turned off the beginning of April. It was late May.  It was cold, inside the buildings and out. I wore that coat to bed over everything else I brought, I was so cold.  But I still remember how guilty I felt breaking my fast.  I think now in the same circumstances, I would do the same thing  but without the guilt. In my personal opinion, safety trumps Fasting. 
The 'Is buying ski wear allowed?' discussion on the board hit a weird place in my gut. I know with enough time, energy, and resources you can problem solve your way through any sewing project--snow gear, wedding dress, rain wear, winter coat, undergarments--and be proud of yourself after the fact. But if I was in the unexpected situation and needed a ski suit in two days and my friends didn't have something I could borrow, I would have bought a pair of snow pants and a jacket and not stressed about it. Safety trumps fasting and I know that I would lack resources and time to get the job done safely in that situation.

Maintaining a RTW fast or having a sewing lifestyle over the long term, requires learning how to accurately anticipate what you need and having the skills, resources and time to sew to meet those needs.  Taking the coat as an example, I had an unexpected lifestyle need and I lacked access to sewing machines and fabric store.  I also had very limited time between sessions at the conference.  The  emergency shopping trip for something to wear to my goddaughter's wedding came as a result of a failure to plan ahead properly and a lack of time and energy to solve the problem with sewing because I didn't realize the dress I had chosen to wear to my goddaughter's wedding didn't fit me until I put it on before the rehearsal dinner. And sometimes things come up that are totally not anticipated.  After my concussion in the fall, I needed clothing for therapy that was not dress pants (all I owned at the time).  Lack of energy and time upright sent me to the second hand store to buy sweat pants to wear to therapy instead of the sewing room even though I have everything I need to make sweat pants in my stash.

So, looking at all of this, I realize I need to think and sew more 'long term' than I am now if I want to make it to the end of the fast without having to 'buy a coat'.  I will likely need a funeral dress in the next six months (my grandmother is ill) and that means I should start thinking about sewing it now instead of realizing the night before getting on the plane I need a dress to wear. 

30 December 2017

Wedding dress reveal

Hello dear readers.  This is the wedding dress reveal.  While I designed and made the dress, it was beaded by many hands and the last fitting was accomplished with my daughter Nicole's help.

We hand placed every single motif on the dress.  This is half of the skirt filling my 17' living room.

The under layer--a sparkle organza that shed, a lot, everywhere.

The picture that decided how we were going to make the back of the dress

'Oh Cr... I lost a beading needle somewhere under here!'

Beading, beading, beading

Details of the back trim and zipper

It has pockets!

I made a simple pearl edged veil to complete the outfit from the leftovers of the lace netting.