crafts · fashion · Sewing

In which I talk about clothes I didn’t make, and those I haven’t made yet

Thanks to your feedback, I’m writing up an online fabric shopping guide.  It may take a few days, since I want to discuss the things that make shopping online so daunting, such as the myriad of fabric types and weaves.  In the meantime, how about I show you clothes I didn’t make?

I have the hardest time buying jeans.  I have literally not bought a new pair in five years, but it was time – I like to wear jeans with heels for going out sometimes, or to work, and my old ones were just not working for that anymore.  I went to the Gap and tried on literally all of their styles – no dice, I am between sizes there, and I’m pretty picky about styles too.  I went to department stores and tried on really expensive jeans, with no better results.  I walked by NY&Co and saw they were having a pants sale.  I went in on impulse, and found the first pair of jeans in years that fit me!

These are the flares.  I bought a petite size 6, because their petite sizes run true (I wear a 2 in their regular pants, and I don’t think I am a size 2… maybe in the top, but not the bottom. I wore a six 15 years ago, and I have not gotten smaller.)  My fitting issues are: I am pear shaped, and I do have hips larger than you would expect for my small frame (don’t worry for my body image, I’m not saying I’m fat, it’s just how I’m shaped!)  I have very skinny ankles and calves, and I can’t wear skinny jeans at all without looking like a stork.  I like bootcuts because they balance me out, and I like a midrise – not too high or low.  I have short legs, but I’m not a petite – this means that the crotch length on petite jeans is often too short for me, but regular jeans are really too long (and I hate the look of home hemmed jeans.)  These could perhaps be an inch longer, but I like that I can wear them with flat shoes – something I cannot do with my regular jeans.  I also think that we all wear our pants too long – I hate seeing someone’s shoes completely disappear under their pants!

I could perhaps do without the whiskering on the hips, but I’m awfully pleased with these.  They might have a touch of lycra, but they don’t stretch out as much as my stretch jeans do.  I bought 2 pair, since they were buy one get one free.  I had literally not shopped in that store since they were called Lerner’s NY.   I also was able to finally fulfill one of my summer lusts from their $8 clearance section!

Yes, I have a maxi dress, just in time for fall (oops!)  I love this fabric.  Olive or avocado green is one of my favorite colors, and it works pretty well on me (which might be because of the hair, because when I had other hair colors I looked like death in this color… interesting how your hair color affects what you can wear.)  I’m wearing this today with a cardigan.    I never did find either fabric or a decent pattern to make my own, but I’m happy enough with my 8 dollar dress.  I like it so much that I’m making a cardigan to go with it, so that I can wear it during September and not break my pledge – I must get as much wear in as I can before the cold weather arrives!

And finally, I have been sewing.

This Vogue pattern is from the late 60s.  I love the square neckline and the empire lines.  I’m making it from a stretch wool crepe (on the right, the dark purple) from Gorgeous fabrics, and I’m underlining it in a lightweight silk twill (on the right.)  I thought about not underlining, but I think this pattern really needs the structure in order for the a-line to stand out properly.  I also don’t want to wear the crepe right next to my skin, as this one is a bit – not scratchy exactly, just not pleasant!  The silk twill was ordered ages ago from Fashion Fabrics club, and was a disappointment – I neglected to read the part of the description that said it had a sueded finish, and that it was blouse weight.  I know better now, but since it was my fault I didn’t send it back – I’m happy it can get used here, and while it doesn’t match, I think the contrasting purples are rather nice.

I made a muslin of the bodice.  I thought that the drawing was just stylized, but as it turns out the bodice cuts off really high.  It’s not bad, but I’m going to lengthen the bodice to have the skirt start right underneath, at the empire line.  It will be more flattering I think.  Other than that, the bodice fits great.  I love how these old patterns are more reasonably sized – I took an inch out of the side seams, to match my bust measurement (31.5, smaller than the 32.5″ pattern) and it fits perfectly!

Watch for the fabric shopping post in the next few days!

13 thoughts on “In which I talk about clothes I didn’t make, and those I haven’t made yet

  1. Your kimono-style shirt is SOOO cute. I’m going to assume you made it, since I’ve never seen anything so cool in the stores. Was it a pattern?
    I love that maxi dress too.

  2. Ahh.. so nice to get a great fitting pair of jeans!
    You know, there’s a way to hem them so it almost looks like the original hem.. you cut it off and re-attach it so all the fading and texturing is there…do you know how and still not like the way it looks?

  3. How funny that you found pants that fit at NY&Co, because that is the only store I ever buy pants from!!! I am not joking, almost every single pair of pants in my closet is from that store. They just fit for some reason. Plus they are always sending my coupons. Anyway, glad you found some things that fit.

    On a different note, in college I did one of those red tints on my hair that wash out in 20 washes or so. I already have red highlights in the sun, so I thought it would be no big deal. Wrong! All of my clothes suddenly looked hideous and so did my makeup. I spent the next week washing my hair 3 times a day until it was all out. And that was the first and last time I experimented with hair dye.

  4. I just love reading your blog. I was hoping sometime you would have a “tuitorial” on how you use muslin to fit your garmet before you sew. I have no idea what the steps are or even how to do this. How do I make this work for me? I have intermediate sewing skills, but abandoned a lot of projects because I just can’t make stuff fit.

  5. Have you ever looked into european hemming, I think it’s called? You basically preserve the original hem and sort of cuff the excess fabric to the inside of the jeans, and sew right on the original hem. I just did a pair of jeans like this and while I can see the line from up close, no one can tell when I am wearing them (and they were the first thing I ever machine sewed, so there may have also been some skill error in there, too!) I suspect it may be another 5 years before you buy more jeans, but perhaps that would widen your selection.

  6. I love the maxi dress and for $8, you can’t beat it.
    I’m looking forward to fabric review. I’m thinking of ordering my fabric online as well since nothing is available locally.

  7. Ooh, I’m really eager to see how that dress comes out, I love the pattern illustration. Congrats on getting jeans that fit, I have the same problem you have at the Gap, though over time my waist measurement has been trying to meet my hips! There used to be a 12 inch difference…not any more. I have been buying pants from NY&Co for years now (I even have their credit card) though you really do have to try on the clothes because the size that looks good on you might not always be the size you think you should wear. I have a sun dress from them in a size 2 for my bust (34 in.) where anywhere else I I would need a 6.

  8. congrats on finding the cute jeans – and one free, fantastic. I always have to hem jeans, just learned to live with it. Buying the right jeans topstitch thread goes a long way to making the hem look correct.

  9. Isn’t it a miracle when you finally find jeans or pants that fit?! There must be something in the air, cause I bought two pair this week myself, and I think it’s been two years since last time. I’ll have to try NY & Co. since you said that they fit your hips well. This is where I have trouble — to fit the hips, the waist swims. “Curvy” fit is no help at all.

  10. Your jeans look great – very nicely fitted. I love the kimono top too – would be very interested to hear if you made it, and if so what pattern you used. It would be perfect for Australian summers!

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