Over the last year or so I've become a big fan of Colette patterns, and have bought and made several. So of course I follow them on Facebook, and this month Sarai has been participating in the 'me made may' and has been posting a photo everyday of her vintage and handmade clothes. Along with seeing what great style she has, I realized that the clothes she makes are pretty simple, classic styles. When I knit I try to make classic styles because with all that effort I want something that I can wear for years. Why not do the same with sewing? I thought about it more and more, and while I realized this awhile back with my knitting patterns, I never applied it to the sewing patterns I choose. There are four 'criteria' that affect what I sew:
- what I like
- what I actually wear
- what degree of difficulty in a pattern I'm actually willing to sew
- what styles actually look good on me.
What I like: Up until now, this has been the only criteria I actually used to pick out a sewing pattern. What I like are vintage-inspired dresses with full skirts and interesting bodice details. I have made a couple lovely dresses, and for the most part they just sit in my closet and only come out on special occasions. This criteria also applies well to the type of fabric (or yarn, if you are a knitter), and the colors that you choose. I like the look of crepe, chiffon, and other drapey fabrics, but they are difficult to work with and I would just procrastinate making something with a slippery fabric. Also I like really bright colors, and while I do usually wear them, I realize I also need to make some essential pieces (mostly bottoms) in neutral colors.
What actually looks good on me: This is not about body-bashing, or complaining about my lack of something or excess of something else. Every body-shape has styles that are more flattering than others, and it is to your benefit to figure out what your most flattering styles are.
I bought a book not too long ago called 'Skirt-A-Day' and gives instructions how to draft your own skirt patterns. There are many skirts that I love, many with interesting waist details and they are modeled with fitted t-shirts that the models have tucked in. They look great, so I thought I'd try that with some skirts I already have, and I was not pleased with what I saw in the mirror. I am fit, but I have a relatively large waist for my size (I guess that is referred to as 'boyish'?) and having the emphasis of the outfit land on my waist was not flattering at all. So as much as I love that look, when I wear a knit top and skirt combo, to look good I know that the hem of the top needs to land well below my natural waistline.
Opposite of that, whenever you look in the mirror and think 'Hey I look great in this!' try to dissect your outfit to see what makes it great and make a mental note for future clothes. Every time I wear a top or dress with spaghetti straps my husband heaps on the compliments. Then one day he just blurted out 'You have really nice shoulders! You should show them off more!!' I hadn't really thought about that, but I suppose that is one of my 'assets', so shoulders and wide necklines are a detail I focus on.