Monday, 5 August 2013

Mini-wardrobe thoughts

I'm having a very troublesome August so far, even though it's only the fifth. I've had a painful (and possibly expensive, I'm still waiting to hear) technology failure that may or may not mean I've lost everything on my laptop. The only reason I'm not weeping inconsolably in the corner is that the one really truly important thing on my laptop -- my PhD thesis -- is safely backed up in the cloud and on multiple other devices. As it is, I'm facing the loss of all my photos and a million bookmarks and -- tragically the thing I am presently most irritated by -- my spreadsheet full of information about all my fabric and patterns, where I bought them and how much I paid. Who knows, I may get it all back -- I have EVERYTHING crossed that I will -- but if I don't, ugh, well, next time I'll have to make sure I back THAT up to the cloud as well!

Meanwhile, there are various irritating little things happening in my professional life, I've got 71 essays and 71 exams to mark in the next three weeks, and oh yes, I'm finally being reunited with all my worldly goods when I move into my new apartment next week. I'm not especially looking forward to the move itself, which will be two long days of hauling boxes around, trying to remember what the hell I owned when I packed up my kitchen equipment in 2007 and discovering whether it's survived being in storage ever since.  However, I am looking forward to being reunited with my belongings, particularly the (distressingly large) portion thereof that relates to sewing. The house I've been subletting for the summer has been fine, in a lot of respects, but I do miss the feeling of home that comes from being surrounded by my own possessions.

However, on to the actual purpose of my post: my initial thoughts on the mini-wardrobe competition, to be held on PR through September. Since I've been doing these mini-collections for myself in the recent past, it seems right up my alley. I know for certain fact I could never win, because I've seen the wardrobes that win, so I'm not even going to think about that! However, it's still a great excuse to put together another collection for myself and, because the timescales are so short, to deliberately make some quick and easy projects. We've still not seen the rules for this year (and they change a bit every year) but they're usually some variation on a theme of "make four things".

Here are the additional, non-rule problems that I have:
a) Not only are the time-scales short but my actual personal free time is going to be really limited through September.
b) My weight is not stable at the moment, so I need to make stuff that is either in a knit, isn't fitted and/or can be altered relatively easily.
c) As far as possible, I'd like this to be a stash-only mini-wardrobe, with no new fabric purchases.

At the minute, I'm thinking one skirt, one dress and two tops, though it depends a bit on how the competition is structured, rule-wise. Here are some of my ideas so far:

Butterick 5862
Butterick 5862 is a mock wrap dress. The big problem with it is that the wrong side shows (at the front skirt) and I only recently realized I had something in my fabric collection that would work with that constraint. The other big problem is of course that I have not made this pattern or any dress in a knit before, so it might be a bit of a stretch, skill wise! Still, it's very pretty and it would definitely work with my other constraints, so it's a possibility. I'm a little perturbed that nobody's reviewed the pattern at all, but I shan't let that stop me.

Burda 02-2007-113B

This skirt is rounded bias cut godets is Burda 02-2007-113B. It's a pattern from an older Burda magazine I picked up when they were cheap on eBay (since the Sewing Bee aired they've absolutely shot up in price!). (Ignore the blouse -- except that it points to a fitted cut being a good match for the skirt.)

I think this would be a great skirt for autumn. I've seen a few tutorials to how to add elastic to a regular waistband to make it more weight-fluctuation friendly, and I might have to investigate that in more detail.

The two tops I'm a bit unsure about. One of them would definitely need to be a knit top, and I'm erring towards the idea of yet another Ottobre 02-2013-02 top. I've worn the previous versions over and over and OVER this summer, so I would definitely get the wear from it, and if I cut the hacked, slimmer version it would still look nice with the full skirt I've picked out. Since I can turn out one of those tops in a couple of hours, it would also be a really easy pattern to include in a wardrobe.

The last item though, a second top, I'm really not sure about. The easiest thing to do would be to make another knit top, and I have a few options written down for that. On the other hand, there are some woven options on my list too.The problem with making a blouse is that other than that one Burda muslin, I've not really made one before, and I definitely don't have a handy TNT pattern to pull out at use (although I do have both a dart and a princess seam sloper that I could use). I suppose it depends on how complicated making that knit dress turns out to be.

Those are my plans so far then, although of course if the rules are radically altered this year then all this thinking will be for nothing! Still, it's not like I don't derive entertainment from thinking about my mini-collections, so it's not totally wasted effort even if the mini-wardrobe contest rules make me throw everything here out the window.

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