Monday, 13 April 2015

Spring cleaning

In light of the springiness that is currently springing here in the north of England, this weekend I spent some time going through my wardrobe pretty thoroughly before I switch it over for the summer.

As I went through my clothes, I found I continue to have a hard time determining whether or not something is actually at the point where it should no longer be worn in public or I am just really bored of it. There's always a part of my brain thinking that if something is not actually falling apart at the seams/full of holes/trailing pulls then it's fine! Totally wearable! And I shouldn't throw it away just because I am bored of it. On the other hand, there's definitely a tipping point when I suddenly realize (usually while at some kind of professional gathering where I'd like to look at least presentable) that no, really, this garment has had one wash too many, it looks terrible. I'm trying to keep a closer eye on my clothes so that I figure that out at N-1 wears, rather than N, but there are a few things in my wardrobe that I just honestly can't tell if they're done or if I'm just done with them.

At any rate, the weekend cull resulted in me shedding 33 items of clothing. Of those, about half were so decrepit, badly made or heavily worn that they went straight into recycling. Saddest loss on this front: the Ottobre zipper hoodie I made in November 2014. Loved the idea and outcome when first made. Did not love the fabric which developed hundreds and hundreds of pulls up and down the inside of the sleeves from the first day I wore it. I can't even work out how or why it was happening -- I thought maybe it was catching on the zip somehow, but I never saw it do so. So frustrating, especially as it was one of the most expensive fabrics I have bought and used so far! Also sad was the culling of the last thing in my active wardrobe from the very first garments I made in 2012 (a pair of PJ shorts). In that blog post, I'm all "I didn't finish the seams at the right time!". Alas, past!me, that is what doomed the shorts to the bin in the end - all the overlocking came unravelled and the seam allowances followed suit.

The other half of the culled clothes were mainly decent quality RTW and went into a charity box because they were still in good condition. Most of the things that went to charity were from 2012 and early 2013, which was a period when my weight hit an intermediate high following treatment for a thyroid condition. I kept the nicest/ best quality/ favourite pieces of my wardrobe from that weight, just in case I need them again, but got rid of anything I didn't love. I only have so much storage space, so I try to keep my collection of too big/too small clothes down to the things that most make me wish I had a grow/shrink ray gun. Due to these selection criteria, and because my shoddy sewing skills means there wasn't a lot of quality to the first garments I made, I really don't have much left to show for the first two years of my garment sewing attempts except the photos I took for this blog. Of the 12 garments I made in 2012, I have only one thing (a navy skirt) in storage, and of the 21 garments I made in 2013, I have one skirt in storage, and two pairs of PJs and a red and white t-shirt I now wear as a PJ top in active rotation. Everything else is dead and caput, some of it long since.

Overall, it felt like a pretty productive cull, and I updated my wardrobe and sewing plans today as a result quite extensively. On the one hand, I reckon I have a season more in enough of my summer-y knits to last for this year, so I've crossed out plans to replace them. On the other hand, I was able to add all kinds of (more interesting to make!) things in their place. (I also realized that I really, REALLY have to fabric fast for the summer. I am allowing myself two specific pieces of fabric that I've already decided on, and NOTHING ELSE. I need to stop even LOOKING at fabric other than that!)

Meanwhile, while clothes were going out the door and plans were being made for summer, I have also been working on making one of the last projects on my sewing plan for spring, a raincoat. Luckily(!), it rains all the time here where I live, so it's actually not all that season dependent.

In the end, after endless pattern deliberation, I've gone with a casual style anorak from Ottobre 02-2007:

Ottobre 02-2007-18 Anorak
I probably won't do the welt pockets because they're awkwardly placed more or less exactly at bust level, and I think it looks weird if I lower them. Despite avoiding the welts, though, there are still a couple of new things for me in the pattern: (a) a two part sleeve, which I've not done before, (and actually just easing the sleeve cap in a firm shower-resistant cotton may be challenging);  (b) it's fully lined. I'm using a slippery poly fabric for lining, which is always exciting from a fabric perspective, and a full lining means some construction bits I've never done before to fully enclose the shell and lining (though as you can see from the diagram, the hem and sleeve hem are topstitched closed).

So far all I've done is prepare the pattern and tissue fit (surprisingly good, as far as you can tell from paper) but I will hopefully have a working muslin this week. I was almost tempted not to muslin after the tissue fit seemed so reasonable since this is not a fitted style. However, I think it's probably a good idea for a first outerwear project, just because I don't really have a sense of how much ease I want across e.g. my upper back in a coat, none of my RTW fits well enough to measure from, and tissue fitting is hopeless for that kind of thing.

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for such a successful cull. I have stuff in different sizes just in case...but your criterion is good, do I still love this. I should apply that. (Other than raincoats or jeans, maybe). The Otto anorak looks good but I agree about the welt pockets - how weird would you look if you actually put stuff or your hands in them?