Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Your Colours and Style Personality

Over the last few weeks I have introduced the basics of colour analysis using the seasonal system along with an introduction to five style personalities;

By now you should have an idea of whether you have warm or cool colouring, and whether you prefer lighter or deeper colours.  Don't worry if you haven't yet worked it out yet, because in a few weeks I'll work through this again.

Also, don't worry if you have worked out the colours that suit you from my introduction but don't like them or would never wear them.  It could be due to your style personality.

For instance, if  rich pink is in your palette, you may want to wear it if you have a romantic personality style, but not if you are a natural.  Naturals prefer more subdued earthy colours.

Most of you could easily work out what style personality you have.  It's quite common to have a mix of two or more style personalities, or maybe one at work (i.e very classic if you work in a conservative office) and one at home.  And sometimes people actually want to change their style personalities - I wonder if this is because we often learn to dress according to our lifestyle and roles, and never have the option of exploring what it is we actually like.

Okay, I'm digressing!  So, what colours for what style personality ?  (I'll also include fabrics/patterns  as we are all sewers)...


The natural likes subdued, earthy tones(earthy blues, greens, browns)  from her palette, not bright colours.  Prefers natural fabrics and textures, likes linen, wool, cotton, tweed, raw silk, knits.  For patterns, plaid, paisleys, stripes and checks.  Do remember your body type here. 

* I posted a blog a few weeks ago about what type of patterns suit what body type - if you missed it, or want a refresher: 


The classic likes neutral colours and has a lot of them in her wardrobe - black, navy, grey, taupe, beige brown, burgundy,olive.  Plain fabrics such as soft cottons, fine wool, and tweeds (with a mix of synthetics for smooth looking fabrics) are preferred and if patterns are worn they are discrete small patterns, such as dots, herringbone, checks, paisley. 


The dramatic, not surprisingly, loves dramatic colour schemes, such as the brights and black.  Loves black and red.  Fabrics are usually plain and stiffish - crisp cotton, smooth polished wool, satins, brocades, silks.  If a pattern is used it will be exotic looking, geometric/checks or stripes.


The creative likes very strong, bold colours, nothing earthy and subdued.  Fabrics are often contrasting textures, and range from lycra, leather and metallics to velvets, fur and feathers, silks and satins.  Loves mixing patterns and colours, even if they look mismatched to others (probably the classic).


The romantic prefers rich colours to neutrals.  Fabrics are fine, soft, fluid and or rich looking with a soft touch,  and include velvets and velours,  cashmere, lightweight wool, synthetics, lightweight cotton/polycotton, laces, organza, and crinkly, crushed satins, and broderie anglaise.  Patterns include florals, spots, blended checks and plaids.

I hope this helps you all - and don't forget you could be a mix of two personality styles.

On Thursday the post on colours for ages 40+ will commence.

Next week I also hope to start on body shapes and the styles that suit them.


A few more of you have indicated interest in this sew-a-long.  I've started roughing out some guidelines and will post them on Friday.  This will be a low key no pressure sew-a-long running from 1 June to 31 December 2013.  That will give two sewing seasons whichever hemisphere you are in - and of course, if you are in the tropics, a wet and dry season.  I will provide some guidelines and structure for those that prefer this, and for those that don't,  follow your own stash plans. I'll also work on the side bar banner ready for June 1.

So far, these are the participants:
 Far from - she would like to make a jacket, skirt and pants.
Sew Blessed Maw from
Jenny from
L from
Mrs Smith from

Any of your suggestions are welcome as this is your sew-a-long  as well :-)

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Stash - Use it, Lose it or Style it.

Earlier this month I mentioned that I was thinking about starting a low key stash challenge.  Some of you missed the post, so here it is the link:

A couple of you have already indicated interest so I thought I should mention this proposed sew-a-long so I could get your ideas about how you would like to use your stash.

There are no formal rules or guidelines - just a promise to use some of your stash for the rest of this sewing year, and then to let everyone know what you have made from your stash.  Plans can also be posted.  I'm still at the development stage and will probably formally commence the sew-a-long in a few weeks, to allow people to find out and get their ideas together. 

My thoughts were that many of us stash - probably for all sorts of reasons.  And then we don't ever quite get around to using the stash - again, for all sorts of reasons, including the fabric is too good to use.

I also have the problem of guilt about not using my stash.

However, after deciding that guilt is a wasted emotion, I  started cutting into my stash a little more boldly.

And found out that if your don't use the stash - you will lose it:

My new trouser muslin, cut from an old piece of fabric in my stash:

For those of you that have been following the trials and tribulations about my attempts to get a basic trouser (pants) shape that works for me, this is not what this post is about (although these pants are getting close to a good fit).

The point of this picture - I used a piece of fabric that had been in the stash for years - and I was not sure I liked it. I thought about giving it to the Op Shop, but then thought to use it for the muslin (guilty that I was using fabric that was far too good for a muslin - it was old linen).  Well, when I put the muslin on, I heard
strange tearing sounds - along a dart and some seams.

The fabric had deteriorated.  Yes, my stashed piece was no longer useful.  It had been loved and looked at for FAR TOO LONG.

There is a lesson here.  The stash is there to be USED.

I now have stash awareness in a big way.  With little guilt and lots of motivations to:
I plan to officially start at the beginning of June, which gives others of you time to think about how you might like to use parts of your stash.  If you would like to join, we could all swap names/blog addresses  and ideas.

For those of you in other challenges, being aware of and using your stash would fit in well.

I don't think any rules are needed - there are plenty of sew-a-longs that have rules and deadlines.  Some of us have lots of other demands and can't meet deadlines other than our work/study/domestic ones.  Sewing is often "me time".  So I don't want constraints, I want this to be about inspiring and motivating each other to commit to sewing the stash in stylish ways.

 Let me know if you are interested.  Kick of date yet to be decided. 

At the moment, Far from is interested in joining - she would like to make a jacket, skirt and pants.

Also interested are:
Sew Blessed Maw from
Jenny from

All your suggestions are welcome...

Sarah Liz :-)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

My weekly chat and welcome to new followers.

Hello everyone

Another week has flown by both in my real world and the blogosphere.  And once again, it is that time of week when I welcome new followers.

This week I would like to welcome Ellen.  I also found two people I do not think I have welcomed before - Becky and Lynette.  My apologies.  Kristy is following me on Bloglovin, and so is someone else - I'm not sure who you are, so I can't say Hi personally.


This week I talked about a sew-a-long for people that want to use more of their stash.  I have a huge stash, collected over years of dreaming about sewing but not having time to sew.  I also stash because nice fabric is hard to come by.

Many of you wish me well in this venture, but prefer to sit this one out - mostly because of the fact that people fall of the stash wagon.

Believe you me, so will I.  I think the point of this was just stash awareness and the ability to sew-a-long with no pressure with some emphasis on using some of the stash before buying more.

One person expressed interest.  That's enough for me.  Actually, just challenging myself to tackle the stash is enough for me!  I just wanted to encourage others that like to join in and need the motivation to start.  Some people love to connect, and I have to admit I do too.

So, if anyone wants to join, or has ideas for how to tackle stashes, please feel free to comment.

I'm not sure when I will officially challenge myself, but I'll let you know.


Quite a few of you have enjoyed my introduction to colour analysis and there has been a request for what colours to wear from your colours as you get older.  I'll do a post on this later in the week - it may be Thursday or Friday.

I also introduced the concept of clothing personality.  I'll add to this next week, by discussing what sort of colours the different clothing personalities favour.

I also need to talk about body shape, but that may have to be the week after next.  I'll see how things go.


My regular feature "Guidelines for Form, Style and Colour in 1928" will conclude this week - with a delightful look at what colours were recommended for different skin tones in 1928. It's interesting to see how these compare with the prevailing ideas.

Thank you all for your lovely comments about my recently made very practical, very comfortable walking trousers.  Sometimes we do have to make functional clothing - never of course seen in fashion magazines.  Necessary non-the-less.  It seems that is all I have done this year - fill in all those practical gaps in my wardrobe that I just can't buy given the emphasis nowadays on fast turnover, low quality fashion items.  When I have solved my practical clothing problems, then I'll move on to some more inspired sewing.  

That's it for this week - and I'm looking forward to the next one and fresh projects.

Sarah Liz :-)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekend Walking Trousers

After last week's run of wannabe muslin wadders (total of 3) I decided it was time to break from muslins and actually make something.

(Of course I am still working on the muslin project, and have one made that is FINALLY nearly okay.  I'm going to do another of course, and then I think I will have a master shape to work with. I do not easily give up).

These trousers are not quite TNT trousers, but as near as I could get them to be while I was studying.  I used McCalls M5239. I can't remember what size I used originally - I've been working off a tracing which has nearly disintegrated. 

McCalls M5239

I used a stretch cotton twill - I also used a piece of this same fabric for my exercise pants.  I am not used to working with stretch fabrics for pants, so decided that using it for a pattern I was already familiar with was a good idea so that I could see how the fabric sits and handles, and also  how much ease is required when compared to woven non stretch fabrics.

As I plan to use these trousers for walking holidays and may be wearing thermals underneath, I wasn't too concerned with altering the amount of ease for stretch this time around in any case.

As these were casual pants, I also enjoyed top stitching the zip- I did a double row of stitching:

I also enjoyed top stitching the pockets and did a false flat fell seam on the side seams:

I took pictures of me wearing the trousers  earlier today when the weather was quite warm. Unfortunately, only the front view photo is viewable - the others are all very dark.

So, this afternoon, I took this lot to show you the side and back.  I also took another front view:

Side view
For those of you who have been reading my posts on colour analysis, I am also giving a very good demonstration of what happens if you wear a high neck black polo neck when black is not a colour that suits you.  I'm looking drained and a lot older, with a lot more shadows, hollows and wrinkles than normally show in my photos.

I often wear a black t-shirt for photos, but always with a crew neckline - not right under my face.  At least with a lower neckline, the colour of your skin reflects back into your face. 

Front view
These trousers are quite roomy and stretchy, and are probably a bit too full in the front.  Unfortunately, I have quite a high round tummy and very high hips (with long legs for my height), so if trousers are extremely fitted around the lower hip, then the tummy area is very prominent.  My new muslin is starting to look good though.

The  back view is not too bad:

Back view
 In a couple of weeks I will be talking about body shapes - I am an inverted triangle/rectangle - my waist hip ratio is small, and my shoulders are larger than my hips.  I also have long, slim limbs.

And here are the completed trousers, worn with my cold weather jacket - I left that open, because it isn't cold here yet...

Front View:

And: Back View:
These trousers are extremely comfortable which is what you want when you go on a walking weekend.  I'm not so worried about how baggy they might be, but whether they are comfortable to wear for a long time - with room for the thermals if need be.

That's it for now - have a lovely weekend:-)

Sarah Liz

Friday, April 26, 2013

Your Style Personality

Vogue Patterns V1232

The clothes we wear generally reflect our personality and lifestyle.  In some clothes we feel comfortable, and in others we don't feel like "ourselves".   There are quite a few different clothing styles - some systems use 4 and some many more, but I will introduce your to five today.  You may find that you are one of these, or a combination.  

I will not be posting pictures of people to illustrate these clothing personalities.  I know many people do download images of celebrities for this sort of reason, but ethically I will not do this without permission - and I don't know these people!  Also, you are infringing all sorts of laws, and that can have repercussions.  As you are all sewers, though, I think you will have good enough imaginations to be able to work out what each type is on your own and probably already know what style personality you are :-). 

Vogue Patterns V8810
The natural likes relaxed clothes that have ease of movement - jeans, trousers, shorts, and simple tops, with little or no jewellery or make up.  If they wear classic clothes (they prefer business casual)  to work they tend to take them off as soon as they get home and put comfortable clothes on. They do not take an iron on holiday.  They like easy to care for, practical, hard wearing and non-fussy clothes.

Vogue Patterns V8828
 The classic always looks smart, neat and tidy, with a formal look even when casually dressed.  If they wear jeans they will be washed and ironed.  Hair is neat and a small amount of make up always worn.  Jewellery is understated and includes pearl earrings and necklaces, and small items of costume jewellery.  Classics do not like fabrics that crease easily  such as linen.  Shoes are polished.  Classics like shopping for clothes and look for investment garments that are simple lines and god quality. They do not follow high fashion.

Vogue Patterns V1313
Dramatics like clothes that are noticed.  They love colours that are bold and love contrasting colours.  They love to shop and don't worry about practicality and budget and love high fashion (street fashion or trends).  They love hats and sunglasses, large jewellery and make up.  They like standing out in a crowd and often mix with other dramatic dressers, and and may  wear shoes with enormous heels and platforms.  

Vogue Patterns V8876
The creative dresser has an artistic flair and alter and accessorise their clothes to create a unique appearance.  They love interesting patterns, textures and scarves, and accessorise their outfits with creative earring and necklaces.  These are often in interesting metals, wood, or ceramics.  They will spend time looking for interesting  clothes and like shopping in offbeat shops and markets.


The romantic dresser loves pretty fabrics, luxurious textures, and detailed clothes - lots of frills, flounces, flowers, ruffles and ribbons.  Clothes are always feminine and include waisted jackets with peplums and skirts with movement at the hemline.  They love lace underwear, make up and jewellery and hair accessories.

I hope you managed to find your style personality here. These are the basic categories - there are other style personalities as well, often derived from the basic categories - gamin, ingenue,  preppy, chic, casual chic, rock chick, bohemian, contemporary,  to name a few.

Sarah Liz :-)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Colour and You, cont'd.

Over the last two weeks, I have shown you the how the seasonal colour system works.  Some of you have commented that you do not seem to be an obvious season, while others do recognise their season.

Some of you have commented that you can't see yourself in the seasonal system, while others clearly can.  There are a number of variations on the seasonal system  (the seasonal flow system and also the tonal system) also developed in the 1980's that address this issue.

I personally find that these systems still anchor back to the seasonal idea (which was based  on the theories of artist Johannes Itten (Bauhaus School) - he claimed that a person's personal colours should be complementary to their skin tone, hair and eyes).   For those of you who are going to see a colour consultant, be aware that he/she may use a different system, but what is important in any of the systems is finding colours that harmonise with your skin, eyes, and hair.

And for those of you still wondering what you are, I suggest you do what I said some posts back - find some bright orange and bright pink and see which looks awful on you!  One of them will, or if not awful you will look better in one than the other.  For a demonstration of this sort of thing, visit my post:

I used to use my seasonal drapes for tonal analysis as well, so there is overlap between all the systems.
One confusion that happens with colour analysis is that the client thinks that they have to like and wear their colours all the time.  This is not the case - if you are a summer, for instance, and don't like dusty pinks and roses but prefer the stronger blues, wear the deeper blues in your palette.  Don't wear or feel you have to wear any colours in your palette you do not like.  

The colours we like are also influenced by our clothing personality.  If you are a natural sort of person who lives in denim, you may not like pretty pinks that tend to suit the romantic person more.

Some of you are probably wondering what I mean by clothing personality, so tomorrow I will post on this.

Next week I will talk about how to alter your colours as you get older - this is because as we age, our skin, hair and eyes do change a little bit - we lose colour, our skin becomes more transparent allowing our venous blood to show through a little more, and our hair goes grey.   Our underlying genetic make up does not change though, so people do not suddenly change their skin tone.

Until tomorrow,

Sarah Liz

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Guidelines for Form, Style and Colour in 1928 (12)...

Hello everyone,

I found an old book a few years ago "THE CUTTER'S GUIDE" , A MANUAL OF DRESSCUTTING AND LADIES' TAILORING, by M.E. Roberts, published in Sydney in 1928.  At the back of the book, I found guidelines for form (what we now call style) and colour, and I've been  sharing these with you over the weeks.

This guide was written specifically for women's styling. The language used is so different from our very direct way of speaking ninety years later, but the principles outlined  are as sound now as they were then (with the exception of some, which just amuse us now.  So, whatever you think of the ideas,  please enjoy them :)

Image sourced from

This week the author is discussing how the colour, fabric and purpose of the garment work should work together.

43.  There must be one prevailing colour in any garment. Different colours in equal quantities are only worn be mountebanks.  some parts of the body should never be distinguished by one colours and others by another.  No painter permits two conspicuous lights to shine in one picture, because whatever divides the attention diminishes beauty.

44.  The colour of the garment is chosen with reference to the particular purpose for which it is to be worn; useful, convenient, gay or ornamental, and according to the mental or tempermental characteristics of its wearer - or of those she wishes to impress.  But, besides that, colour must be considered from the point of view of the effect it has on the complexion and form of the wearer.

45.  Opaque dress is generally better suited to a plump figure, and a transparent dress to a thin one, though the face is always softened by transparency near it.  That is why ladies past their first youth should wear lace, lace, yet more lace.

46.  Rough and transparent crepe has a better effect upon the face than smooth and opaque cambric.  Hence the stiff linen collar is only possible for the very youthful unless the wearer is willing to look mannish.  Lace, tulle and chiffon placed near the face will aid in making the garment suit the wearer, and are almost always necessary with a coloured gown, because if the colour is like enough to the complexion to tone with it, the colour reflected on the face may have anything but a pleasing effect.  For instance, yellow is suitable to brunettes because they have more orange in their complexions, and the yellow neutralizes the orange.  On the other hand, if the yellow is placed near enough to the face to reflect on to it the face looks too sallow, and there lace or chiffon should come between the colour and the complexion.

Image sourced from

That's this weeks excerpt.  Next week is the final part of this chapter, and the end of this series.  Next week is a fun section on the ideas about what colours suited the complexion in 1928.   

Sarah Liz :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Colour and You - your best neutral, basic and bright colours.

Last week I introduced you to one system of colour analysis  which has four clusters of colours that suit different skin tones.  These are Winter's cool colours  (blue based colours that are sharp, clear, and vivid), Summer's cool colours,  (softer neutrals, blue based, softer and lighter than winter's colours), Autumn's warm colours (browns, tans, golds, oranges, yellow greens), and Spring's warm colours (yellow undertone,  light, clear and crisp).

Today  I am going to explain which colours are your best for your  neutrals, basics and brights.


NEUTRAL COLOURS:  Whites, greys, black, navy and gray-beiges - will go anywhere, anytime.

BASIC COLOURS: Reds, blues, and greens, in medium to dark shaded -will go most places, anytime. 

BRIGHT COLOURS: More intense, medium to dark shades.  Used as bright accents with neutrals, used in prints, good for fun/active wear.  Can work in dresses or evening wear  in a good fabric in a simple design.

LIGHT COLOURS: More feminine and delicate - lingerie, dress blouses, scarves, summer dresses, feminine evening gowns.


 NEUTRAL COLOURS: Off-white, blue-grey, grey-navy, rose-beige, and rose-brown - will go anywhere, anytime.

BASIC COLOURS: Blue-reds, grey-blues and blue-greens, medium to dark shades - will go most places, anytime.

BRIGHT COLOURS: More intense, medium to dark shades.  Used as bright accents with neutrals, used in prints, good for fun/active wear.   Can  work in dresses or evening wear in a good fabric in a simple design.

LIGHT COLOURS:  More feminine and delicate - lingerie, dress blouses, scarves, summer dresses, feminine evening gowns.


NEUTRAL COLOURS: Warm whites, warm beiges, warm brown, golden and red browns - will go anywhere, anytime.

BASIC COLOURS: Yellow-reds, teal blues, yellow-greens and golds, medium to dark shades - will go most places, anytime.

BRIGHT COLOURS: More intense, medium to dark shades.  Used as bright accents with neutrals, used in prints, good for fun/active wear.   Can  work in dresses or evening wear in a good fabric in a simple design.

LIGHT COLOURS:  More feminine and delicate - lingerie, dress blouses, scarves, summer dresses, feminine evening gowns.


NEUTRAL COLOURS: Warm whites, warm greys, clear royal navy, warm golden beiges, and golden browns - will go anywhere, anytime.

BASIC COLOURS: Yellow-reds, clear blues, clear yellow-greens and clear golds, medium to dark shades - will go most places, anytime.

BRIGHT COLOURS: More intense, medium to dark shades.  Used as bright accents with neutrals, used in prints, good for fun/active wear.   Can  work in dresses or evening wear in a good fabric in a simple design.

LIGHT COLOURS:  More feminine and delicate - lingerie, dress blouses, scarves, summer dresses, feminine evening gowns.

If you want to wear black and you are not a winter, please read my post:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Style the Stash

Last week I confessed that I had an enormous stash of fabric.  I don't think I have told you quite how much yet - possibly because I don't even like admitting it to myself - but collecting fabric did keep me sane during quite a few tedious, impossible to sew time sieges.  And it does mean I have a lot of lovely fabric to work through now.

And patterns.  Lots of them.  Lots and lots of lovely patterns to work through.  Some will not work out, and will be consigned to the rubbish bin pronto.  Others will be winners.

So, I have decided to set my own challenge for the rest of the year.  To actually use the fabric I have before purchasing another roomful.   I could join another stash challenge, but I rather want the flexibility to sew what I like when I like from my stash, as part of the sew your own wardrobe for a year challenge.

I am not sure if others will want to join this low key challenge.  If you would like to, please let me know.  I haven't yet worked out any parameters, so if you have any suggestions about what we could do, please let me know.  Maybe a jacket, a dress, a pair of pants, a blouse, a skirt.  Over time, and all from patterns and fabrics in the stash. 

What are your thoughts?  What would you like to do with your stash? Would you like a low key sew-a-long?

Keep sewing....Sarah Liz :-)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Weekly Chat, and Welcome to New Followers.

Hello Everyone,

It's Sunday afternoon again, the time when I sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and write my blog post and read yours as well.

And on Sunday's post I always welcome my new followers - and this week I would like to welcome Mary from SewFast, Juliet, Rhonda and Kat.  I look forward to getting to know you all, both on my blog and yours.   I also welcome my two new BlogLovin followers - unfortunately I have not received an email from Bloglovin  about you,  so I am not sure who you are, but welcome nonetheless :-)

This week I have written about my stash, and about colour analysis and about my wadder wannabes.  There were lots of lovely comments on all of these posts, and I have, I hope, replied to all of you.  But I would also like to add one or two more points here.


It seems that most of us have rather extensive fabric stashes and pattern hoards(to say nothing of all the sewing ideas buzzing around in our heads).  Some of us are organised and some of us aren't.  I'm in the organised school, but not as organised as some sewers who keep records of their projects, pattern and fabric used,date made and so on.   I aspire to this level of order, I have to admit!  I do think I should attempt a sustained attack on the stash, and use my patterns, because it does seem a shame to think that the stash and pattern hoard will still be sitting neatly collected and catalogued while I am perhaps no longer around.  It's time, in short, to get serious about sew-styling the stash.  I'll share more about this in tomorrow's post. 


Lots of you have enjoyed these posts as well, and have expressed an interest in learning more.  Over the next few weeks I will discuss colour more fully, because I have only introduced one system of colour analysis here.  If you are interested in the colour posts, just look for the image above.


 I'd like to thank all of you for your long comments about my three wadders this week.  There is a lot to think about in all that you have said.

In no specific order, I shall try and address some of the points discussed.  First, to the person who liked the fact that I posted my wadders - I will always do this, for a few reasons.  One is that we all have these problems, so it is reassuring to know that others also hit sewing snags.  The other is I like to share what I learn in case you find it useful as well.  I frequently learn lots from your blogs, so it is good to be able to reciprocate.

Two of you commented that pants patterns  seem to be quite problematic as far as fit is concerned. It was pointed out, quite reasonably, that all bodies are quite different.  It was also pointed out that while our own  body may have changed (age related changes) patterns also  seem to have changed because these problems did not seem to occur so much years ago.  Now, I tend to agree with this.  I never had too much problem years ago, nor was there so much focus on making muslins for every garment.  Some of you may remember the old Vogue Designer Originals (complete with label).  I started my sewing life with these - and basically, I just cut them out and away I went.  Beautifully details garments, fitted well, and were a pleasure to wear.  I do sometimes wonder if patternmakers are less closely connected with what the body looks like nowadays.  I have noticed all sorts of things creep in which seem to be considered "correct fit" nowadays, but aren't.  For instance, the forward shoulder seam on blouse patterns and various other garments nowadays.  The shoulder seam is actually supposed to run along the top of the shoulder.  I sometimes wonder if basic principles have been forgotten (perhaps not even understood) for some notion of what somebody thinks "looks good".   Of course, these are just my thoughts and hard to test objectively, but it is interesting to read that others also have problems with modern patterns as well.

Some of you encouraged me to stay the course with one of these pants.  While I think that can be a good idea,  what I am attempting to do (now - probably not then, when I made them!) is get a basic shape that works for me and then use the pattern of my choice and superimpose the two to get a good fitting muslin straight away.  I don't want to keep re-inventing the wheel - like many of you, I don't have the time or the resources to do that - we all have other demands in life, be that family, caring for others, work and study).  While muslins work in the fashion industry (you would want to test a garment before a production run of 1,000's), I am wondering if there is a more effective way for those of us trying to fit in sewing around a busy life.

When I have found it, I will share it with all of you, of course.  That is the point and purpose of my blog. 

I have been working over the weekend on the master muslin for my pants.  It's based on my old TNT which was rather hastily utilised some years ago, and needs a few tweaks.  I think I am close to the final shape now.    Will share when I have news.  And then go back to the wadders and rethink them by redrafting the pattern of my choice superimposed on my sloper. 

Thank you for sharing all your sewing moments with me - it seems we all have sewing weeks that are tedious and where everything goes wrong.  I guess sharing this with each other makes us all feel a little more like keeping going, knowing we are all in very good company indeed!

And A Very  Big Thank You to those of you who commented that my sewing skills are good. It's my goal to try to learn and improve, of course.

Do all have a very good week, wherever you are, and I hope you stay  safe and healthy.

Sarah Liz :-)

P.S.  I'll also be doing my regular Wednesday post on Guidelines to Form, Style and Colour in 1928.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The week of the Wadder Wannabes (or no new trousers this week)...

This was the week of the wadder wannabes.  I wanted to make a pair of slim fitting casual pants and coat from Burda pattern 7162, already sized for petite.

Burda 7162.

I wanted to make the cropped version, and wear them under the coat.  I have slim legs so thought I could get away with it.  The pattern stipulated stretch fabric for the trousers.

I decided (wisely, in hindsight) to make a muslin out of some stretch cotton that I do not like - I think I bought it when it was cheap, and then regretted it.

 This was the result:

Lovely hip pouches and tight tummy area (both of which could be easily remedied), but look at the wrinkly legs, and knobbly knees!  This is not the chic, slightly sophisticated look I was fantasizing about!

And that's before looking at the back:

 A seriously non sophisticated look.  I know they are designed to go under a coat, but still!! 

So, I decided to bin that project before my angst grew too troublesome.

Next, still fixating on the slim pant idea, I decided to try McCalls M6405.

McCalls M 6405
These trousers were described as slim fitting pants, and were designed for stretch fabrics only.

I decided to do a muslin but end it at the knee, given my luck with the Burda pants.  I thought I might have had more luck with McCalls 6405.  No such thing:

Wonderful baggy bombay bloomers (and these were size 8 legs, and 10 waist).   The pattern must be designed for a very pear shaped figure.

Here is the rear view:

The rear view is not so bad - in fact I quite like the way the back sits, and I like the way the front waist area sits.  It's just the amazingly baggy legs that aren't quite the look I wanted.  I could take them in, but I suspect the amount would then start distorting the rest of the garment.  I might have to find something slim, and then adapt the top.

Still determined, I move on the try Kwik Sew 3540.  Also claimed to be slim pants, and sized for stretch only.  This had to be third time lucky.

KS 3540

So, what happened?  (I'll give you three guesses...)

Yes, that's right, another wadder wannabe:

Saggy, baggy and sad looking.  I know the band would hold them up, but I'm trying to move on from the Pollyanna paperbag look and show the world the sophisticated woman I have become (sounds good in theory...)

I suspect even Pollyanna would say no to wearing these!  As did I.  So, this week, three muslins for 3 wadder wannabes.  Now safely resident in the rubbish bin.

So, I haven't got much to show for my sewing week.   I guess at least I wasn't silly enough to proceed and be working through something I was going to hate for the next couple of weeks.

Do you have weeks like this?  Do you proceed with bad looking muslins and then come out with something wonderful?  Or do you gracefully decline the experience?

Thank goodness there is always another sewing week  :)

Sarah Liz

Friday, April 19, 2013

How to Wear Black with your Colours

Depending on your colouring you may or not be able to wear black well next to your face.  Of course, some of you can - those with winter colouring, although even winters may find that they need a lift of colour  near the face.

Black is a very handy neutral and most of us have it in our wardrobes.  In the 1980's when I trained in colour, we were quite rule bound, and if you were a season other than winter, then you were practically forbidden to wear black.  As I was a summer, and black is not in my palette, I always found this difficult, as I cannot easily find my colours in clothes or fabrics.  And many of my activities required black clothing (and during the 1990's nothing much was available!).

Times change and it became more accepted  that people will wear black (for whatever reason) whatever the colour consultant thought best! But if it is not in your palette do wear it in a way that flatters you. Here are some ideas for wearing black if it is not such a great colour for you - springs, autumns and summers especially.

1/. If you are wearing a black top, please have a lower neckline so that the black is not right up against your face.  Use a round or V-neckline so that your face is framed by your natural skin tone.

2/.  Wear your most flattering colours with black to compensate for wearing a colour that does not bring out the best in your natural colouring.

3/. One good way of wearing black is to frame your face with a scarf in colours that flatter your skin tone.

4/.  You can also get the same effect by wearing jewelery in either your colours or a metallic in your colours (gold for autumn and spring, silver for summer and winter) .

5/. Wear a stoles, pashminas and capes in your colours against black clothing.

6/. With a black jacket wear a top or blouse in colours that flatter you.  If you choose to wear white, try and wear a white that suits you - or use the scarf/jewelery trick.

7/.  If wearing black on the lower half of your body, wear a top or blouse in your colours on the top half.

8/. Wear jackets in your colours.

9/.  Why not swap the LBD for a LCD (little coloured dress) in one of your most flattering neutrals.

10/. If wearing black patterned clothes, use fabrics that have your colours in it along with the black.  Or as we are sewers, trim your black garments with a flattering print with black and your colours combined.

AND: Wear lipstick in one of your colours. 

I hope you enjoyed this week's introduction to colour.

Sarah Liz  :)