Saturday, 11 October 2014

Winter wardrobe planning

We’ve been lucky enough to have a very warm autumn this year; just a week ago I was sitting outdoors in a short-sleeved dress, and feeling perfectly comfortable. However the weather has finally taken a turn for the cooler, and it’s time to start thinking about some new winter clothes for work.

My plans to do this last autumn were totally disrupted by circumstances. Now I find that I really, really don’t want to wear black (my work clothes are almost all black or navy), so I have more incentive than ever to crack on. I work in a large, well-heated office, so my clothes don’t need to be especially warm and toasty; just making things with linings should be enough.

First up is New Look 6184, view D.

Now on the face of it a sleeveless dress is not remotely suitable for a winter wear, but I have A Plan. I use New Look patterns a lot; I like their style, and they only require a simple bodice alteration to fit me perfectly. (They do tend to be a bit short in the skirt, but that’s easy to fix.) So I’m confident that I’ll be able to frankenpattern some sleeves from one of my other New Look patterns.

This is the fabric I’ll be using. I bought it from Fabrix, a wonderful fabric shop in Lancaster which Mum and I visited on our trip to Morecambe in July.

Yes, it does have a certain amount of black in it. What can I say, old habits die hard! But I love the way that the blue flowers really pop out from the background.

My second dress is New Look 6070, in the longer-sleeved version. In fact, all of my plans are for dresses; I am firmly a ‘dress girl'. Part of this is practicality; I’m really not at my best first thing in the morning, and anything which halves the what-to-wear dilemma is to be welcomed with open arms!

The fabric for this one is a John Kaldor crepe, also from Fabrix. John Kaldor fabrics are not the cheapest, but you definitely get what you pay for. They never need ironing (yay!) and seem to go forever without showing the slightest signs of wear.

The next two dresses in my plan use the fabric I bought from Watson and Thornton on the recent Shrewsbury trip. Both of the patterns are Vintage Vogue, for a reason. I didn’t have any pattern details on me, and Vogue was the only pattern book I could find with full yardage requirements included, so it was a case of searching for patterns which I knew I had at home, and making a note of the amounts needed.

This fabric clearly needs an unfussy dress, in order to show off the striking design.

Vogue 8875 fits the bill nicely.

One review I’ve since read online said that the sleeves were tricky to do. However when I read the instructions I discovered that they use the same technique as my Vegas Night dress, so I can always refer back to my notes if I get stuck.

Incidentally, while looking online for an image of the pattern envelope I found this.

It’s interesting to see how closely the illustrator for the re-issue followed the original artwork.

Vogue 8850 requires a fabric which is the same front and back, as the underside may be visible on the skirt drape. This lovely rich red rayon should be ideal.

Dresses I am reasonably confident with making, but I’ve set myself a challenge. Way, way back, when I was in my 20s and more inclined to just have a go at things, I made a coat. I loved the end result, but I’ve never made another. However the impossibility of buying a coat which fits me properly has inspired me to have another go. I’d got the pattern, Vogue 1266, but was struggling to find fabric. Suiting was easy to get, coating far less so.

However at Watson and Thornton I found myself spoiled for coating choice. I kept coming back to this subtly patterned wool mix, and there was just enough on the roll for me to make up one of the double-breasted versions. Actually, Vogue patterns are always too long on me, so I’ll probably have more than enough. In Lancaster Mum and I had found a wonderful haberdashery called Hester’s, with a mind-boggling selection of buttons. I’d bought these grey ones with no idea what to use them for, I just really liked them. And guess what? They’re the perfect size for the coat, and I bought the right number!

So all in all, I’m definitely not short of things to do!

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