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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Style at Home - Does it Matter or Not? and a New Top, Burda 6761.



 Hello everyone, This week, I have written quite a long blog post, so be warned! I am going to talk about Style at Home, Does it Matter or Not.  You will find this section in part two of todays blog post.  In part one, I am sharing a very at home look - my first make of the year, Burda 6761:


I was strangely drawn to this unusual peplum style top, goodness knows why, because it is not really something that I have ever considered to be my style.  But as 2017 is going to be a year of exploration, I decided I would go with the strangely drawn to the pattern feeling and make it.  I had a piece of craft cotton in my stash that I have wanted to get rid of for ages, so decided I would sacrifice it in the service of trialing this pattern and getting it out of the system and the cotton out of the stash.

I did do a head and shoulders muslin first, because I took one look at the neckline and knew it would fall off me.  It goes right across in a boat shape. I wanted to keep a sense of the shape, because I thought that worked to balance the dropped shoulder line, but I wanted it to stay on.  I also thought the neckline was too high, so I lowered it.  I didn't see the need for an opening, and made sure the neck was just big enough to fit over my head.  I used a facing instead of binding and top stitched that down because I thought that would work with the look of the top and help to break up the wide expanse of front:


It also makes the facing look a deliberate feature and not some sort of thing flopping around inside.

The top was straightforward to make, but if you ever make it, do follow the instructions.  Usually I do n't follow instructions, and make the darts first, but in this  top the front seams incorporate the front dart:


On the right side of the garment I did a catch stitch to hold the seam in place:



 I flat felled the back seam, side seams and shoulder seams, because craft cotton looks a little dead on it's own.  And I substituted short sleeves for the three quarter length - I just find them annoying in summer.

Now, my set of pictures shows me looking very glum.  Early in the morning and I am also doing the washing, getting ready to do some shopping etc.  In fact, I am haven't had my first cup of coffee, I am drinking it while taking these photos.  No wonder I look glum, plus I am really not sure that this is my style of top.




And I am afraid the back view was all blurry, so all I have is an action shot, to show how easy this top is to move and do things in:


Well, I after finishing the top, I decided it has some potential but maybe in another fabric that is a little less stiff.  I don't think I would want to make it in linen, one of the suggested fabrics - it wouldn't look any better. I still don't really think it is my style, but makes a change, and really, with all that lovely room to move, great for the garden and other active sorts of chores:


But I think this top is more my style for casual around the house, also a Burda top:


I'm even smiling more, either because the caffeine is arriving, or I happen to know this is a better look for me!  The posts for this top can be found here. 


STYLE AT HOME - DOES IT MATTER OR NOT?



This week I am taking a break from posting details of a recently made garment because I want to talk about style, specifically Style at Home - Does it Matter or Not?  This is prompted by a lovely and thoughtful comment on my blog post last week, in which I discussed my sewing goals for this year and I thought it would be a good point for discussion this week, as many of us spend time at home as we are homemakers, working from home, or otherwise homebased for a variety of reasons.  And I am sure we all feel a little lost about what to wear at times, as "home clothes" are not really the subject of many style books.  And the one I am currently reading almost dismisses this category of life,  in a nice sort of way, but still, we are out here, and we do count, and we want to look good as well.  And the black jacket, LBD, black pants, white top, cashmere sweater capsule formula is not really what most of us wear to put out the rubbish or do the gardening. And we people that work from home also tend to muck our chores in with our work - or I do at least!  I call it having a break!  Plus, of course, a bit of sewing at morning tea and lunchtime!

I wrote:

Retrospectively I have concentrated during  the last few years on making a lot of casual garments, because most of my life is in the ordinary to banally ordinary  category.  You know,  cooking, cleaning, shopping, garden jobs, putting out the bin and so on.  This was good in that I actually got a lot of sewing practice on garments that did not really matter, so to speak.  Occasionally I have made dressier garments, but still with an eye to ordinary life practicality.

And Marianne commented:


This morning I read your post over breakfast and I've been thinking about it ever since. The sentence: 'I actually got a lot of sewing practice on garments that did not really matter' kept echoing in my head. I feel the clothes we wear for our everyday life are the most important of all and should reflect our personality. I work from home and do lots of chores, gardening and dog walking and I find there are no limits to what I can wear, as long as it's washable. Boring jobs are more fun in exciting clothes! I think sewing pretty garments with lovely details to wear around the house is so rewarding. You've achieved so much, both professionally as in sewing. Managing a medical practice is an important job and you've encouraged lots of sewists by starting Make a Garment a Month (I still miss the blog). I know you don't like the Newcastle dress style, but why go with the flow if you don't like the flow? You deserve a style that will make you stand out and shine. Happy New Year to you and your husband!


Marianne, firstly I want to thank you for your comment, which of course in turn got me thinking.  Firstly, about what I wear and why.  If I wrote my whole style story here I am afraid it would take a very long time - suffice it to say, that I have not been in a position in life to always make clothes my priority.  Or perhaps more accurately, when there is a job to be done, I do it, and clothes then are not my priority.

So my clothes are more functional and practical than pretty and stylish.  Marianne finds boring  jobs more fun in  exciting clothes.  I don't.  I find boring jobs more exciting if I can take my imagination to unseen places, so maybe I need to factor that into my choice of clothes!  Of course, I have to reign this tendency in when I do serious stuff, but there is a very playful side to me as well.   So part of me is a bit like this, and I am not sure at all how to dress that sort of me!   Do you follow formula, such as I am a classic/natural/ feminine sort of thing, or do you dress for your lifestyle, or for the role you have to play,  and what is dressing for your personality anyway.  I think if I really dressed for my personality, I would scare people away, as I can be quite definite at times. But I am also empathetic, and find that I have to mask that in order to cope, especially where I live at the moment.  I am also an introvert, so straight away you will see I have gone into a mental exploration of this! Now, that does not mean I am shy and retiring, far from it, I know my mind well and can be assertive when needed, it's just I like my personal space). So how do you dress all these factors?  

Overall,  I found the structure of rules, such as those outlined by Wendy Mak, very handy and I will be referring to this later this year and perhaps re-assessing my sewing in line with it.  As well as exploring sewing more, as this will address  my need for stimulation and using my imagination from time to time.  But as for sitting down and working out key pieces and all sorts of things like that, for hours on end, is just not me at all.  I'd rather be sewing.  I jot ideas down, and add to them, and subtract and think of new ideas, and make lists of those, and somehow it all comes together.  And these ideas usually come when I am doing boring and tedious jobs!  However, Wendy Mak also makes the point that she is only styling a "typical" wardrobe of work wear, going out wear and weekend wear.  Not clothes for lounging at home or doing practical work in.  Now, I find that this is the big style question - those of us that tend to spend lots of time at home - do we wear weekend wear, work wear, going out wear, or that undefined lounging or chore work wear? Or is that an area that we have to define ourselves, once our lives are defined more by the space of the home. 

And  I suspect the main  point Marianne is making is  that our everyday lives have worth and validity, and that we deserve to make the most of ourselves, whatever it is that we have to do.   This I quite agree with, and this year I am going to attempt to alter my approach to clothes making to more accord with my reality of now.  And, to have explore different colours, styles and ideas to see what it is that I like, that sparks with some sort of inner me.  That will be quite a journey, and it will be interesting to see where it takes me.  Having been a uniform wearer for my earlier life, and then having to service a mortgage and pay for studies later in life, I have never really had the luxury of exploring different styles and fashions.  The rules, though, I know very well indeed!  Although I think some of them  are a little rigid and poorly thought through.  I will discuss that more later this year, I am sure, as well!  

As far as Home Based Style is concerned,  I am sure that many of you are in the same boat, where you have a home based life, but not a very well thought out approach to your style, because, well, you are just at home.  

So, I invite you to follow along this year as I stumble, explore and fumble my way through a range of styles with the hope of finding styles that I like that I can wear in  my very everyday life.

Thank you Marianne, for your gracious comment.

You can find Marianne's blog here:
http://foxglovesandthimbles.blogspot.com.au/

Your comments: 

As you know, I am not really greatly fond of Blogger's comment system. and am trying to incorporate a different way of addressing your comments.  I may end up using Disquis, as at least you know I have read and replied to your comments.  I also think the blog world is changing, and that there is a whole audience of people reading blogs more like a magazine.  I value you too, and think it is a great privilege that you find my blog interesting enough to follow and read. Then the IG sewers, who look at blogs but comment on IG.  I find that my regular blog followers, who I consider friends, are not a large number, and I really want to respond to you all.

In the meantime, thank you for your comments on last weeks post - and Keisha, I agree, it's great to be able to get to know fellow sewers.  And Lisa, you are not alone!.  Anne, Dawn, Sharon, Lorna, Judy, Hana and Regina - thank you for your well wishes for 2017, warmly reciprocated and I look forward to sharing our sewing stories this year.

19 comments:

  1. What an interesting topic, Sarah Liz, and one which has me thinking also. In my mother's era, she and her friends made themselves 'house dresses', only about two or three of them, plus they wore aprons. How times have changed! I mostly wear shorts at home during our long hot summer, and despite my advancing years have no intention of changing that. And I buy them, because they are cheaply available, and I prefer to spend my limited sewing time on interesting new garments for other occasions. I really like your new peplum top,although I think it works better with pants than a skirt. However, your stripe one is a beauty, and I feel sure you will make more of them too. Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!

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  2. A really interesting post. And one that I think I will have to mull over for a while. My friends tell me I have a certain style, but I am not sure I see it myself. I am at home most of the time and I think you can tell a lot from my mood by what I am wearing. I chose my clothes based on what feels right that day. But, you can bet your bottom dollar if I'm wearing sweatpants I am not in a good place! Going to mull it over.
    For now though I love your new top but I agree with the previous comment It works really well with pants but not sure it goes as well with the skirt.

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  3. I love this top! I love that style. I think a more mature version of the peplum. I'm away so I can't read the whole post but will when I'm back. I think this top would be great in a rayon and I think I'm going to get this pattern. I like it best with those nice slim pants. I think it would work as a dress too... Like how it's flat at the front.

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  4. I really love the top and think it would pair well with a slim pant or walking short. I love the construction too. Very nicely done.

    I find it interesting to analyze style for the various facets of life. I work full time so most days I come in and change to comfy clothes like leggings or shorts and a tank top (singlet??).

    It's taken me awhile to find my weekend style though and I realized it isn't so different from my workday style. Slightly more comfortable with the ability to wear higher hemlines or lower necklines :)

    Summer still alludes me though.

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  5. Try the new Burda in a lighter material. I've made this pattern in a voile and its one of my favorite summer tops.

    The rest of your post leaves a lot of food for thought. I wear a uniform to work and then spend quiet evenings at home or doing chores. I wear what I "feel" but sometimes this leaves me a little over-dressed for home. I, too, long to be fashionable but comfortable and appropriate to my surroundings and activity. Will be following your blog closely to see how you resolve this.

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  6. Thank you Sarahliz, This was a wonderful post.. I really need to read several more times [which I will], and think about it.. You really hit upon it.. I am not sure what my style at home is.. I too,worked in the hospital in uniforms. I started straight out of college, and wore uniforms until retirement.. This...........comfortable attire really spoiled me.ha My days off were really busy, cleaning grocery shopping, kid activities and needs.. So no thought to my dress style.Only comfort at that time.ha
    Now...I have gotten older... and just feel insecure with styles.
    I am so happy you posted this .. I am and will be following closely and really "thinking" about what I would like to do this coming year.
    I absolutely love the Burda top. I thought it looked good on you [agree with above post,better with pants or shorts]. And I bet with a voile or other soft clingy fabric would be great.
    The stripe top is cute too.. And I love blue on you.
    Have a great day..
    ps your hair looks cute..

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  7. This is a great post Sarah. I work in a medical setting four days a week and must wear scrubs to work. I strive to build wardrobe of "beautifully simple, stylish pieces that work in my at home setting or a casual evening out with my husband. I look forward to following your sewing journey this year!

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  8. Thank you Sarah. Firstly for your honesty and candour - most days that I do not have to leave the house I stay in PJs until noon and then sluggishly pull on a pair of RTW jeans. I think a stylish, yet comfortable and practicable wardrobe for "stay-at-home' days would be very welcome indeed.
    My husband buys a lot (!) of stuff from the Internet and I am often the one that has to answer the doorbell to receive deliveries - it really would be better if I was 'dressed' rather than still in night wear.

    Happy New Year and I look forward to you providing inspiration. Thanks again.

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  9. Happy New Year Sarah Liz! Wonderful topic, and last month I gave it much though too since I was spending more time home. I came to the conclusion, yes for me I wanted to make clothes for home that were nice as well as comfortable. Staying at home we can get caught in a rut same ole what ever it may be long old tee shirt, sweat pants, leggings, ect and while we many not be aware of it, kinda of diminishes self esteem. Plus clothing makes us feel good about ourselves, gives us that little boost of confidence in something that makes us feel good, and it could be just a cute little top. I'm not saying dress up to the nines, but for me feel a little better vs same ole drab clothing. Getting to your first top I like it on you, and maybe not the color it seems to wash you out. So I have to agree with you with possibilities with the top in a different fabric and color, but it does look nice on you.

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  10. Such an interesting topic Sarah Liz. I wear a uniform for work so seem to spend most of the summer wearing that, and most of the winter covering clothes up with a coat! But I too had the issue of what to wear at home and have found jersey dresses work for me, or pinafore dresses. This way I can still do my housework, or whatever job, sewing even(!) and still look and feel respectable yet comfy. It sounds like it will be a year of adventurous sewing for you and I look forward to following along with your journey. I like the peplum top on you, but I agree about the fabric; something that is softer would make this a perfect top.

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  11. First of all, I do think the new top suits you with the little gathers giving shape at the side but as you say a softer fabric will drape better. There are some jobs like gardening and sheep caring activities where style just doesn't matter. But at home I have been trying more because I got into a rut and felt blah about myself. In 2015 I threw out my old stained holey clothes I was wearing around the house because I deserved better and don't miss them at all. Have fun sewing and experimenting a new stylish fun at home wardrobe



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  12. You are so thoughtful -- great post. I think your garments including the the peplum above are gorgeously made and beautifully you. I sew mostly dresses because that is what I have to wear to work -- do I wear them at home!? No way. I need comfort which is why I have to sew clothes for home. Hopefully that will happen in the new year...

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  13. Good to see you experimenting with new silhouettes - this is a lovely style, I agree that it would look all the better in a more drapey fabric.

    I occasionally answer the door in a dressing gown, the delivery guys don't bat an eyelid. This is my year for sewing - everything! Including a better dressing gown.

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  14. How could I miss this post? Ahh, if only we didn't live in different corners of the world. Wouldn't it be nice if we could talk about sewing over a cup of coffee? I feel we dressmakers are so privileged as we have endless options to experiment with colours, textures and shapes. Functional and practical can be pretty and stylish at the same time! I feel the more time we spend at home, the more important our home wardrobe gets. So now I cook and put out the garbage in a Vogue patterns Donna Karan jacket. All it took was two meters of ponte knit and (a lot of) my own sewing time, so why not? For me it's about the spark, the smile it brings to my face when I'm dressing in the morning. I love your new top on slim pants, would love to see it in a softer, more colourful (or playful) fabric. Can't wait to see where your journey takes you!

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  15. Well, best regards and compliments. Not going to comment here, but would like to do it via Your pivate e-mail address. I couldn`t find it on Your web-site. Would You like to contact me ametlik @ ziggo dot nl ? Ruta.

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  16. This is an interesting post Sarah; but honestly I feel like you should let go and wear whatever you want; being at home gives you the freedom to do that. Just one of the reasons I sew for myself because I love fashion, peruse it at any opportunity, have these visions of what I want to create, and I feel very fortunate that like you, I CAN wear them anything I want, any day I like. If that means donning a snazzy frock to take out the bins or do the grocery shopping or mow the lawn or take the animals to the vet so be it. The only times I will wear mucky old clothes is if I'm really doing something grotty, like heavy gardening. I say; free yourself from expectations and limitations, just wear the amazing stuff, and enjoy it :)

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  17. Since we sew we most definitely love fabric but where and how we wear the resulting garments makes for interesting discussions, doesn't it. I would never hold myself up as an example of style at home but I do know that I feel more motivated, engaged and active when I am dressed "nicely." Now, that's a challenge when I spend time each day doing a 4 mile walk/hike or water aerobics and also take the dog out in all types of weather. I do find myself changing clothes a few times a day in those instances. And it can be annoying to keep undressing to try on a garment in my sewing room as I make adjustments. I do need a variety of clothes but most of them fall in the active wear, casual wear category and occasional special date/wedding/reception clothes. I have made at least a half-dozen faux iconic French jackets that I love wearing when I go out in public but even though they are as comfortable as a heavy knit cardigan, they are not clothes I wear around my house. At home with no outside apps for the day I am most likely wearing knits on top, perhaps in layers, and jeans of some type on the bottom. Today I am packing to go to the mountains overnight with my husband and friends. I could just pack the traditional Patagonia or LL Bean cardigan or pullover but I'll be wearing a casual but sparkly knit waterfall jacket which is comfortable but a little dressier. At my age I have to be aware that too much "norm core" means I can look like the dog walker...."not that there's anything wrong with that" since Id o walk the dog but too casual for me turns too frumpy very quickly. Tks for an interesting conversation with everyone, Sarah.

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  18. A very interesting post. I'm a bit late with a comment since I have fallen behind with my blog reading. I have the same struggle. It was easy when I worked but less so now. I look forward to your further experimentation and your posts. I go to a bridge event each week and most of the ladies there are much better dressed than I and much less casual. No jeans for them! I feel I need to up my game there (in both senses). I had to wear shorts for a physio appointment and found that wearing more athletic gear made me feel more athletic. There are certain clothes that make me feel yuck. I'm going to get rid of them. We deserve to wear what we feel good in whatever we are doing. I'll just have to use some of those aprons I have when I'm cooking etc!

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  19. Interesting post.... but first want to say I like your new top! Style at home is something that has evolved in my life these last few years. When I was younger I loved clothes. Even though I owned a horse and took care of him, I loved my clothes. Then I had children and still enjoyed wearing nice clothes even when taking them to the park. But somewhere along the way.... coinciding maybe to moving to a more rural area.... I'd fallen in a rut of putting on a pair of jeans and comfy top for most of my days until I began to sew and re-evaluate my 'life' and 'who' I was. Maybe even 'who' I want to be. Sewing has opened up opportunities for me to try new-to-me designs and fabrics and now find that I'm usually the oddball one walking about my little town in the way of clothes I wear, but that's okay it doesn't bother me in the least. I find I feel better about myself when I 'dress' for the day, regardless of whether it's an at-home day or not.... so I walk the dog and hike in the woods in the clothes I have on for that day..... even do a bit of weeding in the garden. For heavy duty dirty chores, I keep a set of clothes strictly to be worn for those times. Good topic to think about. :)

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