Category Archives: Wardrobing

Discussions of creating a wearable set of clothing

Spring Closet Review: Tops

I did not review my wraps/3rd layers.  I have wraps, jackets and blouses (which function as 3rd layers)  in various colors including my basics.  I’m not entirely happy with all my wraps but not unhappy enough to give serious time and effort replacing them — at least not now.

I did, however try on every blouse/top I expect to wear this spring. As with the pants, I immediately discarded items that needed repair or had faded badly before checking for fit.  I looked not just at “does it go around” but I paid particular attention to the drag lines I’ve been fighting for several years. I.e. did it have round back drag lines?  FBA drag lines? Were the hems level? The Empire line horizontal? I tossed another half-dozen tops. Put at least that many into the ‘maybe’ pile. To tell the truth, I was afraid I would not have any tops without these gross fitting errors. I was quite pleased to find the 11 (shared in pics on this page) which deserved the “OK” classification.

These either had no fitting errors or the drag lines were slight. Relieved, I donated the maybes; and recovered buttons and findings from the “no-go” or “repair needed” categories before throwing those in the trash.

Some of the OK’s may not last all spring. I love rayon challis but don’t give it the care it deserves.  Normally rayon challis last about 2 seasons in my wardrobe. So I know the rayon challis blouses that were sewn in 2015 are on their way out. I also know that I prefer an evenly distributed range of browns, blacks and blues and for spring and  I’d like something that says “spring”  at least  to me.  Several of these say fall or winter.  I will be sewing tops purposefully to round out my wardrobe to my liking and make it ‘springy’.  Happily, I won’t be sewing like the devil to  achieve that goal.

Spring Clothing Review: Pants

Every few years, I find I have far more clothes than I do clothes hangers.  I do not buy more hangers. No my issue is that I sew a lot and I experiment with my sewing. A lot. It creates this situation of more hangers than clothes. And a need for a clothing purge.

I concentrated my review  on clothes that will work for me this spring and again this fall knowing that these clothes can on occasion be useful even during very hot and equally cold weather conditions. Why? Well they are  transition clothing. They are not designed for the extremes of weather, but all the in-betweens.

This spring I decided to cull by some specific qualities. First, was there was something wrong with the garment?  A ripped seam. Missing button. Freyed edge. That kind of ‘wrong’ stuff. Second criteria: fit. Not the ‘big enough to get around me’ fit but the other pull lines that say there is something wrong with my garment. Like the endless sequence of pants with these wrinkles:

BTW the pants above were particularly disheartening for me. I though I had an epiphany. I thought that Peggy Sagers pants fitting method was THE ANSWER to fitting pants for my body. To my dismay pants worn often enough and long enough  developed the same pull lines I’ve hated for years.  Let me say that again:   even though when originally fit the pants did not have these wrinkles, over time the wrinkles appear.

I gave pants considerable thought and realized that there were multiple factors causing my pain. For one, fabric and supplies. While they may have been good to start with, over time they stretched as best as possible to accommodate my figure and posture. I gave thought to replacing elastics. For this batch of pants that would mean an awful lot of ripping. I can think of ways that would make it easier for me to replace elastics in the future but for now (especially those pairs which appear to also be too tight across my bum),  I think I’ll just let go.

Another factor may be that I don’t totally get Peggy’s fitting method.  I need to both correct the sharp pulling down at CB waist, and pooling for fabric beneath the bum. I’ve only been applying the latter.  I need to experiment with correcting for both. Or replace elastic every 3 months.  Or eliminate Yoga pants from my wardrobe.   I’m still on the fence about the Yoga Pant.

Not shown above are all the lantern pants I’ve made and discarded. For the longest, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like them. I should love any pant which doesn’t have or develop the dreaded X wrinkles and bagginess below the bum. I think lantern pants looks fine on others, so why did I dislike them so much?  Finally I realized, I’m always trying to make myself look taller and the lantern leg shortens the leg making me look shorter.  So for sure, Lantern Pants are out of the line up (I do want to look taller).

Also not shown are the the 90% of my DG2 jeans which I still wear regularly.  I did go up 3 sizes. 1 so as not to have negative ease.  2nd one because I like a little more than zero ease. 3rd  when I moved to plus petite sizing to have enough waistband length. The DG2 pants I’ve discarded were because the waistbands shrank and became uncomfortable.

All my TJ906’s jeans are in rotation. They also tend to be discarded for shrinkage. I know it is shrinkage because when I make the next pair, I use the same exact pattern and the jeans are slightly too large.

I was surprised to realize that I have exactly 2 pairs of pants made from PP113 and none from the Eureka pattern. Partly this is because I tend to make a dressier pant with PP113 and Eureka whereas I live in jeans. But I know if I could fit a nice slim legged slack (16-18″ at the hem), I would wear them.  PP113 and the Eureka patterns have many differences in draft but on my body look nearly the same. The PP113 takes slightly less fabric (I can always get a pair out of 2 yards. Cant’ say that about the Eureka.)  Probably for that reason I’ve done the most work and have the most variations in tissue.


Black pants:  NONE I have an overabundance of black in every style I wear.

BLUE:  At least one each 906 and PP113

Brown:  Ditto. One jeans, one slacks.


Note to self:  Purge the pants pattern stash. I only use 2 patterns. Why am I cluttering my space with all those other patterns?).

2017 Spring 6PAC Update

Yesterday I posted my first sewn garment for the 2017 Spring 6PAC. Originally I was considering 2 fabrics: the peach skin sewn and a silk  (bottom) that’s been marinating in my stash for about 15 years:

I love both fabrics but felt the peach skin coordinated better with the printed fabric I wanted to use for a knit top.  I’m pleased with my choice

and returned the silk to the stash. I’m  planning to use it this fall should this bright blue still be trendy.

The real value, well besides having a coordinated wardrobe, but I digress…. The real value in completing the 6PAC’s season after season is that time comes  when garments made for previous 6PAC’s can be incorporated into the current season. So the blouse needed to be sewn, but the bottoms are already in the closet:

These are both me-made.  I have to fall back of Peggy Sager’s excuse for the near invisibility in pictures of the garments themselves.  See, I too prefer dark fabrics for my bottoms. Only during  summer  will I wear lighter colored bottoms.

On the left are my favorite jeans Trudy Jansen 906. On the right, Pamela’s Patterns 113 slacks/trousers.  I live in jeans but I do like to have a dressier pant  available. Both bottoms were sewn during last fall and winter. So why are they spring bottoms?  South Dakota, where I live, has a long, cold and mostly-wet spring.  I start wearing mid-weight bottoms about mid-Oct.  Somewhere in Dec-Jan, I add a under layer of tights or long johns and pull out the corduroys and wools. By the first of April (most years), the heavy weight corduroys and wools are retired until next winter along with the long johns.  I may still need to slip ona pair of tights  until about mid-May. Point is, for my weather, mid-weight pants are wearable 3 seasons of the year.  The dressy pants are not replaced often. But jeans? I add a new pair in each of my neutrals (black, blue and brown) at least every year.

My update at the moment shows I”m half way through.  YES I have 3 completed garments

2017 Spring 6PAC Pattern Fabric Match

It should be no big surprise that I’ve decided I will use both the Tabula Rasa Blouse and T exclusively in my Spring 2017 6PAC. I am triplely fond of these 2 patterns because they fit, they can be used with a wide variety of fabrics without further alterations, and from the front they look like classic blouses and T’s. From the front, the princess seam is not visible. Nor are any darts (they are incorporated into said princess seams and side panel).  Indeed from the front, you can’t even tell how easy-to-sew that set-in sleeve is. What’s of question to me is which fabrics will I use.


I’m positive on using the solid print. Just a question of how.  I find that my solid T’s are the first to be worn out.  Especially in neutral colors like navy, black and white, these T’s seldom last a full season because they are the first to be chosen.  This bright blue may not be on my back as often as the neutrals, but I think it will be worn a lot. My internal  debate is on making a plain TRT or adding some embellishment. A solid presents so many opportunities for embellishment. So many things I could do — but should I?  After all, I intend this to be the corner-stone of my 6PAC (along with the wrap and pants). Will embellishment remove it from its anchor status? How much time do I want to invest in a garment which will be worn one maybe 2 seasons before it is ugly?

For a 6 PAC I need  a 3rd layer, 3 tops and 2 bottoms. I prefer one of those tops to be a woven blouse which I can also layer over T’s if our SD Spring weather turns cold. So while both of the print fabrics will be made into TRT’s with sleeve or neckline variations, I’m not sure about the blouse fabrics:

The top fabric (probably Ikat inspired) is a peachskin with a lovely drape. It however is not as appealing layered with the blue, white, green print

as is the Thai Silk:

The Thai Silk unfortunately has much more body than the peachskin. I think I would prefer the silk in a differentstyle. It needs more structure to bring it closer to my body. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pattern fitted which will give it that structure. Do I dare use the silk with the TRJ?

Lastly, but taking up most of my thought process is my 3rd layer.  This is a specialty weave purchased I think, from about 3 years ago

I love its color and the drape. The fringe (selvage) will make a wonderful trim.  Not sure what the fiber  is but that’s OK. After all, my 3rd layers are worn and pressed, without going through the whole laundry cycle, most of the time.

My first thought was to make the TRJ adding an inch  or so to the length; possibly extending the front to a drape. Then I realized that’s not what I’m wearing. My 3rd layers since mid-Fall have been Ruana’s and shrugs

and shrugs with Ruana’s being selected most of the time for maximum coverage.  Perhaps during spring, I won’t reach as much for the Ruana. Then again when I’m cold is when I reach for a wrap. When I’m cold, I want a wrap to cover everything.

So I checked my Pinterest Board “3rd Layers” hoping for new 3rd layer shapes that are current. Something that covers my arms. Oh and something that takes advantage of the drape of my fabric.


Do you have any favorites?





2017 Spring 6PAC Fabric Selection

No you didn’t miss my post on the TR blouse. Like the “IBS Girl” of TV commercials, what I plan to do and what my infirmities  will allow is not necessarily the same. I will  shortly publish my first TRT-blouse, which I think I’m calling the TRB but for now let me share  the beginning of my 2017 Spring 6PAC.

I do look for and at the fashion colors that are forecast each season. But I don’t rely upon them alone. I’m long past the phase of wearing colors because that’s what is in.  I also consult my personal colors and I watch what is advertised on Evine, HSN and QVC shopping venues that are in-line with what my community will buy and wear.  This spring I’ve been ecstatic because one of my best colors, a range of bright blues,  is also a designated 2017 Spring color AND is appearing all the clothing lines on the above channels.

I happily searched my stash for fabrics with bright blues.  Having collected these colors for some time, I have quite a few.  Next I sorted my bright blue for which color matched and also looked for darker or lighter values of the exact same hue.  After all, bright blue applies to several colors on my 3-In-One color tool. I weeded out a little more and ended up with 7 fabrics. Left is

A novelty weave that I plan to use in some kind of spring wrap:

I also have one lighter-weight jersey knit that will be perfect

Of the selected fabrics only 1 is a woven and will make a nice blouse.

I  have 2 more knits either of which will make nice TRTs

The knit on the left (blue and purple)  seems to say winter to me. The knit on the right with its green, white and black, looks more spring.

My real concern is how these two look  with the blouse fabric because, on occasion, I like to be able to slip my blouse over my T’s.

I’m really not happy with how the blouse fabric work with the more spring-link green-white-black but that’s the fabric I’d prefer to use for my 2nd T

I search my stash for a possible alternative and found this lovely woven silk

The darker ‘blue’ is really a purple. The blue doesn’t match the bright blue of the ‘wrap’ fabric but does look good with either T fabric:

Notice anything missing?  Like any bottom fabrics.  My bottoms will be pants.  I have several blue pants that are perfect.  I have a dress pair of navy trousers; a navy pair of DG2 jeans and a brushed-twill, midnight-navy,  TJ906 jeans.  I don’t really need to add bottoms. But I have a bright blue ponte that matches the blue of the Wrap and the solid T.  Which has me seriously considering making a pair of Eleanors with :

Just need to collect my thoughts a little bit more.

Styling, the Final Step in Making Clothes Work For Me


Despite the fact I am once again badly in need of a haircut, I thought I would share how I styled the disappointing peach T-shirt so it would be acceptable to me. I’d rather not be confined to always wearing a 3rd layer. Fortunately I have a few that will work with this T-shirt so that I can enjoy the beautiful embroidery.


The wonky fitting has disappeared. OK been completely hidden by my vest. I wore it all day long  (acquiring a few wrinkles in my vest) and can happily report that it did not stretch completely out of shape. Unlike the earlier garment, this T had facings to stabilize the neckline and back; and shoulder pads providing further support. Nonetheless, I’m glad it’s no longer in my stash.  I’m still contemplating tossing all the ancient fabrics.