Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mending a Deal Breaker

 As far as i can tell, we all have them. Those items that are so perfect in almost every way - except for that awful deal breaker! The buttons hit at the wrong spot or won't stay buttoned, the fabric gets itchy when you sweat, the dye bleeds onto your purse, whatever. This top used to be one of those pieces. I adore the eyelet fabric (just the right combo of frou frou with minimalist), love the tee-shirt-like cut, love the hook and eye closure in front and the laces up the back. I based it on a J. Peterman cami from a few years back.

The hooks and eyes were my favorite part, and always get favorable comments when i wear this top. But they were a hassle. In order to keep the hooks from snagging other delicates when in the washing machine, i had to safety pin them under the placket. And then undo all eleven safety pins before i could wear the top. Every time i washed it. Which i could live with, except for the other problem - that the hooks and eyes never stayed closed. The only way i could keep them in place was to draw the laces up extra tight (click here for a view). The super-tight waist emphasized the bust to an alarming degree. I have to admit i prefer the 'just right' amount of ease you see in these pictures.

So, after maybe four or five years of frustration, i decided it was do or die. I fix this thing or out it goes! The mind flexed under pressure and squirted out an idea - i realized i could just sew up the front. I tried it, i can still get the top on and off, you can see the hooks and eyes just peeking at the edge, et voila! The blouse i wanted to make in the first place. Let's pretend i only started making it last week.

In other less successful wardrobe developments, i gave this free-to-me skort a trial run. In theory there should be a place in my closet for the skort. I mean, they are expressly designed for freedom of movement plus modesty in the hottest of weather. (hmm - that's a darn good summary of my complete summer wardrobe needs right there!) I don't think this look is an absolute flop. On the other hand, i wasn't all that into wearing it. In my mind, the skort is just too associated with "running errands after a morning of tennis and mimosas". And as it happens, skorts aren't all that comfortable for me either. The inner shorts kind of pull against the fabric of the skirt and it really bothers my leg. Who'd have thunk?

So i'm closing the chapter on the skort. One less thing to clog up the brain, another experience crossed off the old bucket list. Speaking of once in a lifetime experiences........i woke up early this morning, made my tea and oatmeal and sat in front of the computer. After a bit, i hear scampering in the duff outside the window. We've been watching a doe and her two spotted fawns around our place the last few weeks, so i looked out. Sure enough little fawn was bouncing around the hillside, about 15' away. I couldn't resist whispering to him, so enchanting to see his eyes and huge ears zero in on my face. He headed out back and i went to our bedroom window - to get a view of mama heading to meet him.

And then, baby decided it was breakfast time! I only watched for about 30 seconds, as they both could see me and i could tell it made mom a little edgy. We were only about twelve feet away from each other. I'd never seen this before, and the fawns are very rambunctious at bumping mom to get the milk to come down! This video i found shows their rowdiness very well. I guess there are advantages to having weak and helpless young ;)

Have you been able to save any deal breakers recently, or managed to cross something that seems 'so obviously for you' off of your list? I know that many fashionistas feel bad when they find some trend, style, or clothing item that they can't wear. But i feel relieved - one less hassle to deal with! How about you?


  1. Some days it seems like my whole life/avocation is fixing those dealbreakers. (I laughed in enjoyment when you thought up sewing the blouse closed. If you hadn't been able to get in on and off that way, there's the old side zipper trick)

    I'm on the verge of getting rid of a silk two piece dress. The sleeveless lined shell fits perfectly. The skirt was fine but very long and I shortened the lining and the silk. It's a pale, muted watercolor floral print that looks grey but is really a tinge of dusky purple - you can't see that unless you flip the slip up and pop a black slip underneath :). It has the palest yellow green flowers. The skirt looks nice with any of my grey stretch tops: icy velour, cashmere like with reverse seams...
    The top looks good with my pale grey tweedy "linen" trousers. And yet... I feel kind of
    drained of life in it.

    I seem to dress as though I were near-sighted and had to be able to discern rich color and/or pattern from a distance away. :) I suppose I could make an attempt to wear it before I consign it permanently to the purge pile. Up to now I've been approaching it something like a logic problem or a British style crossword where if you only put it down for awhile when next you come to it the missing word will pop out for you.

    Funny coincidence you mention skorts. I always have an eye out for skirts. I have 2 current favorites this summer but would be happy to add more. The small cozy church thrift store where my friend and I like to shop has undergone a revolution. It used to be that everyone knew each other by name and sometimes we would share the dressing room (bathroom) and trade clothes back and forth or give alteration tips. And then came the women from Dominican Republic? who chose to speak only Spanish and keep plastic storage bins *in* the thrift store, kicking them around the store and swooping garments into it by the handfuls. (I sometimes say things to them in Spanish and they stare at me) It is a very, very small store. Many times others of us would gently reach out to lift something to look at and their hands would dart in first and remove it. It becomes Extreme Thrifting as you try to adopt their methods and scoop things so that you can at least see them before they're gone. And you can't dislike the women because they spend many times over what any of the rest of us do and this supports the church. So we only hate them with a small h.

    I watched them scoop the printed skirts and caught sight of a wonderful red and white graphic one. Just the thing I would have liked.
    I later made a slower trip around the store, after they'd filled their two bins to the brim and spotted the skorts on a rack in another room.

    I'm thrilled with them. I love that they look like they're made for speed, jaunty. I'm short and on me they're much longer than on you. They were all Izod and I like that brand. They were polyester that's the kind that's very soft and sueded. I tend to run my hands along my clothes. :) I have problems with thighs chafing and thought maybe the skorts would be an anwer to being able to wear a skirt without chafing. Yes, I use powder, body glide, whatever. I realize I wouldn't be able to use them, because of the polyester, on the very steamiest days but there are plenty of other days. And I so crave to look like I'm running errands after a morning of tennis and mimosas! If only I believed "if you build it, they will come."

  2. I went through a skort phase about 4 summers ago after finding THE perfect denim one. Wore it to death and then suddenly had the "too much fabric under here" epiphany. Done with skorts now.

    I also decided just last summer that above the knee skirts/shorts/etc. no longer flatter my aging knees. I was sad very briefly, then relieved to eliminate all those skirts from the fitting room.

    High heeled shoes and big handbags have always been off my list. Hats and funky eyeglasses come and go. Patterned tops feel fussy on me so I skip right over them.

    I love your clothing on you, and on me those same items would feel wrong, like a costume. I suspect my ready-to-wear plain tee shirts would feel artificial on you but suit me to, well, a tee!

    I am also not into statement necklaces (so big in the blogosphere! so heavy around the neck!) or dangly earrings. Both had a place in my life and are now behind me.

  3. I agree with Louise about the too much fabric in the skort. I think I am down to one pair with a thin inner lining and I basically think of them as a skirt.

    It was awesome that you caught that moment with the momma and her doe.

  4. I love how Louise is so sure about what suits her! I am constantly experimental. It reminds me that I did try 2 skorts on that I did not buy: one was a coral cotton one and it did indeed have that too much fabric fighting itself feeling and the other was not a sports-looking one but made of grey plaid and owing to that looked indecent, like I had woken up Rip Von Winkle fashion after being kidnapped from parochial school.

    Like Terri, the ones I did buy had that thin lining like pettipants and I also think of them as skirts. On me, they are about an inch or so above my kneecap and are about as high a mini as I want to wear. I don't like to spend any time climbing into someone's van or truck and/or sitting down and then wondering all the time if I have accidentally revealed too much. The skorts lining gives me peace of mind.

  5. Wonderful solution to your blouse issue. I have sewn some blouse-fronts shut if they had a gap-problem, and I have *removed* the shorts-thing from a skort, because I also could not abide all that goings-on down below.

    Love the video, and how lucky you are to see this in person : >

  6. Hi Vildy! oy, well i used to spend more time on these before i began to sew more of my own clothing. one way or another, ya gotta put in the time ;) "Up to now I've been approaching it something like a logic problem or a British style crossword where if you only put it down for awhile when next you come to it the missing word will pop out for you." ha! this is the bane of my existence.....because of the many many times that it does not work and i'm holding onto things for no good reason. i've been getting better, bit by bit.

    eh, that's a shame about the 'combat thrifting' vibe that's come to your little shop. The places we do business at are at the end so dependent on the people who work and shop there. I hope you can make a somewhat smooth adjustment to the new situation ane still have fun and get some great clothes. I wish i had some good advice :( in it's stead, how about a hug?

    "I love that they look like they're made for speed, jaunty." yep! that is just it!Izod makes such nice quality clothes - i bet they felt nice! i reserve the right to change my mind about skorts, if for example i find some type of scuba/utility detailed skort. and i must report that i'm planning on making a species of split skirt - hopefully more details soon!

    "If only I believed "if you build it, they will come."" indeed.

    Hi Louise! "...the "too much fabric under here" epiphany." yeah. i wonder why more skorts don't do the thin inner lining method like Terri and Vildy have seen......hmm, maybe in future they will. I agree with Vildy that it's refreshing to see a person with strong lieks adn dislikes about their style. I actually wrote a piece about the importance of 'no-gos' in defining personal style quite a while back - but it is something i believe in strongly. a link if you're curious:

    "I love your clothing on you, and on me those same items would feel wrong, like a costume. I suspect my ready-to-wear plain tee shirts would feel artificial on you but suit me to, well, a tee!" thank you and YES! people are so different, i loooooove to see people looking fabulous in things i would feel ridiculous or stiff or whatever in! Just because i don't choose to wear something does not mean i don't love it or love it on someone else. That's one thing i truly relish about living in the bay area - variety galore!

    Hi Terri! a thin lining sounds like a whole different kettle of fish. wonder if it will catch on? and yes, it was just great. it's moments like that that encourage me to keep looking, you never know what you will see :)

    Vildy!! "...owing to that looked indecent, like I had woken up Rip Von Winkle fashion after being kidnapped from parochial school. " wild thing, indeed - i've been in intermittent stitches all weekend from this!

    ah, Patti - looks like great minds, heehee! and good idea on the skorts as well. I had no idea you were such a 'fixer-upper'. Fascinating, you have that 'it all just comes together perfect with no effort' vibe. Who knew? i'm glad you liked the video - much more rambunctious than i expected!

    Thank you mom! they actually have little pleats at the top, you can see here:

    there is a new sock shop on Telegraph with an outrageous selection, including japanese harajuku socks.....i want to visit there again soon!

    Happy Monday! steph

  7. I remember skorts, but haven't seen one of decades... and decades! They can stay dead as far as I'm concerned. It just never really worked for me. (Too much leg, etc....)

    Cheers from England,