Monday, December 24, 2012

A Blatant Rip Off

I truly didn't mean to come up with a line for line knockoff of the V8795 envelope picture - specifically view C.

Vogue 8795 view C
 Honest! Look, i even made a mock-up of this cotton French terry fabric in a completely different pattern entirely (V8620 by Marcy Tilton).

auditioning 'all animal' vs. 'half animal - half stripes'
However, when the fabric arrived it had such sumptuous drape (enhanced by the lycra, no doubt) that i nixed it for 8620. Marcy Tilton describes 8620 as an 'updated version of the jean jacket', and we all know jean jackets use a sturdy denim. But, my experience with 8795 showed me that this pattern is perfect married with a very drapey fabric as it softens the shape of the boxier cut. edit: Shams reminded me i should post a link to the fabric on Marcy Tilton's site - here it is!

I'd bee itching to use this hook and eye tape for something since just about ever. Almost a year ago, i spied this outrageously oversized hook and eye tape on offer at Stone Mountain and Daughters. Wow!!! I had no idea what to do with it, but man was i jonesin'.

everything lines up so neatly at center hem - yay!

When 8795 hit the catalog a few months later, i thought Ms. Tilton's use of the self same hook and eyes was perfection.  To sweeten matters, in the interim Stone Mountain had knocked the tape off by 50%. I purchased enough for at least two jackets. I can't tell you how tough this tape looks, i love it on and am very happy to have more! Even better, it's plenty sturdy so when this piece wears out i'll be able to use the hook and eye again. Oh yeah.

Well, in truth my new piece has discernible differences from the 'view C' iteration. "View C" uses a zipper, for one, and i chose to fully line my jacket with black cotton jersey while Ms. Tilton's example is unlined. She even uses the selvedge edges as design features. But I like the feel of a jersey lining, it adds some warmth, and makes the piece look so nice and cleanly finished inside and out. Plus, the back of the animal print terry is stark white, which really clashed with the whole 'vibe' that the piece was developing. So i omitted the little facings and lined the whole thing.

black jersey lining and nicely draping edges
In my twenties, thirties, and on into my forties i held myself to a curious rule when sewing from patterns. The idea of copying any of the views shown on the envelope scandalized me, and i couldn't bring myself to do it.  I even shied away from making a piece up in a similar color to any of the versions in the illustrations, whether or not this color would be the most flattering or useful in my closet. The reasons behind this 'block' of mine? Who knows! I don't even know what changed my views on the matter. Whatever the root of block or release, nowadays, i just want clothes i like.  Creative origins be damned!

And now for a couple of seasonal treats. True to the 'E' in my blog title, i'm not a traditionalist here, either. But i love winding up little kids (and adults), so i enjoy the spirit of the season. Here's a couple of eccentric holiday offerings for you - But Beware! They are not for the faint of heart!

My latest resident ear worm is this Original Aboriginal Christmas song, sung by Shoshoni Elder Oldhands.  Five hundred years on, contact is still a fraught business. Still, Santa stays true to his shamanistic roots and provides bounty for everyone in the family, even in the most difficult - nay, dire - of circumstances.

Lon Stickler's blog Phantoms and Monsters is THE place to go for the weirdest of the weird. Seven foot tall mantis men, First Nations families battling the stray leftover interdimensional pterodactyl, reptilian special forces spotted during training exercises in abandoned mines - Lon has it all and more. Last year he posted a particularly creepy and disturbing story involving a young boy in the snowy, deserted north; the local teller of tall tales; and the possible deceased body of Santa..........i have remembered it ever since and present it here for those who love a dark and spooky tale. Definitely not for everyone.

Whatever you do or don't celebrate this time of year, we all respond to the return of the light. Welcome Sun, giver of all good things - light, warmth, food. If past experience is any guide, i'll stop feeling the strong urge to hibernate pretty soon, too. Happy Holidays! All My Relations, Ho!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Outer Shell

Mr. E bought me this duster as my birthday present, back in May. It's a lightweight cotton, lined with acetate, and saw very little use in our hothothot summer. Mr. E worried i didn't like his gift, but i assured him when temps (finally) dipped this duster would be in constant use. And it has! It's too light for our recent cold snap (daytime temps in low 40's F), but in our usual warmer climate it's fine layered over a long sleeved top and cashmere or alpaca cardi.

In fall and winter, my style is all about 'the outer shell'. I like to come up with a few sets of outer pieces to create my looks for the season. These sets generally consist of a topper, hat, and scarf.  This trio has been my go-to set this winter so far. I enjoy the pear shape i get by buttoning the duster up high and letting the wool gauze scarf fall. This beret is also wool, very toasty.

I can't recall the last time i had a duster-type jacket in my closet. Wait, it's coming back to me - never! i have no idea why not, since the dramatic shape and style connotations seem right up my alley. It could be that i was waiting for 'the one'. Unfortunately, many dusters seem created solely to hide butt and thighs, rather than to flatter or create a sense of drama and intrigue. I need a bit of my shape to show, either through tailoring or drapey fabric, otherwise i look like i'm carrying around my own group emergency shelter. Whatever the reason i've been 'duster-less' until now, i am thrilled that i've finally found one that works, and works so well. In fact, i've snagged the pattern and fabric to create another duster/dress - in linen and a bit longer, perhaps all the way down to the knee.

Oof, i was tired when i took these pictures and it shows! Nevermind, i loved this variation of this look and wanted to remember it. The same 'outer shell' as above, this time on top of petticoat, skirt, and over the knee socks.

In this pic you can see the duster's shaping around the back of the waist. I get a kick out of the way this ensemble downplays my bust - amazingly so, as long time blog readers will realize there's quite a bit to camouflage! Creating a different shape with clothes is one of my favorite style activities. It's like magic :)

I don't want to ignore the role that these skinny jeans have been playing in my wardrobe these days. They are warm, easy to wear, comfy, up to date and stylin'!  Best of all, they were super duper easy to get my hands on. Remember these boot cut jeans i made long ago?

Goodness gracious, it was over a year ago! Time flies.  Well, i never wore them. "Dark wash bootcut jeans" have got to be the most recommended piece for middle aged ladies looking to up their style game. Theoretically i can see all of their great points and wonderful flexibility.....however when confronted with the actual critter in my closet i'll choose something else every time.  Somewhere around last July or August it occurred to me that i could just peg the darn things. (See what i mean by my 'blog closet' being out of touch with my 'real closet'?).  I did, and since then our relationship status has been 'inseparable'.

Ah, it takes me back to high school in the late 1970's, when the only way i could get the jeans i wanted was to peg my own. These days we have unlimited choice - which leads to the problem of knowing what it is you want. It's so difficult to find that sweet spot for some of us! I'm just pleased as punch that i got a whole new pair of perfect pants with no shopping or (full-garment) sewing involved.

Do any of you think of  'outer shells' during the colder seasons as well? Or do you rely on one warm coat for the practicalities, and concentrate on how you look once you arrive at your destination and the coat comes off? The latter approach served me when i was growing up, and the last couple of years i've been sloooowly developing 'outer shells'. Needless to say, i would be fascinated to hear about any style strategies you have developed for looking great when it's cooler. Two is hardly a vast array of strategies, and my motto in that arena is 'the more the merrier'!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Style Doppelgangers

aaack! My blog closet is so behind my real life closet i've been flummoxed and a bit paralyzed when confronted with the idea of a new post. For the last week or so i have been thinking over how to present my outfits, wardrobe planning, culling, mini-challenge, and new made garments in a coherent and engaging manner. The topic reliably makes me feel muddle headed and tired, so I've faced the fact that there's no suave, organized way to 'catch you up'. The only option is to dive on in, post with abandon and let the chips fall where they may!

This look didn't photograph all that well. But it was fun and practical to wear. My new schedule (dropping hubby off and picking him up at the transit station morning and night) has affected my dressing routine. I'm out in the early morning cold, when i'm creaky and slow on my feet. Evenings at the transit station are also cold and can be windy as well, but i enjoy the opportunity to park the car and walk about a bit, or sit and read at the little square with fountain, watching the commuters whisk by and the locals walking their doggies while waiting for the 70X to deliver Mr. E.

I am much more limber and perky in the evening than in the morning. Thus, i'll 'dress' in the late afternoon for my evening outing and wear the same ensemble the next morning. It's much easier for me to get motivated at that hour, and i enjoy being 'fresh' for the most public part of my day. Of necessity these looks are very warm, so i'll often change again as the day warms up.

My nightly jaunts have brought home to me the value of a warm hat for fighting the chill. This hat is lined with faux fur which makes for a toasty topper!  My scarf is a gauzy wool, and this leather jacket blocks the wind so none of the wooly lining's warmth goes to waste. I received a charming and unexpected compliment the evening i sported this look. As i took a brisk turn around the live/work complex which abuts the BART station, a mysterious stranger ambled into view. A silhouette revealed an Australian drover's duster with capelet over the shoulders, cowboy hat, bootcut jeans over chunky boots, all in midnight black. As the stranger drew closer i took in his scraggly beard and piercing, level gaze. He looked me up and down (much as i was taking in his own sartorial flair), and then.....

.....tipped his hat. He didn't say "Goo-day ma'am", but his respectful message came across all the same. It's rare to find yourself confronted with a sartorial doppleganger, much less one of the opposite gender. We both wore jeans, leather, hats, well-constructed leather footwear, the whole in dark colors and dramatic silhouettes.  The fact i glimpsed my style twin whilst wearing pieces that had been with me for as long as 17 years made the moment even more piquant.

 Well, this is what happens when i take myself in hand and venture out to get a pair of plain, dark hued socks. Nothing that will take center stage of any outfit, that's the plan. Just nice, practical cushioning and coverage.....well, in my defense i didn't run across any socks which fit that description. And yes i did look! I'm sure a suitable pair will show up soon enough.

In the meantime, i've named these two Valerie and Jean. Reveal your favorite style doppelgangers in the comments. Happy Weekend and see you again, soon!