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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Changing profiles

As you probably have gathered I am a pretty astute follower of high fashion.  

I have after all made a peplum top, even if I was the last sewer to do so, and have made a leatherette skirt which only looks mildly like it came out of an autobody shop although sadly it no longer fits me since the moderate weight loss - and no one in their right mind (which I often am) would bother to take apart and resew any garment that is still off gassing that much.

However a lifetime of following trends when they are about to leave the station, and being on the vanguard of those new trends that never actually caught, I have learned a few things.

OK, I have learned one thing.

It makes sense to watch the way the wind blows because nothing ever looks as dated as something that was most in last year.

Which, if you sew sturdy, is really quite the pain.

So I try in my own way to stay alert to the Big Shifts when they are about to occur.

You know what I mean. 

Those about changes that the clothing czars and czarinas decide to pull once they are well and truly confident that everyone is finally comfortable with a silhouette and maybe even knows how to fit it.

So operating as an early warning system I have been looking at the Spring 2014 collections and can detect one of those big changes on the horizon. You know just when you have refined the TNT patterns.

The New Shape seems so far ( and I have only just skimmed the collections to date - sooo many slideshows) to have this going on:

1. The skirts are fuller (these allows them to declare, no surprise, in about 6 months that the pencil skirt has come back). By fuller I mean a) circle skirts, or semicircles, you know the big hems and no darts and b) your basic A line and even the inverted pleat jobs.

2. Tops are wider, like in 80s wider. This is going to cause those of us who have sort of figured out the full bust alteration something else to thing about.

I figure both of these trends have legs, despite the fact I usually call these things wrong.

My reasoning is that they are easy to wear.  Women tend to clutch tightly to things that are comfortable.

Remember capris? 

They came back for about 2 weeks and then the fashion world and all the What Not To Wear folks declared them total no nos, but guess what?

Everyone is still wearing them, in or not in.

Listen, designers once you let something back into the system that covers up varicose veins you are going to have a damn hard time getting it out again.

This might be a good time to let the pictures say a thousand words, from designer Lam and Lim:

We have all sewn shapes like those before (assuming you are of the generation that remembers working around a fax machine) and we can do it again.

The thing is once a new shape starts taking shape it takes a while for a person's eyes to get used to it. On her own body I mean.

But to dress you must be brave. And to sew even braver.

So I jumped off the cliff this week and made this outfit - one that last year I would have told you was too ugly because the top was shapeless.

In full transparency I must disclose I was pushed off the cliff by the fact I am still in that anti black frame of mind and I have a ton of red wool garbardine that no way in this lifetime is going to get tailored into any suit. Listen I would be retired from suits completely by the time that was ever done, I am so busy, a project like that.

And as shapeless as it was I knew, and was right about this, that this would be an easy sew.

At least I didn't do it in beige.

I actually really like wearing this outfit. It is suit like enough when I need that and easy and comfortable to wear.

But best of all I finally got to use these buttons, and how cool are they:

Best part of the project.


Dinah said...

Beautiful! I love this on you :)


Pattyskypants said...

All this looks familiar, like the mid- to late-70s. Right before the 80s. Remember what happened in the 80's? That's right: shoulder pads. I don't mean to scare anyone, but I have seen a couple of shoulder pad tutes in the last month or so.

Vicki said...

Well done for making up the garbardine. Looks pretty cool. And not black :)

wendy said...

I remain behind you in the peplum top sewing. Never sewn one, never worn one- they look pretty bad on me. ;) However- I had to comment because I love the button!

This outfit looks pretty good in red, and it's really flattering on you!

Unknown said...

I appreciate reading your interpretation of the trends! As a ridiculously slow sewist, I just try to make things that are neither very trendy nor horribly dated. It probably makes for a boring wardrobe, but at least I don't worry about embarrassing myself too much.

Angela said...

I love this on you! I never looked at that because the beige on the pattern model is so blah. However, that is a silhouette that I can wear, and after seeing your red version, I think I'll put this pattern on my list:)

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Okay so this same pattern is on my sewing table right now! I love it in red! However, I disagree that those loose shapes are going to have legs. We are living in such a body conscious time that I believe those are one season garments! But I could be wrong...

Karen said...

That's so pretty on you! I just noticed the looser silhouettes too, right after I perfected my fitted t-shirt pattern.

Sharon said...

A fantastic outfit and love it on you!

KC said...

I'm still laughing at your refusal to alter a garment that is "still off gassing that much"! I love the button and the outfit sporting it.

wendy said...

That red looks great on you! said...

I just make what I know suits me - full skirts are a real no-no, as are peplums. So I will steer clear of them. I think the best thing to do is know your own style. I do like the red outfit on you - it works, perhaps the colour. It would not work for me, style wise. Blouson tops over skirts do though.

Cleverclogs said...

this looks great- beautiful colour, easy shape and WONDERFUL button!

BJ in TX said...

I just managed to lose enough weight to wear all those "close fitting tops"...and you're telling me that now (FINALLY!) the style will be loose ones??!!! Lost all that weight for nothing, huh? ha ha

I really like your red outfit - you look great! What pattern is that?

I refuse to stop wearing capris....ever.

prttynpnk said...

My first thought was 'oh, well yours looks more tailored' so I think it's a win. Great color, shape. Nice!

a little sewing said...

Barbara, I love this on you! It does seem it would be a very nice thing to wear for a more formal occasion at work.

Diana said...

Oh I really like this on you and in red. I never would have thought that pattern could look this good. Great button too.

Bunny said...

I just knew red would be great on you and it is! You look fabulous and this is very pretty. Love the abandonment of black!

Zoƫ said...

In the teenage world, trends do change a bit, but stuff that was in a few years ago is still in, at least where I live. Trends will stay "in" longer if they expose a certain percentage of skin too.
I kind of like the new styles.. but I really like your red outfit :)

Anonymous said...

Still lurking on your blog. Laughing often with you and nodding in agreement at your wise words. Especially love your fly paper thoughts.Your thoughts on dealing with change in our lives hit a nerve. Dealing with a very difficult one these days.

Love the red two piece the blue dress, and both pair of new glasses. I am probably the only person in the world who doesn't own a little black dress. Never could wear black.

Barbara, thanks for the wisdom, the laughter.