Thursday, June 18, 2015

Things Change and Nothing Remains the Same...

Intriguing title right?  Well it's nothing earth shattering.  See I'm still painting the fabric and my second idea had to be shelved because the fabric wouldn't work with the pattern I had in mind.  

So I've been thinking about who I want to represent to the world now that my clothing restraints have been removed.  I've spent the last two weeks walking around my new job's neighborhood looking at what normal people wear to work. Because even though the restrictions are gone and I can wear anything, I am flailing a bit. It's like letting a woman out of jail who's been incarcerated for 20-30 years, there are now so many choices to make that it's a bit overwhelming. Definitely how I'm feeling lately.

If I don't wear a dress - who am I?  A dress and a cardigan have been my outfit, my go to pieces for years.  But that outfit doesn't fit in my new environment...so what do I do now?

This thought has been circling round and round while I've tried to redefine myself. I've finally decided to just sew some separates and incorporate them into my wardrobe.  I haven't been a separates kind of woman for years like back before I started my last gig.

To that end, I went digging around in the pattern collection to see what lurked there to inspire me...and I pulled quite a few patterns...



I know I won't get most of these sewn.  Some are for inspiration, some I may sew and some are to help me adjust existing TNT patterns. There are a couple of vintage patterns for maxi dresses, an older Khaliah Ali pattern and some top patterns.

I also paired two with fabric...



I've since changed my mind about this one. I want to make the dress. I just want to use a solid blue linen from the collection. 



I got the idea to pair the pattern above with the black 'n white seersucker after it came out of the dryer and the sections were puckering. The dress idea I was thinking of wouldn't work with the fabric, so I went looking for this pattern instead. I think it will make a cute full knee length skirt for the hot and humid days that are ahead.

That's where I am right now...standing here trying to figure out the next chapter of my sewing life and painting fabric...still painting fabric. 

...always more later!










41 comments:

  1. Incredibly timely post! I am (potentially) starting a new job and it's a different set of dressing altogether. I find having 'words' assigned to the look I'm after help, moreso than having a set 'formula' for how to dress (although that can work too). For work, it's effortless, clean-cut, well fitted and gives a humble yet strong sense-of-self; for date-nights/dress up it's romantic, elegant and balletic; and for around the house...well, let's face it, I wear trackies.

    Perhaps figure out the biggest change, and buy 1-2 pairs of RTW (so you can immediately feel "settled") before tackling multiples of me-made? Best of luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hear you about wanting to fit in. But, you also need to feel true to yourself. I once dressed to fit in with the guys in grad school (physics dept), and it weighed me down. I didn't realize how much until another woman told me how much my dress had changed since I first showed up at grad school.

    Dress to fit the constraints of your life, but with your individual style. Show the world your special "something something"!

    This summer, after I unpack from a recent move, I'm sewing clothes for bicycle commuting to work.

    What do you need? What do you want?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Want - everything! Need - almost everything! *LOL* I'm sure I will figure it out just be prepared for an interesting sewing journey here!

      Delete
  3. If you like a dress and cardi and feel comfortable in them then wear them. How about toning the look down not so structured, corporate. The maxi and dress patterns look great . I agree there are too many choices, be it patterns, style or material. You will find a happy medium.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There's something very thoughtful about a hypnotic job like painting. Finish the petal, pants? Brush stroke around the next, long tunics or more fitted shirts?

    When I was a 'career' person, i had a set routine of what to wear, because it made getting to work ontime easier. And then I worked in a workshop/studio setting where it grew very competitve to be the wildest dressed (and the most vintage - ever wore a ballgown to work? Yes, ma'am, I did).

    Is there something you've wanted to make but didn't think it had a place to be worn? Would this be that place now? Maybe it's something wild, but maybe it's something truly comforting. A fabric you've never used before?
    I think the key is that fabric you're painting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been throught the move from strict office 'suited and booted' dress code into an artistic environment where anything goes. I wallowed about a bit in jeans and t-shirts but now, having taught myself new jersey sewing techniques, learnt how to do a neat v-neck t-shirt I what to develop my style and sewing abilities in a different direction. Looking forward to watching and being inspired by your wardrobe!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree that dresses and cardigans work in any environment, just gives you an opportunity to be more playful with fabrics and styles. Most importantly, if that's what you feel comfortable in its what you'll feel confident in and therefore look great in.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The seersucker will make a great skirt - short, or as a maxi. I also like the little dress but agree -make it in a plain linen. The pretty floral might be better as a little skirt. Great fun watching you change direction!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like you're at a very good crossroads in your sewing life! Your new ideas are looking like exciting one's! Congrats on your new chapter---in both your sewing and real life :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sometimes too much freedom is scary!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right!!!! After living in a world with so much structure, no structure is challenging!

      Delete
  10. I'm another vote for just be yourself.

    If you like dresses, wear them!! Who cares what everyone else is wearing?

    Maybe you will be the one who sets a new *tone* for the office and when others see you looking all put together and pretty, they will up their own game.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Definitely no need to abandon the dress and cardigan look. There are ways to dress (pun not intended) it down. Shirt dresses, denim dresses. curved hems, colors and prints than wouldn't have flown back in corporate world and my favorite way to make a casual outfit "work": throw the cardigan around your shoulders so you still have the "third" piece that replaces a jacket.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with DO YOU! You can keep your core style while making it a bit more fun and carefree as suggested.

    Eg you no longer have to focus on neutrals and simple shapes.

    Very exciting! As you know I'm in my own new journey. Going from a restricted lab environment (closed shoes, no skirts/dresses due to exposed skin, etc). I'm all WHAT WILL I WEAR?! :) I think separates are great as you can dress them up or down as your mood dictates.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh Carolyn, you do sound like me just after I retired and came to the realization that I no longer had to dress up every day. It took me a long time to redefine my look but through the years I somehow did. And do you know what? My 18 year old grand-daughter tells me all the time that I'm the most stylish Nana ever ! In other words I think it will take a while before you feel you've got it just right but what fun you'll have sewing up your new look. I imagine you'll miss wearing those gorgeous dresses though!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to tell you that when retirement comes in another 12 years, I will be ready and there won't be a great need to change my wardrobe AT ALL! And you do have a great retirement wardrobe!

      Delete
  14. I've been retired from the corporate, structured jacket world for 3 years now and my new style is still evolving. It's been perplexing with all the choices as you've noted. Sewing separates has been the key for me and I've moved from 'safe' styles to more unique, fun items. I think your sewing is on an exciting journey especially with your new slim body. I so enjoy reading your sewing adventures. Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Karen! I'm sure that its something that I will be working out for awhile and that it's going to make for quite a sewing journey!

      Delete
  15. How about pairing your cardigans (your safety net) with silk shells and nice structured trouser jeans (at least on Fridays)? Who are your style icons? What would they wear to a nice weekday lunch? I think that is where your wardrobe might be headed. I think you have a double whammy here, because you are sewing for a smaller body and for a different environment, but you will find your way. Can't wait to see where this process takes you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have a new job too - being retired! Well, I don't have the immediacy of wardrobe concerns that you do, but I feel like I'm going through the same thought process. My clothing needs are changing drastically, so I'm really rethinking my sewing choices. Also, much of the fabric in my stash may need weeding out. How often will I be wearing boucle or tweed now? Especially since I live in a (semi) mountain community. I think its going to take time. We can't redo our whole wardrobe at once. It will take some trial and error, so go one piece at a time, see what you feel comfortable wearing and representing! Good luck on the new adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy - mix that boucle or tweed with denim and rock it like there is no tomorrow.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Cynthia! I have no plans of giving my boucles and/or tweeds away but then I always have dress up Sundays for church!

      Delete
  17. Love the changes! You are getting downright "arty" with that fabric painting. Any chance you might go to the dark side and try some Marcy/Katherine Tilton, Lynn Mizono or even the newer Sandra Betzina......something a little "Lagenlook-ish"? You have the perfect figure for it now and Shams and I would be cheering you on! Sounds like this will become a happy time for you.....so glad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peg - while I have a great appreciation for that look, I really am a Talbots-look kind of woman. I like clean lines and classic pieces.

      Delete
  18. I love that Simplicity dress and think it will be awesome! I wear dresses in a casual/semi-casual context all the time. I prefer them over pants and skirts (mainly because I struggle with figuring out what tops to wear). You are looking good and I'm like everyone else, looking forward to what you come up with next:)

    ReplyDelete
  19. You've had a really defined style that had a lot to do with where you worked. What do you wear on the weekends? Is that too casual for the new job? I am loving that black and white for the skirt. It's a great piece of fabric. I am a separates woman, but dresses are so comfortable in summer, especially in the city, so maybe just a more casual version of what you've been wearing? You'll figure it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy - I wear a series of big old t-shirt dresses on the weekends! My kids complain about how ratty I look on the weekend when I'm home. But since I spend so much time in the sewing cave, this just works plus it's easy to take off when I want to do a quick try on!

      Delete
  20. Carolyn you are now at a point where you can write a new chapter in your book. And with that new chapter comes a new "uniform" to be defined as you see fit. What makes you feel your best? What colors make you feel your best? What clothing styles make you smile? It is all about feeling glamorous because when you wear confidence, it really does not matter what you have on because people will be seeing and feeling you. So make things that will make you smile and say "You Go Gurl" when you look in the mirror.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I felt really out of place wearing dresses at a job where most people didn't for a few months. However, I find them comfortable and easy to throw on in the morning. I like the feel of a dress. It's been 3 years and now if I wear slacks, everyone is *amazed* to learn I have pants :) So unless you are totally out of step with everyone, I say, make and wear what makes you feel good. Being comfortable makes me feel confident and being confident isn't a bad thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to stick to dresses and skirts because that's what I feel most comfortable in. I just need to make new ones!

      Delete
  22. Isn't it funny how a change in clothing for work is a real existential crisis? Once I went casual and could wear what I wanted, I was just... lost. I'm still figuring it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that! I know that this is going to take some time especially since it's tied to my sewing.

      Delete
  23. Be true to yourself. You may be setting some new dress codes! Maybe it's the people you're working with now that have been in a style rut... not you. Americans, unfortunately, now have a bad reputation for being slobs. And not just at home or on the week end. We are seen as being too casual in our dressing habits.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You can still wear dresses, but you can pair them with different cardigans, like waterfall ones in prints. You could do a cute printed skirt with a t-shirt type top. I agree that having too much to choose from can be hard, but you'll find your way. You have lots of nice fabric to start with.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I left my arts based job in London (pretty much anything can be worn "it's the arts darling") and have moved home to the north of England to a part time museum job. Things are much more formal up here, I have your work outfit issues in reverse! I am wearing dresses it is much simpler than my previous professional non-formal dressing. Good luck Carolyn I am enjoying your blogging, I hope the new job is enjoyable and less pressured than the previous ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather - congrats on the new job! A good solid colored dress with a cardigan works well in that type of job atmosphere!

      Delete
  26. Dresses and cardigans can still work for your new environment. My job has gone business casual to casual and especially casual throughout the summer. However, I feel out of place when I wear too casual of an outfit (jeans & tees). I will go the jean route if I am leaving early or the client protocol calls for super casual. Despite the new office code, I continue to wear suits. However, I may wear them 2 days out of the week and don smart business casual pieces. I have S2894 and it basically went into the someday I will sew pile down in the basement. You have inspired me to pull it out... I totally like the dress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheila I wish! This is a very small firm - 20 people maybe - and I stick out like a sore thumb even in a twinset and skirt. I haven't had my hair down yet so can you imagine that with some heels. I wore jeans earlier this week with a tank and a sweater jacket besides being comfortable it fit it with the firm's look. Don't think I can keep that up but dresses and skirts (just in more casual fabrics) are going to be my friend until it gets really cold.

      Delete
  27. I like what you are thinking and planning - very freeing.

    My work is very casual these days. My basic outfit is separates - usually a skirt, T shirt with a jacket that comes off indoors. I try to always wear something colourful and cheerful. I wear a scarf or necklace most days, a belt, earrings - quite a few accessories to bring the outfit together and express a bit of artistic originality.

    ReplyDelete
  28. A big adjustment for sure, but I think it's great that you have that new creative freedom. I always felt just a little sad when you made a colorful outfit and had to add that you wouldn't be able to wear it at work.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails