Monday, June 19, 2006

The "Wearability" Factor

Sewing is a multi-faceted pursuit. You have to be able to sew a variety of different techniques to complete a garment. But before you even get to the sewing, you have to make so many decisions about fabric, pattern, trim, etc. Each decision is a part of the entire final package and each decision has the possibility of being the difference between a wonderful garment and a wadder.

I would like to add another element to this mix. "The Wearability Factor" What do I mean by this ~ well, when you are working on a garment, you try it on for fit. You make adjustments for things that don't work and somewhere in the sewing process you see if you have successful married pattern and fabric. The wearability factor kicks in only after you have completely sewn your garment, pressed it, tried it on and taken your pics in it. Then the garment has to live through your day. This is when I make the final determination about whether a garment is workable in my wardrobe or not.

See standing still or walking around the house, you can have the best fit and best looking pieces possible but what happens when you are walking to the car, bus or train? How does the skirt, dress or pants feel after you have sat in them for several hours? Does the skirt or dress ride or bunch in strange places? Is the top too short when you bend over? "The Wearability Factor!"

My Coldwater Creek Knockoff Jacket failed The Wearability Test today. Maybe it was because I did not add any type of closure. Maybe it's because I forgot to put a bag on it and see how it would look walking around with my 5 pound "everything I need in the world to commute and go to work bag" on my shoulder. Maybe it was that I forgot that there is a breeze early in the morning as I walk to the bus! My jacket failed!

Now, why did it fail? Well it definitely needs some type of closure on the fronts. And that is something I can easily fix. And when I make a second version, I will shorten the shoulder seams some. They hang over just a tad and it was annoying today. I hate having to tug on my clothes when I am wearing them. So even though this outfit looks great on a hanger and for a picture, it does not pass the all day wear test and will need some minor adjustments.

Here's what I mean:

Close but no cigar! The next one will have some alterations made to it so that it will pass, "The Wearability Factor!"


  1. Carolyn, loved this post.I have experienced the W factor but didnt have the proper name for it.Along the lines of the tiny slit in which i hope to swish all day , translating to having to hoick my skirt to navigate stairs etc.You should be a sewing writer, love your style.
    One thinks even this version can be tweaked to give some more WF.
    Absolutely luv the skirt

  2. I know exactly what you mean! Thanks for bringing this up - it's something we don't often discuss yet it's so important. BTW, I love that skirt on you!

  3. Hey, I just had a 'wearable failure', pleated khaki WOF skirt. Wore it for the first time and discovered that the fabric is so stiff that every time I stand up I have to poke the pleat back into place. Nothing wrong with it comfort-wise, but it doesn't behave well.

    I'll probably wear it and fuss with it until I manage to get it replaced, though. I need a straight khaki skirt...

  4. I can relate. The shorts I just made, barely passed. The are a bit too tight in the crouch. This is something I noticed climbing in and out of my SUV. Not to the point of discomfort just tight enough that I will make a mental note to adjust on the next pair of pants I make.

  5. Do you have current plans for the next jacket? I think we all go through this process. By the third time around I usually have it down. Then I'm sick of the pattern and start all over again with a new one. Love the skirt!!

  6. I understand completely. Thanks for the post. Sometimes it is so hard to discuss, and admit, that one doesn't really know what works until you've been in the trenches all day.

  7. Good subject. My new dress and jacket did okay. The one thing I wish I had done and thought about it before hand and still did not do it was interface the back pieces. It wrinkled as bad as I thought it would. Doesn't make not wearable, just something to think about the next time.

    Your outfit still looks good and the next one will be close to perfect.


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