Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Wearability Factor and other ramblings

I've been sewing a lot lately and my wearing hasn't exactly caught up with my sewing...for example I just got around to wearing the 60s Mod Border Print Dress yesterday. It was a casual week in the office...the quiet before the storm which officially kicked off yesterday, too...but I digress!

So the Wearability Factor is how a garment actually "wears" when you spend a day in it. How is it for getting in and out of the car? Or on or off the bus, subway, train, etc. Does the fabric wrinkle a lot when you sit down? Does the garment pull or twist in some funny way? You know things that you can't tell when you sew it up, try it on, accessorize it and take some pretty pictures of it on you or your dressform.

Now you would think that in handling the fabric and knowing it's properties, that you would be able to pretty much estimate how a garment will handle...but then you take it out for a test drive and you come home thinking something totally different...that's what happened yesterday with this dress.

Have you ever noticed that linen has a tendency to relax? As the body's heat warms it up, the fibers loosen up...and everything gets a little looser. Have you ever noticed that? Normally it doesn't phase me but today I realized that all of those seams that I painstakingly unpicked and then sewed again, almost could have been left alone....almost.

What I actually decided about the dress is that the next time I make it, I will leave the 5/8" seams alone in the back and just do the 3/8" seams in the front...because by the end of the day it was pretty loose-fitting...not that it looked bad but I think that's because the fabric saved it. Your eye traveled to the border print and the piping...but the next incarnation won't have that so I need to fix this up quickly!

Today I have a I sew a quick long, flowing dress for a barbeque I'm attending tomorrow or do I continue working on my summer wardrobe. I don't have much relaxation gear...lately I've been wearing all the business casual from my last job since I rarely wear it to this job anymore...and it usually works in most situations. A nice pair of pants and a twinset works for a date to dinner and the movies...a long flare floral skirt and a t-shirt works to go to Wal-Mart with my mom...but tomorrow is suppose to be 98 degrees, hot and humid!!! Ummmm, I'm not usually outdoors in that type of weather...that's what air conditioning is for! *LOL* So I need something cool and kewl to wear...but do I want to take precious sewing time to make something that I will probably only wear once?

So since I have no idea what to do...I've been visiting fabric sites, vintage pattern sites, blogs, sewing boards...just about anything but sitting my behind down and sewing...and now I feel a nap coming on! *LOL*

Guess I will figure it out...later!


  1. I've been noticing that a lot of my natural fibers have been "relaxing" lately. I've had this problem with denim a lot. So the next time you see me make a pair of jeans, they will probably be skin tight. By the time I spend a day in them, the will loosen on their own.

  2. Oh wow, is that why that happens?!?!?! I have a couple pair of RTW linen pants that seem bigger! I did NOT know that!!!

  3. I hear ya about the wearability factor. The "Prison Guard" dress got put into the give away bags for that very reason - wrinkly, twisty, it was too short, I was self-conscious all day.

    I'm glad the fabric saves the border print and you know how to fix the next one :)

    As for the BBQ, make up a cute dress quickly, or wear a shorter skirt and a tank. You'll be fine as long as your comfortable. g

  4. That's a hard one, but it might be fun to make a festive, quick outfit for a change. On the other hand, one of those skirts with the contrast bands that you doctored up recently would also be cute for the party.

  5. I have given up sewing with linen for bottoms for exactly this reason, garments just end up looking terrible on me after wearing for any length of time. Enjoy your BBQ whatever you decide to wear!

  6. Mrs. Carolyn, I am a lurker who's perused your website after checking out 1 of your reviews on You are an excellent 'fiber artist!' lol and it was so refreshing to read your pattern review, but I stumbled upon your blog. Reading your insights, tips and seeing the lovely creations inspired me to pursue my dream of learning to sew. I'm getting excited, and my mouth is watering as I sit here and think of the fabric...the patterns...the idea of knowing 'I' created something to wear~~~oh its almost too much :) Im almost off subject BUT I think you should whip up a cute, flowing ~yet~ comfortable linen dress with a tie waist...what the heck you only live once so ENJOY--yourself, your fabric and look good doing it! I was thinking of hittin' this dress up myself, but since you offer so much on this blog, here's something to you ____
    hey i know its RTW..dont beat me yet but im just learning how and where to locate patterns and beginner's stuff-which is confusing but your blog quickly put things in perspective for me as 'inspiration'lol_______here is the site:

  7. Thanks for the answer to an unknown question. I have several slacks that became baggy by the end of the day and was thinking that they are cutting the size 8 too big. Now I know that's not the case.

  8. "Have you ever noticed that linen has a tendency to relax? As the body's heat warms it up, the fibers loosen up...and everything gets a little looser. Have you ever noticed that?"

    Yes! I noticed this on a RTW top and now you have confirmed it. I have not touched all the wonderful linen I have purchased this summer, but I know now to make it just a little snug so that when it relaxes I am not floating inside the garment.

  9. Yes linen sure does bag and wrinkle. I am still so grateful to you for your tip of washing & drying linen 3 times before cutting. I had some tan that I really wanted to use for a jacket but after the washing there was no way I would use it for a jacket - it was screaming "I am a skirt". Somehow the wrinkles seem more acceptable as a bottom garment. So I now have a casual linen skirt that I love - thanks to you.
    It is here:

    wrinkles and all along with bad lighting! LOL

  10. Yep, the garment's functionality is an important factor. I guess this is why many couture garments are underlined with silk organza; it also prevents the garment from wrinkling so much.

    I've noticed the relaxing effect on some of my natural fiber garments too, even on some jeans!

  11. My jeans that I bought in HK are doing the same thing. I knew at the time I should have bought them skin tight but it was hot and I was tired and I couldn't be bothered going and getting a smaller size.....

    Tany's tip of underlining sounds good. I underlined a linen skirt and I didn't have that problem. Must remember for future.


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