Monday, July 18, 2005

Too hot to sew

We're in a heat wave...a tropical heat wave...the temperature's isn't surprising...

The backyard thermometer hit 102.7 on Saturday. We do not have a/c, but we do have fans, including one that is an evaporative type. Plus it also cools down at night. So the heat is bearable, especially because I know that we only get a couple of these heat waves every summer.

Unfortunately there was no a/c and there weren't any fans at my workshop on Saturday. We met in a church annex building that was apparently still undergoing remodeling construction and there wasn't any electricity to the outlets. As you can imagine, it was hot. The windows and doors were open and provided an occasional breeze but also let in the heat. It wasn't so bad in the morning but by lunch we were beginning to get quite uncomfortable.

The workshop was good though. Fred Bloebaum gave an hour long presentation on how different styles and lines can enhance or ruin a look. She showed examples she's collected from fashion magazines over the years and referred to the book Looking Good by Nancy Nix-Rice and Pati Palmer. Most of the information I sort of already knew but I liked that Fred used visual examples because for example, seeing how the diagonal line of a lapel or fashion detail directs the eye really reinforces the idea. Fred also plugged her pattern line and brought along her samples. I bought her Maia Jacket pattern after trying on the sample - I honestly never considered it based on the envelope art or line drawing but sewn up it was a very lovely little jacket that fit perfectly. She also had a sample of an Athena Blouse modification that has a bottom edge pointed like a jacket or vest. The pattern is due out in the fall as Athena II. She also has a new skirt pattern called Iris, which is coming out soon but I think I'll pass on that one since I have plenty of skirt patterns and while I'm sure it's nice and well drafted, I didn't see anything really unique about it.

Marjory DeRoeck, an image consultant, talked for an hour about color. She followed the usual "season" description and described what colors made up each and why. For example, winter/summer colors have blue undertones and autumn/spring colors have yellow undertones. One tip she gave was to match your shoe color to your hair color. I'd never thought about that but it seems to make sense.

We broke up into two groups with one group having a style assessment by Fred and the other receiving individual color assessments by Marjory. I didn't think I'd learn anything new about my body type but it was good to have a non-biased opinion. I always considered my hips to be large, but it's actually my thighs that are the widest part. This is still not something I like but it does make a difference for fitting and deciding what style to wear. I asked about full skirts (since I'm making a 6-panel Kwik Sew right now) and was pleased when Fred said that I can wear them, but to avoid full circle skirts. I just need to bring more attention to my shoulders to balance out my bottom part. That's when she suggested her new Athena blouse pattern as well as some New Look ones, which I think I own. Fred also commented that I looked good in retro, which is kinda cool because I'm actually drawn to those types of fitted tops.

In my color assessment I found out that I'm an Autumn-Spring. What that means is that I look better in colors with yellow undertones, like gold, brown, and olive green. Combined with Fred's earlier comment, does that mean I should shop the thrift store for retro 70's clothing? Egad! The lime greens and oranges that are popular in clothing right now also look good on me, which is nice to know because I like those colors. But I would have worn them anyway. The color assessment is a guide, not law. No fashion police will arrest me for wearing the wrong color. But it is good to know. I've heard it said that if you're drawn to a particular color, then that color will probably look good on you. I know that I never really liked a particular red suit I own and now I know why - the color is not right for me because it's a bluish-red. To avoid those mistakes in the future, I now have a book of swatches of Autumn colors and another with Spring colors that I can tote around with me to fabric and clothing stores. I think I will also check out my closet and compare the swatches. I'm pretty sure there are some items that I've been hanging onto but don't wear and it's probably because of the color. I already went through and did a purge of clothes that don't fit or are too dated but I wonder why I still stare at my closet in the morning and feel like I don' t have anything to wear. I'm more afraid of purging my fabric stash of "wrong colors." Every time I look through my swatches to pick fabrics to trade at the next sewing BABEs get together, I come up empty because I really really like all the fabric. I hope it's because my internal color radar is working. It'd be a shame to invest so much time making a garment only to realize that the color is all wrong!

My Kwik Sew skirt is almost done - just the bottom color panel and hem left to do - but it's just too hot to sew. I'm anxious to finish it so I can move on to a top to go with it. I think I'm going to make one of the New Look patterns that Fred suggested. Perhaps this one.

Saturday wasn't all about sewing. I did manage to get over to Yarn Dogs for the Manos del Uruguay trunk show. I was disappointed there was no trunk. :-) But they did have patterns and I found a book with two or three designs that would work for the yarn I have.

Not wanting to go home to a hot aircondition-less house, I kept shopping and went to the grand opening of a new Beverly's. Fabric and yarn was 30% off and I couldn't resist adding to my quilting stash. Well, one piece of Michael Miller fabric is actually for an apron. I also picked up 6 skeins of Cotton-Ease in "Candy blue", a color that suits me according to my handy-dandy swatches.

Finally, my last shopping trip of the day was to Joann's for their pattern sale. They were out of the Vogue pattern I really wanted (as is Hancocks...bummer) so I bought a New Look pattern instead, which I also like (specifically view C).

And then I went home to a hot house. But I had a sweet husband waiting for me who provided me with a cold drink, sat me down in front of the fan, and best of all, listened to me tell him about the workshop and my shopping.

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