Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The best laid schemes...

I was at a funeral today. An old golfing friend and her husband, both in their 80s, died within a couple of days of each other and this was their double funeral. I haven't been to many funerals. The last I went to was my father's 18 months ago.

Fortunately, I looked out my clothes the night before the funeral. I decided to wear a dark plum suit which I have always liked. Unfortunately, the skirt was way too tight - a reminder of all the weight I have put on. I also didn't have a suitable top to wear with it. I looked through my wardrobe - I used to have a top with lilacs and plum in it which went well but that was thrown out on a previous wardrobe overhaul as it really didn't fit or flatter. I finally found a solid 'flesh' top which toned nicely while still being suitable for a funeral - but no matter, I couldn't wear it because of the skirt

I thought I had discarded the suit I wore to my father's funeral, but in fact I still had it. The reason I thought I had discarded it is that I had felt the jacket was too 'neat' ie bordering on tight and not comfortable. I've always liked this kind of fabric - a soft almost velour like material - I'm really not sure what it's called. The plum suit is the same material and I have a couple of jackets in the same. I really like it. It also seems to wear well - I've had these forever - and doesn't crush readily.

So I wore the suit, a 'soft' suit. This is what I looked like: I've tried to lighten to show more detail but black's not easy.

The jacket is too tight in the sleeves, and when the jacket is buttoned, there are obvious and unpleasant oblique folds. I know that these are saying I need more bust room. It's far too tight. I can't stretch forward without feeling I'm going to burst out. You can't see anything in the photos even though I tried to lighten the picture to show. The jacket is more comfortable when not buttoned, but you can see there is a substantial gap between the two edges when the suit is relaxed. My bust cup is at its fullest at present, probably, but this has clearly always been an issue. I take a D cup. Also the shoulders are perhaps rather 70s/80s.

 The skirt, I quite like. I've tended to wear my skirts shorter and more close fitting, which I think is more flattering, though. This skirt is comfortable - it actually has an elasticated waistband which is not at all noticeable until you come to put it on - I was looking for a zip. The length is quite awkward - I never know what type of shoe to wear with it. Perhaps a boot would have been appropriate. I can't manage heels of any height nowadays.
A detail I like on both the jacket and the skirt is the series of 3 pintucks across the skirt above the hem. Again, I was unable to show these on the photo. These are mirrored in the jacket.

This 'suit' was bought as separates. I remember there was also a pair of trousers but these were no use for me as they were way too short and there was no fabric to allow any lengthening.

I have been looking at the 'Vivienne Files' Starting from Scratch. Ideally with that, I start with a pair of trousers - probably grey, possibly navy. These cannot be finished for another couple of months as I will keep to the pace of my class - next term is trousers. I have suitable fabric, both wool and other.

I have navy wool, black wool and grey wool plus a black, grey and white plaid and another plaid with the same tones but some blue through it. They're still packed away so I can't photograph but the black, navy and grey are absolutely plain. Eventually, I would like to have a pair of trousers, a jacket and a skirt , at least one of each, that I can mix and match and that I can wear with other items. I have a work suit jacket in the wardrobe, which is a grey stripe, and might have fitted in but I don't think so - I cringed when I saw it again. I don't think I could wear it; it has a very unflattering fit. It's a typical men's suit like jacket. I don't feel it really goes with anything other than the trousers it was bought with (and the trousers don't fit properly, either). The fabric looks 'cheap'.

So, I reckon I need to push up a jacket in my sewing priorities. I'm not sure what to do, though - and would appreciate your advice. My husband thought I looked 'fine' by the way and felt that any tightness would be taken care of by the weight loss that is so desperately needed. Again, I'm not so sure. I don't believe the black jacket ever fitted properly. I remember trying it on with other things and always discarding. That's probably why it's lasted so long.
Any way, I have a few patterns to consider.
Simplicity 1542.

This is the most recent of the three. I have made the skirt a few times for DD2. I like view A, which has an overall silhouette similar to the black jacket I wore today. I wouldn't add the buttons. The skirt is an easy make, but the length here is too short by far for me and I'm not sure if a longer, knee length or longer, skirt would have the correct proportion. View C would also be a possibility. Definitely not B. I'm not a ruffly, frilly person.
Vogue 7668

Very Easy Very Vogue. This pattern isn't listed on Pattern Review etc - another pattern has the same number. I like this. The jacket cannot be made in a plaid or check. I had considered a plain dress maybe in grey and a checked jacket plus maybe a black or darker grey skirt. I don't have any patterned wool fabric other than the checks at present, though I could buy some. This is for lighter weight wool than I have, perhaps, too.

 McCall's 5761

Again, not listed on PR which has another pattern usurping its place. The jacket has a nice simplicity about it, but is 'not suitable for large checks, stripes or plaids'. There is no line drawing. I'm not sure how big a large check is. The skirt, of course, is too short at this length. Again, would the silhouette and proportion work if I lengthened this - or more likely used a different pattern
Are these last two too 80s?

Another possibility is a Chanel type jacket with straight skirt. I have Vogue 7975, but it's in the wrong size for me.
I also have various 'blazer' patterns
I'd like help in considering what to do. The trousers have to wait. The jacket needs to be fairly simple, though I have a couple of Craftsy jacket classes

If another funeral came up, I could still wear today's black outfit - and in a few months I should be able to fit back into the plum suit. So I don't need to create a 'funeral outfit'. I want a set of clothes that will work much harder than attending the occasional funeral.
So - HELP! Do you have any advice for me?

My heading today is of course the start of a line from our national poet, Rabbie Burns - and Burns' Night is coming up now very soon. The poem is 'To a Mouse' and the penultimate verse ends:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Today, one of my plans took a step forward, however.  I found the mill which previously wove the tartan for my husband's kilt - and it's still in existence and still weaving! And is pretty busy, too. Apparently , each mill has the 'rights' to weave only certain tartans - there is very complex ownership. As this mill previously wove our tartan (in the ancient, hunting version) - probably for the first and certainly for the last time in 2004 - it is able to do so again. There was a choice of 10oz, 13 oz or 16 oz fabric - we already have the latter. As we had to order a minimum quantity of 24 metres (!!), I had to consider carefully which weight would be best. Eventually, and after discussing with the helpful mill manager, I chose to order the medium weight. The tartan will take 12 weeks, so my daughter might have her skirt for Burns Night 2016! She's really excited. My husband pointed out to her that we will become the world repository for this tartan!


  1. I am sorry to hear about the double funeral. If I had to pick it would be the Simplicity 1542 -- view A with gorgeous buttons! Close behind is the Vogue 7975 -- I have been thinking of purchasing this pattern!

    1. Thank you, Annie. I like your thinking. I'd have to rebuy the Vogue and they're very expensive here so the Simplicity is looking good for me too. Anne


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