Tuesday, 3 April 2018

First Quarter Update 2018 - RTW Fast 2018, EYS/7STS, 2018makenine

I’m involved in the RTW Fast 2018 meaning that I have pledged not to buy RTW (Ready To Wear) garments (with certain exclusions including underwear) in 2018.

I am also involved in the Evolve Your Style(EYS)/7 Steps to Style (7STS) Programmes which involves me examining what suits me, what I might need, the right shades and colours etc to fit my personality, shape and lifestyle. This means that eventually I would get rid of those items in my wardrobe which are doing me no favours and purchase (or in my case make) items which suit. I originally started 7STS 3 years ago but didn't complete for a variety of reasons. I am just starting to look at it again. I didn't do the EYS part previously for some reason; I purchased the programme last autumn, got started but as I got overstretched I side-lined it but am again looking at it. It involves posting photos and this is an element I'm struggling with.

Both groups have very active and supportive Facebook communities

RTW purchases - zero.

It isn’t difficult for me to avoid buying RTW for myself as I found little that fitted me in any case even when I was actively trying. The challenge is to make one more thoughtful about our clothing in view of environmental concerns in our throwaway society.

As this is a sewing (and knitting) group, primarily, there is a focus on identifying what you might need and making it. There is no necessity to make anything, though. There is an active and supportive community.

Remakes of existing clothes (but not those specially purchased e.g. from charity shops) are allowed.

Remakes - in progress (none completed)
  • Lengthen sleeve of teal raincoat by adding facing. I need to buy suitable fabric for the facing. All I've done so far is release the existing hem and lining. I need  to decide whether I need raincoat fabric or whether cotton would do - perhaps mercerised cotton

Garments discarded
  • 1 cotton rib sweater - didn't fit well, tight, sleeves too short and fabric rather harsh
  • 1 blouse - didn't fit well, tight, sleeves too short
  • Various tops discarded as sleeves too tight and short. These did appear to fit when originally purchased. I think the garments shrink on an ongoing basis when washed - or am I deluding myself?
  • One chambray/denim shirt with embroidered detail. Nice shirt and in a suitable colour but too tight and short in sleeves
  • Various tops discarded as too short for my body. They ride up exposing too low trouser tops - worse with excess weight as I have at present.
  • PR Winter Street dress as too tight around high hip - pleats look awful and rides up at back. Fits the much slimmer friend I gave it to beautifully.
  • There might possibly have been a few others
  • As yet, I haven't discarded much because it's the wrong colour or intensity for me. I am a 7 Steps to Style ‘Serene’ palette - cool, light and smoky with medium value contrast and low to medium colour contrast meaning that I am best in neutrals plus a (suitable, preferably signature) colour and not too much tonal contrast. I'm aware that some of the colours I previously loved are too intense for me now, really (but I still love them!) - this is because of ageing. They'd be better greyed down a bit. There are several items I can't afford to throw out until I identify suitable replacements.

Garment plan
  • I intend to focus on basics where I have a gap in my wardrobe plus trousers/pants which I really need as the ones I have are on their last legs. I still have several black pairs which will have to stay for the time being. Navy and grey are better neutrals for me. I haven't been able to buy RTW trousers/pants in any case.
  • I intended to make a mini capsule wardrobe and enter in PR Wardrobe Contest (3 tops, 2 bottoms and 1 topper) but not managing the trousers meant I abandoned the idea.

What I have made

Kimono - using pattern and fabric I had left over from daughter's kimono - Simplicity 1108. Success. This wasn’t so much a basic but with the fabric and pattern to hand, I had to make it. I've had good use from it so far, even though it's not in my best colours. I do still have black RTW trousers though. Blogged here

Paprika Patterns Jasper sweatshirt - bought fabric specially. I already had the pattern, from some considerable time ago. Successful. This was intended to go with jeans that I hoped to make. They're on back boiler until I sort out a trouser block. Blogged here

Helen's Closet Blackwood cardigan - I bought pattern and fabric specially. Success. I want to make more. I especially like my New Look/Helen's Closet twin set. Blogged here

3 tops  - New Look 6481 ‘free’ with sewing magazine. Two are successful. Matching tee for Blackwood cardigan and 2 others from same pattern. One is too tight as I failed to take into account that the fabric had less stretch. One of my daughters is visiting at the moment and was pleased to be given the top as she likes grey and the top fitted (I thought it was rather loose for her but she was happy with the fit also it may shrink further with laundering). I hadn't been sure if she'd like the style. Blogged here

Garments started but abandoned - at least they're not UFOs! No photos on blog.
  • PR Winter Street Dress - previous version was a bit tight overall and at high hip specifically and it rode up at the back  because of my FB so I modified the pattern and made a new dress with sister fabric. I hated it. It was intensely unflattering and frumpy. Discarded unfinished.
  • Waterfall coat by Lisette for Butterick - B6244 - I like this on others but it just isn’t my style. Abandoned at toile stage. Positive - I learned a few new things and didn’t waste my good fabric. I have identified a jacket I want to make with the fabric but not until the end of summer.



Finished Chanel-style jacket - successful. It hadn’t been abandoned, I had just run out of time to complete before Christmas because of all the hand work required and put it away until January. Blogged here

Finished gilet I was knitting - okayish I suppose. I might yet redo the shoulders as I feel they are too wide. Blogged here


Culottes started last year. I had high hopes for these. I liked the fabric. I worked on them a bit last week. They fitted not too badly but were incredibly unflattering on me - too much fabric. I gave away both pattern and fabric. I forget the pattern number - another ‘freebie’ with a sewing magazine. No photos.

In progress

Skirt I made - last year I think. I needed to alter as it didn’t fit - I had taken in at the side seams as it was a bit loose and it still needed the waistband adjusted. Unfortunately, it was now too tight! I’ve taken the side seams back out - they’re okay and I now need to insert zip and adjust contour waistband. Previously blogged, maybe, but I'll wait until it's finished.

Garments not yet started
  • A further top or cardigan from specially bought fabric - but fabric is off grain and I'm trying to work out how or if I can use it. I can’t return the fabric as I had cut into it. No hurry
  • A further Blackwood cardigan from fabric left over from the second New Look top above - I want another twin set. I found the cardigan a speedy make. Again, no hurry
Garments in progress

Knitted gilet (different pattern from first one); chunky yarn. Back knitted and first side front is at armhole level. My knitting skills are struggling a little with decreases while keeping cable pattern correct. I'm not sure if I'm doing it properly but when class starts again after Easter, I have someone I can ask.

Major task of this quarter and probably of the next too but hopefully not of one after that!

Trying to get pants to fit!! I've made so many toiles it’s untrue! I'm not sure I'm much nearer as yet.

Thoughts  this quarter so far
  • I really don’t like waterfall styles or styles with lots of volume. I have a few waterfall cardigans that I never wear - time to get rid of them!
  • For some reason many of my cardigans have very narrow sleeves so don't fit over anything other than a sleeveless tank. There's a place for this but I mainly prefer tops with sleeves. I think they'll be going too
  • I'm better in dresses without a waistband or waistline seam.
  • I don't suit pleats or gathers at the waist because my full high hip distorts
  • I'm better in straighter skirts rather than full skirts.
  • I prefer a sleeker, more tailored look.
  • I like classic styles with a bit of a twist
  • I know my skirt length preferences
  • I need to find a smart casual style that fits my style recipe and of course my lifestyle.


I haven't entirely identified my ‘style recipe’. I asked the daughter who is visiting at the moment to complete the style questionnaire which is part of an early section.
Like me she identified classic and elegant chic as the key elements but also a strong creative element - a surprise to me. My husband added feminine and I added relaxed. I do have elements in each of the areas. I can identify with classic relaxed elegant chic but less so with creative and feminine, until I researched what those mean a bit more. I think these two components have become stronger since I retired.

However, I know what I like! I believe I have a reasonable idea of what I suit though age related figure and colouring changes have meant some necessary modifications. I have made mistakes with RTW purchases and of course it's a much bigger deal if I spend time making something to find that it's just not me. Ideally I would have tried on a RTW version but this isn't always possible, sadly.

I think part of the issue is my inability so far to include the 'twist’ into my ‘classic with a twist’ wardrobe. Many of the added twists just haven't worked for me. I reckon this is me trying to express my creative element. I haven't got there yet in a way that satisfies the rest of me!

Feminine is more to do with colours and fabrics with me rather than frills or flounces which are so not me. I have been feeling the need to add a bit more of a feminine element to my wardrobe.

Future plans

I'm afraid that I have a couple of family issues which are impacting severely on my time and which are causing worry. I still intend to include sewing and planning (for the sake of my sanity!) but just won't have as much time as previously.

I reread planning post for 2018 - if I can manage a quarter of what I listed I'll be doing well!!

I did commit to 2018 make nine and the garments I've made contribute to that. Pants/trousers are a key component of that too, though. I'm still hoping! One of the 9 was the PR Winter Street Dress or other dress - it will now have to be ‘other’. I like shirt dresses and wrap dresses so I'll have a think.


  1. Nice job on your blog. I can't look ahead on my garment sewing too much as I have so much fabric it is easy to get overwhelmed and do nothing. Usually I think a couple of garments in advance. I don't need clothes, but have been making them anyway to sew up some of this fabric. Am about to put fashion on hold and get to some quilting.

    1. Thank you. I'm currently overwhelmed and doing nothing! I've never quilted but love the look of what I see. I actually only need trousers (pants) and that has to be my focus, though I still need to make some garments for my daughters. I was over optimistic in January! What a difference 3 months makes!

    2. Thank you for following my blog, Barbara

  2. You have made some lovely garments. The kimono, sweatshirt and jacket I especially love.

    1. Thank you. They're my favourites too.

  3. Sorry to hear about the family issues. Hope you can still find some time to sew, I always find it helps. Interesting thoughts about your colours and style. Now to conquer trouser fit! By the way, do I spy a new hair cut? Looking good!

    1. Thanks, Marianne. I don't feel like sewing at all but that might change, hopefully. I'm reafinrg more which is nice.
      Trousers! Ah, yes!
      I'm going to my sewing bee with Rory tomorrow, I think and will cut out another toile from the pattern she was fitting. Need to look out the calico. I have the pattern ready. I'll add HBLs. I've put on a bit of weight since than...
      Yes, finally managed to find time to get my hair cut; I disliked it longer. I think I might go shorter next time.

  4. You've gotten a lot done so far this year; I'm impressed. The jacket turned out beautifully -- both classy and elegant. And I'm so in agreement with you about dresses without a defined waist. There seems to be a thousand fit and flair patterns out there. Unfortunately the alternative seems to be so shapeless I'd feel like I was in a sack so I may just make more of my elderly Kwik Sew B5837 with it's empire waist. Good luck with the trousers! I'm sticking with RTW for now but someday... :)


    1. Thanks, Tanya. Yes, I'm pretty pleased with what I've achieved. I'm really not keen on an Empire waist - I like shape through the use of princess seams but I've developed a bit of a tummy so that might not work so well. Good luck if you decide to make trousers.

  5. You’ve got some definite winners; the tees and French jacket are especially flattering. I’m with you as far as preferring tailored styles over frilly. Good luck with the pants. The good thing is that once you’ve got a well fitting master pattern you can use it over and over.

    1. Thank you, Mary
      I'm not getting much time to fit or sew with everything that's going on but I did move the trousers on a bit. I hope to sew up what I hope will be the final toile for final fitting at my sewing bee this week. Unfortunately I've put on quite a bit of weight which has made it harder.


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