Elegant? Pfffftttt

So, I bought some really nice linen from Fab Mills Workshop in a sale they had (ok, and then again when I was just buying fabric for no good reason…), and I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with it. I’ve also, still, been thinking about style and what I want to look like, how I want to dress, what I want in my wardrobe. My life has had some changes recently, obviously, and I’m on a crusade to loose weight and change my diet to aid in preventing the cancer returning, still not written the food post yet…  But it also changed again 2 weeks ago when the boys went back to school. They now both go on school buses, which means that after about 10 years of school runs, I don’t have to leave the house unless I want to, which further means that I could live in my pyjamas or yoga pants pretty much all the time if I wanted to. Thing is, I don’t want to….

Things to consider about what I wear include; 1. The house being cold in the winter (I’m not rich enough to run the heat all day, and I’m enough of a hippy not to want to anyway). 2. Comfort. I sit a lot reading and writing when I’m working on the PhD, or I’m cleaning the house or cooking so I need clothing that is comfortable and easy to wear but that isn’t so ‘nice’ that it will get ruined if I wipe my hands on it. 3. Style. Although I want to be comfortable, I don’t want to be a slob. I’m tired of jeans jeans jogging bottoms jeans yoga pants jeans. I want to feel like I’m dressed (says the woman who’s in her pyjamas and not intending to get dressed today!) but not bland and blah. 4. Able to transition to a working environment. I’m not intending to teach this academic year as I need to get my head back into my research (seriously, I’ve not looked at it at all for 9 months, I have no idea what I was doing anymore…) but I will teach again and it’s what I want to do when I finally get the Dr title. I want to have clothes that are me, I don’t want ‘work clothes’ and ‘home clothes’ (beyond a few things. some weekends just require yoga bottoms and a big fleece top whilst knitting on the sofa). Luckily most universities are pretty casual, especially for lecturers (or at least at my University they are!) and each one choses their own level of comfort and self-expression, some looking more traditionally professional than others. I want to have a cupboard and drawers full of clothes that I can just get dressed and it doesn’t matter where I’m going or what I’m doing, the clothes work.

So, I have been working on what I previously called my ‘stable’ of patterns. So far it’s pretty basic things like the Baseball Skirt, the Scout T-shirt, The Fen shirt and the Blueprints Cabin dress/top. I want a few more shapes than those though and I have patterns lined up to work with. All of those I’ve named are quite baggy and loose, which is comfortable, and it’s fun to use bright prints with those patterns, but I’m verging a little to close to toddler chic for my comfort (I adore people who can rock that look don’t get me wrong, it’s just not how I feel about my clothes now) and feeling bored of pulling jeans and a baggy shirt out day after day.

I’ve also been evaluating my knitwear and what I make. I showed you the huge pile of things I gave away and I’ve been reassigning stash yarn to new projects that fit more with what I want to see myself in than what I bought them to make 5 years ago! The linen obsession also hit the knitting yarn, but I’ll talk more about this part of my ideas when I have some knitwear to show you!

Anyway, back to the start, I was thinking about the linen, and I remembered Roo in particular talking about Merchant and Mills patterns. I had a look at the website and, although I liked a lot of the patterns, what I was looking for was a pretty plain dress that wasn’t too formal and that I could wear with leggings (are they going out of fashion now? I’ve been to 3 shops recently to try to get a navy pair and haven’t seen any leggings at all) or bright tights and one of my many hand knit cardigans or a jumper over.

20160917_125648Enter the Merchant and Mills workbook and the cover dress which is called Curlew. Th title of this post refers to the sub-title of the book, I’m not elegant and have no desire to be, I’m hoping I can give these patterns a more grungy look! You can also use the pattern to make a long-sleeved shirt (which I think would rock chambray) and a sleeveless top. I will have to do some work on the neckline as that thing is majorly wide, there is no way on earth the models are wearing bras, or if they are they’re strapless, neither of which are territory I’m comfortable with. I’m wondering if it would work with stable knits as well, hmmm. Anyway, that took care of the linen and gave me a direction to move in, but did I really need to buy an entire book for a dress pattern?

I like the Stride trousers, but I will have to wait for the huge belly to go on its merry way after the operation and when I can get back to doing real ab workouts. I like the Bantam sleeveless top/dress, although seeing Roo’s version it’s another not bra friendly make which will need a little work. Not really into the Saltmarsh drawstring waist skirt, although maybe shortened to just above the knee it’d be worth a look at some point. The Heron wrap top could either be incredibly cool looking in a solid over a bright t-shirt or it could just be uncomfortable and need adjusting all the time. It’s doing odd things in the photographs which I think might irritate the shit out of me if I were the one wearing it, another to ponder.

So, some things that need work and I have ideas about, but the main reason I bought the book, even above the Curlew dress, was for the Haremere jacket/coat.

20160917_125743See, along with the linen I also bought 6m of black/blue medium weight denim. I think a denim coat/jacket in this shape would be fabulous and work really well over the style I want to attempt and with all the huge shawls that I seem to be working on. I have some dark blue denim too which is a bit thicker and I’m going back and forth mentally between the two, but I think the darker new stuff will win.

I couldn’t figure out why the jacket hit me so hard, it has just really caught my imagination and I can see it in my head. I have been decluttering/purging/getting rid of shit I don’t need from my sewing room and upon moving a pile of things off the windowsill I came across a picture I’d cut out of a catalogue sometime last year.

20160917_125756

Seems that somewhere in my brain this picture was lodged even though I didn’t remember it! It’s not exactly the same, but there are enough similarities in shape and style that it will work.

The only other decision I need to make before I probably throw myself into this (abandoning many other well laid sewing plans) is which length to make. I thought the longer coat length but then I looked at the picture next to the shorter jacket length

20160917_125825

and now I’m not sure which one I want. Which would be more useful, more the style I want? Things I will ponder while I finish off the sewing project on my table at the moment!

Anyone made this jacket? I’ve not Googled yet but I will before I start on it.

The ‘style’ thing is going to be ongoing for a long time, but I am looking forward to trying these shapes and styles and seeing what I come up with and where they lead me.

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