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What kind of clothes do you like to wear

CarolFresia's picture

There should be a question mark at the end of the subject line, but I ran out of character spaces...

Anyway, I'm curious to know what sort of clothes you all wear, where you shop, what you like to sew, and more. Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit? Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

I think that's enough for now! I'll be interested to hear your answers.


anneelsberry's picture

(post #31264, reply #1 of 54)

Let's see. . .

I'm a 35 year-old attorney with two kids, so I generally wear suits/separates to work that I purchase at Ann Taylor.  When I sew I do more artistic things, usually for my daughter or other people.  Because I sit in front of a computer all day, I prefer to do handwork -- embellishment, smocking, handknitting, etc.  So, no computerized machine or machine embroidery. 

My mother actually does most of the sewing for me, as she is more interested in tailoring.  Often we alter Vogue patterns to suit me or make patterns from my ready-to-wear.   We're also more likely to make special occasion clothes than purchase them.  Currently we're working on an easter dress for my daughter (Vogue 7945), a ballgown for a friend's teenager (black silk skirt and corset top with silk ribbon embroidery and beading), and valances for my home.  In my to-do pile is a linen blend churidar kamiz that I will embellish with embroidery.

Somebody put a stop payment on my reality check!

Somebody put a stop payment on my reality check!

sarahnyc's picture

(post #31264, reply #2 of 54)

I'm 42, a mother to three and I make jewish ritual objects in fabric out of my home... my usual uniform is a pair of tailored pants or jeans, a fitted t or a tank and when i have to go out of the house. I put on a sweater.  sometines I will wear a to the knee straight skirt and dark tights.  I tned to get sinus infections so I nearly always wear a hat and a scarf when I'm outside in cool weather..  because I work witrh fabric...I need to take care of my hands so i wear gloves. I inherited a great  many beautiful vintage gloves.. so oddly enough...even though what I wear is pretty much thrown together.. it tooks pulled together.. It may help that I live on the upper west side of manhattan which is pretty relaxed by new york standards.. more april cornel than chanel.. during the summer months I tned to live in skirts.. I have made a bunch of straight skirts from a burda pattern - I also made myself two tank dresses after reading last summer's article on pre piecing fabric  for bias cut clothing.. it is the next best thing to being naked. I wear comfy funky shoes.


I also have occasions when I need to look like more of a grown up. I love to thrift shop and own lots of wonderfull jackets. I wear them with plain black RTW black knit sleeveless dresses and either a belt or a scarf. As time goes on - more of my skirts and  my tanks are home made. I need clothing that's easy to wear.. and un fussy.



sarah in nyc

sewingkmulkey's picture

(post #31264, reply #3 of 54)

Carol, I'm a 56 year old grandmother who works outside the home as an office manager.  I live in Houston, TX and have really seen a change in office dressing attire in the last few years.  Ten years ago I wore mainly skirt suits or dresses w/jackets.  Now I've given up pantyhose and wear tailored slack/top separates or pantsuits exclusively.  Sometimes I even feel a bit overdressed in these pantsuits but pride myself in looking professional.  I purchase most of my business clothes and save my precious sewing time for artsy, embellished jackets (winter weeks) and silk pant outfits w/ hand painting, etc (summer months) to wear "on my time".    I have a 2 year old granddaughter that now takes a slot of my sewing time so I have an opportunity to try out new techniques in a small, fun version!  I have yet to feel a desire to purchase an embroidery machine as I prefer fabric manipulation or freeform applique rather than pre-programmed designs. 

I've been sewing for 47 years and spent half of that time sewing professionally for clients.  My sincere wish is that Threads will continue to inspire the experienced seamstress as well as promote young people to sew by showcasing young designers and their "out of the box" designs!


Edited 4/2/2004 2:43 pm ET by SEWINGKMULKE

pdclose's picture

(post #31264, reply #4 of 54)

"what sort of clothes you all wear"

I wear tailored pants with either chanel-style jackets or t-style tops (the Marcy Tilton style t-shirt), or embellished tops or embellished, cropped cotton sweaters.  I really like to wear the embellished jacket part of a Christopher and Banks set as a top alone, and not as a jacket.  When relaxing I ditch the tailored pants part and wear wild pants (wild colors or huge pockets) with plain t-shirts or t-shirt jackets (a more casual twin set look).

"where you shop"

Target, Nordstom's Rack, Christopher and Banks.

"what you like to sew"

Tops and pants.  I love Sewing Workshop and Vogue and will make my own patterns or copy from ready-to-wear.  I don't do much copying from r-t-w, and I only copy what I already own and love (and is no longer available elsewhere, or not in materials I like).  I don't copy from store windows or racks.  I love Issey Miyake and Geoffrey Beene patterns and designs.  I like to play with geometry and especially moving the 2-d into the 3-d form.

"Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality?"

No, I prefer well-fitting and comfortable clothes.  I can add individuality with a pin. :-)

"If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?"

Most definitely I will (and have) make it myself!  That's one area where I sew to get exactly what I want and in materials I like.  I make all my own, and my husband's, formal wear.

"How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?"

I prefer minimal embroidery.  I'd rather get embellishment through the design of the garment itself.  My idea of a great garment comes from the cut of the clothes (think Vionnet or even Miyake's "Japonesque Top" from the Sewing Workshop) or in the small details like piping, buttons, fabric choices (think Chanel) or in the placement of design (think Koos or the Taunton Press book on Creative Surface Design).  I do wear Christopher and Banks jackets, which are embroidered, but the designs tend to be along the hemline and add to the overall look rather than shout "look at me, I'm embroidered"!

SewNancy's picture

(post #31264, reply #5 of 54)

I am a 53 year old landscape designer.  Most of the time I wear pants or jeans and sweaters or t-shirts.  I have a few skirts that I have made, straight knee legnth,  or an 8 gore knee length from Vogue that I love.  I definitely make my dressy clothes.  I love great fabrics and cut.  I don't wear any kind of embellishments on my clothes, nor do I like prints.  I prefer clothes that can showcase my collection of handmade silver jewelry.  I like well cut semi fitted clothes that work with my large bust.   When I buy, I usually buy from a friends boutique or at Saks or Bloomingdales, especially the sale rack! I have been on a quest to make perfect pants.  I am getting closer! I also buy simpler things at Chico's.  No prints or embroidery.  I like to find expensive ready to wear and copy the style.  Right now my project is a Chanel style jacket  (you may have seen my questions about current Chanel ) and that 8 gore skirt in an aqua silk with black silk strap seams ala Proenza Schouler.  This is to wear at my daughters high school graduation.  I make some things for her too.  A Vogue Michael Kors evening gown for her prom and other dressy clothes. 


LindaG's picture

(post #31264, reply #6 of 54)

Hi Carol,

I wear the tailored jackets and pants that I make to work (I have no purchased jackets or pants right now).   Since I can't find the right fit, fabric or color in the stores, I make well fitting versions of fairly conservative styles out of the best fabric I can afford.   I have one standard pattern for trousers that started life as Simplicity's "Simply Chinos" and have been converted into my master pattern.

I've copied a simple RTW blazer blouse and made it up in eggplant textured rayon; red printed rayon;  and white cotton jaquard.  For a formal event, I copied a simply cut, not very fancy RTW bias cut top and flowing pants and made it in sueded washed silk.   Since I do use relatively expensive fabric, I want the garment to look stylish for at least a couple of years, and so I don't invest the time in copying very trendy styles. 

I like looking at designer clothing because there are such terrific details.  For example, there was a photo of a menswear jacket in the paper (yesterday?) that had an interesting right side laced closure.  I'd never wear anything exactly like that but it was a very interesting piece.  The right designer details look fashionable for years.

Hope this helps.


sueb115's picture

(post #31264, reply #7 of 54)

I left my job last summer to stay at home at make my own line of handbags so I pretty much live in jeans, sweats and casual skirts.  I like to sew home dec items, pants, shorts and easy tops and of course handbags and accessories. 

I used to shop at Ann Taylor for my suits and business clothing but now I pretty much stick to J Jill, Ann Taylor Loft and Chico's.


JWilliment's picture

(post #31264, reply #8 of 54)

I'm 34, at home Mum of three.  I have a degree in Clothing and Textile Science  which I fervently hope will get dusted off when the youngest starts school.....

I sew as much as I can.  I like unusual clothes - I don't like walking down the street and seeing "my" clothes on other people.  Having said that, neither do I want to stick out like a sore thumb!  I like Vogue designer patterns, and use a lot of Burda WOFs.  I like some of their avant garde patterns especially.  If not for the horrendous cost of getting them here to New Zealand, I'd love to make some of the Sewing Workshop designs.  I often make "dressy" styles in everyday fabrics.  (My everyday light coat is an Issey Miyake).  My general rule is to have an unusual pattern in an ordinary fabric, or vice versa.

At the moment I'm wearing a top I made by copying one I was given.  I don't often copy garments by pricking off (as I did for this one), I usually take a WOF patern which has the right elements (set in sleeves, darts in the right place - that sort of thing) and manipulate the pattern as though it were a basic block.  It is a lot quicker than drafting from scratch, and for simple shapes is easier than pricking off.  This top had a perfect neckline though, which I wanted to duplicate.

Since I have small kids, ease of care is important - all our clothes have to be easily laundered.  For the SO and myself for "good" is a different story.  I make all of my "going-out-with-adults" clothes, and most of the SO's.  After finding him the perfect pant and shirt patterns, he's set for life.  I make quite a lot of the kids clothes, but since time is limited I tend to do the fun stuff, and buy basics.

I dress casually, and would be lost without my 501's.  One pair has so many repairs that if I took them all out there's be nothing left - but those jeans are SO soft.


There are no sewing mistakes - only opportunities for design features.
There are no sewing mistakes - only opportunities for design features.
BETH63931's picture

(post #31264, reply #9 of 54)

I am a 62 year old retired nurse who returned to sewing about 5 years ago. I live in casual clothes, mostly pants with knit tops. My goal is to make comfortable pants that fit very well. My homemade pants fit better than RTW. Yeah! Purchased knit tops are better sewn than my own attempts. Improving on sewing with knits is a future project.

I don't care for embroidery or clothing that says "look at me". I buy most of my dressy clothes.

rfresia's picture

(post #31264, reply #10 of 54)

I have two uniforms, one for winter, one for summer.  In the winter, I wear turtlenecks and LLBean or Land'sEnd corduroy slacks since I no longer fit into my favorite wool trousers and I can't seem to alter the pattern I made from a Threads article long ago.  In the summer, I wear polo shirts and LLBean or Land'sEnd shorts.  I think there is a dress in one of the closets around here.  What I really enjoy wearing are my handknit sweaters, of which I have many, many, and most are designed by me.  They're like a secret signal to other knitters.  It's fun to watch people suddenly realize that what I'm wearing is handknit.  The non-knitters will say "You didn't knit that, did you?"  But the knitters will say "You knit that, didn't you?"    rjf   



lin327's picture

(post #31264, reply #11 of 54)

I'll be happy to answer!

>>>>I'm curious to know what sort of clothes you all wear, where you shop, what you like to sew, and more. Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit? Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

I am an aspiring artist/designer/writer...whichever takes off is the path I will take.  I've been a stay at home mom and I promised myself when my youngest turned sixteen, I would follow my dreams.  He turns sixteen next week and those three dreams are calling the loudest.

Clothing has always been a method of personal expression.  I am a unique individual and I try not to look like anyone else.  I shop anywhere and everywhere.  I like vintage and second hand stores, I've gotten things from wal mart and I've bought in the men's department.  Anything, whether its a t-shirt or a formal gown has to "speak" to me.  I don't just buy a pair of black pants because they are a basic wardrobe starter...even the basics must have something interesting that "speaks to me.  I often embellish purchased clothing to make it unique.

I prefer skirts to pants most of the time.  For formal events I will make  something..but because formal events often have strict rules about appropriate attire,  I make simple things in spectacular fabrics.  It's safer that way.  I wear my truly one of a kind items, visiting, school meetings, art galleries, anywhere.  (Except gardening and camping...needless to say!) 

I find inspiration almost anywhere.  When I look in my closet and think..."I need new clothes..." I sit with my sketch book and plan around a theme, last spring I was inspired by the "summer of love" made hippy styled things.  In the fall it was "paisley" from some vintage rayons I got at an auction.  This spring the two have morphed into India, and I find myself inspired by some of the luxury fabrics from India.  Where this inspiration will lead...I don't know.

I try not to get too carried away by embellishments.  One or two carefully executed well placed embellishments are much more flattering than something covered with every embellishment technique known.  (I recall those embellished jackets that were the rage in sewing circles about ten years ago...slashed and quilted and overdyed and painted and beaded and quilted--- eighteen fabrics and twelve techniques...most of them were hideous and had the shape of cardboard boxes.)  And with only a couple well placed embellishments, I can wear them together, such as a beaded sweater with an appliqued skirt and not look like a clown. 

Unique individual...yet still tasteful!

I think that's enough and I hope I don't sound too much like a hopeless flake!


Dyslexics of the world untie!

rfresia's picture

(post #31264, reply #12 of 54)

You sound as if you're having fun!  This is a great topic, don't you think?  These days people seem free to create their own style instead of getting the standard outfits that say "I'm an office person",  "I'm a stay-at-home mother", "I'm an old lady" (although they might have a little more trouble being adventursome).  It's much easier to face the world when you feel that you look good.           rjf



callie1's picture

(post #31264, reply #13 of 54)

What do I like to wear?  I work in a Natural Food Store so dress is very casual and I can wear Issey Miyake pants, and Sewing Workshop outfits and everyone thinks they're cool.  I like to dress very individually and try to purchase as few items as possible (except t-shirts).  Comfort is very important to me so I look for patterns with comfort and style.  I'm not much for button down shirts or tailored jackets. 

     As far as formal wear I will always make it myself.  It's so much fun and since I hate black, pink and white it's hard to find anything I like in a store, and then it's sooo overpriced.  I can make myself a nice silk outfit for what I could buy a polyester one for. 

     As far as embellishment, I like fairly clean and simple looks.  I prefer texture and color over pattern and go for more subtle embellishment.  Once in a while I go crazy like green pants with green leaves appliqued up the sides ( a big hit at work). 

lin327's picture

(post #31264, reply #14 of 54)

Yes...I do have fun with clothes...  I remember when I was younger there were so many rules about what to wear and when to wear it...I could never figure out the rules...I went down south with someone and she spent the entire time in black pumps because it was after labour day...she refused to wear anything white even thought it was over ninety degrees! 


Dyslexics of the world untie!

cmarie12's picture

(post #31264, reply #15 of 54)

<<Do you try to copy ready-to-wear?>>

Yes, I do.  Especially if I see a garment that really excites me.  When I copy RTW I don't usually do it line for line or in the exact same color or print.  Then you can see yourself coming and going.  It is more like an interpretation than a direct copy.

<<Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality? >>

I have a few one-of-a-kind garments but this is not what I usually make.

<<Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses? >>

Our office is business casual and I make 90% of my work wear.  It is easier to list what I don't make than what I do.  In the winter ~ turtlenecks, sweaters.  In the summer ~ tank tops, some shirts.

<<If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?>>

Depends on the occasion.  Most of the time I end up making a garment because I can get exactly what I want in the style, color, length, etc.

<<Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing? >>

JJill, Coldwater Creek, Ann Taylor, August Max, Barrie Pace for work clothes, Liz Claiborne for inspiration.

<<How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes? >>

Very little.  I like clean, simple lines where the fabric or the color/print is the dominant feature.  I use jewelry and scarves to accessorize outfits.

I have been sewing for 34 years now.  I am the mother of 4 and my passion is sewing.  I take the time each season to plan out a new wardrobe and what I will sew.  My greatest pleasure comes from spending quality time with my sewing machine and making new garments.


Edited 4/5/2004 11:46 am ET by cmarie12

Marijke's picture

(post #31264, reply #16 of 54)

It was fun to read all the responses to this query.

I'm a working mom with two 4-year old daughters.  I wished I had more time and energy to sew.  Right now, I sew a lot of pants for my girls and an occasional dress (like one from Bob the Builder fabric, because all the ready-made clothes with this character are for boys).  For the summer, I'll be making a bunch of capris and shorts for them.  I buy the T-shirts to go with them.

I have made tailored jackets, skirts, dresses, vests, etc. for both work and casual for myself, but right now the largest proportion of my wardrobe is ready-to-wear because of a lack of time for more sewing (Talbots, Lands End, J.Jill, mostly online and catalog shopping because of the lack of access to stores).  J.Jill and some other catalogs are also good inspiration.  I keep wishing for more time to sew!!!  In addition to garments, I'd like to do more quilting than I can manage with the time I can devote to sewing... 


kjp's picture

(post #31264, reply #17 of 54)

Hi Carol!  I am a 38 year old mom of one son in kindergarten.  I dress casually - jeans & fitted sweaters/tnecks or t-shirts and hand-knit sweaters.  I think I wear jeans every day (ready-to wear).  For special occasion, night out with the girls, or formal wear, I make most of my clothes.  I wear a lot of pants, except for formal where long dresses are my choice.  I do very little embellishment, as I prefer clean lines& looks. 

I shop at Jjill, Ann Taylor and Talbots sales.  I use ready to wear for inspiration, but usually look for a pattern that is similar.  I like Burda patterns most.  Occasionally I shop at upscale specialty shops, where I love the fit of the pants, but can only buy when they have a 70% off clearance sale.  I greatly prefer fabric and yarn shopping to clothing stores! 


JeanEsther's picture

(post #31264, reply #18 of 54)

I work from home, and mostly wear RTW jeans with t-shirts or sweaters. My skirts for church and such are either fun or denim, all made and all bias or A-line. I made my formal wear skirt and pair it with RTW top. When I meet with clients, I usually wear a wool pant suit with buttoned down shirt. I made about a third of my shirts. I'm trying to perfect pants and am about to make my first jacket. It'll be denim and if it goes well, the next will be wool with matching pants (or skirt). I like making knit tops, but have trouble finding good knits. I made a denim hat recently and will probably make a Panama hat soon.

I shop at Talbots, Nordstrom's, Robinsons (Liz Claiborne mostly) and Mervyns. I like conservative, comfortable styles. I've made one pair of pants by copying RTW; I've copied parts of shirts to help fit similar patterns (I will be copying a favorite jacket to help with the pattern I bought). I check out RTW to help decide fabrics that ought to work for patterns, but often have trouble finding similar fabrics. I haven't embellished much, except for nice buttons or decorative top-stitching. I'd like to try braids or couching some time, but am not too interested in embroidery on clothes.

emmepirate's picture

(post #31264, reply #19 of 54)

I am a 31 year old costume shop manager.  Most of the stuff I sew is vintage inspired, and I try not to use commercial patterns.  I just like the challenge of manipulating my slopers, and it helps me hone my skills for work, too.   I do copy ready-to-wear...well, I have a morgue of pics out of magazine, but I havent had the time to try all of them.  I usually  buy Vogue in the spring and fall (when its really thick) and tear stuff out for my morgue.  My theatre has at least 10 opening nights each year, and while they aren't formal, I like to kick it up a bit as I'm representing the costume shop.  I usually make something, mostly from the New Look era.  However, sometimes the show opening we are celebrating took 4 weeks of 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  These are the times I fall back to my vintage collection, or I'll pull something out of the theatre's stock.   I have a hard time shopping, because I cant get past the thought, "I could make this and I could choose the fabric *and* make it fit"  Thus, I usually shop at thrift stores.  The only things I buy new, unless it's really really cool, are swimwear, undies, and suits (although tailoring is next on my list!)  

nbutler6's picture

(post #31264, reply #35 of 54)

I mostly like to wear smart casual clothing and I do check out the more expensive women's retail stores for design ideas I can copy.  Also of course I check out Threads and also books from the library.  My sewing level is moderate so design ideas I've "borrowed"  need to be within my grasp.  I don't have ambition to be a couture sewer despite my admiration for them.

I like to embellish my clothes somewhat altho my stlyle is tailored.   However over the past few years it seems to me as though we are getting a bit bored with the same old and embellishments, scarves, beading etc are beginning to be used in a chic way.  Personally I'm not a fan of the sort of "craft" look that some home sewers enjoy.  The quilted vests and speciality bags etc that do appeal to a number of people (I can see why, they're just not my "thing".)

I tend to fabric shop at a local store that features an enormous array of bolts and trims.  Crummy part of town but good selection. 

The more I sew the more I've begun to enjoy making a greater range of clothes; now I make my nightgowns, pjs, undershirts, underpants, the occasional purse, etc. And have bored my husband with an eyeglasses case which he hid.  He does however wear the fleece hat I made.

Also find it fun to sew for the nieces--matching fleece hats, scarves & gloves.

All I can think of for now.  Really enoy and get inspired by this forum and the mag.



SEWSERIOU1's picture

(post #31264, reply #20 of 54)

I work in an office part-time as a medical transcriptionist and, fortunately, I can wear casual clothes.  Twill or denim pants (i.e. jeans mostly as long as they are not faded or badly worn), nice t-shirts. 

I also teach sewing part-time and do alterations and custom dressmaking.  I dress it up a bit more for that.  Nicer dress pants and a nice t-shirt or other 'casual' top, a causual dress with sandals, maybe a semi-tailored jacket.  I try to make everything I wear when teaching.  After all, if I am teaching it, I have to do it also! 

I don't have anywhere to go to wear evening wear, so I have only made that for others.  I have some that fits me, but I made those to use as samples in my business. 

CTI's picture

(post #31264, reply #21 of 54)

what sort of clothes you all wear,

When home alone I live in sweats, jeans, lightweight pants, shorts, T-shirts. When at work I dress up in suits for fancy (usually stupid) meetings, and otherwise go with the dress code which has varied from jeans and a baseball cap are ok to unspoken but understood that "girls must show at least their calves and thus always be cold in the winter during fire drills, and vulnerable to showing whatever if it's windy."

where you shop,

Used or discount or import stores except for undies and most shoes and outerwear. I bought a raincoat from JC Penney online a few years ago, but except for socks I haven't bought anything new except things in Goodwill with the tags still on.

what you like to sew, and more. Do you try to copy ready-to-wear? Do you prefer to make one-of-a-kind garments that express your individuality?

Except for the simplest of design ideas I wouldn't try to copy, especially if I would be disappointed if it didn't work. I'd love to deconstruct, pattern-make, and reconstruct, but I'm not that proficient. I'd probably rather be one-of-a-kind than wearing something that 10 other people are wearing that night, but I don't want to stand out either.

Do you need professional clothes for the office, or do you dress casually most of the time? Pants, skirts, or dresses?

This changes with every job, and lots of other variables. Pants make the most sense, especially if you come to an overscheduled meeting late and have to sit on the floor.

If you have a formal event to attend, are you more likely to make or buy your outfit?

That's about 50-50 for me, but lately it's more like construct or put together an outfit, rather than sew it, plus I don't like formal events anymore.

Do you have a favorite store or catalogue where you buy clothes or get inspiration for sewing?

That's sort of a leading question, no? How about Threads and this forum for inspiration :) I definitely do not have a favorite store. I think popular TV shows and world clothing both influence me. That so many "primitive" cultures have beautiful and functional wrap clothing makes me think I would like to go in that direction when possible. Fewer and easier seams.  

How much embellishment (it any), and what kind, do you like on your clothes?

Very little. I like a belt, or scarf, or pin, or necklace, or earrings, or wrap, or exotic buttons or fasteners. I used to have about 10 varieties of watches, but I have learned to live without them as they seem to get broken, lost, or something. Instead, I would prefer that the cuffs have a certain flair, or a kickpleat surprises, buttons are reversible, that sort of thing, and that it can handle a funky different sort of accompaniment while still being a well-fitting design.

On a sunny day you can do a lot with a hat, and if you don't do sunscreen you should probably bring along a hat. I've done a sleeveless black dress in the heat of summer with a straw visor cap, hair coming out the top but not touching my neck. It depends on your locale and the customs too. Now that I'm older I'd add a linen loose fitting jacket so as not to show my arms and make sure I don't freeze in restaurants.

Fun topic Carol, thanks!

Barbaran8's picture

(post #31264, reply #22 of 54)

I work in a biotech lab, so slacks and jeans - since I wear a white lab coat - I always wear a colored top - turtlenecks in winter and shirts/blouses in Summer. For important meeting days a tailored slacks suit. My way of expressing my individuality is all of the vests and sweaters I have embellished or knit. I shop Nordstrom's Rack, Talbot's outlet, Pendelton seconds store, and if I manage a trip to the East Coast, I take a second suitcase and hit Filene's basement. I find that I can buy most ready to wear better made and cheaper than I am capable of putting together - so I only make unique items that have a bit of "splash" to them. My usual formal event is the company Christmas party, which they have always thoughtfully scheduled in mid January - so I usually buy my outfit just before the event, *deeply* discounted since all of the other Holiday events are over by then. By now I have quite a stack of some pretty nice formal wear, since I have to have a new outfit each year (of course!) and none of them are faddish enough to be "out of style".

I don't care for patchwork, but like stitched quilting techniques like sashiko, or some machine quilting techniques, (bobbinwork etc.) I've been making some vests using the fabric collage techniques in Rosemary Eichorn's book and I love them, and people are always very impressed by them. As far as I'm concerned, machine embroidery is for the company to stitch its logo on freebie clothing that they give me - why would I bother with it?

annejolly's picture

(post #31264, reply #23 of 54)

I'm nearly 70 and still working (teacing), and I have to wear skirts or dresses to work. I'm also large - anything from 18-22 (Australian sizing) so I wear skirts, shirts and jackets to work, and I make my own clothes, except tailored jackets because what I can afford to buy is so badly made and ill-fitting. Consequently I make timeless simple tuck-in shirts - short sleeved for summer and long sleeved for winter, and simple skirts - A line or wrap around. I buy my jackets because I don't have the time to tailor such a garment properly. I buy good material - liberty cotton, linen, pure wool as much as possible, and whilst I could buy them here in Australia I used Neue Mode patterns as much as possible. I also used the old Burda patterns without seam allowances. I like patterns without seam allowances because I cut out with a quilter's wheel and measuring arm and get a smooth accurate cut. Furthermore it makes moving from one size to another very easy. Finally, here in rural Tasmania where I live buying well made clothes is very difficult, so making them myself is the solution.

Anne Jolly

MarshaK's picture

(post #31264, reply #24 of 54)

My life-style is casual, so I am usually dressed in jeans and shirts, all made by me, with a t-shirt, or turtleneck. I learned how to sew in school, when there were still such things as Home Ec classes, back when dirt was new. I am tall, 5'11" so it became easier to sew garments than to try find long enough sleeves or legs. For a time I stopped sewing, except for basic mending, but returned to it with a vengance after attending a wedding and seeing a much older woman wearing the same dress I had on that we'd both ordered from the Sears catalog. Haven't stopped sewing since, that was almost 25 years ago, now almost all the clothes I wear have been sewn by me. I like to look through catalogs, to get ideas of what's out there, one of my favorites is Isabella Bird, and any others I can get my paws on. I save any pictures that have interesting details or embellishment designs. I like 'Western' styles, so other catalogs like Cheyenne Outfitters get some attention from me. I'm not much for tailored styles, there aren't many opportunities to wear them in a small town whose population is around a thousand. People tend to look at you in a certain way when you go grocery shopping wearing some thing that is obviously not from stores like Wal-mart, or Sears. My embellished garments are worn to sewing shows, and when we leave town on vacation.


Mauao's picture

(post #31264, reply #25 of 54)

I found the discussion very interesting, and noticed some significant cultural differences between the US and New Zealand.... I work as a health policy analyst and planner.... work full time and have two children... I make all my clothes, I'd have a go at shoes too, if I could find the materials. As for what I wear at work smart tailored in natural fabrics silk wool cotton, with casual sports wear at home... I sew for my teenage daughter and my mother... the cultural difference? Highly individualised/ embellished and fabric art type clothes  are definitly not the thing here, more the garment shape, hems fabric types etc. We are probably far more casual in our dress and have a more relaxed approach at work

MrsRussell's picture

(post #31264, reply #26 of 54)

Hi Carol,

I'm a clinical dietitian at a hospital--at work I have to wear a lab coat, so I typically wear long dresses, sweeping skirts or tailored pants with lightweight sweaters (in winter) or basic tops. Dressing with a lab coat can be a little limiting--you can't do jackets or other bulky tops. White or off-white blouses don't work with the white lab coat either--too washed out! Many embellishments get hidden by the jacket too. When I am out on my days off (carting the kids to dance class, shopping, etc.) I usually wear Calvin Klein jeans with simple, fitted t-shirts.

I like to shop the big sales at the local higher-end department stores and hunt for bargains at places like TJ Maxx. I sometimes alter items that aren't quite perfect-- I would really like more Threads articles that address alterations to already made clothing (not just to patterns or fitting during construction). I also would like some information on how to better "cannibalize" bargain or used clothing to utilize the fabric. I think Threads does a great job of talking about embellishments that can work on RTW as well as handmade items.

When I sew from scratch, I try to make things that look like RTW, but I do like to include subtle special touches--I've gotten more than a few ideas from Delicious Details! I also love the articles that dissect designer clothing--either to utilize these construction techniques or just to appreciate the amazing garments!

Thanks for all the years of inspiration!


hcookie's picture

(post #31264, reply #27 of 54)

I am retired and plus size

  I wear - cotton pants, button front linen shirts, soft cotton tee shirts.  I want my everyday clothes to be washable and easy care.

  I shop - mostly mail order (Silhouettes, L. L. Bean, Lands End) but have bought clothes at Kohl's, Parisian and August Max in the more recent past.   There are a few other stores nearby I mean to try.

  My preferred style is classic casual.  I don't attend formal events and prefer simple styles even when the fabric is dressy.  I haven't worn pantyhose since I retired in 1996 and don't plan to ever again.

  I plan to sew some of the classic clothes so I can afford a few of the more fashionable.  Altering a pattern is a big job and it is not worth it for a fleeting style.

michelle's picture

(post #31264, reply #28 of 54)

Once again, I need to clarify that the 'Shelly' of the previous posting and yours truly (residing in Jerusalem) are not one and the same - although I'm rather surprised that this program allows two people to use the same user name. In the meanwhile, if the new 'Shelly' wouldn't mind altering her user name (eg Shelly2) in order to avoid confusion I would be grateful.

It's really fascinating to read about different lifestyles of various members of the group. 

 I'm an aspiring artist/ designer/ musician (pianist) - My 'career ' doesn't make any demands on my mode of dress - however, since we are ultra-orthodox Jews, there are certain set dress restrictions (women not wearing trousers, requiring of head covering at all times, sleeves that cover our elbows and dress hems that cover our knees at all times, wearing of stockings etc)

Never the less, this doesn't prevent us from enjoying attractive clothing - My personal preference is for the less tailored look - plain fabric, interesting cut with one interesting detail (be it on the collar, pockets, or an unusual button) - Generally an 'understated' look. 


MrsRussell's picture

(post #31264, reply #29 of 54)

Sorry shelly!

I guess this program must be case-sensitive so it let us use both shelly and Shelly. At any rate, I agree it could be confusing. I tried to change my user name but apparently there is some sort of "cookie" business that won't let me do it. So, I'll have my husband (who knows much more about these things) try to fix it before I post again.

(It's ironic because I go by Shelly simply because my full name, Michelle, is SO popular!)

With best regards,

The "other" Shelly