Evening bumblebees. I have no new finished items to show off today. Normally I skip these days on the blog – I’m more of a show and tell girl than a waxing philosophical girl. At least, as far as the blog is concerned… but I’ve been mulling over a thought all day which led me to to a google search chock full of big hair, 80’s fashion and a slight identity crisis. And here’s what got me started.
Lovely, isn’t it? All spring-like green and a super-awesome-o piece of dupioni silk woven from hot pink and emerald green strands. So nice. This is for my shabby-chic skirt that I’m making as part of the Spring Palette Challenge. That’s right. Shabby-chic skirt. I don’t know what else to call it – here’s a photo…
I think the skirt’s cute. A bit on the long side, but something different. It’s in the book Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt. Since I’m showing off photos, here’s a shot of the coat from the same book that I’ll make as a bonus item (meaning: “if I get around to it”…) the ‘classic tailored jacket’…
Isn’t that the most wonderful collar? I’m thinking it’ll look perfect in this Anna Maria Horner velveteen we got in at the shop today… VELVETEEN!!
My search over the last few days for the perfect fabric for the skirt got me thinking. About my style. I have to admit to a bit of psychosis, style-wise. While the coat has a bit less of the shabby-chic vibe going on, the whole book is very cute, mixed prints, all cottons, all in that shabby vibe. I love all the patterns in the book, but have to admit I don’t think they’re really “me”
And then there’s my other project that I worked on today. Again, a piece for the Spring Challenge. This one is the other skirt. I initially thought I’d do something in basic grey – perhaps a pencil skirt with a kicky pleat on the bottom. The fabric I found is a rayon linen blend that’s much too stiff for my initial design idea. I thought something shorter would be better – more like a classic denim skirt. I flipped through the pattern sites then found this perfect skirt on Anthropologie.
It’s probably hard to see the detail, but in addition to the little scallop on the hem and the funky welt pockets, there are also external darts that are topstitched down. Perfect for a bit of mid-weight linen! I spent part of today using a favorite skirt pattern (Butterick 4877) and David Page Coffin’s trouser book to draft a pattern for the skirt. And, I ask you… what style is this??
Take these projects, add my penchant for full skirted, fitted bodice, vaguely reminiscent of the 50’s dress and my new love for anything with a fitted midriff band, I’m just sort of all over the place (as opposed to some people with a very defined aesthetic…)
I’m sure I’m like a lot of other people. Prior to sewing, my main thought in buying clothes was ‘works well enough, looks ok’. Often I’d sacrifice either the ‘looks’ or the ‘works’ part – you know, I’d find a dress that looked great on me, but was in drab colors. Or I’d find the perfect wool coat with a too-maternity-esque cut that didn’t really work for me, but I’d buy it anyway because the color was so great. I have a friend who says she’ll buy a piece of clothing if it ‘covers her up.’ I totally get that. Pre-sewing days, I think my design aesthetic was similar to me car /valet aesthetic – good enough to go to a restaurant downtown without embarrassing myself.
Of course, sewing changes a lot of things. I look in the mirror a lot more. As fellow bloggers know, it’s a strange world to step into sewing blogging. There are more pictures of me on the internet than I’d have been comfortable with a year or two ago. The more we look at myself, the easier it is to be a bit more objective about what I’m seeing. And then there’s the byproduct of sewing that is figuring out what works. As much as I’ve always yearned for the androgynous, slightly punk vibe for myself, I think I’d look ridiculous trying to rock a Patti Smith look with a Kate Pierson shape (ah, the beehive…) And then there’s the miraculous ability to make things that have not only the right look, but also will work on my body. What fun.
But I’m still not sure what my style is (other than a clear love of green floral dresses.) Which brings me back to my google search. I thought long and hard today (well, not that hard) about what influenced me in those young tender teenage years where I started to get my groove on. That was a long time ago. I liked clothes a lot in high school, in an oddball sort of way. I had a lot of Benetton and Esprit stuff (but only if there were no labels showing – remember those Esprit bags and sweatshirts? egad), and a lot of thrift store stuff. I wore my hair flat when we were reeling out way out of big-hair 80’s. I searched some photos of my top five – uh, style icons? That seems like a bit of an over commitment, but we’ll go with that. We’ll start with #5. (welcome to the 80’s. What can I say?)
I hesitate to include Molly Ringwald, but like it or not, she was a redhead and so was I (although she’s not really one and I really am…) I had to put up for YEARS with people telling me I looked like her, which is not at all true and never was. I never really liked her clothes in any of her movies, although I loved the breakfast club boots. But I bet I could nearly recite all her lines with her. I studied her like she possessed the secret to life…
Jami Gertz in the Lost Boys
I loved this movie too and especially Star with her gypsy ways and her giant hair. And her vampire boyfriends. I liked the vampire clothes too, although I never really developed a one-track desire for men with motorcycles. I guess some things never change, because while searching for photos it crossed my mind that I’d like to find a pattern to make a cute white cotton shirt just like Star’s.
Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally
I watched this movie to death in my junior (?) year of high school. I remember not liking her hair but loving her makeup. I didn’t like all of her outfits, but I certainly spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find the perfect pair of shorts and a red sweater to copy this look. I liked the vaguely Annie Hall vibe of a lot her outfits. And, as a slightly OCD type myself and highly impressionable, I viewed the scenes when she was organizing (movies, ordering in the restaurant, etc.) as valuable lessons in how to life my life.
Julia Roberts in Dying Young
I think this moving came out my senior year of high school – so early ‘90’s. The era of (much missed) floral dresses and combat boots. I really need to get another pair of boots. Her wardrobe was all dresses and sweaters and giant overalls and more giant hair. In a house by the sea. There was even a vineyard and a maze. If it wasn’t for all the cancer and crying, this would have been a perfect movie. There was even some excellent jazz.
And now, for number one. Everyone’s favorite entre to soft-core naughtiness (not why it’s number one) and the most excellent 80’s movie wardrobe ever….
9 and 1/2 weeks
Sigh. That’s right. I said it. My number one style-impact-movie from my formative years was 9 and a half weeks. Sure, there was a lot of nookie in the movie, but that aside I thought it was so pretty. She went to a street fair, she bought a fish still flipping around at the market. She had witty dinner parties. Also, there was a lot of super cool digital equipment – intriguing to a budding gadget geek such as me. AND there was a boat and I’m pretty sure some Billie Holiday. Sigh.
Wow! Pulling myself back into the present, I shall leave you to contemplate the wisdom of curtailing the movie viewing of impressionable youths. I’m off to surf some costume websites to find that perfect pair of spectator heels…