Friday, 7 May 2010

Travel wardrobe: Item 1

Having just finished the SWAP, and finally sending the dratted photographs off, any sensible person would sew something simple, like a scrabble piece holding drawstring bag. (OK, done, you can stop nagging, child #3). The next thing would be something frivolous and unplanned.
I can't.
The next wardrobe looms.
I am travelling to France and Britain for a month, and leave in 9 weeks.
I have nothing to wear. Nothing, that will survive being rolled into a small space left over when the cycling gear is put in, dry quickly after hand washing, and not look totally weird with the ugly, but necessarily supportive and comfortable shoes I am taking.
So when I was in Brisbane for work a little while ago, I bought something. 2 somethings. Primarily because I could not find the fabric I wanted, not even online.
Here is why I do not tend to buy RTW.
This is the least offensive garment in its almost original state. I had already removed at least 3km of cream topstitching and these pocket flaps and side patch pocket.
It does not look insanely huge at the waist in this photograph, but believe me, it was sitting on the hips, but determined to turn circles around my waist the second I took a step. You also can't see the buttonhole openings in the yoke for the missing drawstring ($40 down from $90 on the sale rack at Mountain Designs because it was missing the drawstring!!!! This offended my sense of thrift). I tried on every skirt in the shop, and this fit the best.

Further Alterations:
Unpicked waistband top and bottom, front and back.
Applied zipped pocket to inside of wasitband for secure travelling pocket. Discovered that stitching showed through to hip region of outer pocket, so applied flap to cover this, then added another pocket, velcro closure, inside the front pocket for semi-secure pocket for change etc. Completely ruined quick dry nature of garment by including this 3 layer pocket.

Replaced front waistband with facing to hide buttonholes
4 darts in back, and took in side seams at waist
Recut back waistband and facing with centre back seam, replaced waistband, taking in side seams above hips
Let out side seams as far as possible at backside (a whole 5mm available across 2 seams)
Shortened skirt by about 10cm to allow for short legs. This included shortening the invisible zip in the side seam of the hem - possibly intended for walking ease, but I'm not sure why this is needed in an A line skirt. Curse makers of travelling clothes whilst hand sewing end of invisible zip.
Tried a blind stitch hem on the machine, but hem very noticeable, long suffering husband states this is a design feature and suggests stop fiddling around with %#@ skirt. Strongly suspect that hem stitching line is both crooked and visible, and waistband re-application bodginess is noticeable at side seams, leading to determination not to wear this skirt when may be seen by fellow seamstresses at sewing met up in London.
Folded, then rolled up skirt and stored for several days prior to photographs to assess ability of skirt to look presentable after non-ironing life in French hotel.
Skirt is strongly creased down the front. This fortunately appears not very noticeable in photographs.

Cost:$40, + $3 thread and considerable wear and tear on my quick un-pick
Time: 4 hours unpicking, around 3 hours fitting and sewing.
Fun: Negligible
Outcome: Wearable, just...


Vicki said...

How exciting to be cycling (?) in Britian and France. I would love to just cycle away, leisurely, stopping for bagettes, brie and wine...sigh...

arnysews said...

Have you thought about rayon and/or poly knits for the travel wardrobe? They dry quickly, require no ironing and take up very little space in the suitcase. A knit dress (or two) would be a good option.
I envy your curves by the way, I miss my waist.

Carol said...

I don't even bother looking at stores anymore, other than staring in windows and stealing inspiration. I agree with Arnysews, when I had a career that had me on the road all the time doubleknit was my best friend. I had a little black dress that I carried in case I needed one. I don't know what it was made from, but there was nothing that would make it crush. It was part of my travel wardrobe for nearly ten years and as it was rarely worn it spent most of the time crushed into a corner of my bag. I never ironed it once.

Mary Nanna said...

I can really see why you can't be bothered with RTW. I have no trouble finding bottoms to fit and for tops I must content myself with knits. That still gives me plenty of scope for happy purchases.

Another wardrobe! Gulp. Still, you've clearly got the discipline for it and you'll make all that planned sewing work for you.

Very best of luck.

p.s. Can discipline be absorbed by blog osmosis? Fingers crossed.

Sharon said...

What a challenge to achieve a wearable skirt. Don't worry the girls in London will be only too happy to meet you and not judge you on your creased wardrobe.

Will you get much chance to stop for bagetts, brie and wine?

Roobeedoo said...

Oh please don't overthink the "travel" aspect - I am sure many of your beautiful home-made items would survive the journey! And we do have irons in the UK! I second the suggestion of using jersey fabric. You don't have to wear re-made RTW! You will look like a tourist if you do! ;)

KID, MD said...

The remake is vastly superior to the original! Nice work!

ejvc said...

Karen, I have an excellent iron. You must bring your most fashionable clothes instead. Also, bring a knitted jumper - for an Australian it will probably feel like winter, it always gets chilly at night, even in the summer.

a little sewing on the side said...

Wow, you really turned that into a nice looking skirt- great job!

ejvc said...

Also, could that first skirt have been a *more* unflattering length? Wonderful job.