Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thoughts while hemming...

I don't know about you but my mind wanders when I have a lot of hand hemming to do to finish a garment. True Confession:  I use to hate the hemming and finishing bits of a garment because they took so long and I just wanted to wear the garment.  Now, I realize that a bad finishing can ruin a garment so I try to take as much care with it as I do the rest of a garment. So my hemming/finishing can take hours to complete before a garment is ready to be photographed and worn out in public.

Even though, I've learned to appreciate the hemming process and to respect it...it does take quite a bit of time, so here are some of my thoughts...

I've become addicted to Pinterest because I can find loads of boards showing the work clothes that I need in both designer and RTW.  Like this...





  • Why aren't there more sewing blogs with women wearing a more professional wardrobe? Does anyone know?  Or am I just missing them?
  • Recently I've changed the needles I use to hem with to a slimmer lighter model.  I don't think it's changed my hemming abilities much.
  • A recent comment on a post about changing your serger thread made me wonder, don't other sewists buy sewing supplies in bulk and on sale?  Am I the only one that treats my sewing supplies like food stocks and purchase them in bulk?  To me eating is on the same level is sewing! *LOL*
  • It's the time of the year I love...winter has finally left, spring is awakening and bringing loads of sunshine and warm breezes.  However, it always affects my sewing.  I'm either overstimulated with two many ideas to sew or I'm lethargic waiting for inspiration to strike.  This year I'm definitely lethargic!
  • My social media imprint reads one sided ~ it's all about sewing and my grandchildren ~ like there's nothing more to me ~ but it is deliberate.
  • Speaking of social media ~ I prefer Instagram to Facebook.  I think its cause I can flip through the pictures and see what I need to see but Facebook takes so much time, at least to me.  The only thing I check Facebook for is every Wednesday I go to the Scandal page to see the sneak peek for Thursday's show...yeah I'm religious about that! *LOL*
  • True Confession:  The reason my fabric collection is so big is because I'm always worried the bottom is going to fall out.  In times of financial challenges in the past, my fabric collection and sewing machines kept me going.
  • I hate having to leave my sewing room after the weekend.  Honestly, I'm happiest here.  The next logical question is what does that say about me?  Honestly, I don't care! *LOL*
  • I will be 55 soon.  That means I've been sewing for 44 years.  I've owned a sewing machine since I was 11.  I even had one in my college dorm room and it's had a place of honor in every place I've lived.  I think I like to sew!
...as always more later!




49 comments:

  1. I don't sew work clothes because I stay at home with my kids. But even if I were out in the workforce, sewing work clothing intimidates me. Not the slinky jersey shells, but the more structured pieces!

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  2. I made work clothes when I still worked. Since retiring, I have switched to more casual attire. You and I are the same age! I have you beat in sewing experience by one year -- I started at 10. I too had a sewing machine with me at coolge a d throughout grad school. It kept me sane.

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  3. Now that I am 55, I get the senior discount at the nicer fabric store (the one with more stuff than JoAnn). I highly recommend being 55.

    I bulk buy stuff when JoAnn's has the big sales. And only stuff that comes in black and white: elastic, thread, interfacing, underlining, zips and buttons. Grosgrain ribbon by the roll. Otherwise, I ALWAYS buy thread and buttons or zips when I buy fabric, as I've gotten skunked when I have large yardage of a color that has passed out of fashion. Mustard! Medium Khaki! Eggplant!

    Which begs a question: what do you do when the stash can't be thread matched? I've been lurking at estate sales with notebooks of tiny swatches.

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  4. As far as sewing blogs under representing in the professional wardrobe arena, I have two main theories. 1) lots of blogs being written by the 18-30 crowd who don't work in a corporate environment, or at least not in a role where they need the serious office wear yet. Also, stay at home moms seem to write quite a few blogs, the bulk of the wardrobe won't be office-wear for them either. 2) those people who know how to sew and who need the corporate clothing are too tired/busy to do it all and then blog about it, even if they are sewing up their own clothes.

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    1. I totally agree. Most working women just don't have the time to a) blog or b) sew, period. That's one of the reasons you are so unique and fabulous, Carolyn!

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    2. I also agree with the above, a lot of offices these days have a very relaxed dress code - heck, I get to wear jeans and sneakers if I want to. Plus, if you're required to wear more formal work attire, there's a lot more skill that goes in to making it. Maybe there's a void in that skill-set in the sewing blogosphere? But that's why I enjoy reading your blog, Carolyn, and seeing all of the beautiful things you make!

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  5. To add/ disagree with cari's comment above, a lot of workplaces now are more casual with people working in media, design, IT. Certainly in London where I work, I see very few women wearing formal work clothes any more. A lot of people work in corporate jobs without wearing corporate clothes. Admittedly I don't work in or near the City where I imagine dress codes are more formal. The clothes I blog about (I work in an advertising media agency) are the clothes I wear to work!

    Perhaps people who do wear formal clothes to work don't make them and prefer to focus on the more fun clothes for outside of work? Or maybe they see the suited style as something that is more difficult to make?

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    Replies
    1. This is my experience as well. I work for a large tech company, and anything fancier than a knit dress or pencil skirt would look too formal. People would ask me if I had a job interview if I wore a blazer to work. I don't really see women wearing "career" wardrobes any more unless they work in law or finance.

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    2. I agree. I think dress codes have changed quite a bit over the years for a lot of firms and the need for more structured garments is fading.

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    3. Agree with Sew Little Time and Michelle. I work in Portland, Oregon and we are pretty relaxed here. Can't ride your bike to work in a suit in the rain. I don't ride that much, but I do walk a LOT, so my clothes are more functional than formal. Besides, a suit is something only our director wears.

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  6. I am 65 and have been sewing (with needle and thread) since I was 6, with a machine when I was 9 (aprons, hankies, under close supervision.) I, too, brought a machine to college and with me on winter vacations. I have back up back up machines and two sergers (one was my Mom's.) Hard to believe that I've been sewing for 59 years, but I can't imagine being unable to do so. Nice to know I'm not alone in having such a sustaining pleasure.

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  7. I would suggest Lower your presser foot and Jean Kaori designs. If you want to check out my blog (sewingprincess.com) I also try to make a mix of formal and less formal. Just like Sew little time, these are the clothes I generally wear to work. I do work in a corporate environment.
    I also prefer Instagram to Facebook...and I only use Facebook as part of my sewing blog.
    I wish I could buy bulk notions or even at Joann sales as in the US...but I don't live there...

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  8. What's the best way to find and follow your pinterest boards?

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  9. I think if you don't a) work for a large corporation AND b) whose offices are located in a city such as New York, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia, you don't actually 'need' structured corporate level attire. I work for what is actually an extremely large international corporation, but none of our offices (except for HQ in Spain) are located in any of the large metro centers. The level of dress in the offices hovers at the 'Dockers and knit top' level and has since socalled 'casual Friday' came in in the mid-90s. I have worked with guys who live in golf shirts, Dockers and loafers. When I used to dress up to come to work (because I had an outside meeting or just to dress up) , I'd be accused of having a job interview. It's very sad, really, because casual dress doesn't really help women at work; it takes away a lot of credibility I think.

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    1. I work in education. The superintendent wears a suit. But people who are not at that highest level are very casual. women wear Dockers and a twin set and men wear Dockers and a polo. I have to have a suit when I make a presentation. But for everyday work- because I am on the computer and the phone- no one knows what I wear. Casual is in because there is very little face to face contact any more. I do make jackets and suits- but don't have time to blog and don't wear them often. I never wear dresses or skirts because our office is too cold- all year round! That cuts out a lot of garments sewn. And I buy my sweaters. This is one reason I am working on perfecting pants fit this year- so I will have more garments to sew and wear. You can only make so many jackets. My wardrobe is bursting with them.

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  10. Why arent' there more blogs featuring professional clothing? I think that is because the workplace has become so casual. I wore suits for years. Now I wear jeans, dockers, and nice tops and jewelry for work. Men wore many more suits in the past and in some industries still do, but in most places that is passe as well. We have become a nation of slobs. It's sad. I would love to be wearing and making suits but it would be overdressing for my work at this point. Provocative post, thanks.

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  11. I think one of the reasons I keep working is so that I have somewhere to wear my corporate clothes! I definitely love sewing structured and tailored garments best, and it's one of the main reasons I love your blog so much because I like your taste in clothes

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  12. I *love* that dress's asymmetrical waist band. It's fabulous!

    Why aren't there more sewing blogs with women wearing a more professional wardrobe

    Yes! Yours is one of the only ones out there! One non-sewing but professional dress blog which I've discovered and really like is Cap Hill Style. I need to step up my professional dress game.... the problem with going to law school is that you need to intern over the summer with lawyers. My software industry work clothes aren't going to fly for a legal internship in DC this summer.

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  13. In my "former life" (ha! Said as a 35 year old) I was in human resources and REALLY miss suits and dresses and SHOES!!!! now I am a forensic chemist (sounds fan-cay!) and work can get dirty or I can be in the lab for hours, etc. This means an entirely different work wardrobe. And "sensible" shoes. Booooo.

    So sew a mix of things to wear to work and now trying to focus on my weekend wardrobe so that I stop putting on jeans and a knit top every Saturday/Sunday.

    I hate hand sewing. Not because it takes longer; because I don't know how to sit still! :) love the other points. Not a big social media person (FB, no twitter, IG, etc), think that stashing is the smartest thing EVER (had perfect matching thread to a stone colored twill this weekend IN STASH!) and have come to the conclusion that sewing is life! I'm mad I didn't learn sooner!

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  14. I agree with Cari. I wear a very professional wardrobe to work - even more so than you do. Suit or jacket with co ordinating skirt or pants. I want to sew work clothes but just don't have the energy after a day of work to do anything other than plonk in front of the TV. Weekends aren't all mine yet either as I still have two daughters at home with me and spending time with them is more fun to me than sitting at a sewing machine. Really what I need to do is get off the computer…...

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  15. i always love your thoughts roundup... i was noticing that my social feed is all sewing too; in fact i loathe FB, but get happier when i "use as oonaballoona" HA! and i have you to thank for instagram. i love it for sewing breaks.

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  16. i think your comment on spring hit me the most - i am so right there with you right now, completely lethargic and waiting for inspiration to hit me again.

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  17. You're definitely one of the few that sew a professional wardrobe. I'm trying to do the same because I have to wear professional clothing to work. You're such an inspiration to me!

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  18. I sew mostly work clothes but blog about medicine and time management. I loved what you said about sewing keeping you going in times of financial and other stress. Same here friend!

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  19. I'm always skeptical of the thread the jobbers are trying to sell, I usually test to see how quickly the thread breaks. They're always trying to offload their weak old thread stock.

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  20. I love this post! I buy sort of in bulk and sort of on sale :-) I think there are few women sewing and blogging professional clothing because professional women don't generally have the drive for a blog and a sewing career outside of work! Furthermore, I do have to wear fancy clothes on a few days per month - but I'm not as likely to make those (cuz I don't get daily use from them as I do with my "nice but not fancy" handmade wardrobe). I think, in most industries, in most centres, the fancy clothes aren't as de rigeur as they once were. Sadly, everyone just looks casual constantly. I count myself in that category - though I do try to be stylish at the same time...

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  21. Even in the work force, I wasn't very comfortable in traditional work clothes and never sewed (or bought them). I just dressed up my gypsy skirts and sunny dresses with nice sweaters and accessories. Having a job wasn't going to stop me from being myself.

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  22. I am right there with you on Instagram, I love the format and the pictures. FB isn't one of my favorite forums, and tend to look at it when I am riding in a car. I work in agriculture, so my daily wardrobe is jeans and sometimes western boots. I try to sew cool blouses and knit tops for my jeans. I need to restock some of my serger thread and zippers.

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  23. Viviennesfile.com. Inspiring.

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  24. Up until recent motherhood I worked in a corporate environment in London and I would make work attire, but at the beginning only the very closest of friends would know I made my outfits. After a while other colleagues found out and every time I walked in with a new outfit their first question was did you make that. In many ways they were my greatest source of encouragement that what I was making was wearable and eminently passable. Now while on maternity leave I am making clothes for others to earn extra money and with each client my confidence improves. I suppose what I am trying to say is there might be people out there doing it, but they are just too shy to admit it to the wider world.
    I do also agree that offices are becoming more casual these days though and there is less need for the suits of yesteryear.

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  25. Loved your ramblings.... I plan to start sewing more work clothes, my dress code is casual, we can even wear jeans..but truthfully I only owed one pair of jeans WHICH I misplaced so normally its slack for me, or leggings to evils... lol

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  26. Fantastic thoughts! My social media is all sewing and my dogs. It's also intentional. I like maintaining a level of privacy in the over-exposed world of social media. But, I also enjoy making friends with similar interests.

    I would like to sew more professional attire. But, until recently, I haven't had the skill set to do so.

    Most of the blogs I follow tend to sew patterns put out by "indie" designers, and those designs definitely read more casual than they do office.

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  27. The sewing lawyer makes all her own corporate attire and blogs about it. I am not sure how she does it as she also has a family and home - I am a fangirl of hers and when I grow up want to be like her (maybe a bit late 52 here LOL). Love your thoughts and like you have a stash, machines etc for when life goes pearshaped!

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  28. I think a lot of the above comments are right in that many, many people who sew and blog and take beautiful pictures of their sewing for their blog aren't necessarily working in environments that require them to dress professionally. But I think there's also something about being intimidated by the sewing of more 'done' garments. Which is a shame, really, because I think it's where you can get the most value out of your sewing skills. A decent-looking work dress is like $120 on sale from JCrew, won't fit properly, will be lined in polyester and the hem will have to be fixed after a wear or two. The fabric for a nice wool shift dress might cost $45, but I think you can make something much nicer for your sewing hours than what you can buy. By contrast, you can buy a knit T for $10. Then again, some people just want the satisfaction of having made a t -- they go together much faster than a nice work dress or blazer!

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  29. For most fields the definition of work clothes has changed for both men and women. When I started work it was definitely suits and power dressing. So I don't think you see it on blogs because so few people need to have tailored clothes. I used to make 2-3 new suits per year which I liked because I enjoy tailoring but otherwise found it more fun to make pretty dresses, clothes for holidays, vacations etc.
    As for buying in bulk, I do have a box of zippers and then buy large amounts of a variety of interfacing, always have a few linings in neutral colors but otherwise use what I have. Particularly thread - I am not a fanatic about matching thread, after all it usually doesn't show.
    My social media is all over the place, sewing, fashion, sports, politics, blogs, websites, etc. too many webby things taking away from my sewing time :)
    another great post - you always get everyone thinking and sharing !

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  30. I'm creeping toward sewing work clothes, its just not as much fun for me to make adult clothes!

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  31. Interesting topic. With a few exceptions (Carolyn's for example) workplaces are now casual, whether or not that is good being debatable. I am a little startled to do business at the bank with a VP in jeans and a polo, or have a teller in faded jeans and a t shirt but really, what does it matter?

    IMHO power dressing, which I participated in in the 70's and 80's, stopped when more women became more self confident and didn't need to try to prove their worth in a job via their power suits. (I know not everyone is there yet...).

    I worked in a University environment, in admin. When I left there at age 50 to retire, my daily uniform was whatever came to the front of the closet. Jeans, sweaters; shorts (bermudas, not short-shorts) in summer. Many women wore sundresses. In the front offices (president's office), more formal. I came to realize that people judged me more on my abilities than my clothing. But it took a lifetime to get there.

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  32. Spring is my favorite time of the year. Spring brings the start of a new job for me this year. I get to wear regular clothes instead of scrubs. I will be setting the dress code for the clinic and I'm leaning towards the dressier end of business casual for the non-clinical staff.. My new wardrobe will be a mix of dressier business casual and more professional garments. I'm excited because now I have a reason to sew the clothes that I like. I try to keep my threads and notions stocked up because I hate not being able to work on a project because I'm missing something.

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  33. Hemming is still something that I need to talk seriously to myself about to start and have found being ready and in front of the TV is the best way to go.

    I used to make corporate clothing but that was before I started to blog and now I am in a much more casual office.

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  34. Loved your comment about your fabric stash and the bottom falling out, something we all dread, but if we are prepared!

    Doesn't matter really how you live and what you do in your life, it's your life and you do what makes you happy.

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  35. Believe me, you are not the only one buying sewing supplies in bulk. Saves time and money in the long haul. I also had a sewing machine with me in college. Who didn't? :-)

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  36. I would so love to sew a work wardrobe but in my role I was supplied with a uniform which comprised of steel cap boots, hard hat, and hi vis shirt and trousers... Yeah real sexy LOL. Now that I finished working a few weeks ago I've hardly been out of the house and have a closet full of clothes already so there hasn't been much sewing going on for me. Maybe that will change when/if I get to work in a place where I can sew a corporate wardrobe for myself :)

    As for fabric I too buy in bulk when ever we go on holidays as I'm not fortunate enough to have a fabric store anywhere near me that's not at least a full days drive away. Thank goodness though for online shopping but it's not the same as going to a fabric store... fabric shopping in person is always soooooo much more fun and enjoyable. It's like being in fabric heaven for me. I even LOVE the smell of fabric shops and love to be able to touch and feel every piece of fabric in them LOL

    Plus for me where I live it's stinking hot most of the year and I never get the chance to wear jackets or coats which is a shame as I would love to wear them everyday if I could... and Oh to be able to wear clothes and scarves and boots and mmmm I could go on and on but I won't as I'm sure you know what I mean as you get to wear all these goodies quite a lot where you are :)

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  37. I am always drawn to smart, elegant or business type clothing which can be a bit of a nuisance because I'm 73 and been retired for 15 years. I still love work clothes but mainly make and wear smart casual clothing. Also we don't have a very long or cold winter where I live so I don't even get to wear lovely overcoats or warm jackets.

    I simply adore your wardrobe and enjoy watching you create it.

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  38. I think you have a wonderful sewing life, and I enjoy watching it.

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  39. Maybe other people don't sew work clothes because they seem dull, tedious, hard to make, etc. Or as an escape from the work clothes they have to wear? I work in theatre so my work uniform is either whatever I like or if I'm backstage, black athletic wear. But I'm lucky in that aspect.

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  40. I just found your blog and love it. I have also been sewing since I was 12 and love it wholeheartedly. Allso don't you think Pres Obama is the most gorgeous man alive? Karen from Visalia

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  41. Well I think you are the leader in the professional work-wear blogosphere :) You always look lovely and wish I was half as put together when I go to work, but quite frankly it does not suit my workday.
    I buy lots of interfacing and sewing thread like it is going out of style. My mom recently picked up about 50 cones of serger thread for me at Goodwill (major score!) and I stock up on muslin whenever those Joann 50% off coupons come around and I buy whole bolts. Basically when the apocalypse hits I am ready to clothe the masses.

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  42. I think you are the quintessential professional woman's work wear blog :) You always look lovely and I wish I was half as put together as you are.
    I stock up on interfacing and sewing thread like it is going out of style. Just received a major score of 50 cones of serger thread and I buy entire bolts of muslin courtesy of the 50% off Joann coupons. You are not alone with buying in bulk. When the apocalypse hits we will both be ready to clothe the masses.

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