Hot Times, Cool Sewing

I have been working away on a project that is taking it's own sweet time!  I'll share it when it's ready for prime-time...but it has been consuming my sewing room time, so I haven't got much to write about at the moment.

Before I headed off to Costa Rica last month, I wanted a cool something to travel in.  I knew I would have a long shuttle ride when I got there, so my usual "dress for the air-conditioned planes and airports" wouldn't be very comfortable on arrival!  

This very summery linen cotton blend was just the ticket.  It is almost gauze-like and definitely feels like summer.

I made my favorite shift pattern and narrow-hemmed a bias strip to wrap up in on the AC portions of the trip. (I also had a sweater just in case!)  

I love the colors and the airy feel of the fabric.  And the loose fit was perfect for folding up into an airplane seat!

I needed a little break from my 'big' project, so I spent a few hours on another non-t-shirt.  This time I had 3/4 of a yard of what I think might be drapery fabric.  It's rather loosely woven, looks a bit like linen, but drapes like rayon...not really sure what it is, where I got it or what it's made of.  BUT, I liked it!

It was supposed to be a break from the 'fussy' work of my other project, but the fabric raveled like crazy and the twill tape detail at the neck turned into a bit more fussing than I bargained for ...still, a pretty easy sew.  Two squares (literally 24" X 24"), serged edges and hems and a V neck with twill tape trim.

The drape of the fabric gives it more shape than the cut of the garment, not sure the square approach would work without it. 

It was a needed break and the shirt is perfect for the hot days we have been having.

If I ever figure out what it is I may have to make another one!


"T" Time

OK...so is this a sewing blog or not!?  

Recently I have been wondering that myself.  I haven't been home long enough to do laundry let alone make anything!  But I finally snagged a few minutes this week and spent some time in my sewing room.  It really felt great!

Remember this pile of stuff?  I have been collecting fabric from my travels but haven't stayed home long enough to actually sew any of it up.

I am not really a 't-shirt' person, but I like little shirts that act like t-shirts.  Loose, easy to wear, cool and casual.

I thought several of the silk pieces that I have gathered this year would make perfect summer T's.

The first one I made was really, really straight forward.  I was glad that I had opted for a simple style, because the silk was super 'swishy' which made construction a bit tricky.  In the end I am happy with the t shape and softness of the shirt.  I think the simplicity makes it a good all 'rounder and I have been wearing it quite a bit.  It also has ALL of my favorite mud colors!

The second T was a bit more involved.  Before heading off on my last trip I had an idea for combining three of the silks that I had gotten on my trip to NYC.  I draped the fabrics on my dress form so I would remember when I got home.  I think the marinading time helped.  When I started working on it, it was like I had already made the shirt.  I must have been engineering it in my head while I was in Costa Rica.

The idea was to use the green and grey silks for the body and the sheer stipe on the bias for some kind of open collar.

The final product also has small cap sleeves in the stripe fabric.

I really like the buttons up the back!  I made the facing out of the stripe and turned it back leaving a 1/4 inch 'piping' to add a little extra detail.  I think I will use that idea again sometime.

Both tops are cool and comfortable and I think I will enjoy them as we head into the lazy, hot, dog days of summer.


Leader of the Pack

I think I am getting the hang of this retirement gig.  At least this year it seems to be all about going to cool places!  So far this year I have been 'on the road' for 10 of the 24 weeks and in five different directions!  It's fun, but involves lots of packing!

My first thought was to have a 'travel wardrobe.'  You know, a well curated, small set of items that fit perfectly into a carry on and allows me to be ready for anything from climbing Mt. Hood to the Met Gala!  OK, so maybe my travels have taken a left turn into 'Fantasyland.'  BUT, wouldn't it be loverly!

(note:  Why when you Google "travel wardrobe" do only women's clothes show up?  Don't men travel?!)

I realized that the first problem with my imagined wardrobe was that I have not been traveling to places with the same seasons.  Nor has the weather been just one season when I get to said destination.  This of course confounds the packing problem....must pack for climbing Mt. Hood, the Met Gala, and a 60 degree temperature range. 

Before each outing I have been agonizing about what makes the cut.  Can I actually get away with only one pair of shoes?  Can my yoga pants count as 'formalwear?'  Will I really need both a sunhat AND a parka?   

I make lists and piles and imagine all the possible combinations and circumstances...like I said...agonizing! (definition: adj. causing great physical or mental pain!)  

Is this really fun?!  Is this really how I want to start a trip? ...Actually, the answer surprised me.  YES!  💡

Solving problems is what I like to do.  So if I have to create a, so called, problem, as in "what the heck do I pack," so be it!  

The question of 'what to pack' isn't just about 'the white t-shirt or the grey one.'  It's the chance to prepare mentally to travel, to think about what it will be like, the kinds of things there will be to see and do...it's the trip before the trip!  Two trips for the price of one, how cool is that?!  By thinking of the 'what to pack' question as agony, I was giving away half the fun!  

So after a bit of 'reframing' I am embracing the "what to pack?" part of the experience and feeling much more at ease with the process.  I also realized that the dream of a single travel wardrobe was really a pipe-dream and letting that go has taken a lot of pressure off the decisions about what makes the cut and what stays at home.  

There are some guidelines that have developed after several trips that seem to make sense, regardless of the place or the season I am packing for...

-  Minimize the shoe count!  Those rascals take up huge real estate in the suitcase.  I try to get away with one or maybe two pair of shoes.  Sometimes this means my hiking boots also double as my 'dressy' shoes....but if the trip is more about hiking than fancy dinners, it works just fine.

-  Wear the big stuff.  If I'm coming and going from different climates this looks a little strange at one end or the other.  Example:  might not need the raincoat getting on the plane or even getting off, but wearing it is a better use of suitcase space than packing it.  or...wear the parka, pack the flip flops!

-  Limit the 'one-offs.'  I play a little game as I collect the items for a trip.  "If this were the only thing I had, would it be OK?"  So far I haven't actually found the single garment that covers all possible travel situations, but by asking the question I usually figure out several options for said garment, and can eliminate a few 'extras.'  But sometimes you just have to take the Darth Vader helmet...that's all there is to it.

-  Little stuff adds up!  So how much space does an extra pair of socks really take?  Not much, but there isn't that much space to begin with!  Example:  I have my 'travel panties.'  They are light weight, they wick beautifully, they dry overnight...I only need 2 or 3 pair for any length trip.

-  Don't pack packaging!  This one is particularly helpful when it comes to toiletries.

And finally...

-  How far will I actually be from a Target?  That's right...if all else fails a Target and a credit card will usually do the trick!

On my last trip as I checked in at the airline counter and assured the representative that my small carry-on suitcase was all I had, she said with obvious admiration in her voice, "My you travel light!"  I smiled, politely and accepted her observation and didn't bother to mention that it only took me three weeks to pack!  I'm sure if my travel year continues I can get that down to, I don't know, two weeks??  Bon Voyage!