Tag Archives: Mabel

The Sweaters Everywhere Skirt

Guys, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s cold here in New York. It’s really quite cold. It’s a bit on the scale away from warm. Comparing this to a tropical island would be almost impossible except for the island parts. The east coast is in the middle of a painful freeze and it seems to be taxing all but the most diabolical Christmas special claymation villains.  Mr. Struggle, who hails from a sultry exotic climate, turned to me the other day and mournfully asked me when it would be warm again, as though this is somehow under my control. I told him he would have to wait until springtime. I strongly suspect that if he could, Mr. Struggle would hibernate like a bear. Unfortunately none of us are built that way, except actually bears, so we all have to figure out ways to deal with winter, should we live in such places.

Now, honestly, I don’t really mind the cold that much. I like having seasons, I find the weather fairly bracing, and I feel that as long as you have appropriate clothing you can kind of deal with anything. Layers are key, wool is key, etc. Actually the issues I have with winter don’t have much to do with my personal reaction to the weather and have more to do with how awful people become during the months after December.

See, during the holiday season people are very excited and cheerful and everything is romantic and lovely, at least, if you’re into that sort of thing. But people WANT it to snow, the fools, they want that White Christmas any everything. After New Years, though, once the snow has stopped being charming and just looks like sad gray sludge mixed with garbage and rock salt (isn’t New York a magical place?), people grow bitter and take up a great deal of space on the subway with their coats. I do not begrudge them the coats. I feel weird when I see someone whose coat is not made of down when the temperature is under 30 degrees. I don’t care how good you think that cloth coat looks. No one looks good with pneumonia. Fact. But people just get grumpy and short-tempered in bad weather and who can blame them, only this is a city of so many people who you sort of wish everyone wasn’t like this at the same time. I know it’s hard to be cheerful when you are freezing and your boots are slowly being eaten by whatever they put on the roads here to prevent ice, but my goodness can’t we just try?

However, I might have this attitude because I try to dress for the weather and make sure I have lots of warm comfortable layers to help me make it through. First of all, you must have sweaters. And maybe you shouldn’t limit them to your upper body….

SE 1Maybe you should put them on all over your body! RIGHT? Genius! This is a sweater skirt! I love it so much. It’s gotten really big because wool stretches so it used to be closer fitting and more flattering and better, but I don’t care because I’ve worn it like ten times already so this is only my fault and it’s worth it. This is a wool sweater knit that came from Mood and it is actually the remnant of another garment, this dress! Which I also wear all the time these days because this wool is seriously warm. This wool is thick and cozy and actually not really itchy at all, so it’s basically a miracle. The only issue is that it stretches, so the waistband has already stretched and you are going to see some fun gaping on that subject in the side view. I have already washed it and it didn’t quite return to its original size so….who knows, really. Ah, well. It’s warm. That’s all that matters right now.

SE 6See, you can see a little bit of sagging in the fabric. What do you guys do to tighten up your wools? Anything? It’s okay, honestly, just wondering, though. So the pattern was Colette Patterns Mabel, which I lengthened and took in at the hem to give it a more pencil-skirt shape. It was insanely easy to put together. That is all.

SE 3A little rear view for those who are interested. If I had had more fabric I would have tried to match up the back better but I didn’t and c’est la vie, I don’t mind, all that is behind me.

SE 5Here we go. See the back-gaping? Upside, I can fit a lot in this waistband, downside, will it stay in place? One never knows. SE 2So there you have it, a little something to help beat the cold. As for Mr. Struggle, he’s avoiding the outside world as much as possible, forcing me to bring him supplies and report to him what’s going on. Hmmm, maybe he IS hibernating….

Of course, there are some who would say it’s madness to wear skirts in winter at all. To those I would say, I can’t hear you over the feeling of insane warmth in my legs from this SWEATER SKIRT.

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The Knit Wit Outfit

I love a good knit. This may or may not come from my mother. If Megan Trainor is all about that bass, my mother is all about the knits. And who can blame her? A knit is a godsend to all women. Say what you will about Coco Chanel, but that woman made other women more comfortable by her innovative use of knits. Look, I love wovens. Who doesn’t? I would never surrender my love for them. But knits are just so deeply comfortable. They make anything cozier and easier to wear. If the casting off of the corset after the First World War transformed the way women felt in their clothing, then knits have done that once again, embracing curves and angles without darts or fabric geometry, stretching with the human body, moving as they move. They are more forgiving than any Catholic priest ever could be. They don’t mind too much if you have a big lunch, and they also shrink to you when you’ve been good about your running routine. Knits are like a sweet non-judgemental friend you can watch dumb movies with and enjoy large bottles of wine and large bowls of ice cream. Wovens are like that friend that motivates you and makes you feel ambitious and high achieving and professional and adult, but wovens aren’t going to hang out with you on a Sunday night while you watch The John Oliver Show, because wovens are busy, wovens are important, wovens don’t approve of getting their news with a side of comedy, wovens have ALREADY read the New York Times article and seen the BBC report on that issue and have OPINIONS before you even have context. Knits kind of make fun of wovens, as soon as they are out the door, and you smile, and sigh, and say “I’m friends with both of you, okay? But yes. Wovens can be a little uptight.  Now. Back to John Oliver. More wine?”

See, I would watch that show. That show with those three characters. It would be great. I wish someone would pay me to make a show where it’s just me talking to my fabric. Wouldn’t you watch that?

NO? Fine. Whatever. I wouldn’t watch your dumb show either.

Ahem. Anyway. Knits also make everything a little less formal, which I generally don’t approve of, as I like to feel fancy like a grown up, but I do think that knits can get there, with a little bit of sophistication and style. Of course, with silk jersey and rayons you can have a drapey slinky 1970’s dream, but what about the in between of this? Isn’t there something between sweatpants and draped halter?

And that’s why I like some of the new knit patterns that have been released by independent companies in the last few years. They have flare and they have fun. They are comfortable but they don’t only look like they are comfortable. You know what I mean?

Take, for example, Tilly and the Buttons Coco. I did:

KW1Oh, and what’s that on the bottom, lurking underneath? Is that a Colette Patterns Mabel? I DO BELIEVE IT IS! How delightful.

KW3

Yes yes! See, it’s all knit there, but I don’t look like I’m wearing a Juicy Couture Sweatsuit, I look like a person who has a job, and ambitions, and dreams.

KW5

I made my friend Liz take these photos when we went to Philadelphia for the day to see the Patrick Kelly show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I knew nothing about this designer, and the show is excellent, as is his work. Really a fascinating and vivacious man, bursting with talent and innovation, whose appropriation of cultural and racial stigmas and stereotypes richly activated his work. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of him before, and saddened by the brevity of his amazing life. If you have the chance to see this show, please do, it’s really lovely and worth the trip if you aren’t in the area.

Liz sews too, in fact she works at the Museum at FIT, so she is always a wonderful person to see these shows with, to force to take my photograph, and to enjoy drinks and fries with afterwards. She’s a multi-talented human being.

What can I say about the construction of this. Knits are easy, man, especially the ponte de roma that makes up this top. It’s got structure for days, for a knit, but still moves with your body. Score.

KW9I used the three-quarter length sleeves and the funnel neck, which is as close to turtleneck as I can get without feeling horribly self-conscious about my chest.

KW7

There is also  a little split action on the sides, which I like a lot. You can just see that in the photo above.

KW4Close up! I love the cuffs on this shirt, they are genius. I’ve made this once before, as a dress, actually.

KW8

The skirt is the longest of the Mabels, because I’m not a micro-mini kind of girl. It’s seamed up the front, which is hard to see on this black.

KW6See? Even I can’t see it! This skirt is just the easiest thing I have made in months. It literally took me 40 minutes, from cutting to hemming. That’s the real length of a one hour drama minus the commercials. With breaks. To drink wine.

I got that scarf at a vintage store in Austin, by the way. It has ships all over it. I love it.

KW2See, that is the face of a comfortable YET decently dressed person. Simple, easy, cozy, yet with flare. What else can one ask for as the weather grows cold? Don’t worry that I have abandoned my wovens, I will always be more type A then type K (GET IT? K FOR KNITS? Seriously, this would be a great show), but it’s nice to have the option, isn’t it?

 

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Filed under Colette Patterns, knit, Sewing, Tilly and the Buttons, Uncategorized