The problem with winter clothes…

Happy February, everyone! First of all, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to vote on my little poll in the last post! There’s been 19 answers so far, with the hairline seam taking the clear lead. Brooke suggested some nifty thread that vanishes with an iron steaming, so I think I’m going to get some of that and run with it. I probably need another spool of white anyway, considering that I’ll have to start busting into that for basting and such. I’ve been using my one spool of ecru for that and the inside seam finishing, in order to save the white for where it shows, and reached the point where I’m about half a skirt’s basting away from running out.  In other exciting dress news, I’m at the point where I can start basting the skirt together! The waistband is on the bodice as of yesterday, and the seam between them is all stitched down nicely.  Out of necessity, I’m waiting to do the center back edge finishing (and therefore the neckline’s too) until I get the zipper in. The last time I checked it, the placement of the side seams were great but there was too much room at the upper back of the dupioni part, so I’d like to have the skirt on so I can check the fit all at once.

Love that sweater!
From my Fashion Inspiration Pinterest page

But back to the subject at hand. I was thinking about this last night, as I was browsing the women’s fashion section of Pinterest while half-watching a hockey game with Doug. I should probably say problems in the plural, because as far as I go, there’s quite a few:

1. I have basically no internal temperature regulation this time of year, no matter how unseasonably warm it gets. For example; on Wednesday, it got up to 66 degrees. Practically balmy, right? While I did manage to brave 3/4 sleeves, I ended up keeping my favorite bulky brown hoodie cardigan on all day, too. And I was STILL cold enough to drink several mugs’ worth of tea.

2. The obvious answer would be to wear wool. But I can’t touch it without my hands prickling uncomfortably within seconds, and the one wool hat I’ve owned made my forehead break out in a line of hives. (Ironically, my soon-to-be last name contains this very fiber name! I’m going to be allergic to myself!)

3. If the Polyvore-type sets that abound on Pinterest, such as the one above, are any indication, winter clothes are just boooooring. Everything is solid and neutral, mostly grey, black and taupe. I can appreciate a good piece in the first two colors, but isn’t winter in the northern hemisphere dull and neutral enough?
Where’s the color? Where are the prints? Incidentally, I’m pretty bored with everything in my closet too, and kind of resent that it’ll be at least another 2 months before I can consider diving back into my shorter-sleeved things without potentially freezing.

4. I’m just more inspired by warm-weather clothes. I always have been. If you look at the aforementioned Pinterest board, sleeveless tops abound. The only winter outfits I can find that I like to pin on there generally have slouchy sweaters and tailored jackets. I have sewn a few jackets, so that wouldn’t be an issue, except…

5. I don’t necessarily have things to go with those jackets, and my fabric stash also has a VERY heavy bias towards fashion for the warmer months. Remember this jacket? Or this one? I still like them both, and so I’m not going to purge them from my closet, but I’ve hardly worn either because I just don’t really have much to go with them. Topwise, it’s not so much of an issue with the BurdaStyle book jacket because it doesn’t look right if I leave it open at the front, but as I’ve complained on here multiple times, I am in dire need of pants that fit well and aren’t too short or worn out. Thus the desire for that Thurlow-fest I keep saying that I’m going to do after the dress.

I know I can’t do much about it now, obviously, since I still only have about half of an unlined wedding dress, and there are a few summer things I need. Plus there’s that stashbusting pledge. Not to mention that February means that I have anywhere between less than 4 to 6 weeks before I’ll get called back into my retail job. Two years ago, it was mid-March, but last year, I got “promoted” to head cashier/office assistant out of necessity, and got called back before February was up. (I’m selfishly hoping for more of the former, so I have more dress-sewing time before I’m balancing my part-time teaching plus a part-time job masquerading as almost a full-time job plus finishing up the wedding planning and moving process.) But I figured that if I write this down now while I’m thinking about it, and I can make a decent dent in my stash, maybe I can make this better for me in future winter seasons. I need to:

1. Evaluate my winter wardrobe/dressing habits. This isn’t too hard, because I know that once the temperatures drop below 45F, I never, ever want to wear skirts or dresses, because there are no tights in the world that can keep my legs warm. Making those pants will help a lot, so at least that’s the one thing I can do this year and still keep to my stashbusting pledge.

2. Improve my knitting. Because so often, I just want to wear sweaters. And Goodwill’s been letting me down lately.

3. Buy fabric/yarn based on what’s actually in my wardrobe, instead of just buying because I like it. For instance, I know I need tops to go with that blue jacket, so I should look for some knit prints that will coordinate. Or I recently splurged on some slouchy grey boots, since I’d been wanting something like this for months, only to realize that most of the things I have to go with them are more geared towards the fall and spring and I don’t have the layers to winterize them yet. (Off-topic–I’d definitely recommend their shoes. It’s the second pair that I’ve bought from this particular company, and even though they’re pricey, they’re well-made and super-comfortable. And they fit me. This is huge.)

4. Find some alternatives to wool that will keep me warm. For instance, I can wear that 30% alpaca/70% acrylic stuff that I made my Cadence sweater out of with no difficulty. So it might be worth finding some yarn and knitting up accessories in higher percentages of alpaca to figure out what my tolerance is. I also know that this suedecloth top keeps me warm. (This will be especially important, as my peacoat is starting to look a little worn in spots. I think I can squeeze one more winter out of it, and I’m impressed with how well it’s held up. But the embroidery is pulling out in multiple spots, and I’m developing a tear by the pocket, and the satin inside is getting all pilly. And, well, this brings me back to the debate that led me to make a coat with a quilted lining that’s so thick it practically stands up on its own to begin with….what can I make a coat of that will keep me warm without making me break out in hives? It’s at the point where I’m seriously considering attempting to use wool as an underlining for something else, even though my hands will hate me for it during the entire sewing process.)

5. Color, color, color. I need it this time of year.

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8 thoughts on “The problem with winter clothes…

  1. what about a polar fleece interlining? I can't do wool either, so its my go to in the winter. I still wanted to look neat, so I used fancy jacket patterns and got a tailord fit. Everyone think the dark green version is wool and I live in the bright turquoise.

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  2. what about a polar fleece interlining? I can't do wool either, so its my go to in the winter. I still wanted to look neat, so I used fancy jacket patterns and got a tailord fit. Everyone think the dark green version is wool and I live in the bright turquoise.

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  3. Colour should not be reserved for summer, in the winter is when we need it since the summer is so full of them anyway.I can't wear wool either, it's making me itch (I can wear “fancy” wool,though, but won't know what kind of wool it is until I wear it) and I haven't found a way around that problem.

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  4. Not a bad idea– I used 2 layers of quilt batting in my current coat. And it's warm, but it was SO stiff and bulky when I made it! It's definitely softened up some, since this is the 6th winter I've been using it. But softer to start would definitely be a good thing.

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  5. I had a cashmere top once, and that was tolerable. It was still itchy enough that I had no qualms about getting rid of it, particularly since it had been a gift from an ex-boyfriend's family for Christmas. The non-sheepy ones seem to be a little hit and miss for me, and I haven't quite figured it all out yet. So everyone rags on knitting with cotton, but my hands are so much happier with it!

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