Today’s cashmere cardi, wool dress and knee-high boots really felt more like an outfit for January than April, but it’s still freezing cold and was trying to snow earlier. I really don’t know what’s happened to spring this year.
Cardigan – charity shop
Dress – Boden
Tights – M&S
Boots – Duo
This dress is a much straighter shape than I’d normally go for, especially in a woven fabric, but somehow it works. I have been giving quite a bit of thought to what shapes of clothing actually work for me recently, partly in preparation for the pattern cutting course (if I’m going to end up with my ideal summer frock it will probably help if I start out with some idea of what that ideal actually is!) and partly because I recently bought Amy Herzog‘s new book, Knit to Flatter (I’m not normally a big fan of body-shape driven advice on what to wear, but I have had the disappointing experience of knitting myself things which really don’t suit me before now, and given how long it takes to knit a garment I’m not keen to repeat it, and Amy’s advice is less you-must-wear-this and more ‘these things will do x, and draw focus to y body part, and if you would rather the focus was on z body part try that instead’. And there are some very pretty cardigan patterns in the book, too). I know that I tend to gravitate towards fitted tops and full or A-line skirts, open cardigans or jackets rather than buttoned ones, and fit-and-flare dresses, but when I look at the pictures of me wearing this dress I wonder how much of that is just because that’s what I’ve always worn and felt comfortable in. When it comes down to it, I’m not sure I really have the faintest idea about why some things make me look better than others (or at least make me feel that I look better, which is not necessarily the same thing). And while I think that my perfect summer frock would have a fitted bodice, sleeves and a full skirt (something like Simplicity 2444 or the Sewaholic Cambie if it had proper sleeves), would that really suit me? Honestly, I have no idea. And sometimes I think life was easier before I started being interested in clothes…
I’ve been working from home today, so no outfit photos. I was thinking about getting the sewing machine out after I finished working and using what would normally be my commuting time to get on with my Market Top, but somehow after a day’s work that didn’t seem quite so appealling, so I think it can wait until the weekend. I haven’t been completely idle, though; instead, I did this:
I’m determined to learn to make cardigans that actually fit me, and while I love the look of the Soay pattern I know that without some bust shaping it probably won’t look very good on me. So I printed off the pattern (which has the great bonus of a really detailed set of measurements) and the measuring guide from Little Red in the City, grabbed my tape measure, tied bits of yarn round me at strategic points and started measuring.
The results were really quite interesting. I have always thought of myself as having a fairly straight-up-and-down body, with narrowish hips and not much in the way of a waist, and a large bust, so that overall I’m fairly top-heavy and look a bit like a stick figure with boobs. It turns out that this is not actually the case. Yes, I have a large bust (it would have been difficult to be wrong about that!) and the narrowest part of my torso is my underbust (which I also knew), but it turns out that I do have a waist (about two inches higher than I thought it was) which may not be particularly slim but is still 11 inches smaller than the fullest point of my hips, and just under 10 inches smaller than my high hip measurement. Oh, and my hip measurement is actually five inches larger than my full bust measurement. So, not all that top-heavy after all, then!
Anyway, after allowing for a bit of negative ease at the bust and a bit of positive ease at the waist it turns out that the 40.5″ bust size of Soay will be a reasonable fit, though I might need to move the waist up a little and I’ll definitely want to add bust darts to stop the front pulling up, which really wouldn’t be good with a cropped, fitted shape like this. I’m going to use some bright pink organic cotton DK I got on sale in John Lewis last time I was in Norwich, and I really hope it works out as I think if it does it will be a gorgeous little cardi.
I’ll be interested to see how the Market Top turns out; again, my measurements more or less corresponded to a single size on the pattern and when I pinned the front and back together after sewing the bust darts it didn’t look too bad on (though I’ll baste the side seams and try it properly at the weekend), but I suspect I really need to learn to do a full bust adjustment on patterns in future. At least I think I can understand how that works now!