Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Skirt and a Refashioned Jacket

I prefer yokes to waistbands on skirts. I used Vogue 8606 for this embroidered woolen skirt. Since the wool is fairly scratchy, I lined the skirt and used satin fabric for the yoke.

I didn't realize how much the wrinkles were going to show in the photo, or I surely would have ironed the skirt before snapping the pic. It had been to the country for the weekend, where I hemmed it by hand. I'm pleased with the skirt, except for the invisible zipper. The patterns calls for installing the zipper all the way to the top of the skirt (in the back), but the satin I used for the yoke is a rather bulky polyester (the wool fabric is nice enough that I probably should have used silk rather than poly, but even then I would have wanted to interface the yoke, so it still would have been relatively bulky), making it difficult for the zipper to go all the way up. I solved the problem by using hooks & eyes on the yoke. I'm now making the same skirt in navy blue wool. I extended one side of the yoke to overlap the other in back. I'll probably use buttons rather than hooks & eyes.

I found a tropical-weight wool blazer at a thrift shop in a color I wanted. I was feeling quite pleased with my purchase until I got it home and discovered tiny moth holes in the sleeves. It was not worth returning the jacket, as the price was less than the cost of gasoline and the value of time it would have taken. The moth holes were all far enough down the sleeves to allow for a short-sleeved jacket. I cut off the sleeves and used the lower parts of the sleeves to make cuffs.

One of the moth holes

First sleeve cut (I cut the fashion fabric first, then cut the linings to fit)

Finished Sleeve with Cuff

Finished Jacket

I have started out the new year with a cold.  If I have to work when I have a cold, I'm a very unhappy person, but if I can hang around the house feeling pleasantly lazy, I don't mind too much, long as my immune system can get the upper hand within a few days. In addition to napping a lot, I spent some of my down-time sufring the Internet. One of my primary topics was weight loss. In reading blogs of people who have lost lots of weight or are trying to lose lots of weight, or who have decided not to try to lose weight, I gained more understanding than I had before of what it feels like to have a large body. I also read some interesting explanations of why it's so hard to keep weight off once one has lost it. The gist is that when we've lost a significant amount of weight (for example, 10% of our highest weight) our bodies produce several  hormones that put tremendous pressure on us to eat and replenish the lost weight. Our culture bombards us with enticing foods. both in reality (such as when well-meaning co-workers bring cake for our birthdays, and when we are served meals rich in carbohydrates and fats) and in images (I seldom watch TV, but I believe many of the ads involve unhealthy food).  Something like 97% of people who lose weight end up gaining it back within a year. It's heart-breaking to see the blogs that were started, hopefully, and apparently abandonned. A year or so ago, I went from 165 to 145, mainly because I wanted to avoid knee surgery. It's been rough keeping the weight off -- even though my own weight loss was trivial compared with that of some of the bloggers out there who've lost 50, 100, 150 pounds of more, it was still more than 10% of my body weight, and I've been dealing with the hormones and cultural attitudes toward food (it's really diabolical when you think about it -- our culture glorifies thinness, yet treats food as a reward and focus of special events). My young-adult weight was 125. As I recall, when I was racing bicycles and was in the most athletic condition of my life, I was at 130 - 135, presumably because I had more muscle mass. That was my original goal for 2009 - 2010: 130 - 135. I got stuck at 142 and then gained 3 pounds (these are all approximate numbers, since the weight fluctualtes from time to time -- I always try to measure my weight in the morning before breakfast), but they capture the directions and relative amounts. So now I'm down to 140, heading to 130 - 135. 

I eat much better when I'm "on a diet" than when I'm not. I actually prepare meals rather than grabbing fast food or snacking on crackers or potato chips. The trick will be to find ways to make preparing healthy meals fun. 

And what about the clothes I've made for my 145 pound body? These yoked skirts should be fine, as they can easily slide up & down a bit. The jackets and blouses will be fine. My upper body is mostly muscle anyhow. Most of the fat is in my hips, stomach, and thighs.


  1. Congrats on the wool skirt - your handsewn hems look invisible . I made a dark grey winter skirt last year and it was used alot - matches with everything. Good save with the woollen jacket too. It is disheartening to know that our bodies sabotage our efforts to lose weight - meaning prevention is better than cure but well done in keeping off that 20lbs. One can only hope that our bodies will stop trying to get back to that previous weight when your weight has been steady for a long time.

  2. That is an awesome jacket solution! It looks fantastic now.
    I wish you luck with your dietary regime, and I hope you are feeling better soon; and that 2012 turns out to be a really good one for you!