Kitchen Counter Economics Rotating Header Image

Stylin’ Out of the Closet

Far be it from Aunt Toby to tell anyone not to dress up. Dressing up is something that does not happen, in my opinion, nearly enough these days. And weddings are prime ‘dress up’ territory (and no, Aunt T is NOT going to get into a ‘what WERE they thinking’ tirade on how guests are dressing for weddings this days – if we can’t get people to even dress to go to the ‘house of religious worship of your choice'(tm), how can we expect people to understand what is acceptable dress for celebratory events such as weddings).

The photograph at the top is the outfit I made to wear as TMOB (The Mother of the Bride – for those uninitiated) when Daughter The Younger got married last summer. Aunt Toby is not an especially lacy person, but a formal version of a suit had a certain appeal – it had pieces that I could, with a little judicious matching later on, turn to other uses. The other thing is that Aunt Toby does not feel overwhelming amounts of enthusiasm for shopping in general – and shopping for ‘event’ clothing tends to bring on Code Seven Migraines, so I tend to put my sewing skills to work. Over the years, I have figured out what I have to do in order to make a pattern fit me – shorten the waist, raise the armscye, make the front bust area larger (the dreaded FBA – cue scary music), shorten the sleeves (Aunt Toby has arms that resemble T-rex in terms of length). So, I found a skirt pattern that worked and a jacket pattern that worked (the jacket that went with the skirt reminded me of Dracula, so I avoided that). The outfit is made out of brocade, which is a fabrice that has a good amount of heft to it.

(yes, the wedding was very lovely and everyone had a terrific time..thank you for asking)

So, here we are, almost a year later and Aunt Toby and the DH have their yearly local ‘event that passes for a big deal’. Not wanting to go shopping (anything to avoid shopping), I pulled out the wedding outfit and ruminated over the possiblities:
— Keep the jacket and make a dress to go with it: interesting, but this is a pretty formal affair; going through all the trouble to make a floor length dress for a one-time-only would not be a good use of time or money.
–Use the skirt and make a top that could be used for other events – now THIS had a lot of charm as far as I’m concerned, as we also have events at the December holidays that are fancy but not formal and with the right top, I could use it with either really nice pants or another long skirt I have.

So, choosing one of the colors in the brocade (one of the advantages of brocades is that they usually come with a bunch of colors woven in, so you can make a series of items to go with it and always look cordinated), to made a tunic out of Simplicity 2927, which is a great pattern out of the ‘Inspired by Project Runway’ series. Simplicity 2927 Being someone who has a certain inhuman sensitivity about the size of my biceps, I chose the 3/4 sleeve version and then fancied it up with some beading. I did line the body of the tunic because silk dupioni is not as heavy as one would think and I did not want any show through. The sleeves, I left alone and self-bound them rather than use the facings provided (I have a thing about facings – I think they make everything look like it was done in my 7th grade home ec class). The outfit was unusual at the dinner and reception and I received many compliments on it.

For the holidays I plan to wear the tunic with some nice black wool crepe pants I have in the closet already.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


  1. Shannon says:

    Beautiful outfits! I love the green tunic.

  2. Lindsay T says:

    Very nice! My husband just told me we have a fancy event to go to this Saturday night and I wish I had more time to whip something up.

  3. Aunt Toby says:

    OOOOO, Shannon and Lindsay – thank you so much for visiting! Lindsay, after this experience, I’m thinking of finding some more dupioni, but in a color that matches more closely the skirt and do it again.

  4. Kathleen says:

    This is so pretty! I really like the trim too. Maybe you could make one in blue too, to go with the gold, or chinese red? I love dupioni – so easy to sew, but it looks so fancy.

  5. WolfSong says:

    That outfit is stunning. I love the green top! I know what you mean about the facings. I have never been able to get them to work the way any pattern says they should.

  6. Toby Wollin says:

    Wolfsong – that’s why I use bias bindings out of the fabric, or if I’m working with something like wool, I just line it or use bias bindings out of matching lining fabric. I hate facings at the neck or arms – I think they just flip out and cheapen the look of all your work tremendously. Facings on jackets are, of course, absolutely necessary..but at the neck and arms, I always line it or use bias bindings.

Bad Behavior has blocked 403 access attempts in the last 7 days.