Thursday, December 11, 2008

Both a reward and an incentive...

I've decided not to have a massage as a reward for losing my first 4 kilos.

You might have wondered where I was yesterday. The short answer is having fun and spending money (which comes first - the chicken or the egg?).

I needed to go to Toowoomba for a meeting, so I invited my Mum along for some Christmas shopping and a girls' day out, and I slipped away for a bit in the middle of it for a couple of hours.

Somewhere in the saga of Murphy's Law that was our day out (that was more frustrating than funny, so I'm not going into it here) we made a trip to the Ewan Gardam Fabrics shop in the main street. It was actually our post-meeting rendevous, as we'd been looking but didn't have time to work out what to buy before I had to go.

For those who don't sew, or have ever had to buy really, really good quality fabric - Gardams in the middle of Brisbane was historically the place to buy fabric for formal or wedding dresses. It was a tragedy when they closed some years ago.

The good news was that one of the sons (or possibly grandsons, I'm not certain) decided to start a shop for essentially the same thing. Quality fabrics - you can buy wedding veil lace, silk linings, satins and linens, suiting and wool for winter coats. They also have some more 'good casual' fabrics, too. All very yummy.

What is even better is that they started a store in the main street of Toowoomba in addition to the one in the centre of Brisbane. It might not have the same range, but has really helpful and friendly staff and there is certainly plenty enough temptation.

Mum and I were window shopping. One of my little cousins once referred to shopping as "Mum's gone feeling material". It's not far off the mark. Unfortunately we happened to walk in on their two week 20% off sale.


We found some fabric that was a really good price in colours that we liked, and were looking for fabric that matched in with it, and doing a little circumnavigation of all the contents of the shop at the same time.

Now for one of the famous Jen digressions (that apparently my four regular readers love) - Back in 2003 when my brother was getting married I was looking for a ready-made dress to wear and discovered a soft, clear shade of mist/spring green that is incredibly flattering on me. I probably wouldn't have even tried it on (because I didn't think the colour would do anything for me) except that I was getting desperate with the selection available in the nearest large centre to where I was living at the time.

Needless to say I bought the dress - sleeveless shift dress (no waist), chiffon over satin, cut on the bias with a cowl neck. Fairly classic lines, although the chiffon cut up diagonally at the hem to show the satin might date it a bit. Anyway, as I said the colour does wonders for me.

In more recent years my clothes shopping expeditions have mainly been along the lines of, "I don't really want to buy clothing because I'm going to lose some weight and then it won't fit - so I'll find something cheap that will cover my body until I'm slender and then I'll buy some nice clothes."

As a result I have many clothes that I don't really love - the nice colours weren't cheap. Having lost 5.7 kilos in the last 6 weeks or so, I'm starting to think about nice clothes. Or at least clothes that don't slip over my hips accidentally.

Also, one of my cousins is getting married in April (and although I'm not taking it for granted that I'll be invited to the reception, there is no way I'm missing the service!), and I wanted to start scouting around for something to wear - not to buy yet (because I should have lost a bit more by April - that's a couple more months away), but to look out and see what's around.

You can tell what's coming, can't you?

One bolt of fabric jumped out from the shelf and screamed, "Please buy me - you can't walk past me, I'm perfect for you!" Something in me responded"I have to buy that one, it would be perfect for me!". Who says they don't believe in love at first sight?

I kept coming back to it, despite the horrendous price tag. It was just me. It's a boucle that from a distance appears to be a soft spring green that really works wonders for me, but up close is woven out of many of the soft, clear colours that also flatter me. The texture gives it wonderful character, but it is a small, dainty, feminine texture that I like.

My mind immediately went to a Jacki Kennedy / Chanel style suit, 3/4 sleeves on the jacket and a straight skirt to just under the knee. A little retro, certainly classic. And it would go with the other fabric I was looking at. Actually, I thought it should go with many things in my wardrobe.

So here is my new wardrobe for next year as a reward for losing some weight and incentive to get to the next milestone when it can be made up:-

Starting top left (and working clockwise) we have:
* a satin sleeveless top with chanel binding,
* a Chanel style suit - straight skirt and 3/4 sleeve jacket
* a full 3/4 length floral skirt and matching short-sleeved blouse
* a tailored long-sleeved jacket and trousers

Everything is interchangeable, and I can dress my suit up or down for many different occasions.

When I got home, I tried my favourite fabric out with some of my favourite existing clothing choices (starting top left):
* a sleeveless mocha/chocolate lace blouse
* my favourite new fabric that isn't anything yet, but will become a Chanel suit
* the dress I bought for my brother's wedding
* a pink floral short-sleeved dress
* my mushroomy-grey suede-finish casual skirt and jacket
* my chocolate chiffon dress trousers (that I should be able to wear again soon because I've lost some centimetres, yippee).

So now I have heaps of incentive to lose those extra kilos, because I want to make up these pretty fabrics and start wearing them.
Oh, which brings me to another digression. An important one.
I hereby fully apologise for any reference that I may or may not have made about my mother being in any way scary or critical... on this or any other blog to which I contribute. She is in fact a lovely, warm, gentle woman who is incredibly generous with her time and talents. Particularly with a sewing machine. And ability to draft patterns. And sew really well. And not be scared to cut into horrendously expensive fabric.
How much chance is there that someone reading my blog can wave a magic wand, make me lose those extra kilos and dress me in my new suit?
...Approximately None
- but if I work at losing those kilos, my magic mother can work on the other little matter? Please?


Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

Love the fabrics. I love the Jacqui-O style dresses and suits - she was such a classy gal.

Great post!

Aleta said...

Oh my my... that is LOVELY material, especially when you place it next to the other shades. Wow, you have a great eye for classy stuff! I can't wait to see what you create. I'm secretly envious, as I can't sew a stitch to save my soul. Go figure, I can stitch a necklace, but not a dress!

June Saville said...

Ah memories ...
I was never game to make stuff for myself - I couldn't seem to fit them properly and so any venture I did make lay in the wardrobe ignored. I kept to kid's clothing and had some great fun ...

Femina said...

I can't wear any of those colours (except the chocolate) without having people ask me if I'm feeling okay... apparently they don't do much for my skin tomes! But I do love looking at them and I'm enormously impressed that you can make your own clothes - and that they're good enough to wear in public. :) Enjoy them and don't forget to post photos when they're done.

Crazy Sister said...

Gosh, I never think about any of that stuff. Colours and styles and whatnot. I guess I have a fairly haphazard wardrobe. Hawaiian shirts, men's singlets and netball skirts... oh dear.

Wish I was clue-ier and classier. Maybe I could hire you as a wardrobe advisor?

Hippomanic Jen said...

Ummm, I think many people have missed the fact that (although I'm planning to make up some of this fabric myself) it is my MOTHER who will be doing the special stuff.

SHE is the one who has done the couture sewing course. I haven't. In fact, it's a good thing I made that apron for the church Spring Fair earlier in the year - I was so out of practice!

Swift Jan said...

Beautiful fabric Jen! And I agree that colour would suit you beautifully!!!
Good shopping & what a great reward :)