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Sep 29, 2010

Making a Muslin. And Plan B.

Readers, I fear I am trying your patience.  We've been talking about cranberry corduroy for, what, a week now?  Why does it feel like a month?   I long to move on to new colors and new fabrics, don't you?  But such are my present wardrobe exigencies that I simply must deal with the corduroy at hand.

Yesterday, not ten minutes after saying I would not be making a muslin of my jacket, I decided to do that very thing.  It took so little time (one hour, two?) and yielded a lot of worthwhile information.

Also, how cute is that plaid sheet?  I can't tell if it screams Burberry or Johnny Carson.  This is the one-sleeve version:

And this is the two-sleeve version:

As tired as I am of writing about corduroy, I am even more tired of thinking about my muslin and what tweaks I might make to my jacket.   (BTW, there are small shoulder pads in the muslin.)

There are so many variables, so many different opinions about how high armholes should be, how much ease a jacket should have (and what activities you should be able to perform comfortably while wearing it), about how flat the back should look with the jacket buttoned in front -- that it has my head spinning.

Which is why I have decided to walk away from my project for (most of) the day.  And which is why I hastily drew up a cursory "Plan B" -- what I will wear to my dreaded event you know where if the jacket is not completed.  Because friends, I'm not sure I can -- or want to --- rush through this sewing project.  I slept nearly twelve (!) hours last night and I'm still tired.

On a related note, yesterday I laundered my corduroy pants and they came out great.  I am ready to hem.

Here are some alternate outfits for Saturday and I could really use your global wisdom.  I know this might be a bit much for Auckland, but I think it can work for here.  Here are the pants, with the blue blazer and my treadled Western shirt.  The shirt will be ironed; the belt will be straight.

Here are the shoes, btw.  I bought these about three years ago at a consignment shop nearby at the urging of a friend.  Trust me when I say they are the only Gucci-branded item I have ever owned.

I've hardly worn them as they're extremely thin-soled and not terribly comfortable, but I think they fit the occasion and the outfit.  What color socks?  (I'm generally or blue or black person and I never wear shoes without socks.)

I also have this American Indian ring I've always liked though rings tend to give me contact dermatitis.

I don't want to wear a tie with the Western shirt but how about a little psychedelic neckerchief.  Is this too Thurston Howell III --  or Charles Nelson Reilly?

Also, what do you think of the pants without the belt?  A black belt does tend to cut a short man in half so.

Anything else missing?  Flagrant fashion/etiquette violations?  Please don't say pocket square.  I love them on others but not me.

I hope you don't feel too terribly let down about the possibility of the jacket not being completed by Saturday.  I think if I wear my own pants and shirt but the RTW jacket, that will be enough from the home-sewn department, don't you?  I can throw in a pair of my own boxers too.

You've been so patient with me on this project, readers, and I appreciate it.  I've been so preoccupied with myself that I've forgotten to ask about your own projects.  I know what some of you have been up to but how about the rest? 

And speaking of rest, I'm going to refill my smiley-face coffee mug, read some blogs, and not think about corduroy.

Have a great day, everyone!


  1. I do think you need a belt. You look very blue blood. Did you marry into money ;)

  2. I love your outfit, ascot and all. I would wear the belt though. You look fabulous. I would wear black socks with the black shoes.

  3. Very dapper! I agree with the belt suggestion above. Keep the ring; ditch the cravat.

  4. If only!

    A belt even though the waistband has one of those extensions that hooks in front?

  5. Paint the part of the ring that comes in contact with your skin with clear nail polish. I have to do the same thing with my glasses... You won't get the rash that way, and unless you know it's there, it's almost impossible to see.

  6. My opinion is that the top half works and the bottom half works, just not together. Also, you need a belt. A belt just kind of pulls everything together.

    I should also point out that I am the queen of sweat pants, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  7. I like the belt. It's a little too casual without, I think.

    Also, I like the ascot! Without it, I'm not sure the color combo is working for me. With it, awesome! The fit on the shirt and trousers is modern enough that it offsets any potential ascot stuffiness!

    I love the ring, too!

    in all, if I saw you with the outfit (belt, ring and ascot) I wouldn't be suprised that this was your blog - it shows your personality!

  8. Honestly, I don't love this look. I agree with the previous post, it just doesn't work together. What about another jacket from your collection? The leather one maybe, or floral?

    ... and definitely the black socks with the black shoes.

  9. My question is....How many people at this dreaded event do you plan on seeing your boxers anyway??? LOL!!

  10. Love the neckerchief and ring - keep 'em both. And keep the belt, too. Just looks more polished. I am a sock know-nothing, but I imagine black is fine. You look marvelously dapper!

  11. yes to the belt, no to the kerchief, yes to the gucci shoes - one evening of suffering. and the blue blazer will work out nicely if the cranberry is not ready for its debut. -- although, the muslin is looking good and the red (?) in the plaid looks like it would complement the cranberry trousers nicely. -- you could have that, "i've spent so little energy worrying about this dreaded event, i just rolled out of bed and came -- still in my bed sheet" look -- but that's probably not exactly the look you're going for.

    have been following (stalking) your blog from the beginning and loving EVERY bit of it -- but haven't posted until now -- the cranberry suit is like a serial drama -- tuning in every morning for the update. keep it up and good luck.

  12. Sensible decision to walk away and give yourself a breather. Too much pressure to perform perfectly can suck the joy out of any project. You deserve a day off!

    I like the outfit, pref with a belt, and I love the ascot and ring. It looks very YOU. Rather dapper.

    Now, let the old lady in me nag you just a bit: get shoe stretchers to prolong the life of your shoes (or stuff the toes) and give them a high shine. If that were my navy jacket, I would either shine or replace the buttons. I always think the more $ a person spends on themselves shows up in the way they and everything they wear is perfectly groomed, cleaned and pressed. Sorry, can't help myself. It's the going to the Waldorf that's getting me going.

    And, agree about the nail polish. I'm allergic to nickle, and clear nailpolish has been a good friend for years.

  13. That muslin looks rather groovy - how about a plaid jacket? C'mon - you've got two whole days!!!

  14. Yes, I think a bedsheet jacket would be perfect!

    I think it's the moisture under the ring that irritates my skin, not the silver.

  15. P.S. What am I sewing? Dog beds, canvas sling chair covers, shoe bag, purse bag, pillow covers, then on to Christmas robes, slippers and other gifts. All the stuff that needs done, like it or not. Yaaaawn. I much prefer your adventures with a needle and thread.

  16. Hmm. Something's just not right. The blazer is preppy. The shirt is western. The pants are modern/cool. The neckerchief looks like a dinner napkin.

    While I love it on its own, I don't think the western shirt belongs in this group. And the neckerchief belongs back in the dining room. ;-)

    Unbelted is OK with me, as long as your belt loops aren't going to show. You can always leave your shirt untucked too. That's more stylish if going w/o a tie anyway.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, I think you need a new shirt. And I mean a *new* shirt. Splurge. And get a stripe or print.

  17. Love the outfit (with the belt). Set the cranberry (I think Zinfadel) jacket aside. Sewing SHOULD not be so stressfu ;). As to the *dreaded event* - everybody (YES, everybody) has anxiety about those reunions - GO! Have fun!

  18. Keep the belt, please, it breaks up all that Cranberry rise. (Good band name? Cranberry Rise?)

    Do you have another jacket option? That one doesn't quite mesh with the rest of your ensemble

  19. The red pants & jacket together seem like they would be a bit bright, imho. Wearing just the pants would be a bit easier to for people's eyes to process.

    I'm not convinced that the navy jacket goes well with the pants. In truth, I have a hard time imagining what would go well with red pants -- maybe look at a split complement for a color? A shirt and a vest? A cream and brown color scheme, with a touch of green and yellow?

    At any rate, I can see the cranberry jacket working, but I am a bit relieved if you don't wear it with the pants, esp not to a big party.

    Sorry to be so blunt, and of course, I don't know NYC, so take all that I say with caution.


  20. I agree with Debbie. Just bite the bullet and go buy a new shirt. I mean a 'new' shirt. Hit up Bloomingdales mens shop and do it up right.

  21. Belt-yes

    I like the shirt and trouser color combo but would like a different jacket better. Someone mentioned brown leather? Not sure what you've got in your arsenal, but looking forward to the finale.

  22. I agree with Debbie and Beth and don't think the pieces work together. Maybe it is my monitor, but the color combination is discombulated in addition to the disjunct styles. I wish you could have had more time for the jacket but think the navy is not working well with the pants. Maybe a new shirt would do it. If you could find one that tied in the navy blue and the red? Perhaps white or ivory with tiny navy and red stripes? Perhaps you could take your pants and jacket to the store with you? I know you wanted to show off your sewing skills (You made that yourself??? Wow!! ;-)) But, don't think you have time to "make it work" without purchasing an item or two??

    What color are the belt and shoes? Are they black? or navy??

    Of course, the main thing is to have fun at your reunion. People will want to see YOU, and won't be picking apart your attire? They only do that at 10 year reunions. hehehe

  23. You guys are hilarious. Debbie, kudos.

    Rest assured, my old classmates will be much less critical -- at least to my face! LOL

    And they'll look worse.

    But seriously, I was thinking of whipping up a nice bright blue and white gingham shirt for the occasion. I am afraid that RTW is out of the question.

    I just...can't.

  24. Jewel, we never tire of your sewing adventures. Good reading as always. As for me, I stray from the posted comments in taste, maybe a bit more refrained. I would LOVE to see that crankin' cranberry blazer with a crisp white shirt, dark jeans and those Gucci loafers, sans socks and ascot. Hotness!

    The color combo you have going now with the western shirt and ascot is just a bit off, though I feel where you're going with it.

    I do agree with you, stop what you're doing and pull together an ensemble from what you have in closet, so that should things not pan out, you will have a go-to outfit. Trust me, it lessens the pressure of sewing. Also, you want to relax and have fun.

  25. Shoes and belt are black. Men don't wear navy shoes!

    I don't own a leather blazer. My other jackets are suit jackets, too smooth for the corduroy pants. The blue blazer has a little more texture; it's the best I have.

    Maybe I should invite you all over for a closet dig.

  26. I'm only being critical because you asked. Pfffft!! :-)

    Is there a particular reason you can't/won't do a RTW shirt? Just wondering why you're so adamant on that. You can tell me to MYOB. ;-)

    Making a new shirt would be OK too, but I was trying to save you from more time pressure. Not so sure about introducing more colors with the bright blue, though. How about just a nice white shirt from the same pattern as your club collar sheet shirt? I just think that anything non-subtle is going to be fighting with the pants and you'll have people talking to your clothes and not your adorable face.

    And of COURSE they will look worse. Goes without saying.

  27. Forget the jacket. The pants alone look great. You need either a shirt with a bit of cranberry in it or a pullover sweater in a coordiating color. If you go with a shirt, make a straight bottom rather than a tuck-in so that you can wear it out so that you don't have to worry about a belt.

  28. Def black shoes (v nice!) def black socks, yes to the gorg trews, no no no to the shirt cravat & ring!
    p'haps string vest & medallion ;)

  29. I usually enjoy reading your blog and seeing what you come up with and I know you want this to be very you, but... honestly... I don't really like the combo. I'm not sure any of those items look good enough for that sort of place and event.

    Can't you just go to the Men's Wearhouse and get yourself something really nice? They are having sales right now, so it doesn't have to be expensive, but you'll look really good.

  30. Guys, when I say I "can't" buy RTW, it's not can't as in "I can't walk, I have no legs." It's can't as in, won't.

    I have twelve sewing machines; I make my clothes. Those are the rules. ;)

    It's MY reunion! ROTFL

  31. The trousers are great. No ring, no cravat. Go and buy/borrow,steal or sew a black shirt, and a black and white tie. Black and navy look good together. Black Gucci shoes obviously demand black fine socks. In Europe belts are not the thing at the moment, and I don't think one would add to the outfit.

    Gaviota in Alicante

  32. Seeing you asked... Lose the shirt.
    Maybe the white one you modelled a few posts back? It makes for a cleaner, more cohesive look. Then lash out on a silk cravatt.

  33. I like it...all of it...together with the belt and ring.

  34. Sewing to a deadline is usually not a good thing and is often a very bad thing - so you should take your time over the cranberry jacket. Personally I think that your proposed outfit is spot on - it says 'not trying too hard' but still showcases your excellent sewing skills and inimitable sense of style. Some folks seem to have reservations about your choice of shirt - you would be very welcome to borrow my cranberry scarf collar top but, actually, I think the shirt you've got looks good.
    BTW - the muslin for that jacket is looking lovely - but I'd definitely go for the two sleeve version.

  35. Monsieur you look terribly chic. I love the whole get up, belt included in my opinion. Seriously, that scarf a sheer stroke of utter genius. And the ring....I'm so impressed. You look dashing, you look dapper, you look marvelous! Oh and the jacket is coming along nicely. I really love that plaid. In fact, so much so, that I think you need a plaid jacket now.

  36. I would forget the belt, but keep the rest. The psychedelic cravat is what gives the outfit the zing that makes in all Peter, in my opinion. I love the ring, I love the shoes and the pants are really, really lovely. I love the shirt and I think the colour at the neck ties it in well with the pants. The jacket keeps the rest of the outfit from going over the top. Now that you know you have a backup plan, perhaps you might find you relax and finish the jacket anyway. Good luck. I can't wait to hear about the Event.

  37. Love the outfit. It screams Peter (Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater)
    I love it with the belt, even the cravat works somehow... how do you do that?
    I would like to see it with a cream shirt too but I think you look most dapper as it is.
    Hooray :-)

  38. I love the trousers with the blue blazer, black belt, and the shirt you made. (black socks are a given - duh! black shoes!)

    However, the "ascot tie" screams "Look at me, baby! I have all the money in the world and am stuckup about it too!".

    The 5th photo (in the outfit I described) is what you should wear. Maybe the ring - but I am not a huge men wearing rings...

    After reading your blog for several months now, I feel that this is how I would expect you to look. Unless cousin cathy is coming, too? ;)

    Anyway, I also understand the "won't buy anything new to wear" attitude. I need a new dress for my sister's wedding. And I won't buy one - because I know that I can make one - and that I will like it better than those I can buy.

  39. I love the outfit as is, personally.

    And sorry, but I shudder at the thought of blue and white gingham mixed in with cranberry - do you WANT to look like a fourth of july picnic??

    Any thing that smacks of red white and blue is banned from my wardrobe. I won't even let my darling partner and I go out in public if the combination of our outfits looks too patriotic. The same goes for any combination of red and green. It will always and forever make me feel like Christmas.

    So, yeah, I vote a big hands down no to a white shirt. (Unless, of course, you finish the blazer in time...)

    (In other news, I scored some awesome fabric at H&M today for a coat that I'm trying to sew with another blogger's sew along....)

  40. LOL Peter, now you reminded me of my mother! She didn't have 12 sewing machines, but she was a professional seamstress and she would usually frown at anything RTW, saying the quality wasn't good enough. Even if my dad gave her RTW clothes as a present (usually very expensive choices of suits and sportswear), she would deconstruct the garments and tailor them to fit all over again. Most of the time it was harmless, but sometimes it was almost annoying, like when we were running late for some important event because she was finishing something she was going to wear. I was late for my own wedding because of her... but not because she was making my wedding dress, it was because she was finishing her own dress. My wedding dress was RTW!

  41. I love the trousers - the fit, the fabric, everything. I also love the western shirt and think they go well together. The slim silhouette of both really suits you. Is there any way you could do without a jacket? I dunno, you and navy jacket just don't seem to gel. And maybe I'm not 'up there' enough with fashion but I wouldn't have thought you could wear a navy jacket with black shoes and belt? I would have thought you'd have to go for brown accessories. The shoes don't look very 'you' anyway. However I think you could get away with them and the belt if the jacket went. I love the scarf but not with this outfit. It's gorgeous though! Hmm, how's that for a bit more ultimately confusing opinion?

  42. Well, it's very...colorful!!! I like it!!! Especially the ascot. Wear that and don't kill yourself over the corduroy jacket. Oh, and have loads of fun!!

  43. Yes on the new pants, navy jacket, belt and shoes. No to the cravat or string tie. Meh on the rings. (although you probably don't talk with your hands as much as me) I like the fact that the trousers and jacket can be worn independently. I love a nice cord jacket and jeans on a guy. Please don't stress, wear what you want and when the jacket is finished, enjoy wearing it.

  44. oh man I love reading your blog! makes my day. I have no suggestions except "yes" to the belt, and I like rings on everyone.
    You amaze me with how fast you sew and how much you make. Of course I "only" have 3 sewing machines and 1 serger so naturally I am slower, even with many more years of sewing experience. Mainly, have fun at your event. After all, how often have you seen these people in the last years, anyway?
    Joyce (chicken to wear bright colors)

  45. I love the plan B outfit, you look very stylish! I look forward to seeing your jacket too.

  46. Belt-yes
    Gucci shoes-yes (Gel insoles work wonders)
    Black socks-yes

  47. I really, really like the first picture of the outfits. Head to toe comments. If you want to wear a scarf, might I suggest not that one? It seems mismatched with your outfit. If you want to wear a scarf, do you have a jacket pocket on your left breast? I always think they look too stuffy around a man's neck. The ring is totally your call. Keep the belt. It helps make the pants look more finished and less casual. The men in my life swear that the socks should match the belt. Shoes look awesome, but if you aren't comfortable with them you have 2 choices. 1., insoles. 2., some other shoes. I hope this was helpful. I really like the fit of that outfit on you.

  48. I really get the "can't buy RTW " mentality! I am not sure where it came from, but I have it, too. I have only two months of sewing experience, and if my skills do not improve soon, I will have to go live in a nudist colony.

    I am betting the cranberry coat will be ready to rock by Saturday evening. I would love to see that ensemble with a white shirt as well. I don't think it must be a dress shirt, however, as the coat and shoes are dressy enough.

    Can't wait for the thrilling conclusion!

  49. I like the pants and jacket together, kind of, but I would put a plain white shirt with them. The western jacket steals too much from the pants. Wear the ring and the guccis, ditch the ascot. You'll look great. PS. your sewing adventures can never bore me. That is what I tune in for. So many other blogs just show the finished product and never the why, wherefore, and how.

  50. Hi Peter, Your jacket muslin is looking very good. I love the plaid too... Also your plan b ensemble is very dashing too.

    What about plan C... I am thinking that the shirt you made Michael with the liberty fabric, untucked with the with the red pants and blue jacket..with a white or ivory silk ascott... no need for a belt. With the black Gucci shoes and black socks.. Just a thought... but I am sure anything that you put together will be wonderful.


  51. The pants look great, Peter. The ascot is a bit too Thurston Howell III, though. Ditch the tie entirely, methinks. Keep the ring.

    Wear the pants with a belt. Wear your white club collar shirt. Wear your flowered jacket. It will look smashing with the pants.

    Very nice shoes, too!

  52. Oh My Word! I know you invited it, but if I had that many differing opinions about what I should wear I think I would lock myself in the cupboard and cry. I would be so confused!
    Get back to sewing Dear Peter, you might just get that jacket done and you would be so proud of yourself. If not, then you still won't be going naked and you will look just fine.

  53. Even sterling silver has nickel in it, I that's what people react to...I read somewhere that a few coats of clear nail polish inside a ring can help.


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