Argh! Have you seen what Prada showed last Sunday in Milan for Spring/Summer 2013? You haven't? Well get aload of THIS:
Readers, those lapels, those lapels -- they're W-I-D-E!
I'm sure Prada isn't the only culprit, but this is the first I've seen of wide lapels and I'm ready to spit. We've been shown narrow lapels for at least a decade now, the economy sucks, and Prada wants to bring back wide lapels? Here I am, about to make a jacket, and I intended mine to have narrow lapels, which also happen to be more flattering on shorter, more narrowly built men. I mean, I guess I could go for wider lapels (I own Simplicity 9598, below), but to me they look straight out of The Odd Couple.
Friends, I know fashions change, but style stasis is one of the unspoken benefits of being a man.
Anyway, thank you to everyone who gave me advice about pre-treating my linen yesterday. I've read advice from Marcy Tilton, Claire Schaeffer, and Sandra Betzina (among others) and wouldn't you know they all say slightly different things. The general rule, however, is that if you're going to machine wash and dryer-dry your garment, pre-wash and dryer-dry your fabric. But I've noticed that a lot of people prefer to air-dry their garments (I always do this with shirts), which presumably cuts down on shrinkage and helps the garment last longer. Others hand wash everything.
I checked my linen carefully, and there are no signs of significant sizing in the fabric, though some linens are apparently also chemically treated to discourage wrinkling, and this will wash out. I took Nancy K.'s excellent advice and washed (and machine dried) a small fabric swatch, and while it came out softer than my original linen and with a bit less sheen, the difference after ironing was minor, and after doing an interfacing test, even less. I did a cold water wash and used a medium dryer setting, though usually I wash on warm (the Colors setting on our commercial machines).
So even though I would never put a blazer in the washing machine, I may pre-wash and machine dry my linen anyway. Or not. I just haven't decided yet.
Here's a dirty (no pun intended) little secret. I have a gray linen blazer I bought five years ago from H&M of all places, and I have gotten tremendous use out of it. And you know what? I have NEVER had it dry cleaned, nor have I laundered it. Before you say Ewww, let me say that I hang it up and air it out after wearing and it does not smell at all -- I mean, I'm pretty sure it doesn't; don't snicker! I bring this up because it's entirely possible that the jacket I make will never be cleaned, period. I should only get five years' use out of it!
Anyway, that's how things stand for right now. I'm not going to start cutting my fashion fabric this week most likely anyway, so I can ponder the issue a bit longer. This is where I can start to obsess and I'm trying not to do that so early in the process.
Even though I do all the laundry in our household, I never give it much thought. (You've seen some of the sorry results.) Seriously, though, is there really such a big difference between a cold water wash and a warm water wash? My clothes hold up pretty well and I can't say I ever remember ruining anything I've sewn myself -- jog my memory if you remember differently.
While I get the importance of clean underwear, I do think we're a little obsessed with laundering in this country, and especially dry cleaning, which I haven't done in years. I hate the expense, the mystery of what's actually being done to your clothes, and the environmental impact -- not to mention the impact to your skin on contact. But that's me. And I don't use fabric softener. Or bleach. Or dryer sheets. And please don't mention Febreze. Like Strontium-90, we're all probably carrying trace amounts of Febreze in our bodies. We smell good but oh, the toxins!
Readers, I fear I have raised more questions today than I've answered -- my apologies.
Have a freshly-scented day, everybody!
Febreze / Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific! Separated at Birth?