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Apr 2, 2013

The Importance of Having a Plan "B"

 

Friends, if I've learned anything in my half-century of life, it's that it's good to have a backup plan.  Things don't always happen the way you expect, and if you've "put all your eggs in one basket" as they say, then what are you going to do?

That's why today I purchased some other fabric I could use for this month's Mood Sewing Network post, just in case I don't finish my gray suit on time.  I'm still planning on making it, and I expect to get started soon, but if there's anything I hate it's feeling rushed.  Having just made my sheet suit -- which was originally intended to be a muslin but I got carried away -- I don't feel like immediately starting another suit.  It may take a few days -- or longer.

So here's what I purchased.  These may seem like more conservative choices than what you're used to, but I can't always wear flower prints.  I'm trying to choose colors that will coordinate well with my taffeta jacket and shorts ensemble, and not introduce too many new colors and patterns.



The white fabric is a beautiful, medium-weight linen I'm going to use to make pants.  You wouldn't think white linen pants would be very practical in New York City, but I've had a pair from H&M for nearly six years and only now are they beginning to feel worn out -- primarily due to repeated dryings that have caused them to shrink.  Or maybe I'm widening.



Here are the pants in a pic from 2010.  (OK, I have widened...and grayed.)



I also purchased this silky cotton shirting in a rich-looking butter -- actually margarine.



I love these two fabrics.  They're not show stoppers, but an endless stream of the sewing equivalent of power ballads gets tiring after a while, don't you think?

I also purchased rayon Bemberg lining for my suit.  Way nicer than that gray poly I used in my sheet suit.  The color is navy, though it's hard to tell here.  I forgot if I should wash this before sewing with it.  Anybody know?



In other news, an orchid I salvaged from the trash last year has bloomed!



This last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Rosie: I helped fix her Singer 201 (the bobbin case was in the wrong position) and she fixed me the most amazing Jamaican food I've ever eaten in my life!  She also gave me some fabulous sharper-than-sharp Japanese pins and hand-sewing needles and let me try out her Baby Lock Ellisimo Gold sewing machine -- OMG.





Friends, that's it,  In closing -- a few questions:

1) Do you generally have a Plan B when you're sewing on a deadline, or does the pressure of a time limit help make Plan A happen when it otherwise might not, so you don't need a Plan B?

2) Are a margarine shirt and linen pants boring? 

Have a great day, everybody!

Bonus question: Whatever happened to this kind of charm? (see video)

50 comments:

  1. Personally, I think a margarine shirt and linen slacks will perfectly compliment your taffeta jacket. I like the combination of subtle colors and then the pop of the jacket.

    I never have a plan B and I have a lot of deadlines, though most are not sewing. I admire a Planner B-er.

    Looking forward to the ensemble.

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  2. I tend to put all my eggs in one basket even though I know better and often get burned in the end. Someday I'll learn.

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  3. I set myself up to have plans A through Z. Really, I have a good handful of projects I can do if I feel uninspired by something. Margarine and white will not be boring with that jacket at all. They won't even be boring without the jacket. Just add some interesting accessories.

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  4. I don't have a plan B until part way through, when it looks like I might not get everything done on time...
    I don't wash the Bemberg, unless the garment is going to be washed.
    The white linen pants and butter shirt will be GREAT! (but not with flowered boxers!)

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  5. I can't tell you how close I came to emailing you today with a question about my Singer - the bobbin case of which is totally fucked. Apparently, you're the vintage machine go-to guy. (I imagined inviting you to TO for a fun weekend and then making you fix it!) Anyway, that's my idea of Plan B :-)

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  6. I like doing my plan B first, or at least thoroughly thinking it through. Then the pressure is off when I'm doing A. I tend to work better if I'm not anxious. This applies not only to sewing, but most of life as well.

    When I was younger, I would just go all out on plan A. That's fine when you're young, energetic, and don't have a lot of other responsibilities. Now at 50+, I just don't enjoy the "throw it together at the last moment" plan.

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  7. Peter, according to Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide (which you own ) Bemberg rayon should be handwashed. It doesn't say anything about temperature, probably tepid and nothing about washing before sewing. It should be drycleaned. Love your sheet suit !!
    Love, Sandi

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  8. When I have a deadline (like the fancy dress up benefit last weekend) I always sew with a back up plan. It has kept me from going stark nekkid to a few public events! BTW, those are the best pins-I love mine!

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  9. Can I just say that Rosie is the coolest person ever? Met her at the recent NY sewing blogger meetup.

    That woman needs a blog, stat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I told her. She's not interested, alas.

      Delete
    2. Aw, bummer! Alas, I guess blogging is not for everyone...

      Delete
    3. I agree! She is SO COOL! Consider this another vote for a Rosie blog... maybe we'll persuade her... :)

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    4. Just coming here to say that! Rose is awesome!!

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    5. Peter - it was a pleasure to have you over. I hope Michael enjoyed the food as well. You can come by anytime but I did promise Willy and Freddy treats and belly rubs.

      Aleksandra, Ginger and Lauren - you are enablers and lovely ones at that. You are three wonderful young women and it was my pleasure to meet you and I hope to see you all again soon.

      Delete
  10. 1) "No" because "Yes". I start a deadline project early and keep the pressure on till I am half 1/2 to 2/3 finished. Then I can relax and enjoy the rest of it. And celebrate finishing my project.
    2) Never boring and perfect for Spring! I celebrate the seasons and anything else I can think of to celebrate.

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  11. Only pre wash the rayon lining if you are going to wash the jacket at some point. Always have a plan B there is always a client who cant make a fitting so throws out my schedule and butter and white are classics though I would go with the butter trousers and white shirt but thats because I love white shirts!

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  12. I never have a Plan B at the beginning of a project, but several times, I need to come up with one in the middle of the work... in fact I can work even better under pressure, and the plan B most of times come out great.

    I love your choices of fabric. One needs some basics to go with extravagant pieces. You are completly right!

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  13. Working under pressure is a bit like going to the gym for me. If I know I will have a deadline, I don't want to start and will often say 'no', but once I get started I am fine and find the deadline helps to sharpen my concentration.

    As to margerine and linen, they sound perfect. Simple and elegant with beautiful fabrics.

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  14. White and yellow are so pretty together. Classics aren't boring. They will look pretty with your daisies. I Always have a plan B, and sometimes CDEFGHIJ...

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  15. The power ballad comment is so funny and so true!
    I really hate sewing on a deadline and rarely do so anymore...life is stressful enough and deadline sewing is self-imposed stress.

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  16. I like the white & soft yellow together, so not boring. As for a plan B.. drats... no, I try my darn best to work out plan A.

    Rosie is a sweetheart & can seriously throw down in the kitchen. .. I am waiting for her to start a cooking blog... wink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheila - I am hijacking Peter's blog / post to say you are another enabler about my starting a cooking blog. See you soon :-)!

      Delete
  17. When I was younger I always had a plan B. And C, D, E, F and G. As I've gotten older (and I can't explain exactly when or why) I've stopped making alternate plans and just tried to cultivate more flexibility and resilience. When something I'm planning or expecting doesn't work out, I just go with it.

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  18. i love rosie! that seems like a fair exchange of services :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dev, you are too sweet. I can see where Indie gets it from.

      Delete
  19. Sometimes we feel more of a pull toward a quiet, deep elegance, and sometimes we want a suit made from a floral sheet. Sometimes we thrive on pressure to get something done, and sometimes we just don't want to rush. It's wonderful how you are able to recognize and articulate all these different states of being.

    The white and yellow pieces are beautiful, and they will be perfect with your "summer" coloring.

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  20. I think your linen pants and "margarine" shirt will become summer staples. A great look!

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  21. I'd hand-wash the lining, or at least steam it, even if you aren't planning on washing the jacket. That way if it rains or otherwise gets wet unexpectedly it won't shrink or distort at all.

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  22. I don't usually have a plan B because the plan A usually comes through to fruition.

    But what I consider my plan B is that I buy extra fabric I'm working with just in case I make a mistake.

    I really love the cool colors of your linen fabric, they make me think of spring.

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  23. i not only always have a plan B, but plans C-M, often. I have crafter's ADD, probably. . .

    and since you're FAR from boring yourself, some staple wardrobe pieces will just provide a great canvas for your awesome self. and linen pants are always a great idea!! plus, white is a lot easier to clean than people seem to think.

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  24. I think your fabric acquisitions are wonderful. Everyone needs a few neutral, but elegant pieces in their wardrobe. Everything will go with them. Peter, you are never boring! Charm is really underrated these days, I don't know why, do you? We could have a long conversation about this on your blog, don'tchathink? It's really a shame. Charm is so amusing and good for the ego if kept in context.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The concept of charm seems entirely alien today.

      Delete
  25. I find the older I get the less I like to be pressured. I actually decided to not do anything I didn't want to this year. NO deadlines. I'm 54 and I'm beginning to understand why old people say and do whatever they want. I'm heading that direction fast. I find boring sewing is always the stuff I wear the most.

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  26. I never come up with plan B until I have to... But I agree, I hate sewing under pressure. I really love the margarine fabric, such a gorgeous color. And "the sewing equivalent of power ballads" is an absolutely inspired phrase!! :D

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  27. I am not even going to address the plan B, because I am so Type A I can't deal with B's at all.

    Pre-treat your Bemberg as you plan to clean your finished garment. Including dry-clean. Yes, I am so type A that I have dry-cleaned lining yardage. But I have never had my lining go wonky on me!

    Cindi

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  28. Can ya get Rosie's recipe for us???

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  29. I like the yellow shirt and white pants combo. The fabric types seem great.

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  30. Thank you for the charming video. I like your new simple and elegant fabrics. They will be a pleasure both to work with and to wear. Good trash pick too!

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  31. Fred Astaire was not fond of Ginger Rogers. He thought that she and her mother were a pain in the ass. - Alex in California

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  32. Congratulations - I've nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

    http://victoriantailor.blogspot.com/2013/04/award-night.html

    Cheers! Andrew

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  33. Yum. I love the buttery fabric. And, oh, the video is a gem -- I love to swoon and laugh at the same time. And I perceive not a whisper of a change between 2010 and now. Since Rosie has such great press, I'd like to encourage her to blog, too.

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  34. That buttery fabric is delicious! I can't bring myself to call it margarine since margarine is Not Delicious and that fabric, mmm.

    I think I would be tempted to coordinate the yellow, the white, and the floral, just like you have it in that top photo. White slacks, butter-yellow shirt, and floral jacket? Yes please.

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  35. Love both of your more neutral fabrics! Very spring/summer. :)

    I used to have Plans A, B, & C when I had a tight deadline (usually evening gowns, until my wardrobe became large enough for reasonable selection). Plan A was the garment I envisioned, Plan B was a simpler alternate (different fabric--I always made the envisioned garment), and Plan C was to make
    something existing work for the occasion!


    Taja

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  36. I love the simplicity of white linen pants and the yellow shirt. Cool, comfortable summer. They will look great with your flowered jacket and the shirt will look great with the shorts.
    No, you do not have to, nor should you, wash the Bemberg unless you are lining a washable garment. Bemberg tends to wrinkle and be hard to press after washing; it gets crinkled looking which is fine for pants but not a suit where you will see the lining.
    Plan B? Nope not I.

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  37. Blooming orchids and home cooked Jamacian food - I'd say life is good!
    Plan Bs are essential in my life - I'm currently operating with a plan B .
    I love love love the butter and white - two go with anything and everything classics that you'll put to creative use!
    Sadly the Irving Berlins have disappeared.

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  38. Love that sunny yellow fabric and (I think) yellow is very flattering on you. My hat's off to anyone who can wear white pants for more than a half and hour without getting smuts, smudges, blots, spots, and stains on them.

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  39. Peter, the margarine yellow fabric and white linen are simple and will provide basics that can go with most anything in your wardrobe. I love a white linen pants in the warmer months. Nancy is correct in that if you wash the Bemberg ... the wrinkles are a pain to press out.

    Thanks again for coming over and helping me with the Singer 201-2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know Rosie, but man, this post makes me wanna meet her!

      Delete
  40. I tend to always have Plan A, B, C, D and maybe others, and finish neither. But a deadline is a good pressure to finish things, or at least nearly-finish-to-a-wearable-point, if the deadline is an event.

    Plus, I love that margarine shirting, and would totally buy it myself. And I would love some white linen for pants right now, because white summer pants are one of my projects for this year, one I really, really want to finish, only I'm not even sure I have the fabric yet!

    ReplyDelete

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