Travel and ruffles

29 Oct

My Grand Plan for a dance wardrobe came to an abrupt pause when I realised my holiday down south was Looming Large. Attention immediately switched to getting my travel wardrobe er… not so much “up to scratch” as getting it to exist at all.

I backpacked for 3 years in my early 20’s and had the contents of the pack down to a fine art, but I never really worked out how to pack for shorter trips, in particular how to stay warm but not overheat in variable climates.
People say “layer layer layer” but what does that mean?! Seriously, what does it mean? how do you wear more than one layer to start with, and how does that make you warm enough and cool enough for many climates?

In total despair I bought Travelling Light by Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style It turned outto be more about travelling light (like the name said Duh! <— silly me) than packing for different climates. Again that presumed knowledge in the audience. But nonetheless, it gave me so many other ideas and tips I was really glad I had bought it after all. Some of it was really obvious once she had pointed it out, such as

  • everything you take should match each other (she explains clearly how to achieve that).
  •  taking garments made of non-bulky fabric so they pack down into a small space. This was like a lightbulb going off in my head – I know all about packing “non-iron” fabrics, but I’ve never thought of packing non-bulky fabrics. I had done that instinctively while backpacking but never realised its importance.

Anyway, I really do recommend the book, even if all it said about dressing warmly was to (ahem!) layer, and suggested thermal underwear (like wha-??? and where do you get these mysterious items of clothing?) because the book is so GOOD!

I realised I could do with some nice soft, non-bulky but warm pyjamas, seeing how we will be in the mountains of Victoria and the Southern Highlands of NSW for half the trip and the nights, even in November, promise to be cold.
So I went to my trusty local fabric store and found on special some “seaspray” cotton/lycra knit. For t-shirts it is a tad heavy for this climate, but for jammies I thought it a perfect weight. And the colour is fantastic – in the fandeck of colours that suite me I got from Kerryn, it is right between “lemon” and “lime fizz”, a shade usually hard to find. I grabbed it!

I am not the world’s most experienced or enthusiastic knit sewer, but I was Inspired. I have no plans to sleep in them, (ok, another tropical thing – not used to wearing much at all to bed, so a tank top and undies will do for bed) but want to be able to lounge in comfort (and style!) in our various accommodations ranging from riverside self-contained cabins, to medium-nice hotels, to friend’s homes. I pulled out my favourite “Yoga outfit” pattern for the pants and my favourite t-shirt pattern for the top. Having made both a number of times the cutting and basic sewing was quick.

But how to finish them off? I find the classic band-edge both difficult technically and a disappointingly boring result. I have some leftover dark purple polyester knit from my dance wardrobe project, and I love the combination of it with the lemony-lime fizz of the pj’s. And, I confess, although it;s technically a colour that suits me, I have rarely worn lemony-lime fizz before. Getting yellows that suit me has been super-hard till I got the colours from Kerryn’s fabric world. So purple (a lifetime wardrobe staple) will bring the pj’s right back into my comfort-zone.

Embellished edging
My inner children (who says you’re only allowed to have one?) delight in ruffles, so… I used a technique picked up from rtw clothes, and used to good effect previously on this dress.

I satin-stitched the edges of both the ruffles and the main body of the garment (huge job) with a matching rayon thread. Looks gorgeous.  I attached the ruffle by simply pulling the edge of the fabric taut, and sewing the ruffle straight down onto it. The fabric had enough give to return to normal after a wash. I am not sure my pyjama knit does.

This time I wanted to avoid the huge job of satin stitching the ruffle edge, and plan to take advantage of the no-fray property of knit to create a slightly decontructed look. So I simply cut strips of purple; then using a 3mm woven elastic but to 2/3rds the length of the strips, and zigzag, I stretched the elastic to fit the strip and sewed. Wow! First time I’ve done this but certainly won’t be the last. Instant stretchy ruffle for very little time, energy and money. (It’s shown in the top photo)
Now all I have to do is attach it. Photos of me wearing the finished project will have to wait till I am down south and cold enough to wear the jammies for long enough to get a photo of them.


What if they aren’t warm enough? I figure I can put a cardigan over the top. And if I am super-cold I can wrap my sarong round the pants as an overskirt. That is certainly putting one layer on top of another, but not entirely sure that is what this mystical “layering” means… Never mind – can’t wait for my holiday!

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