Saturday, August 31, 2013

Travel Wardrobe 2013

This year has included more travel than usual. Our most exotic trip starts in mid September when we fly to Rome, Italy. We will start in Rome for a few days, then Cortona for a week, followed by several days in Cinque Terre.

Of course, I've been thinking about related sewing projects since we finalized our plans. As usual, my plans began with delusions of dramatic weight loss. And what I would be wearing with my brand new body. And how Italian I would look.

So back here on planet earth, I'm making clothes that will be comfortable without being pajamas, that will pack easily, and make me feel good. To increase the odds of actually packing what I make, I am using TNT patterns, or at least patterns I know.

Here is the line-up so far...

This is a shirt or jacket made using the Sewing Workshop's Tribeca. I made this several years ago and was not happy with my results but I had always believed that with a little tweaking, I would really love it.

I dutifully made a muslin and decided that it had plenty of potential. 

The fabric is a tightly woven cotton from Japan. Both sides are interesting, I think. I chose the pin-striped side for the face fabric and the other graphic for the inside. 

When the Tribeca was published, it was criticized for not having facings. I, like others, drafted my own facings. Recently though I've found that I like single layer construction with the right fabric. This fabric is quite crisp, and as I said has two good sides, so it worked.

Since this is intended for my trip, I hoped it would work as either a shirt or a jacket. Because of this, I delayed stitching the vertical darts until I checked its fit over tops. Ultimately, I included the front darts but omitted the ones in the back. 

I'm fairly pleased with the resulting shirt/jacket though it is not a show-stopper. It was fun to sew, a slow project but worth the extra effort.

My next two travel pieces are T's. I love my shirts and other tops made from woven textiles, but for long-distance travel, I think T's work best. And they are so fast to make. Every time I begin to sew with knits, I grind my teeth. And then I have a great time. 

Knits take a different approach. As Pam says, you have to hold your mouth just so, and then it all works. I have to let go. Precision is not so important, nor is it even achievable with some of these run-away jerseys.

I have had good success with two T patterns - Christine Jonson's Travel Trio One and Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8793. So I made one T with each. In this head-to-head comparison, I have to say that Katherine's T wins. The sleeve is drafted with so that the front and back are slightly different. The Christine Jonson T is more like the old Stretch-and-Sew patterns where the sleeve cap is symmetrical. 

The Christine Jonson T is made from cotton interlock (polka dots) and rayon jersey, combined with a little Katherine Tilton vibe.

The Katherine Tilton T was made with silk jerseys. A glass of nice white wine is helpful in maintaining the right degree of relaxation with this fabric. It just doesn't pay to get excited or exact or eager. But it feels divine.

I have enough of the silk print left over to make a scarf. Wouldn't that feel yummy?


  1. Oh, I love trip wardrobes and you have a great start. Love those tee's!

  2. Oh, you're on to something, Martha. These pieces are perfect. Great work! I like the bit about not getting too exact. Galloping horses and all that!

    Keep showing us you're Italian wardrobe additions as they emerge!

  3. Oh gosh, Italy, how wonderful! I don't know about Rome, but Florence had the most amazing small fabric shops. I brought back some Valentino royal purple wool crepe and from a place that just had trims, (and I mean 3 rooms of trims of unimaginable variety and beauty), some beautiful gold braid and matching fancy cording.
    Great start on the trip wardrobe. Save your pennies and leave room in your bags, splurge on some wonderful Italian garment or fabric
    if you can. :)I am so jealous!!!!

  4. Wow, trip sounds wonderful. I agree with you about travelling in T's, but then, I live in t-shirts - travel or not! lol I'll bet you get lots of use from the jacket/blouse. You should be able to wear it with most anything, and you used the fabric in a great way. It's fun to have fabric that looks great on both sides.

  5. How fun!!! Love your jacket and both T's.

  6. Comfortable without being pajamas, love that phrase. I'm also going on a trip, six weeks, and yes, I think most of my wardrobe will be ponte knit tee/skirt/pant combos that might just look a little like pajamas! Of course I'm going to try to glam them up a bit. We'll have to talk...

  7. I absolutely love this wardrobe. And your phrase "...runaway jerseys..." Have a great time!

  8. Lovely, easy care pieces. A smashing scarf in'll look like a local ;)

  9. A great start to your travel wardrobe. Your jacket fabric is divine.