Wardrobe Malfunction

Well, this weekend I traveled down the coast to see my husband’s parents. They live on a massive organic farm complete with gourmet poultry, goats, sheep, cows, a garden and an orange orchard. Truly paradise.

Perfect opportunity to go forward with the MIL project, right? You’d think so… I spent most of an afternoon pulling up photos of tops and skirts I thought would suit, and hoped she’d like. And also fabric swatches. I’m not sure exactly how to proceed. Many tops, many skirts were vetoed, but I suspect it has to do with :

A) some of the photography/production values on PR pictures
B) a pattern made up in fabric she doesn’t like.

Which is frustrating. We came up with plain, basic scoop neck t-shirts made up in some interesting poly knit prints. I’m not exactly sure that’s what she told me she wanted, and I’m not exactly sure I have it in me to make things like that. To me, what’s the point of making something I could buy for $5 at any store? Right? Or should I respectfully go around her, take a risk that I can interpret her design ideas better than she can, and make some interesting but simple pieces from natural fibre knits and maybe that yummy linen pique from Gorgeous Fabrics? Like marrying that pique to this Simplicity 2758 half-circle skirt skirt she likes, without pockets:

Readers, when I showed her the pique, she was very skeptical. “I’m not sure, won’t it show stains and spots really badly?”


I really did not know how to address this issue, then all of a sudden I could see her working on the farm, running to the lab in her new custom made “smart” clothes and quivered. I could easily dye the pique a darker shade of blue or deep violet, the blue available is a little bright. Perhaps I could mention that to her. But the weave! It’s amazing! Not to be passed over! And that skirt would be perfect for showing off the fabric.

I’m just not sure. A wardrobe in blues, purples, and greens I can do with joy. (my usual palette is black, white, and pastels) I can do simple, tasteful, and completely normal. I can even do some synthetics. I’m just not sure I’m up to making expensive, disposable work clothes.

On the upside, we did decide that a black (or deep turquoise or deep plum) knit wrap dress would be perfect, like the ever-popular Vogue 8379:

View A. So there’s a start. I’m just not sure we’ll work out the bugs in time for the mini-contest. We also decided on a basic black straight skirt, though I still need to find a good pattern for it. I refuse to work with Burda. Personal hate.


  1. My parents are organic farmers too :-)I make my mothers 'pretty' clothes too, but she doesn't get to wear them around the farm until they are years and years old and worn out!

  2. That is a tough one….on the fabrics, I have to vote with your MIL on the pique — work clothes that you cannot tumble dry? What about some pretty denims or twills, you can find lovely colors and prints but the fabrics are so durable and washable, especially if you torture-wash them before you sew. And maybe if the fabrics were super-practical and durable, she would bend a little on the styles?I think the wrap dress is lovely! So at least that one will work out!

  3. Ah, well, she told me at the outset that she wanted to have some "smart" clothes to look put together and well-dressed. I didn't read that as work clothes, and I don't see why it would matter how stain resistant nice clothes are. Sure, if they are stain resistant that's a plus, but really…

  4. Ooh, that's right, she did…I wouldn't have thought they needed to be stain-proof either. Perhaps when she thought about it she decided she really wanted work clothes? At least the dress is sorted out!

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