12 July 2007

Fashion and Adapting


I'm not a big runway watcher. My mouth does not start watering when the latest collections are released.

But while while I know what I like, what flatters my figure and coloring, I can always use a little help in putting together a working wardrobe. Enter Lucky Magazine. When I decided to buy a subscription to a "fashion mag" I purchased a handful at the grocery store, and set about ripping out pages that appealed to me. After 3 months, Lucky Magazine was the clear winner. Their ripped pile was towering over the others. Lucky fits my style much better than any other. I almost felt like Little Red Riding Hood as I went through the others - Vogue was too much, Instyle was too celebrity based, Harper's Bazaar was too chatty.

So I purchased my Lucky Magazine subscription and await its delivery for useful hints that I can put together. My only ding for Lucky is their coverage of styling and makeup products. Probably due to the fact that I don't style my hair much, and I get by with the bare minimum makeup that keeps me acceptable in the corporate world.

While I read the magazine cover to cover, some sections really stand out in my mind.

Does this outfit work?
Here's what they did last time:

All the "models" are fairly cute before, but Lucky comes along and makes a few switches here and there. I always come away with a "hmm, I bet I can ..." feeling.

Editor's Picks, and this month's favorite of mine is a TDF top. I wonder if it will go on sale?

I love everything about it. The asymmetricality, the obi sash, the color.

Foley + Corinna

I'm not the only reader with a deep lust on for this one. Splendora Blog

They've also got the One item 4 ways. The dress in this instance.

I was really struck by the cardigan (the dress, not so much). I love the looks, the length, not the color. I'll be morphing HotPatterns, Miss Moneypenney Coco Twinset cardigan for this. Trudy, what work you are making me do!!!

Wear it now, wear it later
Check Lucky's flipbook for a sample.

I love this look, talk about distilling the shirtdress to the lowest common denominator: placket, rolled sleeves, slight A-line. I must have it.

Looking through patterns, Butterick has a somewhat similar item, 5037. Granted, it's a shirt pattern, but those are easy to lengthen. However, I have a confession ... the big4 drafting sucks "Slurm." So, it is unlikely that I will run out and buy the Butterick pattern.

BUT, I have this lovely, lovely Burda magazine from January of 2004. Inside is model 113.

Empire waist, A-line ... well, you are going to have to picture it morphed into the dress above. I'll probably rotate the darts, slim the skirt, and get rid of the extra seaming and collar.

Perfect. And probably perfectly well drafted.

This will become my lowest common denominator shirtdress.

Speaking of shirtdresses, and slightly off topic, I've got this Patrones pattern cut out (model 64 from issue 241, Feb 2006):

I'm not doing the pleated inserts, but I've got the fabric picked out and the pattern morphed as need be: take out a chunk for hollow chest, DEEP sway back darted out (1 and 7/8"), and sleeve adjustment.

Sleeve adjustment ... I can only assume that Trussardi (the designer) was draping this on a model closely related to Loes Hinse, her patterns have what I consider freakishly thin bicep areas. My unflexed bicep is 12" around, this size 40 pattern has, get this, a 12 and 5/8" measurement. Okay, check the size 44, I think it had a 13" measurement. That was never going to work, so off to the old large upper arm adjustment
(scroll down a bit past halfway). This is a rare adjustment for me in big4, Burda, or KnipMode, but common in Loes Hinse.

I suspect I should run up a muslin of the bodice before I cut into my fashion fabric. I only have a couple yards, and my hubby picked it out. He hates fabric shopping, but he has an amazing ability to pick out the neatest prints that I've passed by. I don't want to waste the fabric as I have one time in the past (regret for that failure will sit with me the rest of my life).


Working Out/Exercising

I don't like or enjoy working out. I suppose there is a bit of a masochist/sadist in me who enjoys the achy muscles the next day, but the process itself is agonizing.

However, I don't want to be a "fat girl" to use my father's terminology. I have some heavyset family members, and I never want to have the health problems and worries that they have. So every other year, I work out like a dog and drop the excess weight that has crept on in the last 12 months. I was never into practicing as a child: homework (bleh), dance, flute, or foreign language. Apparently I see working out in the same vein. Exercising is not a life-time commitment on my part, its an on again off again relationship.

So what does this have to do with sewing? The clothing I work out in, of course. I'll also include some of my most consulted resources.

My favorite work out pant is Kwik Sew 3115. Being that I am not a big fan of Kwik Sew patterns, I've always been shocked that I like this pattern so much. The waistband treatment, neither bulky nor intrusive, is strong enough to keep your pants up when the sweat is steaming off your skin. And yet the pants are neither too tight nor too lose.

However I've shortened the patterns to capris and short shorts. I don't like to lift weights in longer pants. Longer pants get caught at my knees during squats and lunges, totally distracting me when I need to concentrate.

I also don't do step aerobics in pants, for the same reason as above. However, the capris come in handy for ab work, floor work, aerobics, yoga, and pilates. Especially when I am slick and sliding all over my mat. That fabric at the knees can keep me from sliding OFF the mat! :)

As for workout tops, I'm not quite as discerning. I'm still using many of the same items I bought for Jazzercise in 2003 (which I stopped after 1 year because I got sick of hearing, "I hope you don't mind, this is the SAME routine we did 2 days ago!!!" Hey, I can do that at home, and save money doing the same thing over and over again.)

I live in a VERY humid environment, SE Texas. All that polyester and nylon, high tech, magical wicking ability, etc. fabric is a death sentence in the humidity. My skin simply cannot breath. So its the natural fabrics for me during a workout.

I discovered Patagonia's Hotline tops last year. They make most workouts extremely comfortable. Made out of cotton and spandex knit, the fabric breathes and moves.

It has an internal shelf bra, the shoulder straps are attached at mid-back - which keeps them from sliding off the shoulders at inopportune moments (yet does not interfere with shoulder blade movement during weight lifting), and the vent at the lower back allows plenty of air flow. When Patagonia cancels this line, I'll have to copy the pattern. So far, so good. I have two of them, and plan to get another in the near future.

I have two workout areas in my house: weightlifting room and office. My office has a computer which is where all my workout DVDs are played. I have a large collection of DVDs. I figured out how much I spent on one year of Jazzercise, and bought DVDs instead.

Kickboxing DVDs
Amy Bento's Kickbox Extreme*
Cameron Shayne's Budokon Beginning Practice
Cathe Friedrich's Kick Max (hard to believe she has two boys)*
Gilad's Elite Forces
Guillermo Gomez's Kickbox Underground
Gomez and Saffell's Hardcore Kickbox Circuit
Ilaria Montagnani's Powerstrike*
Janis Saffell's Kick-It
Kathy Smith's Kickboxing Workout*
Kimberly Spreen's Cardio-Camp Workout*
Sherri Jacquelyn's Criss-Cross Cardio

Step DVDs
Cathe Friedrich's Low Max*
Christi Taylor's Solid Gold Step*
Christi Taylor's Totally Cool Step*
Donna Read's Step, Power & Pump
Karen Voight's Ultimate Step Circuit
Kari Anderson's Push*
Kathy Smith's Powerstep
Kathy Smith's Great Buns & Thighs Step Workout
Kathy Smith's Fat Burning Breakthrough
Keli Robert's Step It Strong*
Kelly Coffey-Meyer's Step, Kick, Punch and Sculpt Your Way to a Leaner Body!*
Kimberley Spreen's Kick Box Boot Camp (a kick box and step hybrid)*
Patrick Goudeau's B.E.S.T. Video
Rob Glick's Amazing Step Styles

*My favorite DVDs, they almost make a workout fun.

Abs specific DVDs
Tamilee Webb's I Want those Abs
Firm's Firm Abs
Seasun Zieger's The Next Step (I don't like the workout portion, but the ab portion is killer)
Shiva Rea's Creative Core Abs

Janis Saffell's Dynamic Stretch
Karen Voight's Pure & Simple Stretch

Anything by Baron Baptiste or Rodney Yee
Iron Yoga

Mtv Pilates
Crunch's Fat Burning Pilates
Rael's Pilates System 27
Denise Austin's Pilates (I usually can't stand her, but in this DVD she is more relaxed)
Classical Pilates Technique The Complete Mat Workout Series

Jillina's Instruction Bellydance 1, 2, and 3
10 minutes Solutions the original: Boot Camp, Pilates, Ballet, Kickboxing, and Yoga
10 minutes Solutions Kickbox Bootcamp with Keli Roberts
Rania's Bellydance Daily Quickies
New York Ballet Workout 1 & 2

The most recent research I've read suggests 1 hr workouts 5 days a week to lose weight, 30 min. workouts 5 days a week to maintain weight. As you can imagine, my DVDs get a regular rotation as I bore out with one and move onto another. Occasionally I'll do kickboxing one month and switch off to step next month. But most often they mingle together as my mood changes.

Weight Lifting
This is so important for women. We carry less muscle mass than men, and it is muscle mass that keeps bones strong. You need to stress your joints and bones to stay healthy (you don't see overweight people with dowager's humps). I try to lift at least 2 times per week, 3 to 4 is better. I've got a simple weight lifting bench with leg extension and bar catch for a barbell.

I have a set of Sportblock Powerblock Dumbbells. My dumbbell collection was growing so much, I was losing a lot of space. This is a much better alternative for me.

An entire set of tubes for typical weight lifting moves such as Pulldowns, Cable Rows, and Pushdowns that my basic bench is incapable of providing.

I've used the following to put routines together:
Cathe Friedrich DVDs
Arnold Schwarzenegger's book "New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" (the additional eye candy doesn't hurt)
Per Tesch's book "Target Bodybuilding"
Negrita Jayde's book "Supervixen"
Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine
Fitness Rx Magazine

Working out will never be something I look forward to. But it is rather amazing to watch the body take shape underneath that layer of fat.

Regards from Kira ... pants are getting tight, time to lose some weight