Wardrobe Quandary?…Shop the Closet

I recently enjoyed a birthday celebration trip to NYC and as it was just a long weekend trip, I didn’t obsess about wardrobe–until the night before.  And then–I panicked!

A note about my daily wardrobe:  I am retired and live on a Lake in Midwest USA.  Summer weather is hot and humid.  On any given day I will probably be in the garden, on the beach, on the Lake.  My go-to wardrobe is a t-shirt/swimsuit top, shorts and flipflops.  If I need to go ‘to the store’, will switch out t-shirts, trade shorts for capri pants, and hose down the feet before slipping on sandals.

However, I do have a ‘work’ wardrobe that hasn’t been updated in the four years since I retired.  It also includes several–well, Many–pieces that can only be classified as Vintage.  I just can’t let go.  And now I’m glad I haven’t.

Fortunately, I remembered reading a blog about Shopping Your Closet.                                    The tag line is:   ‘Outside every closet is a woman who thinks she’s got nothing to wear.’

So here I am, standing in front of my closet…


Issey Miyake Vogue 2271

Eventually pulled out a pea-green Issey Miyake jacket from 1999.

Please forgive the photo color inconsistency; a difficult color to photograph.          True color is closer to the photo on the right.

That particular jacket was made in 1999 from an Issey Miyake Vogue  pattern, 2271, now OOP and didn’t find on Etsy or eBay.

The jacket got used everyday in NYC , either worn in air conditioned buildings or stuffed in my tote.


Have been a fan of Issey Miyake since Vogue launched the Individualist patterns in 1984.

In the 90’s, Marcy Tilton was doing Pattern Reviews for Threads Magazine and I was asked to try the pattern and report.  However, the pattern had not been published so received a croquis printed on 10# white paper (or heavier) and no sewing guide–see Croquis photo above.  The pattern  was available by the time the article published, Issue #83, June/July 1999.

Luckily I had a bit of sewing experience and could figure out the bellows pockets; however, the notch in the collar back took consultation with several sew buddies.

Happened to have many yards of the pea-green crinkled nylon (I think it’s nylon; sure acts like it) and used it to make a muslin which turned out to be a wearable jacket.  The fabric makes for a rain-resistant and travel-friendly garment.  Have never ironed and launders  beautifully.

The only changes I made was to cut two garments and sew together for a self-lined jacket–perfect for this light-weight fabric.  The soft fabric drape is also perfect for the extended shoulder and the voluminous pockets.  Wouldn’t recommend the pockets for anything over a B bra cup.

Issey Miyake Vogue 1575

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The next garment I fished out of an under-bed drawer is another Issey Miyake 1575 from 1985.

Hadn’t worn forever and couldn’t remember how to tie it on.  Thanx to my daughter and WiFi as it took two of us and Google to get dressed for a night on the town.

TIP:  don’t suggest going shirtless as it moves around as it is worn.




Fabric is a heavy slubbed linen/poly blend, in black.  Again, different lighting makes some of the photos appear to be navy.



A Permanently Pleated Fabric Dress

The third garment is more recent–within the past 12 years.  The fabric is permanently pleated silk in two coordinating designs.  The top waist band is the wrong side of the skirt fabric.

It’s the perfect travel dress as it’s a twist/roll and pack, shake out and wear garment.

Don’t recall what pattern was used, probably hacked.

At the time this was sewn, couldn’t find any patterns for using pleated fabrics so just winged it based on what I had seen in RTW.

  • Let fabric relax on cutting table; do not stretch out pleats as the ease from the pleats will be removed.
  • Size–draped on my body; didn’t want to stretch out the pleats but should just skim the body.
  • Do not stretch fabric flat when sewing or the seam/hem will be rippled.  I wanted a smooth seam (at Top band) and hem (skirt).  Sample, Sample, Sample.
  • For a rippled hem, I’d recommend a serger rolled-hem done while stretching the fabric flat.
  • Bonus–lengthwise seams disappear within the pleats.
  • The skirt is a fabric width with elastic waist as determined above
  • Top–armhole and neckline is finished with a narrow zigzag and turned under 1/4″ and hand tacked in place.
  • Top Waistband–a strip of the skirt fabric folded right-sides-together, ends finished, stitched to top with 1/2″ seam allowance.  Finished ends are overlapped slightly at center front.
  • Skirt Hem–raw edge finished with narrow zigzag, turned up about 1.5″ to add some weight to the bottom, and gently hand-tacked in place without stretching the pleats flat.

With these three items from my closet, I was very well-dressed everywhere I went.       AND, I didn’t need to sew or buy anything just for this trip.

Happy shopping from your closet.  Let me know how it works for you?

On the Draft Board

Check back for an upcoming article on a a sewing pattern designed specifically for pleated fabric.

shop the closet


And all about my tote worn with the Issey garments.  This is the one thing I did purchase prior to the trip.







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