The Importance of Ironing

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I know many of you will not read this post and others will shake their heads in disbelief at the title but please bear with me.

Ironing is an aspect of homemaking that seems to be almost universally hated but there is a valuable aspect to the task.  I have mentioned before about the importance of taking care of what you own to get the maximum use from it and thus reduce the overall carbon footprint of any item.  This applies to clothes and keeping your clothes in good repair makes good economic and environmental sense.

Taking the time to check each garment while you are ironing can identify problems before they become too extensive to repair.  My previous post about my black linen top highlights this point.  I noticed they fraying at the hem and have repaired this by using a wide satin stitch (zig zag) along the edge that had frayed.  I have checked the remainder of the hem edge and cannot see any signs of similar problems, however, I will keep a close eye on it in the future.

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The mend is not invisible but reasonably well-disguised so I am happy to continue to wear this top.

Today when I was ironing I discovered 2 other issues.  The first was one of GMan’s business shirts.  There was a small yellow stain on the back near the armhole and I have no idea of the origin.  It is about the size of a 20c piece and not terribly noticeable as it is a dark checked shirt.  However, I have soaked the shirt in the hope that the stain will come out.

The other discovery was another minor mending job.  I have a pair of white trousers with a centre back zip and a few stitches of the seam had broken just below the zip.  This is not a huge issue at the moment but could be if I wore them and split the seam further.  I repaired the seam and they are as good as new.  This is a classic example of the saying “A stitch in time saves nine”.  It could also save me from a potentially embarrassing and costly situation if I had to rush out and make an emergency purchase.

Obviously, I do not iron everything but hanging out washing or folding clothes I also take time to make sure they are in good order and ready to be worn.

Disappointed

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I was doing the ironing today and one of the items I ironed was a black linen top that I bought in Melbourne when we were on holidays in December.

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I noticed that there seemed to be a small segment of frayed fabric on the bottom edge.  On closer inspection I discovered that that bottom has a facing rather than a turned hem and the fabric had been trimmed too close to the stitching leaving next to no seam allowance.

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Thanks to my spreadsheet tracking what I wear, I know that I have worn it 4 times.  This is not a $5 top and I am really disappointed that this has happened.

I could toss it in the bag to go to the op shop but I have decided to take responsibility and mend it.

My first thought was to align the edges and zig zag it together using a fairly short stitch.  This would be far from invisible but fairly effective.  The section in question is on the bottom edge at the back of the garment.  Alternatively, I could unpick the topstitching to access the section from the inside and restitch it.  My concern with this approach is that it could create a noticeable dip in the edge.

How would you approach this mending task?

 

 

What I Wear – 4 Month Update

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I have now completed 4 months of recording what I wear each day.  I began this project on 1st December last year with express purpose of trying to understand how often I wore the clothes I had and whether they were truly the best selection I could have.  This has evolved a bit more to include a challenge to buy as little as possible in 2016.

I have removed another item from my wardrobe which has brought the total down to 91.  It was this long, lacy cardigan which I had bought from the recycle boutique and although I had worn it twice, I found that I consistently overlooked it when making my choices.

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Although it is a lovely Mela Purdie piece it is simply not me so off it went – back to the boutique where I am sure it will find a grateful owner.

We are beginning to see slight signs that summer will not go on forever, although rather than saying it is getting cooler it is probably more appropriate to describe the weather as “less hot”.

So, for the past month it has been more of the same – mostly summer dresses or shorts and tops.  There has not been a lot of scope for variation but that will come.

I have now worn 70 of the 91 items in my wardrobe.  The remaining 21 fall into 2 categories ‘Winter’ and ‘Special’.  The first includes jackets, coats, woollen cardigans and pullovers and long-sleeved tops.  The second is a lace cocktail-length dress which I wore to a wedding 3 years ago and would be my ‘go to’ outfit for any similar dressy occasions as well as 2 pairs of travel pants which are exactly that – lightweight trousers that zip off to shorts which are perfect for travel.  I do also sometimes wear them at home during the cooler months.

Therefore, I am pleased to say that I have worn everything that is appropriate to the weather during the last 4 months.  However, not all of it will necessarily make the cut to next summer.  Having a limited selection of clothes forced me to carefully appraise whether I felt an item was really perfect.  2 pieces that won’t make it are these camisole-style tops.

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They are past their best and I am not sure whether the necklines have stretched slightly or I am being a bit more discerning but I feel as though they sit a bit low for my liking.  I will buy some more of a similar style but will take the time to look around and find something that is ‘perfect’.

That is it until next month.

 

What I Wear – 3 Month Update

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Another month has rolled by and the summer weather is still with us.  There has been very very little variation in what I wear so the figures have not altered substantially.

The total remains at 92 as I have neither acquired nor discarded anything in the past month.  The number of items worn since I started this project stands at 68 – 3 more in the last month.  2 more scarves/pashminas got an airing (mainly to wrap around my shoulders when out in the evening) and an old polo shirt which I wore when gardening.

Firm favourites

When I look at the figures, these pieces are clearly some of the most versatile and popular ones.

By the time I do my next update at the end of March I hope it may have begun to cool down a little so there may be some different pieces being worn.

It is now less than 5 months until we head to the USA and Canada for 6 weeks so I have started thinking about what I will be packing for the trip.

Black and White = Business Attire?

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If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that the neutrals in my wardrobe are black and white.  Many, but not all,  of the outfits I wear to work are black and white.

Here are some examples:

However, I have noticed an interesting trend in the past year or so.  It seems that there is a perception that if an item is black and white it is suitable attire for corporate offices in the CBD.

Soft, casually styled pants that look more as though they were designed for beach or sleepwear can be seen in offices all over town.

What do you think?  Is it the style or colour that makes an outfit suitable to wear to the office?

Loads of Laundry

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We live in a relatively high rainfall area and I have written before about the challenges of getting the washing done, and more importantly, getting it dry.   I do have a clothes dryer but choose to use it as little as possible.  Apart from the power required to run it, the wear and tear on your clothes is significant and can result in substantially shortening their lifespan.

Despite the high humidity and showery weather, I needed to do the washing today.  Much like women of previous generations, I spent the day doing the washing.  However, I was not slaving over a scrubbing board and copper.  I was kept busy trying to make the most of the intermittent breeze and small snatches of sunshine.

I hung some of the smaller items on the airer.

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I had to race out and move it under the verandah every time a shower of rain started but I did manage to get it dry.

The rest of the clothes were hung on the line under the verandah.

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I also did the ironing from the washing I did last weekend.  When the atmosphere is so damp, I do not like to put them away in the cupboard until they are absolutely dry.

I use the portable dehumidifier in the bathroom and close the door.  Within a couple of hours the room and the clothes are warm and dry.

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I also have a portable rotary clothesline and in the cooler months I hang washing on it and the airer and set them up in the lounge room in front of the fireplace.

There are many options for drying clothes.  What are your creative solutions?

What I Wear – 2 Month Update

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At the end of November I wrote this post outlining my plan to track what clothes I wear.

It is now 2 months since I began this project on 1st December.

I listed every item of clothing that I own on an Excel spreadsheet.  I included scarves but not socks, underwear or pyjamas.  The list started at 90 items, then increased to 95 during December when I bought 5 new tops.

In the past 2 months I have worn 65 of the 95 items listed.  Most of the unworn ones are winter woollens and coats/jackets.

I have now discarded 3 pieces so am back to 92.  They were this pair of trousers which i finally ripped beyond repair, an old polo shirt when I realised I had more than enough gardening clothes and a dress.  When I was ironing the dress, I discovered it had a tear in the centre front of the skirt.  I had bought it from a recycle boutique, had plenty of wear out of it and was not devastated to let it go.  It was the black and white dress second from the left hand end of the rack.

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I returned to work on 4th January after 2 weeks break.  My work outfits are not substantially different and a lot of the separates are also worn for casual wear.  The exception is shorts – I do not not wear them to the office.

We have had a week or 2 of hot weather and more coming up.  At this time of the year my outfits are very simple and straightforward.  There is limited opportunity for mixing and matching.

Today is a summer dress and sandals.

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