Remember the story about the cobbler with no shoes? Sometimes I feel I live that story. So many fabrics, sew little time! So for the most part I wear ready-to-wear at this stage in my life. As life and lifestyles change, I have hope for some more sewing time in the upcoming year, but we shall see.
So for the first time in way too long, I had some “Barb” time last weekend. Recuperating from a summer cold, I told myself I would only do the necessary errands, but as I drove up to the local Mall I heard a whisper from those Talbots gift cards that had been languishing in my wallet. The whisper turned to a beckoning voice and then a firm command that I must stop at Talbots today. I told myself, I would not shop long to conserve my energy for my “must do” errands later in the day…Read on for the rest of my adventure.
Once inside the door, I knew I would spend some serious time there. 65% off sale—ok! As with all my shopping, I touch the display garments first, guessing the fiber, then look for the fiber content tag. Sometimes that requires a lot of jostling of purse and bags to get at the side seam, one-handed. Almost always I’m right … it’s just a little game I play with myself to keep my fabric skills sharp. Sometimes I’m fooled though. Today I was pretty right on.
The black ponte knit dress with off-white trim was rayon/nylon/spandex…very close to the hand of our rayon/nylon/spandex Jet Black Ponte di Roma. The overprinted cotton jacquard was very close to our Kiku
and lined with poly similar to Hang Loose. The skirt was adorable, but I’m unable to find a photo..guess its sold out now. They had a jersey dress that was rayon/spandex but beefier than our top weight. Note to self: find this fabric! So on I went with my game, but then remembered that I was actually shopping today rather than fabric snooping.
When I shop I pretty much shop by color first. I know what works for me so it’s easy to weed out colors that just destroy me. I try to remain open-minded. Like most of us, I’ve had my colors done several times over the years. In reality though, I think I know what works and what doesn’t and I like to try new colors. Who wants to wear the same colors forever? As stated above, I’m very picky about fabrication–a true fabric snob. Talbots can go both ways on fabric. A lot of their garments use natural fibers or blends thereof, but they also make ample use of synthetics. Back to my story…much to my surprise I found a separates suit in a midnight/white tweed with top-stitching—wool/viscose blend—say three season anyone?
Then just as quickly a cotton canvas jacket in earthy green. I found a ¾ sleeve knit top in soft brick and just for fun a soft teal cotton cable cardigan. Off to the dressing room…
The suit fit!!!! The sale price was irresistible and all it needed was to be hemmed. The canvas jacket was a no-go. Too small in one size, too large in the other…this style just wasn’t going to work on me. Probably non-sewers would not have seen the fit problems that stuck out like a sore thumb to me. But this is the fate of the experienced sewist. Once you have achieved good fit, it is very hard to settle for less. So as I was cashing out (and do I need to say I exceeded my gift cards?…isn’t that the point anyway? LOL), the sales associate and I got chatting about fit. She told me they had just opened a Me-Ality at the mall where you could be scanned and find the fit and style for you at a number of mall stores. The best part, the service is free. Well, could I resist this temptation? NO!
A few years ago a friend and I were scanned by Unique Boutique. I confess to never following through in ordering a pattern. I thought the measurements would be helpful in tweaking other patterns. I have spoken to others who did…some successfully, some not so much. Well the idea is the same, in fact it appears to be the same company under a new marketing name. This looks like a better business gamble than their previous model.
So off I went to be scanned…the process was quick, very little info transferred to the company and I left with a list of mall stores for jeans. If you would like to get a sense of the experience watch the Me-Ality Promo Video
Most of them didn’t appeal to me and I really am not in a jeans mode right now. Like most of you we are hot here this month. But, the last one caught my eye and with renewed energy I headed for White House/Black Market. I’m not a regular shopper there so rather than browse, I asked for help to find the exact pair of pants recommended. The size was one size down from my usual so I was very skeptical, but I was shown the jeans and headed for the dressing room.
To my total surprise, they fit! Later in a conversation with the sales associate she explained that their jeans run large and that they tend to stretch out so that she would have sized me the same way. So this is a beginning venture for the company and the choices are limited, but I will be interested to follow along with their growth and see what the expansion brings for options. For today, the store made a sale they wouldn’t otherwise have made and the customer went home happy…isn’t that every store owner’s vision? Has anyone else tried this method? I’d love to hear your experiences.
What pleased me about this experience was the fact that the styling had been taken into account. I would be interested to see behind the scenes as to what data the program was fed from the manufacturers to come up with this match. Others claim the same kind of success. It makes me wonder whether the problem with the sewing patterns was not in the measurement but in the translation to the paper pattern. Have you tried the scans for patterns? Any feedback to share?
Oh, and the bonus to this experience.. When I got home I logged on to Me-Ality to look at my other recommendations and I agreed to a survey. I always say no to those things, but I was relaxed so what the hey. Later in the week, I received a notification that I had won the drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! Was I the only one in the drawing or was I actually that lucky!