Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Outfit for Summer Outdoors

Let me introduce you to my latest take on the Punjab Suit, an extra-long shirt and loose trousers made of lightweight cotton voile. It’s cool, protects my sensitive skin from the sun, is incredibly easy to launder, and looks terrific!


You can see in these pictures that there is no collar, but an almost Mandarin line carries the fabric partway up the neck. The top button is left open if I need extra air flow, closed if I need all the sun protection I can get – which I definitely did when holidaying on the waterways of the Marlborough Sounds last week! (By the way, this is my 3-year-old nephew, Misha. We're rather overawed by the helicopter that just landed.)

If I had to wade to the boat or fish something out of the water, the pant legs and sleeves could be rolled or pushed up, but mostly they were left at full length, so comfortable I didn’t even notice what I was wearing. Nigh unto a landing helicopter when hats, hair, and hems went flying, this lassie remained modest. When sitting for long periods in the sun, as when pottering about the bay in an outboard dingy for an hour, the sleeves came down over my hands to my main thumb joint, so not even my hands got sunburnt. Brilliant!


Transparent?

Voile IS a transparent fabric, which is why I chose a heavily patterned design, but with a suitable liner underneath, there are no worries about indecent exposure. I use a long stretch-knit camisole (the lace style available from JayJays) in light pink or white. This blends the top and the trousers into a seamless contour and gives me all the bosom coverage I need.

The trousers were made using a regular elastic-waist pattern. For added comfort and coolness, drop the waist to hip-level. Nobody is going to see it, and you won’t have that sweaty bunching problem.


Laundering Voile

With the textured crumple-look being all the rage this season, I’m happy to have discovered voile can be purposely allowed to crease during laundering, otherwise it needs careful pressing! After a delicate wash, I gently twist the garment into a rope until it curls up on itself, coil it like a spring, and leave it on the counter or in the drying cupboard for 5 minutes or half an hour (whatever is convenient), then shake it out and place it on a hanger. I could do this at night before I went to bed and it would be dry the next morning, ready to jump into for another day in the warm outdoors.


By the way, the shirt pattern was found at a Salvation Army secondhand store for 50 cents, and I’ve used it twice. What a bargain!

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