Wardrobe Architect 2: Defining a Core Style Part Two

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When it comes to defining a core style, the first task was to take a look at style icons I might have. This proved to be a bit challenging, but I pulled something together.  This second part of Defining a Core Style is all about actually putting together vision boards for different categories of my wardrobe. This wasn’t quite as hard.  Even though I’m only at the beginning of this whole wardrobe project, I can already tell how it’s making me really process the clothes I have, the clothes I’m drawn to and the ones that I think I want to buy (or the patterns I want to buy).

I have started a board over on Pinterest that has lots of clothing styles, patterns and more that I am drawn to so head on over and check that out for more visuals.

 

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When it comes to pajamas and loungewear I like things loose. But if I’m being completely honest, I have a soon to be teenage boy in the house, so I’ve reached this point where I truly have to be conscious of what I’m wearing to bed. When it comes to pajamas, I’m not really a robe wearer, so I need to have at least some sort of tee that I can wear to cover up any sort of tank or something that I’m wearing to sleep in. I’ve never been a fancy pajama wearing gal, but I do like a nice, soft pair of pjs. No silk or satin for this chick. When it comes to activewear, I’m sort of in transition. If there’s one area of my wardrobe that is seriously in dire straights it’s this part. I recently cleaned out all my old, old tanks I was wearing to exercise in along with some old yoga pants. I don’t really do much more than going for good brisk walks and some yoga at home, so it’s not an area of my closet I need to spend tons of money on (oh…Lululemon I wish I could) so I’m really trying to be intentional about what I’m buying in regards to activewear. I prefer some loose fitting knit shorts, versus tight bike shorts and while I do like my pair of running tights, I wouldn’t say I’m totally comfortable in them.

 

casual

Next up is casual outfits. I’ve been a work at home mom for a while now and I do think that’s one reason why my wardrobe has suffered so greatly. The need for a great closet just hasn’t been there. But as I begin to realize that I’ve got few things to wear for church on Sundays and the realization that I’ll be doing some more formal teaching next year outside of my house, I need to really start building this area back up again. I love layers and could have a whole closet full of light cardigans. I like a loose flowing top and I’m just now starting to relax with the whole tunics and leggings thing (which means that people will probably stop wearing them). I used to be a big lover of wide leg pants, but I’m not sure if I still am or not. Colorwise, I’m pretty neutral. I’ve got auburn hair which makes creams, browns, blacks etc work best for me. While I like purple, it’s one of those colors I buy and then never wear. Grassy green is probably hands down my favorite.

 

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If I think that my casual closet is lacking, oh man. It’s the dressy closet that is almost nonexistant. It truly is the one area I really need to do the most planning and buying. I love a flowy long skirt, but I also love the 40-50s dresses too. I love the idea of these layered dresses, but honestly I don’t know if I could truly pull it off. Colorwise, I’m still pretty neutral.

 

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When it comes to outerwear, I really don’t wear that much. While I live in the South, the winter here can get chilly but not for months and months at a time. A good cozy coat is good enough. I pretty much live in my puffy vest in the Fall (layers!) and a good raincoat is pretty necessary too. As much as I think I like a good hoodie, that’s just not my gig really. Now, when it comes to color, this is an area I’m not all that neutral. I’ve currently got a bright blue winter coat and a very red raincoat. Not neutral at all.

 

So there it is. My core style. Next up I will be working through Exploring Shapes.

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Wardrobe Architect 2: Defining a Core Style Part One

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DEFINING A CORE STYLE

The next part of the Wardrobe Architect series is Defining your Core Style. I think this one was the hardest one for me to figure out. Even though I do enjoy sewing clothes, I’ve never been one to be enamored with fashion. I mean, I know what styles appeal to me, I’m figuring out what styles I might like but look horrible on me, but overall I’m not one of those girls that loves putting together outfits and accessories.

As I’ve pondered this next phase of this project though and sat with it more and more, I can definitely see where my style has changed as I’ve gotten older and how I’ve really begun to realize what enhances my body type and makes me feel good. I love this quote from Christine Haynes:

If you feel beautiful, you will look beautiful. If you feel confident, you will look confident. If you feel comfortable, you will look comfortable. It’s right there and so obvious, but somehow we often miss this basic lesson.

One of the first tasks with this part was to too think about your style icons. Honestly I had such a blank with this. Just like I’m not a big fashion person, I’m really not a big superstar lurker either. After searching Pinterest for a few days I finally narrowed down a few people that I’m always drawn to. Here’s my short list: Meg Ryan and Lauren Graham. Although it’s hard to figure out if I’m drawn more to their personalities (or rather those they play) or to their actual wardrobes. But ultimately I’ve always been drawn to the somewhat tom-boyish look, comfortable, not necessarily tailored sort of clothes. I love, love a good t-shirt more than anything and will pair it with as much as I can. But when it does come down to it, I do love a good,flowing skirt and a pretty dress.

style icons

The biggest question I’ve started to ask myself when I do see a style or pattern than I’m drawn to is: will I feel comfortable in that? I might be drawn to an actual line of something, but when I really look at the construction of the garment I know that there are certain ones that are super cute, but once I put them on I’ll ultimately feel blech.

Using the worksheet from Colette, here’s My Core Style.

When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel?
I feel confident, like I don’t even have to think about myself and relaxed and pretty.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
I feel awkward and all I want to do is get home and put something else on – and usually that means pajamas!
I feel generally uncomfortable and it often ruins the focus of what I’m doing because all I can think about is how awkward I feel.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is about them that appeals to you?
I love Meg Ryan and Lauren Graham and how simple their style is. It’s not all about crazy prints and patterns, but just simple fabrics and simple lines.
I also love Japanese sewing patterns and the look they create with layers of aprons, tunics and leggings and just everything about it.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
As much as I’m drawn to the tom-boyish/boyfriend style, it’s not really who I am anymore. When I was in high school and college that was definitely more my style and what I felt good in. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I’ve really outgrown that. I like to think I’m traditional and preppy, but honestly I can’t stand a tailored skirt or styles like that actually on me.

Look over your answers from the first worksheet and list words that you associate with your answers.
Classy, easy, comfortable, layers, modest, tailored, loose, boyish, copycat, not independent, active, work at home mom, mom.

Are their other words you would like to add to this list?
Individualistic, calm, subdued, natural.

Look over the answers to all the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you use?
easy, modest, subdued, casual, natural

Next up a visual exercise. I’m working on collecting images that represent these words to me and hope to get that next post up soon.  If you are following along go ahead and create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a moodboard, or a collage with styles that speak to you. Be creative and have fun!

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Sewing: Part Review – Part Tutorial

So my girl child has started swimming and she has been needing a good swim bag desperately. I looked around for something to buy and then I started looking into bag patterns. I found a tutorial that I thought would work and even better it had a built in “wet bag” so I went for it. I ordered some canvas cotton material and this past weekend I got to work.

This is the tutorial that I used. Now, the tutorial does mention that this bag is big. But honestly – this bag was big. Think Ikea bag. It was too much and I was so frustrated. I checked the dimensions on my cutting mat and it seemed like a good size, but really it was too large. I spent the next few days taking the bag back apart and today I shrunk it down and finished it up. I made a few modifications along the way so I thought I would share them.

This is the original bag. It’s really hard to tell how big it is, but there is a giant bag of fabric sitting inside of it – like a trashbag size bag. I’m telling you this bag was super big.

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REVIEWS AND CHANGES

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For fabric, I used a cotton canvas for the print and instead of using a nylon I used PUL fabric, which is mostly used for cloth diaper covers. I wanted to use something that was more waterproof than just nylon so I splurged and spent a little more money for that. The wet bag, the lining sides and the lining bottom are all with the PUL.

First off, here’s my dimensions:

front/back panels 20×18
side panels 18×7
bottom panel – after quilting cut 20×7

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For the bottom, I actually left it the original size from the first bag and decided to quilt it to make it a little more hefty on the bottom. I sandwiched a thin piece of batting between two layers of the canvas and just quilted lines about a half inch apart.

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I am super glad that I did this extra step because it gives the bag a good shape for the bottom. I kind of wish I would have quilted the sides too, but I’m not about to take this bag apart again!

Construction wise, the biggest change was how I did the bottom compared to the instructions.  The instructions tell you to stitch up the 4 panels and then sew the bottom on and then sew the last side together at the end. I tried that the first go round and it ended up super wonky. The second time, I sewed all the sides together, leaving me with a rectangular box shape and then sewed the bottom on starting with one of the short sides.

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I added a pocket on the other inside with sections. I decided to make a larger pocket with divided sections for her glasses, goggles and hair ties etc versus just one pocket.

So there we go. Honestly it was a great lesson in what I just wrote about for Seamwork Magazine. It was crazy how confident and powerful I felt after taking this thing apart that I’d super failed at and piecing it back together successfully. It was a great way to cap off the day.

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Pattern review: Camas Blouse

I’ve been an instagram follower of Thread Theory patterns for a while now and when she posted a picture of the Camas blouse it immediately jumped to the top of my “to sew” list. I knew I had the perfect fabric in my stash to use.

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My mom brought back a bunch of quilts from her time in Oregon last year with her family and one of them was really falling apart. But, this blueberry print fabric was on the back of one and I knew right away that I was going to salvage it for something. Enter the Camas blouse. This fabric is super thin and silky; probably from years of washing. I cut it off the back and worked pretty hard to figure out how to make it work with the yard and a half that I had.

I ended up having to use some knit scraps for the sleeves and one of the yokes and some white kona for the inside facings – but in the end it all came together.

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The bulk of this came together really nicely. Thread Theory has done a sew-along for this pattern and I highly, highly recommend using that as you sew. I read through the pattern directions, but there is nothing like seeing real-life pictures as you sew along. The yokes were a little odd putting them together, but they were pretty easy to figure out in the end.

My biggest hiccup came with the facings. I messed up I don’t know how many times, putting the first one on upside down and just struggling with trying to figure out how they fit together. Even using the photos from the sew-along and the illustrations in the pattern directions I still had to fumble through it until I got it right.

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My outside facings were also shorter than my inside ones – no clue what happened there – so I had to fudge a little bit and add some extra length. You can’t tell because of the print and I could have just make my blouse shorter, but I really liked the length that it was at. I only did a 1/2 inch hem too because I loved the length.

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I used some pearl snaps I got from Hobby Lobby (and I don’t recommend them) and I love how it turned out. This v-neck is a little lower than I had thought it would be and while I was hoping I could get away without having to wear anything under it, alas it didn’t happen.

Overall, this is a great pattern and a great shirt. I’m anxious to try another one maybe all out of knit or maybe even a cotton voile. I would recommend this as an advanced beginner. Except for the facings issues, it really is a great blouse to stretch your sewing skills on.

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TSNEM: Sewing Date Traveler

I had intentions to try something else this month, but alas February is a short month and it is sort of flying out from under me like the Concorde. I started this bag at the beginning of the month and I realized that I wasn’t going to finish it if I didn’t have some sort of higher goal. Therefore, I introduce to you my Try Something New Every Month for February.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

This bag is a free pattern from the Robert Kaufman website called the Sewing Date Traveler bag. I saw it on instagram and I’ve been looking for a different bag to carry my supplies in when I take my sewing from place to place. I thought this bag would fit the bill perfectly. And it does – sort of.

The fabric consists of a few favorites that I’ve had stashed for a while. The campers is a Birch fabric that is at least 3 years old. I bought it with the intention of making something for my husband with and finally realized that I had no clue what to make with it for him so I decided to be selfish and use it for myself. The hexagons I bought on a trip to Textile Fabrics and was just a happy yard I picked up. I had thought about making a tank top with it for the summer and I’m sort of weeping a bit that I didn’t buy more yardage. It has a lovely feel to it and honestly would have made a great shirt.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

This pattern started out pretty well. My biggest issue from the beginning was that I chose the wrong sort of zipper. I had a zipper in my stash and honestly was trying to make this bag without having to go buy supplies so I used it. I realized pretty early on that I was going to have to make some modifications. I think my zipper was a jacket zipper (the tag was missing) and so it didn’t have any sort of tail on the zipper stop end. Big mistake. In the end though, I figured out how to make it work.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

Overall, putting the bag together was actually pretty smooth. I’ve never made a bag with an insert like the zipper pocket in the middle and honestly this is by far the most complicated bag I’ve ever made. There was really only one spot at the end where I was really confused with why the directions said to do something. They had you preattached the lining and honestly, either I read it wrong or something but I don’t know why you would do that if you are going to enclose the whole top edge with binding anyhow. But again, I made it work.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

In the end, I do love how it turned out and I do think a lot of it is due to how much I love the fabric. It’s a little wonky on the inside, partly because I’m thinking the hexagon fabric was almost too thin for this purpose and partly because of just general sewing hiccups. I’m happy I tried something new and finished it. And I’m happy to have a new bag to carry. I’m on the fence with whether I would try this bag again, but part of me wants to just to see if I can fix some of my mistakes. We shall see. I’m betting my mom is going to want one. 🙂

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