Thursday, December 26, 2013

what? a plaid flannel skirt???

I sewed! I sewed!  With a few extra days off of work, I did buckle down and get a few skirts made. I would suggest that if you have changed sizes, and are a bit tentative about all the fitting of patterns thing again, try a simple skirt first.  I wanted a full skirt. I also wanted a pencil skirt.  In my stash? Two fabrics with "skirt" written all over them. But do I make a plaid pencil skirt and floral full skirt? Or do I make a floral pencil skirt and a plaid full skirt?

My decision? Go with the more modern and unexpected choice. For me, that meant a full skirt made from plaid flannel.

                                Using Kwik Sew 3794.  I know, I know. It really IS a basic pattern.

Made even easier to fit because it has elastic in the back waist.  I'm okay with that since I knew I'd wear this in the cold weather with a layer over it.

But here is what I discovered.
Because I was trying re-size and re-fit in a pattern, the elastic back gave me a sense of general fit and what size I should be. It allowed me to feel my body in a new way without having to fiddle with a multi-piece fitted pattern.
I measured my waist and cut that size per the pattern chart.
Turned out it was too big. Which meant it was an easy fix.

And here's another tip:  the thicker your fabric, the more fullness you'll need to remove. I probably had to take out a good 6 inches of fullness for this plaid flannel to work. Now, if I make this same skirt from a vintage bed sheet or a silky Charmeuse or Georgette with soft drape, I would probably leave the fullness in.

a little more unexpected-ness...polka dot pockets. I added these, since the pattern didn't have them. And because I love a skirt with pockets.Especially polka dot pockets.

It's cute, and comfy and warm. And I got to wear it belted with polka dots. 

Happy Happy!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I need a little Christmas

Hi! Happy Wednesday!
It's two weeks til Christmas. Do you know that I don't have a Christmas tree yet?  My daughter basically called me a looser this morning!  So, that means I better deck some halls pretty quickly or I'll be on the naughty list.
There's something to be said about being so busy that we forget the important things. Like making home festive. And inviting people in to share a warm fire and a cozy drink. Or a cozy fire and a warm drink! Starting a business is exhausting...and time consuming. And while I'm super excited about what's happening in our lives in that respect,  good grief....we don't have a Christmas tree!

Shopping is done, and that's a huge relief.
Contract sewing is done, and that's a huge relief. I just finished the last of the American Girl dress sets and shipped them away!

How nice it was to attack my alterations pile! Two jackets down and three to go!  I swore I would do the alterations before making anything new from scratch and I'm sticking to it!


Because a cute co-worker walked in this week wearing a duffle coat. And I was instantly in love. Such a classic, timeless coat! And I remembered that Collette has a new duffle coat pattern..The Albion.  and now I want it.  And I want it in this color:

Isn't this sharp?  
Or how about this?

I do need a new coat.... but first, I'm going to make some Christmas tonight.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

lessons on style from Ella

Karl Lagerfeld said, “Reinvent new combinations of what you already own. Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.” 

Karl Lagerfeld is a pretty smart dude. He has influenced the style of countless millions of women over the years.  Ella at Start Close In is a smart dude, too. And she has influenced my style.

Some lessons on style that I learned from Ella.

I think the best thing for me about this whole experience was learning that it is:

A. Okay to wear lots of different styles on different days depending on my mood and my creativity.
B. That by doing that, it makes it my style!
C. A layered, collected look demonstrates exactly the person that I am and how I live. It’s interesting and individual and reflects my love for textures and vintage elements.
D. I can do a layered and collected look that’s age appropriate and doesn’t look like I’m an actual Pre-Raphaelite Bohemian Gypsy

Some other things Ella taught me:

As I prepared for our session, I started to think about what I was going to wear for my very first virtual introduction. Then I thought, well, let's give it to her straight. I just wore what I wore to work that day... my basic uniform of skirt and jacket. Let's just see what she has to say about that.

Well, this is what Ella had to say...

Make a waist, even when you don’t have one. Belt or button at the smallest part of your rib cage. TUCK in!!!! What a difference! This creates an hourglass, especially for people like me that have a very straight torso/hip/butt region. I was never a tucker. I think I'm becoming one.

we also played around with the necklace placement  and the other MUST:  Push up those sleeves!!!!

Repeat patterns and shapes in your outfit. Blogger Audrey asked "What was the rational behind using a scarf in the same sort of print as the dress but in a different scale?"

Well, Audrey, I think it brings interest to an outfit and the ability to mix prints with some cohesion...without it being too busy. At least that's what I think. By the way, be sure to check out all of Audrey's entries in the  Fabricista Challenge..this is a woman who knows how to mix prints with style!

See those polka dots? See that bubble necklace?

See those geometric pointy shapes in the dress? See the same pointy angles in the necklace?

Ella seriously changed my thinking in three hours flat. She simplified my life, too. One of the things that stressed me out the most was spending time in the morning selecting something to wear, and then changing it. Repeatedly. Select, dress, change, repeat. As we talked, she revealed to me that one of the reasons why I do this is because:

a. Many of my clothes didn’t fit properly. I was wearing them too big. I can see that now.
b. I wasn’t wearing them in a way that was fun or flattering.
c. I didn’t have a plan for the week.

So, on Sunday afternoon, I selected all of my outfits for work for the week. And the accessories. And I hung them all in little bundled groups so they were ready for me for the week ahead.  Today is Wednesday. I have not stressed about getting dressed in the morning. That’s a really, really good thing.

And you know what I love?  Each of these outfits includes something I made! 

I have loved this whole process. And I have a sewing/shopping plan to fill in the blanks:

A floral skirt
Some stripes and polka dot tops in colors other than black and white to play with some pattern mixing.
A polka dot skirt    okay, mission accomplished as of yesterday...a polka dot dress that will double as a skirt when layered under other things.
A crisp white shirt that fits
A red skirt.
Jeans that fit.

And the one of the other bests parts is, we have that shared Pinterest board as a reminder that I can take with me on my phone wherever go so that I don’t forget what I learned. My husband is happy, and proud that I am not hiding in my clothes. Life is simpler and at the same time, much, much more interesting!

So, for the logistics of the whole session…
Ella and I emailed quite a bit to share some ideas and to get to know each other before our session.  And on the day of, I set up a portable clothes rack from the basement into my bedroom and hung a variety of colors and shapes of garments from my closet.  I set up the iPad so that she could see me and the clothes on the rack.  It was a blast!  It totally works!  And then the next day, Ella shared her notes from our evening together, with reminders of favorite outfits and our plan for what I needed.

I would encourage you  to contact Ella at Start Close In Styling  if you find that you are in a rut, need a fresh perspective, have had a weight change or need some ideas about how to dress for your body. I AM A FAN!!!!!!

We are teaming up for a bag giveaway on her blog keep checking her out to get the details!