Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wardrobe Architect Week 1, 2, 3 & 4

wardrobe architect

 Images clockwise: Vivi 2012 05, Lena Hoschek S/S 2013, Satorialist, Unknown.

After following along for the last few months I've gotten hooked on the Colette Patterns Wardrobe Architect Series. I have a bad habit of seeing a look that I think is awesome on someone else, and then buying clothing in that style even if it really doesn't suit me. My current clothing collection which is at about 40% or less wear-ability if proof of that. I need this! Plus it's fun.

Week one allowed me to think in depth about my relationship with clothing in a really helpful manner. Clothing is pretty personal to me, and the answers reflected that and were a bit more open than I'm willing to be on the internet. My main takeaway without getting too personal was:

I love to dress up. I associate very casual dressing with periods of depression when I really don't give a shit about what I look like, therefore when I'm feeling good I like to celebrate it through my clothing. So my relationship with clothing ends up being emotional rather than just a question of style or appropriateness.

For Week two I made a style mood board  (the image at the top of the post), and filled out the questionnaire:

When you are wearing your favourite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc)?
When I wear my favourite clothing I feel happy, I feel together, I feel self-confident.

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?
Tired, self-conscious, invisible.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

No real style Icons per say. Zooey Deshenel - I like her feminine offbeat style, Katy Perry - love her over the top but classic style (plus she's kind of my pop guilty pleasure...). Marianne Faithful - I love the quiet confidence she seems to exude and her casually chic 60s style.

Images via Pinterest

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
Modern, minimalist, fashion forward, trendy, understated, draped.

Top 5 words for how I see my core style:
Off-beat, feminine, classic, colourful, graphic.

Weeks three & four - Silhouettes I like:

1) Full skirted dress with high waist.
2) Somewhat loose top with tight bottoms, high or low waist.
3)Tight high waist top with high waist loose bottoms.
Never a whole outfit with loose fit. These silhouettes all create an hourglass shape (I'm what the built by wendy book refers to as 'boyish') and and conceal my lower abdomen (current nexus of body image issues).

If you made it through all of that Thank You! Largely this post was for myself, I hope to really be able to create a streamlined flattering wardrobe through these posts.

If you haven't tried the exercises Sarai has shared for the Wardrobe Architect series I highly suggest you check them out!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gingham Negroni for Joshua

Ok,  so crafting resolution #2 attempt 1! I've been wanting to make something for my boyfriend Josh for years now, and finally got around to it. I'm pretty pleased with it for a first try, though there are definitely some things that I'll change for the next try (primarily the length of the shirt body). Also I learned that not only am I bad at taking self timer shots of myself, but I generally suck at photography all around. For most of these pictures I stood way to close to Josh and since he's a good foot taller than me, they all ended up being lovely shots of up his nose. Sorry babe! I also didn't take that many shots since I felt bad about making him model (for no real reason since he was great about it) so had very few shots to pull from. New mini crafting resolution: become better at photography.

gingham negroni 01

Pattern notes:

This is the Negroni pattern from Colette Patterns. I got this back in 2011, so it's been in my stash for a while. I didn't realize that it had a camp collar until I started making it! I think it works but I also want to make Josh a more traditional dress shirt as well, so if anyone has any suggestions let me know!

I used the medium for the most parts but lengthened the body to the xl. I did this because I was comparing the length to that of a shirt my boyfriend said was a good length on him but realized after it was done that long dress shirt = meant to be tucked, versus the short more casual style of the negroni. So that was one new lesson. I want to go back and shorten this shirt at some point.

The only other change I did was slashing and overlapping the sleeve at the midpoint to make it narrower, which was the only change Josh asked for from the muslin. I wasn't really sure at first how to go about doing that while still keeping the cuff and shoulder seams the same size since he was happy with them. After searching the internet the best I could come up with was the inverse of this technique (thanks internet!). I then trued the pattern and proceeded on my way. It seems to have worked but yeah, lots of guesswork in that pattern manipulation theory.

Sewing notes:

Lots of new techniques for me here but not many changes from the pattern. The only major failure was my flat felled shoulder seams. When it came time to press the shoulder seams to the body to be sewn down I messed up the previous pressed fold, and could not get it back as neatly because it was already sewn on. Next time I'm just going to finger press at this point. I think maybe I lack refined pressing skills!

Plackets! Kind of fun, kind of stressful. I bought an edge stitch foot after this project. 

Fabric notes:

I've decided that items sewn for other people are exempt from my stash diet rules, and this was not a stash piece so it doesn't count towards my stash total. However of the 3 yards I bought for this project I ended up with about 3/4 of a yard left (single layer cutting!) so now that leftover counts as 'stash'. 

Been really enjoying watching Project Sewn unfold, and have a couple ideas about the next themes so might submit to the sew along if I can get organized in time!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lately - Stash busting with mixed results


  1. A failed wearable muslin of the Grainline studio Tiny Pocket Tee for Stash diet #2. Is the pocket supposed to be kind of slanted at the top? Really hard to tell in that photo, though I expect no...
  2. New Cat Lady poster from Bellwoods brewery. Pretty great, but makes me want fancy beer whenever I look at it!
  3. Stash diet #3. A small success. To get through my stash will require some pretty unexciting projects, which I think is part of the problem. Bought this upholstery weight fabric about three years ago from etsy?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Project Complete: Knit for Victory tam

victory 1940s tam 03

Well I finished it by the deadline, but only managed to take pictures today. This is my Victory by Tasha Moss, which I knit as part of the Knit for Victory! KAL. Tasha's blog by gum by golly is one I've been following for a few years now, and a big part of why I now love fair isle and vintage knitting patterns. When she released her first pattern recently I felt like I had to give it a try!

victory 1940s tam

This was my first time knitting with fingering weight yarn actually. I found it made the fair isle a little more difficult, although I didn't help myself by using some very slippy alpaca wool for two of my colour choices. I used sisu by sandnesGarn fingering weight wool/nylon blend and mini alpakka by sandesGarn, mostly due to neither line having all the colours I wanted. I like the mix for the most part, except maybe in the very middle because that's the only place where it's obvious I used two types of yarn. I also reduced the number of colours to four because I didn't like my first mix, and ripped half way through. 

Maybe because of the drape of the yarn it really didn't hold the tam shape long after blocking. I like the more relaxed look though, more vintage inspired then a straight up vintage look, which is more my style anyway.

I've been killing myself over patch pockets and fiddly finishes on a Negroni shirt for my boyfriend, so hopefully I'll stay motivated and have another post up here soon!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nani Iro Pastille Dress

nani iro print Pastille

So this is my first completed project of 2014! I've committed to the Stash Diet: 2014 because my fabric buying has been outpacing my project making since I was about 15 and first started going fabric shopping. It's pretty bad. For one thing, I have quite a few pieces that are no longer really my style, so will need to be given up or used in a creative fashion. I think the best (or worst) is a fleece covered with large eyed fawns and berries... I think it might be too saccharine for even a one year old. Oh high school Laurel, wtf.

But not so this fabric. This was pretty much my favourite stash piece, and I wanted to make sure I made something with it while I was still in love.

Nani Iro print Deena bed
Also functions as a fancy Deena bed.

Fabric notes:

This is a Nani Iro double gauze cotton that I've been holding on to for the last two years. It's incredibly soft and the green is a lovely vibrant shade. I think the name of the print was Gentle Cooing, which is kind of amusing. When I want to buy a print I can't really afford I only buy 1 1/2 yards as I know that's the minimum I can squeeze a garment out of. There was pretty much no fabric left as scraps, but it worked!

nani iro print pastille back

Pattern notes:

This the Pastille dress from the Colette sewing handbook which I've owned for a couple years now, it's only my second pattern made from the book, so I guess it counts as stash... using?
I had to make quite a few pattern alterations to make it work but that seems standard from looking at other peoples versions.
I did:
 A small bust adjustment.
Removed 1" from upper back as you would a swayback.
 Lengthened darts - front waist 1", back waist 2", back neckline 1"
removed 1/2 fullness from front and back cap sleeves

I also used a dirndl skirt instead of the straight skirt, but that was due to the fact that I noticed I prefer wearing dirndl skirts more. I do really like the tucks on the original skirt though, so maybe I'll make this again some time.

I'm almost done my Victory beret, so for once I might actually finish a knit/sew-along by the deadline! If so I may have two posts in one week (!?).

Thanks for checking out my project,


Thursday, January 2, 2014

The year ahead: crafting goals for 2014

1 Sew a tailored jacket. I've been signed up for Gertie's starlet suit jacket course on (unfortunately no longer for sale) for a few years now. It's time to actually complete this course! I really want to learn to be better at making jackets. I've made a few from Burda and the big 4, but none have ever really turned out that well (and hence ever made it onto the blog). There are a few stashed vintage jacket patterns and burdastyle magazine patterns that I would love to make up, and I'm hoping this course will give me the confidence to attempt more jacket sewing. First jacket is by Dear Creatures the second is Simplicity 8453 from the 1950s.

2 Sew for other people. I've gotten pretty good at fitting patterns to my body, now it's time to branch out and learn how to fit on others. I have a first project already planned for this, a Negroni dress shirt for my boyfriend. I've had this pattern in my stash since some time in 2011? Too long. This project will be extra satisfying as my boyfriend has a hard to fit body type and a nearly impossible time finding shirts that fit right (medium in width extra large in length).

3 Sew more from my stash. I've got quite the horde going on, to the point where I feel a bit like Smaug in the Hobbit (excuse me while I nerd out a bit), surrounded by my treasure trove. It's messy. I have fabrics that have been in my stash for over a decade (!). I live in a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend. That shelf in the picture is in our living room (and is only a fraction of my collection). I think I'm going to follow along with the stash diet: 2014. All fabrics currently in my collection as of the beginning of January count as "stash". I will be allowed to buy notions / linings etc. as needed, and new fabric for every 3rd project if I want to. If I special order fabric online, I can buy an accompanying piece of fabric. If I go on vacation to somewhere with a nice fabric shop I can buy a few pieces of fabric (although not a huge problem, when I went to New York this past summer I didn't even make it to Mood. I love fabric but I love the Met more [I love the Met a lot]).

4 Do more remakes, and finish UFOs. Related to the goal above. One large part of my sewing mess or more charitably 'stash' is things that I want to refashion or have not finished. Hopefully this is the year I can finally get around to it.

5 And finally, learn to knit from vintage patterns. 2013 was the year I finally learned Fair Isle (from this amazing course even though my vest turned out too short and needs to have the ribbing lengthened).This year I want to learn to knit from vintage patterns. I have my eye on this cardigan, and a copy of Vintage Design Workshop, which so far looks awesome and has the level of hand-holding I feel I need for this undertaking.

If I somehow manage to complete all these goals I will consider 2014 a year well spent. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Hallo'mas! a Glow in the Dark Skeleton Dress

skeleton sultry sheath gerties book for better sewing

This was meant to be my Hallowe'en dress, and I had it all finished in time for Halloween except that I needed to buy and put in the zipper but then I ended up getting sick on Halloween. So since then its been hanging in my closet neglected. However I think now I've talked myself into believing that I can wear this dress just as everyday casual wear. I was pretty fond of goth looks in high school anyway.

Pattern notes:
This is the bodice from the Sultry Sheath from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing again. Pretty much I was in a hurry so I used something where I'd already corrected the fit. The skirt is a simple dirndl. I like the combination of the very feminine neckline with the macabre print.

skeleton sultry sheath gerties book for better sewing close up

Fabric notes:
This is a quilting fabric from timeless treasures which I bought online from ebay. It's an anatomical skeleton print, and oh yeah it glows in the dark! I recommend this bodice pattern with a dirndl skirt as a good one for using quilting cottons you want to wear, it came together really easily.

skeleton sultry sheath gerties book for better sewing print

Sewing notes:
As I said above, this pattern came together really easily with the quilting cotton compared to when I made it with double gauze - definitely beginner friendly and a good match for hard to resist quilting cotton prints.

skeleton sultry sheath gerties book for better sewing scallop finish

I used the scallop edge to finish my facing, but having yet to wash it you can still see fray check here - more of a precaution then anything it won't be visible to the eye after the first washing.

skeleton sultry sheath gerties book for better sewing hem finish

When I tried on my dress to hem it I realized I was really happy with the length it already was. In the spirit of stash busting and cheapness I used some cheap poly ribbon to finish the hem. It actually adds some extra body to the hem, which I like in a '50s inspired dress like this. The poor women's horsehair braid?

Looking forward to Christmas week, starting with a date at Casa Loma which should be all decked out for the holidays this weekend. I think I might wear this dress!