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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Wardrobe Breakdown!

Not that kind of breakdown. The kind with charts!

I just read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline.

Am I the last one? I feel like everyone has already read it. I heard about it from Peter at Male Pattern Boldness. (Is anyone else getting a weird warning from their browser when they visit his page? What gives?)

What did you think of this book? I was pretty jaw-dropped right from the get-go, when she started listing off the quantities of clothes she owned. "Socks and underwear notwithstanding, [she] owned 354 pieces of clothing. Americans buy an average of sixty four items of clothing a year"

Those just seem like some crazy numbers! It made me curious how my wardrobe would stack up.

OK, who the *F* needs 61 tops and 60 T shirts ? I did come out on top in a couple of categories, though. Most notably shoes!

 I found it interesting that her categories included "workout pants" but not any other workout gear. Is she one of those people who wears yoga pants as "fashion"? Yuck. I fit all my workout wear in the original categories. Maybe she did this too? Although if she differentiated between tops, tank tops, T shirts and the inexplicable "long-sleeved shirts" I would have expected her to have separated out her exercise tops.

I also had three pairs of pants that didn't really fit in the "Dress Pants" category (and how I hate that description. They're trousers!) so I just put them in the "Jeans" category, since I wear them like jeans.

While I was sorting through my clothes, I figured I'd check out a few more stats for your viewing pleasure.

Fiber composition! Cotton much? I had some trouble with this because I couldn't devise any practical way to account for the size of a garment. In this chart, a bra made of spandex is weighted the same as a full-length silk dress. Further complicating things, some tags gave the fiber content of linings and some didn't, some were not in English and some contained the frightful "Other fibers". Yikes! I also excluded my tights from this because they don't have tags.

Don't you just love infographics? I do, so you can imagine my delight at being able to make my very own world map infographic. You too can experience the ecstasy of infographicmakership. Check out this nifty tutorial.

Result! Pretty slick, right? I didn't include mine in the "made in Canada" number because that would really skew things.

18 of my 156 garments are made by me. Here it is in handy chart form!

I'm glad I'm not a compulsive shopper or hoarder. This would have taken me all day!

What's in your closet?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lace Skirt

Lace skirt complete! I'm so so happy with how it turned out. The preparation seemed to take forever but once all the pattern alteration and basting was out of the way, it sewed up like a dream!

I used Butterick 5466 version E. I'd used this pattern a couple of times before but always had to do so much tweaking to get the fit right and I knew I couldn't do that with the lace. I sewed up another muslin and ended up with a pattern that fits like a glove, pegged it slightly and used these amazing tutorials to add a back vent and draft a lining. I probably should have started with a different pattern entirely but there you have it.

The only regret is that the side seams are not entirely straight.

I spent a lot of time plotting how to give this skirt a polished look. I used a lovely grey wool and cashmere suiting as an underlining. Originally I was going to use french seams, since the lace hangs past the underlining, but it would have gotten too thick so I ended up doing a Hong-Kong finish.

I wouldn't have even known where to start without thoroughly reading Gertie's blogs about her red lace dress.

Here is the hem, flipped open at the vent.

It's purely coincidence that the scallop length pretty much lined up at all the seams. A happy accident. If I were to do this again, I think I would choose a lace with a smaller motif so as not to cut off the pattern with the edges of the panels.

This skirt feels divine! It has a weight to it that feels luxurious and I feel good wearing it.

Yep, definitely a pear!

Mostly, I've tried styling it with a few white blouses that I own and it looks great, but I'd like some variety. How else should I style it?

Monday, 22 October 2012

Collar Necklace

I couldn't resist making a collar necklace for my mom for her birthday.

This trend is really growing on me. I'm might even make one for myself even though it's not in the sewing plan.

This project was heavily inspired by this post at Trinkets in Bloom, which caught my eye because I can't resist pearls! I have an absolutely silly amount of pearls kicking around in my craft drawer. I really love the diversity of colours, sizes and textures that I was able to use.

Instead of taking the collar from a ready to wear shirt, I just sewed one from the BurdaStyle blouse pattern that I used to make this lovely shirt (which I happen to be wearing as I type this).

This is a great project for scraps and I even made this version reversible! Kinda.

What accessory trends are you dying to get in on?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Pattern Appreciation Post: Butterick 2125

I'm in love with this pattern!

I haven't even started cutting out my fabric. Hell, I haven't even bought the fabric but I already love this pattern, which I acquired from the lovely Janet Page at VintageGirlUK on Etsy.

With sizes sold individually, they were able to print the cut line and the seam line on each piece! Amazing!

I try to fit my patterns before cutting out so it's nice to be able to measure the flat pattern exactly, without having to draw in the seam lines to walk the pattern.

My boyfriend has a 39" chest and this is a 40" pattern. I also don't know how much ease is in the pattern, and I've never sewn anything for a guy before, so I'm expecting to have to do a lot of fiddling with the fit. (Since it's a vintage pattern, I'm tracing all of the pieces on to tracing paper before making alterations, so if I mess it up, I haven't destroyed the original pattern.)

Thorough instructions!

Maybe it's just in contrast to all the Burda patterns that I've been making, or maybe all jacket patterns come with amazing instructions but I was amazed by the 3 pages of instructions. Instructions for hand tailoring methods! And there's a diagram for every step! I was actually giddy when I opened them up.

Oh my God I can't wait!!!

What are some technical elements that you enjoy most about your favorite patterns? Which are your favorite pattern companies?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fall 2012: The Master Plan

I'm easily overwhelmed by how sad my wardrobe is. To try and stay focused and motivated I'm going to try to choose 6 projects each season that will give me the most bang for my buck. Or for my time, really. I'm pretty much the slowest sewer ever.

I really need more work appropriate clothes, so I'm going to try to focus on that this season.

Lace Skirt.

I've been lusting after lace for months so I'm finally making a project with lace. I definitely want a lace skirt with a scalloped hem, even though I know this will cost more and be a lot more difficult. Sometimes I'm a masochist. I have a pattern for a pencil skirt that now fits impeccably.

Man's Blazer.

Total disregard for goal number one in my previous post. That's right. But I've been interested in tailoring for ages and I promised my boyfriend that I would make him one. The only way I'll finally do so is if I put it down in writing.

White Oxford Shirt.

I love my blue striped oxford that I made so much that I want to make millions of them! I want a plain white one that I can wear with everything. This time I'm going to dart the back and hopefully the adjustments that I made to the pattern will make the collar line up with the front placket. I also want to make the vents on the sleeves look more professional.

Simple Sheath Dress.

I love dresses because you don't have to think; you just accessorize and go. I've been wanting to make more peonies but with a fitted skirt and lining. I'm planning to use the pattern for the pencil skirt to replace the a-line skirt that comes with. Because of my body type ( a pear with a small waist), I have to have clothing with lots of seam lines to be able to get the fit I want without distorting the fabric

Bow Blouse

I need more separates! I just do. Versatility and what not. I already have Vogue pattern V1127 so that's that.

Draft Pants Pattern

Speaking of separates, I need a tried and true pants pattern. I've made a few pants but I need a pattern that I don't have to spend 10 hours tweaking the fit of while I'm sewing it. Even if I don't make any pants this fall I need to get a pattern sorted out.

What are some other great work basics that I should sew? What are your most useful garments?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Fall 2012 Sewing Goals: Bite sized chunks

I put together a summer sewing plan for myself to help keep me focused and motivated and most importantly, prevent myself from being overwhelmed.

This fall I have a few goals in mind to get the most bang for my buck when I sew:

Make clothes that I will actually wear.
As fun as it is to sew gorgeous party dresses. I go to work 5 days a week and go to glamorous parties about zero days a week. So: work wear with a side of casual.

Every pattern should be a block.
My modus operandi for fitting is usually to do a lot of tweaking and final fitting of the garment as I sew, without adjusting the pattern to reflect the changes I made, which results in me spending a lot of time fiddling with fit even when I make the pattern multiple times. No more. I've got to put the time in to get the pattern perfect so I can whip of multiples of my favorite patterns.

Inner beauty.
I find that the hardest part of sewing garments is making them well-finished on the insides. It drives me crazy! Properly finished seams help seams lie flat and prevent raveling and give me a feeling that all is right in the world.

My ear training teacher used to describe breaking an insurmountable task down into smaller pieces and dealing with them one at a time. She used to picture those carnival games where there are little ducks going by and you have to shoot the ducks until they fall down. 

You just break every task down to it's smallest component duck and then shoot the duck with a gun.

I'm going to choose not to picture ducks getting shot but you get my point. I think.