Sunday, September 27, 2015

not quite a momiform ... just focusing on the basics

The last thing I shared in yesterday's post was a list of patterns I would like to sew for myself this fall.  The only problem with the list is that I really didn't bother to see if any of those patterns actually go together well enough to make an outfit!  So today I'm here with what I can only call a beginning beginner post on combining patterns.  Just to be clear, I don't in any way believe that the people who read this blog are beginners at combining patterns, but I absolutely know that I am ;)  I am the queen of sewing individual items without ever taking the time to determine if any of them actually go together.  And since I tend to sew with busy prints, they rarely, if ever, do ;)

A special thanks to Lauren Dahl for putting together the Momiform Makeover series :)  And before you go, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the fantastic giveaways!  One of them is for a Janome sewing machine!!!

For those of you who don't know me (which is pretty much everyone!) I am a mom to six kids.  I've been a stay at home mom for over 17 years, and in that time, I've had very little use for fashion.  After all, I spent many, many years pregnant and nursing, when practicality was the overwhelming factor used to choose clothing, especially for a mom who didn't need to leave the house on a regular basis.  Now that I'm done with the pregnancy thing and the kids are starting to get older (my oldest is graduating high school this year!!!) I really need to focus on myself a little more.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time reconciling my 38 year old, post babies body with my pre-baby, 20 year old self, and I seem to have lost the ability to dress myself with any style whatsoever.  The clothes in this post are an attempt to find myself I guess, for the lack of a better way to phrase it.  Honestly, I'm not entirely sure that I'm feeling up to the task, so I started small with a few basics.  And I ask that if you choose to leave a comment, please be nice :)  Honest of course, but nice.


Please ignore the poor lighting and, as a result, slightly out of focus pictures.  In true mom fashion, in order to get pictures without 729 interruptions, I hid myself in my room.  Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best lighting, especially at dusk when I took these pictures.  And just to be clear, I still had interruptions, but it was a much more manageable fifteen or so ;)

I started with perhaps the most basic outfit there is - jeans and a white shirt.  Baby steps. I'm just not a jump in to the deep end kind of person.  Actually, that's a lie.  I totally jump in the deep end when we go swimming.  Anyway ... I wanted a basic white shirt that wasn't a button down.  I actually didn't have a pattern in mind, but when I started looking at the Colette Dahlia, which I was originally going to make as a dress, I realized it would work equally well as a top.  Actually, it will probably work way better as a top since I never, and I mean never, wear a dress.  I'm mostly happy with the result, although it was not an easy process getting there!  I will do a thorough pattern review another time, but for now I will just say that this pattern was not drafted for someone built like me.  The second half of the outfit is the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files, which I absolutely love!  Seriously, I haven't taken them off since these pictures except to sleep.  And I'm pretty sure I could sleep in them too if I wanted.  They are that comfortable.


Patterns - Dahlia Dress by Colette Patterns; Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files
Fabric - White shirting from Joann's; Italian Stretch Denim (affiliate link) from lowpricefabric.com



The next basic (at least for me, I know some people don't wear blazers, like ever) is the Morris Blazer from Grainline.  I stuck with charcoal and white - avoiding prints that I would normally use - so it would potentially match more tops and bottoms.  Of course, I don't really own anything that matches it, but that will come soon ;)  For now I paired it with a somewhat coordinating store bought top and the Ginger Jeans.  And I totally forgot to change my shoes between pictures, so they don't really go.  But you will find me barefoot about 98% of the time when it's not the middle of winter, so I'm lucky I remembered to put on shoes at all! Sorry, no pictures of the back of the blazer.  There just wasn't enough light to get a good pictures of dark jeans with a dark top.  You'll just have to trust me that the back is solid charcoal.


Patterns - Morris Blazer by Grainline Studio; Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files
Fabric - Ivory Ponte (affiliate link for 320 ponte - ivory is out of stock) from lowpricefabric.com, Charcoal ponte from Joann's; Italian Stretch Denim (affiliate link) from lowpricefabric.com
Blouse - purchased from Kohl's




This third top is the Tonic Tee from SBCC with the sleeves from the Tonic 2.  I modified the top slightly so the back side seams wraps around the front a little, and I added a slight high low hem.  I didn't exactly achieve the look I was going for (it's rather shapeless) but it's comfortable and will work as a hanging around the house tee.


Patterns - Tonic Tee by SBCC; Ginger Jeans by Closet Case
Fabric - Navajo jersey from Jumping June Textiles, Charcoal ponte from Joann's; Italian Stretch Denim (affiliate link) from lowpricefabric.com




I figured I would add these pictures, because who doesn't want to see a close-up of my butt ;)  Honestly, I'm thrilled with the fit of these, but I'll probably angle the pockets out slightly more the next time I make them.  And there will be a next time!  For those of you that noticed the lack of belt loops (anyone? Bueller? Bueller?) I never wear anything tucked in to my jeans, and this way I can avoid any unsightly bumps from the belt loops.




Momiform MAKEover
REMEMBER: Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the two separate Rafflecopters! 50+ winners will be selected! Get 10% off your fabric order from now through October 1 at Michael Levine/LowPriceFabric.com with code: Makeover10
Get 20% off your pattern order now through October 1 at UpCraft Club with code: MOMIFORM Are you MAKE-ing over your Momiform? Join the fun on Instagram with hashtag #momiformmakeover
 

 
Be sure to check out all the awesome series participants to get lots of momiform inspiration!
 


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Special thanks to these major sponsors who generously donated the following items for the giveaway:
(There will a different winner for each line item so we can spread the love around!)
Janome - One Skyline S5 Sewing Machine* Indiesew - Four $50 gift certificates (four separate winners) Michael Levine / Low Price Fabric - Four $25 gift certificates (four separate winners) and 10% discount for readers through October 1 - code: Makeover10 UpCraft Club - Two $25 gift certificates (two separate winners) and 20% discount on patterns through October 1 - code: MOMIFORM
And the following pattern designers who graciously provided patterns for the series participants and/or contributed the following items for the giveaway:
Grainline Studio - Two patterns of your choice True Bias - Hudson Pants & Southport Dress patterns Colette -Two patterns of your choice Closet Case Files -Two patterns of your choice Sew Much Ado -Two patterns of your choice Sew Straight & Gather - Three patterns of your choice Golden Rippy - Two patterns of your choice 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook Patterns for Pirates - Two patterns of your choice Itch to Stitch - Two patterns of your choice Mouse House Creations - Two patterns of your choice Hey June Handmade -Two patterns of your choice Peekaboo Pattern Shop - Three patterns of your choice Go-to Patterns - One women's pattern of your choice GreenStyleCreations -Two patterns of your choice Puperita - One pattern of your choice Sofilantjes - Two patterns of your choice Charlotte Kan - One pattern of your choice So Sew Easy - Two patterns or one bundle of your choice OUSM Designs - Women's Thumbs-Up Tee pattern E-Beth Designs - Two patterns of your choice Muffin Head Patterns - Any pattern of your choice up to $10 GrayDay Patterns - Sandpoint Top or Athena Top pattern (your choice) Scientific Seamstress - One pattern of your choice Stitch Upon a Time - $20 gift card 5 out of 4 - Two patterns of your choice Frianki Patterns - Two patterns of your choice KZ Jo Studio - Two patterns of your choice Straight Stitch Designs - Full collection of patterns Sewing Patterns by Aivilo Charlotte - Two patterns of your choice Striped Swallow Designs - Two patterns of your choice Rose and Lee Designs - Two patterns of your choice Sewing Geek Patterns - One pattern of your choice Filles a Maman - One pattern of your choice Bella Sunshine Designs - One pattern of your choice Liola Designs - One pattern of your choice Cali Faye Collection - One pattern of your choice Tinman Patterns - Orbit Skirt pattern Felicity Sewing Patterns - Two patterns of your choice Winter Wear Designs - Two patterns of your choice Ellie Inspired - Three patterns of your choice Love Notions - One pattern of your choice a Sparkly Baby - Two patterns of your choice Terra's Treasures Designs - Two patterns of your choice

*Janome giveaway winner must be located in U.S.A. and is therefore on a separate Rafflecopter below. Machine must be picked up at a local dealer; it cannot be shipped.
This second Rafflecopter includes all the other sponsor items since they can be awarded internationally! You must enter both Rafflecopters in order to be entered to win both the sewing machine and the rest of the giveaway items. All patterns awarded will be in PDF format. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

my fall 2015 capsule wardrobe: part 3 - pattern overload

Just in case you missed the first couple of posts about my 2015 capsule wardrobe, here they are:
Part 1 - Choosing Colors

Now on to part three - patterns.  In case you haven't noticed (and you live under a rock or something) there are quite a few sewing patterns available ;)  Choosing a single pattern is no easy matter.  Big 4 or Indy?  Printed or PDF?  Answering those two questions will help you narrow down the choices a bit, but what if you really don't care, like me?  Where to start?


First, building on the post from yesterday, I'm going to figure out what features I need to look for in a pattern.  I'll focus on my individual attributes and what styles accent, flatter and/or de-emphasize.  I realize that not everyone will agree with the points I make here, but I've been looking in the mirror to dress myself for many years, and these are the things that I feel look best on me and that I am most comfortable wearing. 
  • Large bust - I know some people consider this to be an attribute, but as I mentioned yesterday, I have mixed feelings.  Regardless of whether I like having a large bust or not, there are definitely necklines which flatter more than others.  For example, a narrow v-neck widens the shoulders while minimizing the bust and is my go-to neckline.  Or, on the rare occasion I choose to flaunt what I've got, a wide scoop neck with interesting details (but not a lot of volume) is quite flattering.  I tend to stay away from necklines with ruffles since they make me look top heavy, as do bodices that end just below the bust line.
  • Rectangle shape - I like to wear fitted tops such as a wrap ballet sweater that end at the waist (and by waist I mean just above my belly button) with a more flowing top underneath.  The fitted top emphasizes the narrowest part of my waist, and the flowing top adds a little volume below to give the illusion of a greater curve between waist and hip.  Although too much volume is unappealing since it just makes me look wide overall.  I also like tailored styles since they don't add any volume to the middle.
  • Fat arms - I could probably phrase that in a more politically correct way such as generous biceps, but this is my blog, and there is just no getting around it, I have fat arms ;)  I avoid sleeves that end at the fullest part of my arm and at the same level as my bust because that just make the widest part of me even wider.  I think a fuller sleeve, either elbow or 3/4 length and gathered at the bottom, looks best on me.  Although I don't personally like a gathered sleeve head (commonly called princess sleeves) since it looks like it belongs on a little girl, the extra shoulder width helps de-emphasize my fat arms and make my round shoulders appear more square, so I do begrudgingly wear them ;)
  • Flat butt (relatively speaking) - This isn't necessarily obvious when you look at me, but I generally want to avoid an a-line skirt since it makes me look even wider and flatter than I actually am.  I also like fairly big pockets on the back of my pants that sit a bit low which helps break up my wide, flat expanse of butt.
  • Thick waist (i.e. love handles) - This is similar to the rectangle shape, but it's more specific to making sure I don't get weird bumps and rolls from my clothes.  Clingy things tend to make me look lumpy, but quite often fabric choice can fix this problem.  Also, wide waistbands on pants and skirts help keep everything where it should be.
  • Short torso - Generally this requires pattern modifications, especially in the back.  Sometimes I can get away without changing the front because my large bust balances out my short torso.  I can't emphasize the importance of vertical lines nearly enough, which coincidentally also balance out the fact that I am kind of short as well.  A simple, waist length blazer with narrow lapels is a great way to add vertical lines.  As is a fitted shirt and/or skirt with vertical seaming details.  I try to avoid things that are high waisted since the waist tends to start directly below my bust making me look even shorter through my top half.
  • Overweight - I know this isn't necessarily an attribute, but it does factor in to pattern selection since not all patterns are available in my size.  And let's be honest here, some things (actually most things!) just look better on thinner people.  My weight doesn't normally stop me from purchasing a pattern, but I do try to take it into consideration when choosing which pattern to buy.

Building that list makes me feel rather unappealing.  I mean, who doesn't love being a rectangle with fat arms and a flat butt?  Luckily, I've been blessed with an abundance of confidence and my shape doesn't really bug me, but still!   There are also other aspects of my shape that I could worry about (such as my narrow back) but these are the most obvious, and I can only do so much with clothes.  If I really want to change how I look, I have a feeling a treadmill and some running shoes will have to be involved ;)

Once I determine which pattern attributes I'm aiming for (v-neck, etc.) I just have to start looking.  But where?  First, I love to go to this post on Free Notion to remind myself which Indy patterns designer design for someone like me and which ones I should avoid entirely.  For example, as much as I love the aesthetic of Named Patterns, a pattern drafted for someone who is 5'8" with a B cup requires way too many modifications even before I start sewing.  In addition to this list of Indy designers, there are the Big 4 (Vogue, Simplicity, Butterick & McCall's), the magazine format patterns (Burda, Ottobre, Knipmode and a bunch of European and Japanese magazines that aren't really available in the US), and a whole host of Indy designers (Sewaholic, Tilly and the Buttons, etc.) that are not included in the list.  I wish I had a better method of helping you search for a particular pattern, but as far as I know there isn't a comprehensive resource for sewing patterns.  And I'm pretty sure if there was, I would know about it!

Next I just start looking around, rather aimlessly at first.  I read blogs to see what patterns other people use, I read forums such as Pattern Review, Curvy Sewing Collection and GOMI (not for the faint of heart blogger.)  There are also many Facebook groups that are focused either on general sewing or specific types of patterns.  I'm not listing all the Facebook groups, but a simple search should turn up many of them.

Once I end up on a pattern designer's website, I start looking at the details of each pattern, while trying to ignore how it looks on the model and imagine how it might fit me.  I'm not opposed to making rather major modifications to a pattern to achieve a certain look, but I don't enjoy having to modify the fit so much that I have to significantly redraw every single seam.  For example, I expect to do a full bust adjustment (FBA) and a full bicep adjustment to most patterns, which is fine.  But if I also have to adjust for a narrow back, narrow shoulders, a flat butt, and the fact that I'm short, there's a good chance I'm going to get really frustrated with the pattern and never buy from the designer again.  Which is why I look for reviews from other bloggers whenever I can before I buy a pattern.

Now that I've gone over how I choose a pattern, here's a few that I can't wait to try out.  The list of patterns I want to sew is quite possibly endless, but I'll start slowly for now and then do a post with more patterns once I tackle a few of these :)
  • Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans - I've seen a ton of reviews, most of which are glowing.  I don't like skinny jeans, but I'll just modify them to be a boot cut leg.
  • StyleArc Claudia Pants - I like a good straight leg tailored pant.  And a little bit of stretch doesn't hurt either!  I will wear these solely with longer shirts/tunics due to the lack of back pockets and other details that help visually reduce the width my midsection.
  • Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers - I love menswear trousers, and this pattern is designed for a pear shape so it should work for me 
  • SBCC Gibson Blouse - SBCC Patterns are unique in that they are designed for petites.  I'm actually taller than what they design for, but that shouldn't matter for this blouse since I'm short waisted anyway.  At most, I might need to add a little length to the bottom hem.  The only thing that bothers me about the pattern is the lack of reviews.
  • BurdaStyle Wrap Blouse - Wrap styles are almost universally flattering.  I plan to omit the bow and construct the bottom band from a stretchy fabric, most likely french terry.
  • Deer and Doe Airelle - I already made one here, but I would like to make another one from this unicorn fabric (affiliate link) that I already bought ;)
  • Jalie Shawl Collar Hoodie - I also need comfy clothes for those cold Michigan winter days where I have no plans to leave the house.  This pattern should be perfect!
  • PaperCut Coppelia - I don't own a ballet style wrap top, which I need to remedy since it's one of my favorite styles.
  • Grainline Studio Morris Blazer - I've had my eye on this pattern for quite a while and have liked almost every version I've seen.
  • Waffle Patterns Marmalade Jacket - I'm actually not familiar with this designer, and there are almost no reviews, but I adore the look of the jacket, so I'm going to try it anyway.
  • Deer and Doe Sureau Dress - I honestly can't remember the last time I wore a dress, but it would be nice to own one that fits so I would have the option to wear it if I wanted.  However, this is pretty low on my list of things to sew simply because I don't find dresses as practical as other pieces.

That's about it for patterns, at least for now, but I still have plans to go over fabric choices and show you my cute little Sudoku for my capsule wardrobe some time next week!  But first, tomorrow I'll be here with my contribution to the Momiform Makeover series hosted by Lauren Dahl from Baste + Gather.  I'll be sharing a few pieces I've sewn so far for fall, two of which are made from the patterns listed above.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

my fall 2015 capsule wardrobe: part 2 - pear or banana?

On Monday, when I said I would be back tomorrow with the next post, it turns out I really meant I will be back on Thursday after I come down with a (totally annoying, sleepless nights, makes me ache from head to toe) head cold that my loving children so generously shared with me ;)  I read somewhere that as you get older it's very rare to actually get a cold since you've already been exposed to most of the common cold viruses.  Someone should tell my body that, since I seem to get more colds now than I did when I was younger.  Again, I'm going to blame it on my kids, since they seem to bring home every single virus from the cesspool that is called school.

I have to give a quick shout-out to Becca for providing a lot of information related to building a capsule wardrobe both on her blog Free Motion and in the Facebook group Capsule Wardrobe Sew Along.

Now that I'm mostly recovered from my illness, I'm ready to write about the process of choosing the correct clothing for my body type.  First I need to determine exactly what body type I have.  There are several ways of doing this including everything from calculated methods involving body measurements to the most simple method ever - looking in a mirror.  I'll start with the calculators that use measurements.

My measurements are 42 - 35 - 45.  When I plug these exact same measurements in to various calculators (there are a ton more, but these are the first few that came up in a search) I got the following results:
  • banana or rectangle (from here)
  • pear (from here)
  • rectangle (from here)
  • pear (from here
Honestly, what girl doesn't love being referred to as a banana?  Ignoring that little gem, the calculators appear to be evenly split between rectangle and pear.  While I have no problems with the rectangle result (aside from the fact that I don't really want to be a rectangle!) the pear classification truly has me stumped.  A pear if defined as a person with relatively larger hips/thighs and smaller upper body including bust that tends to gain weight in the lower half and have slimmer arms and shoulders.  So not me!  I have a large bust with an almost 5" difference between upper and full bust. Also, pretty much every pattern with sleeves requires a full bicep adjustment because I carry a lot of weight in my arms.  Even when I was a skinny little thing many moons ago, I still had large arms and a full bust for my size.  After these results, I decided to move on to a new method of determining my body type while keeping the rectangle result in mind as a starting point.


Rather than simply looking in a mirror, I went slightly more technical and got out the camera and took pictures of myself from the front, back and the side.  The results were interesting, at least to me.  I'm not sure that anyone else will read this far down into the post, so this might well remain interesting only to me ;)  From the front, I do indeed look quite a bit like a rectangle, although a fairly wide rectangle.  My shoulders and hips are approximately the same width, and my waist, although not perfectly straight, is not necessarily well defined either.  I appear to carry my weight evenly distributed from head to ankle.  Although even excess weight does nothing to improve my skinny, bony feet!  When I look at the pictures taken from the back, I can see where the pear results come from.  I have a fairly narrow back for my size, and my hips do indeed look wider that my shoulders when viewed from behind.  But the side view is what really throws me off.  From the side, I am distinctly top heavy.  As previously stated I have a large bust, and when you combine that with the fact that I have a somewhat flat butt and I don't carry a lot of weight in my stomach, I look like an inverted triangle.

So one question really stands out for me.  How exactly am I supposed to dress for my body shape if I can't truly determine what it is?  The answer: screw the body types :)  Seriously, stop focusing on overall shape, and start focusing on individual attributes.  For example, I've never been a fan of being full busted.  It was, quite frankly, the bane of my existence while running high school track!  I swear there wasn't a good sports bra (remember this was pre-internet) made for someone wearing a 32DD bra.  It's possible there might be now, but since I no longer wear that size, and I'm sure I never will again, I really haven't taken the time to look!  Although I no longer care as much about my bust size as I did then, I still out of habit tend to dress to minimize my bust, avoiding ruffles or anything else that adds volume on top.

On the flip side, I don't carry a lot of weight in my stomach.  Sure, it's not as flat as it once was pre-kids, but it's still flat enough.  As a result, I tend to wear more fitted clothes and avoid wearing empire waistlines which fall straight from my big boobs and tend to make me look pregnant.  I've done the pregnancy thing enough, thank you very much!

I just realized that this post is kind of long already, and I haven't even gotten to the kind of clothes that flatter my shape, so I'm going to mix that info in to the post with the patterns I've chosen for my capsule wardrobe.   I'm not making any promises about when I'll post, although I'm sure it will be fairly soon.  Barring a plague or anything of the sort ;)

In the mean time, if you want to read more about dressing various body types or individual attributes, here are some good websites:
  • Gala Darling - choosing appropriate pieces for each attribute organized by clothing item (i.e. choosing dresses for large calves or trousers for short legs, etc.)
  • Joy of Clothes - overview of each body type, relationships between them and clothes that flatter each
  • youolookfab - lots of articles about body type and fashion
  • Style Makeover HQ - An interesting approach to body shapes that includes vertical body shapes.  Just in case you were wondering, I am short (5'4") but with long legs and a short torso according to the site.  I agree with the short torso thing, but I'm not too sure about the long legs!
  • Shop Your Shape - Slightly different classification of body types, but good visuals for what flatters each type

Monday, September 21, 2015

my fall 2015 capsule wardrobe: part 1 - colors, colors everywhere

As much as I love sewing for kids (and I really do!) I've been wanting to sew for myself for the last couple of years.  I kept telling myself that I would lose a few pounds and then I would sew a whole new wardrobe.  How utterly moronic!  Why in the world am I waiting for something that may or may not happen (probably won't since I don't bother to actually try to lose weight!) before I sew clothes.  Clothes are required regardless of weight, so they might as well fit and be comfortable :)  And yes, comfort is almost as important to me as looks.  Who am I kidding, comfort is more important important, which explains the fact that I own yoga pants even though I never have any intention of actually doing yoga ;)

Now I could just walk into a store and buy some clothes.  Even though I sew, I'm not opposed to store bought clothes in any way.  However, I'm on the short side (just under 5'4") with a fairly curvy build (along with other fitting quirks that I will discuss in a future post), and clothes that fit off the rack are hard to come by.  And I figure if I'm going to have to alter clothes anyway, I might as well start from scratch and get the fit as close to perfect as I can.  Plus, I'm not really that into fashion trends (I like timeless clothing that won't go out of style next year) and the current styles (especially skinny jeans and oversized tops!) don't appeal to me, so I don't often find too many things I like at the store.

So, where to start?  Patterns?  Fabric?  The black hole that is Pinterest for outfit ideas?  Nope.  I'm starting with colors.  Although, just for the sake of disclosure, I will have to confess that Pinterest was a big help with this step and pretty much all future steps :)

I'm not sure how many of you attended some kind of color party or had your colors done when it was extremely popular back in the 80s and 90s.  I did, and I found it pretty interesting at the time.  I went with my mom (when I was at the know-it-all age of 14) to one of her friend's color parties.  The professional color consultant (I would love to know how you become one of those!) could not determine which color family I belonged in.  At the time I questioned her "expertise" but now I think I owe her an apology!  I seem to flip back and forth between a summer and a fall depending on several things.  First, there are the subtle differences in hair shades that occur naturally due to the sun and somewhat less naturally due to those little magic boxes that make grey go away ;)  My hair naturally is a light brown with a gold undertone, but when I use a "magic box" I prefer a darker, ashier, medium brown.  Also, my skin tone leans slightly towards a warmer yellow tone when I tan (to a slightly less ghost like pale) in the summer and the truly ghost white color I sport in the winter.  And, finally, my eyes are a fairly dark bluish grey (more grey than blue unless I'm wearing blue) which leans toward a cooler tone.

After I read a bunch of info on choosing the best colors (thanks again Pinterest!) I analyzed my own colors, and came up with ... nada, nothing, absolutely squat.  I truly don't fit in any particular color family.  Interesting, or perhaps not so interesting but relevant none the less, fact about me - I rarely fit in anywhere (usually by choice), so it's nice to see that I'm consistent in all areas of my life, even those out of my control ;)  So, in the end, I ignored all my not so hard work and came up with this nice little chart of the colors I choose to wear because I like them and they don't look awful on me ;)


I consider this to be a good starting place for designing a capsule wardrobe, although I don't plan to use all of the colors immediately.  I will start with the neutrals (cream, black, camel and dark denim) and make some basic pieces such as pants and jackets.  And then I will add in more color (most likely the teal and poppy) when I get around to making a few tops and possible a dress.  And finally, some of the colors (pastels and metallics) will probably only be used as accents, i.e. accessories and shoes.  Of course this whole plan could change if I find the perfect fabric ... you know, that fabric that you have to have regardless of the fact that it's not the "right" color or the desired design, but you just can't help but love it anyway and absolutely have to buy it right this second.  Or maybe I'm the only one with that problem?

Tomorrow I'll be back with part 2 ... determining body shape.  Turns out I don't fit neatly in one category for that either ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

deer & doe airelle for fall pattern showcase


I sewed a version of the Deer & Doe Airelle Blouse as part of the Free Notion Fall Pattern Showcase.  That's right, I sewed something for myself!  And, what's even more surprising, it's actually pictured on the blog!!!  I know my About Me page says you will probably never see me on the blog, but it turns out if I don't include pictures of me, then I won't have anything to blog about.  Because I haven't sewn anything for the kids in the last month or so!  What can I say, I've been a bit selfish since the kids went back to school ;)

And before I go any further, I just want you to know that these pictures were taken by my almost four year old, Mae!  I set up the camera on the tripod and had her push the button, which she though was great fun for the first few minutes, but then I had to bribe her with ice cream to get the rest.  I will say that I had no idea that having my picture taken by a three year old would be so humbling!  They have this uncanny ability to snap the picture exactly when you look the most bizarre ;)  It took about 75 pictures to get the three in this post.


General Review - Overall I like the blouse.  The pattern was easy to follow, although the instructions might be a bit basic for a beginner.  However, the pattern is listed as intermediate, so I'm guessing it assumes that you already have some basic sewing knowledge.

What I like -  The details are subtle, but take it up a notch from a basic blouse.  The fit seems accurate to the size charts. My measurements fall slightly over the largest size included with the pattern, but since this is a looser fitting blouse (and I was able to use smaller seam allowance), I was able to get away without making any changes. Although I probably should have done a FBA (full bust adjustment) since the blouse has a tendency to shift upward a little as I wear it.  I'm a huge fan of tug-free clothing, so I do find that a bit irritating.  I know better, but just for once I didn't want to have to make fit alterations to a pattern ;)  Also, I'm pretty sure the wrinkles at the back of the blouse are just a result of how I was standing, because it doesn't do that as I move around throughout the day.


Things I would do differently or didn't like -  Aside from adding a FBA, there isn't really much I would change about the pattern.  I'm not sure that it's the most flattering top on me, but it's comfortable and I like it, so I'm wearing it anyway!  The only nitpicky thing I didn't like was that the yoke is unlined so there are more exposed seams than I prefer.

Changes I made (no matter how small!) - I changed the front neckline by omitting the collar and finishing it with an exposed facing.  Then I lined the yoke to enclose the shoulder and back seams.  I also shortened the sleeves by about two inches to make them elbow length, and added a shirt tail hem to the back.  Also, the sleeves and side seams were finished with a 3/8" seam instead of 5/8" for fitting purposes.


Here's a closeup of the front facing detail and the lined yoke.  I am really happy with the way this turned out, and I plan on making another version with this unicorn print from Michael Levine  (affiliate links) because who doesn't love unicorns!


Materials:
Rayon challis from Joann's

Sunday, September 6, 2015

trend spotting - MadeIt fashion week fall 2015

There were some exciting looks on the runway as part of the MadeIt fashion Week!  Let's take a look and see what trends await us for the fall/winter 2015 kid's sewing season.  Simply click on any picture or the text below the picture to learn more about each look.





First off we have some eye catching black geometric prints:

Fruits de Mere East & Eden Coffee + Thread ChiChiRomeo&Me





And then there is the ever popular blue, ranging from sky blue to dark navy, and including the always classic denim:

Just Add Fabric Huisje Boompje Boefjes

Fairies Bubbles & Co Made by Toya So Cal Sewing Mom Made by Toya

Girl by the Sea Pienkel Our Chez Nous Paisley Roots





Rich autumn reds and purples were also designer favorites:

Creative Needles
and Threads
Creative Needles
and Threads
East & Eden





I don't know what Fashion Week would be without the neutrals, many of which include a pop of color or metallic accents for interest:


Sansahash Pienkel Climbing the Willow In a Manner
of Sewing

In a Manner
of Sewing
ChiChiRomeo&Me Fliegfederfrei





And my personal favorite, the bold colors and prints which you can't help but notice:

Diorella Fliegfederfrei As It Seams

Sewing Sober Kimmie Sew Crazy





And next we have several young ladies sporting the Balloon Fold Dress, a long knit bubble dress that can be styled several ways, showing that comfort and style really do mix: 

Our Chez Nous Made by Toya Kimmie So Crazy

Fliegfederfrei Outnumbered





And finally, who can resist the Book Fold Trousers & Kite Fold Tee combo?  It's the perfect look for both boys and girls!

Paisley Roots Made by Toya Sew Thrifty Miss Castelinhos