Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wardrobe Architect - Catch Up Post [Weeks 1 and 2]


The Wardrobe Architect

I have been "playing along" with Colette Patterns Wardrobe Architect series.  I love this series - it's a great idea and so timely for me and what I feel I need to gain focus on.  Given I have a series (all of two posts!!) about things I don't like, it seemed only fair to also share what I do like.

In addition, I have fallen into a very common trap for new sewists which is characterised by a few different behaviours:
  1. I have learned to sew - therefore I should sew everything
  2. I should sew handmade gifts for everyone I know (then be cross if they don't like them), which means I have much less time to focus on what I actually want to sew
  3. Everyone else likes x - I should sew some of that 
  4. Maybe I don't wear stuff like [insert style or item here - i.e. dresses] so much because I find them hard to buy RTW.  I should sew those, instead of things I wear a lot.
  5. Why doesn't everything I own look like pinterest / so and so's blog etc.
Anyway - this series is about understanding your style and what you like and don't, with a focus on building a wardrobe of stuff you will actual wear and that feels good.  It isn't per se about minimalism or reduction, or even necessarily about buying less and sewing more, but both would be natural by products of this process.

Rather than share all the worksheet answers, I thought I would pick on a few things which stood out strongly from my answers from week one and two as follows.

Week one was about understanding how your life, history, society, culture, body image, work etc affect your personal style.  I realised that my style has changed quite a lot in the last 10-15 years, particularly as I moved half way around the world, my career has been built in that time, I have become a wife and a mother and my self esteem is a lot higher than I used to be - so I care a little more how I look.  I also realised I am very torn between the greenie hippy in me and the person who is learning about a world of fashion which to some degree is largely based on consumption and trends.  On a lighter note - I confirmed my suspicions that while I live in Australia, my style sense is quite European and northern (read: I like winter clothes better than summer clothes!).

Week two was harder for me.  We reflected on how you want to feel and how you perceive your style.  This is where the self-esteem isn't rock solid and I find myself cringing when I say I want to look elegant (Me?  As-if!!!).  My style icons were people like Emma Watson, Isabelle Rosselini and Cameron Diaz.  I actually found it hard to think of people who dressed how I want to (I don't pay enough attention), so these people were picked because they always look comfortable.  The main thing that came out of this week was that the style I aspire to is timeless, elegant and yet relaxed and comfortable and well-dressed (regardless of the style they are wearing).  I think my feelings on style tie very heavily in with this post, where a long time ago I mused that I want to look more attentive and pulled-together. I want to look like I dress nicely because I am worth the effort, yet using fewer, better quality, classic pieces.

Our final task for week two was to make a pinterest board (or whatever) to collect ideas of your core style.  Mine is here:  http://www.pinterest.com/deadlycraft/core-style/.  I was very interested when trawling my other boards for things to add to this to discover that I have hardly any trousers pinned.  I love trousers and wear them probably 80-90% of the time, so this was quite odd to discover!

Anyone else playing along with this exercise?  I think it's a useful process so far - and I guess you could start from the beginning whenever.  Might be a cool thing to redo in five year's time!

Cx









Monday, February 24, 2014

Things I don't like but everyone else seems to...#2 Peter Pan Collars

So we are back, with the second installment of the long running (mostly due to my posting infrequency!) series - Things I Don't Like But Everyone Else Seems To (or TIDLBEEST for short)*.

This time around it's the Peter Pan Collar.  As I began this post I started wondering about the origins of the collar - I couldn't recall who in Peter Pan that I have seen wears a collar like that.  Certainly not Disney's Peter - who is shown below in all his slightly sinister glory...


It seems that the collar was named such after the collar worn by Maud Adams in her 1905 depiction of the character (below).  Even that collar doesn't really have the roundness to it which is en vogue these days, but I can see the link...


So why don't I like them?  I am not really sure.  I think partly it's because they aren't flattering on me at all - they require a high round neckline, which is just about the worst possible thing a lady who is well-endowed can wear.  It's also because they are often tacked on to an outfit (literally - there are many patterns for detachable ones!) and therefore often don't match.  There is also a disturbing tendency for people to bling them or even make them crocheted, which mostly just looks a bit odd I think.

To be honest, they don't always offend me - there are some great uses of contrast with them - for example Issy has a shirt (which I bought her!  Shock!!) which is pale green with black birds printed on it. The black peter pan collar and button placket really makes the shirt look smart.  Generally though they feel a bit childish and girlie, which isn't a look I get inspired by at all.  I can see how they fit with a certain style, but it isn't a style I ever want to wear - so there!  (now who is childish...)

What do you think?  I was surprised when several people commented that they don't dig Liberty so much last time I wrote one of these.  Any other Pan-o-phobes out there?

Cx

*I shall from this day forth call something I don't like which is popular a "tiddle beast"...  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Go To Patterns - Casual Lady Dress Revised

So in my first post about this, I detailed the various revisions I made to the pattern to get it to fit my rather non-standard form.

TBH, I was quite happy with the dress as it was - it was flattering and comfortable.  I was a bit annoyed by the back darts I added though, they just weren't doing what I thought they would.

So I off I trundled to sewing class to ask for advice on that...and ended up redoing the front also.

Front after revisions


I haven't included the "before" picture for this was as it hasn't changed dramatically.  Basically I took some more in off the sides of the skirt from the high waist down, and I redid the bust darts as they were way too long.

The changes might be more visible in this side by side:

SideCasualLady_Side























I removed the darts in the back completely, and while the bust dart is actually still wrong (it's not pointing where it should), it is at least now the length it should be.   Annoyingly, I am turned a bit too far to the front in the newer one and you can't see the new back.  The dress as a whole actually sits better, but removing the darts came at a price:

Closer back with no dartsCasualLady_Back























As you can see here it is quite a lot better without the darts, but I do have some pooling of fabric instead. Interestingly, while a swayback adjustment has never been a thing I have considered that I might need, it seems to be what is required here.  The pics below show the contrast if I just pinch out the excess fabric:


Needs a swayback

Before - a fair pool of fabric just above my bum

How a swayback might help


After - much better!

Annoyingly, this isn't an adjustment which can be done after - not on a stripey fabric anyway.  I would need to take a slash out of the pattern piece which would be about an inch deep at centre back and which then tapers out towards the hips to nothing.  I could sew a funny dart in - but the black stripe would then be warped.  Next time!  I will also add something to the shoulder area next time as it's a smidgen too tight.

So am definitely going to make this again and soon - before I forget all the lessons learned.  I made notes on the pattern but it's really easy to think you will know what you mean and 6 months later you have no idea! I am hoping that there is enough of the charcoal grey ponte I have in my stash!

I leave you with the rather unhappy sight of some physios tape doing the job of my poor achilles tendons.  I have tendonitis on both sides (crappy running gait plus enthusiastically running up some hills last week) and have to start from scratch on learning to run :(  am frankly super shitty about it because I just did my first 5k run last week and I don't want to lose the hard work I did to build up to that.  I guess I need to remember if I don't do it the right way I will end up even more hobbled, but it's very hard to be patient!

Sore paws

Monday, February 10, 2014

KCW 01/14 - For the want of a nail...

Or in this particular case, snaps.

I am quite cross with myself. I did exactly what I aimed to do for KCW this time. I prepped ahead, and focused on completing only one project - a much needed raincoat for Issy.

KCW 01/14 Oliver and S Schooldays Raincoat
Apologies for the shadow on her face and the photo-bombing dog...

BUT!  It's not really finished because I forgot to go to bloody Spotlight for snaps to sew on; hence her question when I got her to model it this morning: "Um Mummy, why didn't you put buttons on this coat?".

And yes, she is modelling this over her nightie, because I am the laziest mother ever :)

KCW 01/14 Oliver and S Schooldays Raincoat

Aaaaanyway, annoyance at my failure to actually finish this aside...I think it came out pretty nicely. I lined it (thanks to Sally at Virtu for pointing out that I quite obviously needed to!) in a soft greyish pink which went well.

KCW 01/14 Oliver and S Schooldays Raincoat
Yes, the dog is now having a wee. So very, very sorry...

I didn't make button tabs or toggles, instead opting for the simple invisible snaps inside the placket (you know, when I get around to it...).  Otherwise it's just the (great) pattern which I have already made once before. I love that this is totally unisex - having a boy and a girl makes this a great investment! I can't imagine how much this would cost to buy, but I think the whole thing was about $30 in the end.  Highly satisfying :)

KCW 01/14 Oliver and S Schooldays Raincoat