2016 // Sewing plans

Ok.

So Wardrobe Architect for 2015 unfortunately didn’t pan out so well for me..

I managed to work my way through the awesome worksheets, to explore what my style is, play with the silhouettes I love to wear + to plan a rough colour palette, but that’s as far as I got.

2015 // Rough plans

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Although I still love each of the pieces I’d originally planned,  12 months have past + my wardrobe has naturally gained + lost a few pieces.  My confidence (+ hopefully skills!) have improved + there are now another 12 months worth of great patterns to select from!  Needless to say, my plans for this year are a little different.

I’ve had some more time to identify what my true style is.  I think one of the major problems I’ve encountered with my wardrobe previously is that although I love certain shapes + pieces, (high waisted bottoms, silhouettes that require high heels, etc.) if I’m really honest with myself, they’re not really suited to my beach / park / stay at home Mama lifestyle.

This year, rather than plan + sew seasonally, I’m just aiming to fill a few of the gaps in my wardrobe with pieces I love that will hopefully bridge across a few seasons.  We’re lucky here in Sydney as we tend to only have short Winters + mostly our climate allows for layering so I can use things like skirts + dresses throughout the year.

2016 // rough plans

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Two dresses.  Two knits.  A pair of woollen pants.  A few tops.  And if I manage it, a Watson bra!

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First up, a B+W polka dot dress with a full skirt.  I’ve recently finished my first McCalls dress, 7185, which I’m thinking could work nicely in this fabric?  Although a nice round neckline could make it more versatile for layering?  Need to get a wriggle on + decide on a pattern as I’d like to wear this for my birthday in March.  Throw your pattern suggestions at me!

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The Ruby Top by Tessuti has been floating around in my make believe wardrobe since she arrived on the scene.  Love the neckline + how the cut exposes the shoulders just a touch more than a normal tank.  Print / colour is undecided – but needs to be something I can wear mostly with black + denim.

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I love this Lila Sweater by Carrie Hoge.  Completely smitten with the stormy, dark grey colour too.  I think this shape could end up featuring in my handmade wardrobe a handful of times in different colours.

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Another Tessuti pattern, the Kate Top.  This version by Funk Bunny totally rocks!  I’d love to add something similar to my handmade wardrobe.  Such a great basic.

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Then Cloth Habit’s Watson bra.  Ahh, the Watson bra..  So delightfully delicate + infinitely sexy at the same time!  I’m in the process of weaning Arlo from the boob, so as soon as I’m done, there will be a return to cute little pieces like this.

I LOVE the style of this bra!  After wearing maternity bras for the last 18 months, I’ve become really anti the underwire in my bra’s.  So the fact that it looks super cute + should be comfortable will be a winner for me.

This will be my first ever attempt at lingerie / underwear – so I’ll be keeping it very simple + work with a black mesh, then maybe venture into the world of pretty lace..

The version above is by Morgan of Crab and Bee.  You can find more of her amazing handcrafted pieces over at her blog.

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The second dress I’m adding to my sewing plan for 2016 is a basic tunic style dress.  This image is pinched from Pinterest, but I’ve been unable to track down the image’s owner.  This style is right up my alley!  I’m seeing this paired with my favourite tan sandals or my white cons.  Made up in a striped linen or even a seersucker will work beautifully as an everyday piece for me.

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This Brioche Vest from Purl Soho is exactly what I was looking for last Winter!  Chunky knit, textured, side splits, perfect.  I had my eye on one that Witchery released, but alas, when I finally got a change to go + grab it, it was sold out!  This knit should provide endless layering options, whether it’s over a black dress, tights + boots, with jeans + a white shirt, or with the woollen 7/8 length pants I have listed next.  Just need to figure out how to do this stitch so I can follow the pattern!

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Lastly, these grey woollen 7/8 pants.  Love that this length can be worn with cute flats or on the odd occasion where I need something to pair with heels, I can reach for these + not just my jeans!  I think if I can nail the fit I’d like a black pair also.  I can see these styled nicely with all of the other separates I have planned above.

So here’s to creating a handmade wardrobe!  Hopefully full of beautifully crafted pieces.  I’m certain the above will change as the year moves forward, but it does feel good to have a solid starting point for my selfish sewing projects.

First things first though, finish the cute black linen drawstring shorts I have cut + waiting patiently on my sewing table..

 

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Wardrobe Architect // Wardrobe clean out – what’s missing?

I always find this task difficult.  I have a hard time letting anything go.  Manly because in previous attempts to clear my wardrobe I’ve culled items that I’ve vowed to make / replace + then never really gotten around to doing, therefore leaving holes in my wardrobe!

I started by pulling out a box of wintery woollens + wheeling in a second clothing rack.  We lived in a studio for three years before moving into the apartment we’re in now, so the rack was my wardrobe for a long time.  I now use it as a drying rack in the spare room – so handy!

I began by pulling each item out of the wardrobe, if it was an ‘I love’ item it went straight to the clothing rack.  If it was a ‘maybe’ it went onto the bed for the next round.  To be honest the maybes all ended up in a storage box as they are still pieces I’ll wear again when I return to work or am pregnant again.

I discovered that a lot of my wardrobe was either pre-pregnancy office attire,  items are no longer a flattering fit, or items I’d worn whilst pregnant that I want to keep for the next time around, but not see each time I open wardrobe.

Find the holes 

What I was left with was surprisingly a small selection of dresses, shirts + tops.  I am severely lacking in the bottoms department.  Most of the items left were either neutrals, black, white + grey or prints.  The prints are an interesting mix.  I don’t love all of them, but the cut or shape of the garment I do.  There are a few floral prints already, but I’d like to see some stripes, dots + geometric prints.  I would also like to see some solid colours outside of the neutrals.

Make a shopping list

After taking stock of what I own + figuring out what is missing, I began putting together the shopping list, then separated that list into buy / make.

To help create the silohuettes I like to wear + to pull my wardrobe together, here are some of the shapes I’d like to make:

Just a very rough starting point that I’m sure I’ll amend + add to as I progress through this process..

Working on a complete wishlist over the next few days + hope to start adding some colours + prints to the above sketch once I have firm idea on what I’m going to purchase VS make. x

Wardrobe Architect 2015 // Late starter

I’m taking part the Wardrobe Architect project this year hosted by Colette Patterns.  Sewing for myself is something I rarely do.  Mostly because the very few times I do, they end up in the ‘where all WIP / failured projects go to die’ box above my wardrobe.  Full of half finished garments I promise myself I’ll repurpose as I can’t bare to throw anything out.  A few projects have managed to make it to the actual rack, however due to poor print / colour / pattern choices, I doubt I’ve ever worn any of these outside of the house.

Although I’m confident with sewing cottons, other fabrics have always ended up being disastrous choices for my skill level.   However, this year, armed with some extra sewing years under my belt, a newish machine + overlocker + a real need for a new wardrobe, I’m giving it a go.

I’ve read through each of the planning steps established for last years version of the project + I’ve worked my way through the worksheets.  I must admit, I don’t think I’ve ever really asked myself any of the questions that now seem fundamental to identifying style.  Most probably why the pieces I’ve finished for myself before have never really been worn.  I’ve been aimlessly purchasing pieces for years, occasionally jumping on board a trend or colour that happened to work for me, but most of the time I think I’ve been pretty hit + miss..  I’m a little embarrassed to admit it’s taken me all these years to truly understand what my style actually is!  I am one of those women who has the odd good outfit day, (solely dependent on what stage my washing basket is at) but generally doesn’t feel ‘good’ about most of the pieces current hanging in my wardrobe.  I am guilty of purchasing fad / on trend items that that look brilliant styled in store.  Yet I fail to achieve said trend when trying to work these pieces into my wardrobe.

The key reason for needing to create a new wardrobe is my shape + day-to-day wardrobe needs have changed considerably after welcoming our daughter to the world last October.  I have to be realistic about what I see my figure returning to.  Once a petite, fine limbed thing, with a small waist – now a different shape which look as great in my pre-baby choices of wardrobe.  Sure, I can still squeeze into a few things, but they’re no where near as flattering as they once were.  Most of the pieces that I actually like in my wardrobe are no longer practical.  I need a ‘Mama uniform’ that is stylish yet practical, with a few special things thrown in for when I ‘may’ get a leave pass with the Man for a night on the town..  I need tops + dresses that I can breastfeed in that look polished, rather than always having to opt for a daggy t-shirt.  I need outfits that don’t require heels to look good.

The January challenge (I’m late to the party!) was to make style more personal, define your core style, explore shapes + build silhouettes that you enjoy wearing.  I love that this project really requires deep thought + thorough planning.

I feel really excited now that I’ve uncovered my style:

Making style more personal

Here are the main things I’ve considered when making my style more personal:

Community / Activities / Location all seem to fall under the same banner for me.  We spend a lot of time with friends who are other young families at the park, BBQ’s + the beach.

Body is the biggest issue / change in style for me!  As above , its changed considerable after pregnancy + all of the lovely waisted dresses + skirts I love aren’t really suitable at current.

Culture, history + philosophy weren’t necessarily things I would consider to determine my style.

Define your core style

Here are the key words I’ve come up with. Five was hard! If I could add more I’d say classic + cozy too.

Effortless – No fuss, relaxed, chic.

Simple – Lots of basic shapes in a classic palette (black, white, grey + denim) to pull together many outfits.

Tough – Both in terms of durability + look.  My favourite pieces in my wardrobe are my leather jacket + my chunky boots.

Playful – refers more to prints, colours + accessories than the shapes of my chosen pieces.

Practical – being comfortable is essential!  My wardrobe needs to be able to allow for breastfeeding, running around after a baby + support my day-to-day lifestyle.

When i look at this shortlist I don’t really feel like these words should work together, but for me, they do!  My take on this exercise is that they’re not all supposed to work within the one outfit.  That’s the beauty of creating a yourself a capsule wardrobe full of flexible pieces.

In terms of style icons, I can’t really think of anyone..  I’ll come back to this.

Explore shapes

Silhouettes

ONE

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I know, it looks very summery for us approaching the cooler months, but anything that will sit nicely alongside a leather jacket + boots with tights is going to work well for me!

The first images are both flared from the natural waist line whereas the two featured below flare from just below the bust.  I like both.

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I love that this style of dress is relaxed + can be a very versatile piece.

I can layer this silhouette to make it trans-seasonal + the shape will lend itself nicely to a basic colour / print or something more playful.  It’s not too cutesy or girly, but is definitely still feminine.

TWO

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Next up is a relaxed fit pant with loose, casual top. This is an easy everyday style I can utilise as an alternative to living in jeans + a t-shirt!  I like the balance of this silhouette.

Paired with sandals or converse, i can really see this becoming a go to option for no fuss dressing.  A nice alternative to constantly living in jeans!

THREE

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Then we have a slimmer fit // cigarette pant – again with flats generally, but that still works beautifully with heels.

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I’d love to make these is a print as pictured.  More so to wear with my neutral colours, but who knows?

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The image with the cobalt blue + mustardy golden yellow kinda has me thinking..  I also love the print clashing going on in these images, stripes + plaid // checks + animal print.  Playing with prints + colours is something I’m very attracted too, however it’s not a key element to my style.

FOUR

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This silohuette is one I’m making a return to after not wearing for sometime.  Mainly due to being pregnancy last year. Shorts / mini skirt with tights + boots.  Yes, interesting choice, but with an oversized knit + some rockin’  boots, this is a silhouette I’m very comfortable wearing + it makes me feel ‘cool‘ good.

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I already have a couple of fabrics marked for the plaid skirt.  I purchased a houndstooth mini from Sportsgirl close to 15-20 years ago that I absolutely love!  It know longer fits, but is definitely one of those pieces in my collection that i cannot part with.  I’m hoping that in years to come Arlo might like it?

FIVE

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Classic, polished, ladylike.  This the outfit shape I use to compensate for my cropped, masculine haircut.. Unfortunately not very practical at present with a little person around who is increasing interested in textures + feeling everything..

Can’t imagine this type of flowing, soft fabric would stand much of a chance against the gummy shark + her grubby fingers..  But its still on the list.

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Like that this shape skirt can be paired with a fitted top, skivvy, singlet or a loose shirt / t-shirt.

SIX

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The knit pencil skirt with loose top – love the balance of this + that it work equally well with converse, flats + heels.

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SEVEN

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Similar to the dresses in option ONE – the peplum is a shape I feel completely comfortable in.

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I’m now working through finding patterns to create the above shapes.  Then its onto shopping + then clearing out my wardrobe, planning colours + shopping for fabrics.

For those of you who have started – feel free to post a link to your blog below so I can follow along with your journey too!  x

 

{all images: from my Pinterest boards}

First knit for this coming Winter

It’s funny how a slight change in the weather can spark your creative interests.  This morning just felt like a knitting day.  Grey + cool, Autumn has definitely arrived here in Sydney!

This is a very simple knit discovered sometime ago whilst sifting around on Ravelry.  It’s a basic, stocking stitch knit that pieces together four rectangles to make a baby jumper.  No shaping required – Awesome!

It’s a great newbie pattern if you’ve never made anything before, or a very quick knit if your after something that doesn’t require much thought.

I’m using this 10ply ‘Empire’ from Morris & Sons.  It is a vibrant purple for Arlo that I’m basing her winter wardrobe around. I’ve used this 100% wool before + it’s so lovely to work with.  It also washes up beautifully.