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Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Burgundy Sweater Knit Top

I traced a pattern from a favourite purchased jumper (sweater), then lengthened the sleeves slightly and added a neckband and cut from a remnant of sweater knit fabric bought from the Monday Market Man for £1.00!
I still need to decide on the hem treatment but I like the shaped hem a lot.
Probably not going to get back into the sewing room until Tuesday evening, so thought I would share it now.


Autumn Berries

I used Berries as a theme in 2006 and in Autumn 2015, and I still like them. I seem to have entirely got over the fact that my school uniform was Maroon.


So I have just started sewing some more Berry themed pieces to wear this Autumn, as apparently they suit me better than Orange and Rust which I wore a lot last Autumn.
I will share once I have something constructed!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Last bit of summer sewing

Here's the last item from my summer sewing, a plain navy tee.
This was originally orange fabric which I dyed with dark navy blue Dylon machine dye. It has taken the dye wonderfully and is very soft so I think its probably 100% viscose (rayon). It has a slightly slubbed texture and as you can see its very drapey.
The pattern I used is an adapated version of the free Kirsten Kimono tee. I shaped the sides, altered the neckline and extended the sleeves slightly.

The Pattern is available here.

Now to decide what to make next.

Here's the whole Summer Collection put together.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Summer Sewing and regaining motivation

Back in the summer I made two tops to go with a navy maxi skirt but never shared them.
Here's one which is made from a remnant of cotton print.
I added a little beaded detail at centre front.
Works well with the navy skirt, navy trousers or with blue jeans.
I've another top to share and then hopefully I will have my sewing motivation back and can start to share some new things.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Seasonal Wardrobe Switch in progress

Sandals, summer blouses, skirts and trousers are now up in the loft.
Wool jackets, polo necks, boots etc have come down.
There are a lot of garments so even once I check things for fit, wear and palette I should still have enough to wear!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Thinking aloud - sewing room sort out

The sewing room is over stuffed making it hard to use.

Thoughts
 Donate old ironing board once checked out the new one.
Work through fabric resources and remove lengths of fabric which don't fit my palette. Decide what to do with the fabric, donate? If so to where etc.
Get access to the fabric which is suitable for the charity craft stall especially velvet, felt, fleece, lining fabric etc.
Donate excess patterns ( hard to do). Same place as the fabric?

See if could reduce fabric storage down to two shelving units rather than 3 and put hanging rail in corner. Would be a lot of work to reorganise.

Shorten net curtain to fit window better.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Thinking aloud - seasonal wardrobe switch

I have a fairly small wardrobe area in the bedroom so keep other seasons in the loft. I switch these twice a year and use it to have a sort of and rethink. I've not done it yet for the autumn Winter so these are my thoughts for when I do it.

Keep fairly seasonless items like tailored trousers, shirts, blouses and mid weight tops in the wardrobe.
Remove lightweight summer trousers, linen and cotton jackets and sandals.
Think about short sleeved items and perhaps store in airing cupboard rather than in loft.

Bring down all the winter things and check them against the new ' sophisticated ' colour fan. Try things on and put to one side anything which is slightly too small. If too small and wrong colour then donate. If fits ok but wrong colour but could be dyed then dye. If wrong colour and can't be dyed then donate.

Use leather dye on shoes ( and possibly belts, bags etc) which are wrong colour, for example mid warm brown shoes to dark brown etc.

Spend some time making work suitable outfits. Check tights and see if need to buy any extra colours.
Polish shoes and boots. Spray suede boots with protective spray.

Coats - get out all the coats and jackets and check them against the colour fan. Wash and re waterproof the navy coat with hood. May need to keep bad colour coats until they can be replaced to avoid being too cold!!! Sadly the red coat is probably too bright now but perhaps keep until can replace in sales. Dark Brown wool coat is good colour but very worn. Could it be refreshed with a fur collar and cuffs? Check in fabric resources for something suitable.

Check through the various activities I do and make sure I have suitable coats for all of them. Note where anything is needed and add to wardrobe holes list.

Check gloves and hats. Donate anything not in colour palette and note where need to buy new. Throw away any gloves with holes as no one will want them :-(

Check through handbags and compare to swatches. Donate anything which doesn't work. Decide on a good storage location for all the bags where they are easy to access.

May be worth buying some new short wellies as the old ones perished last year.

Take donations to charity shop.
Organise wardrobe and drawers so it's easy to find things.
Prep clothes for the week on a Sunday night to reduce stress in the mornings for work.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Thinking aloud - Autumn wardrobe sewing ideas

Another post of thoughts without pictures.

I have a dark grey green jacket which has been partially constructed for a while. I previously made a skirt and trousers but they wouldn't fit now and have either gone or are in the loft somewhere.

I do have some small remnants of fabric which coordinate with it and could be used for skirts, one is a piece of stretch ponte which I fancy as the skirt from Vogue 2989. The other some wool Tweed which I want as a lined skirt with pockets. Both would be knee length and worn with dark tights and one of several pairs of green suede boots.

I also have some remnants of burgundy sweater knit and some gorgeous burgundy print viscose ( rayon) Jersey which I could use for some other pieces. I'd like the jersey to be a two piece dress which I could wear with my new tall burgundy boots. I will have to play with the sweater knit to see what I can make with it, perhaps a waistcoat, simple sweater or combine into a multi media cardigan jacket.

I have previously sewn other items in the dark green and burgundy coolourways so probably have some options with those already.

The Christmas charity sewing is going to take precedence however so I hope there's enough autumn clothing to wear that I don't need new things.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Thinking aloud - Christmas Stockings

Apologies these next few posts are me recording my thoughts about upcoming projects as such no pictures, and may well get deleted later.

A colleague and I have planned a charity craft stall in November.
We will reuse any leftover stock from the last time.
However I also want to make some Christmas themed things, mostly Christmas Stockings and maybe wrapping paper storage bags. My colleague will sew more shopping bags.

For the Christmas stockings I will use a pattern I already have used before and make a variety of stockings from traditional green and red versions but also velvets, tartan ( plaid) and faux suede.

I might also use my leather scraps to make some small gift purses / wallets / money pouches for when people want to give a gift of money.

I could also make Christmas cards, Christmas bunting strands and perhaps some Christmas decorations.

Another thought would be fleece hats. Quick to sew using fleece scraps and can be lots of fun. I have some cute cat themed fleece as well as other prints and plains.

I have a Pinterest board where I have been collecting ideas.

I will try to remember to share all the makes as I go for those who are interested.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 7 Your Values

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
There are downloadable materials, webinars as well as the online discussion, so multiple ways to gain and interpret the knowledge.

In Step 7 you look at the drivers you have when buying clothes and there are different categories with suggested words to rank in terms of imporance. I found this interesting as I've not come across this before.

Next there's quite a large section about Concious Shopping by Jill Chivers which is particularly useful for those who overshop, and looks at good and bad shopping approaches. Jill runs her own course for people who want to explore this further.

And the last section includes practical tips for shopping trips - what to wear and take with you, dealing with salepeople, shopping the sales etc.

In the drivers/values section I had the following areas:-

Economic - bargains, easy care, mix and match
Sensory - soft fabrics, loose fitting
Aesthetic - colourful, harmonious, textures
Exploratory - own touch, self designed/made

I am happy with my choices and can see how all 4 of these are drivers for me. it also explains why some things I tried in the past did not work.

For example;-
some garments which looked great but did not feel nice (certain types of polyester) - sensory,
a sewing friend who helped me fit both a jacket and blouse pattern to her fit preference which always made me feel constricted once I made the garments (they looked good and fitted well from a dressmaking perspective but I felt quite trapped) - also sensory.

The economic is clear in my love of capsules and sale shopping. I have bought a few things full price more recently, basics like classic work trousers etc.This is an area where I maybe need to be more willing to spend, especially on clothes for work.

The aesthetic slightly suprised me but I really like the colour, harmony and textures element form here and its actually really important to me.

The parts of exploratory I like, are having something different (not wildly so) but just not exactly the same, and both the thrift shopping and the sewing give me that. This is not my primary driver but definitely an important ingredient. I would be sad to wear all new pieces bought this season in the department store, where that might be joyous for others. I want new trousers from the department store (a classic basic that fits well but is a bit boring), a jacket I bought in a charity shop, overdyed and changed the buttons, a top I sewed myself, coloured shoes from the outlet last season and earrings I made myself or inherited from my grandmother. On those days I am happy.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 6 Your Style

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
There are downloadable materials, webinars as well as the online discussion, so multiple ways to gain and interpret the knowledge.

In Step 6 you dig a little deeper. This covers a few different areas including:-

- What message you are sending.
This looks at how to use all the things you've learned to dress appropriately for any situation to communicate the aspects you want to, so for example businesslike and professional, or more approachable and friendly. This is particularly good if you are tall and formal for example but want to appear more relaxed and casual, or you are small and quiet but want to project more authority at work.

- What elements of design you prefer.
This looks a lot at patterns, shapes, contrast, scale etc. There's a lot of content here about patterns, density, placement etc

- Wardrobe capsules and accessories capsules.
Simple ways you can build a simple wardrobe capsule and how you can choose accessories so they work together

- What you might need on your shopping list.
Having had a wardrobe clear out at Step 5 there's a desire to buy stuff. Here there is some guidance of how to work out what to have on the list so you don't just buy things randomly.

Although I've looked at all the material here and watched the webinars I've not yet put much into practice.

Friday, 18 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 5 Your Wardrobe

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

In Step 5 Your Wardrobe you do the good old closet clearout based on the knowledge gained so far in steps 1-4. And then organise the wardrobe like with like and in rainbow order to make it easier to see duplicates and find things.

Clearing out your closet
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2009/09/6-simple-rules-for-cleaning-out-your-closet.html

How to Decide What to Keep and What to Discard from Your Wardrobe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MjA8MoO1Jw

Organising your closet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G6liBk7e4o

I already removed things which were worn out, the wrong colour or too small but kept one bag of things which were borderline which I'll look at again another time.
I've also tried to tidy things up a bit and be consistent in using velvet hangers for tops and hang things in colour order and category as much as I can.

I am still debating what should be hanging in terms of cardigans and casual trousers. As I don't have space to hang them all or put them all in drawers. I'm avoiding multi hangers except for scarves as I think they are hard to use.
I am also debating switching my smart trousers onto velvet hangers from clip hangers. This would save space  as the clips are bulky but would put a line across the trouser leg I don't like for work trousers.

I'm now testing things out to see how they work in outfits. I expect some more discards as I get fussier and actually try more things on.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

7 Steps To Style Step 4 Your Lifestyle

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

In Step 4 now you know more about your personality, bodyshape and best colours you think about your lifestyle.

This one mostly uses exercises to explore more about things like
- why you like some of your favourite garments
- how much time you spend each week doing different activities
- looking at how the wardrobe/activities matches up
- making sure you have garments which cover activities you want to do

So for example if you have a very casual warrobe but this stops you accepting invites to lunch or something, then get a nice going for lunch outfit. If you have loads of formal special occasion things which you use for balls/ certain events then perhaps keep those in a guest room closet so you can see your everyday stuff more clearly etc.

The main thing I did in response to this step was as I have two hanging sections in my built in wardrobe, I made the left one just for work and hung up dresses, skirts, trousers, jackets and tops which I thought were work suitable. This meant I could really see what clothes I had that were work suitable, and due to step 3 remvoing some things I could see I was quite short on work suitable tops.

I then had anything casual in the other hanging section with some jackets/cardis I was unsure about too. I also made a section for more dressy things on this side and things for choir (where we wear black which isnt in my palette). I put the choir and special occasion stuff in the part where the cupboard goes over the stairwell and is harder to access.

I found this very useful, because I work full time in an office where you can only wear jeans on a Friday and some of my male peers wear full suit with tie. So I need to be relatively smart for work. I can always get changed into comfier clothes when I get home.

I've not had a big lifestyle change as I've had a similar sort of office based job for many years, but the wardrobe had been creeping too casual. Favourite suits had worn out and proved difficult to replace so had more mismatched stuff.

For other people who've gone from full time work to home with kids or retired, moved countries/region or changed jobs to one with a different dress code this is probably a much larger area.

At least I now know what I have that I can wear for work as its all in the one area, so should make work morning choices easier.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 3 Your Colours

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

For the colour section a series of colour cards are sent in the post. You take particular photos which are used to narrow down which of the 18 palettes in Imogen's system you might be. This can take a while as each set of cards arrives and you make time to take the photos.
I was clearly Muted (no suprise from Kate's draping) but then this was narrowed down further and I was slightly suprised to find I am cool not warm. This could be down to a few factors, either I was kidding myself and I've always been cool, or I did previously have some warmth but now I am greying (and not colouring my hair), I have lost a bit of carotene and am cool.
Either way I really like the colours and am sorting out the wardrobe.

The palette is called 'Sophisticated' and is apparently is mid way between Deep and Light, slightly more Cool than Warm, and much more towards the Soft than the Clear. If you are familiar with 12 seasons I would say its like a greyed version of Soft Summer, less pink and a bit deeper.

As I am still mostly dark haired I need to wear a medium high value contrast and as I have colours (green, pink) in my personal colouring I look better wearing one or two colours (not all neutrals).
There is then an additional charge for the palette itself, and once this is received you can do more photos to get your specific signature colours from that swatch.
You can wear all the colours from your swatch plus any more which blend.
Wearing a couple of signature colours and with my Signature colours from the swatch.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 2 Your Body

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.
https://insideoutstyleblog.com/7-steps-to-style-system

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

Step 2 is about face shape, features and body shape and proportions, and then lots of suggestions on how to dress.

The detail here plus Imogen's personal input is of course why you pay for the course, though some of the information is available on Imogen's blog.

Here's the free Imogen Lamport Body Shape Calculator 
you can then request the bodyshape guidelines for your shape. There's also lots of information on Imogen's website.

A lot of us don't fit neatly into one of the categories of course, and so you need to mix and match the advice to work out what flatters your body.

So I turned out to be an A shape in Imogen's scheme with a short mid body. (I also have some body variations which have more H and O characteristics which I need to take into account.)
I have an oval face with both straight and curved features so need to accommodate those in the detail on my clothing.
I think this will take a bit of work to get right.

I did take some pictures in leggings and a top for the analysis but I won't be sharing them here.