Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Leather scrap gift wallets

These are for giving cash gifts this Christmas, and I would make them again in future for the charity craft stall.
I used leather scraps bought a while ago, straight stitch on the sewing machine and plastic snaps (I recently aquired a snap tool for plastic snaps and this was my first project with them).
The size and shape varies a little as it is driven by the leather scrap used.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Fleece Hats and Christmas Stockings

Here are some more fleece hats and Christmas stockings.

Some of these are for Christmas gifts and others are for the charity craft sale which is due to be next week.
 Fleece hats from a furry fleece blanket which shed furry bits during the construction process.
 Fleece stockings using the cat print fleece and some plain fleece.
 Velvet and cotton lined stocking.
 Blue fleece hats for those who don't like rainbow cats.
 Green fleece hats, including some in 'Monster' style.
 Cream fleece hats and a beautiful pink and cream lined fabric stocking.
 Blue fabric stockings, lined.
Sweater knit and fleece stockings.
Santa's workshop is stll going, but today may be the last day and then I need to get wrapping and posting them to recipients!

Monday, 20 November 2017

More fleece (and velvet hats)

I enjoyed making the hats and thought they would make fun Christmas gifts for my various family and friends as well as a few for the charity craft stall, which might be as soon as 2 weeks time.

I've gone for 4 basic sizes

Large (ie fits an adult)

Medium (smaller adult/large child)

Small (child)

Tiny (baby)

and I just keep cutting Christmas stockings and whatever size of hat I can fit out of the various fabrics available to me.
I'm going to do a sober darkish blue next for the people who can't deal with rainbow cats.

If you are a family member or friend who gets a hat for Christmas, it'd be lovely if you pretend to be a little bit suprised :-) and if you really like it, tell me and you might get a homesewn something again. If you can't abide it, please pass it on to someone who would enjoy it. Thank you.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Teal velvet tops

Both teal stretch velvet, but with slightly different necklines, sleeve and body lengths but the same basic pattern traced off RTW.

crushed velvet

and burnout velvet (or maybe plush embroidery onto a mesh background?)
Plan to wear with plain bottoms (probably trousers) for various festive occasions.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Christmas Stockings

This time using a cute cat print fleece and co-ordinating plain fleece.
They are fun.
Have also made more hats but not much else.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Amazing new scissors on Kickstarter

Someone shared a link to these amazing new scizzors on Kickstarter, they look incredible, after reading and watching I'm deciding which offer to go for.

I am not affiliated with this company at all, however they are not far from me as they are in Sheffield which definitely got me interested.


Now which ones to pick - gold with my name engraved?

Monday, 6 November 2017

Fleece hats

These are intended for the charity craft stall and maybe Christmas presents for friends/family.
I really enjoyed making them.
I am part way making some aubergine (eggplant) trousers which is taking multiple sessions, so these little quick items have been a real joy.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Claret Cardigan

Claret Cardigan using my old favourite New Look 6082 with a purchased belt (looks crisper than the tie belts I find).

Trousers from Burda 02-2010 #135 are in progress and will be shared later in the week :-)

The fabric is a fairly hefty knit, perhaps cotton interlock, its not a ponte. It's perhaps not the right fabric for this garment so we'll see how it works in wear.

Burgundy Print Top

This time a textured print with burgundy, pink, purple and darker brown tones in it.
Same pattern as before traced off my RTW sweater.

I like that it is a print of stylised butterfly wings (but not obviously cute butterflies).

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Possible Sewing With A Plan Storyboard

Here's my (initial) plan. we'll have to see how closely I can stick to it!

First column is the brown pieces
Brown cardigan jacket
Brown tee/top
Brown trousers

Second column is the teal pieces
Teal cardigan jacket
Teal tee/top
Teal trousers

The centre column is the tweed cardigan jacket, and something else from the scraps, a skirt if it works out but maybe a bag or waistcoat if it doesn't!

The fourth column is burgundy
a burgundy top which I already made
and a burgundy cardigan which I'll probably make next as the machines are all threaded so it sort of makes sense to!

The fifth column currently only contains one turquoise top, which adds the second accent colour.

As much as possible the plan is to make all the things from the existing fabric resources (of which there are plenty) but there may well be a few extra pieces too :-)

Possible SWAP timeframe

SWAP project timeframe:

Sewing begins on 26 December 2017 and ends 30 April 2018
One garment may be started on 1 November 2017 and completed prior to 26 December 2017
One garment may be completed prior to 1 November 2017
One RTW garment may be included

Here's how I could break it down:-

Oct 2017 - already completed burgundy top which can be included as the previously made item
Nov/Dec 2017- sew the burgundy cardigan, and a test pair of Burda Feb 2010 Plus Section #135 B trousers (probably also in burgundy why not!)
Jan 2018 sew the teal items - trousers, top and cardigan
Feb 2018 sew the brown items - trousers, top and cardigan
Mar 2018 sew tweed items - tweed cardigan jacket and poss skirt (fabric permitting) or alternative bottom piece.
Apr 2018 sew the turquoise top and an accessory, and any extras needed due to 'wadders'
May 2018 finalise photos and share

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Trousers for SWAP

These are from Burda Feb 2010 Plus Section #135 B.
They make them from trouser fabrics with a bit of stretch, so I  might size up slightly and make a test pair in non stretch woven fabric to see if that matters or not. I'll do the version without the buttons and turnups.

If you haven't got a Burda mag from 2010 and want to make them, they are up on Burda style for purchase for £3.99.

For SWAP I plan to make these in brown and teal.

According to the Burda size chart I need size 48 trousers, I thought the 42 were only slightly too small and it should be something more like 44 or maybe 46 but hey!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Early SWAP thoughts

I really like the fabrics I chose last year but never sewed up, so my thoughts are:-

Adapt what I planned last year to a simple plan for this using many of the same colours and fabrics (drop the black as I dislike it).

Have 3 main styles - trousers with slant pockets, a cardigan jacket and knit tops - which are sewn multiple times.

So it could look something like

Choose two neutral colours

I could choose Brown and Teal

Make at least three garments from each neutral colour

1              Brown trousers

2              Brown top

3              Brown cardigan

4              Teal trousers

5              Teal top

6              Teal cardigan

two accent colors and one print , make at least one garment from each print – woven jacket

I could choose Burgundy and Turquoise

7              Woven jacket of Burgundy and Turquoise (uses great tweedy fabric)

8              Burgundy top

9              Turquoise Top

10           Other choices from this colourway

11           Other choices from this colourway

The last two items could be free rein in my four colours and one 'print' (actually a textured tweed) depending on what else I want at that stage, could be brown skirt and teal skirt to make two core 4s, it could be a teal dress, or another brown top or a skirt in the tweed if there was enough left over.

Planning wise.  

I just finished a burgundy top which could go in at number 8. I don't want Burgundy as a neutral as I already have loads of burgundy pieces, so I'm treating it as an accent here.

The tweed cardigan jacket is going to be my print/multiple colours item, so I fancy making that between now and December 26th.

I don't want to use a purchased piece if I can avoid it, but I'll reserve the option!

I need to make a trouser pattern fit me well. So I can spend some time on test garments before sewing starts. I know exactly the style I want to make so that should be just fitting work. Once it fits I plan on sewing a brown one and a teal one (and maybe more but let's not get too excited).

I plan mostly simple knit tops and knit cardigan jackets. I'll sew by colour as I like to work like that.

I will share as I go.

SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) rules announced on Stitchers Guild Reloaded

The SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) ruls for next year on SG have been announced:-

From Mudcat the SWAP Co-ordinator this year
2018 Seasonal Designer Collection SWAP Rules

You are the Designer. Create a cohesive seasonal collection of eleven garments of your choice.

Consider designer collections like Eileen Fisher, Karen Kane, Kaliyana, Bryn Walker,  Eskandar, etc  and how they work with a few neutrals, add an accent color or two and some prints.  Multiple styles of pants, tops, jacket/cardigan, dresses, accessories, etc are made from the limited color/print palette. New seasons bring new items that work with some of the garments from prior seasons. Your goal is to create a collection that looks like it belongs together and that you can easily add new pieces to in the future.

This plan will work quite well with 3 pack or 4 core concepts but provides more flexibility. If you primarily make separates you could plan out your outfits using the Sudoku grid by including extra accessories and/or shoes to fill the gaps.  If you prefer mostly dresses or pinafores you’ll need some pieces to layer them with even if you are able to wear the garment as a stand alone.

Choose two neutral colors
Add one accent color and two prints OR two accent colors and one print
Make at least three garments from each neutral color
Make at least one garment from each accent color
Make at least one garment from each print
Create multiple outfits of at least two garments that work for your personal style
Each garment must work with a minimum of two outfits

Optional Accessory: add one self-made accessory as a signature piece that works with at least two of  your outfits

Sewing begins on 26 December 2017 and ends 30 April 2018
One garment may be started on 1 November 2017 and completed prior to 26 December 2017
One garment may be completed prior to 1 November 2017
One RTW garment may be included
Garments knitted, crocheted or woven by you may be included (limit of two since we are a sewing site)
Garments such as poncho, cape or wrap must include at least two pattern pieces, be one of your knitted, crocheted or woven items or have stitch work done by you to be considered a garment (otherwise it’s an accessory)
Neutrals do not need to be the same fabric, however, they do need to work together  **

I will award a $25 gift certificate to EOS or another online fabric store to the winner

Guidelines (not required but recommended)
Use TNT patterns as much as possible
Limit the number of patterns used since Designer Collections include the same garments made in different colors/prints
Consider using some textured neutrals to add more interest especially if you are a print person
Consider including one trend item based on your chosen season


garment: an article of clothing: pants/trousers, skirt, dress, pinafore, cardigan, camisole, tunic, leggings, jacket, shorts, poncho, vest, cape, etc
accessory: an object that is not essential in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience or effectiveness of something else: scarf, jewelry, footwear, wrap, bag, belt, etc
print: a non-solid color such as geometric, novelty, floral, plaid, check, stripes, multi-colored hand dyed/batik, multi-colored brocade, polka dots, etc
neutral color: typically black, gray, navy, brown, cream/white/oatmeal but you are the designer so it’s your choice (denim blue, plum, teal, etc)
accent color:  a color that pops but still works with your neutrals such as golden yellow, safety orange, bright red, lime green, etc
stitch work: for the purpose of SWAP this means beading, adding trim, hand embroidery and/or Alabama Chanin type techniques

** Regarding neutrals:
Using 2-3 different fabrics in the same neutral color is fine however they do need to be roughly the same shade and work together.  While this is easy to do with typical neutrals such as black, navy or white it may be more difficult with other colors so plan carefully.

Fall 2017/Winter 2018 Trends

checks, neutral plaids
florals/garden prints
silver/metallic, sparkles/glitter
red, gold
americana: folklore, patchwork
trench with a twist
feathers or fringe
black leather
polka dots

Spring 2018 Trends
yellow, lavender, orange
bold graphic prints
geometric cutouts
more denim
tassels, sequins
sheer fabric
matching or coordinating fanny pack/bum bag

I suggest photographing outfits as items are completed.  Judging/photo rules will be the posted at a later date but they will be similar to what has been done in the past.  Muslins, pattern fitting, cutting, interfacing, and other preparatory work may begin right away. As usual, individual threads are optional but all comments should go to the main thread.


Monday, 30 October 2017

Burgundy cotton tee

Same pattern as before but in a cotton t shirt fabric with not much stretch so feels different again.
This was originally orange but overdyed with cerise pink became this lovely even burgundy colour. I really love it.
Here's all three tops together.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Jersey knit top

Traced off a drop shouldered scoop neck sweater.
A nice print, should be good for work
And I didn't have to change the thread colour from the last top!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Christmas stockings for charity event

A colleague and I are hoping to do a charity event in mid to late November and so I wanted to sew some Christmas stockings for sale.
Here they are, quite simple, with contrast cuff (and two with linings, which I prefer). They are about 15" tall and 10" across the foot. I didn't have any more of the dark burgundy fabric.
I'm hoping to do several other colour ways fabric permitting, doing a few every week until the event.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Voilà and muslin or toile

I see these two mistakes quite a bit on blogs, posts on sewing sites etc, so thought I would set them straight as they make me pull a little face every time I see them.
The first is the many misspellings of voilà. As variously Vwa-lah, Wa-lah, Wa-la, Wal-lah

This word is from the French From vois (see!, look!), second-person singular imperative of voir (to see, to look) and (there), literally meaning "look there!".
It is used to call attention to or express satisfaction with something that is presented or something that has been accomplished: 

Choose the pattern and fabric, sew up the project, and—voilà!—a lovely new garment to wear.

Completely appropriate for presenting a new sewing project on your blog but it would be lovely to see the french spelling!
When sewing clothing, a dressmaker may test the fit of a garment, using an inexpensive muslin fabric before cutting pieces from expensive fabric, thereby avoiding potential costly mistakes. This garment is often called a "muslin," and the process is called "making a muslin." In this context, "muslin" has become the generic term for a test or fitting garment, regardless of what it is made from.

Please do not use muslim which is an alternative spelling of moslem and means a person who is a follower and believer of Islam. 

Back to the fabric used for checking the fit of a new style - but which additionally confusingly means different things in the UK and the US.
In the UK, Australia and New Zealand:
  • Calico – simple, cheap equal weft and warp plain weave fabric in white, cream or unbleached cotton.
  • Muslin – a very fine, light plain weave cotton fabric.
  • Muslin gauze – muslin.
  • Gauze – extremely soft and fine cotton fabric with a very open plain weave.
  • Cheesecloth – gauze.
In the US:
  • Calico – cotton fabric with a small, all-over floral print
  • Muslin – simple, cheap equal weft and warp plain weave fabric in white, cream or unbleached cotton and/or a very fine, light plain weave cotton fabric.
  • Muslin gauze – the very lightest, most open weave of muslin.
  • Gauze – any very light fabric, generally with a plain weave
  • Cheesecloth – extremely soft and fine cotton fabric with a very open plain weave.
Printed calico was imported into the United States from Lancashire in the 1780s, and here a linguistic separation occurred, while Europe maintained the word calico for the fabric, in the States it was used to refer to the printed design.

In the UK in sewing classes I have heard more the word toile used for a test garment rather than muslin which I've read more online.

In Australian and British terminology, a "toile" is a version of a garment made by a fashion designer or dressmaker to test a pattern. They are usually made in cheap material, as multiple toiles may be made in the process of perfecting a design. Toiles are sometimes referred to as "muslins" in the United States, named for the cheap, unbleached cotton fabric available in different weights.

Toile is a fabric, from the French word meaning "linen cloth" or "canvas". The word "toile" can refer to the fabric itself, a test garment (generally) sewn from the same material, or a type of repeated surface decoration (traditionally) printed on the same fabric. The term entered the English language around the 12th century.

So there you have it, and I promise I will be back to sharing projects I've sewn in my next post!

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.
I cleared off the table around the coverhem machine, bought some more burgundy thread, measured and pinned a 1/2" hem on the sleeves and bottom of the top and hemmed it on the machine. Photos another day.
I will now want to sew lots of things which use all that lovely burgundy thread.

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.

 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.

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.

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.

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

How to Decide What to Keep and What to Discard from Your Wardrobe

Organising your closet

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.

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.

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.

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.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 1 Your Personality

7 Steps to Style

I've started working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.

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 1 Your Personality
It’s the key to unlocking your style. What you do and don’t love and why. Everything from patterns to fabrics to how you accessorise is determined by your personality. You’ll learn how to understand the language of clothes which will lead you to success.

This is a paid programme, and includes copyrighted material, so I will just share what I've learned rather than any of Imogen's material.
She has some videos and Facebok live chat sessions which dig into the topics more and help you fine tune them.
There are hours worth of materials which you can use or not depending on the time you have available.

The idea here is to work out your Style Recipe, it starts out as one of the quizzes where you pick from different categories (there are many similar online or in style books).
However Imogen says to take the things from each style that work for you and mix them together to get a style recipe which is unique to you. Which is where this is being tailored to the individual rather than having to fit into one particualr box. This is great for me as I've done those quizzes and not fitted anywhere properly and then been a bit frustrated.
One person said "pick the bits that fit and disregard the rest" which was great advice.

I'm going to document my journey here. (Mostly for my own purposes but may also be of interest to others).

The 6 words I picked in the first exercise were:-
Natural, Professional, Quirky, Approachable, Vibrant and Stylish
(I'd also picked Contemporary, Creative, Friendly, Warm, Earthy and Grounded)

I then went through the quiz and scored Classic 7, Relaxed 7, Dramatic 5, Creative 4, Rebellious 1, Feminine 4 and Elegant Chic 1.

I then read the style descriptions and noted a few things. I then watched all the videos for the personalities. I made some more notes as I heard Imogen talking about the different styles.

Classic: Did not find the style described in the video appealing even though I scored quite highly as it seemed a bit boring to me. However I did identify with a few things which were
Jackets (I love a good jacket and have many in various styles). Menswear fabrics, especially a pinstripe, loafers, leather bag. This was about it and I very much did not identify with the jewellery.

Relaxed: This is probably my home area though it does not meet everything I want. I LOVE the colours in this style, the textures (TEXTURE, TWEED) and comfort level and the patterns. I also liked the nature based jewellery in stone, turquoise and shell. And I very much identified with the absolute need for comfortable shoes. I often wear no makeup, let my hair dry naturally etc. And I definitely heard the warning about being sloppy. I have sometimes kept old favourites beyond their best, when they were bobbly or a bit misshapen.

Dramatic: This is clearly not my home area, but definitely a strong influence particularly in jewellery and bags. I like shoes in different colours, I have lots of large bags in bold colours and also lots and lots of necklaces in neutrals and colours in varying scales (I have a whole wall fall of cork boards with them pinned up and I LOVE it).

Creative: This is another influencing area for sure, but again not my base. I liked the mixed textures. The other notes said - softer, muted, interesting, quirky, different, unusual patterns, own style, own way. And 'Quite interested in this one' .

Rebellious: No appeal, doesn't feel like me.

Feminine: Definitely NO to all of the Accessories and I've written Mostly NOT on this one. However I did call out my favourite pattern of all which is LEAVES and seemed to be in here with Paisley which I also like a lot, curly hair and things being slightly muted.

Elegant Chic: also doesn't feel like me. I had only circled RED.

On FB some feedback on the Classic scores said
" One thought came to mind as I read your post -- "classic" can mean many, many different things to different people. It is not a terribly useful word in the context of style. This is particularly true because many of the words used to describe it (as one member here pointed out) simply mean that one is a responsible adult, which has little to do with style. Many of us who might be lumped together as "classic" have found it more useful to isolate the characteristics of "classic" that appeal to us and use those characteristics instead. For example, the simplicity and symmetry of "classic" are the elements that appeal to me the most. You might focus on structure (since you loved the jackets) and fabric (menswear)."
Which was a very helpful comment.

I then moved on to my work and personal styles. And there is clearly a difference here. I wrote it down like this:

Work, 1 classic, 2 dramatic, 3 creative.
reasoning - classic is very work suitable but boring to me so add dramatic and creative elements

Personal; 1 relaxed, 2 creative, 3 dramatic.
reasoning - relaxed is my home area, I can play even more with the creative parts at home and I still need a few dramtic touches to keep it interesting.

I then looked at all of the examples in the materials for various combined styles but none of them chimed for me (they were different combinations to me so not suprising).

I thought briefly about items in my home and these I might do some photos.

The first one is a heavy blue glass vase, its second hand and has an off centre hole, squashed shape (not round) and is dark blue with gold. Its different, unique and works with my house.

The second is the bedside lamps I have in the bedroom. These were chain store purchases in lime green and I'd not had them long when I had to change them. I covered the smooth shiny green base with layers of cream paint applied with a sponge to give a stippled textured effect, and replaced the faux satin green shades with neutral textured shades that look like handmade paper - the texture is really apparent when the light is switched on. I love them.
The third item was a jokey gift from my boyfriend for Christmas. Its a pencil case in the shape of a fish and I use it at work every day. Its quirky but practical. Its unique. The lining is printed with the fish guts. It is nature inspired but also amusing.
 What words are triggered for you when you see these items? I'd love some feedback

I've been playing with the Thesaurus in word and found that really helpful. Out of the original list I had picked Natural, Professional, Quirky, Approachable, Vibrant and Stylish
(I'd also picked Contemporary, Creative, Friendly, Warm, Earthy and Grounded)

So I put each of those through the thesaurus and wrote down only the words that also resonated. I found some were already synonyms of each other. Some I didn't like most of the synonyms, others I liked lots of them.
The results then looked like this.

Natural , effortless, instinctive. Genuine, sincere, countryside, wildlife, landscape,

Vibrant , lively, vivacious, energetic, alive, vital, flamboyant, radiant

Creative , original, imaginative, inspired, artistic, inventive, resourceful, ingenious, innovative, productive, quirky.

(These first 3 were my top resonators, with the ones below less important)

Stylish, chic, sophisticated, elegant, tasteful, classy

Contemporary, modern, current,

Professional , qualified, proficient, skilled, career,

Friendly, welcoming, approachable, outgoing, sociable, Warm ,sincere, heartfelt, earnest, whole hearted,

Earthy , down-to-earth, practical, Grounded - established, prepared,

So Natural Vibrant and Creative are winning so far, and I thought that I often have a lot of the Natural but want to up the Vibrant and the Creative in my outfits.