Sunday, September 30, 2012

FO: New Look 6104

Many of the patterns that people chose for OWOP (One Week One Pattern) this past March were very popular patterns by Indie sewing pattern designers. I know there's a tendency for Indie knitwear designers to be very popular, too. Sometimes, a cheap(er) sewing pattern designed from the Big Four companies (Vogue, Butterick, McCall's, Simplicity) can be very chic, though. I know I get caught up in the hype of sewing only hard-working small company patterns, but I have to remind myself that I'm a student, and no-I really shouldn't live off of $50 of groceries for the month just to scrimp for my crafting indulgences.

When Andrea of Four Square Walls chose to use New Look 6104 as her OWOP in March, I fell in love with the simplicity and versatility of the design. New Look is sold by Simplicity, and I love all of their contemporary, easy-to-wear pieces. I found some 4th of July-themed fabric at 40% off at JoAnn's, and I fell in love with the polka-dots. (What can I say? I'm a dotty girl.) I knew I wanted my very own New Look 6104.

The pattern called for 1 3/4 yd at 45" of fabric, but I was able to squeak by (very, very close!) with only 1.5 yards. I was happy with my creative pattern-positioning abilities. I cut a size 14 for the body, but a size 10 for the shoulder height and neck hole  Many people complained about back gaping in this pattern. I found that by cutting a much smaller shoulder/neck, I was able to eliminate much of the gaping. There's still a little bit there.

A lot of people also said that the shirt fit over their head without having functioning buttons. I found that to be true with me, too. There's quite a bit of room in the waist/hip area, so it's super easy to slip over my head. After I discovered this, I sewed the button plackets together and then sewed buttons on top as a decorative touch. I got the cutest heart-shaped buttons at JoAnn's, and I just realized I never got Sam to take pictures of the buttons. Hopefully you can see them.

There's still some horizontal creases going on in the back, so I may have to take out some fabric there next time I sew this up. (I recently discovered that I'm a swayback!) I love the way this fits through the bust and hips, but I kind of wish there was a little less fabric in the waist. I'm still undecided about this, though. I think I may need to start cutting at smaller sizes and do an FBA, and grade to larger sizes for my hips. Then again, I'm not sure if I'd actually change anything when (there will be a when) I make another version of this pattern.

Moral? It's harder to make fit adjustments in sewing than in knitting! Measure twice, cut once---because you kind of can't really cut again.

I really wanted to take pictures outside of the Loeb fountain at Purdue, but the sun was way too high to get good pictures of the top without me making squinty faces at Sam. Anyway, I got 2 unsolicitations in the 3 hours I wore this top on 9/11. Totally made my day!

Pattern: New Look 6104 (pattern review), View A, $3.99
Fabric1.5 yards of 100% cotton from JoAnn's (@ $4.19/yd), $6.29
Notions: 2 packets of 3/8" heart buttons, $1.40 ea.
Time to complete: 2 hours of cutting + 9 hours of sewing = 11 hours. Phew! I am getting even faster now
Made for: Me!
Size: Cut a Size 14, but graded to a size 10 for the shoulder height and neck hole separation
-Shortened bottom half of back darts by about 1 inch. 
-Shortened at length adjustment mark by about 2 inches.
-Button placket is non-functional as the shirt fit over my head without opening it, as many other pattern reviewers have noted. If I were to do this again, I would omit the interfacing for the center placket, too, and maybe not bother making 2 sides. Maybe.
-If I were to sew this again, I'd adjust for the swayback I have.
Cost: (6.29+3.99+2.80)*1.07 + $3 sewing upkeep (machine repairs, needles, thread, etc.) = $17.00
Would you make this again? Yes!! I have plans to make essentially View A minus the ruffles in a red with white polka dotted fabric (yes, kind of Minnie Mouse like. I decided against a Peter Pan collared Alma blouse with this fabric because that's too referential for every day wear). I also plan on making a View C with a embroidered olive green & brown dotted fabric. Man, I love polka dots.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What do Taylor Swift, Zooey Deschanel, and Dianna Agron have in common?

I've been pondering what my style is lately, and I've been having a hard time defining it. I'm not a huge fan of the cutesy, almost girl-in-distress look, but I do admire some aspects of it. I really admire one of my girlfriend's style, and she bases much of her stylistic choices based on Zooey Deschanel.

Nostalgic Asterisks Dress from Anthropologie:

After browsing through some fashion guides, I realized I'm more partial to Taylor Swift's version of this girly/retro look. Taylor even has my 2C Wavy Whirly type curly hair.

Mompos dress from Anthropologie:
(Images L to R, Top to Bottom: Antrhopologie, Fresh Squeezed Fashion, Taylor Swift Style)

Funny thing though--these two ladies (along with Dianna Agron) tend to shop at many of the same places. I may have to start browsing Anthropologie (out of budget) and ModCloth (in budget) more.

Painted Plaid Dress from Anthropologie:

Or I could just make replicas.


I even have some green swiss dot that I podcasted about earlier, with which I plan(ned?) on making a Cambie dress.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Episode 9: My Sewing Plans

My hair raised $161! I have awesome friends who bid on cutting my hair. What do you think of it? I definitely need to get a good styled haircut sometime soon. Any hair styling suggestions? Donate to the Annique Wilson-Weekes Scholarship of Excellence at (donate link).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Episode 8b: My Birthday Stash

As soon as I finished recording this episode, Colette Patterns came out with a new jacket.
Now didn't I talk about not really liking Peter Pan collars, double-breasted jackets, and sleeve lengths that fall right above the elbow in this episode? Well, why do I want this jacket so badly? Probably because of the great job these designers do with advertising.

(image via Colette)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wardrobe Rehaul: Fall Wardrobe Planning (Part 3)

Yesterday, I talked about where my gaps in my wardrobe were, and how I planned on filling them. Here's another good blog post about building a versatile wardrobe. Today, I'll actually write out my plan! I don't know how much will happen before fall/winter is over, but a girl can try. If a project is numbered, that means I have the pattern + fabric already, so I should really try to make it.

Light-Weight Coats

(image via Sewaholic)
  1. Minoru Jacket in Mint Wool Crepe. I've had the pattern & fabric in my stash for a while. I was shuffling things around, and I realized that the Ivory zipper I bought for the Burgundy Minoru I was planning would go better with this mint-colored stretchy fabric. I bought a matching lining a while ago from Walmart: 5 yards for $1. I know! It's cheap stuff, but I don't trust my sewing skills enough quite yet to use better stuff? Is this a trap? Anyway, I plan to add a front placket to this one to hide the zipper that kind of matches. I'll had front pockets with flaps, and it will be hooded. This will be kind of like the parkas I see everywhere, but it'll be minty.
  2. Minoru Jacket in Burgundy Wool. This one won't have a hood, and it'll have sleeker pockets. I can't figure out if I want the pockets diagonally in the front, or if I want to just hide them in the side seam.
  3. Minoru Jacket in blue cotton twill with orange cotton dot fabric? I don't know how many of these I really need, but since I have the fabric...
I also have Butterick 5393, which looks a lot like the coat that Sonje made in the recent Project Runway episode. A lot of good fitting would be necessary, and I think a Minoru is enough of a challenge for now.

I know I need a new good coat, but I'm not good enough of a sewer yet to tackle it. I'm a beginner-intermediate, and a coat is for advanced sewers! I usually don't care about those silly labels, but coating fabric is expensive! I don't want to spent $50-$100 on coating fabric just to throw it away (along with all of the notions). Plus, it's hard to repurpose fabric, unlike yarn.

Anyway, I have Colette's Lady Grey pattern. What was I thinking? I am too petite for dramatic collars. Wouldn't it be lovely in a teal wool though? Oh, and Sam doesn't like the vintage style. He apparently only dates younger women. At the ripe age of 25, I'm the oldest person he's ever dated! Haha. :) I say whatever in the name of sewing escapades! Though, that is why I ended up with this wardrobe rehaul problem in the first place.

I also have Simplicity 2311, which looks like a really good, versatile coat pattern. I may attempt this in black wool coating. Especially if I don't feel like spending $325 on a coat again.


(image via Colette)

  1. Colette Clovers in black to get fitting issues straightened out (wearable muslin).
  2. Colette Clovers in red, with pretty much all of the modifications Sallie made. How awesome are those pants?
  3. Thurlow trousers in a cheap brown-glittery fashion suiting. I had originally purchased this fabric to make the ubiquitous Vogue 8280, but after seeing Tasia's shorts, I wanted pants out of this fabric. The only problem is that I may need to line these babies, so we'll see. If I decide against this fabric, I'll still use some fabric in the brown color family.

  1. Simplicity 2512 in a bright yellow faille, View B. I think I will need to get some yellow bias tape or use some mustard cotton in my stash for the bias binding. Oh, that's right. I want one like my favorite lady. I have/had (debating on keeping it/donating it) a yellow corded mini that I loved. I think I may replace it in my current size and make it a bit longer to be winter/work appropriate. I wish I could find some mustard gold corduroy, though.
  2. Simplicity 2512 in a black moleskin, View D.
  3. New Look 6030 in a dark purple corduroy, View B. Oh yea, she made one of these, too
  4. New Look 6030 in a chocolate cordless corduroy, View E, kind like this one.
  5. Butterick 5649 in a wine-colored cotton twill, View A. I have some denim that I've planned to make View C with, eventually, too. In fact, I donated my jean skirt for that very reason (and it didn't fit).
I have some old shirts of Sam's that he doesn't want anymore. The fabric is really high quality (it seems like men always shop that way), so I'd love to refashion them into skirts.

Edit: After writing up most of this blog post, I've realized that the following 3 sections defeats the purpose of my reason for culling my wardrobe. These will all be the sugar on top/icing on the cake. I will try not to make these until the projects above are completed. I still need a few cardigans (in white, black, & black--not red, necessarily.)

(image via Grainline Studios)

  1. Grainline Studioes Maritime Shorts in olive green.
  2. Grainline Studioes Maritime Shorts in blue.
  3. Grainline Studioes Maritime Shorts in burgundy/black floral print. Oh wait. It's not summer anymore.
  4. Thurlow shorts in a gray/silver brocade. I had originally  purchased this fabric to make a pencil skirt, but I think some fancy shorts may be cute out of them.
  1. Colette Peony in a white poplin? This may be too much white for the winter. I'd like to make a long-sleeved winter-appropriate version. Colette 2.0 is doing a sewalong for this, so this will encourage me to sew it up!  
  2. Cambie in yellow floral cotton, View B (full skirt). I know it's not summer, but I love the mustard color of this fabric. A pair of tights and a cardigan make it Fall appropriate, right?
  3. Cambie in green dot cotton, View A (A-line skirt). I'm a bit nervous about this much green across my body. I hope I don't look like a lawn or a brown leprechaun. I guess it's prepping for St. Patty's Day 6 months early. Say yeaa!
My roommate suggested I wear wrap dresses because of my body shape. I have a few patterns I'd like to try, but I need to find good fabric first. I have enough of a stash for now, though. Oh yea, I have the perfect yellow gingham for a Lonsdale. I guess I should think about making that, too.

  1. McCall's 6408 in a red jersey, View A. I can see myself wearing this all the time.
  2. Vogue 6866 in a navy double knit, View A. I love me a good shawl-collar, and I know this cozy knit will be worn all the time if I sew it right.
  3. Butterick 5388 in blue or green t-shirt fabric, View A. Again, I like a dramatic neck that stays within the confines of my shoulders (unlike the Lady Grey). The turtleneck is perfect for transitional weathers.
  4. Pendrell Blouse in an Opal Jade voile, view B.
  5. Pendrell Blouse made from an old shirt of Sam's, if there's enough fabric, view B.
  6. Alma Blouse in a black dot cotton, view B's peter pan collar, but view A's sleeves.
  7. Alma Blouse in a jade/white shirting, view C.
I think I'd love some more New Look 6104's. Maybe I should make a Renfrew with some scrap knits, since I have the pattern? Can you tell I'm a Sewaholic-aholic? Her Pendrell was my first "successful" sewing project, so I went a bit crazy. Oh wait. Didn't I say I already had enough tops? Psshh.

Some other items to fill in/round out my wardrobe:
(image via BlueFly)

  1. Tights--Some Falke tights, possibly. My roommate is great at scouring European designer deals, so next time she's buying tights, I'd love to add a few good wool tights to wear with skirts/dresses/fancy shorts to her order to save on shipping. Talk about adding versatility to my wardrobe!
  2. Shoes--I really want some taupe suede laced wedge booties! I have been scouring for some within my price range. These Donald J. Pliner ones are beautiful, but the Toms version are more affordable. I don't like the little toe pleats or the stark-whiteness of the taupe color, though. I may go for the J. Crew version, though the lace is too thick, and it's still about $100 more than I want to pay. I think some black (suede?) booties, and grey leather knee-high boots are in order, too. One at a time, girl.
  3. Accessories--Statement necklaces! I think I'll get an aqua bubble necklace that's everywhere, though a yellow one may go better with my wardrobe. Sam saw one in Chicago and said he didn't like them because they seemed to gaudy. It is a trending thing, though, so I'm okay with spending $20 for fashion's sake. I kind of want a few more accessories though to spice up my wardrobe. I've got some belts and scarves, but I think I need a few bracelets and necklaces. I need to experiment majorly in this department.
Phew! So what do you think? Is my plan doable? I haven't even gotten to all of the knitting I'm planning for this fall. I don't know how much I'm going to do! Let's just say (casually) that it may involve knitting 7 sweaters designed by a certain Argentinian designer. And 2 afghans for friends' recent marriages. What's your plan for knitting/sewing this fall?

Other Wardrobe Rehaul Entries:
Wardrobe Rehaul: Reduction (Part 1)
Wardrobe Rehaul: Filling in the Gaps (Part 2)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wardrobe ReHaul: Filling in the Gaps (Part 2)

I wrote about how I cleared out my closet of a lot of items of clothing that just didn't fit right in my last post. Here's a good article on tips to update/round-out your wardrobe. Now, it's time to fill in the (gasp!) gaps in my wardrobe.

(My "Bottoms" drawer, including PJs!)

I know in terms of basics, I'm lacking:
  1. Basic, long-sleeved white t-shirt (easily fixable; what I'll probably purchase the next time I'm craving shopping)
  2. White fitted button-down (not as easily fixable because fit is crucial; I may attempt to make this, but I'm not in a hurry, because I don't foresee needing one for a while)
  3. Light-weight coat for spring/fall transition seasons that fits!
  4. On that note, I need a heavier pea-coat/knee-length wool coat, because the one I have has completely tattered lining & the outside is very very pilly. I bought this jacket from J.Crew in 2005 for $325, so I guess it's done its job, but I hoped it would last even longer.
  5. I could maybe use 1-2 more light-weight cardigans (white, blue, and black; I guess that's 3).
I'm still trying to figure out what defines my style, but I know I often throw on some jeans and a nice top as my outfit du jour. During the summer, I wear summer dresses. Since it's not really summer for much longer, I'll worry about all of the summer dresses I got rid of next spring.

After cleaning out my wardrobe, my bottoms drawer is really empty. I have 3 pairs of goal-weight pants (that I may still get rid of later), 3 pairs of wearable pants (the fit is off on all 3 but they fit for now, so I'm making do; I'd like to eventually retire them), and 3 sets of summery skirts. In reality, I have nothing to wear during the fall months while still feeling stylish except leggings and long tunics (layered with sweaters, of course). So I'm thinking I need a few pants and to fix that. I would like to make a few functional winter-appropriate pieces, that go well with the tops I have, but don't have that jeans vibe to them.

Some considerations while I'm thinking of adding to the wardrobe:

(image via

My Style:
So, what defines my style? I guess it's Americana minus the Western-ness? I really need to figure this one out. I love love love retro looks, but I feel so silly wearing them myself. It feels costumey. I have thick lips, so red lipstick always looks like too much of a statement on me. I know I'm a bit girly, but not a vixen? I know I'm slightly modern, but not trendy? I'm not a rocker chick, but I do like a hard edge to a flirty style. I don't like really baggy clothes because I feel like the look swallows my body, but I feel really self-conscious in body-con outfits, too.

I guess the 20's is definitely the time to experiment, so I want to do this more. I'd like to have a style that I can define, and isn't settling for what's readily available. I don't want to be ok with my wardrobe--I want to be delighted with it.

(image via tumblr/pinterest)

Steph had a great series of posts about figuring out a color scheme for your clothes. In my last post, you can see that I do neutrals + jewel tones with the oddball bright color. I love color, so I don't like limiting myself to a small palette. Steph argues that one should stick to small color palette to always look put-together. I see her point, but I think it's possible to have a wide variety of colors that work well together. One just has to be creative with it. Reminder to self: always wearing neutral bottoms is the easy way out of this.

I would like to create some chic pieces that have some color (though neutrals are necessary, too!) to wear with all of the tops I have. I'm thinking skirts in mustard/camel, burgundy, blue, and black, and pants in black, khaki/camel/brown, and red. Ooh! Maybe some winter shorts, too.

(image via projectwedding)

While surfing for articles about building a great wardrobe, I stumbled across this one geared towards men. Still, it's an interesting read. The argument is to own a few, quality pieces that are interchangeable. Color goes hand-in-hand with this idea. Sticking to one color palette can extend the versatility of your wardrobe. If I make/buy something, I need to make sure it goes with several other items in the wardrobe. Usually, this isn't a problem for my tops/bottoms because I have so many of them. I think I need to expand my accessories a bit (statement necklaces, anyone?), and take versatility into account. Though, that's kind of an oxymoron--people often buy accessories as a way to make their wardrobe trendy, not necessarily versatile. However, have you seen some of the prices for statement necklaces?!

Stay-tuned for Part 3: Fall Wardrobe Planning. What are some things you consider when building your wardrobe?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wardrobe ReHaul: Reduction (Part 1)

(Image via StyleBakery)

I'm sorry I haven't done my weekly podcast this past week. I celebrated my 25th birthday (my favorite number! Woohoo!) this past Saturday, so I was just taking time off to enjoy the weekend.

Confession time:
I have been a sewing fiend! I want to sew all the things! I've decided to be a little sane about it, though because of the following progression of logic:
  1. I don't know what it was, but I was looking for a way to waste time online. I stumbled across one of my favorite bloggers, Andrea at Four Square Walls, and I decided to read all of her backlog of blog entries. I love her simple, chic style. I knew immediately that I, too, wanted to be a cool kid and sew New Look 6104. I will post about my FO later, but when I put on my version of this top, I knew I wanted some cute red cigarette pants to go with it.
  2. After recently completing the Macaron dress, I pranced around in my FO for the next day or two. My boyfriend said he didn't like it. Why? It had too much of a retro feel. Well, duh! That's what the dress was supposed to imitate.
  3. My roommate has the cutest style! She is a petite little thing. I'm short, but she's petite! She can't just go into a store and find something off the rack because most likely it won't fit her. She's very selective about her wardrobe because she only spends money for good, quality items. She's intrigued by my sewing fanaticism because of the tailoring that's inherent in sewing. We've had some long conversations about how to have a good fit in clothing, and what defines our styles. She keeps asking me what stops me from really caring that much about how I dress, when I appreciate fine style so much. I always respond with a shrug.
  4. There have been a lot of good blog posts out there recently about building a good working wardrobe.
For some reason, after all of that, it clicked. I have been moping about my wardrobe without really calling it that for quite some time now. Since I've moved to Indiana, I haven't fit into much of my clothing because I "knew" it would all fit me once I lost all of that weight again. I have been moving all of these clothes with me from state to state thinking that I would wear them again, so there's no point in throwing it all away. In reality, so many of those clothes have barely been worn because (1) they never fit correctly in the first place, (2) they wore out after 2-3 washed because they were so cheap, (3) I wore them out too much and really should not be seen in them again.

I read a ton of fashion magazines, style (+ sewing + knitting) blogs, and happiness/minimalism articles/books. It's ironic how much I soak all of these in, but never apply them to my real life (minus the sewing/knitting). I know that you should really build your wardrobe on a few classic, well-made, good quality staples. I just never really thought it applied to my wardrobe because I had everything. Plus, I'm a grad student, whose uniform is supposed to be jeans and a t-shirt.

Well, I think I Just Had Too Much. I couldn't think creatively about dressing because of the 12 pairs of ill-fitting jeans covering up the other trousers I had in my pants drawer. All of those ratty fitted T's floated on top of the shirt drawer, hiding my nicer tops. I even had my old prom-dress-type gowns packed away in a suitcase. Really?!

That was the problem. I needed to do a good cleanse. It didn't take much time, but I spent last night doing what all of those fashion magazines tell you to do:
  1. I tried on all of my tops to see how they fit. Surprisingly, the knits often still fit well because they were stretchy. I just never wore them because I thought they wouldn't fit. The reality is, I've been gaining more weight on the bottom, so I just don't have good pants to wear with the tops.
  2. Everything that I knew I wouldn't really wear anymore were tossed. If it was worn out, ill-fitting, needed repairs beyond my abilities/desire/worth-the-cost-of-a-tailor, it went straight to the "toss" pile. The wovens were mostly tossed. I kept the 3 pants that still fit, and 3 pants that were $60/pair (I only spend $30 on jeans, usually). Those pants are my goal pants in classic cuts made of expensive materials. I know I should probably toss them, too, but I seriously got rid of maybe 6-7 pairs of jeans & 5 pairs of shorts/pants that don't fit, so I think I did alright. Jackets that didn't fit or were too worn were tossed.
  3. I went through my clothes to see what was missing. I never did this because I always had so many clothes. In terms of tops, I'm okay unless I want something a little more loose-fitting. I just need a long-sleeved basic white T, and I'm done. In terms of bottoms, that's a whole 'nother part of the post.
In all, I collected 5 giant brown paper bags of clothing to donate to Goodwill my next run around there. That filled up the trunk of my car. Look!

I sorted through my clothes and really thought about how I wear them. I have sooo many tops, it's no surprise to me that my "Tops" drawer is still full after getting rid of 20+ shirts. There were a few tops that I kept on my "nice tops to wear" side but I never wore. I realized they'd make great workout gear for when I don't want to wear an old alma mater tee. I never realized how I had some shirts that I would barely wear because they were a bit too low-cut. Then, I also found out that I had umpteen-gazillion (more like 10) light long-sleeved sweaters. I know I love wearing them, but I don't wear them that much. I was happy to find one thing about my wardrobe--I never really bought duplicates (except for jeans). I have a pretty good idea of all of things I own, so I don't buy two mint green light-sweaters, even though I may be tempted.

So after a bit of re-organization/anal-ness, here's what my "Tops" drawer looks like:

Yeap-that's right. I'm that anal that the columns of tops are labeled, the tops themselves are rolled (saves space, you can see everything, and actually prevents most creases!), and they're organized in a semi-color-gradient fashion.

I even know where my going-out/work-inappropriate clothes are.

Okay-so now that I've gotten rid of the clutter, what's missing? Well, not much, in reality. However, this is a knitting/sewing blog, so wait for Part 2 of this post to see how I'm thinking of filling in those gaps.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Episode 7: My Hair

Annique was a med school classmate of mine, and she unfortunately passed away due to stomach cancer in the beginning of 2nd year of medical school after a 5 month battle. The school has set up a scholarship in her name, and we need to raise $100,000 in 5 years for the scholarship to be viable.

Read her story and donate to the Annique Wilson-Weekes Scholarship of Excellence fund at: