Friday, January 12, 2018

First Week Diary of the No Ready to Wear Sewist

I sketch in this little book. Ideas are quickly forgotten these days so I must write them down!

Nothing fancy, it is one of those little journal books from Joann's, last year, on sale! I keep it by my computer, desk, television so that I can jot down what ever catches my attention. 

No Ready to Wear means No Ready to Wear. Period. Well except underwear, shoes and purses which I don't make anyway, though I am in awe of those who do.
  • Monday, Jan 1-holiday, no problem, who shops on New Years Day, right?
  • Tuesday, Jan 2-clearance sales all over QVC. TV droning in background. I will not look...oh look at that cute t-shirt with the grommet trim on the neckline! 50% off!   STEP AWAY FROM THE TV.
  • Wednesday, Jan 3-I found a half dozen sweaters with tags still on, shame, shame. Vaguely remember buying them on clearance but never wore them. Purging and curating the closet is vital to the project. I will wear these, this Winter.
  • Thur, Jan 4- out and about, studying coats worn by everyone around me, it is bitter cold today. I have seen some nice coats, lots of "puffers" even a fur, some sort of fox I think. Poor little critters. You will not see me in any animal furs, ever. I have some nice faux collars, coats etc. 
  • Fri, Jan 5- big decision of the day, trace or cut the pattern??? I have decided to cut this one. Since it fairly simple, no design lines per se, it is easy to grade up or down. I am cutting a med-large size. I have found that I often have to tweak patterns down. Not that I have changed but I think that vanity sizing is at work in most patterns these days. 

The News of the day...Style Arc Patterns are on Sale!  
These patterns do not often have price reductions. I buy mine on Amazon, I just can't justify the cost of shipping from Austrailia. What I like about Style Arc is the simple design lines, the versatility of the pattern to adjust to my currently casual lifestyle. However, I can take a simple top and use a more upscale fabric and the look is entirely different. There were several that I have been considering but did not purchase because of the price. A few dollars off felt like getting a free pattern in the end. Style Arc Sewing Pattern - Jacinta Knit Dress (Sizes 18-30) - Click for Other Sizes AvailableIn warm weather I thoroughly enjoy a loose fitting dress. This can fill a number of requirements and again, one of those dresses with simple but sophisticated lines that can morph from casual to dressy with fabric choice. It is the Jacinta Knit Dress. 
 Style Arc Sewing Pattern - Esme Designer Knit Top (Sizes 18-30) - Click for Other Sizes AvailableThe Esme Knit Top is one I have himmed and hawed about forever. I kept saying to myself, I have a couple patterns, very similar to this in the stash. I do but I just think I needed it. You know what I mean. I won't have to re-draft the neckline, those little side vents (you know I am really keen on side vents) are already included and flare out...just a wee bit from the side seam.

There are a few more and I will show them soon. These two were my favorites of the 5 I chose. I have a bit of Ponte, lightweight and medium weight.

  • have you been able to resist retail? If you have slipped a bit out of your personal comfort zone, don't worry nothing bad will happen. Sometimes I think you have to re-think the project as it applies to you. Rather than NO ready to wear you might just T shirts. Maybe for just 3 months. Then adjust from there. 
  • have you sorted out your dressing style and determined your needs?
  • I am still sorting patterns, that has helped me narrow down the style I plan for this wardrobe which will be warm weather, some travel and totally comfortable.   


Friday, January 5, 2018

Eye Candy-Vintage Dior

vintage fashion photo from Christian Dior exhibition in Paris. More at une femme d'un certain age.
Wow, now this is a classic. I include it on my "Planning Board" because the style, well, the style is enough to make me wear dress suits again. Specifically, I am drawn to the neckline on the jacket top. That iconic flip tie at the neckline is on my short list.

Floral embroidered gown from Christian Dior. More at une femme d'un certain age.
 Vintage Dior, stunning, innovative for it's time. The embroidery on this piece enhances the design lines and adds those little pops of color that draws the eye into the waist and bodice. That is couture. Over the last few years I have seen RTW dresses with this same treatment. Concentrating the embroidery density in those areas actually creates more shape and defines the waistline. That upper shoulder "collar" for want of a better word is ethereal. I would love to see that in person. Maybe someday. In the meantime I have been scanning my embroidery files for future projects. Any contrast shoulder or yoke treatment for me would likely improve my design. My shoulders are small compared to my bust and waist.  

  • Using Vintage design style to enhance current style is a long held design secret. Everything old is new again, right. In that vein, I have noticed a strong lean to 1970's fashion details. Good grief, I even have seen polyester jump suits. I can't see that personally but if you have a figure that accommodates it, good for you!
  • It is darn cold here. Darn cold. Even with three heat vents wide open in my studio for a week, I am just barely hitting 64 degrees. In the past I have used a space heater there but with all the fires on the news recently, I am afraid. The room is filled with flammables and I just can't do it. Soooooo, I don't have much to show in progress today, I am so sorry. I am optimistic that things will improve. Please know that I do not tolerate cold. I am considering moving some things upstairs for assembly. 
  • I had to laugh, I had ordered a nice little coat before Christmas. Under the wire wouldn't you say? It was delivered today. My quandary this breaking my own rule? I actually considered returning it but changed my mind. Two reasons, I bought it weeks ago, last year and second, the return fee was ridiculous. Therefore, I will enjoy my new coat. *PS I have a coat problem!  
Do you need a planner for your personal project? Here is a link to "Seamwork," the magazine division of Colette Patterns. It is free and downloadable if you are interested.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Mid-Week Ponderings........

Now and then, I may come up with a word or two appropriate to our goal. The Wardrobe Project at Sewtopia Studio will mostly be a once a week post, on Fridays. However, with scanning the webs and blogs I sometimes find a word, a phrase or an item of clothing or even an accessory that might interest you. Often these will be trending fashion, other times it might be a beautiful arrangement of flowers that support my color of the month quest. 
The very Red Rose contrasted with a creamy White Rose give a nice contrast in nature as well as clothing. Stay tuned. 
  • As a reminder, my dark neutral for this wardrobe will be Navy Blue, sometimes other blues may sneak in. 
  • My light neutral will be white, off white, Winter white, optic white. All whites. 
  • In the month of January 2018 my accent color will be RED! I will need to be careful to not resemble a Fourth of July banner :)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Effortless Style

Carnation January Birth Flower
I have recently discovered that each month has a Birth Flower of the Month. January's flower is the lovely Carnation. Delicate but long lasting, this dear bloom is a staple in the flower world. In the fashion world one often sees fabric fashioned to resemble a carnation to be used as a brooch. So sweet.

Interestingly, the Met calendar that I have reviewed in another post features Red, just like this red carnation, as it's color of the month for January. Shoes, gowns and accessories are featured every day. 

I have always felt that Red was a little intense for my fair and freckled coloring, but pops of Red make any outfit special.  

My plan is to use some contrasting red fabrics in my first top, maybe in the yoke or even the sleeves. Of course, red embroideries may be all I need to fulfill my Red quota for the month!clothing and accessories with carnation motifs

Lets talk about effortless style.
  • Time and trial will help us to define our "style." Sewing your garments to suit that style is the best way to design your wardrobe but we all know we often do not do that! I will see a pattern that is stunning, classy, downright posh. I tend to not sew it, add it to the collection because it does not suit my life style. 
  • To build this new wardrobe (please remember that my focus is going to be warmer weather clothes) I need to focus on how I live in warmer weather. That includes travel. 
  • My first test will be these pants, by Style Arc, designed for knits. They are going to be built with that lovely (inexpensive) poly/cotton knit fabric I picked up at Joann's a few weeks ago just for this purpose. It is white. I know, a bit boring, but there are many ways to up the ante on the final project and if I like this pattern it will be a TNT after fitting. Style Arc Sewing Pattern - Anna Pant - Sizes 4-16 - Click for Other Sizes Available
  • I will add some kind of RED embellishment to support the theme of Red Carnations for the month of January.     
  • The collection below is representative of a core wardrobe for casual lifestyle. With these pieces one can design feature items to complete a collection. In gray scale these are a bit boring I admit but once you determine Your dark neutral and your light are good to go.  ***I have mentioned many times in the past on Corinne in Sewtopia blog that Janice, of the Vivienne Files, is my go-to source for all things fashion these days. She works so hard to curate a beautiful wardrobe for her readers I see no reason to attempt to reinvent the wheel when she does it soooooo well. Link at the bottom of the post. 
  • The Cool Weather Collection
My examples are going to be targeted to a warm weather wardrobe.
My warm weather dark neutral will likely be Navy Blue and the light neutral a white, not sure how white yet. But white.

  1. My T shirts will have sleeves, some short, some "ballet length" but there will be sleeves. 
  2. I will make some tanks to wear under light weight jackets and cardigans.
  3. Lightweight cardigans and jackets are essential. I freeze in commercial air conditioning. 
  4. There will be pants in woven and knit fabrics. As I have mentioned, I travel, in a large motor home and long days on the road or sightseeing demand comfortable non-wrinkling pants.
  5. I plan to explore skirts again, not promising and they will be longer than the one pictured. These knees do not see the light of day. 
  6. A comfy little dress or two, below knee length are also in the queue.   
The Home Page for The Vivienne Files


Friday, December 22, 2017

Are You a Fan of the Muslin? WP at Sewtopia Studio 2018

Organized Chaos, I've pulled my patterns!

The weeks before the holidays are always crowded with activities other than sewing. My suggestion, when you have some down time get out your planner journal and make notes, make plans, get ready for your project! After gathering your reference books, examine your lifestyle and determine where your wardrobe needs a boost to make your life easier. Peruse your existing pattern stash and set your sewing priorities, it is essential. You don't want to jump in willy-nilly your time and resources are valuable! While I have chosen a couple coat patterns from the stash, they are just sort of on the edges of my needs list. I am looking ahead to Spring/Summer, that is where I have gigantic holes in my wardrobe.

For me I have determined a few imperatives. I have not done much garment making for a couple years so I need to work on my skills again even though I have been sewing for decades. To do this I have decided to make muslin's of some chosen patterns to get comfortable again with assembly and fit.
Since many of my chosen patterns will use knits, I picked up the remains of a bolt of white Jersey knit. Joann's with 60% off coupon.

This is not the highest quality fabric but it will work well for wearable muslin. The "wearable" component will be for PJ's or lounge wear. 
 My needs right now are simple. I need warm at-home lounge wear and sleepwear. I discovered some time ago that by making wearable muslin's in fabrics that suit such clothing, I can essentially fulfill that need. So, I have been scanning the patterns for items that will work.
The Style Arc Avery Tunic Top

I like the design lines on this top. The fashioning of the contrast fabrics for the yoke and sleeves will give me a chance to mix it up a bit! The yoke will also lend itself well to embroidery. Can you see where I am going with this?

This pattern will work beautifully. I will use a knit fabric and fit from this stitch-out. It also gives me an opportunity to experiment with different stitching styles. Everything from straight stitch to serged wave stitches can be used here.With just a slight high-low hem, it is stylish and comfortable.
Another Style Arc pattern. This one is featured recently in a post by Sarah Gunn of Goodbye Valentino Blog, read about it here!

In addition, I just picked up the Style Arc Coral Cardigan that will round out my casual wardrobe in one fabrication and my posh wardrobe in another fabric. I will make this first in a ponte knit to test out the cut and fit. That ponte will probably be embroidered with something cute to be worn as a second layer warm lounge piece.  
Totally loving the in-seam horizontal pockets!

  • So there we have it. The most likely candidates for project #1. Project #2 will likely be a pair of pants. We'll talk about that next time. The Coral Cardigan is on the radar, just not sure when. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Planning For The Wardrobe Project at Sewtopia Studio: 2018-Favorite Things......The First Three

The New Calendar is up in the Studio, Inspiration.

The great advantage of being able to sew one's own clothing is the opportunity to customize and personalize the item. I have my list of favorite adaptations and I'm sure you do as well. My list is long but here are the first three suggestions from my experience that enhance your item and make it custom, special. By designing and creating your own clothing you can add elegance to everyday items. I know I could use a bit of elegance in my life. If you agree consider your Favorite Things.
  1. Polka Dots. I have never met a dot I didn't like. Small ones, large ones, symmetrical placed dots or random and scattered. The dot is a pattern I most often associate with warm weather clothing but I found a nice little piece of yardage in the stash that will work well for cool weather as well. 
    This is a two yard piece of a satin poly I pick up at Joann's to use as a lining for some sleeves. Now I may have another use for it.
  2.  Monograms. When I began serious sewing as a teen monograms were uber fashion. Visible on shirt cuffs and pockets or tucked away on the inside facing of a jacket, the monogram was essential for stylish dressing. My first fur coat (when they were acceptable) had an elegant monogram of my initials on the right inside facing at hip length. The heavy white satin lining was appliqued with 2 inch appliqued initials. I gave that coat away a long time ago. It is sort of one of my biggest mistakes in life.   
    Built-in monogram styles on my machine.
  3. The Classic Dressing Gown. I admit my passion for this piece of clothing after immersing myself in the outstanding PBS series Downton Abbey.  One does not need to live in a castle to experience a bit of elegance in life. It is what you make it and adding the Dressing Gown to the repertoire is in my plans. My current lifestyle should fit well into this habit. Many years ago my room mate at school always, always wore a simple dressing gown when applying make up or combing her hair. It was a classy example of a super busy student holding on to a habit taught by the women in her family. I asked once why she did this. She explained that the "dust" from facial powders could stain ones undergarments and the stray hairs one sheds during grooming are not good for the skin on sensitive shoulders. And if someone knocked on the door, one could answer with no shuffling around trying to throw on some clothes. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pages, Right Sidebar

Study colors in nature to build your color theory profile!
Image result for vintage sewing machines

In the pages section of this blog, located on the right sidebar, you will find some different categories. Today I added the My Favorite Machines list. I often get questions about what machine I use or what I would recommend and I hope this will answer all those questions. If not, just comment on the post or email me directly. 

First Week Diary of the No Ready to Wear Sewist

I sketch in this little book. Ideas are quickly forgotten these days so I must write them down! Nothing fancy, it is one of those lit...