Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Wore the August Outfit...

When I promised myself last week that I'd wear this outfit sometime this week, I didn't think about the forecast for rain every.single.day.  Fortunately, the boots are waterproof, lol.
I'll be honest; I got two white blouses, slightly different styles, from Lands' End that month and I'm not entirely sure that the one I'm wearing here is the one that I put in the post.  But it probably doesn't matter much.  It is annoying that the buttons don't line up quite where they need to...probably the strongest reason I have for making my own button up shirts, lol.

That skirt is going to be a wardrobe staple.  A perfect length, nice fabric...I do believe I have replaced the black skirt I wore forever in the 80's and 90's.  Since I'm probably past the point of shirt-tucking-in, it's not going to matter that it's an elastic waist, lol.

The boots are...ok.  The leather is rather stiff, and where it bends it kinda bumps my foot/ankle and it actually hurts a little at the end of the day.  That may change somewhat once they are well broken in.  They are really snug in the calves, but they have an elastic gore in them so they can zip...

Here's a tip:  Use a wire coat hanger to zip snug boots.  Stick the hanger hook into the hole on the zipper pull  and then use the hanger as a giant pull.  It gives enough purchase that the zipper will close right up.

I'd credit the source on that but it's been years, lol.  But I have to work now to dig up a wire hanger; I've mostly switched out to plastic and flocked hangers.

The outfit is a winner.

Friday, February 07, 2020

12 Months 12 Outfits - Thoughts on the journey

2019 was an interesting sewing year; having watched Janice at The Vivienne Files build six wardrobes around six Hermes scarves for the previous three years, I decided to get a scarf and, following her choices based on the scarves she chose for 2019, build a wardrobe over the course of a year based on my own scarf.

I didn't  have to  make it all; I allowed myself to pull garments that were already in the closet or purchase something if I couldn't get it made.    I found a wonderful scarf on sale at Nordstroms in the fall of 2018, Hightower by Ted Bakker London, and pulled a color palette from it to use as the basis of the wardrobe and we were off:

Note that I re-did the monthly outfit combo pics for Jan - May from the original lay-it-out-flat pictures I used to the composites that I used the rest of the year.  I will say this... putting the composite pictures together has REALLY made me appreciate the work Janice does to get her wardrobes up for her readers.  It's not a quick process at all...and I didn't even include links, or new combinations each month. It's a bit of work!

The first four months of the year I ended up staying pretty black and white; a blue jacket and a green t shirt were the only two out of eight  garments added to the wardrobe that weren't either black or white, and I did make everything these first four months; partly because I also used these garments in the annual Stitchers Guild sew-a-wardrobe contest known as SWAP (Sew With A Plan).  My greatest difficulty was finding shoes.  I began a dance with Zappos that basically lasted all year...they sent me stuff, I stuck my foot in it and then sent it back.  Short duck-shaped feet that have...issues...do not lend themselves to fashionable shoes.  For January and February I pulled shoes from my closet but for March I had nothing that would work with the culottes.  I ended up with a pair of all black Keds.   Sort of worked.  But in the spring I was diagnosed with Achilles Tendonosis, and the dr told me to avoid flat shoes.  After wearing the Keds to work one day, I realized he was right.  They just don't do what my feet need.  Later in the year, I found a pair of wedge black espadrilles that were the shoes I wanted for that outfit all along.  The Taos Moc Stars from the April outfit, on the other hand, are wonderful shoes with excellent support and I bought a gray pair as well, which doesn't work with this wardrobe but has gotten a lot of wear just the same.

The other problem I had was trying to alter up patterns to get what I wanted.  March and April both came down to the wire because I spent a bunch of time working on a pattern that just needed way too much work before ditching that and going with something that was easier to fit.

May to August was a mix of me-made and purchased garments. I'd added the white pants from Lands' End to the wardrobe in early spring and they came in handy with the striped tops in July.  The white SAS sandals are some of the most comfortable sandals I think I've ever put my foot in.  They were in the shoe rotation at Disney in the fall and, even though my feet got tired,  they never got sore.    The denim dress was a major pattern overhaul that I actually stuck with.  I'm glad I did, but I almost wish I had made the dress sleeveless so it could double as a long vest.  I will be honest, though...I haven't gotten up the nerve to wear the skirt and boots yet.  Maybe I just need to give myself a deadline...like, I should make myself wear it to work next week.  I think it's a sharp outfit...I just have gotten completely out of the skirt habit.  OK, Lisa...wear it next week!

In the last four months of the year, taken all together, I struggled to get any personal sewing done.  We traveled a LOT, and as soon as we got through all our trips, the Christmas costuming hit and didn't quit until the production on December 22nd.  I didn't actually make any garments for September, October or November, and two of the December garments have been in the closet for a number of years already.

I would say that the least used purchase here was the white puffer vest...probably the weakest fashion addition to the whole wardrobe. I've found that I really don't like my arms un-insulated so I'm not a good candidate for a puffer vest.  My hubby loves them and uses them for outerwear quite a bit, so I bought that one a couple of years ago but found I just didn't wear it much.  But I could pull it from the closet for the September wardrobe.  Had I had time, I think I would have made myself a non-insulated fashion vest to wear but, alas, I had not the time. That's another wardrobe item I need to work to use.  If my office wasn't so hot (it's been averaging in the upper 70's for the last couple of weeks...old boiler system) I could maybe wear it but the thought of putting something warm on to work in is rather wilting at the moment, lol.

I ordered the heavy coat from Lands' End during a 50% off sale back in October, and literally about two days after it arrived the bottom fell out of the temps and we were in the upper teens.  I wore it, was toasty warm, and was very glad that the wardrobe challenge kinda pushed me to stop procrastinating and just get the coat.  We've  had one other cold snap that made it useful since then, but I don't think we're going to get much more winter now.

As I mentioned in the December outfit post, the silver top doesn't really fit with the palette; that shade of gray is not in the scarf.  But by that time I just needed to get something dressy that would work with velvet pants and it does that, hands down.  So I'm living with a little faux pas. 

So, here are all the garments (save the heavy black coat), arranged by type.  A black check is something I made specifically for the wardrobe, a red check is something I bought specifically for the wardrobe.  If it's not checked, then I pulled it from the closet (and it could be something I bought or made at some point in the past).

Just for full documentation, I'll add the accessory collection picture too:
I probably should have indicated here what I obtained specifically for a month's outfit and what I pulled from Things I Already Had, but I didn't think about that in time.  MOST of the accessories were things I already had, to be honest, but there were a handful of things that I got just for a particular outfit.  Mostly shoes, lol, I think 5 pairs. Two necklaces and a couple of pairs of earrings; one bracelet.  Um, yeah, I think that's it. 

It was a great exercise and succeeded in getting me some options to wear with the post-menopausal body that I don't recognize anymore.  I did make myself stick as closely as was reasonable...and maybe even a little closer than that at times...to Janice's posts.  Were I to do it again, I would probably give myself more leeway.  I don't think I would push myself to add a pair of different shoes with each wardrobe (to be fair...she did skip shoes on one month's outfit last year). The March outfit (black culottes, green T, heavy scarf and black Keds) was probably the biggest stretch for an 'outfit'.  It looked and felt awkward; it might not have had I been able to source better shoes and a lighter scarf. I have worn the T and the culottes multiple times...just not together, lol.

But it was a good exercise in discipline.  And I might do a slightly scaled back version with another scarf...later, lol.

 I really, really need to spend some time on maintenance in my sewing areas; they are 100% trashed at the moment.  And my serger needs some work.  And I'm hearing rumors of a costumed Easter something, too.  So who knows when I will have time to do any  wardrobe sewing...lol...

Monday, February 03, 2020

Finally....The final 2019 Wardrobe Outfit

January ended up being almost as busy as December...and then I got sick, lol, and didn't feel like doing anything.

I waffled over what to do.  Should I finish?  Call it good after November?  What?

Well, I DID order some black stretch velvet in December...and I HAVE wanted some stretch velvet palazzo pants for ages...so I thought, hey, it's worth pushing through and doing this.

So I modified a TNT pull on pants pattern  a little (New Look 6203) and created, rather slowly over about three weeks, a pair of drapey stretch velvet pants.  But the question was...what do I do to make a dressy outfit with it?

I thought a minute...My Sweet Babboo and I have nice reservations for dinner on Valentine's Day at one of our favorite get away spots.  What if I planned my dressy outfit around Valentine's Day since I'd clearly missed Christmas?


I looked through the clothes in the closet and added another outfit to the wardrobe.  When I was putting the pictures together, I realized I made a boo-boo with the  color palette.


I thought a minute and then decided  I 'd live with it, lol.  It works for Valentine's day.    For what it's worth, Here're the outfits Janice posted for December.   Six dressy winter outfits, with a skirt (or velvet pants) a sweater (or a velvet tunic), earrings, bracelet, a small bag and dress shoes.  I am not hitting that 100%, but I think it will work.

The silver top is the boo-boo; I don't have any gray in my palette.  The gray in the scarf is more of a taupe-y gray and is really hard to match.  I didn't realize that until I put it on the slide with the scarf.  I really didn't want to just wear a black column; partly because  I didn't have a suitable black top to use.  But I looked again at the top and realized it was metallic, not really gray, and I have LOTS of silver jewelry for it to coordinate with; if I call it silver and not gray...it kind of works, lol.  So I am fudging it in (I will admit to being shocked to see that I'd made it in 2013).  You will notice I have three garments instead of just two, but the silver knit is 1) sleeveless and 2) very light and floaty.  It needs some help to be worn in the winter.  So...I added a cardigan.  The red jacket is the same pattern as the blue one I made for the first outfit in January, McCalls 6844.  The fabric was originally a much more orange-y shade of red; I overdyed it to a pretty garnet shade and made the jacket and a pull on skirt about 3 years ago.  I think.

I changed the accessory choices, too.  I should have a bracelet, but it really wouldn't show under the long sleeves of the cardi, so I pulled out a heart necklace on a short chain that will sit above the drapey neckline.  It doesn't hurt that it was a Christmas gift from My Sweet Babboo a couple of years ago.  All in all..perfect for Valentine's day.  The garnet earrings I actually bought from Novica back in February last year, thinking I'd use them for the February outfit...and then I went with a royal blue scarf and they didn't work.  They'll do nicely here.  A wallet-on-a-strap is a quick little bag for going out; that came from, of all places, the Hallmark store.  I've been using it as a wallet for several months now, but it's also easy to pull out of my larger bag and throw over my shoulder for a quick trip.

The shoe saga may be at an end...maybe.  I can't begin to tell you how many pairs of variations on black pumps I ordered from Zappos and sent back because they pinched my toes.  I finally went with the more pricey offerings ('Elaine' by SAS) up a half size from normal, in a double wide.  And they still pinch my toes a little.  But I am thinking they will be tolerable for short events that require dress pumps.  At the moment, they are in the closet...but I still have the packaging should I change my mind before I actually wear them out of the house.  I have about 9 more months to ponder them, lol.  We'll see if they actually make the cut and stay.

So,  here's what I ended up with after the final outfit (everything but the heavy black overcoat):

I will likely do one more post on the 2019 Wardrobe, kind of a look at how practical this exercise has been, what I learned by doing it and what I will carry forward.

But...it's done! LOL.