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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Not Just Another Wardrobe Plan Post - Learning to Dress My Truth

Lately there is a blogosphere undercurrent of Kondo-adhering, organized people planning a new Fall Capsule Wardrobe.  Sometimes I wish I was one of those people, but I am more of an
kind of person.  In fact, striving for a minimalist life is soul crushing for me!
Really though I have realized that I need to institute some guidelines for my enthusiasm.  I need to approach my apparel sewing differently than I have been.
Why do I need a guiding path? Because of my personality - everything is an option for me.  Why is this a problem? Try watching Yes Man - everything is fun a and games until you stop and realize that you have lost YOU in the Yes.  I need some guidelines to keep my projects in check or my enthusiasm will become my frenemy.  Trust me - this is a real issue in all aspects of my life - I have been married to the wrong guy, jumped into a 2nd marriage that couldn't work geographically, and stayed way too long in a relationship that was just t.o.x.i.c. All because I am a positive person who enthusiastically says yes!  spoiler alert: I am happily in the healthiest relationship of my life, now, finally, at 43.
Just a quick FYI - There are no affiliate links in this blog post.  I don't have a moral standing on this issue - I typically have 100 hits on a blog post - that's a lot of people reading my diary, but metrics don't justify the work of cultivating affiliate relationships.

In the May issue of Seamwork there was an article ""Design a Personal Color Palette" that recommended making a framework for your wardrobe.  This chart from Elizabeth Farr was featured in the Seamwork Article:



Your clothes don’t always make you feel vibrant.When wearing your own colors, you naturally will feel better. It’s hard not to feel blah in a deep, dark sweater when candied pastels light up your face.
You feel disconnected and trapped by fashion trends.With a strong sense of your own colors, you won’t have to wait for fashion seasons to bring your favorite colors to you.
Your clothes don’t seem to go well together.You will increase the versatility of your wardrobe. When all your creations are in your color range, you can combine your clothes in ways that you never could before. Orphan garments will be a thing of the past.
You find yourself buying fabric because it’s "close enough" to what you really want.A personal palette will boost your creativity. Working within the limits of a color palette, you will look for novel solutions when you cannot find the right color in a given fabric. For example, when you can’t find the right shade of denim, you might reach for bleach, dye, or choose a vivid printed twill.
Colour wasn't everything I needed, though - I need a sewing buddy to help me know if something looks "right" on me too - but sewing buddies are scarcer than hen's teeth in my environment.  But, I have online friends - and we all know that the online community is utterly supportive; there's no room for trolling in our community - and when an outsider does troll, things like #cakewithcashmerette happen. So when I asked, I was not getting a critique - just support (I thank you all for your support, it's a wonderful world to live in, except - I need to be told the bitter truth sometimes!)

I read  Stacy London 's book The Truth about Style in hopes that would help, and it did, but it was more to help me garner enthusiasm for my project - not what style would work for me specifically.  The book is awesome, it really helps you understand where you can go wrong and how to encourage your desire to be stylish.  I realized while reading the book that each woman's situation spoke to me in a way  - perhaps the issues I am facing are cultural?  In the end the book reminded me of the Girl Guide Law: especially from the Promise, "I Promise to be True to Myself".  (It's funny how the Law always brings me back to my home ground.)

  What do I desire?  Here's a little brainstorming of keywords (and then I went back and added a "what does this mean? - What do I want?"):

  • Ease - I want my look to seem effortless, outfits are fine, but I want people to think I took care, without freaking out about what to wear)
  • Commanding - I want people to notice me and pay attention
  • Approachable - I want people to want to talk to me
  • Pretty - I want to look attractive in a romantic lacy way
  • Quality - Made - I want the quality of my clothes speak to my skills as a sewist
  • Synchronous - I want my outfits to be coordinated not just as an ensemble, but to work with my situation and my personality
  • Youthful - I want my clothes to be fun and full of energy, and let me be free to do youthful things while I am wearing them
  • Up-Market - I want my clothes to fit like they are tailored, and have expensive-looking features
  • Chic - I want to look like I pay attention to fashion
  • Forward - I want to look like I am edgy (like I pay attention to fashion)

Am I sure I have a problem?  Sure - I don't feel like many of my clothes fulfill my brainstormed list above.

That said - I HAVE made some great decisions with my clothes that HAVE made me feel great when I wear them, but until I looked at my brainstorming list above I hadn't realized why.

So - I had been adrift and making fashion without a filter - just getting lucky from time to time.

I decided I needed help, and thought I would search out a system that would give me cheat sheets.  I began to pin, and pin, and search and pin - but I wasn't really getting anywhere definite, I just had suspicions.  Finally I broke down and looked at pay-for services - and there are a few out there - I looked at several and then started researching Carol Tuttle's books and looking at anything I could find on YouTube.  Everything was quite accessible.

You might have seen the Dress Your Truth pop-ups in your ad bars at one point.
Dressing Your Truth Program (this is a Link to a free profiling course).

The language and spirit can be very touchy feely and new age from time to time, but it is an interesting perspective on personal style - AND at the end of the course I had a guide for where I should be heading with my sewing choices: Design Lines, Texture, Fabrication, Pattern, and Colour.  I fit nicely into Type 1 - my keywords are Animated, Youthful and Fresh.

I feel like the program really resonated with me, and I have found a significant difference when I look at sewing projects - the Fall Releases from the Big 4 have been a different experience for me, my Pinning has changed, and when I went to a fabric store this week I was far more discerning than I have been in the past.

Here's an example of a recent design decision that I caught on camera - I had the Texture, Fabrication, Pattern, and Colour right, The colour is great, and the random polka-dots and movement in the contrast  sleeves are perfect for my Type 1 energy.  BUT the Design Lines were wrong.
This Neckline cuts me off.  It is too high, and too abrupt.  the texture of the sleeves is good, but overwhelmed by the expanse of my chest.  

Relaxing the curve on the neckline was an excellent choice, and the addition of the contrast fabric to the centre-front opens up the face and brightens up the whole experience.

I am amazed at the difference - In the past I would have gone with the pattern and ended up with a frumpy sweatshirt, but I KNEW what I needed to do: add a point of a star, or the base of a heart to the neckline to honour my Type 1 look.  (What???! - I learned it in the DYTruth course!)

And finally - I also understood that my neckband choice mattered - using the coral would cut off the accent and negate the effect - so I cut out the contrast fabric as the neck band:

I am so pleased with the final effect.  It's just a raglan sweater - but it's not frumpy, it suits me!

So next - to plan a Fall Wardobe  LOL - actually, next I need to do a little Kondo-ing and get rid of the clothes that are bringing me down - only now I will have Guidelines and now I will understand why the clothes just don't work for me.

Friday, August 7, 2015

In Progress: a Stash Buster from 1980! Retro outfit for the 4/5T Chickadee

How cute is THIS?

I have this adorable little shirt pattern in my stash, and a quilting cotton donated to my stash by a friend that has cute little hearts.

My machine is away on a spa month for a new needle housing (yes, I am in distress!  I hope to have it back by mid-August) and I am using my torture device known as Brother from a Thrift Store Mother which hammers stitches like they are hairy spiders on a kitchen counter. So - I am working on this project instead of my DS(the Elder)'s back to school front zip Hoodie (M6614 or Burda 7734).  

Rachel at House of Pinheiro has a super-fun Sewing Photo Hop on Instagram this month: #sewphotohop
Today is Day 7 (I just posted my first entry for Day 6): this project made the cut for Day 7

So I will finish her little shirt today or tomorrow - next I want to make a dress or skirt to coordinate.  I am considering an Oliver+S Popover Sundress or I'll self draft a little jumper.  It will definitely have a patchwork heart on it to match up with the quilting cotton in the shirt.