This weekend I finally carved some time out for sewing. Weeks ago I bought all that nice fabric but admittedly I’m too nervous to use it. I know I want to make a Linden Sweatshirt with that super pricey jacquard , but I want to do it right – meaning with a serger – so that project is on hold until I come to own an overlock machine.
I’ve also been thinking critically about what I want to achieve with sewing. The last shirt I made was really a bust. It offered me a chance to practice some skills, but its not something I’ll ever wear. The fabric was cheap and my handiwork was sloppy – which is exactly what I am trying to avoid by learning to sew; disposable garments! Making some crap items is of course unavoidable as I learn new techniques and improve my skills – but I want to be a little more deliberate as I go forward.
With that said, I’ve spent a lot of time gathering photo inspiration of wardrobe staples I want to have a hand at. This photo below really jumped out at me. A simple linen shirt that looks great with work pants. I figured it was simple enough that I could try something similar.
I used the Akira pattern from Seamwork Magazine, and a medium weight linen. The pattern is only one piece. One Piece!! It sewed up very quickly (for me anyways). I finished the side seams with french seams and the neckline with bias tape (that I made myself!). This is hands-down the best thing I have made to date: construction-wise. No raw edges, clean hems, darts, and bias tape?! There are a few imperfections but none that will stop me from wearing this to work tomorrow.
This has really given me a lot of confidence in my skills. I just need to remember to take my time – it makes me such a more accurate sewist. And the proper final touches really save this from being just a potato sack!
This past week I’ve been at a work conference, learning all about the newest advances in the treatment and study of breast cancer. The dress code there is definitely ‘professional’ so it gives me an excuse to wear grown-up outfits and try to blend in among the MDs.
I tried to get a picture daily but it is real hard to get a good picture on your own it turns out! So sorry for the grainy iPhone quality… but here are my attempts to dress like a professional without a frumpy pant suit.
Day one: plane outfit. Ankle length black pants with wedges (no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get a full length shot)
Day two: Pencil skit and checkered shirt. Wedges again.
Day three: This outfit is entirely thrifted if you can believe it. Yay recycling! Shoes were taupe flats.
I didn’t get a picture on the last day but I wore the black pencil skit again with a white and black polka dotted top with the matching blazer. I carried my Matt & Nat vegan purse each day. I’m so glad I finally have a professional looking bag, last year I only had my Timbuktu messenger bag (with a bright pink accent) that clashed awfully with my outfits.
Nothing sewn by me yet – I’m not quite at that level where what I makes is presentable. I want to alter that camel skirt some before I wear it to work… until then I am enjoying trying to incorporate thrifted pieces into many of my outfits.
Oh, and what is with this weather? It was 77F the day I left the conference (it is in San Antonio…) but sheesh try and feel a little christmas-y why don’t ya?!
I am currently laying in bed with and all three of the kitties, enjoying coffee and slow Saturday mornings. The cats are thrilled with the change of season and have been spending as much time as they can watching the rain from the windowsills or following the birds. I also have been reveling in this weather and returned to running on the Monon after work (with about everyone else in Indianapolis), or heading down to Brown County with Scott to enjoy muddy trails. My relationship with running is going really well now. Since I’ve kind of stopped letting it define me and my worth, I’ve been experiencing a lot less anxiety about it. I also have a lot less to say about it (or blog about it) now since I am just running for enjoyment. Apologies if you came for the running talk!
Yesterday we got a dirt (ahem, “soil”) delivery for the garden. It’s coming along nicely! Again, all this work was done by Scott. Next to plant the seeds!
In other sustainable living practices, my sewing class wrapped up and I am completely hooked now. I made three items in the class; a pillow case, an apron and a tote bag. The woman teaching the class was fantastic, she really had so much knowledge about sewing and was incredibly patient with a total novice like me. Scott’s mother generously lent me her sewing machine and I’ve been messing around with it in my down time by making small stuffed animals for a few friends that have new babies. So far the babies approve.
I’m really itching to start making clothing, but I haven’t settled on where to start at all. I’m considering buying my own machine with more garment appropriate features. Speaking of garments… today is another excuse for Sartorial Saturday! Though to be honest I think I wore this Tuesday. If you knew how many pictures I had to make Scott take to get this one good one….
With the exception of the shoes I can say this entire outfit was second hand! I didn’t even realize that when I put it together. The top is a thrifted Gap shirt, the skirt thrifted Target, the sweater is a thrifted Loft cardigan. And to continue with this theme, today I am hosting a “Clothing Exchange” with some friends. More upcycling!
Spring has FINALLY arrived in the midwest. We’re seeing temperatures in the 50’s – which really makes for much more enjoyable running. I am able to wear capris again! In an hour or so I’m leaving for our group run on the canal towpath.
So, a bit off topic – but I’ve started my beginners sewing class and I am completely in love. I am the only person in the class so I am basically getting private lessons. The class focuses on three projects; a pillow case, an apron and a tote bag. They all include a few extra features like a french seam, installing a zipper, edge-stitching…. so I am getting a really comprehensive introduction to sewing. I am starting to look into buying a machine for myself and hopefully continue this hobby! This is really making me pay more attention to clothes in general – now I examine all my shirts to understand their construction and fit. It also really helps me be more objective about my body; realizing that no two figures are the same and the likelihood of clothes fitting perfectly off the rack is very low. For instance – I have broad shoulders, which makes some shirts feel tight across the upper back, but not tight elsewhere. And I’m pretty tall (5’8″) so finding pants with a long enough inseam is sometimes a challenge.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately browsing sewing/personal style blogs and I think that is something I’d like to include more here on my blog. Who knows, maybe I’ll one day be able to show off something I’ve made for myself.
Yesterday we went out to dinner with friends to an Ethiopian restaurant – seriously some of the best food in the world. Before we left I made Scott take pictures of my outfit. We’re going to have to streamline this modeling process. He mostly just takes rapid-fire pictures with my iPhone while I awkwardly shift around. Evidence below.
|Next I’ll be gracing the pages of Vogue.
These jeans I found two weeks ago at a Carmel re-sale boutique. They are Marc Jacobs!!! And ridiculously long!!! I couldn’t believe my luck. Shirt from my mom from the Gap (thanks!), bag from Out of Print, flats from Target, and earrings from a local handmade shop.
Hope you enjoyed this Sartorial Saturday post!
I don’t have much to report on running this week. I had to cut my long run short yesterday as I felt like I might blackout two times. I know, I know. Being lazy about eating won’t help me run farther.
Scott is out of town this weekend, so I took this as an opportunity to watch every fashion documentary available on Netflix and marathon a season of Project Runway. I have been interested in fashion since I was a teenager but as far as actually wearing it…. I don’t know. I seem to like so many different styles and eras but I haven’t figured out how to manifest it on myself. My computer is filled with folders and folders of style photographs, I have clippings from magazines that date back years and my knowledge of designers even surprises me at times….
Anyways, I guess all I am getting at is – I like style a lot. I realize it’s a thing tons of people don’t care about. (Is this the ‘intellectual’ in me having trouble admitting I like something superficial? Yes.) That’s fine. I often have trouble reconciling the capitalism and consumerism that goes hand in hand with fashion (and is why I’d rather say personal style than fashion; fashion connotes designers, steep price tags, celebrity, animal use). But regardless I am still ever searching for inspiration.
And if you’re ever interested in a good documentary, Bill Cunningham New York is great.