Saturday, April 5, 2014

Building my capsule wardrobe part 2

I went over the clothes that were hanging in the closet last weekend. I pulled out all of the clothes that I don't plan to wear again.  I threw a few things away and I'm waiting for my sister to come and see what she wants. Anything left goes to charity.

The next step was to reorganize the closet following the ideas in this blog post lessons-from-closet-reorganization . After I was finished, I learned that I have a lot  of work to do. I only have a few pieces that will work for the new job.

Planning the new wardrobe
I will admit that I'm not a visual person. I have problems trying to see how to pull outfits together. I found a neat way to see how your outfits go together. Suzie from Su Sews So-So has created what she calls Style Sudoko .  She created a grid that you can use to mix and match outfits.


I wear a lot of black and patients think black is professional so it works as a core color until the weather gets really warm. Suzie created a template at Polyvore that I used to create a basic black set. I substituted jackets for the accessory box. This set only includes skirts but I can easily substitute pants for the skirts. This is a great idea. It is interesting how the different lines go together.
I have 3 of the 4 pairs of shoes, I need to find the striped shoes. I have several black pencil skirts but plan to make a leather skirt next week. I have several black shells. I'm working on a longer black skirt and a leather and knit twin set. I have all of the fabrics that I need in the stash.
Things that I need to do:
Try on all of the remaining clothes and do another clean out of garments that don't fit or flatter
Take pictures of the remaining garments that will work with a spring/summer wardrobe. Use Powerpoint to put together a Sudoko with the garments in the closet.
Store everything that will not been worn in the next 4 months in another location.
Declutter the shoes and make a podiatrist appt.
Change to a thinner closet hangers, I'm currently using the cheap plastic hangers from Wal-Mart.
Test dying my hair a silver gray. I'm going to test a few locs to see if I like the color first.
Re-do my sloper to check fit before I sew any more garments.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back in the saddle again

Now I've landed  the job, I need to start looking the part. I have been wearing scrubs for the past two years so I didn't need clothes for work. That changes the first of May when I start the new job. My wardrobe needs to be a combination of professional and business casual garments. I'm going to start by auditioning the clothes that I have made to see what will work.

I like a classic look with some twists. My goal is to develop a capsule wardrobe following the plan here: Into-mind -building-a-capsule-wardrobe-from-scratch. I started studying this site and a couple of others as I was going to the different interviews. I'm on a RTW fast so I will not be buying any clothes. I will be spending my money on accessories including my favorite things - shoes. Umm, I will have to learn how to wear heels all day again. I hate doing laundry so I want enough garments to last 2-3 weeks.

The general criteria for my wardrobe is:
Self-made garments. I will include some RTW that I already own
easy care mix and match ( some garments will be dry clean only or hand washing but mostly machine wash)
dress code is a mix of professional and dressier business casual

Core colors - black,  gray for early spring then add in navy and tan for the summer
Accent colors - red, white, cream, pale blue, purple, green. 
The good thing is that I have most of these colors in the stash.

Uniform sets
3 pieces outfits work the best for me. I'm a big fan of twin sets and I wear a lot of skirts and pants.
pants or pencil skirt+shell+cardigan
pants or pencil skirt+shell+jacket
long skirt+short top
tunic and slim leg pants

Shoes - flats, pumps and slingbacks.
Jewelry - gold and silver. I only buy costume jewelry because I am always losing earrings.
Handbags - variety - some will be self made

Starting Garments
I have to sort out what is already in the wardrobe and what needs to be made. I might raid my mother's closet.
4 dresses
4 pairs of slim leg pants
4 pairs of wider leg pants
4 skirts
6 knit tops
6 shells
4 woven longer sleeve tops
6 cardigans
4 jackets

Hair and makeup
Loc styling - I will be wearing my hair up because it looks more professional
Need new makeup to go with my new glasses. I was kinda freaked out Saturday when I went to get new glasses. Buying glasses is a rip-off, glasses should not cost almost 1500.00.  Then they try to tell you that you are getting a discount when the final price is almost 700.00. I asked for my prescription and they weren't happy that I requested it. I came home and checked out online eyewear sites.

I've been thinking about this collection for the past few weeks. I am writing this down so I can see what I need to sew and get it out of my head. This weekend I will be going over what I already own and continuing to work on my 2014 Swap. I wore my first 3Pac to two of the interviews.

I'll be ordering shoes and going jewelry shopping soon. I gave up buying fabric and Pepsi for Lent so I have money for something else. Lol.

Grateful, grateful, grateful

God is so good to me. He has blessed me with my dream job. The prayer circle has been busy. I need to thank everyone that has been saying prayers for me and keeping my spirits up. I feel like all of the work stuff that I have been going thru at work for the last 5 years has prepared me for this position.

The interview process lasted almost two months. I had 4 interviews and have probably logged in about 10 hours of talk time. I appreciate the process that they used to make sure that I am the right person for this job. I am so excited to be back in a management role. It is a great offer and I'm a big fan of this company. I signed a confidentiality agreement so I can't go into details yet. It is a little closer to home so my commute will be a little shorter.

This job will be a huge challenge and I look forward to it. I need something that makes me excited to go to work. The position is very visible and I will need to step up my game. I need to work on a more professional wardrobe instead of scrubs. I'm glad that I sew.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Plans

February Projects
MAGAM project  Vogue 8605 - I made this coat before but gave it to my aunt. She has been wearing it to church. This time, I plan is to make the sleeves longer, lengthen the coat and add walking ease.
I bought a fleece from FM for this coat.
My Fearless February project is McCall 6850 - this is going to be a hoodie for DH. This will be the first time that I have sewed a garment for DH. I bought another piece of fleece from FM. I have enough for two projects.
Make a color-blocked dress inspired by a Michael Kors dress
Draft a wrap dress for Tee's wrap dress sewalong
Sewing for others - hem 2 pairs of pants for DM and fix DH's other vest.

I need to start thinking about a spring 6pac. I might need a new wardrobe if things go well this month. I have the prayer circle sending many prayers upstairs. I love my stash because I already have patterns and fabric.

January Project Summary

I'm posting this note to remind myself of what I accomplished in January. I still need to write detailed notes and take pictures. I managed to get some sewing done despite my crazy work schedule. I worked for short periods of time when I had the energy and chunks of time over the weekends to get everything done. Sewing became my respite from work stress.

I finished all of the projects that I cut out at the end of last year. I have mixed feelings about cutting out projects ahead of time. It was great to be able to sit down and start sewing but I felt that I lost some spontaneity and felt constricted. One of my goals is to prevent UFO's so I felt compelled to finish these projects. These feelings verified that I have issues with sticking to a definite set of projects. This is why I never finish a SWAP. I'm easily distracted by new patterns, fabric and plans, LOL. I'm a one project person but I might try working on a complex project along with something easy.

Projects completed:
January MAGAM project - sweater set
McCall's 6844 - 2 long cardigans both from ponte knit
Lekala 4119 - used leftover knit from my twin set
Vogue 8976- used a sweater knit. This fabric was a bear to work with because it clings to itself.
Hot Patterns Fiesta top - made a second version using an ITY knit
I used PMB to draft several projects using a black ponte knit: sleeveless knit dress, added a piece of black lace and leftover white ponte knit to make a gore skirt; and a peplum top.
The only project still in progress is a black tencel knit cowl neck which needs to be hemmed. I've tried to hem this top several times but the only thing getting a workout is my seam ripper.

DH has several old vests that are too big due to his weight loss. The first vest that I fixed almost had me pulling my hair out. The seam ripper was an extension of my right hand. After I finished the vest, I told him that he owes me a drink.

RTW Fast - no new clothes. I did buy some new work shoes, socks and tights.

Stashbusting - 4 pieces of fabric left the stash. FM was my downfall but I only spent 65 bucks on fabric that will be used in February.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January MAGAM - done

My January commitment is done. I finished it last weekend and I like the final result. I used a sweater knit from  I bought it to make this twin set several months ago. I love cardigans and wear them a lot. Under the tops are a skirt and a pair of pants that I made from a wool crepe. This set is part of my winter 6PAC. Stitcher's Guild Winter 6 PAC  All of this fabric came from my stash. The wool crepe is about 2 years old from I bought 16 yards when they had one of their fantastic sales. I have enough scraps left to make a top as soon as I decide on a design. The sweater knit was a dream to sew with. I used a straight stitch at 3.5 and then finished the seams with the serger.

Knit shell - I cut black foe in half lengthwise and used it to finish the edges of the neckline and armscye. I stretched it slightly as I serged it to the edge of the fabric. I folded the FOE to the inside and finished the edges with  edgestitching and topstitching. The foe gives it some stretch and provides a nice edge.

I  drafted this pattern using PMKnit program. It is close to a TNT but not quite yet. The only issue that I had was batwings under the arms. This has been a reoccurring problem for with this program. I had solved this problem before but forgot what the fix. I had added one inch side seams but they were not necessary. I manually re-drafted the neck and front facing. I merged the two pattern pieces at the shoulder and traced them together. They were joined with a back neck seam. I made the facing 5 inches wide because I hate skimpy facings. I was going to add snaps but I changed my mind so it doesn't have any closures.

I made/will some changes to the next draft:
  • Remove the extra width at the side seam
  • Reduced the bust ease to 0. I just rechecked my upper bust measurement. I think that I need to reduce the bust measurement by 2 inches to get rid of the batwings. Increase the bust cup by 1 inch and add 0.5 - 1 inch to the bust ease. This seems counter productive but I need the width in the front and not on the sides.
  • The sleeve is very close fitting. I need to increase the bicep measurement an extra inch if I want a curved sleeve or use the tapered sleeve.
All in all this was an easy sew that I enjoyed working on. I will be making this twin set again.   

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Challenges

I made a badge for my self pledge to DO THE WORK. I used scissors for the picture since cutting out fabric is where I get bogged down. It is not my favorite part of sewing so I drag my feet every time I have to start a new garment.

I have joined a few challenges this year to stimulate me to stay busy. I did sew a lot last year and I used quite a bit of fabric but I bought more than I sewed. I am pass SABLE (Stash Accumulate Beyond Life Expectancy). My plan is to sew more than I buy this year. Instead of tracking the numbers of yards used, I will keep track of the number of pieces of fabric used. When I pull a piece of fabric from the stash, I will use it to make as many garments as possible. I don't want to return any fabric to the shelves. I will save some scraps if I think that they can be used in another garment, (this is the Myrna effect, lol). All other scraps immediately go in the trash.

All of the challenges work together and the end result will be a better coordinated wardrobe. The latest challenge is 2014 Stashing Busting Sewalong hosted by Tumbleweeds in the Wind

"I, Towanda, commit to using at least 30 pieces of stash fabric in 2014. Additional option: I also commit to spend less than 200.00 a month on jewelry making and sewing. I will allow myself to spend more money on fabric when I go to NYC in the spring." I am an impulse shopper. I find that I shop more when I'm troubled. Fabricmart is my weakness. I need to set a budget to keep myself in check.

One of the members of the RTW Fasters uses a spreadsheet to help with wardrobe planning. I like the idea of keeping track of finished garments. I struggle with figuring out how to mix and match garments. I took her original spreadsheet and changed some of the columns to fit my wardrobe. My spreadsheet has columns for coats, jackets & cardigans, top & blouses, pants, skirts, dresses. There is a separate column for shoes/boots.

Re-building a wardrobe takes a long time. There are still a lot of holes that need to be filled. I will keep a notepad handy in the closet room so I can write down what is missing. I always forget that what I need after I walk out. I added a column to the spreadsheet for non clothing things that I need/want to buy. I want a pair of over the knee leather boots and I'm always losing hoop earrings. Before I go shopping, I will transfer the list to my phone.

When I started adding recently finished garments to the spreadsheet, I felt a sense of accomplishment.