Monday, February 23, 2015

When Life Hands you Lemons, Make a Hat! - 2/21/15

I've been trying to buy a new winter coat all winter, with no luck.  The vast majority of my coats have been second-hand throughout my life, so I tried that route, but just couldn't find something I liked.  I really wanted a mid-length bright-colored wool coat, as I have a full-length black wool coat which I always feel someone will run me over when I walk home from the train station in the dark, a waist-length purple wool coat which leaves me too cold most of the time, and a hip-length down poofy coat that is super warm.  I also just really like having a bright coat, because it fits my personality much better.  Anyway, I finally broke down and ordered this bright yellow coat from Boden (at least it was on sale!), and I love it.  As we were headed out the door on Saturday, John decided to make me a hat out of a lemon - not the warmest, but it definitely matches!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Everyday Cardigan - 2/19/15

Yesterday I wore one of my favorite sweaters, which was a spur of the moment purchase at T. J Maxx this fall.  I'm surprised it hasn't actually made its way onto the blog yet, but that's probably because it's one that I tend to throw on when I'm hanging out at home.  I like that it's neutral, but has some interesting details, like the cable knit and large collar.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Office Wear - 2/18/15

I went into the office for the first time in a while today, and got to break out some dressier clothes.  I weirdly do miss dressing up more lately.

In Black and White - 2/15/15

Sorry kiddos, I've been a little swamped with work lately, and the rest of my life has suffered.  I did take a photo on Sunday morning though, so here it is.  This vest is probably one of the oldest me-made garments in my wardrobe at the moment, as I tend to not be happy with them and get rid of them relatively quickly.  I made this one about 3 or 4 years ago, and it's super simple, but I think I did a good job.  I actually had to hand-sew the binding around all the edges, as the fluffy material was tricky with the sewing machine.  I have the attention span of a gnat, so this was an impressive feat for me!  More pictures of it are here, if you're interested in the details.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Back in college, I doodled a lot, but I got out of the habit and haven't doodled in years, that is until today.  My friend "commissioned" a doodle to make a book cover, and being the good friend I am, I broke out my doodling pen.  I forgot how fun it is to draw - maybe I'll have to get back into it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Looking All Professional - 2/10/15

I'm on the train heading down to Washington for a meeting right now, and my outfit reflects that.  My basic black suit is the only full suit I actually own at the moment, but I do have lots of blazers, and I have both skinny and wider leg pants that go with my black jacket, so it's pretty versatile.  I don't have to wear a suit very often, but it goes in phases, so it's always good to have options.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Getting Out

This weekend was a bit crazy, and didn't go quite as planned, but one thing we did do was head up to Princeton to go ice skating on Lake Carnegie.  We got there late in the day, and the warm weather plus the swarms of other people who decided to go ice skating meant the ice was not the most smooth, but it was still lovely.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bra-Making Workshop

Last Saturday I attended an all-day bra-making workshop (my birthday/christmas present), and it was amazing!  I've never done a sewing class before, but lingerie is complicated enough that I thought it would be useful to have someone hold my hand while figuring it all out, and I'm super glad I did.  Maddie did an amazing job, both with all the really fantastic details of the workshop (gorgeous space, delicious food, photo booth, beautiful supplies), and with making it straight-forward and laying the process all out.  I was lazy, and didn't take any photos of the workshop itself, since I figured it was all being documented, and you should go take a look here:

I was a bit rushed at the end, since my machine decided to freak out for a little bit, but over all I'm super impressed with myself at actually sewing something that looks like a real bra!  The fit is a little off, but I have some ideas as to how to fix that, so the next one will be even more awesome.

A different perspective on winter...

While winter is not too terrible here in the Philly area (I am from Northern Michigan, after all), it is still cold.  I'm not fond of the fact that John spends a decent amount of time in California, but this did make me laugh:

Black & White - 2/5/15

Lately, I've narrowed down my skirt/dress silhouettes down to the narrow shift/pencil skirt/straight skirt region, and I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm not a huge dress person, as I've always been a bit more of a tomboy, but this is a comfy, easy sort of outfit.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bringing the Blanket to Work - 2/3/15

Not happy with just keeping my blanket shawl at home, I added a belt, and called it work-worthy.  I also tried out my new pants which I finally finished up - the StyleArc Flat Bottom Flo Pants.  I messed up the waistband a bit, because my serger decided to eat it a bit, but it was a good first try.  I recently read somewhere it takes 3 trys to really get a pattern down, so this is just try number 1.  The only change I made was to shorten them a bit, but I shortened just a tad too much.  I think the next time I will change how I do the waistband as well.  The pattern instructions have you zig-zag stitch the elastic to the inside of the waistband, and then attach it to the pants.  Instead, I think I will attach the waistband like binding, and insert the elastic last.  This eliminates the need for serging the inside seam because it is then enclosed, and also avoids having to stretch out the elastic, which lead to some of the waviness in the seam.  I'm also more into high-waisted pants these days, so I think I will adjust that as well. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snuggly Cozy - 2/2/15

I am somewhat strange in that I'm not a big fan of soft fuzzy things, but I'm slowly changing my mind.  I bought this shawl last week, and pretty much every day I've worked from home since then I've been wrapped up in it and loving it.  And just so you don't think my feet have gotten gigantic, I have appropriated John's slippers while he's in California - shhh!

Good Idea, Bad Execution

So a while ago I mentioned that I had leftover fabric from my tweed straight skirt, and I wanted to make a vest of some kind.  Since I didn't have much fabric left over, this was another case where I wanted to do a muslin, and after debating many design ideas, decided to go with a simple sweater vest.  Since John told me my first version of my green/tan tweed vest looked like something I should wear to the renaissance festival, I used it along with a random tan knit fabric to do my mock-up.  I winged the whole thing, and the neckline ended up horrible.  It really needed to be narrower and just a much cleaner circle.  I didn't bother hemming the back because it was so bad, but I'm trying to document everything I make these days, not just the good, so here you go!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tie-Front Blouse Muslin - 2/1/15

So a project on my list for a while now has been a tie-front blouse, based on these pictures:


Since I wasn't able to actually find a pattern, I decided to actually take the time to make a muslin, before using my beautiful purple herringbone wool I have earmarked for the project.  The front and back of the top I based on the BurdaStyle Retro Top, which is my go to starting point for woven tops.  The fabric I used was a left-over black/blue tweed fabric, of which I'm also making a pair of pants.

Once I cut out the front and the back, I left the rest of the retro top pattern behind.  I lowered the neckline quite a bit, but I think in my final version I will raise it back up.  I also did not put in the dart, but I will in my final version.  All edges I finished by serging and turning under once, to reduce bulk.  I left the sides completely unattached, but I might at least add a snap at the top, to hold it together better.  To make the tie-front, I cut out two triangles of the tweed and also a tie-die voile from a failed project for a lining.  I debated just doing a double fold on the edge of the tweed and not lining, but again, I wanted to reduce bulk, and that seemed the best way, and I'm happy with the way it looks.  I did french seams to connect the triangles to the back, to enclose the seams, but if I have enough fabric in my final version I think I will cut them out as one piece with the back.  In that case I will probably end up lining the whole thing.

For some reason I forgot to look at my inspiration photos before cutting out my pieces, and went with the pointed version of the tie, even though I actually like the second version better.  That version will require sewing the tie in place though, as I don't think it will be possible to tie it securely without it being hugely bulky.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you my tie-front blouse (also my outfit from yesterday)!

Me-Made Mistake - 1/29/15

Last Thursday I wore an almost successful me-made skirt.  I used my self-drafted pattern again, which is so great because it fits me perfectly, except this time I pegged it a bit extra I think, and it was just too much.  I had to take really small steps, and it was so bad that I got desperate at work, and cut 2 or 3 inches off while sitting at my desk.  This worked because it is made out of a boiled wool material and wouldn't ravel.  It turned out to be a tricky maneuver, as I sit in a cubicle and was trying to do it covertly, but I was actually impressed with the results.  I might still try to rescue it and call it a mini-skirt instead of a pencil skirt, but we'll see.  I love the pattern and the fabric, but I'm just not into brown.  I do love this cardigan though!

An oldie but goodie - 1/28/15

I've been bad about doing the daily photo so far this year, and even worse by not doing my usual analysis.  Given my current schedule, I'm ok with that, as I think I get more use out of my paragraph of musing at the beginning anyway. :)  So this outfit is from last Wednesday, and has several elements of a Laura outfit.  First of all, it has the garment that probably has the distinction of being in my closet the longest, my black and white floral vest/tank top.  I bought it shortly after I moved to DC 8 years ago, and have loved it ever since.  It is getting quite worn, and I'll probably have to retire it soon, but the pattern is just so me.  Skinny black pants + black flat boots are basically my uniform in the winter, and my most common color pattern is black + white + solid bright color, so I've got all my basics covered here.  Oh, and yeah, the pig tails!  Excluding the time my hair is too short (which is a good chunk of time), my hair has probably been in pig tails about 80% of my life.  It just got to the length where they are feasible and it makes me happy. :)