Wardrobe Sudoku: Spring Mini Wardrobe

One of the things that keeps me sane during this stage of my life is my sewing hobby. I saw that Pattern Review had a wardrobe contest and I decided to try and enter. It was a pretty ambitious contest – sewing 10 items in 2 months.

I started with a vision of navy, gray, and white. All colors that I tend to wear quite a bit. Then I got into my stash to see what I had in this color scheme. When I pulled my fabric out, a green/cream/black tweed called my name and I found that I had several other coordinating fabrics.

Once I decided on the tweed, I knew I would make a Sew Lisette Butterick 6169 moto jacket. I’ve made this jacket before and loved it. Sadly, my carpet beetles loved it too and it was ruined after one wear. The carpet beetles are now history, but I needed a new moto jacket.

Once I had a selection of coordinating and inspiring fabrics, I set out planning my wardrobe.

The idea of wardrobe sudoku is to use 16 items – 4 tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories – and place them in a sudoku grid to create 10 outfits. Melly Sews has a good description on her blog. For the Pattern Review Contest 10 items had to be made during the contest time frame. Accessories could include jackets, cardigans, etc.

Tops

I used one purchased cream blouse from the Limited for my “free” piece and made 3 tops.

The pattern for this polka dot polyester crepe blouse was Simplicity 1620 [OOP]. This is a top I have made before and I like the easy but flattering fit.

I made two tee shirts using the Liesl + Co Metro Tee pattern. Both are rayon jersey, but the cream is quite a bit heavier than the black. I prefer the heavier knit to sew and wear. The black knit was difficult to hem. I ended up using 5/8″ fusible knit interfacing and folding under, but I’m a little unhappy about the effect it has on the stretch at the hems. I might just cut the bottom hem off and leave it unfinished.

Bottoms

I used a purchased pair of skinny jeans (a wardrobe staple) and made 3 bottoms – 2 skirts and 1 pair of pants.

This olive twill skirt was from another Out of Print (OOP) Simplicity Pattern, 2152. I was inspired by the photo on the pattern, but opted to leave the waistband in the main fabric. I also used another favorite technique for an exposed back zipper, a Craftsy tutorial which has the zipper installed with the entire tape exposed.

When I went to cut out this pattern I realized that I must have cut the paper out several years ago because the pattern was cut in a size 10. I haven’t been a size 10 since long before my blogging days. This pattern was very easy to grade by adding 3/8″ to the center front and center back panels. I didn’t change the side panels so I could avoid messing with the pockets and pocket trim.

My second skirt was another old favorite, Simplicity 1541. This is an Amazing Fit pattern which means that it has different pieces for curvy and straight fits and 1″ side seams for easy adjustments. Although I’m slightly pear shaped, I used the Average fit and the waist to hip curve worked well for me. Every time I’ve made this skirt I’ve pegged the hem by about an inch for a more flattering silhouette.

These pants were made with Burda 6938 [possibly also OOP]. This was another pattern that had been previously cut, this time a size too large. I took an extra 1/2″ from the side seams and I still feel like these pants are too roomy. I made them with a rayon twill from Fabric.com. It’s slightly heavier than most rayon challis, but still fairly thin and drapey. I think I’d like them to have just a bit more body to them. They wouldn’t hang well with side seam pockets in them so I took the pockets out and put on patch pockets like you often see in this style of RTW pants.

Accessories

I don’t make enough “completer” items for my wardrobe. This contest was a good incentive to add a few third pieces.

The first piece I made was this vest, with Vogue 9215. I bought the fabric first with this type of a vest in mind. This is a polyester textured knit purchased from a local shop, Tissu Fine Fabrics. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have a pattern like this in my immense stash. When I looked through the catalogs this was the pattern I settled on. It was not on sale at the time and I wasn’t sure when it would be, so I used my teacher discount card to get it for $12.00 or so. That’s more than I ever spend for a pattern I can get at Joann’s but I knew it was the one I wanted. I’m happy with the pattern and plan to use it for a cardigan in the near future. Once you know a pattern works it’s always good sew it again, right? The shiny, new patterns always distract me, but I’m getting better at reusing the tried and true (TNT).

Once I got a little momentum I started on this jacket. At this point I had been gone for a little getaway to the Sew Expo in Puyallup and had a week of the flu, so my time was running short. Like I said before, this is the Sew Lisette for Butterick, 6169. This was by far the most time consuming project. I first block fused the entire piece of fabric with fusible weft interfacing (from Wawak). This helped a lot with the fraying of the tweed. For the zipper I just ordered a black, cream, and green zipper from Wawak. At $1.40 a piece I didn’t mind using one and keeping the other two for my stash. I decided on the green zipper and I’m happy with how it turned out. I referred to Liesl’s sew along for the bagged lining and also the Palmer Pletsch “Jackets for Real People” instructions for machine sewing that small space by the jacket facing and the hem.

When I finished the jacket I had 6 days left in the contest and 4 items to sew. Luckily they were all simple pieces and I was able to finish them all in time to get the photos and reviews written.

The third “topper” was this Simplicity Kimono, 1318. This was another piece that I’ve made before. The first time I made it was in a very lightweight polyester crepe. This black fabric is a Nicole Miller tencel from Joann’s that received quite a bit of love from some other sewing bloggers. It has more body than the rayon I used for the pants and if I had more fabric I’d definitely make a pair of pants out of it. I haven’t seen the black at Joann’s recently, but they do have a pretty blush color right now and I snatched a few yards of it.

The most boring thing I made was this black cowl. I needed something quick and easy to fill the contest requirements. I used 1/2 yard of french terry and cut a piece 32″ wide. I serged it together to form a loop and called it a cowl. This is another thing I’m pretty happy with in the end. I don’t own any solid color scarves and now I know that I could probably use a few.

Shoes

The shoes were all purchased and already in my collection. A  pair of Dansko flats, Born sandals, Sperry flats, and Born booties.

Stay tuned for a few of my favorite outfit photos.

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Wardrobe Architect: Part 1 – Making Style More Personal

The first worksheet for Wardrobe Architect is “Making Style More Personal”

There are prompts for History, Philosophy, Culture, Community, Activities, Location, & Body. I’m not going to address each section individually, but I’ll share some of my thoughts on a few of the categories.

Personal History

The photo above is my 9th grade school photo. The shirt I’m wearing is a shirt that I made myself. By the time I was in 9th grade I was sewing a lot and mostly without any help from my mom. This was probably the first collared shirt that I made myself and I think I did a pretty good job.

The reason that I bring this up is that sewing has always been part of my relationship with clothing. As a kid I usually resented wearing mostly hand-me-downs and hand made clothing, but now I appreciate the quality and fit that I can get when I make my own clothing.

Philosophy

My personal philosophy in most things in life is to not draw too much attention to myself. I’m an introvert, and I like to operate behind the scenes. My clothing choices usually reflect this attitude.

I am also influenced by my religion. I live in Utah and belong to the predominant faith here. Modesty in dress is a value of the LDS religion and something that I personally adhere to.

Activities

I’m a mom of two young kids. On any given day my clothing is likely to be tugged, pulled, and slimed. My clothing needs to be comfortable, allow for easy movement, easy to care for (preferably no ironing) and not too fussy. 

Junior Prom…I still have this formal and I think it still fits. But in 15 years I haven’t found an occasion to pull it out.

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It’s March, How are your Resolutions?

Remember when I quietly announced that I was going to challenge myself to reduce my fabric stash? Well, I almost gave up on this resolution because I got behind on my tracking. But I’ve addressed that and I’m here to report on my progress.

First off, I did a little spring cleaning and got rid of about 20 yards of fabric. So that should put me ahead for the year, but let’s just assume that didn’t happen. How has my sewing/buying ratio stacked up so far?

I am ahead for the year, but only because I was so productive in January. What’s been going on since then? Well, I went back to work at the end of January so my life is a lot busier than it was before. And naptime has become studying time because I’m preparing to take the PE exam in mid April. I generally like to sew in big chunks of time rather than 30 minutes here and there. I’m probably going to have to change that for this season of my life because my little one needs me more than every 4 or 5 hours.

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Less Time Cooking = More Time Sewing

Last week I reached an all time low in my efforts as a homemaker.

“Honey, how hungry are you tonight?” In my shame to admit that I simply didn’t feel like cooking I tried to get the Hot Italian to volunteer that he really just wanted cereal for dinner.

We never eat cereal for dinner. We eat leftovers all the time, but never cereal.

“You can just say that you don’t feel like making dinner tonight,” my sweet hubby reassured me.

I had a bowl of Golden Grahams. I don’t even know what the Hot Italian had.

I do enjoy cooking most of the time, but I am a simple cook. Our dinners usually consist of two dishes; three dishes is fancy, and four is unheard of. The Hot Italian usually appreciates this because he is the dish washer at our house.

Several weeks ago I happened on a new website with a treasure trove of crockpot freezer recipes on Pinterest. I’m a little wary about recipes on the internet because they seem pretty hit and miss, but I was able to find several that fit our eating habits so I decided to give them a try. Of course I made this decision on the night that the Hot Italian was at school, so I towed the little one to the grocery store with me to pick up a few things and then spent a couple hours in the kitchen with the babe in the Bjorn to keep him content during the meal prep.

I tried five recipes and I only made one batch of each because I didn’t want to be stuck with anything I didn’t like.

Mexican Chicken Soup

I made this recipe with a few modifications. I had some precooked turkey breast from Costco, so I put approximately one pound of diced turkey breast in place of the chicken. I also used a can of diced tomatoes in place of the tomato juice. We had this last night and it was definitely one that I will repeat.

Turkey and White Bean Kale Soup

I used a pouch of Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix and again used the precooked turkey breast. This was our least favorite of the recipes we tried. I might try it again with turkey sausage and see if I like it more or I might just stick with the ones we know we like. I feel like it needs more seasonings to make it really good.

Honey Sesame Chicken

I made this one with no modifications. It was good and we’ll make it again. I’ve already got another batch or two in the freezer.

Red Pepper Chicken

This recipe has a southwest flair. We both liked it and we’ve had it a few times. I was surprised that you didn’t have to add any liquid in this recipe. The second time I made it I added a few canned stewed tomatoes and it was good that way too.

Beef Roast and Carrots

This was the ultimate comfort food. The carrots turned out sooo yummy.  I used two tablespoons of McCormick Mesquite Seasoning as our seasoning and it was perfect. Again I was surprised that no liquid was required and it cooked up so moist and tender.

The only thing I have to remember to do is put it in the fridge the night before and get it in the crockpot before I leave for work in the morning.

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“Little D” is here

My sweet boy arrived November 6 at 6:59 pm. The delivery went smoothly and mom and baby came home without any issue.

I am loving motherhood and am still sewing quite a bit. I’m lucky that this little guy still takes at least one long nap during the day (for the most part).

The Hot Italian is such a cute daddy.

Milo is adjusting well. The first few nights were rough for him, probably because he got a little tummy bug at the boarders. He’s getting spoiled having me home and misses us more than ever when we leave him home.

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Please excuse the absense

I haven’t sewn a stitch since I got back from the Sewing and Stitchery Expo at the beginning of March.

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather.

I’ve got a maternity wardrobe in my near future.

Just not quite yet. My little belly has made wearing my normal work pants a little too tight, but the maternity pants don’t seem quite right yet either. I guess I’ll be wearing skirts and dresses to work ’til its time to rock the maternity pants.

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