Closet clarity, Disco Collars and Retail openings

Closet clarity, Disco Collars and Retail openings

When you don’t know your goal it is hard to get there

Have you had a hard time getting that closet cleaned out even though you have more time than usual?

This was my problem for years. I didn’t have a clear stated end goal to a closet clearing or clothing purchases. I only had some vague and gulity thoughts about why and some loosy -goosy information on how. I would get rid of things but I never played with making outfits with what was left and I never had a plan to fill the holes that would allow me to create outfits. I had lots of party dresses but no good workout clothes. My  clothing purchases were whatever was near the checkout stand. And clothing budget? What is that?
Then I realized what I wanted was clarity.  I wanted to reach in my closet and pull out the perfect outfit, I wanted to shop with a purpose not shop when I had a minute.
It is such a joy to make that first activity (OK maybe second – after a cup of coffee) of going into my closet to find something to wear a quick and easy and CLEAR. I have saved so much time. I wonder how much easier my success would have been if I had set  that goal  of finding clarity and ending confusion about what to wear much earlier in the process.
Are you struggling to find clarity in your closet (life)? Start with these tools to get some clarity and drop me a line if you need help. 

My favorite look this coat from Lanvin (Vogue photo)

A vintage shirt from Poshmark is a sustainable way to get this trend. (Photo from Poshmark seller mishmark)

And this disco collar takes it literally and figuratively. (Photo from thisilk.)

This week’s fashion term and trend is the disco collar. They were all the rage on the runway back when we had fashion shows (not so long ago) and they were the rage (apparently) during my youth although I can’t recall owning any. A disco collar is a collar on a shirt or jacket that is normal size in the back but has an exaggerated silhouette in the front with enormous points of 3 + inches. It sort of looks like an origami bird. The ones I enjoyed seeing the most were on shirts with some feminine curvy details elsewhere. And there were a couple jackets with colorful collars that also looked flattering. Many of the others looked trendy and actually focused the attention away from the beautiful faces of the models. According to my style philosophy this is a no no.  Remember you should wear the clothes, the clothes shouldn’t wear you. If this is the trend you want to embrace this year, find just one exquisite disco collar shirt or jacket that flatters you. Remember anything new you buy should be able to be combined into at least three outfits using items you already own. You shouldn’t have to buy a whole new outfit just to incorporate one new item.

Retail News

 Here in Washington state all nonessential businesses (and that includes all my favorite consignment and thrift stores have been closed since mid-March. Phase 2 of our state’s business reopening includes retail stores being able to allow shoppers inside.

 Here is a link to the rules they must follow during this phase of re-opening. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Phase2InStoreRetailGuidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

These rules include cleaning dressing rooms after each customer, spacing customers and having a holding area where clothing that is returned or tried on can be stored for 24 hours. Have some empathy for store owners and retail clerks during these times. While I am sure they are delighted to be open and back to work this new way of doing business brings a new set of headaches and everyone is under just a little more stress whether they want to admit it or not.

With these shopping rules in place having a plan for what you need to buy, knowing your size in various brands, and having the knowledge about your best fit, colors and silhouettes will be crucial to a successful in person shopping experience. You might even call the store you want to visit ahead of time with list in hand of exactly what you are looking for. See if they can pull the items and have them ready for you. If you do this make sure you show up and are courteous. I would anticipate some stores will be setting appointments for shopping.

You should also be clear on policies for returns. Stores may change policies they have had in place to eliminate the trouble returns could bring now.

On the positive side, I would anticipate smoking deals on whatever inventory is around as well as potential limited inventory in coming seasons. Have a plan and a list so you don’t get sidetracked by those deals.

If you need help planning drop me a line. Let’s talk about it.

Support your favorite stores so they will be around for us in the future. I miss their great clothing displays and smiling faces.

Button Repair

Having grown up in an era when Home-Ec was offered I know my way around the sewing room. When I make myself a new piece of clothing I often hear comments like “Wow” “I don’t even know how to sew on a button.  Well with that in mind today I want to share how to sew on a button.  I also want to mention that doing this as soon as you notice a loose button and before it falls off will make step 1 a lot easier.

Step 1 would be to locate the button, as well as a needle and thread. Some clothing comes with extra buttons but then you have to remember where you stashed those.

Step 2 Cut a piece of thread roughly 24” long and thread it through the needle so the needle is halfway down the thread and the cut ends are even.

Step 3 – on the backside of the garment push the needle into the fabric between the layers about ½” away from where you want to come up. When you come up pull the thread through so that there is just a tiny bit showing where you first went in.

Step 4 – Go through the fabric 3 times in the same spot to create a lock so the thread won’t pull out.

Step 5 – put the button on the needle and let it drop down to the right side of the garment.  Bring the needle and thread back down through the hole in the button and come back up another hole. If the button has a shank (no holes but an attachment on the back of the button), go through that.

Step 6 – Repeat at least 6 times to make sure the button is secure.

Step 7 – Wrap the thread around the back of the button between the fabric and the button 3 or 4 times and then go down to the wrong side of the garment.

Step 8 – Go up and down in the same spot 3 times to lock the thread, push the needle in between the layers and come up about ½” away and cut the thread.

Options- If your button has more than 2 holes you can do a criss cross pattern. You can use a thread color that stands out for an attention getting detail. You can replace all the buttons with more interesting buttons.

Have some fun with this basic repair that can salvage a great piece of clothing instead of sending it to the donation or garbage bin.

Sew – who has time to sew?

Sew – who has time to sew?

cutting roof felt is like sewing right?

Life has been a little too busy to sew for the last month or so. I was lucky enough to travel to Germany, Slovenia and Iceland for beer drinking, biking and backpacking so all I did during that time was think about the subject on those long uphills.

Now that I’m back and it is officially summer here it is back to those DIY home improvement projects. This time re roofing some storage sheds. I won’t know if we were successful until the rainy season starts again but it felt good to try something new.

Measuring and cutting felt and piecing together shingles felt like sewing. I was utilizing those same skills. Different muscles – same skills.

As a bonus I got to customize an old t shirt by slashing a v neck and tearing off the sleeves to turn it into something I thought a professional roofer might wear. What do you think?

What sorts of DIY projects do you enjoy?

Dad’s Shirt

Dad’s Shirt

You  may have gathered that I find myself more and more interested in re-creating and utilizing what is around me.  My husband recently quit working in an office and was purging his closet. He had a dress shirt that was a beautiful shade of orange and in spite of repeated wearings still had fabric in fabulous shape. My mother who loved to shop and buy Christmas presents had given it to him many years ago. I decided to try to turn it into a summer top for my daughter who is graduating from her Master’s program May 12.

When she was home at Thanksgiving I made her suffer through a duct tape wrap so I could make a dress form of her to utilize in trying to sew for someone besides myself. We used the instructions we found here at Offbeat bride. At one point the fume from the duct tape got to her and she over heated so I had to do some of it while she was laying down. It is a little off shape and quickly getting battered but I don’t think she is going to let me do it again. The first item I made was a peplum top that turned out to be too large. Hoping to alter that shirt when I see her next.

My first step was to pin my proposed seams on the shirt while it was on the form. I decided to make it sleeveless, leave the buttons and get rid of the collar.

Pinned seams

Next I did  a rough cut 1/2″ away from my pins (to create a 1/2″ seam allowance). I did this while it was still on the form.

Dad’s shirt with cuts made

I then took it off the form, refined the side seams and sewed it up. I cut facing for the armholes and neck from the sleeves. Here is the finished product. If she lets me and it looks good, I will share the completed project on her!

“Dad’s shirt” is complete

Last night I was catching up on my blog reading and found this post about how to turn Dad’s shirt into a dress for a much younger daughter. Super cute.

What have you done with Dad’s old shirt?

 

 

Vintage

Vintage

When I visited my dad in Michigan in January I found myself with not a lot to do. I had seriously injured my hamstring while ice skating and it was snowing so driving wasn’t an option. I was starting to get a case of cabin fever so I decided to dig through the drawers and closets to see what I might discover.

I found a bag of patterns in the closet. Some were things I had sewn when I was in high school. Some were dresses my mother had sewn for herself at some point in her life. Needless to say none were my current size. I found some fabric that wouldn’t have been my first choice for just about anything but the rose and grey colors were good and the print was fairly small. I picked the dress pattern with the least alteration needed and began to measure and make the changes I hoped would create a dress/long open top that would fit me. I took the waist darts out and moved them to try to make it large enough for me around the waist. My other issue was a sewing machine that had only basic stitches. This meant I had to use an overcast  stitch on my ravelly seams. And the needle could have been a little newer so the inside of the dress was a mess. Once I took everything home it was better with new needles and a serger.

It has some nice details that you can’t see with this print. The collar is nice and large and could stand up if I used a thicker interfacing. The sleeve is not set in and makes a quick sew.

Collar could stand up

No set in sleeve

As you can see this first effort ended up being too big around the waist and looks pretty dowdy. I already feel most vintage looks dowdy on me as I become vintage.

Dowdy Dress

But now that I have a shape on a dress form I can start to play around and make changes to turn it into something a little more stylish. (I hope). My first step is to add some darts to the bodice so it is not so huge. I also noticed I am longer waisted than this dress form. Not sure how to fix that on the form.

I pin up my first change to the hemline. Oops a little too revealing. I would have to find another dress or leggings to wear under this one.

I set the opening a little lower and I am in business.

Lower opening

Now for my favorite part! I dig through the button tins – most of them from my mother’s stash and select some. I don’t pick my absolute favorites because I am not sure I will actually ever wear this dress (if I do I will share). I was also delighted to figure out how to use the buttonhole setting on my new machine. It was actually a joy instead of a pain to do buttonholes.

Final with buttons

And the best part is finishing a project that was clogging my flow. I put it on for Easter but couldn’t style it quite right to be comfortable wearing it. Will I ever wear it? Still not sure.

Can’t quite figure out how to pull off wearing it.

Do you sew vintage patterns? If so what do you find to be your biggest hurdle?