Trippin and Travelin

Trippin and Travelin

I have been reading about the ten by ten challenge and packing and decided to try it for an rv trip to see our daughter graduate. The total trip time is fourteen days and my closet is ½ of a space the size of a couch cushion plus a drawer the size of a silverware drawer. In addition to traveling clothes I need something to jog in, hike in and bike in so I will be cheating on the 10 x 10 by not including these things nor all the various shoes needed to perform these activities. I am however doubling up on jackets for biking and hiking. Phew.

I chose 2 jackets (including my latest purple london cardi and reversible strip/knit combo, 2 bottoms, 1 dress (for the graduation), 2 pair of shoes and 3 short sleeve or sleeveless tops. I chose a combination of grey, blue and purple. My latest favorite jewelry combination is a pair of silver chain loop earrings, my looped circle silver necklace and a watch with a silver band and coral and turquoise. It all goes together well no matter which items I put on. Fortunately the mirror is small too.

Two for one jacket

A week in and so far so good. There is not a lot of variety day to day but getting dressed is quick and easy. Which is good because there is a lot of time behind the wheel and not much time to waste figuring out what to wear.

How do you deal with packing for trips?

Three jackets

Three jackets

This week I went through fabrics I bought last summer and have never gotten around to using. One of them was a reversible mid weight knit with a lovely smooth texture that is perfect for a jacket.  Since it is a reversible fabric I needed a simple pattern where I would not need to make too many seams. I briefly considered finishing my bodice sloper I started and then making a pattern from there but I am in the mood for a faster process than that right now. Instead I went through patterns I had and found a McCalls pattern that I had picked up at a thrift store.

McCalls 4093

I made the first version as directed to make sure I liked the style on me. I loved the color of this woven fabric I picked up at Goodwill. I had a button I had picked up maybe 25 years ago in Canada that is made from arbutus.  I added patch pockets on the outside and I am happy with the results. It is quite a roomy jacket so I need to make sure to wear it with slim fit bottoms or a pencil skirt.  This process helped me see and think about what I would need to do to make it out of reversible fabric.

To make the test garment I pulled a knit out of my stash (I love the color of it but it doesn’t love me) that had a similar stretch to my final fabric.

I took the extra step of tracing the size I wanted off the tissue paper pattern so I could use all the sizes available later if I wanted.

Tracing paper to trace the size I want

I chose a size down from the size I used in the woven because the knit would make it even roomier than the first jacket. This exercise stretched my brain as I tried to make it look good from both sides. I used a flat fell seam so it would look finished from both sides. This also required me to sew my seams as straight as I could to keep it all neat looking. The pockets were a puzzle. I felt patch pockets on both sides would be too bulky so I made a welt on one side that went through into the pocket on the other side. This knit was not thick enough to leave the edge unfinished so I added a narrow stand up collar at the neck and bound the front edge.  The finished product is a bit clunky but it helped me think out the steps to make the final jacket.

Testing Testing

The final product! I narrowed the welt and made it a little higher because the other one almost felt like I was dropping whatever I put in the patch pocket out through the welt on the other side.

I smoothed out any jagged cuts I had on the unfinished front edges and hems and left them as is. Added one of my favorite vintage buttons and I now have a reversible jacket in one of my basic colors that I look forward to wearing!

Have you tried creating a reversible garment lately?

Pack bag

Pack bag

We are planning a short hiking trip in Iceland which means I need to take my beloved Deuter backpack on an airplane. When my daughter took her brand new one away to Europe the first plane trip destroyed the bottom. With that in mind I have had it on my list to create a canvas bag for my pack. I had some leftover canvas type fabric I used for Roman shades in our last house. I had already taken a lot of it and turned it into laundry size bags I had intended to use for carrying plant waste between client offices (but came up with a much lighter option).  I took one of the bags and pushed the pack in.

bag with pack in it. It was too short.

I took another one of the bags and sewed it to the first one. Now the entire unit was too long.

Bags sewn together are too long

So I cut off about 15″ and cut a hole for a zipper. I had a long separating zipper (probably 26″) in my zipper stash that was a perfect fit.  I added two straps that I made by folding a 4″ rectangle in so the sides met in the middle and then folding it in half to either side of the zipper. The photo below shows me adding a reinforcement piece to attach the straps to.

Adding straps

I put the pack in the bag and discovered it was still a little too long so I added one more strap with D rings that could hold the excess fabric if it is needed. I was too lazy to fully load my pack and test the canvas bag so I wanted to keep a little extra room in case it is needed.

This was a fun project for me as it is the first large bag I have tried to make. It required that I think about the stresses and strains of air travel as well as trying to make it easier for a baggage handler to move my pack around. I look forward to testing it out and will let you know if my beloved Deuter survived.

Have you made a large bag yet? Please share!

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?

 

 

The Honest Truth

My original intention for this site was to help teach others to find their colors and style. It has taken me 18 months to find my own so how can I help anyone else? I think the answer is to encourage you to experiment until you find the answer. A camera has really helped. Things I think look fabulous in the mirror are shown to be not so true from the camera’s objective eye. There are also some general “rules” which I will begin to share. But the “rules” can also hamper so don’t believe any of them are set in stone.

As you can tell this is also turning into a marvelous excuse to sew and experiment with fabrics, improve my skills and see what’s around me in a new way. It is also helping me see what my values are and how I want to spend my time. It is still a blog in the process of forming. As I am and as we all are. I am enjoying the journey. Because really all we have is the journey. The end is not the goal. It is everything that happens along the way. What you learn and discover are valuable.

Things that led me down the wrong path were “RULES”:

Tim Gunn’s recommendations. One was black and one was never wear shoes with rounded toes. I felt like a limping uncomfortable fraud. And when the camera showed me in black I can see why it is worn to funerals. Spanx. No comment needed.

Things that were difficult but that helped:

“Color your style”  book by David Zyla

“Looking Good every Day. Style Solutions for Real Women” by Nancy Nix Rice.

And a hundred little books, blog posts and photos.

Things that make sense

Tim Gunn’s rules of right silhouette, proportions and fit. (But figuring that out is hard work).

The other things that hampered me were internal.

Fighting against learning something new.

Recognizing habits and beliefs that were holding me back that I wasn’t aware of.

Fear of looking silly (and I’m sure I did a few times but everyone so far is polite enough not to say so).

Fear of spending time on myself.

Lack of desire to take and post pictures of myself.

What rules and excuses are holding you back? What has helped you? I look forward to your comments.

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?