Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's all in the details

There are at least two reasons to sew.  One of them is so you can have what you want to have, anything your imagination can dream up and your hands can create.  The other is so that you can have have a quality of product that you couldn't possibly afford.


Near-perfect zipper?  Check.  Metal button, with interesting detail?  Check.  Fully lined?  Absolutely.  Waist-stay, so it doesn't droop or migrate around a torso with very little hip-to-waist ratio?  You got it!

Nice materials (linen, cotton). 

And yes... it's decidedly PINK.  Not blue, not blue at all.  :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A week of outfit posts

I'm not entirely sure that I want to be "outfit post" lady.  There are plenty of other people on the web doing this, and it's not like I think that I am the hotness.  In fact, this may be a solution to vanity.  Then again, just looking at this is educational, it really goes over some basics with me and shows me exactly how much styling can make a difference.  Plus, I've made an effort every day that I've pulled out the camera.  Not always an effort with my face - sorry about some of my expressions.  Yikes.

Thursday.  I went out shopping with my kids for Father's Day presents.  Yellow isn't my best color, but I can manage it.  My favorite scarf - it goes with a lot of different outfits.

Friday.  Oh dear, this pose is dreadful.  Shopping again - we were going to go to the Safari Park and I was going to pair my boots with this, but DH wasn't up for it, so we went to the grocery store and I let the kids veg out with some videos.  Notice the all-one-color under the shirt is VERY slimming.  The cuff on the wrist completes the look.  I really hate my hair in this pic!  Lesson learned.

Saturday.  Going to go out for lunch with DH's family for BIL's birthday.  I'm wearing makeup in this picture.  Enjoy it - I don't wear it very often.  Yes, I make this little green skirt work - I was really surprised by how versatile it is.  I'm glad to have my necklace/earrings back... repaired them last weekend. 
Sunday.  Father's Day.  I'm going to be spending most of the day indoors, making yummies for my husband's tummy and doing some sewing.  I wanted to wear something cute for him - although he's mostly zoning out today, so I put on a tshirt from the juniors' department.  A fuzzy picture of this is as public as it's going to get - I had NO idea it would be this scary-tight.  That makes it the perfect thing to wear around the house on a weekend for your husband, IMO.  The skirt is about to go, but makes  a break from endless blue.  I'm trying to do more interesting things with my arms/poses.  Positive of taking the outfit picture?  I fixed a major snafu that looked fine in the mirror but not in the camera.  I'll probably add an apron later, when I bake.  Hat-tip to Alte, we're making the bisquit cake again.  :)
Monday.  DH ended up being home sick, so this is my "I've got to get out of the house for a little while, I'm sure I need SOMETHING at Joanne's" outfit. 

But really this is what I wore all afternoon - my big green apron.  Because it was housecleaning day.  (I clean once a week in a big blitz, then try to keep stuff up more or less the rest of the week).

I get a lot of compliments on the earrings I wore on Monday, so here's a closeup.  $5.  They go with virtually everything and they're fun. 

Replay?  Yes.  Tuesday.  We went to Trader Joe's to get the stuff I get there/the next couple days' worth of groceries, and then we went to the beach.  My swimsuit got giggled at by some teenagers, and I haven't made the one in my head, so swimsuit shopping is in my future.  Sigh. 

Wednesday.  I decided that today would be a good day to use the restaurant coupons that my kids earned this year with Student of the Month.  Going to go to lunch with BFF and my kids.  Not the best blouse for figure flattery, but it's a great color and very comfy/stylish. 



And now I'm done with the dreaded outfit post.  Well.  This turned out to be another tool for me.  I made sure that I dressed decently and accessorized.  I also see 1) that I wear my mom tshirts way.too.much and 2) longer is better, no matter how flirty I feel in the shorter skirts.  Or possibly "short is only for dresses, and not poofy ones". 

Your camera doesn't lie.............. what do YOU need to work on?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Think Pink

You know I've promised to get some color-not-blue into my wardrobe?  Well, I had the opportunity to get out of the house for a couple of hours, and I had a Joanne's 40% off coupon in my hot little hand... so I trotted off and bought lining fabric for the hot pink linen I got online (it was not HOT pink online, it most certainly is in person).
 


So, soon I will have a hot pink skirt.  Not sure how I feel about that.  The good news is that the lining fabric I picked up, which is Joanne's basic line of colored plain cotton, was MUCH nicer than I remember, once I got it washed.  I might have to go back and get some of this for shirts or something, it's worth using on its own.  Can you tell how plushy it is, from the picture?


I like the blush pink, too.  Very flattering.  Much more so than that hot pink!   But I did promise - and I'm going to make it a length that will look like an outfit with my long petticoat, which will alleviate some of the pink... hopefully.

Sewing, sewing, over the bounding main...................

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Loungewear

You know, being in a lovely space is all about working with what your life and what you will actually wear.  In my fantasy life, where there are ladies' maids and leisurely living is the default, trailing sleeves and skirts on the floor are de rigeur.  I don't actually *live* there, so I have to make adjustments to that fantasy!

I'm thinking right now about inserting soft bras into some tshirts and/or tanks to wear around the house.  Usually I hate the shelf-bra thing, but that's because they don't fit or offer anywhere near sufficient support.  But if *I* sewed them, and made them from fabric with a bit more oomph (I'm thinking the inner material on swimsuits) and to my size (so they don't drag down my necklines), that might solve the "my shoulders are really tired but I don't really want to be braless" quandry.  Well.  I usually DO want to be braless, but it's not nearly as flattering, and my son is getting to the age when that's going to be embarrassing for him.   I could also sew some of the shirts from stretch velvet, which would make my husband happy.  (He likes soft fabrics).  If I made some matching elastic waisted peasant skirts, that would take care of the bulk of my loungewear straightaway.

That's one category of loungewear - the first thing in the morning/casual around-the-house hanging out outfit.  The other category is apres bath.  I don't know about you, but one of the beauties of life is having an early evening bath and then hanging out and reading or chilling out online with some friends.  (Morning people - they like to get ready for bed *early*).  Because I do have children, I'm not going to be lounging around in a sheer negligee.  Also, if I had an afternoon bath and wanted to be deshabille for a few hours, I don't want to have to shut up the house lest my neighbors catch a glimpse. 

I'm thinking the solution is a kimono - loose and comfortable, yet formal and covered up enough that if someone comes to the door, I don't have to go hide in my bedroom.  It might be a bit much.  I'm still thinking.  (In the meantime, I found a source for vintage kimono online). 

And the last category, for which I do not yet have an answer, is "hot afternoons".  I don't do heat.  I had a thin housedress that I wore for a couple of years.  It was perfect, insofar as my comfort was concerned, but it was sheer *and* rather unflattering.  It's gone now. 

Any problem can be fixed, if only we will put our minds to it.  And - any problem can be fixed for each of us, and we shouldn't accept the answer that "everyone" uses, because usually such answers are not one-size-fits-all.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Toolbox: Digital cameras and your closet

I decided it was high time that I sorted through my closet a couple of weeks ago. 

I have a very small amount of closet space - about 2' of closet rod - so I keep my working closet very well edited. (I stash dressy things and big jackets elsewhere).  That wasn't the problem.  The problem was, as my friend L is fond of pointing out, I tend to default to a certain set of colors.  They don't look so similar while hanging up - but if you get them down and take photographs of the items by group, you can be struck by the similarities. 

I offer you:  Skirts.....

I had a couple of things in the laundry (and obviously wasn't naked when I took this photo) but ... wow.  You really do get the overwhelming "denim blue" vibe, don't you?  (I was probably wearing my long denim skirt... yeah.  I have a problem).
Just taking things out and grouping them is *good* - and you should start there.  But if you have a digital camera, I urge you to take a picture of what you have and look at it on your computer screen.  The distance you'll get is valuable.  Also, it gives you an incentive to walk outside of your norm.  Another blue skirt? So easy.  But even blue-eyed moi can't wear all blue, all the time. 

I did the closet sort right after I filled it in a little bit, and that gave me the incentive to throw away some worn items.  I have a few more in there that I'm just not wearing, exactly because they're "too worn"... and I really should suck it up and take them out.  (My last day-dress... cry!  I need to get to sewing, stat!)  (Not to mention that embroidered skirt... ah, so naive to believe that "cute" fabric would make up into something that didn't scream "I made this").

The other thing that a digital camera can give you is the ability to creatively mix and match.  Somehow our usual outfits just find one another and they stay... and stay... and stay... and you end up a bit stale.  Pull it out, snap a photo, and suddenly those great big garments become tiny and mobile and you're mixing and matching all over the place.

So I did my closet cleaning out - and then I examined my stash, and then I made a "to-sew" list.  In order.  I'm almost certainly going to mess up the order, because I can't live life in the summer without daydresses.  Regardless... I have direction, I have inspiration.  And *that* is how you get out of a slump.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lovely Nights

I've written about wearing lovely things to sleep before (http://hearth-tobelovely.blogspot.com/2011/10/pretty-inside-pretty-outside.html)  but hadn't focused on a couple of key thoughts.

1)  Wearing something truly lovely to bed is a gift to your spouse. 
2)  Wearing something truly lovely to bed means that you won't be wearing it much after you get up in the morning.  Perhaps for a cup of coffee or tea - but that's all.  After all, can you imagine frying bacon in this: http://www.antiquedress.com/item6918.htm ?
3)  Wearing something truly lovely to bed makes a little separate space in your day, where you are intimate, vunerable, and beautiful.

Lovely things don't have to be uncomfortable things!  I made myself that nightgown eight months ago, I wear it constantly, and it's as comfortable as the day I made it.  Because I used a natural fiber, it breathes and doesn't get too hot.   Because I used a relatively washable silk, I can hand wash it occasionally (would you want a dry-clean-only nightie?)  (Lots of things can be washed by hand and drip-dried, btw). 

If you happened to be a pajama person instead of a nightgown person, how about a sexy set of lounging pajamas?  http://www.shopinsilk.com/Womens-pajamas/Long-sleeve-pajamas-set/Autumn-Luxurious-Womens-Silk-Pajamas-Set-S-1435.jpg

If you're a cotton gal - how about a sexy short nightie with a bit of lace on the top?

Of course everyone is going to have their nightwear for "I'm sick/cold/exhausted".  I have a couple pair of  yoga pants that I keep in the back of my stash, just for wearing under a flannel nightgown when I'm truly unwell. 

But the rest of the time?  At least give a thought to the lovely... you might be surprised by how it makes you feel.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Psychology of Clothing

It all started when I picked up "Looking Terrific"  (see a couple of blogs back).  I started to think about the psychology of clothing in the backburners of my mind.  And then it started running...

Every day, when you get up and get dressed, you're saying something with your clothes.  If you *don't* get dressed - you're still saying something!  When I was a new mom, and wearing my old maternity shorts with DH's tshirts, I was saying, "because I don't look like I used to look, I'm not worth spending money on". 

I start with the extreme, because I want to make a point.  Also, nearly every reader of this blog has been there.  If you're reading *this* blog, you've gotten out of there.  Maybe not terribly far, but you've gotten out of there.

Then I started watching other women.  Something that's always struck me as unfair is women who are heavier than I am who carry themselves as if they're gorgeous.  (Yes, that's me being petty - honesty is useful for me, useful for you too, I hope).  After all, the biggest block to my feeling gorgeous is my weight.  So how come they get to look like they feel fabulous, when I don't?  Where is that swagger in their step coming from?

And -boom- there went the dots.  They connected.  They *feel* like they're worth it.  They *feel* attractive.   I don't!  So I wear nice things because I'm nice - but I don't wear fabulous things because I'm not fabulous.  I don't put that extra time into my appearance, because my goal is to "look nice".  "Look well-put together". "Wear the pretty skirt".  "Look pretty". 

You know how it is. Some days you wake up feeling girly, and there's no choice but to put on the fluffy petticoat.  Some days you feel efficient, and you find your hair braided back and your working clothes on.  Some days it's sexy - and you find yourself wearing clothing that's just a little tighter, just a little more revealing, than normal.

And however you dress, you respond to it.  When I put on the long full petticoat and my long full skirt, suddenly I'm swishing around the house.  My movement changes.  When it's the short petticoat and the short skirt, I bounce and twirl and twitter.  Boots and braid?  Moving with efficiency. 

Since I've brought this to my awareness, I can use this to my advantage.  What can I do with my appearance today that will give me a bit of a boost? 

If I were a woman who spent more time in the public meme, I'd think, "what can I say with my clothing that will convey the message I want to convey".  That's when we start talking about power colors, if you remember that from your youth.  (If your youth was in the 80s, you remember that!)  But it's not just color - it's line and fit.  It's also how well your clothes are matched, and if they're in good repair - and if you're wearing knits, if they're still bright and new looking. 

Intentionality.  Good grooming.  Thinking before you act - and realising that the act of dressing is an act of communication. 

Yep.  I have some things from this to take to heart and put to work... I hope you do too! 

Rome was not built in a day, but every day counts.   Get dressed!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blog Crossover

This blog is primarily where I write about my thoughts about fashion, about being lovely, about the purpose of beauty in our sad world.  Sometimes I also talk about personal things, like what's on my sewing table and how I'm applying the guidelines that I've picked up over the years to my life, my style, my body.  (Or my daughter's!)

I've thought, here and there, about making this more personal, talking more about my sewing processes, talking about my figure issues at length, etc.  But that's really not what this page is about.  I do write about that - I have another blog (hearthrose.xanga.com) and I blather on about whatever's on my mind that day, whether it be theology or hemlines. 

In fact, I have a blog series over there that I need to de-personalize and post here on sorting and cleaning out the closet and making a wardrobe plan. 

So, if I'm not here a ton, it doesn't mean I've disappeared, it just means I haven't had anything topical to say. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dress to Skirt

I had a dress that didn't fit me properly anymore.  A pretty dress... I spent a week making it, it was off-white eyelet underlined with cream cotton.  The overall effect?  Very light cream.  But every time I raised my arms, my waistband became empire.  Not. Good.

So today I pulled out my seamripper and turned that dress into a skirt.  Here it is - with a pretty tunic from Penney's.  No, long-torso'd gals probably shouldn't wear tunics, but it's a modern touch in my mostly classic/vintage wardrobe, and that's a good thing. 

Way to make something that's not quite working into something that will work itself silly.  :)  It was a good day.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Skirt Refashion

I've had a dark green walking skirt in my closet for a few years now.  It was one of my earlier sewing projects.  Had I made it full-length, I would probably still have it as a winter skirt, faux-bustle or no.  But I made it "street length" - which turned out to be an odd uneven calf-length.  It had gotten a bit big for me, and I'd been wanting to make it knee-length so I'd have the perfect skirt for St. Patrick's Day - and any other day for this Irish Lassie. 

I made the petticoat (featured previously) just for the skirt, and now I can't decide whether I like it better with or without the petticoat.  Oh, okay.  I can decide just fine.  I like it better seen from the front *with* the petticoat and seen from the side without.  ;)

At any rate, I'm happy.  Creativity - officially unstuck.  And it's a fairly basic skirt, I can do a lot with something like this in the wardrobe.

With petticoat - ignore the tanktop, it went with a different outfit.  Also ignore all the positioning in these poses, I put my arms over my head to get them out of the frame.  I know it makes the hem/my torso a bit odd in turn.



Without petticoat, pictures taken by daughter.



Semi-coincidentally, I scored a white peasant blouse yesterday in a shopping trip to Penney's.  It will do nicely with this skirt.   My "heels" are some very cute mary-janeish things.... it will all coordinate.  In my mind at any rate - we'll see how it runs in the flesh.