Friday, July 31, 2015

Outfit 31/62: White T-Shirt, Red Maxi Skirt, Silver Sandals

Does this plain t-shirt need a necklace to bring it up to the level of this skirt? I think so. Next time I will add something to fancy it up a little. 

Yesterday I told you about my intention to sew this sweatshirt. I had ordered some off-white french terry, but today I found out that it is out of stock. I substituted with avocado green, and I think that will be great, too. Hopefully the fabric will arrive soon, while I'm super excited about the project. Yes, it is way too hot here for a sweatshirt, but I'm still excited to sew it for this fall (in my air conditioned basement, where it is always a little chilly and I can try it on comfortably). 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Outfit 30/62: Hawaiian Shirt, Boyfriend Jeans & Blue Converse

Wow, July is almost over already? I have friends whose kids are already back in school! I feel like we have so much summer left, but I see Back to School signs and ads everywhere. Are you thinking about your fall clothes yet? I planned and daydreamed about some sewing projects here. I am thinking a lot about linen and french terry, off white and olive green. 

For September, I will probably use a bigger wardrobe, combining my current summer clothes and some new things for cooler weather. That month always has such huge temperature swings, I know I'll want to have both sandals and sweaters - and something in between. I guess pretty soon I'll get out my cool weather clothes and see what I still love and what I'm ready to donate. I'll try to figure out what's missing so I can search for the right pieces to fill the gaps. 

I know last year I kept wanting a perfect sweatshirt: loose-fitting but not sloppy, and not too thick, heavy, or warm. I'm in the process of sewing one, using this much-loved pattern. Hopefully it will be just right. 

What are you planning to wear this fall?

Outfit 29/62: Black T-shirt, Coral Maxi Skirt & Silver Sandals

Maxi skirts: do you love them or hate them? I love the way they look. I like that they look nice but are super comfortable. But I miss having pockets when I wear one. It seems like I always need a place to put my phone if I'm going upstairs or in the basement. 

I also find them to be a bit of a trip hazard on the stairs. It seems like I'm always carrying something up or down the stairs, and I can't hold my skirt up out of the way. Maybe a maxi skirt-wearer has to be more ladylike and walk up and down stairs instead of jogging?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Outfit 28/62: Red Tee, Chambray Skirt & Converse

Red, white and blue - maybe I should have worn this around Independence Day? This outfit is as comfortable as shorts and a t-shirt, but looks a little cuter. Win-win!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Outfits 25, 26 & 27/62: Summer 2015

How was your weekend? I ended up being pretty lazy since my summer cold turned out to be a sinus infection. It hit me hard this weekend and I didn't get much done. I got some antibiotics and have felt a little better each day. Hopefully tomorrow will be the day that I feel back to normal!

Now let's talk about clothes. Here are my three latest outfits: 

Outfit 25: Red-orange top, boyfriend jeans and espadrilles. This shirt is a few years old, from Boden. It just happens to be one of my Autumn colors, and I do think it's a pretty good color on me!

Outfit 26: Grey t-shirt, jean shorts and blue Converse. Here's a plain old hanging around the house outfit. I have always liked how I look in grey, but comparing to the red-orange shirt above, I do think the red-orange is more flattering.

Outfit 27: White t-shirt, chambray skirt and silver sandals. And here I am in white, which is not recommended for me, as an Autumn. Again, I think the analysis is correct and the red-orange shirt makes me look better. 

This little comparison really makes me want to do the full swatch test, holding up all my recommended colors and all my non-recommended favorites. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that without buying tons of different fabrics. In a fabric store, there might be terrible fluorescent lighting, and they might not like me taking photos of myself with their fabric. Anyone have any ideas?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Outfit 24/62: Black Tank, Green Skirt & Silver Sandals

This green skirt was an inexpensive purchase and a disappointing one. I like almost everything about it, but it will not let go of wrinkles! I didn't know that until after I'd washed it, when it was too late to return it. So I'm trying out wearing it casually and disregarding the wrinkles. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Outfit 23/62: White Tee, Ikat Skirt & Silver Sandals

Here's my ikat skirt as I originally sewed it:


And after I shortened it a little bit, leaving it longer in the back:

I like this length a little better for me. I'm calling this alteration a success. If I ever get tired of the shirttail hem, I'll just shorten the back to match the front. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Outfit 22/62: Red Plaid Shirt, White Tank, Chambray Skirt & Espadrilles

I know this top kind of looks like a flannel shirt, but it's actually a really lightweight cotton. It's so thin, it's pretty sheer and cool, especially with a breezy skirt!

If you want to make your own A-line skirt, like my chambray one above, I posted a tutorial on my blog about making things, The Make Me Sisters.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Outfit 21/62: Navy Tee, Brown Shorts & Blue Converse

I finally received my used copy of Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson. It's a book from the 1980s that helps you figure out your "color season," or your most flattering colors (and of course contains extremely dated advice on clothing styles!) I really like her focus on wearing what looks good on you, rather than following trends that don't work for you. 

I'm so suspicious of some the color recommendations for Autumn! Orange?? Lime green? Chartreuse? But now I want to talk someone into going to a fabric store with me and taking photos of me holding up fabrics in all these colors! 

The navy shirt that I'm wearing today is not approved for an Autumn. I'm also supposed to avoid black, white, and ALL greys, which make up a huge part of my wardrobe. Jackson does say that you might look okay in certain colors, but much better in the ones from your season. So that could be the case with all my favorite neutrals, as opposed to me always looking terrible and never knowing it. 

As soon as I can test all my colors, I'll share the results. I hope JoAnn Fabrics won't kick me out for taking photos!

Here is the Color Me Beautiful website if you want to see what season you are. And, Phew! The website says I can wear rich, warm greys. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Outfits 19 & 20/62: Summer Capsule

How was your weekend? I had some time to myself to concentrate on sewing projects without interruption - yay! I had told you that I wanted to work on these projects:

1. Aster shirt
2. Shirred dress
3. Ikat skirt
4. Batik maxi skirt
5. Coral maxi skirt

I didn't finish them all, but I made a lot of progress! 

Here is #4, the batik maxi skirt. I made it out of a different fabric than I had originally imagined, but I really like it:

Outfit 19/62: Black t-shirt, black and white maxi skirt, and silver sandals.

How about the status of the other projects?

1. Aster shirt: I haven't started it yet. I am going to follow along with the sewalong, and it is just getting started. I need to cut out my pattern tomorrow and then I'll be ready for the next step on Wednesday. You can join up by clicking the button below, if you'd like to make this shirt, too.

Join the aster Sewalong!

2. Shirred dress: I only need to hem this one and it will be finished. It's my first time using shirring, and it went okay. Next time will be smoother, I'm sure. The bad part about learning new techniques is that I often end up spending an hour ripping out seams and re-sewing them! With limited time, I hate to waste time re-doing anything, but that's the way it goes. It's worth it, since it'll go much faster next time.

3. Ikat skirt: I wanted to shorten this skirt that I made, and I did. I ended up leaving it a little longer in the back (if I get tired of that, I can just hem the back up as short as the front someday). I think the length is more flattering for me now.

4. The batik maxi skirt above - done!

5. Coral maxi skirt: this jersey skirt had been finished before, but I didn't like the waistline so I made a new one. Meh. It's just okay. I think the very inexpensive fabric isn't quite right. I'll try a different fabric blend and a slightly different shape next time. Cheap fabric makes it easier to take a risk and try something new!

I'll try to wear all these skirts this week, so you can see them - plus it's fun to wear the things I make. :)

Here's the coral maxi skirt:

Outfit 20/62: Black and white top, coral maxi skirt, and sandals. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Outfit 18/62: Purple Embroidered Top, Capri Jeans & Camper Sandals

Here's the purple shirt I've mentioned before. I think it's outside of my range of most flattering colors, but it's a pretty shirt. Next time I might try it with a more subtle lipstick.

I've been watching reruns of "The Sopranos" and noticing how Carmela gets totally dressed up every day, with full-on hair, makeup, fancy clothes, and high heels. Some days she goes out to meetings and luncheons and things, but many times she's shown cooking and cleaning in her expensive clothes. Huh. Is all the effort worth it?

I think it's good for me to get dressed every day, even when I don't go anywhere, or I only walk to the playground or something. However, I don't think it would be worth my time to get totally dolled up to hang out with little kids and maybe meet other casual moms for a playdate. 

If you are a stay-at-home mom, what do you think about getting dressed up for your day? Do you feel a connection between getting dressed and feeling productive and motivated? Does it make you feel blue or like you've given up if you stay in lounge clothes or workout wear all day? In my neighborhood, I see a whole range of looks: moms with no makeup, pony tails, and sweats on, and those with full hair and makeup and stylish outfits. When the stylish ones have small babies, I'm always surprised - how they did have the energy to look so put together? I didn't at that point. 

Nowadays, I could stay in my pjs for a day and have no problem with that at all! But after that, I think it's good for my mood, motivation, and self-esteem to get up and dressed and put on mascara. And then once in a while, it's nice to spend a little longer on my hair and makeup and feel a little fancier (hopefully when we're going out to dinner or somewhere!)

The capsule wardrobe that I'm aiming for lets me quickly get dressed in something that looks good, feels good, and is durable and comfortable enough to wear while playing with my kids. The clothes are machine-washable and don't wrinkle easily. I want to get the mood boost of wearing a good-looking outfit without spending time trying on a bunch of clothes! Now if I could do the same thing for my hair...

Outfit 17/62: Blue Dip-Dye Muscle Shirt, Grey Bird Skirt & Naot Sandals

I like this muscle shirt, but I'm wondering about changing the neckline to be a v-neck. I'll have to work on that sewing skill - I haven't made a perfectly bound neckline yet. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Outfit 16/62: Hawaiian Shirt, Chambray Skirt & Sandals

Here's that chambray skirt again. Have I mentioned that I've considered wearing it every day since I sewed it?

What do you think about lightweight, semi-sheer shirts like my Hawaiian one? I like how it looks, and it's very soft. But sometimes I resent having to wear another shirt underneath. If it's really hot out, I just want to wear one lightweight, opaque shirt made of natural fibers - and that fits great, of course. Maybe a linen-cotton blend would be my holy grail.  

Has anyone tried this shirt from Everlane? I wonder if the white one is opaque enough to wear without a tank top underneath.

Everlane shirts

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Outfit 15/62: Black Tank, Grey Bird Skirt & Espadrilles

I have another thing to add to my wish-I-would-sew-it list: a copy of this tank top in a different color. I like the fit of it and would love to have an opaque white one. Or off-white, if I'm going to follow the colors recommended for my skin tone and hair color. 

I want to learn more about the color analysis system and actually try holding up fabric swatches to see which colors really look the best on me. Why not fill my wardrobe with mostly those colors and make it easier to look good?

Have you had your colors analyzed? Do you wear mostly - or only - those colors? I remember holding up different colored fabrics in sewing class in high school. The class would say if a color looked good or not. I can't remember much else, like whether I was assigned a color season or anything. I know there was a bad reaction to mustard yellow (I remember because I often wore a shirt that color)! That is supposed to be a good color for me, as an Autumn, but now I don't feel like I look good in any yellows. 

I'm skeptical about some of the shades of green that are recommended for me, too. A fabric test could be very enlightening. What if it opens up a whole new range of colors that I thought didn't look good on me? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Outfit 14/62: Black T-Shirt, Chambray Skirt & Silver Sandals

Here's my new chambray skirt! It's really simple, so it was easy to sew. It's also like a blank slate and can go with almost any shirt. I made some patch pockets that I might add to it, but they would make it a little more casual. I'm also considering adding on-seam pockets instead. Those would be more useful for carrying things, but they would take a little more work. Either way, I can see this skirt getting a lot of use.

My personal capsule wardrobe rules allow me to add an unlimited number of pieces, as long as I sew them myself. I hope it will encourage me to sew more of my own clothes. I'd love to get a lot better at sewing and be able to make a whole capsule wardrobe!

This weekend I get to have some extra time to sew, and I'm trying to decide what I want to work on. One thing I'm planning to make is an Aster shirt, from Colette Patterns. They just started the sewalong for this pattern today. If you want to join, click the image below.

Join the aster Sewalong!

I'd also like to make a shirred dress, similar to the burgundy one below. 

I want to re-hem my ikat skirt to make it a little shorter (it's the same shape as the blue and white tie-dyed skirt below). 

I'd love to make a maxi skirt out of some indigo batik fabric that I already have. Maybe it would be just a little longer than the orange tie-dyed skirt in the image.

And I definitely want to finish my coral jersey maxi skirt! It just needs to have the waistband reattached, and that shouldn't take too long. 

So my plan is to work on those five pieces (but how did I end up with so many skirts?). I'll let you know how it goes. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Outfit 13/62: Navy Tee, Flowered Skirt & Naot Sandals

I love this type of outfit. It looks kind of nice, but it's as comfortable as can be. The skirt can sit at whatever point it fits best (notably, it can sit higher if I ate a huge meal). The shirt is really just a t-shirt, but the draping takes it up a notch. And these Naot sandals fit me well and are very comfortable to walk in, but the thin straps look a little nicer than Birkenstock-style sandals. 

This could easily be made a bit fancier with jewelry and a nice bag. It worked just fine like this for my usual errand-running and perpetual snack-making and crumb-wiping. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: Summer Outfits 9-12

We had a blast with our weekend guests. They were an old friend of mine and my husband's, and his little son. The son is the same age as our daughter, and they hit it off really well! It was fun to see them become friends, too.

Here are my recent outfits:

Outfit 9: Blue t-shirt, cuffed jean shorts, and white Converse. 

Outfit 10: Black and white top, grey shorts, and white Converse. 

Outfit 11: Flowered tunic, leggings, and Naot sandals.

Outfit 12: White t-shirt, cropped jeans, and Camper sandals.

I'm planning to wear my newly-sewn chambray skirt this week - yay! I really sewed something instead of just planning to do it! 

My husband and kids are going to give me some time alone this coming weekend, and I'll have to decide how much time to spend on sewing and how much on decluttering. I think I'll focus mainly on those two things, though I can think of many ways to use time alone: go to the pool and just relax, read books, go shopping for clothes or fabric, repaint our living room, exercise, cook, sleep, garden - I could go on. I'm pretty excited about it. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Outfit 8/62: Red Plaid Shirt, Black A-Line Skirt & Espadrilles

After just having figured out what my best colors are, according to seasonal color analysis, now I've lightened my hair. I think I'm now a warm Spring instead of a warm Autumn. I will be looking into my new best colors and will let you know what I find. 

Tomorrow, an old friend is coming to visit, so I may not post much until after the weekend. See you soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Outfit 7/62: Chambray Shirt, Grey T-Shirt, Boyfriend Jeans & Blue Converse

It was pretty cool today, so I got to wear my chambray shirt. I love it when we get a cool day in summer - or a warm day in winter. It's nice to have a little variety. Then I appreciate the expected weather even more. It just wouldn't be summer if we didn't have long stretches of hot days, but one cool, rainy day feels like a treat. 

I think there's a parallel with capsule wardrobes. If you fill your wardrobe with mostly favorites, you can add a few brighter, more wild, trickier-to-wear pieces for variety. My outfit today is all favorites. Each piece is neutral, comfortable, reliable, and machine-washable. I can imagine wearing this today, washing and drying it, and then wearing any or all of it again in a couple days. 

For variety, I have a few things like this purple shirt in my capsule:

I really like it, but it's not my most flattering color. It's a very strong color, which I don't always feel like wearing. It's also maybe a more memorable shirt, so I might feel funny wearing it more than once a week, or even once a week. (I know people don't really notice what I wear, but I still think they might.) It's a little pop of excitement, a break from my favorite neutrals, that makes me appreciate the ease and psychological comfort of my favorite clothes. 

Your favorite, easiest-to-wear clothes might be really different from mine. Maybe purple is your favorite color to wear! You can start with your base of clothes that you want to wear almost all the time, then add in a few extras to spice things up. The pieces you include for variety might be dry-clean only, so they need a bit more effort and care. You might like to wear beautiful, uncomfortable shoes once in a while. Even though you don't wear these things as often, they can really make your small wardrobe special and make you appreciate your everyday favorites even more.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Outfits 4, 5, & 6/62 Summer Capsule

How was your weekend? We saw some more fireworks, the kids splashed in a few kiddie pools, we worked in the garden - all the great summer stuff. My summer wardrobe is living up to my expectations so far, and I expect it to continue. I really want to make that chambray skirt! I think it would go with every top in my closet and every pair of shoes. I'd better get into my sewing room this week!

Here are my last few outfits:

Outfit 4: White Everlane t-shirt, black A-line skirt, and black leather espadrilles.

Outfit 5: Grey Everlane U-neck shirt, jean shorts, and white Converse. If you've read any reviews about these shirts, you'll know that some people find them to be too low-cut. I think they're fine if you don't have to pick up little kids, but maybe too low-cut if you have to carry a baby or a toddler around. My 2-year old loves to be carried, and he pulls on my clothes. I've been walking around with him and realized that a couple inches of my bra is showing, or that he has pulled up my shirt so that my stomach is exposed - thanks, kid! If you have a small child, or have to bend over a lot, I'd recommend getting the V-neck style instead.

Outfit 6: Red shirt with braided trim, grey bird skirt, and black leather espadrilles. 

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Outfit 3/62: Red T-Shirt, Brown Shorts & Sandals

Today I want to share a little decluttering tip. If you're just getting started (or feel stuck), a great first (or next) step is to grab the low-hanging fruit. There are probably a few things in every room that you already know can be thrown out or donated. There might be a few pieces of clothing that you can picture right now, without even looking in your closet, that you'd like to get rid of. 

Go ahead and grab those easy discards and get them out of the house. You'll make a little progress, which builds momentum to make more progress. You'll reduce your mental clutter just a little by getting rid of those things. Without that stuff in the way, you'll be able to see the rest of your belongings more clearly. You might also enjoy being free of that stuff and see that you could feel even better if you got rid of more, starting an upward spiral of decluttering. 

Will you give it a try?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Outfit 2/62: Live Free T-Shirt, Brown Shorts & Converse

I used to wear brown a lot in high school, but then I started to like black a lot more. Now I think I'm falling in love with brown again. I think it's a great color with my hair, skin, and eyes. 

Have you ever figured out what your "color season" is? It's the idea that you can predict which colors look best on you, based on your hair and eye color, and your skin tone. Your group of most-flattering colors will be labeled as Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn. Since I have auburn hair and pale skin, I should be an Autumn. Brown is definitely one of my prescribed colors. Black is not. But I really like how I look in black. What's going on with that?

I wondered about it this past winter and looked into the color season concept. I found several discussions that say that color seasons are a lot more complicated than just four seasons. If I were an absolute Autumn, I shouldn't look good in bright white or black. But I like how I look in both of those colors. I think white and black can make some redheads, especially strawberry blondes (those people whose hair is more like light orange) look washed out. But white and black are flattering on me. I found a guide to some more specific categories than just the four seasons: Light, Deep, Warm, Cool, Clear, and Soft. Now I know that I'm a Warm Autumn, and that adds some stronger colors to my recommendations (but still not black or white). It also seems that people can sort of flow between seasons, or be on the cusp between two seasons.

So, like everything in life, there might not be a super-simple answer to the question of which colors you should wear. The good news is, that means you can probably look great in more colors than the four-season typology holds. Try on whatever colors you like! Wear whatever makes you feel good! If there's a color you like, but it doesn't flatter you, and you don't want to wear it next to your face, try to find a purse, shoes, or belt in that color. Maybe you can find a multi-colored shirt that doesn't place the unflattering color right next to your face and hair. Another idea, for a color that just doesn't look good against your skin, is to wear pants or a skirt (with tights) in that color. 

It's kind of fun to see which colors are recommended for you. There might be a few that you haven't tried before, and maybe you'll find a new favorite. I keep seeing lime green and orange as recommendations for me and I'm skeptical, but maybe I'll try on those colors the next time I'm out shopping. You never know...

This post from Into Mind  can help you narrow down your season more specifically.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's Summer Capsule Time!

Somehow I missed showing you one outfit from my last capsule - darn! But let's just move forward, okay? 

Now that summer is in full swing, it's time for a summery wardrobe change. I decided to include more skirts this time, since I liked wearing them so much these past couple months. They're easy to throw on and cool and breezy when it's hot out. They look more put together than shorts, and sometimes they're more flattering. Of course, shorts are great for sitting on the ground, playing, riding bikes, and lots of other things, so I need some of those, too. 

As usual, my life calls for very casual, un-fussy clothing. I have two little kids and I work from home. No dress code! I do want to be able to dress up a little bit for parties and BBQs, so I want one or two outfits that are nicer.

I ended up with black, white, grey, red and blue as my colors - plus a few outliers: purple, brown, green, and a few multi-colored pieces.  

Generally I like to choose 40 pieces of clothing for each capsule, and this time I have 39 items, leaving an empty space for a party dress. I will choose whatever fits and feels the best on the day I need it - and I'm 99% sure I'll just grab something that I already own. 

Also, to encourage myself to sew more clothing, I'm allowed to add as many pieces as I can sew. So far, I don't think I've sewn more than two items for a single capsule. I have five things in mind to sew for this summer, and I'll be very impressed with myself if I accomplish all that!

And finally, here are my clothes.

My neutrals:

Summer Neutrals

1. White tank
2. White t-shirt
3. Grey t-shirt
4. Black tank
5. Black t-shirt
6. Black & white patterned top
7. Grey shorts
8. Black & white ikat print skirt
9. Grey bird skirt
10. Black a-line skirt
11. Black leggings
12. Metallic thong sandals
13. Metallic Naot sandals
14. White slip-on Converse
15. Black leather espadrilles

The reds and blues:

Red and Blue for Summer

16. Red t-shirt with braided trim
17. Red & white basket-weave top
18. Blue ombre muscle shirt
19. Blue octopus t-shirt
20. Navy t-shirt
21. Red & white maxi skirt
22. Red plaid lightweight button-down
23. Blue chambray shirt
24. Skinny jeans
25. Bootcut jeans
26. Boyfriend jeans
27. Cropped jeans
28. Bermuda jean shorts
29. Jean shorts
30. Blue Converse Jack Purcells

And the other colors and multi-colored clothes:

Other Colors of the Summer 2

31. Purple embroidered top
32. Brown Live Free t-shirt
33. Hawaiian shirt
34. Flowered tunic
35. Flowered jersey dress
36. Flowered full skirt
37. Green dip-dye skirt
38. Brown shorts
39. Brown sandals

40. saved for a party dress - to be determined 

I think it's going to be fun to mix and match these pieces. All the neutrals should make it really easy to grab something to wear on a running-late morning. 

And my first outfit of this capsule: 

Outfit 1: White tank top, flowered full skirt, and black espadrilles.