Rethinking the wardrobe plan

Earlier this summer, I decided that for at least the next year, I want to work only with certain colors, and only specific hue angles within those. Here they are:

Color wheel

I’ll be working with the colors where my Bright Winter palette and my custom palette from John Kitchener overlap.

Now the question is how to plan a wardrobe around these colors. In the past, whenever wardrobe planning came up, whether as a SWAP, 6-PAC, wardrobe capsule, or one of those minimal wardrobe concepts, the idea has been that everything should go with just about everything else. In other words, totally mix-and-match. I’ve worked with it many times, making plans complete with pictures and fabric selections. But I rarely finished any of these plans. And when I did, I ended up not wearing several of the pieces. So it’s time for a rethink.

I am not a mix-and-matcher. I have certain outfits I like and wear often. I’d like to have some variation, mostly in terms of color, but not so the whole outfit is different. I love bright colors but I don’t wear more than one bright color at a time, preferring instead to combine each with black, white, and/or gray. I’m also not big on separates. So let’s say the base of an outfit is a black dress. What I need is different colored collections of accessories that work with this dress. A red collection. A yellow one. A green one. You get the idea.

Yellow collection 1

The beginning of my yellow collection.

Right now I’m working on the yellow collection. It started in June when I ordered a custom hand-painted scarf in yellow and black, and some custom-dyed yellow fingering merino yarn as well. When I started working on yellow jewelry ideas, it turned out that glass beads are not quite right. So now I’m playing with polymer clay. I have made a pair of earrings, a set of two bracelets, and a matching necklace. The black and yellow Cameo shawl belongs in this collection too, and I am currently knitting a tweedy cardigan in black, gray, and yellow.

I have yarn in all of my selected colors, and fabrics in most of them. Polymer clay colors are easy enough to mix up to match just about anything. Over the next year, I’d like to get a reasonable start on each of the colors – a set of jewelry, a scarf, and a cardigan or shawl (or some other shoulder warmer). I’m going to give it a good try to see if this way of wardrobe building will get me further than the mix-all-match-all way.

Stay tuned for some colorful polymer clay news.

See you soon!

Summer FO catch-up

Yay, it’s September! August was a busy and fun month, with traveling, knitting, and enjoying having my husband back from deployment.

Let me catch you up on my finished objects. First, the green Viajante:

Green Viajante 2Green Viajante 6

This is my third Viajante (pattern link). I just love the pattern. I made this one a little shorter and narrower at the pointy side. Probably not enough for a casual observer to notice but it does make a difference in how fast it works up and yarn yardage. I used Regia fingering weight, same yarn I’d used in the red version so there were no surprises. The color is actually quite green but photographs blueish teal. I don’t know why.

Next came my first beaded knitting project. I’d been watching Laura Nelkin’s Knitting with Beads class on Craftsy (fun and totally worth the money) and wanted a simple project to bead. Enter Jeweled Cowl (pattern link):

Jeweled Cowl 1

This is a lovely pattern – a loop knitted in the round, long enough to go around the neck twice. The yarn is a heavenly blend of cashmere, silk, and merino wool, light as air. There are 594 beads total. If I were to make it again in this cobwebby yarn, I’d use smaller beads so they’d be lighter. As it is, the beads weigh as much as the yarn in this piece. Probably not the best ratio. It will get plenty of wear so we’ll see how it fares with all those beads.

And last but not least, my black and yellow Cameo (pattern link):

Black and yellow Cameo shawl 1

I’d been admiring other people’s Cameos for a while and I finally decided to make one. Super easy pattern, garter stitch knits up fast, the striped section keeps it interesting, and the lace section adds some pretty. I absolutely love it and so I was crushed when the black yarn bled onto the yellow lace section during washing, right before I blocked it. I got as much out as I could, but not all of it. Myrna recommended Synthrapol so I’ll try that. If that doesn’t work, I’ll probably reknit the yellow section with new yarn so it’s nice and bright, and then use Synthrapol from there on out.

OK, that’s all I have for today. Next time I’ll tell you about my new discovery – polymer clay.

See you soon!

Yellow Dawn shawlette

This was a quick knit. After the red Viajante, I really wanted another project on the needles. Knitting has been really soothing for me lately, and it makes for a very productive way to watch Craftsy classes. Probably movies too but I’m not much of a movie person.

Composite - Yellow Dawn shawlette

Over the last few weeks, I’ve developed a serious interest in shawls, wraps, shrugs, and similar knitted pieces, and have been adding all sorts of beautiful inspirational pictures to my favorites on Ravelry. I don’t know much about wearing shawls, how the different shapes work, and things like that. So I thought I’d experiment for a while. That means there will be more shawls, hehe.

This one is pretty simple, with a stockinette stitch body, an easy lace border along the curved edge, and a narrow lacey border along the straight edge. It’s knitted in one piece, side-to-side. The pattern is called From Dawn Till Dusk shawlette and it is available free on Ravelry. I used a sock yarn from my local yarn store. It’s Regia 4-ply, a blend of 75% wool and 25% nylon.

The yellow is quite bright. It will be perfect with a black dress. Now I just need a matching yellow bracelet and probably also earrings.

I have another Viajante on the needles. This time it’s green and I’m making some changes to it so that it’s shorter and also narrower at the bottom. We’ll see how that works.

See you soon!

Cropped polka dot cardigan

Oops, I completely spaced coming back here to tell you about the polka dot cardigan. Because I’ve been busy knitting and watching Craftsy classes. I even have a knitted FO for the next post. Which I will write right after this one so I won’t forget again.

Polka dot cardi

But back to the cardigan. It’s a refashion project. It started out as a nice, but really too long and rather shapeless cardigan from Lands’ End. I love the polka dots. The length is fixable. It was supposed to be part of my SWAP. Oh well.

Polka dot cardi - original

See what I mean? Too long. Bottom safety pin marks where I cut it off.

I cut off some 7″ from the bottom so that it would end at my natural waist. Any longer than this and I would have had to take it in at the sides. This way I could leave the side seams untouched. I hemmed it using 1″ foldover elastic in black. I had also auditioned a slightly narrower white one, but it made the polka dots look ivory in comparison so that was a no-go. I also cut off the ribbing from the sleeves and finished them with the same 1″ black foldover elastic. This gave the sleeves a nice 3/4-ish length. I used the regular straight stitch – surprisingly, it has plenty of give. It’s not needed but it’s good to know it’s there.

I’ve worn this cardigan quite a few times before the heat wave. It’s such a happy little shoulder warmer.

Next up, I have a yellow knitted shawlette to show you. See you then!

Dress with decorative seams

Have you guys watched the Craftsy class Decorative seams with Katrina Walker? It’s been sitting in my queue for a while and I finally watched it while knitting the red Viajante. Seriously, knitting and watching Craftsy is awesome! Anyway, I digress.

Dress with decorative seams

McCall’s 6355 – not easy to recognize like this, is it?

Katrina’s enthusiasm is totally contagious. I mean, I’m knitting and watching and in my mind, I see dresses with all sorts of piping and trim details that I could make. The pattern that comes with the class is Vogue 1329 – a Kay Unger number that looks great on quite a few sewing bloggers. I cut up the pattern sheets and ironed them, and then dithered about making a muslin. In the end, I decided to use my TNT dress pattern (McCall’s 6355) instead. I really just didn’t want to start from scratch. Which is kind of funny because the other day I read Beth’s blog post where she basically says for her, starting from scratch means drafting a new detail and it’s easier to take a new pattern and fit it. For me, it’s the other way around – I’ll hack my TNT pattern six ways to Sunday but if I have to start with a new pattern, well, let’s just say all kinds of stars would have to line up just so.

Vogue 1329

I used some leftover bias tape to see how these lines would look on me. My approach was very scientific, hehe, standing in front of the mirror in the red dress and pinning the bias tape until I thought it looked right. That was also when I figured out that the armholes would need the contrast trim because it just looked odd without it. Then I put it on the dressform to make it easy to take measurements and such. The pattern work is really simple – just the front yoke and what is essentially a princess line below the yoke on the left side. I also raised the neckline to get a better proportion for the yoke.

Dress idea

You can just barely make out the white trim pinned to the left armhole.

The fabric is black Sophia double knit from Vogue Fabrics and white Swiss 4-way stretch from Gorgeous Fabrics. The end result is quite sporty looking in my opinion. Totally not what I was expecting – it just didn’t look sporty in my head until I put it on when it was finished. I like that it works well as a summer dress – it doesn’t require a cardigan or anything to give it interest, the white trim does that job. I’m also going to try making the front yoke and the left front panel in a contrast color, like the pattern envelope shows.

And that’s all I have about this dress right now. Next up is a little cropped polka dot cardigan. See you soon!



Red Viajante

Yay, a new knitting project! I liked my gray Viajante so much I decided to make another one, this time in bright red. I think more might follow, in other beautiful colors.

Red Viajante

I used Regia 4-ply sock yarn. It’s 75% wool, 25% nylon. On size 6 (4mm) needles, it works up to a lovely drape. Sock yarn rocks!

At one point I had to unravelĀ  a bunch of rounds because I had started the mesh lace too late, with too little yarn left. Unraveling allowed me to have a nice wide border around the bottom.

Red Viajante - front 3

The whole thing takes just under 200g of yarn and knits up really easily. I mean, it’s mostly the knit stitch. You start with garter stitch, knitting back and forth. Then you join it in the round, and just knit knit knit (and increase/decrease as needed) until you’re done. It makes for perfect quiet evenings. And once I figured out I could watch my Craftsy classes while knitting, things got even more perfect. Creating and learning at the same time – win!

And that’s all I have right now. Next up, a dress. See you then!

Refashion project – camisole

OK, I know I’m supposed to be telling you about the skirt and pants I made recently, but I have something newer to share first. A fabulous (if I say so myself) and easy refashion project.

Camisole finished

I used to wear camisoles all. the. time. Seriously. I had them in a bunch of colors. Over time, I stopped wearing them. Stopped replacing them. And recently, as I’ve struggled to figure out some casual tops I liked, I realized – hey, what happened to the camisoles? No idea, really. But the more I thought about it, the more sure I was that the camisole was the right solution to my quest for a casual top. It’s just me. It feels like me. I feel and look like me when I wear it. There will be more joining this one soon.

This one started out as an XL men’s T-shirt. A wrinkly mess, too.

Camisole original

No fear though. I little bit of ironing took care of the wrinkles and the excellent instructions in Zoe’s free pattern helped with the rest. I had some 1″ black fold-over elastic in my stash that’s been sitting there patiently for who knows how many years. It’s awesome! I love fold-over elastic! Where have I been that I’m only now finding out about its awesomeness?

Right. Back to the camisole. Two side seams, triple zig-zag hem, and triple zig-zag for the elastic. Bam! Done. Or, well, it would have been done if I had not decided at the last minute that I wanted it 3″ shorter. So that took a little extra time. But I fixed the pattern so next time it will be a quickie project.

Camisole hanging

I made it last night and could hardly wait until today to wear it. It was hanging on the closet handle all night and made me smile when I saw it first thing this morning. I’ve been wearing it all day. Super comfy. Love it.

Pattern notes: I made the size 10 (European 38). Needed less than 2 yds. of the fold-over elastic. Triple zig-zag settings were 1.3 length and 4.3 width.

And that’s all I have right now. See you soon!


Cropped cardigan

So the day after my previous post, I injured my left hand and then re-injured it again in the same spot a week later. With a lot of babying, it’s been slowly recovering and I have done only a bit sewing. Not much, but better than nothing, right?

Here is yesterday’s project, the cropped cardigan:

Cropped cardigan

This is my trusty M6355, shortened to the waist. I cut the front straight down from the shoulder point and added a 2″ neckband. It turned out more formal than I had planned so I played with it a bit. Really, this formality gets quite frustrating when you think you’re going to end up with a super casual garment and then you don’t. Anyway, at one point I turned down the band, like you would a collar, and realized that it made it look much closer to the original intended effect. So in the picture above, the band is tacked at the hem and safety-pinned at the center back because I wanted to wear it out of the house to see how it would feel.

I really enjoyed wearing it although I see in the pictures that maybe I could play with eliminating the dart somehow. My mother-in-law also suggested rounding the front edges at the hem. That will make it a bolero though, won’t it? I feel some inner resistance to the bolero, not sure why. (Because I don’t want to look like a toreador?) More so the word than the actual shape, I think. I’ll have to try it.

The fabric is lime green Sophia double knit. It was on hand, I have enough of it (just in case, hehe), and it’s easy to sew. I’ll use the same fabric for the next iteration. I am really determined to make a workable cropped cardigan that will look casual. Watch this space :-)

I did make two other quick garments in the last few weeks, a pair of pants and a skirt, and I’ll tell you about them next time.

See you soon!

SWAP sewing – red top and dress

Well, it has taken me a while to get back to sewing. I have a good excuse for February (out of town all month) but how March got away from me, I really don’t know. Anyway, it is high time to get cracking on this SWAP collection if I want to finish it by the end of April.

To that end, I sewed up a top and a dress, both red, both sleeveless. Same fabric for both – Sophia double knit in Scarlet. It turned out to be a darker red than I thought it would be but very wearable, and less in-your-face than my usually preferred screaming bright red.

Red 1

The pattern for both is my TNT that started out life as M6355. I just love it. By now, I can sew this up without much thinking or elaborate planning, having worked out the best stitching sequence in previous versions.

Red 2

I left the necklines plain, just a simple scoop, because I plan to wear scarves with both of them, as in the picture above. I will have to look through pictures to verify this, but right now my theory is that I prefer to wear necklaces with collars, and scarves with no-collar necklines. If this hunch turns out correct, then that will inform my future capsule planning.

I hope you all are sewing up a storm. See you soon!

Wadder report

The last ten days or so have been a very busy time for me. Lots of time in the air and on the road, then recovering from jetlag, and visiting with a friend… Fun times. But let me bring you up to speed on my sewing ventures.

The weekend before I left, I was sewing up a storm. Well, so I thought anyway. I made the red tank top and red dress but they ended up in the trash can instead of in my closet. I had a funny feeling when I prewashed the red ponte and its hand changed significantly. It seemed very liquid-y, if that makes sense, and not anything like the stable fabrics I like to sew. But I pressed on anyway, figuring that it was better to sew it up and find out it’s wrong now than to postpone sewing it until the end of SWAP when there would be no time to find a replacement.

Well, next time a fabric changes like that, it will be going to a new home. The dress was a good three inches longer when I put it on and looked like it would only continue to grow. Even in the short distance between the shoulder seam and bottom of the armhole, on the relatively lighter weight top, the stretching was obvious – turning in the edge of the armhole to hem it would have exposed my bra band. It was a rather expensive lesson (the ponte was from Marcy Tilton so the quality was lovely, just not well suited to my purpose) and I’m glad I figured it out early on in the SWAP. Today I ordered some red Sophia double knit so I can remake those two pieces.

In the meantime, I started sewing the black pants. They are almost finished. They just need the waistband and the hems.

I must say there is something very comforting in following the plan. I can keep moving forward, learning from setbacks like the growing red ponte, but not letting them stop my momentum.

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