Friday, December 9, 2011

On style and fashion.

Wow, I bet that title really threw you for a loop, huh? For whatever reason you read my blog, I can guarantee it's not because of fashion. :) I think this is the first time I've ever written a post on the topic.

Since my normal, everyday, around-the-house fashion consists of jeans and old t-shirts, I've never really felt qualified to say anything about it {I do make a little more effort when going out in public}. And to be honest, I never even noticed how clothes were made or different styles until I started sewing.

And last week I got this book. When I first heard about it, my first thought was: Okay. Another sewing book. But I kept hearing such good things about it and was interested in some of the topics I heard it covered, so I ordered it.

I love this book.

It's probably the best sewing book I've come across. Not really because of the patterns included or the instructions for inserting zippers, etc. But because of the chapter called "A Thoughtful Plan" and the one called "A Fantastic Fit."

Most sewing books I've read mention the importance of knowing how to adjust fit and alter patterns. But they never tell you how to do it! This book tells you what all of those silly wrinkles on your muslin mean, and how to fix them. It also explains about all sorts of different pattern adjustments and how to do them. It's amazing (and incredibly useful).

Sarai, the author and creator of Colette Patterns, goes into detail about thinking about what your style is. What kind of clothes you tend to wear, and what characteristics your choices have. She also talks about planning out your sewing, making only things that you really need and will really love to wear.

I rarely plan out my sewing. This is generally my thought process while sewing clothing:

1. Oh, what a pretty pattern!
2. Oh, what pretty fabric! I can use it for that pattern.
3. *purchases fabric*
4. Oops. Maybe I should have checked the suggested fabrics on this list. Oh, well. Things will probably turn out fine.
5. *sews garment*
6. I probably should have made a muslin. This doesn't fit quite right. Or...What on earth am I going to wear with this?
7. *sticks item in closet and ignores it for a while. Until I put on a little weight and it actually fits properly :) or I get a coordinating item of clothing*

But no more. I've seen the light and I'm changing my ways. I'm not saying I'm going to be one of those people who can plan out and sew my entire spring wardrobe before February. But I am going to be more careful about what patterns I choose, making muslins to get the right fit, choosing the perfect fabric, and taking my time to make the best garment I can.

This is one of my new year's resolutions. I'm also going to, like Sarai suggests, start asking "What can I do to sew this better?" instead of "What can I do to sew this quicker?" I need to enjoy the process of making clothing instead of just being anxious for the end result.

So step one of this process is to determine what my general style is. I was terrified at the thought of doing this, because I kept thinking, I don't have any certain style! But when I actually started looking through my closet, a pattern emerged.

I cleaned out all of the old stuff that I never wear anymore. This included some shirts and things that I've had for about 4 or 5 years now. These were the kinds of things I practically lived in when I was about fifteen:

-Aeropostale shirts and hoodies.
-Aeropostale low rise jeans.
-NOTW shirts.
-Those awful hot, stretchy polyester dresses (for church).

Thankfully, my tastes have changed. :)

In this book, she suggests that as a starting point, pick out five things in your closet that you love to wear. After looking at my favorite things, I realized that now I'm drawn to:

-Button up shirts.
-Small floral prints.
-Plaid (purple plaid, especially. I can't quite figure that one out).
-Solid color knit shirts.
-Full, knee-length skirts.
-Vintage style things.
-Higher rise jeans {I hate low rise jeans and can't figure out what I ever saw in them! Old Navy's Sweetheart jeans are my absolute favorites now}.

I spent some time going through my pattern stash and jotting down ideas for what I'm lacking (like a black skirt and a denim skirt). And writing down what fabrics I need to keep an eye out for in the fabric stores. And discovering yards of fabric I had bought a long time ago that fit in with my sewing plans. :)

{I really love sweetheart necklines, as seen in the sketch from a couple of years ago featuring a dress worn by Caroline Appleby in a season two episode of I Love Lucy. :) I also love Peter Pan collars but don't know how they'll look on me. Something I need to experiment with.}

So I tend to be drawn to vintagey, natural, slightly quirky styles. In jewel tones, too, apparently. I've always adored Penelope's wardrobe. Today I realized that almost all of her clothes are jewel tones and a lot of the outfits I wear the most are, too. Maybe that's one of the reasons I love hers so much. :)

Maybe the look I should go for is a slightly toned-down Penelope one.

Well, that's all I'll ramble about fashion for now. :) I'm looking forward to {attempting} to make most of my clothing in the next year, with the help of the gorgeous and informative Colette Sewing Handbook. You guys know I'll post pictures of my projects here. :) do you feel about fashion? Are you sort of clueless, like me? Or do you keep up with trends and meticulously choose your outfit each morning? What styles are you drawn to?

Until next time,


  1. I don't care for most of the modern trends, since I like more of a simple and classy style. For years I've pretty much dressed in just jeans and t-shirts like you did, but in the last couple years I've been slowly adding more variety to my wardrobe. Two years ago I didn't own a single dress or skirt, but now I love wearing skirts all the time, and wear them almost as much as pants.

  2. Sereina,
    That's something else I meant to mention in this post. I grew up feeling like skirts and dresses were for Sunday only! :) I don't know why, but I only wore them to church. Now I love the idea of wearing them more often, but that thought is still stuck in my mind, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough yet to wear them out and about to places other than church (though I know that sounds silly :).

  3. Yeah, I feel weird wearing skirts and dresses outside of church. I guess because it feels too dressy maybe? I usually wear skinny jeans, flats, a cute solid color shirt and a funky scarf. I love scarves! I'm not a big jewelry person, purse person, or hair accessory person. Though I do love the headbands with flowers on them. I'd like to get one and see if I like it.

  4. I used to feel the same way about skirts, but I just slowly started wearing them more and more and now I love it. It's best when you have a skirt that you really love and feel comfortable in as well, when you start wearing them more. Mine is a colorful circle skirt that I made, which I love so much. It's perfect for twirling. :)

  5. I've heard such good things about this book, and I'm glad to know that you've enjoyed it as well. I hope to go through my closet soon to weed out the things that I just don't wear and try to figure out what it is about the things I do wear that draws me to them. I started a month or so ago, but then I found myself putting all of the clothes I didn't want into a giant pile to harvest the fabric and buttons and closures instead of just giving them to Goodwill. I eventually put everything back in my closet because I just didn't have the space to store that pile! I need to get a giant tupperware or box to keep scraps in...


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