CWE: Using Windows Paint to Plan a Capsule Wardrobe

Being the good millennial I am, I am a technology junkie and do almost everything virtually. I still love writing out a good to do list by hand, because there is nothing more satisfying than crossing the completed items off, but all other notes and lists I make on my computer. My “planner” is my outlook calendar and my “phone book ” is my cell phone contact list. This comes through in a lot of the planning of my sewing projects as well but is especially apparent in how I plan for my capsule wardrobes.

When I attempted to start planning my first Sudoku style capsule wardrobe (the one I am currently working on!) I started writing out all of the pieces I wanted to make in a Sudoku style grid on paper but arranging them became the a real struggle real quickly. I was constantly crossing out pieces and writing them in in other places and it didn’t take long for me to have a hot mess and a pile of useless papers.

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CWE: Sewing with Wovens is so much Harder than Sewing with Knits ( + Pattern Review)

So far in my clothing sewing journey I have only been working with knits. Most people say they are a lot harder to work with than knit fabrics but I have to completely disagree! I started sewing with knits because they are what I wear every day. In t-shirts and loose dresses, I live in knit fabrics. I am no where near an expert in sewing with knits, or the serger I have been sewing them on, but my skills have been steadily improving, and I wanted another big, new challenge.

I picked up this Simplicity Amazing Fit Pattern about a year ago and had it sitting in the “to-do” pile ever since, unopened, uncut, and a tad frightening. The pattern is designed for medium weight woven fabrics with no stretch, and has form fitted princess seams , which I didn’t realize when I bought although I probably should have. I think I was attempting to buy a different pattern but grabbed the wrong envelope, something I do WAY too much really. I decided it was a cute dress though and the sizing was right so I ended up keeping it and thinking maybe someday I will make it. 

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CWE: Sewing Tips and Pattern Designers for the Heavily Busted

One of the best things about sewing your own clothing is being able to make clothes that are tailored exactly to your own body, fit the way you like, and are in the fabrics that you like. The challenge for those of us that are well blessed in the chest department, however, can be finding patterns that are designed to even come close to fitting us from the start. Most conventional pattern companies and designers are sized for a woman that has a B-cup which is especially amusing to me considering the average chest size in America is a 34DD…

That means even the “average” woman would have challenges fitting into patterns right form the initial draft and those of us that exceed that average really shouldn’t even try to fit in a traditional pattern designed to be made of woven fabrics (the stretch of knit can make it much more forgiving!) without expecting a lot of frustration and wasted time and fabric.

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CWE: On The Fast Fashion Debate

Today I wanted to talk quickly about one of the big things that brought me to the idea of utilizing a capsule wardrobe in the first place. This topic is a bit different than the projects that I usually share but to me it is important and I am going to try to keep it brief!

I have mentioned before on my blog that I love a good documentary. They are one of my favorite things to listen to while I am sewing and I will watch a documentary on just about any topic really, I’m not picky. Vegetarianism, the Hoover Dam, weird animals of the world, an island that operates completely off of clean, self made energy (highly recommend by the way!), are all topics I have learned more about through a documentary because, seriously, I will watch anything.

 A couple of months ago I stumbled across a documentary on the fast fashion industry called The True Cost. The caption intrigued me and I hadn’t found anything else to watch yet so I put it on as simple background noise. Ten minutes into the documentary I was no longer sewing, I was completely engrossed in the documentary.  In a tiny little nutshell, the movie explains the changes in the fashion industry over the last couple of decades, the reasons behind the change, and how it has affected people across the world and it resonated with me on a personal level. It is heartbreaking, upsetting, disturbing and eyeopening all at the same time. (If you dont know about how bad fast fashion can be I highly recommend you read this as soon as humanly possible!)

I had started the documentary and began to sew not more than two hours after getting home from the mall where I had purchased clothing items from Forever 21, Francesca’s, and other stores that advertise getting new stock everyday as a great thing. None of the items I bought that day were things I loved but they were trendy and cheap so I brought them home anyway. The items were also terrible quality. I knew even when I was buying them that I wouldn’t have them more than a couple of months. They were the exact pieces of clothing that the movie talks about. The exact cause of all of the pain and suffering I had just watched.

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CWE: A plethora of Lane Raglans (+pattern review)

The Hey June Lane Raglan has quickly become one of my favorite patterns! I have made three so far and plan to make a few more in the next couple of weeks (or months) if time allows. It is a super quick and easy sew and, depending on what material you choose, can look and feel super casual or super dressy.

My three versions range that whole spectrum with a super casual version made from $4.99 white knit fabric form hobby, a mid level casual grey version with a heathered jersey from a local fabric outlet, and dressy camel version made from a think ponte knit purchased at my local JoAnn fabrics.

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CWE: The basic knit dress (+ pattern review)

I live in knits and dresses have quickly become my go-to for a quick, easy dressing choice. This dress, which is both made from a knit material and, obviously,a dress, just so happens to be one of my first successful clothing makes ever!

For the first projects in my capsule wardrobe experiment I wanted things that would be easy, functional, and versatile for my wardrobe. The cream knit fabric for this dress was purchased at my local Jo-Ann’s store and was meant to be used to make a wearable muslin version of this dress but it ended up  turning out so well I have been wearing it as is! The pattern is a McCall’s “Learn to Sew for Fun” pattern, number m7313, and was specifically designed for the beginner clothes maker, making it perfect for me! I feel confident in my quilting and bag making skills but for some reason, making clothing has always challenged me, especially when it comes to getting the right fit. 

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Sewing My Own Clothes, a Capsule Wardrobe Experiment

I have been on a journey lately that I honestly thought that I never would be on. I have seen YouTube videos on minimalism, heard how AMAZING the Life Changing Magic Tidying Up is, and listened to friends rave all about how their life is so much more amazing now that they threw away all of their things but I honestly thought it was a load of crap, and part of me still does really, but I am coming around just the tiniest little bit. I am by no means a minimalist, and never intend to be, but I have been making a conscious effort to be much more intentional and frankly conscious about what I am allowing into my life and my home.

For me this journey started with letting go of certain people and relationships and removing a lot of the negativity in my life that way. This felt slightly isolating at first, I will admit, and at times it can still be hard but I think it is the best thing that I have ever done for my own health.

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Five Quick Sewing Projects for When You Have No Time to Sew

I think every one who loves to sew wishes they had more time to commit to it. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who creates anything really that doesn’t want more time to devote to their passion. For me obviously that passion is sewing but, as I have mentioned in about all of my previous posts, I have had really little time to dedicate to sewing lately.

When I do have time its really only in quick half-hour chunks or a quick few minutes in between all of the other things that I have to do on a daily basis. I shared a while back that I am in the process of making a quick, one block at a time, but repetition is never something that I have liked very much and I have found myself searching for other quick and easy projects that I can accomplish in a small amount of time. Five of these quick and easy projects have really stuck out to me and of course I just had to share them with you all as well! They are all projects that would be great for beginner as well so bonus points for that too!

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Revisiting an old favorite: Sampler Quilt

A few weeks back I spent some time revisiting some of my favorite makes from back when I started sewing. I couldn’t help but think of a sampler quilt that was one of the first “large” products I made. Looking at it now, it really wasn’t very good (the points were off and the colors didn’t match) but I was so proud of it at the time. Nostalgia hit and I had the hankering to make another one so… I did. But smaller!

I followed this block- of-the-month pattern, using leftover HSTs from my quilt block machine cover. I loved the colors in that piece so much that I figured a little, matching quilt to hang on the wall in the sewing room that I will one day have couldn’t hurt. 

The pattern is fairly simple and the whole thing took about two days to make and I love it just as much as I thought I would. Now to get working on that craft room!

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Sewing As Therapy: Love all Around Blocks

This last month and a half has been an absolute whirlwind. From starting a new job, buying a car, and trying to keep up with  every changing politics, January and the beginning of February proved to be more than stressful and its been quite a while since I have posted. Trying to be a productive member of society and a functional adult all at the some time proved more complicated than I was ready to handle.

Sewing has always been an outlet for me, a way to be creative and expressive in both a productive and intricate way. Lately it has become much more than that, however, it has become my way to practice self-care, to keep myself grounded and engaged it what is going on around me. Self care is a very common phrase in my own social circle, and I think its becoming more mainstream in general conversation, but all it really means is taking the time to take of yourself, in whatever way that means to you. For some people its a bubble bath with a glass of wine, for others it may be a walk in a local park with their dog, and, don’t get me wrong I love both of those things, but for me right now it definitely means hours of uninterrupted sewing.

Making short term projects, something like a dress or a bag, gives me a great sense of accomplishment and is my go-to when I have a longer time frame to commit to sewing on any given day, but having that large chunk of time doesn’t always happen. In an effort to make a bigger project smaller,  I have  started a long term project that I think is doing me even more good that a bunch of those smaller projects, a quilt from May Chappels Love All Around Block.

In my post about what projects I wanted to tackle in 2017, of of the big things on the list was a quilt. I originally wanted to make a sampler quilt but changed my mind when I decided to participate in sewing up SewCanShe’s monthly mini quilts and a tiny sampler quilt that I will be sharing soon. I still couldn’t get the idea of making a full size quilt however but I also knew that I really did not have the time or the space to commit to making one in a conventional way and time.

Instead I am making a couple blocks a week of this beautiful and meaningful pattern and, hopefully, by the end of the year I will have enough blocks for an entire quilt. What I have been doing so far its making a block for each time I am touched by the kindness of a stranger in my own life and a block for each time I find myself worrying about my own future, or the future of America. I am hoping for enough blocks to make a twin size finished quilt by the end of the year, but who knows, maybe I’ll end up with enough for a full or a queen size. So far I have about thirty blocks completed and more in the works every day it seems.


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