Things made by me. Paintings, clothes and everything in between.

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Wardrobe Architect Part Two

In my second post on the Wardrobe Architect Challenge I’d like to talk about silhouettes. When looking at the general types of body shapes (hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle) I fall in the category „rectangle“. This sounds a bit ridiculous to my ears since my upper body looks nothing like a rectangle, it’s mostly curves in all directions. But lets stick to those types for a sec.

I deducted that I have to be rectangular since none of the other apply. I have broad shoulders and broad hips but no tiny waist like a hourglass figure calls for. And my shoulders are almost as wide as my hips so I’m not pear shaped either. Crossing out „apple“ from the beginning this leaves „rectangle“. Lovely. Additionally I might need to add that I am about 6’2ft tall – just to give you a better picture.

So there are two things I took in consideration when deciding upon my silhouettes: What I like to wear and feel comfortable in and what I think suits my body type and personality. These are  of course interconnected since I feel more confident and happy in garments that enhance my favorite features about myself.

Firstly the length. I love to wear knee-length dresses and skirts and this will remain my go-to. In the summer I also enjoy maxi dresses and skirts and the freedom and level of comfort they bring. Since I’m very tall they suit me quite well, no problem here. I don’t think a mid-length between the two suits me nor do I like midi skirts so I will stay away from that completely.
I found that tunic length blouses and sweaters look better on me then their shorter counterparts and over time I’ve collected quite a few of these. If I wear a pencil skirt I can just throw a longer shirt or sweater on and I will look good without seeming overdressed and if I’m more in the mood for a flowy high-waisted skirt that day I can just tuck the shirt in.

Secondly I’d like to talk about volume. I don’t particularly like to wear a voluminous garment on my upper and lower body at the same time if that makes sense. It doesn’t? Let me explain. If I wear a gathered skirt I don’t also want to wear a voluminous sweater. If I wear a straight skirt I like a big sweater or big flawy, maybe gathered shirt as a contrast. I recently started wearing the small pencil skirt and big sweater combination more than the flipped combination and think it is more flattering on me as well. So it is going to be a staple in my wardrobe in 2015. I will still wear gathered skirts since I love them too much to stay away from them but I plan on using flowy fabric instead of stiff cottons to make them less pouffy since I really don’t need my hip area exaggerated all that much.

Additionally I will rock the straight forward no-to-little-volume garments. These are maybe the most boring when it comes to silhouette but highly important to my wardrobe nonetheless. In this I would count all my knee-lenght jersey dresses or slightly a-line skirts with fitted shirts and all that fun stuff.
For right now I cant’t think of anything else. Please feel free to ask any question you may have and have a lovely time.

x Sarah


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Wardrobe Architect Part One

When I first read about the „Wardrobe Architect“ concept introduced by Coletterie sometime last year I was intrigued but for some reason I got distracted („oh look there! A cute cat licking its belly“) and promptly forgot about it. So you can imagine my joy when I read about it again two days ago. The nice people over at Colleterie took the occasion of a brand new year to not only reintroduce the idea but also combine it with a challenge. And who am I to pass up a challenge?
But seriously. I wanted to do this anyway and now I get to live through it with many other lovely folks of the sewing-community? Great!

In this first post I will concentrate on the color scheme and the general style of garments for my wardrobe. In the next few posts I will then talk about the specific silhouettes and patterns that might fit the style and so on. It might be weird to start off with colors and not with the general style I’m going for but color is one of the most important aspects for me.

I drew some figurines with exemplary garments just to show a bit better what I’m thinking of in term of colors and prints. I surely will be reusing the picture when I talk about silhouettes but for now let’s stick to colors.

In past years I have worn a lot of black. And although I still own a lot of black clothes my color scheme as changed quite a lot over the past three years. I have introduced prints of all sorts (mainly flowery ones and polka dots) and started to wear bright colors on occasion. Mostly I wear a black skirt combined a colorful, patterned top or the other way around. Similarly, when wearing dresses I usual combine them with a black cardigan. That is if it is cold enough to wear a cardigan. But you know, from September to April that’s usually always the case here in Berlin.

Color wise I don’t really want to change all that much. For me it’s more about what colors to wear in combination with neutrals like black or gray. To figure this out I went through my wardrobe and fabric stash and tried to decide which colors I love the most. I came up with the color palette I sketched out below and I think it’s pretty good. I might have to add a neutral and that will most certainly be some grey tone but I like it a lot so far.

I love teal and blues and those colors will certainly make up the core of my wardrobe. Additionally I picked mustard and violet as accentuating colors.

I don’t usually wear white and I’d like to keep it that way but I’m thinking about pastels. I know something like blush would fit in pretty well and I like the color but I’m just not quite sure if I like it on me, it somehow makes me think of brides and little girls.

What do you think? Will you participate?

x Sarah

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The reversible Billie Jean Dress


Since I’ve been thinking about summer dresses a lot for the past few weeks I remembered that I made a lovely summer dress earlier this year, namely the Billie Jean by Bluegingerdoll. I didn’t however make this for myself but for one of my closest friends as a gift for her birthday. Sadly I didn’t think of taking many detailed pictures since this dressmaking adventure predates the blog. I hope the ones you see plus a more in-depth description will give you an idea of this project.
My friend has a very specific idea about the dresses she loves and I was eager to make a garment for someone else than myself for the first time so we did a lot of research before starting this project. My friend has a very hourglassy figure so we looked for a dress that would show off her curves and wouldn’t need to much adjusting. Basically a pattern already made for her figure typ.
We opted for the Billie Jean because of the flattering 50s cut and the good adjustability for a fuller bust. Also Bluegingerdoll patterns are generally made for a bigger cup size, D cups. Not ideal for me but great for my friend. I still had to do a Full Bust Adjustment but not nearly as severe as I would have had to do with a standard pattern made with a B cup in mind.
Fist off, let me say that the instructions included in the pattern are very easy to follow and the additional sew-along posts that are provided on the Bluegingerdoll blog make this a lovely pattern for beginners. Especially Abby’s post on how to do the FBA on a princess seamed bodice was very helpful to me since I hadn’t done that before. The Bonnie I blogged about a few weeks ago was my second Bluegingerdoll pattern and love their easy instructions. I also think it is great that their newer patterns come in a larger variety of sizes. But I’m rambling, let’s talk about the process of making this dress.

In total I made two muslins – one before, one after the FBA – to get the fit as close to perfect as possible. After the FBA I added some additional fullness to the upper part of the bodice by very slightly redrawing the princess seams. this is certainly not how you should adjust for a persons bust shape but the change was small enough for me to get away with it. If someone knows a better way to adjust for a fuller upper bust with princess seams please tell me, I’d love to know.
I think I also adjusted the fit of the lower bodice a bit by taking in the side seams about half an inch or so.

At this point I decided that one dress would just be a bit boring why not make two? I know this sounds a little crazy and it surely was but it worked out so let’s call it „inspiration“. We had decided upon a beautifully patterned black, white and pastel cotton fabric that was lovely but not exactly evening wear. So I bought a nice black cotton for the lining and fully lined the dress so it could be worn inside out as well. This way she’d have two dresses in one, a flowery sun dress as well as a little black dress.
This plan of doubling up the skirt might have caused problems with too much fullness if I had used the original skirt pattern. But my friend wanted less fullness in the skirt and a considerably shorter skirt anyway so I drafted my own skirt pattern. Since it is a simple gathered skirt by „drafted“ I of course mean „cut some rectangles“.

To make the dress reversible I attached the bodice lining to the bodice shell as suggested in the instructions but opted for an invisible zipper to make it easier to zip from the wrong side. (Sadly it is not totally invisible, *sob*) I then sewed the skirt lining to the skirt shell at the bottom and back seam (with an opening for the zipper at the top of the seam) and gathered it as one piece. After that I attached the skirt to the bodice shell and hand-sewed the lining to the bodice at the zipper and the waist seam. I decided not to add the in-seam pockets that are included in the pattern, partly because they would have added some fullness to the sides – a thing my friend explicitly asked me to avoid – and partly because I found the process of making everything reversible confusing enough and didn’t want to risk my sanity over some pockets.
Let me know what you think!

x Sarah