Wardrobe Architect Week 14: Overcoming Editing Hurdles

Well I made it to the final week of The Wardrobe Architect! Hurray! I was supposed to reach the end on 2nd July, but I didn’t end up sticking 100% to the schedule I’d set myself in the first week. (By the way there was a week 13 but it was a giveaway in the original series, so I haven’t missed one out!)

This week Sarai asks:

Why is it so difficult to let go of things?

Slowly, we collect things into our lives and homes. We buy things we need, and things we don’t need, things we want, and things we don’t really want. They pile up in our closets, our garages, and our living rooms.

All of this clutter begins to drown out the things you really love, the objects you’re attached to and find value and beauty in.

And yet, they are so hard to give up. Why? Let’s dig a little deeper into our psyches to find out.”

I would definitely recommend going to the original post to read her thoughts in more detail, but she sums up our inability to get rid of things in 2 ways: Loss Aversion and Cognitive Dissonance. The first means we fear we will be missing out on something if we get rid of something, and losing something feels much worse than gaining something feels good; and the second means if we spent hours and hours making something, only to find it doesn’t suit us or doesn’t fit or we never have the occasion to wear it, it’s hard to admit that making it might have been a mistake so we convince ourselves we will wear it one day.

Overcoming these mental hurdles

  1. Be self-aware. The first step in overcoming these blocks is to recognize them for what they are. They are psychological biases. They don’t necessarily make sense.
  2. Name the risk. When I find myself wringing my hands over throwing out something I never use, I stop and think about what the chances are that I will need to replace it. I think about whether it’s really something I will be worse off without, in any way.
  3. Name the reward. What is the reward for cleaning out your closet? A fresh perspective, feeling good in what you wear, less guilt about things you don’t wear, better buying habits, cleaner space. Some or all of these might help you.
  4. Appreciate what you don’t miss. This has been extremely helpful to me. Every time I do a clean out, I realize that no matter how hesitant I was to give something up, I completely forget about it once it’s gone. I can’t think of one thing I’ve given away that I truly miss.”

Exercise

This week, it’s time to edit our closets and rid of ourselves of what we no longer need or want.

Gather your capsule wardrobe items together.

This one is a bit tricky for me as I don’t really have space to have some items together, away from other items. Also I’m trying to work towards all my clothes being like a big capsule wardrobe, where lots of things go with each other and I never feel like I have nothing to wear or I’m wearing clothes that don’t make me feel as good as other clothes.

Pack away out of season clothing.

I actually did this when we moved into our flat as our closet space is really quite limited. I had all my Summer things packed away under the bed in my massive suitcase which I rarely use. I also have a couple of blankets and bridesmaids dresses in there. When I got everything out for Summer this year, I had a mini clear out as I knew I wasn’t going to wear some of the things – mostly I knew because of the colours, which I have focussed on thanks to previous weeks of The Wardrobe Architect!

Purge.

I’ve done this about 4 times in the last 18 months or so! I did it twice before we relocated from London 18 months ago, then I’m pretty sure I cleared out some other stuff when we moved into our flat a year ago and I fully unpacked everything. I also did it, as I mentioned above, when I got my Summer clothes out. I think I’m getting better at clearing things out – and I like taking things to charity shops as I know they will get another life, whether in someone else’s wardrobe, or being recycled into chair stuffing or whatever they do with clothes that can’t be worn any more. I even got rid of some of my me-mades last time! I have kept the first dress I made, even though I only wore it about twice, because some things have a bit of sentimental value!

I even cleared out my fabric stash a bit a couple of weeks ago, clearing out all my tiny scraps and some larger pieces of fabric which I know I’m not going to use. I keep meaning to find out if any local charity shops or groups would have use of fabric scraps, but the 2 massive bags are still floating around our dining room! I keep having these thoughts that I should be able to think of something to do with all my scraps, but I keep coming up blank. If you have any ideas, please do let me know!

 

And there we have it, it’s over. I definitely feel like doing the Wardrobe Architect has helped me to focus on what I like to wear and what I feel good in – from shapes to colours to outfits. It should help me reduce the instances of spending ages making something I’m then not going to wear! I just need to keep all of it in mind when planning my makes – and especially when buying fabric and particularly patterns. It’s so easy to be seduced by the latest releases by all the amazing indie pattern designers, but I try not to jump on a bandwagon if I know something isn’t really my style……that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a massive stash of patterns I have yet to make though 😉

 

 

July Makes and August Plans

I had a week off work in July, so I’ve had quite a productive month – though some of the makes haven’t made it to the blog yet. But my main project for my week off was to rebrand my blog (and all social media), which took longer than I thought! But it was good I had a week off so I could spend a few days blitzing it – I probably wouldn’t have got around to it if I’d been trying to do it during weekday evenings!

I seem to have recently mostly made tops! First I made this pink striped In The Folds Collins Top, and I love it! I’ll go into more detail in my post about it, but I’ve already got fabric in mind to make another version!

I also made this cropped Named Inari Tee out of leftover fabric from my Marianne Dress. This was sort of a wearable muslin, but I think it turned out okay!

My last make for my week off (I seem to have not made much outside of my holiday from work!) was this Colette Aster blouse. Again I’ll go into more detail when I write it up into its own post, but I’m not totally in love with this and I’m not sure why!

Now onto my plans for August – I don’t think I’ll get much made this month because I’m home visiting family next weekend and in the middle of the month I’m going to the New Craft House Summer Party so I won’t have a huge amount of sewing time this month.

My first job for the month is to make something to wear to the New Craft House party, which will almost certainly include this shiny silver fabric I was given for Christmas:

I’m thinking another Inari Tee, though probably lengthened by an inch or two so there isn’t so much of a risk of exposing my midriff, which I don’t really like. I’ll need to also make something to wear with the top, or I may cause a sensation! I’m thinking some culottes from the Butterick pattern which was free with (I think) Love Sewing magazine. Any other ideas?

If I have any spare time in the rest of the month, I really do need to make a start on  jeans. It’s been sooooo many month of me planning to make them that it’s getting a bit ridiculous now!

I know it may not seem seasonally appropriate to make jeans in August, but with the British Summer, it will probably be the perfect time!

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Black Roberts Dungaree Dress

I’ve made a thing!

And I really like it, though it may not be totally seasonally appropriate as the fabric is quite thick. It’s some mystery black textured something which I got at the fabric swap at the first Sew Brizzle meet up. It was quite thin so I underlined the back and the front skirt with some fairly cheap black polycotton and it seems to have done the trick – judging by these photos which were taken in bright sun anyway!

The pattern is the dress version of Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection. I bought this ages ago, but only printed and assembled the PDF a few months ago. I printed the whole lot in one go, and it took AGES to put together, but I’m glad because now I’m tempted to make the dungaree version for the colder weather later in the year. I particularly like the back! I love how the straps look and the shape of the back.

This is the side view – and I’m pleased it doesn’t sit too low as I was mildly concerned even with a top underneath, it wouldn’t be decent! But there’s a little band on this side and 3 poppers to get a snugger fit and allow you to get in and out of it!

I made the straight size 2 without making any changes. But looking at it on, I think next time I could shorten the bib on the front and the back above the waist as the ‘waist’ seam sits just a bit lower than my waist, so I think it might be a little more flattering if the seam was on my actual waist.

I used poppers to attach the straps on the front – as I think the pattern says you should – but then sewed some buttons on the top as fakes! I thought about actually using buttons, but since my machine doesn’t like sewing button holes at the best of time, and because this fabric is textured and quite thick, I thought they just wouldn’t work so I went with poppers and fake buttons!

And it has pockets! Yay! I don’t think I’ll ever make anything without pockets in the future, it’s just so annoying to not have any!

I guess there isn’t too much to say about this make because the pattern came together really nicely and I think it will get quite a bit of wear in the warmish weather and with tights and a jumper underneath in the Winter. It will definitely fill in a casual gap in my wardrobe!

So I’ll leave you with an outtake to demonstrate how much I had to edit the photos because I’m too pale for the Sun! My top is cream and really isn’t the same colour as my skin, but it looks like it here! Lol!

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Wardrobe Architect Week 9: The Capsule Wardrobe

After covering all the things that have been covered in the previous few weeks of the Wardrobe Architect, Colette say now is the time to put it into practical terms by coming up with a capsule wardrobe.

“A capsule wardrobe is a small, manageable subset of your wardrobe, and it usually is something you can plan seasonally (twice a year, or perhaps 4 times a year).

A typical capsule wardrobe consists of between 20 and 33 items, depending on who you ask and what kinds of items you’re including. It doesn’t have to include every single thing you might wear for the season, but it is the foundation for the rest of your wardrobe. The idea is that once you have the capsule wardrobe figured out, the rest is gravy.”

I feel like I’m getting slightly better at knowing what I wear and making accordingly, but I do have some gaps in my me mades and some alternative silhouettes I think I could explore.

The original post gives these handy prompts:

  1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season.
  2. Create a color palette.
  3. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.
  4. Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season

Since Summer is so short in the UK I tend not to focus so much on warm weather clothing, so I think my silhouettes will be for all year around – just maybe in different fabrics or without tights and cardigans in the Summer. Also I’ve covered a lot of this before in the week about exploring shapes, but it helps me to see things visually.

a. Skinny jeans/trousers with looser tops and shirts – I’m particularly drawn to button ups at the moment

b. Looser trousers with loose tops

I’m liking the coulotte trend at the moment, and I think they would be comfortable when it does get hot. Again I like them with loosers style tops.

c. Shift/swing dresses

d. Mini skirts with loose and/or cropped tops.

e. Cardigans, jackets and coats have pretty much been summed up in the above photos (which can all be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board).

2. Choose a colour palette.

I’ve covered my colour palette in the week about my colour story and the one about choosing a palette, but I’ll recap here.

3 & 4. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

I’m going to cover these 2 together in terms of planning what to make, and looking at what I’ve already got. I’ve got more tops I think that anything else.

My blue patterned Melilot shirt (left) and my blue spotty archer see quite a lot of wear and they fit my palette and silhouettes.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtBlue Spotty Archer Button Up

I’ve got some short of cropped, and boxy-ish tops too, which I wear quite often, such as my silver toaster sweater and my mustard astoria top.

Mustard Ponte Seamwork Astoria

I have some nice shift/cocoony dresses, like my new Marianne dress, my electric blue peppermint magazine jersey dress, my drapey knit dress and my rushcutter.

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit DressNavy Spotty Rushcutter Dress

So then in terms of what to make, here are my plans (which will probably take a year to complete!)

Ginger Jeans in black and dark blue (and possibly mustard if I’m feeling bold in the future) and Morgan Jeans in dark blue and a lighter shade of denim.

I’ve got both the Papercut Guise Trousers and the Butterick B6178 (which came free with one of the magazines I’ve bought recently) and I think this has me pretty much covered to recreate the silhouettes above. I don’t have any specific fabric or colours in mind, but I think with the coulottes I want some more summery colours/prints. I might copy the stripey ones above too. And I like the spotty trousers above which I could copy with the guise pattern. I like the idea of patterned bottoms – I tend to wear plain bottoms and patterned tops.

I recently treated myself to both the Sew Over It Nancy Dress and the Pauline Alice Xerea Dress, so I should be able to make dresses in my dream silhouettes. I have some nice navy, grey and white patterned viscose which I’m planning for the Nancy and I’m thinking some colour blocking for the Xerea.

I’ve got the Closet Case Patterns Ebony Tee and Dress and the Named Patterns Inari Tee and Dress so between them they should cover most eventualities of tops (and dresses as alternatives to the ones above).

I also want to make 2 coats – one proper winter coat, maybe in a 60s style like the one from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book, and one a rip-off of Seasalt’s lovely duffle coats using the Colette Albion pattern.

Sea Salt Yellow Duffel Coat

Well I think that’s probably enough things to be getting on with for now! Maybe eventually I’ll reach peak capsule wardrobe. I’ll probably also still always make random things that don’t fit into the capsule!

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My Denim Moss Skirt

After the success of making a denim moss skirt for my sister for Christmas (though it was a little late!), I decided to make myself one, especially because there was enough fabric left from my sister’s one!

I do love it, but it’s not perfect!

I think the way it sits around my waist isn’t helped by my posture – I have quite hunched shoulders and my back is a bit curved so my belly sticks out. This is when I’m not thinking about it, which I usually do when taking blog pictures – I stand artificially straight! But even with the compensation it does look a bit odd.

I think the main problem is that it’s a little too big on the waistband. This is the first Moss Skirt I’ve made for myself and so I guess it’s a wearable toile. I made the straight size 2, with the extra hem band. Marie from Sewn Bristol talked about angling in the waistband on the Moss Skirt in a vlog, so if I make it again, I’ll try that. I do fancy making it again, possibly without the hem band in a more work-appropriate fabric as it is a nice skirt. With pockets!

You can see from the back view that I probably do need a sway-back adjustment as it sits oddly above my bum – my bum seems to make a shelf on which fabric is pooling. I know I sound like a broken record, but I really do need to start working on my makes fitting better. I also have a Burda Academy course which I signed up for ages ago (but it’s a take any time one so I didn’t miss it!) which will teach me how to draft my own blocks/slopers. I think this will really help me when tackling new patterns as I’ll be able to compare them to my blocks and see what adjustments I’m likely to have to make.

Something went a little awry when I was sewing the fly. The one on my sister’s skirt was perfect, but something happened where it’s a little twisted at the bottom of the curve of the fly. It’s not super noticeable, but I notice it! But I did use a proper jeans button, like I did on my sister’s one, which pleases me probably more than it should!
Pockets! That is all.

I used some lovely sewing-themed cotton for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. It seemed apt. And it was given to me by one of my very best friends, so it adds a lovely meaning to the skirt.

Here’s a close-up of it – it has pins, pin cushions, buttons, safety pins and lots of other crafty things on it. Also you can see here that I overlocked most of the seams. I’m just about getting to grips with my overlocker, though I haven’t been brave enough to actually sew anything on it yet; I’m currently sewing seams on my sewing machine and then neatening the edges on the overlocker. I make too many mistakes to be trying to unpick overlocker thread – or to have shaved off the seam allowance on the first go, then realising I’ve messed up again!

I really like how the topstitching shows off the seams lines – especially on the back yoke pieces. But my god was my sewing machine not enjoying sewing the top stitching! I didn’t have anywhere near as many problems on my sister’s one, but it was just spewing out so much thread and it was really, really loopy. I fiddled with the tension loads but it still wasn’t having it. I did my best, but the topstitching doesn’t look great on the inside! It also seemed to slightly stretch out the hem, as the fabric has a slight stretch to it. This does not bode well for making my first pair of jeans……

I thought I’d leave you with this photo of my helper for my photoshoot!

Having finally had weather warm enough to venture outside in, I went out to take these pictures and was immediately set upon by our neighbour’s cat who we call Julian (but his real name is Mr Pickles). He’s very friendly, but often outstays his welcome, especially when he comes into our flat and I’m trying to cut out fabric and he jumps on the table and won’t get down/jumps back up as soon as I put him on the floor! That’s what cats should be like, though, so I can’t be too annoyed 🙂 He does make me want cats, having grown up with them my whole life!

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