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 😉

 

 

Stripey Cropped Inari Tee

I made a cropped Inari Tee! I haven’t actually worn it yet as it feels a little breezy around the midriff and it’s been pretty cold recently in Cirencester. I do really like the proportions and the shape of this top, though – that’s one of the things that made me want to make it, seeing everyone else’s great makes.

I made the size 8 with no changes as this was kind of a wearable toile – I used leftover fabric from my Marianne dress so if it had been a disaster I had only used some leftovers! I did the same thing as on the Marianne dress by using the stripes the other way around on the neckline, and I still like how it looks!

I also love the cuffs, which I also did with the stripes going the other way. As I mentioned in my post about taking in a raglan tee, I’m really liking cuffs on short sleeves at the moment. It’s definitely one of my favourite things about my new melilot shirt, too.

Although I quite like the proportions of the top, which I’m wearing here with some high waisted trousers (which I altered last year), I think on my next version – yes, I’m already planning another version – I might lengthen it by an inch, just so I feel a bit more comfortable. If I put my arms up at all, there is a lot of skin on show – and if I put my arms really high, you can basically see my bra! I guess this is not a top to wear on days when I have to reach for anything in public! I might also level off the hem as I don’t really love how it’s higher at the front for some reason.

I wonder if I should maybe take it in a bit at the shoulders with the next version? In a less drapey fabric, it might not sit as nicely – I can see a little bit of pooling in the upper bust area, which might look worse in the fabric I’ve got planned, which is a little more structured than this jersey, though still quite drapey. What do you think? Is it worth making lots of changes to a fairly simple t-shirt?

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Pink Stripey Collins Top

This is definitely one of my favourite makes I’ve made in a while, and certainly one that fits me the best straight out of the packet. As I’m sure you know, I am lazy when it comes to fitting things, and I treated this as a sort of wearable toile – I basically always do that but then I never make any fit changes to the second version!  But this fits me really well, and I like how it falls.

I made the size b and used some leftover fabric I’ve had for several years after making my first Banksia top out of it. It was from Goldhawk Road, probably one of the first times I went, if not the first time I went. It’s just a cotton, but it’s really soft. I thought I wasn’t going to have enough fabric, but given that this pattern was made for the stripes to go different ways,  I managed to do some expert tetrissing (I know this isn’t a word, but it should be: v the act of squeezing a sewing pattern out of a tiny amount of fabric) and just squeezed it out. I did the version with the facing, which is in some cheap white polycotton I had in my stash. The only change I made to the pattern/instructions was to stitch the facing down to the side seams – I did this as top stitching right in the ditch of the seam line.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that when I was overlocking a seam on this top, I was pulling it through to get a long enough tail to cut and stopped paying attention for a second, which led to me accidentally cutting part of one of the back shoulder pieces. Luckily I cut it along the same direction as the stripes and so I put an odd piece of white fabric behind it and zig-zagged it a few times to secure it. And now you can’t really see it – I think unless I pointed it out, you wouldn’t know it was there! It must be visible in the below photo, but I can’t see it, hurrah!

I wanted a close up of the stripes all going different ways, so here you go!

I think I might be pretty bad at gathering all the supplies I might need for a certain project – I always think about the fabric and, say, a zip for a dress or buttons for a shirt, but I rarely actually check the list of notions needed for a pattern, so when I got to the hemming stage of this make, that was the first time I realised I needed bias binding. I could have maybe done without, but luckily I had this baby pink stuff in my stash – it was literally the only bias binding I had and luckily it sort of matches! I think I might do bias hems more often as I like how it looks and it’s pretty easy!

I feel that with more of these makes I share, the less I have to say about them. I’ve got a few more of these kinds of quick projects, but I do have some ideas about some more involved projects, so then hopefully I would have a bit more to talk about!  Jeans are definitely in this category and I want to make a coat (it’s one of my #2017MakeNine after all) and a bag, so they should keep me a bit busier.

I have already bought some more fabric to make another version of this, but given I’ve only managed to wear this one about twice because the weather has gone totally to pot in the last couple of weeks, I’m not sure how much wear I would get out of it. *sobs* I’m wondering about layering them over long-sleeved basic tops when it’s cold, though. What do you think? Would that look terrible? I feel like a white top with this one would look okay?

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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Make It: Penguin Pyjama Case

After the success of the monkey pyjama case I made for my niece, I made a penguin shaped one for my nephew and it was not as simple as the monkey!

I made the penguin out of some black and some white twill I had in my stash (well it’s earmarked for a specific thing but I figured I could spare a bit for the penguin!).

First I cut out 2 bowling pin shapes for the fronts (you need 2 so you can sandwich the wadding in between the 2 layers), and a sort of white splodge for the tummy.

I pinned and sewed it onto just one of the front layers, sewing with a zig-zag stitch to prevent the tummy piece fraying.

Close-up of the zig-zag stitching!

I also cut out 4 wing pieces – 2 for each side, and 2 out of wadding. Layer these with the wadding on the top and the 2 wing pieces on the top, right sides together (if your fabric has a right side and a wrong side). Sew all the way around – I used a 1cm seam allowance.

Trim the wadding from the seam allowance, to reduce the bulk and turn the wings the right side around. Leave these to one side.

I had a little bit of yellow fabric left over from one of the first things I made (a yellow skirt that I wore about twice!), so I used that for the feet and the beak. The principle is the same for the feet as it is for the wings – cut 2 feet for each foot and pile them on top of the wadding, right sides together (again, if your fabric has a right side). Sew all the way around (again I used a 1cm seam allowance), trim the wadding from the seam allowance and turn the right way around. Leave to one side.

Now, the thing that was really hard about this make was the beak. I thought about how to do it for literally weeks. I asked people at the dressmaker’s ball for their advice, and I still couldn’t really figure it out. I had a sort of an idea so I thought the best thing would be to just try it.

So I cut out 2 triangles. I pretty much just guessed on the size – and as you’ll see at the bottom of this post, I probably guessed a bit big, but it was meant to look a bit cartoony so it was totally on purpose! I then sewed one side of a zip onto 2 sides of one triangle. Then I sewed the other side of the zip to another, matching, triangle of fabric, making sure that they sat one on top of the other when the zip is closed. These triangles are the inside of the mouth, if that helps to visualise it?!

Next I cut 4 more triangles of a similar size, but a little thinner than the ones above (2 for each beak). Sew 2 together along one of the long sides – the other long side will be joined to the zip, making little pyramids.

You can see below that where I’m holding is the seam of the 2 smaller triangles, and the other edges (one from each triangle) are pinned – and then sewn – to the other size of the zip. The teeth of the zip should be on the inside as the pyramid will be turned the right way round once sewn, to hide all the stitching inside the beaks, where they will be stuffed. Sorry of this isn’t making much sense, by the way, my brain was definitely hurting by the time I’d figured any of this out!

Once you’ve done the above couple of steps for both beaks, you should end up with something that looks a bit like below – quite creepy! I used a zip that was way too long so I would definitely have one long enough. I shortened it by zig-zag stitching over the teeth first, then trimming off the excess. I’m not going to pretend that this beak works perfectly, unfortunately. The zip is quite tricky to use as it keeps getting caught in the inside of the mouth – I guess if I’d have done some actual triangle calculations, I could have made the inside of the beak a bit more taut so it wouldn’t get caught as much. Oops!

This is the side view, with half the zip undone. I stuffed the beak at this point, too.

The next thing I did was to sew on the eyes. I waited until the beak was finished to do this so I could work out the best placement for them. Again I used a small zig-zag stitch to make sure they don’t fray.

The next step is to assemble the penguin front and back, but sandwiching the 2 fronts (one of which has the tummy sewn on it) with the wadding in the middle. You need to put the fabric with right sides out – this isn’t a seam, the layers are topstitched together.

For the back of the penguin, I decided I wanted him to have a little tail because cute! So I traced half of the penguin front pattern piece, having drawn a line down the middle. I then added a triangle shape onto the centre line and added a 1cm seam allowance, as below. You have to cut 4 of these because there are 2 halves of the back. Sandwich each pair of back pieces with wadding in the middle and topstitch around the edge as for the front.

You’ll then want to sew the seam to attach the 2 back pieces together. I then overlocked the seam to neaten and finish it.

You’ll also want to sew a small seam along the bottom of the tail, as below. Otherwise he’ll have a hole in his bottom and we don’t want that! You just want to sew until roughly in line with the seam to attach both pieces together.

The next thing is to attach the beak. This bit was a bit scary because you just have to cut a hole in the penguin front. I sewed the whole beak on by hand – I sewed around the edge of one half, then cut the hole and stitched the beak to the opening, then stitched around the edge of the other half. Hope that makes sense!

This is the view from the inside – the beak ended up being slightly off centre, but there wasn’t much I could do about it by that point!

And this is what he looks like from the front, with his beak open. The opening is quite narrow for getting the pyjamas in and out of, so if you make this it might be worth putting another zip or some velcro into the side seam.

Apparently I stopped taking photos at this point. The last step is to sew the front to the back, with right sides (the eyes/beak and the tail) together. I found it easiest to open the beak and push it half to the inside, to be able to get the penguin under my machine. You, of course, need to put the wings and the feet in to the seam before you stitch it. You’ll need to place them with the unsewn edges facing out towards the edge of the front/back, sandwiching them between the 2 layers. I overlocked the seam to neaten it. Then all you need to do is to turn it the right way around.

Here’s how he eats the pyjamas 🙂

I’m sort of pleased with how this turned out, but I feel like it could have been better. I just don’t know how, though! Usually I enjoy thinking up how to make things without a pattern, but this time it just wasn’t quite right unfortunately.

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