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Choosing Patterns, some how's and why's

My closet is a dense forest of me-made wardrobe items. Crammed and straining. And yet, i cannot stop myself from sewing more things to wear. I used to get sad and wistful looking into my closet, wishing I had something I was excited to wear. After I started making my own gear my closet visits transformed! Now I stand before my closet flooded with excitement about which awesome, exciting, well-fitting outfit to wear today

On the right you can my sweater bag. Cardigans in many colors and shapes, organized into warm, cool and neutral stacks. In truth, my sweater bag lives in my dude's closet. Mine, although the larger of the two bedroom closets, isn't big enough. It's love. 

So with so many fun choices how do I decide what to make next? How do I balance pattern selections? What makes a good scale, color, texture choice? Below I'll walk you through some snaps of a recent trip our to my favorite fabric warehouse! Most of my fabric choices are a variety of quilting cottons, which simplifies things a bit. I like working with quilting cottons, easy to sew, easy to care for and SO MANY CHOICES!!!


Here's a stack I had gathered up, trying to work out what I should get and what wouldn't make the cut! If you ever see that weird lady in the fabric store draping fabric over herself... think of me. I'm that lady. It's really one of the best ways to understand how a pattern will be affected by the curves of your body, whether the scale will work for you, if the color is flattering. 


This pretty light yellow-green fabric was a definite thumbs-down. Looking at my skin next to this fabric I felt super washed out. I love the scale and that the pattern offers fun possibilities for using on-grain or on-bias. Sadly, it didn't make the cut.


I struggle with feedsack patterns. I really liked this color but this particular fabric was a plaid crepe with varying levels of sheerness/opacity. I don't like to line my skirts so this one didn't make the cut either. 


Oh man, I went back and forth on this fabric for a long time. I think I worked through the stack and came back to it 2 or three times. I so love the energy of this print, it's a little wild and fireworks-y and the shade of pink is nice and versatile. I loved the idea of the fabric in a skirt and kept imagining twirling in a circle skirt of pink fireworks... but I could not get a good image in my head with the fabric for a bodice. Who knows, perhaps next time I will see the boom boom pow pattern again. Didn't make it this time. 


At this point I am guessing you might be wondering well... what did you get? I loved this crosshatch. I like the smallness of the different elements in the pattern and how it is balanced out by the all-over, irregular cross-hatch. From a few feet away the pattern did not break into distinct boxes or stripes, also a major plus. The dots here are green, blue, white and brown. The background is pink with a darker pink crosshatch. Very flexible for cardigans. We had a winner!


You can kind of see it in my secret-excited little smirk here; I loved this fabric. It said, Barbie Throws a Party or Donna Reed's Summer Shindig or Please Wear Me With Little White Gloves!!! I brought this one home. Classic polka dots with bold pink roses breaking things up. I like irregular polka dots as I find that straight polka dot matrices make my eyes water, they look like they are vibrating. So this was a perfect solution.


Sadly, one more that did not make the cut. These are the kinds of fabrics and patterns that I really love and really wish worked for me. You can see how wan and washed out I look next to it. The pattern has a fun Deco look but I just couldn't get something that would look so blah in color next to my skin. 

I regularly make another round through the store after cutting my initial choices. First off, they ask you to reshelve your fabrics yourself. Second, I almost always feel like I will find one more thing now that I am in the zone. Here is a shot of all the lucky home-comers from the last go-around. You can see a whole bunch of things that didn't make the pictures. Some of these I felt so strongly about I didn't both with pictures for. I have finished 4 dresses from these fabrics so far. The Lemon Surprise fabric was a 2nd round find as was the chambray with discharge print roses in the upper right hand corner.  


I finally got a tripod for my camera so more outfit posts on the way! Hurray! Hopefully this helped expand your horizons of print and pattern possibilities! 

xo, 
Sarah



Outfit post! Mint and peachy brights to warm a chilly morning

Hi friends! here's a quickie post on today's outfit. I am going to try to get on a track of including at least one outfit post a week. The biggest obstacle to me getting these done is that I am terrible at taking pictures of myself! Part of getting myself out of my comfort zone, though is to learn to take some good selfies. I am itching to get my hands on a smartphone-friendly tripod. Maybe one like this: 

If you will forgive me my poor selfie skills at current I promise to keep working on them! Without further ado... The Baronica dress! Our friend Barry and Monica got hitched in August and you might recall that I shared some images of this dress before, just after I finished it. 


I applie teal rick rack of differing sizes at the neck and hem and also finished the inside hem with some bright orange grosgrain ribbon which adds a fun pop of color when the hem flips up. I have been surprised how many colors pairs well with this combo and find myself rotating between shades of pink, orange, black and brown when I pair the dress with a cardigan. 

Sometime soon I'll post a step-by-step on how I have shortened my legion of cardigans to better suit the proportions of my dresses and skirts. It's super easy and makes the world your oyster of cardigan shopping! I've been bummed to find that so many cropped cardigans are acrylic and nylon based. Blech.


I'm trying to eek out a few more wears of my summer sandals. I love these Azalea's by Earth Shoe. Really supportive, comfy and aesthetically on-point for all of my favorite 40's and 50's dresses that scream, "I need brown sandals!" (Please forgive the wrinkles... I need to buy a steamer since no amount of ironing seems to banish the crinkle!)


My bracelets today are a mix of Bakelite and plastic. The three thinner bangles are each marbled in subtle ways. the top bangle is a bright orangey pink that I am working (very slowly!) to remove the patina from. I'm anxious to hear any tips anyone has!



Outfit details:
Dress- me-made, fabric from The Textile Center garage sale 
Cardigan- Gap outlet, shortened by me, similar here: Kinny and Howie
Bracelets- various spots, antique malls around the Twin Cities
Necklace- Seratonin necklace from my pal Laura when I was getting ready to move to MN