Thursday, March 15, 2018

Modules: Spring & Summer

Last week I reorganized my clothing into four modules: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter Work, and Home/Errands/Dates. My previous post described my clothing organization as "Six Items or Less/Miss Minimalist  mashup";  that's not the case unless "around six"= 12 or fewer. 

Here are my Spring/Summer versions. I'm using the terms "spring" and "summer" to refer to temperatures above 65 degrees (mid-April through early October in Abq). My original Make Nine plans will likely be modified to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, there are no cool re-purposed-pipe garment racks in this post. 

Spring/Summer Work 
(10 pieces, not including shoes and bags)

  • Eileen Fisher Washable Crepe pants in black, gray, and taupe. Purchased new in 2015-16. I wear these all year. The black pair is almost 3 years old and still looks great. 
  • Eileen Fisher silk jersey tank, thrifted 2014. I wear this year-round and it could also have date applications.
  • Pendleton Cotton Cardigan, purchased on eBay in 2016. This will likely be its last summer. 
  • Not pictured: Boden raglan three-quarter sleeve tee, purchased in December. Like the pants this is worn year-round (so far).

Shoes & Bags: Dress-ual sandals, black ballet flats, gray pumps, fabric loafers (on their last leg) and black crossbody (not pictured).  

To make: Solid-colored tees, likely using Jalie 3245 because the linen tees I love (see below) have curved hems. A steel-gray Rondeur because I have the yarn and the pattern. Looking forward, a black cardigan. 

Spring/Summer Home/Errands/Dates 
(8 pieces, not including shoes and bags)

  • Lands End flat-front chinos in beige and orange. Points for flat-fronted-ness. Purchased summer 2017 out of desperation. 
  • Ann Taylor Loft linen tees in red and black. Purchased 2016-17. These are surprisingly awesome.
  • Maroon gauze tunic. Thrifted 2017.

Shoes & Bags: Leopard bag and beige perforated flats. I could use sandals and "trainers. This bag clashes with the prints I own and really doesn't "go" with much that I have, but I can't let it go.

To make: Denim skirt, likely Sew House Seven's Alberta Street pattern instead of the A Frame skirt because body type and flattery. A date-ier top and possibly some denim Eleonores. Also dreaming of an Endless Summer tunic(s) and leggings to replace the chinos. Will likely need some type of cardigan to ward off air conditioning. 


I never wore the book. 

So that is what largely unintentional shopping/making looks like, and frankly I was surprised to find any coherence at all under the kudzu. The realization that I have enough comfortable and reasonably flattering clothing for the spring and summer months takes a lot of the pressure of off producing. (More on that next week.) 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Minimal Monday: Magic Capsules

A lot (okay, the majority) of my research on reduced consumption/simplification/minimalism has focused on clothing. Behold my platonic ideal:

I get that this wardrobe won’t transform my quasi-suburban house into a warehouse studio. But I do imagine a freer, more actualized self, much like the women in the Title Nine catalog:

Vocation: Nonprofit Communications
Avocation: Knitting and Sewing
Kryptonite: Naps
Fridge: Cold-brewed coffee and string cheese

The pressure (real or imagined) to have a consistent but not redundant "look"  has stopped me from paring down my wardrobe. As a former colleague used to say, these might be “old feelings that are not appropriate for the situation I’m in right now.” I entered the workforce in 1992 in a large but conservative city. Weekend- and work-wear were distinct categories, business casual environments were rare, and dressing for the job you wanted meant owning a week’s worth of different skirt suits.

I'm the one on the left.

It’s 25 years later. I live in a casual city in the laid-back southwest and work part-time for a nonprofit. I’m pretty sure no one thinks about my outfit frequency. With this in mind, I dove into my wardrobe.

The resulting "system" is a 6 Items or Less/Miss Minimalist mash-up. I've designated four "modules" of roughly 6 items each: Fall/Winter work,  Fall/Winter home/errands/dates, Spring/Summer work, and Spring/Summer home/errands/dates. The home/errands/dates capsules definitely skew towards home/errands. Unless you go on a date to the grocery store, which is a very real thing when your kids are little.

I'm going to re-visit my Make Nine list this week, and this whole exercise has caused me to rethink (for the 800th time) my approach to making clothing.

Have you ever experimented with a small-ish wardrobe?

Friday, March 9, 2018

Weekend Scrolls & Reads

I joined the Facebook group for readers of the blog Simply + Fiercely. On Tuesday she published a code for a UGE discount on the Kindle version of Cait Flanders' book The Year of Less. It's still under $2. I'll be reading it in my motel room tonight in Denver, where I'm taking a class with Natalie Chanin!!!!!!!

The brackets are out for March Mayhem over on Mason Dixon Knitting. I'm loving the Moth and the Tailfeather cardigans.

Buen finde!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Indicum Sweater

This is my second Make Nine project:

The pattern is Hilary Callis Smith's Indicum. The body yarn is Knit Picks Capretta in cream and CC for the corrugated ribbing is Tanis Fiber Arts purple label in Fig.

This might be headed for Waddersville. The armscyes seem *really* high, and the corrugated ribbing rolls in spite of my aggressive blocking. It's the sort of thing that I'll be neurotic about because I spent my late 30s reading way too many blogs about how French women only wear things that are perfectly perfect.

And the yoke looks so yoke-y in the back. Because it's a yoke, duh. I suppose I'm used to seeing color or pattern in these situations:

Debbie Downer, party of one! Sorry, readers.

I'm not sure what will be next in the Make Nine queue...I'm reevaluating my choices after an epic-ish wardrobe purge (more on that next week) in the midst of an existential crisis about making and materialism (more on that next next week).

Monday, March 5, 2018

Minimal Monday: Status & Simplicity

One of my goals for 2018 is to reduce my consumption and pay off my smallish-but-nagging unsecured debt by April. I’m on track to be debt-free after selling several scarves on eBay. Vestiges of an old life, I originally bought them as much for their covert display of prestige as for their beauty and craftsmanship. They’re devoid of logos but signified my taste to the Right People.

The relationship between consumption and status-seeking seems obvious. But over the weekend I came across this article in the New York Times by Jacoba Urst. She mentions simplicity as a “form of cultural capital" and cites Joel Stillerman, who coined the term “post-materialist values”:

…But minimalism is also meant to project taste, refinement and aesthetic knowledge. “‘These people,” he said, “are making the statement that ‘I can afford to have less. I appreciate books and travel and good meals.’”

As someone who grew up in a household that could only afford to have less (without the travel or good meals), this resonates with me. Choosing minimalism is a privilege. Something to think about as I move towards “less”: what’s motivating my purchases? Because I don’t want socks-sponges-hand cream to be the new scarves.
 *For all 3-4 of my readers: “Minimal Monday” will now be a thing.   

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Weekend Scrolls & Reads

I recently purchased this embroidery kit, but this caught my eye as the owner of a fluffy white bunny. Cue the Watership Down nightmares.

This weekend I'll block my  Indicum sweater. Setting up the corrugated ribbing inspired me to search for stranding-in-the-round and I found this article about yarn dominance. I also favorited this bag pattern on Ravelry.

This post over at Luxe Strategist warns against "lifestyle inflation," and articulates why I want to downsize well in advance of retirement.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Duo of Vogue 8151's

I chose to add that apostrophe for clarity. Just saying.

Vogue 8151 (OOP) is a t-shirt/sweatshirt/sweater hybrid. Like tofu it adapts to its ingredients. I made two recently, using fabrics from my double-knit bender at Emma One Sock.

The first one is a wool-blend ponte. Worn to a concert 2 weeks ago:

The second is made from a double-knit that's unlike anything I've ever encountered. Up close (as in squinting with magnifying glass) you can see the knitted construction, but it "reads" as a stretchy felted flannel. The finished darts gave me some pause and before I hemming I was ready to chuck it. In the end I feel I look very La Garconne. Or at least a la cinquantaine.

Have mirror; will travel to different parts of the house to shoot photos.
I need a better set up. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekend Scrolls & Reads

With events like "'Actually, I Get Along Better with Guys' Monologue" and "Best No Makeup Look," Jezebel's Cool Girl Olympics NAILS IT.

Courtesy of the Women's Room, street style from the Jaipur Literary Festival.

Sophie Digard's scarves make me want to learn to crochet.

Have a cookie. Or a carrot. Or both. This piece over at Mason Dixon Knitting grants permission to eat.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Eleonore Version 1.a

No hands!

More gray pants--now with a lot less crotch radiation (there's just no delicate way to say that, is there?) and moderately less gap-osis.

I made a 2" swayback adjustment using Dawn's method and there's *still* a little gap. I'm thinking this fabric isn't snappy enough to stand up to stretching and gathering.

Saintly pose.
Top is 100 Acts of Sewing Shirt No. 1, btw.

Just whatever, man! I'm still pleased with how these turned out and I plan to make more, possibly with darts in the back waistband. Maybe an invisible hem too, to dress them up a bit. And a skinny pair...

Ahem. So that's one 2018 make nine done! Fingers crossed that my 5" size 5 dpns arrive today so that I can finish my Indicum sweater.

In the meantime, must. Resist. Eleonore. Rabbit. Hole.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fresh N' Fancy

I have hereditary dark circles under my eyes and first used concealer at age 9, for a ballet performance. I started wearing it daily at age 12. At age 38 I "upgraded" to a two-product process: corrector + concealer. For nearly 12 years I've meticulously applied both every day, even on an otherwise bare face. Until this weekend.

In the shower on Friday morning I realized...the whole patting-not-rubbing, powder-setting, product-migrating, compact-checking, eye-cream-researching thing...I just can't even. So I'm not.

Big words. I haven't tossed my concealer and corrector, just stowed them away. I'll likely reach for them the next time I have a formal photo taken, or an interview. But I don't anticipate either of those things happening for several months at least. In the meantime, this feels more freeing than scary.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Jalie Eleonore

Yesterday I staggered off of the roller coaster known as Sewing Pants. And I don't think I'm going to throw up!

Here is my un-hemmed Jalie Eleonore muslin, the first of my 2018 Make Nine projects:

They're a size X, even though the much-touted "wisdom of the table" recommends a size V based on my full hip measurement. (I traced and sewed a size V waistband and it felt small to me.)

The "cat whiskers" radiating across the front are the result of swayback:

Gap-osis, with hip wrinkles that disappear
 when I yank them up.

I'm hoping they'll look like this after I perform Dawn's swayback adjustment. I also plan to take some fullness out of the back of the knees.

Because I can't walk around holding
the back of my pants all day. 

Now that I'm over the delusion of creating a wearable pants muslin, I don't think I'll top stitch version 2. Although it's probably worth practicing the faux-fly detail again.

I can't wait to get started!