a wardrobe peek

I was folding and putting away my clothes the other night, and I was reminded of calling purple a preferred color in my post on the Minoru jacket I just finished (using a purple color, of course). Seeing my clothes all (fairly) neatly hung and piled, I found it funny to see my clothing color preferences so clearly!

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A huge part grey and dusty blues, a fair presence of mustard yellow and yellowy green, and a dash of hot pink. It’s interesting to see that I clearly favor warm purples in the tops that I wear (top left), but I have no sweaters or skirts in that color. Similarly, most greens are found just in the sweater pile (top right), and not much anywhere else.

Anyone else have recurring colors in their wardrobes?

wardrobe thoughts

I came across a wonderful blog last week, and it’s prompted so many thoughts for me on the concept of “wardrobe”, so this is my attempt to put it in writing.

Making our own clothes (whether sewing, re-fashioning, knitting or elsewise) is, I think, partly about the joy of creating something and executing a handcraft, and partly about the freedom to make whatever you want – whichever size or combination thereof, whatever color or pattern you can find (or make, as sallieoh does so well!), whatever silhouette and fit we want. At least for me, the combination of these two factors is why I make (some of) my own clothes.


My first years of sewing or refashioning was based a lot on what I could find of fabrics and clothes to take apart, and very little buying fabric and patterns specifically for an envisioned project – so that has long been my standard mode of operation. I don’t think I really sewed according to any sort of plan. After one of the Me-made-May or Self-Stitched-September’s I’ve participated in, I saw a conversation going on in the blogosphere. People were noticing that the things they had made for themselves didn’t necessarily fit their lifestyle or their style period. I noticed it too. After the first round, I decided that just because “I’ve made something myself doesn’t automatically mean it’s my style. Or, it might no longer fit into my current style.” After the second round, I realized I actually have multiple styles going on: “When I’m going to work, I want to look sharp and polished and put together, with pencil skirts and structured tops, or fitted dresses. When I’m not at work, I gravitate towards flowey, casual, faded, slightly off kilter things. Which is totally fine, except for the days I dressed really casually and picnicy going to work and felt awkward and uncomfortable. I think I just have to accept that work-me wants to dress differently than leisure-me!”

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I usually devour any posts on wardrobe and style since find the topic fascinating and mystifying, and I’m not sure I have a full grasp of what my style is. Which isn’t a big deal! But I would love to feel like my wardrobe is a better curated collection of clothes. I am completely enamoured with Anuschka’s blog – the streamlined imagery, clean look, and of course… the content. Unlike most other posts and blogs I’ve read on wardrobe-how-tos or wardrobe-must-haves, she doesn’t provide rules like that. Instead, she offers tasks and exercises to figure out what your own must-haves are, based on your own preferences and lifestyle. And, she outlines different approaches to putting together outfits, and describes how to use that as a guide to what pieces and how many you’d need in your wardrobe. I love it! It’s an approach that revolves completely around figuring out what works for you, not set formulas or pieces. It’s actually liberating, in a way!

I’m tempted to toss all the contents of my current wardrobe on the floor and only put back a carefully selected collection of garments that of course all go perfectly together. But a wardrobe is always a work in progress, so besides the fact that I don’t own all the things that would be in my dream wardrobe, I’m aiming for an easy-does-it approach – mindful replacing of worn out/ill-fitting/damaged clothes, with a sort of core wardrobe each season and complete permission to also have things in my wardrobe that is for special occasions and rare uses (if I love it, it’s allowed!).

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Intersecting here between wardrobe planning and the ability to make one own’s clothes is of course that you can make the pieces that are missing! I’m now making a dark grey cabled hat as part of getting my winter outerwear wardrobe to a place I’m happy with – which to me means not having a myriad of colorful hats and scarves and mittens that clashes totally with my warm jackets. It doesn’t necessarily mean making big changes to feel put together! Looking through my wardrobe to identify gaps between what I want to dress in and what I have, has made my sewing-to-do-list longer – I’m thinking several pencils skirts, a couple of miniskirts, and definitely some longer sleeve shift-dresses in the next few months. And I have a portrait neckline blouse already cut out, along with another Tiny Pocket Tank. Wait, do I need more of those? Hmm, always!

Anyone else having thoughts about they wardrobe and style? What are your sewing plans for the rest of the year (and into next year!)?

Resources: Wardrobe Building for Beginners: a starter kit from into-mind.com & alreadypretty.com

pinterest for pattern stash

pinterest_for_pattern_stashYesterday I had an idea I thought was very clever – using pinterest to keep track of my pattern stash! I see on pinterest I’m not the only one to have had this idea, but isn’t it clever?

Often I think I should be better about using patterns I have instead of coveting new ones all the time (I’m looking at you guys, Deer & Doe, Named Clothing Patterns, and Thread Theory). The problem is just that I keep forgetting what I actually have available. I have a folder full of downloaded digital patterns on my computer desktop, but they’re not easily and visually accessible there, so they are out of sight and out of mind. No more though!

I linked to the pattern shops for the indie patterns I have, grabbed the line drawing from BurdaStyle’s website for the many patterns I downloaded before they started charging for nearly everything, and used my phone to take pictures of the vintage patterns I have. Phew – I feel all organized! And, I have many more patterns than I was aware of. That’s the deal with stashes I guess!

outfit: travel wardrobe

imageIt’s funny to notice what I choose to pack for different kinds of trips. For our recent summer vacation on the eastcoast of the US, I knew our casual activities would be sitting in the yard, family time, and trips to the beach. So I packed breezy skirts, easy dresses and simple tops.

This trip to Ireland is much more city-dominated, the weather is cooler, and attending a wedding a lot less casual. Even though these trips were just a couple of weeks apart, I ended up packing totally different for this Ireland-trip, being drawn to muted colors and pencil skirts, pumps and tops and dresses with interesting detail. And a fancy evening gown of course, but we’ll get to that!

repeat costumer


I have three matching shoes. I used to just have two, a regular matching pair, but then one of them got left on a boat or a bus or a train or a car – I’m not sure where it walked off to. So I was left with a single black flat. What in the world do you do with a single black flat? It was in too nice of a shape to simply throw away, and I’d been not so secretly hoping the other one would just appear, but no such luck.

So, I’ve been looking for a replacement pair the last year or so, with none meeting my fairly simple criteria of being black, flat, and made in leather with more than a paper thin sole. But no such luck! (I must be terribly picky).

flat_black_shoes2So, the other day while browsing a shoestore, I spy *the same shoes* – same brand, same shape, same topstitching, same everything except an updated lining fabric – I took the hint and bought them. You know, so I could have three matching shoes.

Any suggestions on what to do with a single, gently worn shoe? Haha! I probably should just befriend talented shoe-wizard Emily of Botterman Empire-fame and have her cobble a mate so I can have two matching pairs. Yeah, good plan!

my uniform

Studying in Chicago, I had a uniform of sorts. Most days I would wear some variation of skirt + top + cardigan + belt. It made dressing easy, having a sort of formula to vary on, and in the winter especially it was good for layering tights and fleeces and anything else I could pile on. I grew up in Norway, which isn’t exactly known for being a warm place, but I’m telling you… Chicago winters are about the most brutal I’ve experienced.

Ok, digressing. This past year I’ve noticed a shift in my uniform, to dresses + cardigans + sometimes belts. It’s really quite insignificant, besides the subtle shift to one less piece of clothing to take into the equation, and minimizing the chance that the belt doesn’t sit at the waist of the skirt. My current uniform it is, none the less.

There is one detail about this outfit I want to point out, which is the lack of a belt. I don’t remember where I first saw it (I’m quite sure the clever ladies of acidemichic do this too), but using the wrap belt that is attached to this jersey dress to belt the cardigan as well, is a trick I’ve used for years. You bring the belt to the front of the dress (if it isn’t there already), cross and wrap it around the cardigan, and tie it either in front or in back. Instant color-cordinated belt!

Anyone else have a uniform of sorts?

my handmade wardrobe, arrested

Jen over at Grainline studio recently posted the contents of her handmade wardrobe, and I was inspired and encouraged to follow suit! (har har..)

I totally set up a whole photo studio in my apartment, with spot lights and lamps and whatnot, but it was night so I got some funky colors, and I think the images came out looking like perp shots, or like the clothes are being interrogated!

None the less, here are the handmade clothes that are currently in my wardrobe (goodness knows I have a lot of me-made things that just isn’t getting used, or has been used to pieces already):

Sleeveless tops

Beach blouse, Tiny pocket tank

Tiny pocket tank, Svanvik blouse

Layering things. From the top; my own pattern, two tiny pocket tanks from Grainline Studio, and another of my own patterns. The pale blue blouse is from my graduating collection, and I’m happy it fits me so I can have it in my wardrobe! I have to admit, I haven’t actually used it yet, but next time a fancy artsy dinner or gallery opening rolls around, I’m ready.

Other stuff

Jersey top, mustard shorts

Aptly named since I only have one each of long-sleeved tops and shorts/pants! The corduroy shorts are still going strong, though a little rumply from all the wear. The jersey top is a sample I got to make for myself while interning for Elmidae in Chicago.


Mini skirt, Valentine’s day skirt

Minde skirt, another Marie skirt

Wool skirt, Pencil skirt

Clearly skirts is what I make the most of! Including the miniskirt feels a little like cheating since it was a simple refashion, but man, I’ve used that skirt so much I think it’s allowed in. The drapey wool skirt in the middle is from my graduating collection, and the double layer skirt at the bottom is another Elmidae sample I got to make. The black linen pencil skirt is one of the first things I blogged about here, so it’s funny that it still has a place in my wardrobe!


Ironwood dress, Grandma-dress

I really like making and wearing dresses, so I’m a little surprised I don’t have more of them actively in my wardrobe! The Ironwood dress is my own pattern, and the floral-patterned dress is a refashion from my grandmother’s old dress.


Bayview Street Cardigan, Geithus lace knit top

Seamless hybrid sweater

I feel like I’m pretty much knitting all the time, but I guess a lot has been smaller things like hats and scarves, or gifts, but these three self-knitted garments are getting plenty of use. Like I mentioned just a couple of weeks ago, I’m casting on for another one of both the Bayview Street Cardigan, and the Geithus lace knit top, which is my own pattern.

I totally forgot to take a picture of the charcoal wool sweater since I made it for John and not myself, but I tend to borrow it from time to time anyways! So instead of a evidence-like photo of the sweater, you get one of my handsome boyfriend wearing it instead. Deal?

The verdict

I have made way more than is actually in my current wardrobe. I use the Hitterdal coat every once in a while, but it’s not really a regular staple. And then there are things that I made that I’ve worn to death, or that don’t fit anymore, or that I simply don’t like anymore.

There is also a pile of half-finished and alteration-ready projects that I’ve mentally already added to my wardrobe, but that aren’t there yet! I have a Minoru jacket in pieces somewhere, a Beignet skirt just waiting for 12 bound buttonholes (oh yeah, that’ll only take a few hours!), and a myriad of smaller refashions. On a personal note, I actually have changed jobs and am done working in the bridal shop. Now I’ll be doing sewing related things just half of my work-week, so I’m really hoping that means more time and energy for sewing for myself!