Projects and Goals for 2016 (pt 2.) Brainstorming for Sewing a New Wardrobe

Last post, I promised to share more projects - my painting agenda and sewing schedules... 

I'll just focus on the sewing part of in this post. (My posts can get pretty longwinded, so I'm attempting to remediate that by sticking to one topic at a time.)

*This is a test-run with very limited sewing skills, so I assume it’s going need tweaking. Maybe not everything will work, but I'll try new things when the old way doesn’t work for me! I also have to GET all the materials, but at least I'll be ready! 

I AM currently sewing up doll outfits to practice. 
I am discovering the real me: that I am a LAZY seamstress! 
I cut corners and I don't care if the threads don't match and things like that! 

Goal: determine clothing needs and then develop a sewing schedule to build a simple wardrobe ~
I used Brainstorming (my creation process) to determine the Goal parameters~

The humidity is outrageous here. After enduring my first summer here (with air conditioning), I decided that I needed to do something about an appropriate wardrobe.

I spent an afternoon looking at the “clothing capsule” concept. This is hugely popular in the UK!
It seems like a very practical idea – using a limited # of clothing items and mix x matching them in different ways to attain variety. (Saving money and time deciding what to wear).

Most of the ‘capsules’ I noted, were related to changing an office dress into multiple ways to wear the same thing at work – or creating ‘evening attire/night on the town’ fashions by dressing up the basics with accessories.
These capsules included several pair of fashionable shoes to mix & match, and other such things. Things that are not at all going to fit into my lifestyle… but the overall concept still works in practicality.

These are lean times, and it’s practical to think in terms of more variable outfits from less pieces of clothing- but I didn’t really go that far.
I created a list of basics that I want available to wear for the summer months.

Objective:
Define a style that will work for me, that I LIKE  &  build a new wardrobe from scratch. A “Basic Hot Weather” wardrobe, including sleepwear! 
(That’s technically not part of a clothing capsule, which usually does include shoes - an example being wearing one dress 3 ways, where you would include the shoes to dress it up or down or for work).

My final aim is:
-make 3 patterns well, so that I can make something in a two-hour session (including cutting and ironing)
- make the same pattern several times over without it looking like it’s obviously the same design (use diff. trim, sleeves or neckline, etc.)
-have the sewing skill that gives me the ability to expand my wardrobe (things I can’t find to buy or afford).
 Ideally this would include:
        - several one-piece culotte sets in flower prints (for nice sunny days)
        - several wrap dresses, in solid colors
        - plaids for winter wear (I love plaid and lace together)

I intend to further develop clothes
- practicing on various materials (thrift stores/yard sales)
- collect lots of second-hand knitwear to re-fashion (for winter wear later on )
- collect oversized t-shirts to re-fashion into workout clothes (and doll clothes, but that is a separate agenda)

1.    I collected everything that inspired me
2.    Then, I kept only what I could reasonable assume sewing up.
3.    I divided that into practical outerwear and things I can layer.

I also have a .doc with examples of lengths for tops, sleeves and necklines (because those matters to me a lot).

I listed the elements I really like and want to wear.

-Once I collected a big pile of pictures and the list of elements, I roughly divided them up into ‘themes’ of work wear and casual.
Some items I only liked the color – or the sleeves or the neckline, or the applique. I snipped them down to the fabric/color/pattern or whatever else seemed useful.
Some of it was too frilly or just impractical.
Or impossible to sew up (unless I increase in skills). I separated those into the “revamp” pile – to use as inspirational ideas when working with clothing I’m retro-fitting. The others will simply have to be purchased.

Considerations in determining what patterns will work for me (remember, limited skills…)
I chose only what I think I would wear, and possess the ability of sewing up.
Small pile. LOL

Over the years I have kept 2 tops that were especially appealing to me, comfortable in humid heat, and fairly simple patterns to USE as pattern pieces.
I will start with trying to dismantle them for patterns I can trace. 

I considered what I might need for an office job outside the home. Lots of dresses. I decided to go with simple pull-over styles (A-frames) and wrap-around templates, but did not build dresses or skirts into this particular sewing schedule. 

I considered how miserable humid days were when dressed in cottons (t-shirts and jeans), and I will avoid that fabric like the plague. 
You know, you can wash and wear your clothes here in Minnesota - just lather with soap and walk around... Or, take a shower without ever getting undressed! LOL.

I considered what I like in relation to being ‘a country girl’ with chickens I would visit 6 or 5 times a day… as something that demands function! 
If you can work fashion into that, PLEASE SHARE!

BUT until I have chickens and gardens to tend to, the more day-tripping artistic and feminine styles win out. *Lace and sheer fabrics just don't like going in a chicken coop.
We plan on visiting the Farmer's Market every week, and we live between lakes and rivers... so I do plan to get out!
And, it would be ok if some of the items made it into my professional wardrobe. 

Personal Color Observations:
--I like gold jewelry but it doesn’t show well on me – so I wear silver exclusively.
***I actually wear jewelry only 2x a year, so this is misleading. IF I do wear it, it’s silver.

--I look washed out in pastels. It might be ok with a tan at the end of summer…if I got outside enough. That’s unlikely.
*strawberry pink is a pastel – I like it and will wear it anyway.
--Some yellows really attract me, but that’s not to say I look good in it).
--I look jaundiced in most greens, yellow, orange, rust, burgundy, maroon, and anything with an orange tint. When I wear these colors, I FEEL sick. In fact, I find that just seeing these colors is repulsive!
--To be comfortable, I wear neutrals or blue-based (cool) tones.
I don’t like pure jewel-toned (pure) colors - I prefer colors to be softened/faded/muted; this is a STRONG preference!  

--My preferred basic colors could be considered neutrals:
Bluejeans and dark blues
cream (but NOT white or almond)
black
grays to browns (not camel or beige or tan)

--My preferred accent colors (is a range of tones):
blush to rose, cranberry (least fav) to raspberry, pure red to dark red, mauve to plum (fav), and violets to purples
*olive greens ok & blue-greens ok (hey, that is a rare color!)

List of basics that I want:
- 2 sleepwear outfits (thin/soft cotton). I’m thinking of those cute little pantaloons with a loose spaghetti-strap tank. *these are not technically part of the ‘capsule’, I just need PJ’s that will work when it’s hot & muggy.
- 8 loose tops that I can wear during a HOT MUGGY WEATHER:
- a simple, semi-fitted top with not a lot of seamwork
                         - cap sleeves
- a two-layer shirt with sheer fabric (sturdy like cotton voile)
- A-frame longer top (with thin fabric that drapes like very soft pillow cases) – with:
                        - ruffle cap sleeves
                        - gathered shoulders with scalloped neckline
- 2 culottes sets (mid-thigh shorts) *These obviously can’t be used in the clothing capsule ‘mix’, but I hate capris, so this is a compromise.
- 2 shorts (loose jogging style w/ heavy-weight lace trim)
- 6 white ankle socks with soft lace trim
- 2 lace trimmed tees in soft washed linen/cotton gauze
                                  CUTE!!!
If you are thinking of sewing up a storm, many more ideas and tutorials from Donnatella.
I guess culottes are called 'rompers' now, even in the U.S...
And here's a 'wrap' skirt (not on my current list, just my 'someday' list)
(a good lounge around, going out, or PJ top!)

I am just now learning what fabrics. If you are learning, like I am, here's some good info...

And there are many more resources I used - the internet is such a gift for supplies and learning!

fabric plans for each project/outfit: 

- cool thin cotton blends for summer wear (mostly solid colors, with some flowery prints)
- cotton voiles (Voile is a soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton          blends including linen or polyester. The term is French, and means veil.)
- soft washed linen cotton gauze or muslin
-Viscose blends
chiffon
sheer fabrics that don't fray
- eyelet laces (with scalloped edge, for extensions) in cream 
- stretch laces 
heavy crocheted lace ribbon trims, a soft lace (with scalloped edge) 
-a cream eyelet and a cream sturdy and/or stretch lace (with scalloped edge) for size extensions on current wardrobe
- other trims



♥ To create a project outline, use an Outline template.
♥ Use a working title (like Sewing Project or Capsule Wardrobe Makeover...)
♥ Identify the major tasks needed to accomplish the project, and break down the smaller tasks required to complete the larger ones....
♥ List all the possible tasks first, (if you know what they are, which I don't, so I'm sort of limited in the lingo. But I know: "baste the hemline", "sew up the botton-holes", and "pin the fabric to the pattern"...)
♥ Then to create a detailed task list, place tasks in the appropriate order - in successive steps.  
     >To create task dependencies, list the task as a sub-task of the prioritized task< like this.
Because you have to do things in the right order.


OK so assuming I gathered up armloads of fabric...

Results...
A Sewing Schedule~
3 months to a wardrobe I can comfortably live in for at least a season of 6 months.

Sew up 1 item each week for 12 weeks (3 months)
Made easier by choosing a slightly different version of the basic patterns and doubling up on them (2 of each thing mentioned above), each a diff. color, texture, trim, sleeve or length – a small difference.

Thereafter, sew up 6- 8 new pieces for hot-weather wear during the cold off-seasons. That is, sewing or re-fashioning 1-2 pieces of clothing each month (will need to replace some things after 6 months of wear and tear, this gives time to sew them up).
Now I just need materials....

Organization:
I love lists, but sometimes a list doesn't cut it. 
I also  like  NEED to have a visual reference, especially when I don't know what I'm doing. Remember, this is like putting together IKEA furniture for me. 
I and love the idea of being able to see the plans all at once iun list form, but just as some things are appropriate for a 'collage', that's not helpful for organizing a project like this. 

To control this project better, I’ll take a screen capture of examples for each pattern I plan to sew, as a ‘visual'. I'll create a 'master list’ of the patterns and detailed items.
(perhaps a photo of the scalloped edges I want along the bottom of the garment, or the neckline that I want -such as 'v' shaped...or anything else that helps define the piece).

♥ Master List: Each pattern/item will have a ‘project #’, and list of what’s needed to complete it. (If I have 12 tops to sew up, then there will be projects 1 - 12)
I can print that master sheet off - with it's checklist for each garment....
and cross off ‘items needed’ as they are acquired
and  cross off the project # as it’s completed.

♥ From that master list I’ll also copy each image onto its own page, with the list of things needed to complete that project (fabric, yardage, buttons, zipper, lace, elastic, thread) and pin it to a hanger.

♥ On the hanger will hang a plastic bag, so that the acquired items to make each thing will go into that plastic bag.
For easy reference, the bag will be marked with the “project #” which coincides to the master list.

♥ Each hanger will be there in the closet, impossible to lose and easy to access.

♥ The master list will be in my "Farmhouse" binder under "Projects". 
That’ll make it easy to gather what I need for each project, and I won’t mix things up between the projects or forget what I was going to do with that… 
Ahem.


Did I cover everything? 

RE: making a fashion 'statement' or a professional 'look' (for you fashionistas who might be reading this)-  I find this a somewhat difficult concept.
Like an apron makes a baker LOOK like a baker, business attire makes people LOOK like they fit their profession/job. I think wearing overalls would/could make a similar statement should I be selling veggies at the Farmer’s Market! 
But maybe a bandana scarf would suffice. 
Or a hat. 
Would I need both? Would I have to go so far as to wear them with a pair of boots? There IS a difference after all between cute and clown. Or maybe the more correct terms are 'understated' and 'overstated'... 
...but the questions remains: how much is enough, can it be too much, and how can you know?

LOTS of Questions for YOU~
---How do you determine your favorite put-together outfit? (A cowboy wears jeans, boots, hat and a long-sleeved shirt... but what about a short-sleeved polo shirt, or Dockers pants instead? Would he still manage to portray a 'cowboy' look that bespeaks his profession - or would you think his day job is a computer-repair guy?)
---Do you try to match things up or is everything you have pretty well 'same colors' that can be pretty well mixed and matched no matter what?
---Do you ever build your days' choice around a pair of shoes or boots (as a reason to wear said shoes or boots)?  
---Do you have the right clothes for your lifestyle- or could that use fine-tuning? 
---If YOU had to show an example of one outfit that expresses who you are/what you are about, could you do it with what you have?
---If you had to choose one outfit to represent you (or what you are doing), what would it look like? How different is that from what you wear normally? 
 ---Have you ever considered creating a wardrobe 'style'? (Not just made of things that are off the store racks).
---Do you/have you experienced this as part of your career attire/office job attire that you have to emulate? Did you/did ever want to deviate from the norm in some way?
---Do you have separate 'capsules' for the various focuses of life (work, play, leisure, etc.)? What are the main differences? (fabric types, how things fit, style, color range?)
---If your financial resources are/were limited, how would YOU go about planning a wardrobe and attaining it? 

---Has this been at all helpful? 
---What are your concerns with dressing right/better, or with clothing?

Have fun turning your dreams into your real life!



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