Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Friday, 18 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 5 Your Wardrobe

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

In Step 5 Your Wardrobe you do the good old closet clearout based on the knowledge gained so far in steps 1-4. And then organise the wardrobe like with like and in rainbow order to make it easier to see duplicates and find things.

Clearing out your closet

How to Decide What to Keep and What to Discard from Your Wardrobe

Organising your closet

I already removed things which were worn out, the wrong colour or too small but kept one bag of things which were borderline which I'll look at again another time.
I've also tried to tidy things up a bit and be consistent in using velvet hangers for tops and hang things in colour order and category as much as I can.

I am still debating what should be hanging in terms of cardigans and casual trousers. As I don't have space to hang them all or put them all in drawers. I'm avoiding multi hangers except for scarves as I think they are hard to use.
I am also debating switching my smart trousers onto velvet hangers from clip hangers. This would save space  as the clips are bulky but would put a line across the trouser leg I don't like for work trousers.

I'm now testing things out to see how they work in outfits. I expect some more discards as I get fussier and actually try more things on.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

7 Steps To Style Step 4 Your Lifestyle

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

In Step 4 now you know more about your personality, bodyshape and best colours you think about your lifestyle.

This one mostly uses exercises to explore more about things like
- why you like some of your favourite garments
- how much time you spend each week doing different activities
- looking at how the wardrobe/activities matches up
- making sure you have garments which cover activities you want to do

So for example if you have a very casual warrobe but this stops you accepting invites to lunch or something, then get a nice going for lunch outfit. If you have loads of formal special occasion things which you use for balls/ certain events then perhaps keep those in a guest room closet so you can see your everyday stuff more clearly etc.

The main thing I did in response to this step was as I have two hanging sections in my built in wardrobe, I made the left one just for work and hung up dresses, skirts, trousers, jackets and tops which I thought were work suitable. This meant I could really see what clothes I had that were work suitable, and due to step 3 remvoing some things I could see I was quite short on work suitable tops.

I then had anything casual in the other hanging section with some jackets/cardis I was unsure about too. I also made a section for more dressy things on this side and things for choir (where we wear black which isnt in my palette). I put the choir and special occasion stuff in the part where the cupboard goes over the stairwell and is harder to access.

I found this very useful, because I work full time in an office where you can only wear jeans on a Friday and some of my male peers wear full suit with tie. So I need to be relatively smart for work. I can always get changed into comfier clothes when I get home.

I've not had a big lifestyle change as I've had a similar sort of office based job for many years, but the wardrobe had been creeping too casual. Favourite suits had worn out and proved difficult to replace so had more mismatched stuff.

For other people who've gone from full time work to home with kids or retired, moved countries/region or changed jobs to one with a different dress code this is probably a much larger area.

At least I now know what I have that I can wear for work as its all in the one area, so should make work morning choices easier.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 3 Your Colours

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

For the colour section a series of colour cards are sent in the post. You take particular photos which are used to narrow down which of the 18 palettes in Imogen's system you might be. This can take a while as each set of cards arrives and you make time to take the photos.
I was clearly Muted (no suprise from Kate's draping) but then this was narrowed down further and I was slightly suprised to find I am cool not warm. This could be down to a few factors, either I was kidding myself and I've always been cool, or I did previously have some warmth but now I am greying (and not colouring my hair), I have lost a bit of carotene and am cool.
Either way I really like the colours and am sorting out the wardrobe.

The palette is called 'Sophisticated' and is apparently is mid way between Deep and Light, slightly more Cool than Warm, and much more towards the Soft than the Clear. If you are familiar with 12 seasons I would say its like a greyed version of Soft Summer, less pink and a bit deeper.

As I am still mostly dark haired I need to wear a medium high value contrast and as I have colours (green, pink) in my personal colouring I look better wearing one or two colours (not all neutrals).
There is then an additional charge for the palette itself, and once this is received you can do more photos to get your specific signature colours from that swatch.
You can wear all the colours from your swatch plus any more which blend.
Wearing a couple of signature colours and with my Signature colours from the swatch.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 2 Your Body

As mentioned previously I am working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

Step 2 is about face shape, features and body shape and proportions, and then lots of suggestions on how to dress.

The detail here plus Imogen's personal input is of course why you pay for the course, though some of the information is available on Imogen's blog.

Here's the free Imogen Lamport Body Shape Calculator 
you can then request the bodyshape guidelines for your shape. There's also lots of information on Imogen's website.

A lot of us don't fit neatly into one of the categories of course, and so you need to mix and match the advice to work out what flatters your body.

So I turned out to be an A shape in Imogen's scheme with a short mid body. (I also have some body variations which have more H and O characteristics which I need to take into account.)
I have an oval face with both straight and curved features so need to accommodate those in the detail on my clothing.
I think this will take a bit of work to get right.

I did take some pictures in leggings and a top for the analysis but I won't be sharing them here.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

7 Steps to Style Step 1 Your Personality

7 Steps to Style

I've started working through Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style.

I think of this as an online course, with Imogen as the tutor and a forum (via a private Facebook page) to talk to other course participants.
It does require quite a lot of work yourself, to use the materials and get the results.
We are all individuals and this is a way to gain the self knowledge to really be yourself through how you dress.

Step 1 Your Personality
It’s the key to unlocking your style. What you do and don’t love and why. Everything from patterns to fabrics to how you accessorise is determined by your personality. You’ll learn how to understand the language of clothes which will lead you to success.

This is a paid programme, and includes copyrighted material, so I will just share what I've learned rather than any of Imogen's material.
She has some videos and Facebok live chat sessions which dig into the topics more and help you fine tune them.
There are hours worth of materials which you can use or not depending on the time you have available.

The idea here is to work out your Style Recipe, it starts out as one of the quizzes where you pick from different categories (there are many similar online or in style books).
However Imogen says to take the things from each style that work for you and mix them together to get a style recipe which is unique to you. Which is where this is being tailored to the individual rather than having to fit into one particualr box. This is great for me as I've done those quizzes and not fitted anywhere properly and then been a bit frustrated.
One person said "pick the bits that fit and disregard the rest" which was great advice.

I'm going to document my journey here. (Mostly for my own purposes but may also be of interest to others).

The 6 words I picked in the first exercise were:-
Natural, Professional, Quirky, Approachable, Vibrant and Stylish
(I'd also picked Contemporary, Creative, Friendly, Warm, Earthy and Grounded)

I then went through the quiz and scored Classic 7, Relaxed 7, Dramatic 5, Creative 4, Rebellious 1, Feminine 4 and Elegant Chic 1.

I then read the style descriptions and noted a few things. I then watched all the videos for the personalities. I made some more notes as I heard Imogen talking about the different styles.

Classic: Did not find the style described in the video appealing even though I scored quite highly as it seemed a bit boring to me. However I did identify with a few things which were
Jackets (I love a good jacket and have many in various styles). Menswear fabrics, especially a pinstripe, loafers, leather bag. This was about it and I very much did not identify with the jewellery.

Relaxed: This is probably my home area though it does not meet everything I want. I LOVE the colours in this style, the textures (TEXTURE, TWEED) and comfort level and the patterns. I also liked the nature based jewellery in stone, turquoise and shell. And I very much identified with the absolute need for comfortable shoes. I often wear no makeup, let my hair dry naturally etc. And I definitely heard the warning about being sloppy. I have sometimes kept old favourites beyond their best, when they were bobbly or a bit misshapen.

Dramatic: This is clearly not my home area, but definitely a strong influence particularly in jewellery and bags. I like shoes in different colours, I have lots of large bags in bold colours and also lots and lots of necklaces in neutrals and colours in varying scales (I have a whole wall fall of cork boards with them pinned up and I LOVE it).

Creative: This is another influencing area for sure, but again not my base. I liked the mixed textures. The other notes said - softer, muted, interesting, quirky, different, unusual patterns, own style, own way. And 'Quite interested in this one' .

Rebellious: No appeal, doesn't feel like me.

Feminine: Definitely NO to all of the Accessories and I've written Mostly NOT on this one. However I did call out my favourite pattern of all which is LEAVES and seemed to be in here with Paisley which I also like a lot, curly hair and things being slightly muted.

Elegant Chic: also doesn't feel like me. I had only circled RED.

On FB some feedback on the Classic scores said
" One thought came to mind as I read your post -- "classic" can mean many, many different things to different people. It is not a terribly useful word in the context of style. This is particularly true because many of the words used to describe it (as one member here pointed out) simply mean that one is a responsible adult, which has little to do with style. Many of us who might be lumped together as "classic" have found it more useful to isolate the characteristics of "classic" that appeal to us and use those characteristics instead. For example, the simplicity and symmetry of "classic" are the elements that appeal to me the most. You might focus on structure (since you loved the jackets) and fabric (menswear)."
Which was a very helpful comment.

I then moved on to my work and personal styles. And there is clearly a difference here. I wrote it down like this:

Work, 1 classic, 2 dramatic, 3 creative.
reasoning - classic is very work suitable but boring to me so add dramatic and creative elements

Personal; 1 relaxed, 2 creative, 3 dramatic.
reasoning - relaxed is my home area, I can play even more with the creative parts at home and I still need a few dramtic touches to keep it interesting.

I then looked at all of the examples in the materials for various combined styles but none of them chimed for me (they were different combinations to me so not suprising).

I thought briefly about items in my home and these I might do some photos.

The first one is a heavy blue glass vase, its second hand and has an off centre hole, squashed shape (not round) and is dark blue with gold. Its different, unique and works with my house.

The second is the bedside lamps I have in the bedroom. These were chain store purchases in lime green and I'd not had them long when I had to change them. I covered the smooth shiny green base with layers of cream paint applied with a sponge to give a stippled textured effect, and replaced the faux satin green shades with neutral textured shades that look like handmade paper - the texture is really apparent when the light is switched on. I love them.
The third item was a jokey gift from my boyfriend for Christmas. Its a pencil case in the shape of a fish and I use it at work every day. Its quirky but practical. Its unique. The lining is printed with the fish guts. It is nature inspired but also amusing.
 What words are triggered for you when you see these items? I'd love some feedback

I've been playing with the Thesaurus in word and found that really helpful. Out of the original list I had picked Natural, Professional, Quirky, Approachable, Vibrant and Stylish
(I'd also picked Contemporary, Creative, Friendly, Warm, Earthy and Grounded)

So I put each of those through the thesaurus and wrote down only the words that also resonated. I found some were already synonyms of each other. Some I didn't like most of the synonyms, others I liked lots of them.
The results then looked like this.

Natural , effortless, instinctive. Genuine, sincere, countryside, wildlife, landscape,

Vibrant , lively, vivacious, energetic, alive, vital, flamboyant, radiant

Creative , original, imaginative, inspired, artistic, inventive, resourceful, ingenious, innovative, productive, quirky.

(These first 3 were my top resonators, with the ones below less important)

Stylish, chic, sophisticated, elegant, tasteful, classy

Contemporary, modern, current,

Professional , qualified, proficient, skilled, career,

Friendly, welcoming, approachable, outgoing, sociable, Warm ,sincere, heartfelt, earnest, whole hearted,

Earthy , down-to-earth, practical, Grounded - established, prepared,

So Natural Vibrant and Creative are winning so far, and I thought that I often have a lot of the Natural but want to up the Vibrant and the Creative in my outfits.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Navy tiered maxi skirt

Very cool and floaty for hot weather
No pattern used.
The first tier is a rectangle the width of the fabric and about 18" long.
The second and third tiers are each about 10" deep and are pieced to make longer lengths which are gathered slightly on to the layer above.
It has a simple machine hem and elastic waist in a casing.

I sprayed the skirt with water to get it to crinkle up and left it hanging over the bathtub to dry.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Navy men's shorts

Very simple shorts for DBF
They have 2 inseam pockets, one back patch pocket, elastic waist and drawstring.
I made the drawstring eyelets on the machine.
I used a really old pattern from 1990 which I think someone gave me, or maybe I bought in a charity shop.
The only alteration I made was to add the drawstring as well as the elastic. And to go for all the same colour.
If I can get him to model them I will share.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Wear a hat

Think I might replace the black band with something more fun - leopard print perhaps?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Soft Autumn Fan

With the Soft Autumn Fan. I think I could wear some warm pinks and some more blue/green tones which are not on here, but generally I think its pretty good.
Here's a link to the original Muted with slight leaning to Warm done by Fabrickated.

In September 2015 Kate from Fabrickated draped me to see which colour season was best, you can read about that by clicking on the link above.
Kate wrote afterwards "You have quite a mixture of cool eyes, warmer lips and skin, deep hair and light skin, so you have all of these things going on to some extent. But the one constant was that muted was always better than bright."
After the draping Kate gave me a colour photocopy of a fabric fan which looked like this,
I've since lost it and so bought the above fan on Amazon from Germany as being the nearest commercially available fan - Soft Autumn is Muted and slightly Warm.

So its not as simple as the colour of your eyes which drive what colours work for you. Mine are green (green blue).
I don't know if Kate still drapes people as its a while since she did mine and I've not seen it mentioned on her blog.

Summer Sea

Navy column with a warmer cadet blue cardigan and necklace. The trousers are thrifted and altered, the top I sewed myself from knit fabric and the cardigan I made myself from an Ikea Gurli throw.

I have to be careful with blue that its deep, slightly smoky and/or warm.
Sky blue and cobalt blue are terrible on me. Sometimes I add orange accessories to warm it up, but gold and tan work well too.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Hairstyle changes

I started this maybe 18 months ago. Start top left and work round anticlockwise following the arrows.
1. With original straight across fringe and coloured hair.
2. Started growing fringe out and parting it to give longer face, but mostly pulled back into ponytail!
3. cut to shoulder length and with some layers added.
4. grew the fringe out some more layers.
5. with the natural grey showing through.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Naturally going grey

Hi a few people were interested in the approach I'm taking re going grey.

I previously used a semi permanent hair colour in a medium warm brown and before that a slightly darker one with red tones. They worked well with my green eyes and allowed me to wear some brighter and warmer colours.

I had a few friends who had coloured their hair dark brown for a long time and were having a lot of trouble with regrowth. I decided that whilst I was still only slightly grey I would stop colouring altogether and let the natural grey come through. That was over 18 months ago.

At the same time I also started to grow out my fringe (bangs) and had the overall length gradually trimmed and layers added. It is naturally wavy and I embrace that too.

I did have a little bit of residual colour in the ends but they were gradually cut out, and it wasn't very obvious as I had stuck close to my actual hair colour in the first place.
I don't have any anxiety about getting older, the birthdays are just numbers and my changing hair (and body) are a new journey I'm embracing. I'm calmer and more confident than I was when I was younger and have an interesting life.
So as those new white hairs come in I'm working with them, adding textured and pinstriped items to the wardrobe which have depth of colour like my darker hair but those lighter elements for the white ones.

I would like to see more styling tips for those with parially grey hair, mostly advice is for those with brown or grey not a bit of both!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

New Soft Autumn Colour Fan

Here's my new Soft Autumn Colour Fan
I love it. Hopefully it will help my colour and fabric choices going forwards.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Experimenting with my style

A collage of the last week
more fun to come
(Only some things are self sewn, other are thrifted or purchased new)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Summer Sea: reworked blue top

So I cut all the serging off, unpicked any extra seaming, cut the hems off, cut the shoulder seams off, recut the back, and resewed and rehemmed the whole thing inside out. I left the panel seams as they were and just topstitched them to keep them in place.

I am pleased with the result. The fit is much better and the contrast level in the garment is also much better. I can imagine wearing this one. The inside is still VERY striped!

As an aside I thought ages ago about making this up with the darker softer side as the outside, but somehow allowed that gut feeling to be overcome by doing it the 'proper way'. Maybe I should've listened!

(Also wondering if I need to add a little something, button or tab or flower or .... at that point on the neckline where its pulled slightly by the panels meeting. Thoughts?)

Monday, 22 May 2017

Summer Sea - Alterations proceeding well

No photos at the moment however the alterations are proceding well.

Dress fix - cut the bodice off just above the section where it was too tight, added the skirt section from the too large skirt (having removed the elastic). Topstitched the seam open for a nice detail.
Looser fit works well on, may wish to take in centre back seam for sway back, however nice with jacket over or partially elastic belt.

Skirt fix - repurposed the skirt from the dress as a skirt, reusing the elastic from the original skirt. Nice almost maxi skirt with slimming fit over the hips. (Excuse bad picture)

Trousers fix - scooped the crotch. Seems better at the back though almost want to scoop even more.

RTW navy trousers fix - also scooped the crotch. Improved the fit of these as well. Scooping the crotch is going to be my alteration of choice for RTW and self sewn trousers.

Barcode striped tee, cut apart and started reassembling inside out - this one will take a while! So far I have cut all the seams and hems off, pressed everything, topstitched down the panel seams on the front (which I'm keeping inside out as a feature) and pressed the neckband back flat and resewed the neckband seam. So still have the assembly of a whole garment left to do!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Plans but no progress

Work has been busy this week and I've been watching TV in the evenings after getting home late most nights.
To make the cadigan jacket from a throw I switched the thread on the overlocker and sewing machine over to cadet blue and then found, overlocked raw edges and washed some remnants of cadet blue fabric (a non stretch twill mystery mix of some sort). It washed up beautifully so I measured the odd shaped pieces and hatched a plan.

There are 4 pieces of fabric,
90cm + 60cm - jacket, I thought New Look 6481

1.6m - trousers, I thought Burda 05/2017 #103

1m - skirt, I thought my old favourite Butterick 3972. I would cut this at the end as it has smallish odd shaped pieces which can fit round other things.
I'd need to do some alterations to the jacket, I'd need to trace and slightly alter the trousers, I could just cut and sew the skirt.

However I have not yet done the planned alterations to the navy pieces which I already sewed. So I think I will be disciplined and switch the thread back to navy and get those done.

Summer Sea
Cardigan jacket - Doesn't need any alterations.
Skirt - is a bit too large
Dress - is a bit tight around the tummy.

Top - Needs remaking inside out for a softer stripe
Trousers - need the crotch scooping for a better rear fit.

I shall go and change the thread back to navy now!

PS something seems to be wrong with Stitchers Guild, though I'm not sure what. I know they were adding a gallery for the SWAP photos, so maybe that has caused an issue.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Leaf Print Jersey

I bought this 180cm wide leaf print jersey from Tony the Monday Market Man.
Leaves are my absolutely favourite motif.
So although I have quite a lot of fabric already I did buy both colourways of this, 2 metres of each as I think the scraps could be mixed together with each other or with plains in the various colours. All wonderfully in my colour palette.
This one has a taupe background (rather washed out in the centre by the flash, the real colour is on the right hand edge). The other colours are turquoise, cadet blue, dark brown and flashes of yellow.
The other version has a dark green background with leaves in white, turquoise, cadet blue and teal.

They are both good on me but the dark green background is partiularly nice and works well with the unfinished olive green jacket.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

May Fabric Purchases

I went along to Economy Fabrics recently and bought some 2 inch elastic plus some fabrics, which I'll share here.

Here we have some marine navy man-made blue knit, which is strangely narrow (but not in a tube)
also some turquoise cotton knit (which is greener than the Summer Sea blue despite the photo)
and a lovely viscose knit with brown, olive and lime green on a white background. Hopefully this will co-ordinate with the olive green safari jacket should I ever finish it!

This picture includes a rather wrinkled and very bright coral pink jersey knit, a white and soft pink marled knit (quite sheer) and a remnant of the most gorgeous georgette, which will probably be a scarf.

And finally two 1m pieces of cotton stamps print fabric for non clothing sewing, though an earlier customer apparently used the second one for a blouse with a red collar! I plan to use the Christmas one to trim Christmas stockings and the other also as trim maybe on shopping bags.

I might decide to enliven the summer sea with some nice coral.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Summer Sea (navy and cadet blue): Blue cardigan

Here's the last item in the Summer Sea collection (I'm also including the RTW top with long sleeves shown under the cardigan here) which is a cardigan jacket made from an ikea throw.

Using my old favoutire Prima jacket adapated a bit.

A similar pattern to this which is more easily available would be McCall's 6084

Because of the marl in the cardigan it would go with black or navy, white and various shades of blue and turquoise quite easily. I found 5 necklaces from the necklace wall which would work with it and different tops.
Thankfully the fit on this is fine. The acrylic does have a tendency to stretch out on the shoulders and neckline so I stabilised this version with some blue decorative briad across the shoulders and back neck.

Here's me assembling the collection all together, it'll be great once I've tweaked the fit of the other pieces.
I've put the stripe top in both sides out, but I'm pretty sure its going to get remade inside out. Plus I'm not buying those shoes.