January 31 x 31 Challenge

For the past few years I have really been leaning in to that whole "new year, new you" January reset/"detox" vibe. I have done dry January for three years I think, and eaten vegan for the past two. It's such a good way to relax after the stress and overindulgence of the holiday season! My philosophy is "January will be miserable no matter what so I might as well go all in." Does this sound super ascetic of me?

This year I'm adding another element for additional misery! (But I love it.) If you aren't familiar with the 10 x 10 Challenge, it's a capsule wardrobe challenge where you wear the same ten pieces for ten days. There are loads of examples on Pinterest! You can also do more days and more clothes, i.e. 14 items for two weeks of outfits, etc. I'm doing mine for the whole month of January so it will be 31 items and 31 days--phew! Here's my wardrobe; I've marked the items that are off the rack and linked to the blog posts of the handmade items:

Outerwear:
2. trench coat - rtw
3. leather jacket - rtw

Layers:
5. grey sweatshirt - rtw
6. black sweater - rtw
7. cream sweater - rtw
8. camel sweater - rtw
9. navy sweater - rtw
10. black cardigan - rtw

Tops:
11. black ogden
12. nude ogden
13-14. white tee (2) - rtw
15. grey tee - rtw
18. mariniere

Bottoms:
22. black Rae skirt (unblogged?)

Dresses:

Shoes:
25. black Adidas sneakers
26. black Cole Haan heels
27. L. L. Bean Signature loafers
28. White sneakers
29. Dr. Martens boots

It's about half and half handmade and ready to wear, basically because almost all my wovens are handmade and all my knits are purchased (and I don't have any handmade shoes). It's also a little bit generic--lots of blues and black and white, as are many of the capsule wardrobes on pinterest--it's just so easy to start from there! This is definitely not a capsule with tons of personality, but hopefully that will make it easy to mix and match with for the whole month. I have been documenting what I wear every day on instagram, but of course, January is the worst month for lighting! This is a bit like Me Made May, I suppose, if you only had a limited number of handmades, unlike me, who has a closet overflowing with them. Maybe I should do some destashing while I'm at it...

Have you ever done a challenge like this before? I'm excited about it!

xoxo,
allie

ps: you may notice that in fact this 31x31 currently only has 29 pieces... that's because I plan on adding a couple things throughout the month as I figure out what I am missing.



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RTW Fast 2018 Wrap Up

RTW FAST-001 2.jpg

My 2018 Ready to Wear Fast has come to an end! This year, I'm proud to say I did not buy a single clothing item--not dresses, not shirts, not pants, not even bras or underwear (though I did buy 4 pairs of socks). I learned a lot during my fast, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share my thoughts here.

Frustrating parts:

- I really should have bought a new raincoat/rainpants before going on a hiking trip in England. I lucked out and we didn't get any rain, but if we had, I would have just been out of luck. I could have borrowed some, but I didn't think and ran out of time. Fasting definitely takes a bit more planning/forethought than just popping over to the store and picking something up.

- I really hate sewing tee shirts. I didn't really need any new tee shirts during this fast but I did make a few and... I really just don't enjoy it. If I were to do a RTW Fast in perpetuity, this would become very annoying. Honestly I'd probably just stop wearing tee shirts?

- I wanted to buy some tees to support various podcasts, etc. and came thisclose to buying a shirt from the merch booth at the Shredders show I attended before realizing it was forbidden! I did end up buying a baseball hat from Two Girls One Ghost to get around the fast restrictions while still supporting the creators.

What I loved/what I learned:

- I like having designer things, and I'm often tempted to buy, for example, the same label I saw my favorite actor/blogger/whatever wear. I know this is stupid but it's human! I enjoyed not being tempted to buy expensive things that I might not love as much as I should, just because of the brand/who wore it/etc.

- The biggest thing I noticed was that by eliminating a whole category of potential purchases I had some amount of, like, brain power diversion or choice paralysis elimination. I'm not sure how to best describe it but I really liked knowing that I just didn't have to think about clothes shopping. I am someone who really enjoys shopping but also never buys anything. I will pick up a million items and decide which ones I like and then panic and put everything back. (I did this with toys when I was really little, too, my parents tell me. It's just who I am apparently.) This also applies to clothing sale emails--I just delete them without worrying I'm missing anything!

- I was forced to finally tackle making a couple of things I was dreading: bras and tee shirts! I'm 1 for 2; I loved making bras and will continue to avoid making tees.

- I didn't actually buy more accessories, I don't think, so I probably saved some money. I didn't tally it up in any way! I probably bought a little more fabric, but not much. I think the money is probably a wash.

- Not having the ability to purchase new things helped me assess the current state of my wardrobe, as well. I come to the same conclusion after every Me Made May--I need more tops!--and not being able to buy tops reaffirmed this. Unfortunately, I didn't learn to love sewing tee shirts, so I'm likely to have the same feelings during next year's Me Made May as well. Oops!

- As I went through the year, I did several closet purges, of both handmade and store-bought clothing. I don't have any statistics or anything to back this up, but I so think I ended the year wearing more handmades every day than I started the year off with.

- I was better able to focus on basics and sewing practical items I will actually wear, rather than one-off patterns (or "cake" rather than "frosting" if you've been a part of the sewing community for as long as I have haha). This made my blog a little boring as you saw endless variations of Ginger jeans, Granville shirt, and Simplicity 4475, but I like what I like! I wear what I wear.

Will I do it again?

I'm giving myself all of January to buy any staples (read: tee shirts haha) I may need, but then I plan to be back on my fast until the end of the year again. I might make a few exceptions for merch (i.e. that concert tee) though. I'd like to maintain this sort of mentality through the years between now and the next official fast.

Would you recommend the fast?

Yes! There won't be an official fast in 2019--I think it happens every 4 years?--but I'd definitely encourage each and every one of you to pick a duration of time and do a wardrobe fast, whether it be for a month or a whole year, and get yourself ready for RTW Fast 2022!

xoxo,
allie

ps: the real challenge would be a fabric fast...



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Pink Coat Redux (Minerva Crafts)

Dropping in to let you know I have a guest post over on the Minerva Craft blog featuring a gorgeous pink coat made in their poly/viscose coating and the Waffle Patterns Bamboo coat patten!

xoxo,
allie

ps: see the first pink coat here.



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Woodland (Klum House Woodland Dopp Kit)

Just in time for the holidays I have a super easy project that is perfect to gift--assembled or as a kit! The Woodland Dopp Kit comes as a kit from Klum House and since I admired their tote bag kits on instagram they offered to send me a review copy. I made it in a couple hours before leaving for Thanksgiving at my parents' and gifted it to Alex to use while traveling. I'm happy to report it fits all his toiletries--not just his aesthetically pleasing ones as seen here--and is long enough for a full tube of toothpaste and toothbrush!

One suggestion I have for new sewers--or "new to _____" sewers--is that a kit can make alllll the difference! Trying jeans for the first time? Get the kit. Bras? Get the kit, the one that matches your pattern. First time sewing a bag? Kit! I just think it's such a relief to know with absolute surety that the bits and bobs you have for your project are exactly the right ones. I had such a fun time putting together this kit (that I got for free from Klum House) that I ordered a kit for their Fremont tote bag during their Small Business Saturday Sale (with my own money). Having all the leather pieces come prepped (cut out, holes for rivets punched, etc.) was such a time saver. I know that buying a kit isn't always cheaper than sourcing all the individual pieces but it can be really tricky to find a bunch of pieces that fit and coordinate and are the right length, etc., etc. and especially for a beginner project it's nice to not have to worry about that! The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the final project looks so nice; it's fully lined and adorable inside and out.

The tote kit I purchase coordinates with this dopp kit--a black zipper and leather details and black and brush brown waxed canvas. My original intention was to give it to Alex and make a neat little set. However, if it turns out as well as the dopp kit did, I think I'll have to keep it to myself--it's just so cute! Luckily, Klum House also has a Fremont tote finishing kit so since I already have the pattern (and some stash canvas) I can make another while still not having to worry about leather and metal parts; best of both worlds, I think!

xoxo,
allie

ps: maybe alex will get this totepack instead--doesn't it look perfect for lugging around D&D stuff??



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Sewing, Blogging, & Consumption Update 2019


I recently did a huge closet cleanout. I posted some old ready to wear on poshmark, and my girlfriends and I planned a clothing swap. I brought literally bags and bags of clothes--handmade and ready to wear.  While it was sad to part with some old friends, the presiding emotion was omg when did i make all of this stuff and why did i think i needed it all?! Two years ago, I was already thinking about the quantity of stuff I was producing, but came down on the side of still making about 50 things (one a week) but trying to use those items to increase my skill set. This year, I'm making the opposite decision: I'm going to try and make less stuff! When I mentioned this on instagram stories back in October so so many of y'all responded that you were feeling the same. It's not just me!

The bad news is that I probably will not be posting new stuff once or twice a week, every week, like I have been trying to do for the past few years. I'm okay with that since in a lot of ways, it feels like blogging has gone full circle: I used to blog just to keep a record of what I was making, the changes I made... basically for myself. Then blogging became a lot more social, and it was more outward-facing. Now, I feel like most people don't make it over to this blog from my instagram--everyone sees the pictures over there and only a few people come here for nitpicky details--so it sort of feels like this blog is for myself again! Instagram was once the supporting platform for the blog, and that has switched in my mind.

The good news is that I'm hoping to make fewer things I like and more things I love. I have lots of things on my to-make list, and I'm sure that more things will be added as new patterns and fabrics I have. to. have. are released, but I'm going to be a little more conscientious of my projects. It's hard to change my mindset--I've based my whole social media output structure on "one new thing a week" for years--but I'm hoping that starting the year with a 31x31 challenge in January instead of a bunch of new makes will help me keep the sewing output down. (Who's in?!) To facilitate this, I also picked up this bamboo clothing rack (it's really simple but I thought surprising solid for the price) that I hope will provide a good way to visualize my wardrobe planning/collections and provide some inspiration. You should start seeing the difference in my blog immediately! Shown on the rack here is a little (nearly all handmade) 10 x 10 I threw together pretty quickly from stuff from my closet:

1. Nude Ogden cami
2. Black Ogden cami
3. White tee (traced from rtw)
4. Lilly Pulitzer cream cashmere cable knit sweater
5. Blue Granville Shirt
6. Black Rae skirt
7. Leopard Rae skirt
8. Pink Bamboo Coat (as yet unblogged)
9. Black ripped Ash jeans
10. Black suede heels

All of this stuff lives in my closet year round but somehow pulling it all out and hanging it up nicely really does wonders for my creativity and inspiration! If I take a bit more time, I can see that I probably need a second pair of shoes and a layering cardigan instead of a sweater and second cami (um, it's November) but it's really fun to do this kind of exercise; I can make a lot of outfits off of this rack! I'm getting excited for January's challenge.  

In conclusion: this (and by this I mean my blog/insta/etc.) will always be about sewing for as long as it exists but I want to shift focus slightly, away from always sewing something new and towards appreciating the old garments I have made alongside the new projects I take on. I hope you'll follow along!

xoxo,
allie

ps: y'all are the best, thanks for reading.



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Lunch Bag Clutch (Measure Fabric)

In this first foray into leather bag making I wanted to stick to something really, really simple; like my leather jacket, this bag has no closures or anything fancy. It just relies on that iconic lunch bag shape for interest! Obviously I am not the first person to have made a lunch bag clutch. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) they were popularized (but not invented) by Jil Sander and there have been tutorials online for DIYing this super simple clutch bag since like, 2010. Here's just one of many tutorials if you want to make your own. The dimensions of mine are 11" by 26" to create a bag 11" high with a 4" by 6" base (use 1/2" seam allowances). I love the color--like a real lunch bag!--and it's big enough to carry your essentials. Plus, the neutral color will go with everything, as seen here--I've staged it on my new clothing rack which has been so so fun to play around with. I expect you'll be seeing lots of it in the future.

Measure Fabric was really helpful in picking out a leather--this one is thick enough to hold its shape but thin enough that my machine had no problem sewing through all the layers of this clutch! Having an expert you can ask for help is my absolute number one tip when it comes to sewing new types of garments or accessories. When I made skinny jeans I called Harts and had them recommend a denim, when I made a bra I asked Erin about 900 questions (and bought a kit designed specifically for my pattern so I knew I would have everything I needed), and when I made this clutch I chatted with the ladies at Measure, explaining what I wanted to make and what sewing machine I had, so they could ensure everything worked out smoothly. You don't have to be an expert on everything, but it's really nice to know a bunch of people who are!


I have enough leather left over to make an identical clutch, and I'd like to give it away!! Obviously you don't have to use it to make a lunch bag clutch, but it will come to you in the perfect lunch bag clutch size, so if you decide you want to all you have to do is sew four really easy seams and stick a piece of cardboard in the bottom... dead simple and would make a great gift!

To enter the giveaway go to my instagram, follow me and @measurefabric, and like and comment on this post. See you there!!


xoxo,
allie

ps: would it be too much to pack my lunch in this? ;)



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Nude Lace (Orange Lingerie Berkeley Bra & Evie La Luve Bella)

There's something nice about sewing yourself lacing undergarments in the winter, when they'll be covered in about a million layers, don't you think? It brings to mind delicate lingerie peeking out from oversized cashmere sweaters, even if I'll be wearing mine mostly under very practical daywear, rather than those impractical "just reading a book in my lacy underwear, don't mind me" outfits you see on tumblr.

I kept the same changes I made the previous times, but actually changed sizes from the 32C to the 30D--going down a band size while maintaining the same cup volume. Since the D and up sizes use a 3-row hook and eye closure, I then had to change the back band slightly back to a 2-row hook and eye closure--after all, a 30D is not a large volume despite the letter (see also: all the small bust adjustments I have made). This is the best fitting bra yet--and these little tweaks to fit are basically addicting, I can see how people get super particular about bra fit! I might actually size up in the cup one more letter for the next one. Endless tweaks!!

I was determined to make a little set this time, with matching undies. This is the Bella panties pattern from Evie La Luve and it's just perfect--I actually had this in my stash from a year or two ago when I ordered a kit. I've worn the pair I made with that kit a ton but it never made it onto the blog.

Finally, I'm ashamed to admit that while I have been signed up for Project Sew My Style for the past two. years. this is the very first month I'm participating in. But when you have a gorgeous kit in your stash just waiting to be sewn up, you have to join the club and sew along. (Plus I eventually want my drawers to look like this.) But! My friend Maddie is taking over Sew My Style for 2019 and I'm super excited about the changes she's making and the people she's hosting with... so if you haven't heard of Project Sew My Style, definitely go check it out!

xoxo,
allie

ps: in these photos you see that when you have a small band size a D cup is... not very large haha my rtw bras are all 28DD and it's not really as exciting as it sounds. 



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