RTW Fast 2018 Wrap Up

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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!


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!


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!


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!


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!!


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!


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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DIY Raw Denim (aka Higher Standards part 3, Megan Nielsen Dawn + tutorial)

Last week I shared my completed Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans, which I altered to show off the selvedges of the Japanese denim I used (from Fashion Fabrics Club, but sold out--I know because I bought the last remnant!). Today I'll show you how to make this change to whatever pattern you are using to make your pants. I had a copy of the Ash Jeans (straight leg view) printed out so I'm using that, but you can use whatever pattern you want.

A note before we begin: there is a reason that jeans are not drafted this way to begin with, and it's because your legs are not shaped like this! If you make this change, do not expect your jeans to fit "sewing blogger perfect." We are valuing showing off selvedges over perfect fit; in the same way that we sewers obsess over fit and notice fit issues that normal people wouldn't, denim people will notice all the weird wrinkling and think: "ooh, nice, those must be selvedge." Check out these jeans by well-loved and well-respected purveyor of selvedge denim, A.P.C.:

Any sewer would look at those lower legs and immediately start brainstorming fit adjustments! That's about as good as you're going to get in selvedge denim though, since you don't actually have a lot of control over the fit--the outer seam is totally fixed (selvedges, remember) and there's only so much you can do just by changing the inseam.  (This leg adjustment also changes the angle at which the jeans legs exit the crotch, so you may find you need a few tweaks to the crotch once you've tried your jeans on.)

First we need to find the widest part of the hip. To do this, extend the grainline to the waistline of the leg pattern piece:

Trace your size.

Use your ruler to find the widest part of the hip: the part of the curve furthest from the grainline. (Don't forget to look at your size.)

Extend that line down to the hem, parallel to the grainline. It will cut through the larger sizes.

When you get to the bottom, square off your pants hem.

The outer seam is done! Now moving on to the inseam changes. First, measure the distance between your new straightened outside seam and the original seam (in your size). At the hem, mine is 1 5/8".

Continuing up the leg, measure at intervals.

We've added a bunch to the outside, now it's time to remove it from the inseam. At each point that you measured distance between original and straightened outside seam, take that much away from the original inseam. So, here at the hem, I added 1 5/8" to the outside of the leg, I am measuring 1 5/8" from my size of the original inseam. Mark a dot there.

Once you've made all your dots, connect them together. The new leg should be taking shape!

Continue up the leg towards the crotch. When you get to the crotch point, taper to nothing--even though you may have a little bit of difference on the outer seam.

You can see in the photo below that there is a slight difference in original vs. selvedge outside seam at the level of the crotch but we really don't want to change anything in the crotch (anything at or below the ruler in the photo below), so just taper to nothing at your size's crotch point. Crotch crotch crotch. Sorry.

Round off all your dots with a french curve or by eye and you are done with the back leg! Do the same with the front and you'll be ready to sew! No changes are required to the other pattern pieces. I do suggest making a muslin before diving in--you may want to make a few tweaks to the fit. It's also possible you decide fit is more important to you than selvedges and you can't bring yourself to accept leg twisting etc. etc. It's up to you! If you do end up following this tutorial, though, let me know! I'd love to see how your jeans turn out!


ps: now that i have these ash pieces all done i guess i might as well use them right?

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A.P.C.-Sleeve Sweatshirt (Clothes for All Seasons + tutorial!)

While I was traveling in England, I was lucky enough to stop in at the Liberty department store. Needless to say, it was amazing--the store itself is gorgeous, the employees are accommodating, I touched like 100 bolts of the softest silkiest fabric ever...

We also ventured down to the men's section on the basement level and I got to ogle all the designer menswear I wanted! A.P.C. has been a favorite sportswear designer of mine for years and they had a great selection of clothes there. I mentioned in this post that I copied their double-pocket on a tee shirt for Alex, and the other feature that caught my eye at the Liberty store was a very interesting sleeve that was on a lot of their outerwear. Basically it is a set-in sleeve in the front, and a raglan sleeve in the back. The shoulder seam continues down the sleeve to make this possible. You can see it really clearly on their Urban Mac here. I thought this was really cool and immediately determined to figure out how to do it myself.

I turned to the Japanese pattern book Clothes for All Seasons because I knew it had a regular tee shirt, a raglan sleeve baseball tee, and a sweatshirt (with set-in sleeves) that were all built on the same block. In fact, the tee shirt and raglan tee are the same pattern: the front and back pieces have a cut line for set in sleeve and a cut line for raglan sleeve, and then there are two sleeve pattern pieces that you can swap in. If you wanted to do the "A.P.C. sleeve" (as I've taken to calling it) on a tee shirt, all you would need to do is cut the raglan variation back body, regular sleeve front body, and the split both sleeve patterns down the middle, using the back of the raglan and front of the regular sleeve.

I was really hoping that the sweatshirt would be the same way. I couldn't remember if there was a raglan-sleeve variation for the sweatshirt/hoodie--unfortunately, there is not! Sadly, I would have to do a bit of pattern hacking. Making a raglan sleeve isn't too hard though. I started with the sweatshirt pattern in a size large, and in addition to lengthening the sleeve slightly, I made these changes. (Note: the pattern I am using does not come with seam allowances. If your does, you'll want to get rid of them while you make your changes and then add them back afterwards.)

First, extend the grainline marking up and down a few inches.

Then, draw a line parallel to the grainline and starting at the center notch on the top of the sleeve (the notch that is supposed to match up with the shoulder seam).

Cut the sleeve along this line into front and back pieces. The front body stays the same, and goes with the front of the sleeve (each with a single notch in the armscye). For this alteration you'll need the back body and back sleeve.

The back gets changed into a raglan sleeve. Align the sleeve and the body like so, with the double notches matching:

And the shoulder points matching. Your pattern pieces might overlap a little, like this:

Then we're basically just lopping off some of the body pattern piece and attaching it to the arm pattern piece. Draw a curved line from the notches to the neckline.

Cut along the curved line and attach the shoulder of the body to the sleeve, like this:

Add your seam allowance and that's it! Construction order changes slightly as well--you attach the front sleeve to front body and back sleeve to back body, then sew the whole front to the whole back. Then do your cuffs and hem and neckline as usual.

I think this is a really cool change that adds a lot of personality to a simple garment like a sweatshirt. It's subtle, but adds interest; no surprise there--subtlety is exaaactly what A.P.C. does so well.

Will you try the A.P.C. sleeve? If you do, please let me know, I'd love to see your versions!


ps: i snuck it in on this black sweatshirt too, but didn't mention it because it i thought this unusual sleeve deserved its own post!

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