Category Archives: musings

Back on Monday

Dear readers, I have not vanished!

We are on vacation this week, with limited internet time. I had these grand plans for blogging from our vacation, but between visiting places and people, there really isn’t enough time and quiet to sit down to write.

Instead I am taking a break from most things internet-related this week. I will be back on Monday with the next installment of my journey through the Triumph of Individual Style.

See you soon!

6-PAC reflections

I have recently finished my first 6-PAC. It wasn’t my first planned wardrobe activity – I recall doing a SWAP back in 2002 or so, although I don’t remember if I finished it or just came close. But I’m not exactly experienced in coordinated wardrobe sewing either. I enjoy the planning stage where there are so many possibilities and everything goes with everything else, at least in theory.

In reality, things are a little different. As you can see below, it is unlikely that the cardigan would work with the black & white dress. In fact, it doesn’t work well with the foldover collars on the two knit tops either. (It’s not an orphan though, because it works perfectly with the black T-shirt dress that wasn’t a part of this collection.) The mock wrap dress is too much of a look-at-me piece to work well with any other piece, except maybe a shawl. The tops and bottoms aren’t really mix-and-match because I don’t like an all-white or an all-black look.

6PAC all

This is my 6-PAC: red cardigan, B&W dress, black pants, black knit top, white skirt, and white knit top. (The short pink cardigan is RTW.)

I think what I like about mix-and-match wardrobes is the idea of it. In reality, I am more of an outfit person – I prefer specific combinations that repeat over and over. I don’t mind having multiple versions of the same thing and repeating outfits. Also, I almost always wear a cardigan because I get cold easily.

The easiest way to marry the mini-wardrobe concept and my reality of outfit dressing would be to design a wardrobe with only dresses and cardigans. That is what I am contemplating for the fall. But I will also want some pants and tops for those days when pants work best.

As a result of this 6-PAC that doesn’t mix and match, I have given a lot of thought to just what is important to consider in planning a coordinated wardrobe. I have started writing it all out in a series of articles about wardrobe essentials to have a reference when it’s time to plan and sew the next mini-wardrobe. I hope you find them helpful as well.

Also, along with incorporating new bright colors into my wardrobe, I have been re-reading The Triumph of Individual Style. I am happy with the fabrics and details I chose in this 6-PAC but a recent discussion on Stitcher’s Guild made me wonder if I could do better. So I will work my way through the book chapter by chapter to see what new insights I can gain, and post about it all here. I’ll do my best not to bore you.

See you soon!

How I reinvent the wheel

The working title of this post was How I reinvent the wheel. All. The. Time.

I find this really embarrassing so I don’t generally discuss it, but I can be very indecisive when it comes to sewing. In every other aspect of my life, I make decisions quickly and efficiently. In sewing, I tend to reinvent the wheel.

Recently, I admitted this in an email to Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. She assured me she did the same every time she sewed. Umm, okay, but it’s probably not quite this bad. Let me illustrate:

Last week, having fixed the dart position on the KS3003 knit top pattern, I was ready to move on to the dress (next to the last garment in this summer 6-PAC). I wanted to try the M6355 Diana made so successfully. I compared the pattern pieces to the KS3003, and decided it would be too much in terms of pattern adjustments. Then…

Patterns - morph

I thought, maybe I could just morph the bottom of the M6355 to the KS3003. A-ha! Neat idea! I did just that, made the whole pattern and was set to cut some fabric, when I realized I never really like wearing T-shirt dresses. They’re always too loose and need to be belted, which is not good for summer. Back to the drawing board…

Summer casual - garments

I remembered the dresses in the above picture. I drafted the pattern back in 2009. It fits well, curves in all the right places, and doesn’t require a belt. Oh, but I want a different neckline. I always feel sort of naked in collarless necklines. I think it’s because I don’t have long hair to accessorize the sides of my neck. So I prefer necklines with some stand in the back, not necessarily a full collar. I looked through my pattern collection and found these:

Patterns - necklines

Oh cool, a dickey would be nice! I could make a bunch in different colors! Hmm… I don’t know, not really a fan. How about one of the collared ones? Maybe. Wait! Let me look in my Burda index and see what’s there. How about a wrap neckline? With a contrasting band? This pattern:

Burda wrap detail

Yay, we have a winner! I traced off my base pattern and copied the Burda neckline in the front. It’s ready for fabric.

Me? I’m stuck trying to decide between the black Sophia knit and a dark gray woven. (Today I’m leaning toward the knit.)

So dear readers, fellow sewers, please tell me, is this normal? Do you do this?

A little housekeeping

As some of you may know, I have moved 8 times in the last 10 years. That’s a lot of changes. So it’s hardly a surprise that wherever possible, I stick to my old things. My email address is from the late 90’s, our phone number doesn’t change no matter where in the world we move (thank you, Vonage!), and I’ve been blogging on Blogger since 2005.

But now I’ve moved to WordPress. In the process, I cleaned up the blog a bit. I fixed the numerous broken picture links (not sure what happened there with Flickr), and removed a bunch of the older posts. Sort of like a closet edit. It feels good. I feel lighter.

Welcome to my new digs!

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Seems like forever…

Sewing studio

It’s been a year since I last blogged. A year of changes and challenges. And now we are back in Germany, stationed at our old base for another three years. Our house is slowly looking more and more like home, I’ve met the neighbors and learned my way around the area, and my sewing studio is mostly up and running as well.

For the last few months, I’ve been sewing in my head – thinking about new dresses, petting what little stash I have left after last year’s great purge, and dreaming about new color combinations. Now that we’ve slowed down a bit, I will have time to really sew. I want to test some ideas about concepts from seasonal color theory, proportions, and style lines. Along with garment sewing, there will also be some home dec sewing as the new curtains need to be shortened, and some quilting (two quilts planned – one for my husband, the other for the guest bed).

New sewing space

All our stuff is finally here. And it’s mostly unpacked and the place is mostly livable. We still have a few boxes left but those will have to wait until we get some nice new bookcases. I had to give up my awesome fabric closet (long story), which means fabric storage will have to be sorted out soon. But happily, the rest of my sewing room came together nicely.

This is my sewing spot – the old faithful wonderful Horn cabinet, holding the sewing machine and the serger. The dressform, unpadded in the picture, has now been padded properly so the shirt no longer hangs off it like a hand-me-down.
The sewing spot

To the left of the Horn cabinet is a small alcove with a modular cabinet from IKEA – it holds books, equipment, and fabric. The idea is to move the books to the bookcases when we get them and use this cabinet to hold fabrics and notions for upcoming projects. There is also just enough space next to the cabinet to fit the roll of pattern paper.
Fabric and equipment storage

On the other side of the room is a small (and I mean, tiny!) closet and another IKEA cabinet with more books and sewing stuff. The picture on the wall is a needlepoint embroidery that my great-grandmother made in the late 1890’s or early 1900’s on her voyage to Europe.
More storage

In other news, the first shirt muslin turned out pretty good, with only small adjustments needed. I made those and am almost finished sewing the second one. Hopefully, no more adjustments will be needed after this and I can just make some shirts.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Alexandra at Studio Alexandra

Happy New Year!

May this year be better than the one before, with a lot more sewing and fiber-related pursuits, many beautiful creations, and sewing mojos that don’t leave us stranded!