Fashion · Uncategorized

My Personal Style, Discovered

I’ve been dressing myself for a very long time. Apparently, I took over from my Mom’s European Modern Chic look when I was about three and decided I preferred my own “More-is-More-is-More” aesthetic. I’ve been through a dresses-only phase, a bedazzled jean jacket phase, and a lengthy (and kind of lasting) jeans and black t-shirt phase. So, what is my personal style?

Honestly, I have no idea.

I started by asking my friends. The word that came up the most is casual. Here’s the thing: I don’t feel like a casual person. I think a lot of my personal style was determined by growing up in Vancouver where casual is king. I’ve also never really felt great about my body- I was always tall and chubby. The thing is, I love clothes and I’m sick of not looking like it.

Moving from Vancouver to Ireland made me look through my clothes and realize that a lot of stuff I bought, pieces I really loved, had never been worn. I mostly packed stuff just because it fit. I’m not happy with my closet, and I constantly think about how much I hate all my clothes.

In an effort to prevent that from ever happening again we’re going to conduct a little experiment. Can the internet diagnose my style?

I took sixteen online quizzes and got:

Trendy x3

Bohemian x2

Whimsical

Relaxed

Rebel

Hipster

Chic

Practical

Lively

And, I also got Australia, Stockholm, and New York twice.

So, let’s analyze.

I think I got trendy so much because almost every quiz asked if I kept up with trends. I obviously do, I mean, I love a good fashion week roundup. Part of why I spend so much time analyzing runways is because it helps to know what’s worth buying when you’re staring at a clearance rack.

As for Bohemian, I think I definitely have flowy, girly, print-y tendencies but could never figure out how to make the look work for me. I always feel really self-conscious when I’m flowy printed stuff. I don’t know why.

I think out of everything the thing that shocked me most is Australia. I love Australia, it’s a great country, but I never feel quite… right there. It wasn’t too bad when I was in a Melbourne winter, but a far north Queensland spring and a Victoria summer left me having to wear shorts or melt. In an ideal world, I think I might be a sundress girl, but I always feel weird in them.

I don’t know if the internet can tell me my style. I think it’s something I need to rehone and really think about. More than anything I need to work on my confidence because anything worn with confidence automatically looks good.

Also, I think I just might need to buy more prints.

 

 

Fashion · Fashion Week · Uncategorized

Fashion Week: Spring/Summer 19 Couture

Things are about to get WEIRD! Or, shall we say creative? Couture is one of my favourite little fantasy worlds to jump into. Since it’s only shown in Paris, I’m going to pretend I’m in one of my favourite places…

Schiaparelli

Schiaparelli SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I love these shoes. I actually have a pair of pointy-toed black flats that kind of hurt, I wonder if some ankle stabilization would help?

Schiaparelli SS19
from vogue.co.uk

This skirt is really nice. It looks like it’s either a half or three-quarter circle skirt. I’d say there’s probably some sort of lining, then a sparkle layer, and maybe a layer or two of tulle on top to tone down the sparkle?

Schiaparelli SS19
from vogue.co.uk

Not everyone may have time to glue a tonne of sequin’s on a blazer, but I do! For reals though, I think this would be a pretty cool way to take a painting and pixelate it. I mean, the next time I see black blazers on clearance I’m buying them out.

Dior

Dior SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I can’t really tell if these shoes are covered in very tiny rhinestones or just a coat of glitter. Honestly, if I’m going to do sparkle shoes I’d veer towards rhinestones. I need to experiment more, but glitter tends to not have the staying power or replaceability of rhinestones.

Also, I haven’t seen the full video of the show, so I’m going to choose to ignore whatever’s going on to the left.

Dior SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m a sucker for trim. To tone down the very strong matador vibe I’d omit the frog closures.

Ralph and Russo

Ralph & Russo SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I love the way this drapes. I’m not sure about it on a blazer, but how pretty of a wrap skirt, or maybe a wrap top, would this be?

Ralph & Russo SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the idea of a cutout embellished glove with glitter. It’d be all about finding the right applique.

Ralph & Russo SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I know this gown is less than practical, but I’m thinking a wrap mini skirt with some sequins and feathers on the side would be super cute. Maybe in a dark grey?

Chanel

Chanel SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m not a fan of exactly how it’s been done, but I like the idea of the pretty flowers popping out from a neckline or sleeve. It’d be something fun to play with.

Chanel SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I’ve always wanted a skirt like this, but I’ve never found one or made one. It might be time… Really all you’d need is a feather trim, and on this one some sparkly things, which is always a big plus.

Chanel SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I think this is really full on, but I like the ribbons at the bottom of the skirt. I also love a good line of bows down the front of anything. The blue and white are also really pretty for summer.

Alexandre Vauthier

Alexandre Vauthier SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I mean, ankle pearls. I bet I could do this on a flat.

Alexandre Vauthier SS19
from vogue.co.uk

Why do I not own shoes with pearls? You could easily do this with some flat backs and glue.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab SS19
from vogue.co.uk

Now, I know that the embroidered bit is attached to the dress and not the belt, but imagine if it was a belt? You could even do snaps and make an amazing interchangeable applique belt that could go on any plain dress.

Elie Saab SS19
from vogue.co.uk

Maybe I’m on a weird belt kick and noticing these things, or maybe Elie Saab is just making cute belts, but I love this. I think the hardest bit would be figuring out a closure- I’d be worried about the rock being too heavy for ribbons, but wouldn’t want the clunkiness of a clip. Maybe conceal something behind the stone?

Elie Saab SS19
from vogue.co.uk

My brother’s a geologist so you’d think I’d know what the rock slices are called, but there ya go. I think they’d hurt on the earring, but the bangle is super cute- and would basically just be glueing a rock to a bangle. I mean, come on. *update, they’re called agates, and you wouldn’t need to find a fake one because real ones are surprisingly affordable. Yay!

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier SS19
from vogue.co.uk

The stripes just look like black ribbon and I like the way they contrast with the crinkling of the top. I’m pretty sure I could just do a sort of adapted pattern from a tank that fits me well…

Jean Paul Gaultier SS19
from vogue.co.uk

There’s something really cool about this jean skirt. I’m not a fan of the fringe on the bottom, but that’d be easy enough to leave out.

Valentino

Valentino SS19
from vogue.co.uk

Louis Vuitton did white paint splattered on coats in their men’s Autumn/Winter line. It irritates me a bit because a few years back my Dad was painting the house and apparently paint got on my boots some other way that had nothing to do with him, I don’t know, draw your own conclusions because I certainly did. In any case, there splotches of white paint on my boots. I’m just mad at myself for not having the like, creative intuition to just roll with it and add a tonne more splatters. I think I need to find a great coat on clearance and honour that poor, poor loss.

Valentino SS19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m really into the champagne gold hem on the bottom of this dress. How cute would a glitter hem look on a black circle skirt?

Balmain

Balmain SS19
from vogue.co.uk

This belt reminds me of the plastering on castle walls. I think it’d look really good in gold and black…

Whoo! Couture week is over and I definitely need to go shopping… apparently at a rock and gems store.

Fashion · Fashion Week · Uncategorized

Autumn/Winter 2019 Fashion Week: Men’s Paris

Men’s fashion is always a great place to get inspiration from, so let’s see what’s going on in Paris…

Off White

Off White AW19
from vogue.co.uk

That, my dears, is a cowboy/motorcycle boot hybrid. I love both kinds of those boots, and I’m slowly deciding if I like them together. I’d probably not Ted Mosby it and make the black pair… maybe with gold… I wonder if my country bar shirt is still sitting in Canada…

JW Anderson

JW Anderson AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I think you could really easily make something similar out of a big men’s dress shirt. I’d probably take off the slanted hem, but it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt to a straight hem.

JW Anderson AW19
from vogue.co.uk

This is another one of those “I don’t know why I like it” pieces. As a knitter, I think the idea of having less make-up to do at the end of a project appeals to me. In any case, this would be a simple job of cutting and hemming.

JW Anderson AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love this fur collar. I’m not entirely sure how to wear it- do you take it off once you reach your destination? It’d be awesome for theatres and when you’re sitting somewhere kind of but not super chilly.

JW Anderson AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I really like this scarf. While you could do it their way and just sew up a big length of suiting and pop some bobbly tassels on the end, I think this might be the perfect opportunity for me to finally learn to do a knit herringbone stitch. I’m warm just looking at it.

Undercover

Undercover AW19
from vogue.co.uk

Super slouchy hat patterns are a dime a dozen. A part of me wonders if you could almost do the feather as like an intarsia design on the hat? Or maybe just glue a bow and a flat feather on the hat?

Undercover AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m not a huge fan of the whole oversized hoodie as a dress thing, but I like the way they’ve done a subtle channel here. It doesn’t add anything in the way of shape, but it makes it look so much more pulled together.

Raf Simons

Raf Simons AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love the idea of a key on a shoe. I’m not sure I’d have it flopping around like this- imagine if you were walking and it came down hard on the top of your foot, but I wonder if there’s a flexible way to do it.

CMMN SWDN

CMMN SWDN AW19
from vogue.co.uk

The first like six iterations of this sweater I was like, “that’s pointless.” But if you stare at it long enough it starts to grow on you. I wonder if you could do a sort of chiffon/sweater hybrid, but maybe not so nipply?

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love a good white speckle on black. I’m happy it’s in again. I’ve always seen it on t-shirts, so it’s interesting to see it on a jacket.

Louis Vuitton AW19
from vogue.co.uk

So, these aren’t what I’d call practical gloves, but they’re definitely really cool. I’d never thought of sparkle gloves before, but there’s got to a way to make them both look good and like, work.

Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the way these buttons go horizontally not vertically. It’s a really cool, unexpected detail. I also think it’s cool that they’re actual buttonholes and not just sewn on. I wonder if this would work on a knit sweater?

Yohji Yamamoto AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like a lot of what’s going on here. First off, let’s take a minute for what looks like an awesome embellished t-shirt underneath. Secondly, I’m into the mixing of the black and gold buttons on the jacket. It’s really subtle but still super cool.

Vetements

Vetements AW19
from vogue.co.uk

This is really similar to the Undercover sweater tunic, but it looks almost like they’ve just taken off the ribbing and flipped the bottom of the shirt. They’ve sent a few of these hoodie tunics down the runway, and in a some of them, it looks like they used the ribbing for a drawstring casing which would make this even easier.

Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I really like the quilted leather sleeves on this. If you found the right fabric it’d be super easy to do.

Junya Watanabe AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I feel like every Autumn/Winter a scarf like this comes around- a bit chunky, but yet a basic 1 x 1 or 2 x 2 rib, usually with tassels. Something like this would be worth splurging out on some absolutely gorgeous wool for- maybe merino or even a cashmere blend? You’d really have it forever.

Berluti

Berluti AW19
from vogue.co.uk

There’s a lot of this speckled tie-dye print in Berluti’s collection. I don’t know if traditional tie-dye would be the way to go- maybe painting dye onto fabric set up for tie-dye? It’d be a fun experiment.

Comme Des Garcon Homme Plus

Commes Des Garcons Homme Plus AW19
from vogue.co.uk

The “add chains to a regular shoe” thing is going strong here. I bet I could do something like this with simple sneakers and a couple belts.

Comme Des Garcon Homme Plus AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the fringe hem on this dress. It almost looks like there’s a bit of a macrame thing going on before it tassels out.

Balmain

Balmain AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like a lot of what’s going on with this jacket. I’m pretty sure I could get that effect with watered down fabric paint, patience, and a good brush. My favourite part of this is how some of the studs are a kind of brushed silver, and some are white to match their placement. This would make a really cool jacket.

Balmain AW19
from vogue.co.uk

This version looks like it’d be a lot easier to DIY- the white is more controlled. I’d probably keep it all to flat studs, but I’m into it. I’d clearly need both iterations of this.

Balmain AW19
vogue.co.uk

I’m tall and it’s really hard to find stuff that’s long enough. I’m into any idea that lengthens a sleeve or a pant leg and still looks cool.

Balmain AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the way they’ve strung a belt as a drawstring. I think this would look cool on a day dress.

Sacai

Sacai AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love Scandinavian inspired stuff, especially in winter. My knitting goal is those awesome pointy gloves. I’m pretty sure I could track down a similar ribbon to dress up a jacket.

Loewe

Loewe AW19
from vogue.co.uk

My first instinct looking at this was wondering if I could use thin leather cording, braiding it, and kind of “stacking” it on top of each other. Looking at it again, You could almost weave leather and glue it to another bag.

Loewe AW19
from vogue.co.uk

There’s a lot of embellished sweaters this season. I like how these look a bit more rock-like than some other gems.

Kenzo

Kenzo AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I think this is a really cool idea. I’d be tempted to pare it down and do it in a black or dark grey. I wonder how hard it would be to make the faux fur part detachable?

Kenzo AW19
from vogue.co.uk

The faux fur on bags looks cool, but I’d worry about it being functional. Rain happens. I like the idea of doing it on the handle- it could be (my favourite) detachable! Note that this dress is doing that Marni/Liam Hodges acid wash overdye thing I talked about. Also, note that there may be a post on how damn easy that is to do coming up.

Paul Smith

Paul Smith AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I feel like this is a bit of a pared-down version of the Yohji Yamamoto gold/black button thing. It really goes to show how much changing buttons can do to make your clothes feel fresh.

Paul Smith AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love the buckle detail on the sleeve. It looks good on jackets, but I think it’d also go a long way towards sprucing up cardigans.

Paul Smith AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the royal blue and black combo on this. Border tape is a simple but awesome way to add something while still being really subtle and wearable.

Celine

Celine AW19
from vogue.co.uk

Embellished leather jackets are apparently a thing this year, and I love the way this one is adorned with rope. Sometimes with chain or studs or whatever else the fashion gods give us, things can look really overwhelming. This definitely manages to keep it simple and cool.

As much as I love men’s fashion, I can’t wait to get into Spring/Summer Couture!

Fashion · Making · Uncategorized

My Personal Ethics for Copying Designer Clothes

It’s fashion week, and we all know I love to pull DIY inspiration from the runways. I’m also the type of person who hates knockoffs. I try to keep what I do as moral as I can while keeping in mind that there are no new things, only old things in new ways.

I never copy a logo

I would love to say this is all about the sanctity of the brand and respecting copyright. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that a brand’s logo is representative of tradition and quality. I also think that 99% of the time efforts to copy logos just look like crap. Using modelling clay to get two interlocking C’s on your belt never turns out as nice as just taking two metal rings and glueing them together. And hey, we can all the bits where your transparent transfer paper has changed the texture of negative space in a logo. It’s just not worth it.

Credit where credit is due

It’s always good to show source inspiration. Someone put a lot of time, effort, and skill into making whatever is inspiring you. Even if all they did was sew trim in a spot and you could totally have thought of that, the fact is you didn’t.

Don’t ever think you might not one day buy that

Basically, don’t think you’re better than designers. We all remember that glorious scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep fabulously explains how fashion trickles down. Like it or not, we all participate in the industry. There are things I really don’t like- I’m tall and on the cusp of plus sized. Finding clothes is a nightmare, so I chose to flourish my DIY skills. Does that remove me from the fashion industry? Hardly. Even if I never looked at a runway or a shop I would still be influenced by the street style I see around me. No one lives in a vacuum.

So, is my runway DIY ethical? I think so. Aside from the environmental aspect of keeping clothes out of landfills, I think that taking inspiration from designers has happened forever. Also, the vast majority of my DIY’s end up looking quite a bit different- whether it’s from being pared down to a more wearable silhouette or from having a fabric or trim I like a bit more.

Like I said, this is just my little code of ethics. It’s always growing and evolving. What are your thoughts on being inspired by the runways?

Fashion · Fashion Week · Uncategorized

Autumn/Winter 2019 Fashion Week: Men’s

It’s that time of year again! FASHION WEEK! I love high fashion. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it confuses the fejula out of me, but even if I absolutely hate an entire show, I spend a lot of it thinking about what I could do differently. Love it or hate it, it’s definitely inspiring.

I tend to love men’s fashion, it’s a lot more subtle and classic. As cultural gender lines blur and androgyny becomes trendier, half the designers send female and male models down their catwalks. What I’m looking for here is more of a refashion/no pattern sew vibe. While I would love to make a thousand gorgeous black blazers they take both skill and a budget that I just don’t have right now. Side note, Paris hasn’t happened yet, so that’ll be a separate post. So, let’s see what the men have for us!

Art School

Art School AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love these shoes. I probably wouldn’t wear them- I’m only starting to be allowed to wear heels and I’m taller than everyone anyway, but I bet I could do something to get this kind of colour on the back vibe in a more wearable way.

Art School AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love this skirt. Fabric like this could get expensive, but you could probably get paillettes in bulk and sew em all on. This definitely sparks some imagination…

 

Chalayan

Chalayan AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the idea of a classic blazer with a different coloured, but still very neutral coloured sleeve. Sleeves are a bit of a pain, but overall they’re not the hardest things to swap out. It’d be even easier to keep that kind of “two-seam” look.

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I like the idea of adding patterned cuffs to a patterned jacket- even a plain jacket. I wonder if there’s a way to make these detachable.

Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I really like the idea of adding chain edging to a coat. It’d be an easy way to update something that might get a bit humdrum.

Side note, totally stealing this decor for my NYE party this year. Love it.

Daniel W Fletcher

Daniel W Fletcher AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m not usually a big fan of quilting style colour blocking, but I think this looks really good. Maybe it’s the colours? I can almost see it on a skirt…

Dolce & Gabbana

D&G AW
from vogue.co.uk

I really like this champagne gold edging- it’d be a great way to add pizazz to a boring blazer. I’m also really into the shoes. I love fancy shoes and those are gorgeous without being too much… well, maybe a bit much, but it is D&G.

D&G AW19
from vogue.co.uk

Why aren’t the tips of all my black shoes coated in gold glitter? I actually had a pair of glitter capped shoes I bought at Zara like six years ago in Rome and wore them until the glitter was literally completely gone, so clearly I like the style. I’m actually being really restrained here because I could do an entire post on how into the D&G men’s shoes I am.

D&G AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I actually have a deep red coat, and now I’m wondering how to attach a faux fur collar to it in a way that it stays removable. Maybe snaps and some creative finagling?

D&G AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love the sequin placement on the collar and pockets, and since there’s not a tonne of them you could afford to use really high quality, super sparkly rhinestones.

D&G AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m kicking myself because I saw a blazer this colour on clearance at Penney’s. I’d probably use a thin chain to get this effect instead of rhinestones, but then there’d need to be some major interfacing of the lapel.

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I think this overcoat/cape/poncho thing is really nice. Essentially it’s just a rectangle with a cut down the middle. It looks really cosy, as well as easy to make. If you got decent wool it’d also be really warm, which is always welcome.

Emporio Armani AW19
from vogue.co.uk

Check out that bag. Who knew I needed a faux fur clutch? It looks like there’s some leather detailing on there, so you could even make a strap and use it as a legit purse.

Emporio Armani AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I really like this pullover. I think it’d be easy to make from a men’s button down- a flannel would be so cosy. You’d probably need two of the same to account for the hood, but this is definitely something to look out for on the clearance rack.

Emporio Armani AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love this faux fur cowl. It looks so cosy and yet elegant. Also, it’d be an amazing way to practice sewing with faux fur.

Liam Hodges

Liam Hodges AW19
from vogue.co.uk

This is one of those ones that took me a while to figure out what I liked about it. Don’t get me wrong, adding black to anything is kind of right up my alley. I think I’d pare it down and only add the black to the front and hems- I think both stripes running down the sleeves is a bit jarring, but I’m into this.

Marni

Marni AW19
from vogue.co.uk

What got me about this is the wash of the jacket. It’s similar to the Liam Hodges set, and I’m wondering if I could get the same result by overdyeing a pair of acid wash jeans.

Moschino

Moschino AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love this bustle! I wouldn’t go as full on, but I think a red pleated belt with a bow in the back could be extremely elegant… I also love the shoes. I put those exact drawer pulls on my dresser six years ago. Amazing.

Moschino AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m super into this drapey belt thing. You could literally buy one black dress and have a tonne of these and look different all the time.

Moschino AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I feel like this is just a season of remaking blazers. I love the idea of the over the shoulder bow detail. I’d skip out on the rib cage slit. I’d also love the drape to be the same colour as the blazer. So cool.

Moschino AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I adore this bag. I don’t think it’d be that hard to embellish an old bag- or even make it from scratch if you were in a fit of ambition.

Moschino AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I love a good embellished sweater, and this one is a winner. Definitely keeping my eye out for a cute sweater and some appliques.

Moschino AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I really like this skirt, and I don’t think it’d be hard to sew at all- you’d essentially just make a rectangle skirt and then embellish it. How cute would that be for a night out?

MSGM

MSGM AW19
from vogue.co.uk

Usually, I’m not into embellished jeans- I think I might be a bit old for them. I can’t understand why I love these so much. I’m not into flames either, but yet there’s something so cool about these, and they’d definitely be easy to make.

No. 21

No. 21 AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I used to have a sweater kind of like this and I think I need a new version. The hardest part of this would be stabilizing the knit after you cut into it.

Philipp Plein

Philipp Plein AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I don’t think I’ll ever have the guts to wear a shoe like this, but man do I love them. I don’t think it’d be that hard to recreate them, you’d just need glitter, paint, rhinestones and glue. I guess if you had a wider leg and kept the rest of the outfit simple? Maybe? There are a few versions of this- some in more subtle colours, but the gold is kind of beautiful. Maybe a dark gold and black version?

Philipp Plein AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m surprised this is the first designer outfit I’ve included, but man. That jacket is giving me like, punk Clueless. I need it.

Prada

Prada AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I don’t know if I like the texture of this knit, but I like the stripe of pretty crystals. If I could find a good gem and the right knit- imagine dark grey and black stones maybe?- this could be really cute.

Versace

Versace AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I’m in between on this. I really like the embellishment at the bottom of the skirt. To be fair, I never would have thought to rhinestone a parka. I’m just in between on it. I like it, but it also kind of reminds me of my huge bedazzling phase in elementary school.

I call it a phase like I haven’t spent the past two days looking at photos for bedazzling inspiration.

Versace AW19
from vogue.co.uk

Despite not owning a jean skirt, I’ve been in a jean skirt mood lately, and I like the sequin-ness of this. I think it’s a good way to dress up a basic.

Versace AW19
from vogue.co.uk

I made Adam a black rib knit tuque a few months ago and I still have some extra yarn from it. I’m thinking I might need a version for myself…

Whew! And that’s only a part of the men’s- let’s see what Paris has for us!

 

 

Uncategorized

A Blanket Scarf for a Bitterly Cold January

Apparently, we’re in for quite the cold month. The sun is streaming in the window and I’m finding it really hard to believe, but I guess there still is a few more months of winter. Perfect timing for a cuddly, awesome scarf.

I actually made this a long while ago- back when I was still living in Canada. I can safely say it’s stood the test of time. It’s great for super cold days with a jacket, or days when a cardigan is almost but not quite warm enough. It’s also amazing for flights as it can act as a small blanket.

I used a 100% wool I got on sale in like, 2008 that had been kicking around my basement for a while. This is an excellent one for more expensive wools you’ve bought but are too scared to use. It shows off patterns amazingly and is almost guaranteed to turn out.

IMG_20161113_100203811

So! You’ll need a ruler, a fabric pencil, and your fabric. Not pictured, tweezers. They’re not 100% necessary, but make life so, SO much easier.

IMG_20161113_100601854

I tried this a few ways but settled on doing a kind of square-ish shape by folding it into a triangle and cutting the raw edge a bit over that square. I did want a super straight line, so I marked with my pencil before cutting it.

IMG_20161113_102059009

This next bit is the hardest. I kept my two selvedges because, well, why make it hard for yourself? But if you wanted too you could fray all the sides. See those little straggly threads? pull out the ones closest to the cut edge. Again, tweezers are optional but highly recommended. You could also use a straight pin or hand sewing needle to separate the threads.

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Keep doing that on both sides until you get a fray you like.

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That’s it! I’m not going to lie, hook yourself up with a good show or podcast while you fray because it can take a bit. Mind you, I started this after waking up early because my Father urgently needed to mow the lawn under my bedroom window at 7 am on a Saturday and I still made it for a good hour of unlimited brunch mimosas, all while being super warm and tired but cute!

 

Knitting · Making · Uncategorized

Acrylic: My Poor, Misunderstood Friend

Let me start by saying that I love wool. I’m the type of person that will literally make a day trip of going to see a single breed sheep farm and drag others along. If I had the funds I would gladly spend all day buying all sorts of amazing, soft, luxurious alpaca, goat, sheep, and any other fibre animal’s greatest offerings.

However; I do not have the funds. I try to keep wool in my life- I’m always cold so wool house socks are a particular must. I love a good wool hat or scarf. Wool is the quintessential example of you get what you pay for. I’ve held wool that I swear was just spun cloud. I’ve also held wool that I swear was Satan’s nail clippings.

I’ve also seen some truly tragic acrylic. However, as technology improves it’s getting better and better. Besides some people having moral issues I’m not going to get into today, there’s also the issue of allergies. More than anything though I find the biggest champion for acrylic is low cost. Again, you do get what you pay for. The stuff that comes free with a magazine? It feels and acts like plastic. Would I make myself something out of it? Probably not. I love it for swatching though- if I muck something up or hate how it looks I’m not super bothered and it tends to have awesome stitch definition. Acrylic in all forms also tends to be washable, which I don’t think is talked about enough. A lot of us are really gross knitters who kind of just never wash our knitted stuff. Imagine the liberation that comes with just tossing it in the machine!

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If you’re on a budget, try for an acrylic blend. I made this hat and mitt set out of an 80% acrylic, 20% wool blend I got from Aldi of all places. The acrylic keeps the wool from being scratchy, but it’s still wonderfully warm.

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If you’re looking for an amazing 100% acrylic to start with, I’d recommend Vanna’s Choice. It’s really soft, the colours are amazing and proceeds go towards a children’s hospital. It’s also quite warm- I wear this hat a LOT.

Enough people have started knitting that we’re in this weird snobbery period in DIY. I’ve met knitters who won’t use anything that costs under $50 a skein. I think it’s just a really bizarre way to shop for craft supplies. Who cares how much it cost? If it feels nice and looks nice it’s best to give it a chance.

Making · Sewing · Uncategorized

The Big Four

When you start sewing more you hear a lot about the “big four”. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what that meant.

To be fair, as a kid my sewing education was a bit limited. My Mom isn’t bad at sewing, actually, she can be quite good. But, she was a bit out of practice. I also took quilting lessons and was super excited to take textiles in high school. Unfortunately, the teacher was super old fashioned and not always the nicest or most helpful. When I enrolled in a fashion program for post-secondary the sewing classes I had been promised never came. I focused mostly on refashioning old clothes and didn’t know anything other than the patterns for sale at the fabric shop existed.

Just for clarity that it took me far too long to find: The big four is really the big two. It encompasses Simplicity Creative Group– which includes Simplicity, New Look, and Burda; and McCall’s- a.k.a McCall’s Group: Butterick, Vogue, and Kwik Sew. I think the big four moniker comes from McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, and Simplicity.

I can’t speak too much about independent patterns. I just don’t have that much experience sewing with them. However; I can safely say there are more than a few things to look out for when it comes to our big supergroup friends.

Accessibility: 

First things first, you can’t sew a pattern you don’t have. McCall’s and Simplicity are dabbling in digital downloads but otherwise, these are physical patterns you go to a store and buy, or order the tangible product online. I believe in the States most stores stock one or both groups. Simplicity seems to have pulled out of Canada a few years back. I could only find Burda patterns at Dressew, but it’s been a while so I can’t say if that’s still the case. Simplicity eluded me a bit as the patterns tended to be expensive and shipping to Canada was, as always, a nightmare.

McCall’s was a bit easier. I could always find them in the nicer fabric shops. They also tend to go on sale very often and did bulk shipping to Canada- $25 for 20 patterns. Even with the exchange rate, it was still pretty okay price wise.

I haven’t been able to find out what the standard is in Ireland, but the Simplicity EU link leads me to literally all the patterns together.

Basically, if you like big four patterns don’t move internationally.

It’ll do your head in.

Price:

One of the benefits of the big four is that they have a reputation for being cheaper than independent patterns. I’m not sure that’s always the case, the listed prices run high, however; I’ve never met a single person who paid the price on the envelope. The benefit of the big four is that if you’re patient a sale will come. It might take a minute, but it will be there. Whether it’s through their direct site or one of their stockists. Shop around for the best deal.

Physical Product: 

You’ll get an envelope, instructions, and the pattern on thin tissue paper. Once you unfold the paper you will need an origami genius to get it back in there. I usually just place all the parts in a freezer bag.

The tissue rips super easily so I trace all my patterns onto other paper both for sturdiness and so I can keep the graded nest. Also, if I want to lengthen, shorten, or full-on change anything it’s ten times easier on real paper.

The Instructions: 

There’s just as much love as there is hate for big four instructions. These companies have huge research teams. These patterns are theoretically tested multiple times. There’s literally no excuse for a mistake in these patterns. But… there sometimes is. Sometimes things are just explained in ways that are overcomplicated or just plain strange. The good thing about the big four being so prominent is that there is most likely a plethora of people who have sewn the pattern before. A lot of patterns even have youtube sew-a-long’s. If there’s a problem with a big four pattern give it six months and not only will you know what it is, but you’ll also have multiple examples of how to fix it.

Ease:

Ease gets it own special mention because it’s such a prolific big four problem. For some odd, unknown reason big four patterns have just… a ridiculous amount of ease. This is great for when you want to feel a little bit thin, but bad for when you spend hours sewing something that you want to wear and look good in. I usually buy fabric and notions for the size the envelope says I am, but then measure the actual pattern pieces when deciding a size. If you’re using really nice fabric I’d definitely suggest a mock-up. I like to use a nice, but not as nice as the final fabric and make a muslin I can wear.

Design: 

There’s definitely a mass market appeal when it comes to the big four. Sometimes they even try to be downright trendy, and they’re definitely better than they were fifteen years ago. As you browse through patterns you may start to notice something, well, truly baffling. I understand not everybody has the same personal style and my style is not right, and someone else’s is not wrong. I’m not trying to yuck anyone’s yum here. That said, I will never understand some of the fabric choices these companies make.

Sometimes it’s simply me thinking it’s an ugly fabric, but a lot of the time it’s also a fabric choice that doesn’t showcase the nice design details. For example, if there’s a lot of ruffle details, maybe a print isn’t the best choice? Sometimes you look at colour choices and feel a bit off kilter. I feel like a lot of the time they work against pattern features instead of with them.

The biggest thing you can do to make clothes you really like with big four patterns- and any pattern really- is learning how to read line drawings. I got formal training in doing it, but comparing sewn garments to a pattern envelope will get you so very far.

I mean, sewing is really one of those annoying things in life where you just have to practice, and big four patterns are a great place to get it.

 

 

Making · News · Uncategorized

The Ups and Downs of Bluprint

Craftsy announced that it’s switching its pay by the class model onto the subscription model, Bluprint, as of January 8th.

I’ve been using Bluprint since April, and overall I really like it. I like the classes, I like that the subscription model lets me try new things without a huge cost commitment. I love embroidery and definitely wouldn’t have tried it if the class had come with a larger price tag. I like online video classes and while, yes, I probably could have learned everything I did through various youtube videos, saving time by having everything curated is a really good thing.

My biggest gripe with Bluprint is their search feature. I usually go on the Craftsy site and use their browse feature, then type the name of the class I want into Bluprint. I’m honestly really upset that that’s going to go away.

A lot of people are saying it’s the beginning of the end for Craftsy, but I’m not so sure. The subscriptions aren’t too costly, right now a year is $79.99. A lot of their one-off classes were that much or more. You still get to keep your downloaded materials.

What do you think? Is Craftsy’s reign of… whatever coming to an end? Will you try Bluprint?

Fashion · Uncategorized

My 2018 in Clothes

Packing is weird.

Like super weird. I spent all year thinking that I was the biggest sufferer of nothing to wear. About two weeks ago I was faced with packing it all up to move and my real tragedy was that I simply didn’t have a good closet organization system.

Honestly, my biggest hurdle this year was my body. I’ve dropped a few dress sizes since moving to Ireland- I think they put less sugar in the food here? I’ve also been walking more and worked some really physical jobs. It’s led to some of my clothes looking a LOT better, but some also looking kind of strange.

Basically, this year I learned all about how important fit is.

On top of all that, I made two discoveries this year. The first was simple. Black jeans.

I’ve never really been into them, but I needed black bottoms for work. The only problem with them is that I love black tops and sometimes I feel a bit like I’m wearing too much black. Especially since I’ve been keeping my hair darker this year. Though I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a bit of year-round Halloween vibes.

The second thing? I have finally given up on interview pants. You know the pants- the ones you wear for job interviews that you kind of hate. They’re probably black, have a bit of a flare, and just plain don’t look good on anyone. I bought them for a job I worked in Dublin for a bit and honestly, I just full on hated them. Every time I had to put those on I felt like the worst version of myself. We weren’t allowed to wear skinny jeans, so I made sure to buy sixties inspired twill weave heavy cotton pants. Funny enough, they looked pretty darn identical to the aforementioned black jeans!

When I unpacked my wardrobe after moving I realized how much I wear because it fits or because I think it makes me look thinner and lets me blend into the background. So, for 2019 I want to be more creative. I get into ruts of wearing the same things over and over. It definitely involves a lot of stepping out of my black t-shirt and jeans comfort zone, but I think it’s time. I finally have a sewing machine so I can do alterations at home, and I’m ready to figure out what kind of clothes I like now.

Any ideas for things I should try? What are your style resolutions?