Wardrobe Planning + Me-Made-May

Day 2 of Me-Made-May! I think I will post pattern reviews of the pieces I wear, as opposed to daily selfies. Since it’s only Day 2, I have just worn 2 me-made knit tops (Molly Top from Sew Over It, and the Renfrew Cowl from Sewaholic).

On the wardrobe planning front, I did most of the Un-fancy wardrobe planning worksheet, which I think was a great resource! I am also reading the Curated Closet book, it is well thought-out but has a lot of steps so I may just pick-and-choose parts of the book to implement.

I’m not interested in a capsule wardrobe per se – I’m not sure I understand the arbitrary limit of using only X number of clothes. What I do want is more clarity on what I actually wear + like to wear, so I stop making silhouettes I never wear.

word-association-planning.jpg

I did a brief word association in the Un-fancy worksheet – I still can’t find the exact words I’m looking for, but I think “drapey” is what I relate most to. If it’s too tight, ill-fitting, or fussy (like need to wear something underneath since it’s semi-sheer), I won’t wear it. Seems like I most often reach for the relaxed, drapey work-appropriate items. The other words in my list are more aspirational – I would like a chic and effortless wardrobe but not sure I’m there yet! I’m going to focus my wardrobe experiment this spring around the word “drapey” and see wear it takes me!

Case in point – I made a romper from McCall’s 6083 a few months ago but let it languish since it was not comfy. I’ve made McCall’s 6083 before, it is a good pattern (now out of print) with over 70 reviews so you know it was popular! The problem is I didn’t order enough fabric (viscose print from here) and so the bodice was not relaxed like my inspiration pic below, it was short and uncomfortable lengthwise. I will have to cut it at the waistband, at the red line below, and add either 2 inches of elastic or a nice trim to add extra length. Then… hopefully I will have turned it into a workable/wearable drapey piece!

Me Made May

I, Mae of fangaroni.com sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear one me-made item 5 times a week for the duration of May 2017.

My first time participating in this global movement, where many people endeavor to wear self-made clothing/items everyday in May. I have followed loosely in the past, but I believe I have a large enough me-made wardrobe to participate this year, but more importantly I am more motivated to do so! I’m choosing 5 items a week to  in case I’m spring cleaning one day, and want to wear ratty clothes, or need to wear something specific one day that I haven’t made.

I’m looking forward to being able to address wardrobe gaps and see what I’m actually wearing this month. I’m also looking forward to being inspired by people worldwide! I will aim to do a weekly photo roundup but I don’t know if I will remember to take photo daily. If you want to join, just visit here to state your intention for May.

#MMMay17

Spring Wardrobe Color Palette

Spring Color Palette | fangaroni.com
My Spring Color Palette! Photo credits, left to right.
  1. Anthropologie Shirt, similar hat at H&M
  2. Silk scarf via Nordstrom
  3. Anthropologie Orange dress (old)
  4. Nina brand Slide Sandals (Photo: Anthropologie)
  5. Buttondown from ASOS (old)
  6. Valentino Resort 2017 floral dress (Photo from Vogue)
  7. Rose gold mules (Sold at Nordstrom)

It looks like I often go to Nordstrom and Anthropologie to find inspiration! I started with the Un-fancy wardrobe worksheet to pick out colors (photo of one page below), but mostly I just chose colors I liked and felt were seasonable. Colors that I already owned, since I don’t want to make many new purchases. Hopefully my inspiration board will help you as well!

Spring Wardrobe Colors | fangaroni.com

I already own a pink buttondown + grey hat from H&M, so it was fun to find an exact photo of what outfit I could wear on Anthropologie’s website. I also recently purchased white jeans from Gap (I have zero desire to make white jeans, and I tried on many to get a non see-through pair), so am looking for outfit ideas to pair with that. I’m already planning to make a copy of the orange/red midi dress. Those shoes are so pretty, but not necessary/ in my budget! And that Valentino resort dress is just for eye candy as it costs over $4,000!!!

Inspiration for Large Scale Floral Fabric

I bought this fabric a while ago (two years ago?) and while I really like this print, I don’t know what to do with it! Part of my wardrobe planning must include: No fabric bought without a plan for it (that fits in with my wardrobe goals)!

navy-floral-fabric

It was easy for me to decide how to use a muted large scale floral fabric but I needed some inspiration for how to use a dramatic floral print. Thank goodness for Pinterest, which allowed me to collect images on the web AND link back to give them proper credit!

Pinspiration - fangaroni.com
1. Vintage rayon dress from Dear Golden Vintage on Etsy, which has a beautiful curated selection of vintage. Long sold out. I actually have a vintage shirtdress from the 1970s that resembles this, I don’t need another one!
2. Topshop dress from Nordstrom. I think it is very cute, but when would I wear this dress? It is not that versatile, and I rarely wear spaghetti straps.
3. Geoscope Jumpsuit from Anthropologie ($128). I like it, and I don’t mind the cropped bottoms since it means pant legs won’t get in my way. But when does one wear a cropped jumpsuit? Do cropped pants also work for autumn? Will this look weird in-person?
Pinspiration | fangaroni.com

4. Jumpsuit by Leith ($79). I love this jumpsuit from Nordstrom. I could make a similar one using my fabric for much less…
5. Mara Hoffman culottes ($265)- I love Mara Hoffman and her printed styles. Culottes are in right now, but are culottes in trend only once every 10 years? These are lovely but these are not for me.
6. Romper – Yumi Kim is a designer with a lot of floral designs, who has some beautiful maxi tank dresses, knee length wrap dresses, rompers (like the romper pictured sold at Saks).

If you are looking for floral inspiration, google “large scale floral dress” to come up with a variety of very nice dresses! Now that I have plenty of ideas to choose from, I will just have to narrow down which style I will most likely wear before I start making!

Helmi Tunic Dress – Finished

Helmi tunic dress | fangaroni.com

Now that I’ve finished making the Helmi Tunic sewing pattern from Named Clothing, I actually love it and think it will be a great addition to my wardrobe. The fabric is very comfortable, and since I lined it, I won’t hesitate to wear it on its own. It also looks good with leggings so overall this pattern + dress is a winner! Longer pattern review below…

Assembling the Tunic

Cutting the fabric was pretty straightforward – I cut most of it in one layer to ensure I liked the flower placement. While pinning it together to try on, I noticed the white portions on the fabric were a little sheer. Would I wear it on its own if it was kind of sheer? Honestly, probably not.

So then I decided to line the whole thing – making this quick and easy project double the work! At least I didn’t have to make buttonholes –  it fits over my head and I just sewed it halfway (lining photo below is before I sewed the button area up) so it doesn’t gape open. I used silk for to line the top and some knit for the bottom skirt. The silk came from a shirt I made (and never wore), so I was glad to repurpose it.

Helmi Tunic Dress - Lining | fangaroni.com
The Inside-Out view. Sleeves are unlined.

I made a few errors which were my own fault. Make sure you don’t cut the two front sides the same width – one side will be much wider because that is the side with the concealed button placket! Also determine if you want to underline the dress, before you have cut out and sewn a great deal of it…

I really like the side view where you can see the curved hem and slightly longer back view. In the future I may add a button to the very top in case I want to emphasize the stand collar, but not a priority. I hemmed the sleeves to elbow length to try and hit where the waist seam hits.

Helmi tunic dress with elbow length sleeves | fangaroni.com

I recommend this pattern from Named Clothing as something well-drafted, wearable and looks modern but not so trendy that it will be out of style soon. Instructions were pretty straightforward but I did have to re-read the collar instructions and puzzle them out. The sizing was very accurate for me and I didn’t have to make any fit adjustments, especially because this was not a form-fitting garment. I am really pleased by this addition to my wardrobe – it is a winner winner chicken dinner!

 

Helmi Tunic Dress Pattern – Part 1

I’m not really a dress wearer as my wardrobe planning is indicating, and though I like loose silhouettes it may be more flattering to have waist definition. So I think/hope the neutral colors and print of my Helmi tunic dress will make it something I will be happy to have in my wardrobe. Good thing I have enough fabric to make a self-fabric tie for more wearing options.

Floral Rayon Matte Jersey | fangaroni.com
Though large-scale, this floral print (labeled from 3.1 Phillip Lim) is not in-your-face.

Using a PDF Pattern

Assembling the PDF pattern was easy; I don’t mind putting together PDF patterns and Named Patterns had many useful features. First off, the entire pattern fit on 36 pages which was great because I have printed out 60+ page patterns. There was a layered PDF option, which meant you could just print out one size and save ink (though I didn’t realize this until I read their instructions afterwards). Their seam allowance is 1cm, which saves fabric.

I assemble PDF patterns by cutting one long end and one short end off, and then glue stick the pages together. I prefer glue stick because otherwise you use too much tape and liquid glue gets gloppy. Just remember to print the PDF at “actual size” not “fit to print.”

Designer Inspiration

On Shopbop.com I discovered what Phillip Lim used the matte rayon jersey fabric on – their Surf Floral dress and top. I must say, I much prefer my use of the fabric. Looking closely they cut out the flowers, removing the white fabric areas, to let underlying fabric show through. The yellow one I think could be a statement piece, but the teal/orange/pink one is pretty out there…

phillip-lim-shopbop
3.1 Phillip Lim Surf Floral Dress + Top, Photos found on Shopbop.com

I paid $27 for the fabric, and the yellow dress is $696… Even though I’m used to buying fabric cheaper, since I’m aiming to buy more selectively (and not just hop on online fabric sales), buying in-store, especially at good stores like Mood Fabrics, is usually more expensive. It’s hard to determine how much my dress costs, since I don’t count my own labor costs. And it is not like I’ve saved $600+ by making this dress, since I wouldn’t have purchased the designer dress in the first place! In the end, my opinion is my version > designer version…

Time for Wardrobe Planning

I went down the blog rabbit hole and am not sure how I ended up at the Unfancy minimalist fashion blog. Now she might be a very famous blogger and I’m just late to the party! But reading her thought process and how she minimized her wardrobe was very interesting and well-explained. I related immediately to her capsule wardrobe planning spreadsheet and am eager to fill it out. I tried to start wardrobe planning before using the Wardrobe Architect series by Colette Patterns, but I found it asked too many questions upfront. I’m not ready to describe my wardrobe in three words, but I can write down which items of clothing I constantly reach for.

My Baby Steps for Wardrobe Planning/Editing:

  1. Create two boards on Pinterest One for Actual Wardrobe and one for Aspirational Wardrobe. Actual Wardrobe – I will pin what I constantly wear day-to-day, and in Aspirational I will pin items of clothing I love and wish I actually wore day to day. My boards are currently private since I want to suss out what I wear versus what I wish I wore – but I can tell immediately my aspirational wardrobe is full of dresses and ladylike elegant looks, but what I wear a lot is grey, black pants and stripes. So there is a disconnect! And I have to try and reconcile the differences – either by owning up to what I’ll actually wear, or by making an effort to wear more dresses.
  2. Fill out the Capsule Wardrobe Spreadsheet from Unfancy
  3. What sparks joy? Try some of Marie Kondo’s principles. For example, I have many free t-shirts from workouts and runs, which I wear at home since I don’t want to buy clothing for home use. But my mishmashed home wardrobe doesn’t give me joy. Maybe I should step my home wardrobe game up, and recycle some of these shirts since I don’t think anyone would buy them if I gave them to Goodwill!
  4. Stop buying fabric online! I don’t buy much clothing these days, mostly because I can make my own clothing. But I view fabric buying in a different light from clothes shopping, and if there is a fabric sale I am susceptible – but I may not like the fabric once it ships to me. I’m putting a ban on myself to stop opening fabric emails for a few months. Once I finalize my wardrobe gaps, I’ll buy in person and on Blackbird Fabrics only. Blackbird Fabrics is an online shop has a great curated selection and accurate descriptions of fabrics.
  5. Read the Curated Closet – I have it on hold on the library

Mood Fabrics + Named Patterns

You know that old adage that we only wear 20% of our closet? Well that certainly holds true for me. I have so much clothing, but not a whole lot to wear!

I downloaded the Marie Kondo app Konmari in an effort to really hone in on what I love and will often wear, and to get rid (donate or sell) what I never do. Her first step in organizing clothing was to put all your clothes in one place before you start. I knew what would happen if I emptied out my dressers, closet, underbed storage… I would just end up spending hours putting it all back! Maybe I should read her book first…

Baby steps – I have Pinterest boards where I post inspiration for what clothing I like, but I need to actually hone in on what I like and will actually wear. One dress I love is the L’Agence Cameron dress available at Net a porter. A green maxi shirtdress with side slits, it just looks so effortlessly comfy and chic. What I did not love is the price of $545! (It’s on sale in different colors at other online retailers if you can swing the sale price!)

Green silk maxi
Love this look so much! Photo from Netaporter.com

I was feeling a little out of sorts today so I went to Mood Fabrics for some pick-me-up. They have an incredible selection of fabrics, 3 stories worth. And everyone that helped me today was so nice! It was so pleasant – I haven’t been in a year or two but it will be my first stop from now on. I used to go to Paron Fabrics on West 39th Street a lot, but they unfortunately closed last year due to rent hikes 🙁

First I found a rayon matte jersey with a large scale floral. It has kind of an sophisticated and clean vibe – an ivory background with a floral that looks like it is made out of lines, and was marked from 3.1 Phillip Lim. But oops that was an unintended purchase since my main goal was to find a fabric to recreate the L’agence dress. Green silk crepe de chine had the same drape I was looking for, and a high level of opacity. After some dithering I bought it! (I only realized after that the inspiration dress was also silk crepe de chine, so no wonder why ).

Fabrics from Mood | fangaroni.com
Philip Lim fabric on left, green silk on right, and I threw in my nails since they make it feel like springtime!

I was going to use some patterns I already owned to try and get the look I wanted – perhaps extending the Grainline Archer shirt and adding slits. But I had been browsing Instagram today and saw a tunic I loved, so I went to Named Patterns for the Helmi tunic… and then found almost exactly what I (didn’t know) was looking for!

They have a midi shirt dress pattern with slits! Did they read my mind??? It was kismet!

Reeta sewing pattern by Named Patterns
Reeta Dress Pattern by Named Patterns. Photo from namedclothing.com.

The model is even wearing mules, the shoes that I’m obsessed with for spring! Now that I have so many things I want to make, must make time to do so! Yay!!