Friday, October 12, 2018

Working on my Hong Kong travel wardrobe

Planning a travel wardrobe is always fun! I think it is especially so when you get to create exactly what you want.

This upcoming tip to Hong Kong is very exciting for me! The first half of the trip is with the American Sewing Guild, the Sew much fun- Hong Kong. The second half of the trip is a continuation of Hong Kong only this portion is going to be solo.

From start to finish is a total of 13 calendar days. However, due to crossing the international date line it works out to 12 days with 2 of those basically travel days.

To plan for this trip I started with the following ideas:

  • Travel with a carryon suitcase and backpack- No checked bags on the way there.
  • Plus 1 Stash-It backpack  and a re-usable tote for market shopping 
  • All garments need to be multi-purpose and mix and match or planned to wear 2 or more times.
  • Coming home I will be checking a bag (FABRIC SHOPPING!)
Once I had those main ideas defined I started thinking about the actual garment mix. 
this is sort of what I am working towards: (not including undergarments and PJ's)
  • 5 tops plus 1 light jacket
  • 4 bottoms- 3 pants and 1 skirt or 2 pants and 2 skirts
  • 2 or 3 dresses

I then decided upon a color scheme- Black/Grey with pops of white and yellow. 

With a color scheme in hand I pulled fabrics from my collection, took photos and started sketching. More detail on this in this POST- Sketching a travel wardrobe. 

From today I have 46 days until the trip! Yikes its coming up quickly :)

Time to share what I have sewn up so far.
I still have more things to sew. Specifically the bottoms and the dresses and jacket. We shall see how much I get done! It will be interesting to see what the final wardrobe ends up being!

TOP 1: Modified Jen Stern tee
Fabric from Fabrications
Lightweight washable waffle texture wool knit. Very dark black and so soft!
Photo lightened to see details.
Still needs hemming

TOP 2: Modified Jen Stern tee
Fabric from Sawyer Brook
A wonderful rayon/lycra knit.


 TOP 3: My own design- princess seam top with ruched sleeves
Silk crepe-de-chine with a touch of lycra from Emmaonesock.



 TOP 4- Modified version of Butterick 6291
Can be worn as a top or as a wrap
The stripe is a rayon/lycra knit from Fabrications.
The black is a bamboo knit (dont remember where from!)


TOP 5- Master knit Tee
Washable lightweight wool knit with yellow hearts applique 
and fun neckline
Fabric from Fabrications.


PJ's/louging outfit
Top: master tee oversized
Bottom: Avery Leggings
Fabric- black bamboo knit with yelloow featherwight rib knit.


 Bottom 1: Skirt
lighweight denim with a fun print.
Fabric from Janet Pray

DO you sew for your vacation holidays?

Happy Sewing!!

Princess Victoria and my dad, her great grandpa, deep in discussion on the rocking chairs!

Friday, September 28, 2018

In The Sketchbook- September 2018- Sketching a travel Wardrobe

Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.

Sketching has really helped me in designing and sewing a small capsule wardrobe for work. I was get

As I have been contemplating and preparing for my trip to Hong Kong in late November my mind immediately went to what am I going to wear and what do I need to sew for my trip!

I started with picking a color palette and then to selecting fabrics and now I am in the midst of sketching and sewing. It is quite a fun and dynamic process and I am trying to keep it fun and dynamic and not stress myself out over it!

Color palette is black/grey/white with a pop of yellow. 


Many of the fabrics are right from my own collection and I purchased only a couple lengths of black for different pants and the faux leather for a jacket.

I started by thinking of how I wanted to pack for this trip and I am going to attempt to pack for 10 days in a carry-on. With the thought that I will purchase another bag in Hong Kong to bring back fabric in!! Eeeek!! I am so excited!
As of know the plan is for:
5 tops, 3 bottoms and 2 dresses. But... like I said this is a dynamic plan!

Here is what I have come up with so far!
This sketch is very similar to a dress that I already have in my closet.
 So, I am saving this for last!

A little fancier dress for evenings out at nice restaurants.

Polka dot skirt with a knit top.

Stretch silk blouse with black pants

Knit top with black/grey camouflage ponte pants

Knit top with polka dot skirt

Knit top with ponte jeans
Here is what I have come up with so far!
SO far the regular sketching has really helped me in both defining and refining my design ideas. However, I seem to be going backwards when it comes to sketching my arms and legs. The body parts that stick out of the clothes seem to defy my attempts! Good thing i'm only interested in the clothes!!

What fun things have you been sketching?


Make sure to stop by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor to see what lovely sketches and ideas she is working on. Please feel free to share your sketches and ideas with us.


Happy Sketching!!

Friday, September 14, 2018

The voices in my head won't stop talking about pants!

Pants and pants details and pants silhouettes have been floating around in my brain for a quite a while now. For the longest time it was getting a woven non-stretch pants pattern to fit. What a journey that is and continues to be.... For a while I was thinking ,screw it! I'll just wear skirts!

Lets talk about pants and fit for a moment. I have had one hell of a journey with pants. Not only the challenge of fitting a changing body but also the challenge of defining what style of pants I really wanted! Plus how I wanted that 'style' to actually fit. I know I am not alone here ladies. I even had some wonderful help from sewing experts and great friends. You know you have a good friends when they are willing to get all in there and pin away!

My pants journey first took me to the extreme of wanting a pant that had not a single pull or fabric wrinkle at all. Like a glorious full trouser. I got there, I really did BUT the style was of a type that I would very rarely wear or maybe just for a specific outfit. They were so full and had so much fabric and only worked with very drapey fabrics. Not at all what I was looking for in a TNT pant pattern. nope, not at all.

So I basically work backward from there to make the fit more of what I wanted and to a point of where the wrinkles and fabric pulls were of an acceptable nature to me. I have a big ass and my calves stick out and my inner thigh is nice and fleshy and my lower legs and ankle sit too wide. These are all the things I already knew and yes, I actually tried to accommodate all those things in my fitting!! CRAZY town! I learned so much about how my body is put together.
In the end I decided I wanted the front crotch to look good, that I was okay with some pulling across my tummy and that my ass was going to be as good as I could get it. Which changes on a regular basis due to the fabric selection and how I stand. See photo below! I mean really, we move so it will never always look perfect.
Same pattern with slightly different leg shapes and lengths and 3 different fabrics.
l-r Green cotton or cotton linen/ wool fully lined/ lightweight linen
and ALL 3 look different in the rear end!

I started with a pattern that I created from failed patterns in the past and took all the parts I liked and made them into one and then tweaked it a bit and presto! A pants pattern that mostly fit! (must have been luck! hehehe) Or the knowledge of making SO MANY muslins and styles was just ingrained into my subconscious that I just made it work.

After an extra muslin or 2 I moved onto a wearable muslin of black wool/poly blend (not pictured) that I bought a long time ago for wearable pants muslin. These pants a have narrow leg, slightly cropped length with front welt pockets, back zipper, waistband with hook and eye. I wore these several times, including on work trips and airplanes and meetings, had them dry cleaned and wore a couple more times and decided they were good! I was doing a little happy dance and high fiving myself in the mirror and promptly cut into a very good length of wool and made a fully lined pair number 2! These are even more awesome.

From this base pants pattern I drafted 3 additional styles. 
- wide legged cropped just below mid calf pants
- wide legged full length pants- think just breaking on the front of the shoe
- tapered full length pants-  (slightly wider legged than the ones pictured above)

I marked pocket placements on all of these for front welt or zippered pockets and back patch if wanted for more casual versions. All have a back zipper that I do with a lapped or invisible zipper application. I find that I really like the back zipper and it seems to be more comfortable when the pancreas acts up and I have some tummy 'expansion'.

After playing with several kind of pockets and pocket bags and pocket openings, I have found that I like front welt pockets with pocket bags that extend to the waist. This gives some extra stability to the pocket and makes sure there is no sag. I was playing around with some other pocket styles but decided that these were best for business pants. Now playing with some other idea for more casual styles.

Now that I have a reasonably good pants pattern I feel like all the wool pants fabric that I have been collecting are all calling out to me going 'me next, me next!!' and that I am the mean school teacher scolding them to wait their turn. 

SO far I have made 2 'work' pants that are both version 1- the ankle length narrow legged pants, pictured above, and 2 casual pants.

Casual pant 1 is a wide legged cropped pair in a bright green linen/cotton blend, as far as I could tell from the burn test. They may be all cotton. I didn't feel any hard balls in the burn residue so no poly. These have been a great pair of pants for the summer. However, the fabric is very annoying in that they tighten up when washed and then loosen as you wear them. Which is perfectly fine for a casual summer pant. NOT so fine when trying to photograph them. when they are just washed and pressed as in these photos the rear end looks not so good at all! If I wait and try to photograph them after wearing they are all wrinkled and tend towards the saggy butt look. There is probably a magic window of 10 minutes where they look perfect and that is it! The woes of a big ass in pants.



The second casual pair are a wide legged full length pair out of a lighter weight linen, pure summer/beach/hangout pants and these have a single zippered front pocket, back patch pockets AND a shaped hemline, I believe the technical term is a lantern hemline. I did this by sewing in four 2 inch long and 1 inch wide darts at the hemline. Voices were singing in my head when I did this! LOL! Of course, it was an unplanned design addition so I will go back and make a pattern for it so that If I want to recreate the design detail, I can do it properly, with an actual facing that will hide the dart seams.

I do want to point out that the only difference between these and the green ones above are fabric and the length. That's it! and look at the amazing of this rear end view.
SO what is next in this pants journey of mine?
I have a pair of grey wool ready to go for a long pair of work pants.
then I am moving on to trying this pattern out in a stretch woven with some pocket modifications for travel.
Then real jeans and then I'm thinking of trying out some ponte jeans.
SO many pants and so little time!

I really envy all those people that can walk into a store and just buy pants off the rack!

SO now for some real entertainment! The Princess eating linguine :)