Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!


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ORDering Color from your Closet

This week on Makeover Monday, I showed you how I started with my turquoise necklace, then added various fabrics to it to build a color palette for my ORD (Chicago) trip coming up next week. Now I want to quickly follow up by showing how you can do the same thing (whether you sew or not), simply by pulling things out of your closet.

Once again, here’s my new palette:

My new ORDer palette

My new ORDer palette. (I created this palette at ColourLovers.com; click the palette to see it there!)

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Makeover Monday: A New Wardrobe ORDer

Last week, after discovering that I would be heading to Chicago for 8 days, I told you about my initial travel-wardrobe thought process. (This boiled down to the types of pieces I thought I’d need, taking lodging, events, and weather into account.) Since I will be leaving in about a week, my priority now is to create a color palette, so that’s what I’ll focus on today.

Aside: In case my punny use of ORD is causing a raised eyebrow or two, let me explain: ORD is the airport identifier for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. It will probably happen again. End of aside.

Changing Your Clothes is primarily about making the most out of what we already have, so that’s what I’ll do first: make over my Santa Fe Wardrobe from last fall. To my closet!

Oh. A funny thing happened on the way to my closet… I got distracted by this piece of fabric, bought just 2 days before I found out about this upcoming trip:

Cotton print fabric

Cotton print fabric. This is a medium-weight cotton with a bit of stretch, but it was the print I couldn’t pass up! (I’m extremely picky about prints.) It’s destined for a vintage-inspired dress.

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Thrift-Shop Thursday: A Fresh Crop

For many (including moi), thrift shopping is primarily about the thrill of the hunt: slowly circling the aisles, gradually narrowing your search until you finally zero in on the one pristine cashmere sweater in the entire store. Yesss! You do the dance of joy. You carry your prize home in triumph, carefully remove it from its recycled plastic shroud, lay it on your bed to admire it, and then can’t resist slipping into it. Which is when you realize the sleeves are longer than you thought.

This has happened to me, and I have to admit (shamefully) that it mostly happens when I don’t try things on in the store. But wait— all is not lost!

Even non-thrift shop purchases often come with a catch: alterations that are necessary for a really perfect fit. In the case of a sweater, alterations can be challenging; you’re dealing with a knitted fabric, so cutting into it means having to secure a lot of ends so that runs don’t happen. I’ll probably show you how to do this at some point, but for today, I’m going to use something simpler as an example a common thrift-shop garment alteration: shortening yoga pants.

Thrift-shop yoga pants

Thrift-shop yoga pants, before cropping. Even on a 5’6″ girl, these are way too long.

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Travel Wardrobe Challenge: A New ORDer

Much as I do love traveling, between work and, well, work, there were no upcoming trips on my horizon. (I’m watering plants for friends vacationing in Greece at the moment, but that doesn’t really count, except vicariously.)

Until yesterday.

During a casual conversation with my mother, to put a long-ish story in a small-ish nutshell (mixed metaphors and all), I’m now leaving for 8 days in and around Chicago, Illinois— 2 weeks from today!

Map of ORD

Map of ORD (Chicago O’Hare International Airport). Okay, I’m not there precisely at this moment, but soon! Map image courtesy of ohare-airport.gov; click on the image to visit this site.

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101 Words, The Inaugural Edition

To celebrate my 100th post (!), I intended to start a new every-so-often feature called 100 Words; each would be a brief but pithy post about anything I felt like at the time, from the colors and trends that are inspiring me to a report on my latest favorite runway show. Great idea, right?

Ooops.

I didn’t notice until it was too late that I had just published my 100th post (on June 14). This is my 101st, so with a slight title revision (and a peek at the word count), I now present to you the inaugural edition of 101 Words!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about different ways to approach wardrobe creation. Personally, I tend to be item-driven; if a garment is special enough, if I love it enough, my experience tells me it will work with the rest of my wardrobe. However, this item-based approach can also lead to those dreaded I-have-nothing-to-wear moments, despite the proverbial closet full of clothes. Is there a way to balance a practical, lifestyle-needs-based strategy with my compulsion to actually love every single garment I own? Is constant change, and consequently, adjustment to it, the norm?


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Dress Up! Flattering Options for Every Shape

Just in time for warmer weather (ahem… are you listening, Portland?), I give you this wonderful slideshow from Refinery29, featuring summery frocks to rock every figure!

Aside: I have to admit that I’m uncertain which category I fall into; am I a Carrot, an Hourglass, or a Botticelli Babe? (And is it wrong of me to prefer the latter, just because I like the sound of it?) Is a Botticelli Babe a cross between a Carrot and an Hourglass? But seriously… I often find it difficult to put myself definitively into one specific category, but maybe that’s because I don’t like being easily defined. Is it just me? End of aside.

Here’s one of my favorite looks, even though it’s not for my body type (or is it?):

Dress for a Carrot

A summer dress for a Carrot. I might just wear this regardless of my body type; it would be flattering on many figures. (Image courtesy of Refinery29. Click on the picture to see the whole slideshow.)

I’m personally most intrigued by the tips for using strategic placement of prints and color-blocking (you know that’s my favorite) to instantly change how you perceive your proportions; looking great in your clothes is, after all, much more about proportion than about size. Really.

Reminder: As of this week, I’ve decided to alternate my Makeover Monday and Thrift-Shop Thursday posts on a weekly basis. This week was Makeover Monday week, so next week, you’ll find a Thrift-Shop Thursday post on (you guessed it) Thursday. Don’t miss it!


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Makeover Monday: A Tale of Two Skirts, Part Two

Previously on Makeover Monday, I showed you how to create a peplum out of a full skirt, and prepare it to be attached to a pencil skirt. Today, we’ll finish this project by sewing the peplum to the skirt, then reattaching the partially-removed zipper and the waistband.

Let’s get started, continuing from last week’s post, which got us to the point of pinning the peplum in place and adjusting the gathers.

1. Pin and machine-baste the gathered peplum to grey skirt.

Red Alert! If the zipper on your skirt is not an invisible zipper, like mine, reattach your zipper before adding the peplum.

Adding peplum to skirt

Adding peplum to skirt. As shown, make sure that the seam allowance of your pencil skirt are folded out; this is where you will reattach your zipper. And fold the zipper-opening edges of your peplum under before pinning it to the skirt. Machine-baste, using previous stitching line as your guide.

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