Changing Your Clothes

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


Leave a comment

Read My New Article: Color in your Closet

Just published in Colette Patterns‘ sewing magazine Seamwork: My latest article on using color palettes in real life! It’s called Color in Your Closet: Discover (and Use) the Palette Within.

Features:

  • How to coax a palette out of your existing wardrobe;
  • Identifying your primary colors;
  • Ideas for using your palette to create new outfits;
  • Tips for using accent colors in unexpected ways;
  • Using your palette when you shop!
Using color palettes while you shop

Once you’ve created your palette based on the clothes already in your closet, carry it with you when you shop! (Click the photo to go straight to my article. Photo is my own, also used in the published article.)

Colormusing

This post appeared originally at my A Musing blog, here.

Want to see sewing stuff from Colormusing? Check out myBratelier (lingerie sewing, including bras!), and A Musing, covering all things color-palette-related. And don’t miss all my newest projects, including sew-alongs, at the brand-new SewColormusing blog!

Click on the dots above to visit my mother ship, Colormusing.com, where you can also sign up to receive Hue News, Colormusing’s own monthly e-mail newsletter!


2 Comments

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?


6 Comments

Thrift-Shop Thursday: Shopping Strategies, Part 1

After last week’s Thrift-Shop Thursday’s big debut (featuring the ever-popular replace-a-button tutorial), it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to talk shopping strategies for a minute, before going on to more thrift-shop-find projects.

Tip: These strategies, while thrift-shop-specific in this post, can also apply to any clothes shopping you do; the only real difference between the two is that you’ll have more size options outside of thrift shops.

Rather than just giving you a list of general shopping concepts, I’m going to use my current Makeover Monday/Take Tango to Work series to illustrate these principles in action. In my last MM post, I talked about how to organize a plan to develop a multi-functional wardrobe; here, I’ll follow up on those steps with details, including how I’m putting my own plan to good use at my favorite thrift shops.

Starting with your general plan, you’ll get a bit more specific:

1. Decide what types of garments are your immediate priority. Do you desperately need skirts? Maybe you’re short on trousers, or need more simple tops that can be worn alone or as layering pieces. From here, get even more specific, if possible: black knee-length skirt, classic navy wool trousers, colorful printed knit pullover tops.

What I’m doing: Since I need clothes that can go from work to tango (see my recent Makeover Monday posts for details), I’m focusing my shopping efforts on skirts and dresses, specifically, pencil skirts and sheath dresses, both of which are commonly worn in Argentine tango, and both of which are also work-appropriate. And I need professional-looking jackets and more colorful tops (I’m getting tired of black). I’m also adding a “wild card” space to my list, to cover those unexpected finds, like my pinstriped skirt that I found while shopping for tops. Continue reading


3 Comments

Makeover Monday: Rethinking the Concept

I’m working on some fairly major makeovers right now, none of which are quite ready for their close-ups, so I’m going to take a little break from the projects this week, and give some thought to my whole makeover concept.

If I was going to have a total makeover myself (clothes, hair, makeup), I would only consider it a success if the changes were more than just superficial; helpful shopping advice, greater confidence, more openness to trying new styles, or tips for tailoring clothes to fit me perfectly, for example. And if I apply that same thinking to my Makeover Monday projects, shouldn’t I expect more than, say, newly-dyed jeans or a scarf turned into a sweater?

I’d like to think, when I’m choosing and working on my Makeover Monday projects, that you’re getting more than just a tutorial; after all, maybe you don’t actually have a pair of jeans in need of an overhaul, or a scarf that you love and yet don’t wear. If that’s the case, I still want you to derive some benefit. So now, after quite a few weeks of makeovers, maybe it’s time for me to ask myself: Is there more to my makeovers than meets the eye?

The more I think about the answer to this question, the more I come back to the original intent of this blog: to inspire you to think about, and wear, the clothes you already have in new ways. That may involve repairs, alterations, embellishments, or all-out makeovers, or it might be simply rethinking the way you use the items in your current wardrobe. I’ll give a simple example from my own closet: jeans (recognize them from a previous Makeover Monday?), cowl-neck knit top, tweedy jacket, and my very favorite (okay, only) Hermes silk scarf, a souvenir from my very first trip to Paris over 20 years ago. Here are 3 ways I wear the same scarf:

1 scarf 3 ways

1 scarf 3 ways: draped and tied at the neck, swinging from a belt loop, and embellishing the bag.

Continue reading


5 Comments

Mix It Up 2: Oddball Outfits

I admit it: I’ve held on to certain garments for years a while now, long enough to know they’re well past their fashion expiration date, but somehow I’m unable to just let them go. (Hello, Lindy? This is the 1980s calling. We’d really like our leather jacket back. Yes, the shoulder pads too.) Don’t we all have at least one thing in our closet clinging doggedly to its hanger, way back in the darkest corner?

Refinery29 to the rescue: their latest slideshow will inspire you to shake the dust off those oddball items by mixing them with more modern pieces! I’m noticing in particular the creative use of accessories; in the example below (the oddball being the bridesmaid dress), sharpening up the soft color of the dress with the black jacket and clutch does wonders, along with the bright golden accents, and the little pop of red in the earrings.

Bridesmaid dress remix!

Bridesmaid dress remix! (Click on the picture to go directly to the slideshow.)

Continue reading


2 Comments

Practical vs. Extravagant: The Great Debate

Last week, when I was trying to plan a special holiday outfit, toying with various pieces of fabrics and patterns, I found myself in a familiar place of indecision. I had put together a selection of more or less coordinated fabrics from my over-abundant stash: I started with a gorgeous sequinned fabric with cutouts and a fabulous pointy border, which I thought would be most appropriate for a skirt, but this would necessitate some sort of lining. I came up with a tie-dyed georgette which looked wonderful under the sequins, but which was semi-sheer, so I found a bright coral satin for the undermost layer of what was now a 3-layer skirt.

(Those of you with sharp eyes and memories may recognize this satin from my recent post about making a skirt from a custom-fitted muslin; the satin lines that skirt. Good thing I like this stuff— even after making this second skirt, I still have a lot left over!)

Finally, I added a coral stretch velvet to make a simple top (with all that going on in the skirt, the top really needs to be simple). Here are the four fabrics:

Fabrics for dancing outfit

Fabrics for my dancing outfit: The sequinned beauty with the tie-dyed georgette underneath and showing through the cutouts in the sequinned piece, and the satin underneath both (you can see a little of this by itself in the lower right corner). In the upper left corner is the stretch velvet.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Santa Fe Wardrobe: P.S.

As a follow-up to my Santa Fe wardrobe follow-up, I thought you might be interested in a few stats about my Santa Fe travel wardrobe:

1. Out of the 9 main items I packed (not counting swimsuit, sleepwear, etc.), I made 6 of them myself:

a. The deep olive green silk twill Origami skirt;

b. The pale sage green wide-legged linen trousers with deep taupe herringbone racing stripes;

c. The print silk crepe de chine one-shouldered tunic;

d. The cap-sleeved sage-and-lavender-print knit top;

e. The print jersey V-neck dress;

f. The hand-knitted one-sleeved entrelac wrap (also my original design)

(The ones I did not make are the jeans, teal knit top, and asymmetrical print top.)

2. The only things I bought specifically for this wardrobe were the following (everything else I already had, including sewing patterns):

a. Fabrics for the linen trousers and cap-sleeved knit top;

b. The jeans

(I also bought the pewter jersey to line the bronze dress, which ultimately did not make it into my suitcase for this trip. All other fabrics came from my stash.) Continue reading