sewing

Gingham and a Tiny Teacup

 

wearing a gingham skirt and a navy t-shirt paired with a cognac leather tote standing outside beside a flowering lilac hedge

I’m ready for a miniature tea party in my new gingham wrap skirt and tiny teacup necklace! After I took these photos I thought I really should have paired this outfit with my new basket purse, to lean into that picnic vibe. Oh well; I will make sure to wear it next time.

tiny teacup and saucer charm necklace

wearing a cinnamon coloured gingham wrap skirt paired with a navy top posing beside a lilac hedge in bloom

I sewed this skirt last September, which was rather late in the year, so I only wore it once before the weather changed, and never got pictures of it then.

I’ve had this fabric for over ten years, and was originally planning on making a shirtwaist dress out of it. However, over the years my body changed, and my ideas changed, and I never got around to actually drafting a pattern. And then sometimes the longer you have a piece of fabric earmarked for a project, the more you realize that you want to make something different out of it. This happened to a few pieces of fabric in my stash last year when I did colour draping and discovered that some of my favourite fabrics weren’t my best colours. Not all of them were bad, but this one (and a coordinating calico that I bought at the same time) were much too warm for me. I had already made the calico into a dress that I didn’t like on me (it’s now a lovely apron!) so I knew that it was time for a change of plans for this gingham.

gingham wrap skirt waistband tie

While it was a bit of a “safe” choice, I settled on another wrap skirt, this time a 1/2 circle. I keep making these skirts (I now have four!) but they are just so easy to make, comfortable to wear and are adjustable. The reality is that in the summer my default uniform is a skirt and a t-shirt, so that’s what is practical for me to spend my time making. That’s not to say that I don’t have plans to sew other things as well, but for this fabric, a 1/2 circle skirt was the perfect quick, easy and useful thing to make. I cut the skirt in one 1/2 circle piece, added another 1/4 circle piece for the wrap underneath and finished it off with a simple tie waistband. It only took a couple of days, and I now I’ve got another piece of fabric out of my stash and into my closet!

For this outfit I paired it with a navy t-shirt, leather tote bag, flats and a teacup necklace. My Gramma gave me these charms, which I think were from the craft store beading section and I simply threaded them onto two chain necklaces. I like wearing them on two chains, although they do tangle, so sometimes I just wear the teacup and skip the saucer.

delft blue and white miniature teacup and saucer necklace

a portrait surrounded by bright purple lilac blooms

The lilac blooms were stunning this year, especially compared to last year’s tiny blooms that came in the middle of a hot and dry spell, although this year they fully opened right in the midst of a rainy week. Even though this might not have been the most colour coordinated outfit to go with the purples (blogger problems!) I was glad to be able to catch some outfit pictures right at the end before they started fading.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer, and Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

bright purple lilac blooms

a portrait surrounded by light purple lilac blooms

holding a cognac leather tote bag, paired with a gingham wrap skirt and navy tshirt, walking beside a flowering lilac hedge

a navy t-shirt paired with a miniature teacup and saucer necklace

single dark purple lilac bloom surrounded by leaves

The Last Plaid Skirt

tan, black and cream 1/2 circle skirt paired with a black sweater, beret and boots

Did I say, when I finished sewing this skirt, that this would be the last plaid skirt I ever sewed? Yes.

Is this the last plaid skirt I will ever sew? Probably not.

tan, black and cream plaid skirt with diagonal pattern matching

I can’t help it- I just love plaid! Despite being the worst pattern, aside from stripes, to work with, I always love the finished result, so I’m sure when the memory of sewing this project fades, I’ll pull out another lovely piece and naively start a new project. Tears or rage shall ensue while sewing, but in the end they, hopefully turn to tears of joy when the project is finished and hanging in my closet.

plaid skirt side view, paired with a black top, beret and fur edged boots

So, yes, this is my latest sewing project. I mentioned it a while ago in this post. Several years ago I purchased a reversible plaid pleated skirt from the thrift store. It wasn’t in the best of condition, with a few stains scattered throughout, and a hole in the waistband, but I knew I could take it apart and use the wool for a new project. (I got this idea from American Duchess years ago!) I’ve discovered over the past few years that I really like 1/2 or 3/4 circle skirts, and there was just enough fabric to squeeze a 1/2 circle skirt out of it with four panels. I was able to line up the side seams on the diagonal, but not along the dominant, black line, so I put the straight line on the front and the diagonal seams on the sides. Another thing I’ve learned about sewing plaid is that while I am sewing it, I notice every seam, but once it’s finished, I don’t notice any “wonkiness” as much. While I, of course, try my best (even including hand stitching the front and back seam and zipper in place to ensure the lines were straight), once I’ve finished, I have to come to a point of saying, “That’s not just good, it’s good enough.”

grandmother's buttons mother of pearl monogram necklace

tan, black and cream plaid half circle skirt paired with ankle boots, a beret and a leather tote bag

In other news, I mentioned in this post that I was on the lookout for a leather tote bag- and I found one! I got it on Poshmark (about 10 minutes after the person listed it, strangely enough) for a great price, and it’s just about perfect. The size is excellent for holding everything I need when I go to church, and I really like the pebbled leather finish since it’s not too rustic. The only thing I’d change is if it was a bit more brown/cognac and less orange, to pair with my shoes and boots, but that’s not a big deal.

leather tote bag made in italy

I’m glad I finished this skirt in time to have a chance to wear it this season, before the weather turns completely into Springtime. Even though the calendar may say we are officially in Spring, we might get a bit more Winter yet. It’s wonderfully warm right now, though, and the snow is melting fast. I won’t pack away all of my woollens quite yet, but have started transitioning my closet in anticipation.

Happy Spring everyone!

large faux pearl headed hatpin

leather tote bag paired with a plaid skirt and black beret and boots

holding leather tote bag paired with a vintage style plaid skirt

back of plaid 1/2 circle skirt

Social Saturday | January 27

a stack of books to read sitting in front of a wall with a floral picture hanging on it

Hello and happy Saturday Dear Reader! What are your plans for this weekend? Mine are to write this post, do some crafting, tidying and reading and I’m not sure what else.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

Reading: All of the books in the stack above. Well, not all at the same time. I’ve finished The Life Giving Home, A Proper Pursuit, and Digital Madness and am now halfway through The Pastor’s Wife. After I finished The Lifegiving Home I was inspired to pull out one of my favourite books, Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions again. So many good books, so little time…

cornflower botanical painting by Jenni Haikonen

Loving: This beautiful cornflower botanical watercolour by one of my favourite artists, Jenni Haikonen. I received it for Christmas from my parents.

Making: So many projects on the go, all the time, but my current sewing project is a wool skirt out of piece of wool that was originally a pleated skirt. I liked the colourway of the plaid so decided to pick it out and make a new skirt that was more my style. I got the idea of unpicking wool skirts from American Duchess years ago. There was just enough fabric I could squeeze a 4 panel 1/2 circle skirt, while still managing to avoid a few stains as well as match the plaid across the seams!

embroidery and crochet crafts and a length of plaid with a skirt pattern on it

Thankful For: Art and Craft night with friends. Yesterday I hosted a creative get together with 9 other ladies. We each brought our current craft project, like a guild or sewing circle, and worked on it in the company of others. We had a wide variety of talent including crochet animals and dishcloths, a knitted doll, sketching, acrylic painting, embroidery, scrapbooking and fabric and bead ornaments. It was fun seeing what everyone was working on, but most of all we enjoyed the company and conversation.

Listening To: Anúna. I don’t know why I didn’t know about this group until now, because I love Riverdance, Celtic Woman and other choral music. I discovered them in December while listening to Christmas music on Youtube (their Christmas playlist is gorgeous) and now I am hooked. I particularly love this one, “Sleepsong“.

Vintage Vogue magazine from 1892 framed in a black and brass frame

In other news, I framed this Vogue cover from 1892 (no, it’s not original! It’s just a copy I cut off of a dust jacket) to add to my gallery wall.

And some of the other crafts I’ve been making are more of these photo cards. I’ve been using photos I had printed and then stamp them and glue them to a card. I made some kraft envelopes for them too, and decided to list them in my shop. I’ve also listed some more baby/girl’s headbands as well.

cards and headbands for sale in my shop

Well, that’s all for now. I’d better finish this post up and get busy with my other projects before the day runs away from me! I hope you have a lovely Saturday, whatever you are up to.

❤︎ Nicole

Now That It’s Spring | Capsule Wardrobe Part 2

wearing a houndstooth patterned brown winter skirt paired with a black sweater, black mary jane shoes, a floral preserved necklace standing outside in front of a pine tree

So now that it’s spring… here’s an outfit from my winter capsule wardrobe! I’ve been meaning to get a photo of this skirt ever since I sewed it last fall, but here we are already in April. I figured I had better post this outfit before Easter at least!

I sewed this skirt along with this plaid one, last fall to create a “capsule wardrobe” of sorts. I absolutely loved my wardrobe this past season, and I’m kind of sad to have to start packing winter items away, switching them for spring and summer items. Although, I am happy to have warmer days ahead!

wearing a black 3/4 length sleeve sweater and a brown houndstooth patterned circle skirt

houndstooth skirt detail

I bought a bunch of this brown and black houndstooth fabric more than ten years ago with the intention of making a 1950’s suit. I didn’t feel confident at the time to sew a suit jacket though, and as it turns out, it was just as well that I didn’t go to the time and effort to do that. While I absolutely love the pattern and colour of this fabric, I would never buy it today. It’s synthetic, with an elastane woven through it, which made it terrible to sew without puckering (imagine trying to sew a collar!) and sadly, even though I only wore it for one season, it’s already pilling. I’m going to see if I can rescue this skirt with a shaver, because it’s been a great piece for my wardrobe since it coordinates so well with other pieces in my closet. It’s got a bit of a greenish undertone to it, which doesn’t come through in the photos at all, so it doesn’t work with most of my other browns, but I love how it looks with black, and it also pairs nicely with the antique brass of this necklace.

tanjay sweater with french knot detail and a pressed flower necklace

This sweater was a recent thrift store fine (one of those rare occasions when you find a whole bunch of beautiful pieces to bring home!) and I’ve already worn it a few times because it’s so lovely. It’s by the brand Tanjay, which I always think of as a “mature” brand, but the best thing about buying pieces from those sorts of brands is that they tend to be good quality, and not “fast fashion”. This one has a beautiful french knot detail across the front…this would be a lovely way to spruce up a plain sweater, wouldn’t it?

Well, that’s pretty much all I have to share for this outfit. I’ve been wearing a lot of these simpler, pared back outfits..not even adding in a hat. As much as I love accessories, it’s been a nice change.

We’ve still got lots of snow cover, as you can see, so I’ll be wearing these cool weather clothes for a while yet, but I’ve already started on some new summer sewing projects in anticipation of warmer days!

ps. if you notice that in all of the photos I am looking at the ground or squinting, that’s because it was so incredibly bright out! 

wearing a black and brown houndstooth circle skirt and black sweater with a pressed flower necklace and mary jane shoes standing outside in front of a pine tree

black and brown houndstooth sweater paired with mary jane shoes

My Winter Capsule Wardrobe | Plaid Circle Skirt

plaid winter circle skirt paired with brown accessories and sweater

It is a truth universally acknowledged that outfit photos are hard to get in the Winter…or maybe I’ve just gotten weak? Years ago I used to brave wind and sub zero temperatures to get photos for the blog, but the past few years I’ve opted to take indoor photos, or none at all! But, finally this past week I braved the cold (and of course the wind started blowing as soon as we went outside) to get some photos of my new Fall/Winter skirt.

brown and black plaid circle skirt paired with a chocolate brown sweater and fur collar

Over the past couple of seasons I have decluttered a lot of clothing and accessories, significantly reducing my wardrobe. I sold a lot of pieces that didn’t feel like “me” anymore, as well as items that didn’t fit, keeping only the items I absolutely, without-a-doubt loved to wear. While this was great, it did leave me with a slightly too minimal wardrobe for winter, consisting of only a few tops and a single black wool skirt! So, I decided that I needed a few more pieces to get through the season.

I’ve had this plaid fabric in my stash for over 10 years, but I’ve never had enough yardage for any of the projects I planned (a jacket, a cape etc. It must have been a remnant, because there was only just over a metre or so.) When looking to sew a few new pieces for my winter wardrobe, I realized that it would make a great skirt. I did have a few hiccups in the process, and if I was sewing it again today, I would definitely make some changes to the process.

Did I plan to have the zipper on the side, but then discovered that the fabric didn’t fall properly that way, so I had to switch to a back zipper after I’d already cut and sewn the waistband on?

Did that cause the waistband plaid pattern to be misaligned with the skirt? But then it couldn’t be picked out because the fabric was too loose of a weave and had started to fray?

And then, once I sewed the zipper in, did I realize that the skirt was about 2″ too big, so I had to unpick the perfectly sewn zipper, and then redo the back, and then the zipper didn’t go in as nicely as the first time?

Sigh, the joys of sewing.

plaid retro circle skirt paired with a brown structured purse and oxford shoes

However, despite the fact that the waistband really does bother me, the most important thing is that I finished the skirt and have been wearing it quite a lot this season. I also like how the plaid pattern falls on a curve (this is one of my favourite tricks for dressing my body type.) I love the movement the circle skirt gives to the plaid pattern!

As for my winter wardrobe colour palette, I went with a main colour of brown, with accents of taupe and black; basically all of the colours in this skirt. I chose to add in tops and accessories that can mix and match; such as this chocolate brown pullover sweater. My capsule consists of three skirts, one dress, five stand-alone tops, three shells/layering tops, two cardigans and a myriad of accessories. I have really enjoyed going to my closet to get dressed and instantly being able to put together several possible outfits, because almost everything goes with everything else!

cinnamon brown fur collar tied with a ribbon and paired with a brown pullover sweater

And then of course I keep it from getting repetitious by changing up the accessories. At least now most of my accessories coordinate with the majority of pieces. For example, I was finally able to pair this fur collar I got two years ago. In the pictures they don’t quite look like they coordinate, but in real life the colours go well together. I’ve also paired this same brown sweater and skirt with my green cape and felt hat, or even switched to a black sweater, shoes and beret for a completely different look.

brown coloured plaid skirt and accessories and sparkly ear hugger earrings

As for these accessories, they are all items I’ve worn a lot, and continue to love wearing. The earrings are Pika and Bear and were a gift, the purse is from Top Vintage, the shoes are from Earthies and the fur collar was a vintage one that I sewed a ribbon tie onto.

Well, I can’t say that I’m going to be any quicker to get outfit photos for the remainder of the winter weather, but I will try to at least get some of the other skirt I sewed.

I hope you’re all having a great week, and staying warm!

wearing a plaid circle skirt paired with a brown pullover sweater and fur collar.