sewing

My 2018 Make Nine Challenge Sewing Choices

2018 Make Nine, the artyologist

Not gonna lie, when I got to the end of 2017 and started looking at what I sewed throughout the year. . . I was a bit depressed to still be looking at a fabric stash instead of garments hanging in my closet. This past year I sewed four skirts, (only blogged one of them) a sundress, a cape, and refashioned a vintage dress. So, yes I did do some sewing, but considering the fact that there are 8,760 hours in a year, and only about 6,000-ish of those were spent working and sleeping, I didn’t really do as much as I could have. I don’t want that to happen again, so I have decided to take part in the 2018 Make Nine challenge hosted by Rochelle of Home Row Fibre Co. and the blog Lucky Lucille. The Make Nine Challenge is a sewing challenge where you choose nine items to make throughout the year, and is in her words, a gentle challenge. It’s not one that you can fail. It’s meant to be flexible, a tool you can use to evaluate your motivations and needs for working towards specific things as the year goes on. This is meant to be a challenge focused on learning more about yourself and your making habits while achieving goals. Work at your own pace and join in at any time. – That’s it!” She’s got all the details over on her blog post, so if you would like to take part in the challenge yourself, just hop over there to read all about it.

I’ve never joined in this community sewing challenge before, but I think that it is just the sort of kick-in-the-pants I need to turn my pile of fabric into actual clothes. I spent a few days this past week going through patterns and fabric, looking through vintage fashion books/blogs for inspiration, and evaluating what some of the gaps in my wardrobe are, and how I can fill them in a purposeful way.

I often get so inspired, and I see a pattern or garment and decide that I want to make it, but then I can’t decide which fabric to use, and so I get overwhelmed and end up going in circles of indecisiveness, because I have this ridiculous fear that if I cut into a fabric from my stash, I’ll realize that I should have made it into something else. . . and so I end up making nothing.

In light of that, this week I narrowed down all of the options and ideas I had into nine specific items I will focus on this year. I have decided to sew only garments with fabric I already own (what- no fabric shopping!?!?!?!) and the only sewing purchases I intend to make this year are for notions, lining fabric or other items that I need to complete one of these projects. Setting these boundaries for myself will ensure that I don’t get distracted (like a dog with a squirrel) and will instead end up with garments I’ve been dreaming about wearing for years. So, here, in no particular order, are my Make Nine choices for 2018!

2018, Make Nine, McCall's 6696, the artyologist

  • I have a million metres of smoky blue eyelet, and I do love a good shirtwaist dress, so I plan to make view A, only I’m going to make it floor length. I love long skirts, but currently don’t have any in my wardrobe. I also have some other fabric that I’d like to make into shirtwaists (knee length), so once I finish this, I’ll hopefully have a tried-and-true pattern, which will make the others go so much quicker.

 

2018, Make Nine, Princess Coat, the artyologist

  • Years ago, a lady gave me her aunt’s winter coat, since she knew I liked vintage styles. The coat is from the 1980’s and is an 80’s-does-50’s princess style out of green wool. Unfortunately it looks like someone along the way decided to throw it in the washing machine, and the fabric is completely ruined. However, the underside of the fabric is still lovely- so I am hoping to be able to take the coat apart and turn it, rather like the “turned silks” of the 1800’s. The coat is also a bit big, so I am going to alter it as I refashion it. I hope it works out, since a full skirted winter coat will be a wonderful thing to have!

 

2018, Make Nine, Simplicity 2154, the artyologist

  • The Simplicity 2154 blouse is so cute and classy and I’ve liked every one I’ve seen so far. I have some checked tan and navy shirting, which will be perfect for this. The colours will go with everything, and it’s always nice to have a variety of blouses. This one will be particularly nice for layering.

 

2018 Make Nine, turbans, the artyologist

  • I love turbans, and I’d love to make a formed one out of velvet. I don’t know if I’ll attempt a fan or a knot decoration like the ones in this picture- I might try out a simpler one to begin with! This will be nice for winter as it will be a good alternative to a toque.

 

2018 Make Nine, Simplicity 4403, the artyologist

  • The first project I am going to tackle this year is Simplicity 4403- a coat pattern I got for my 16th birthday. That was a long time ago and I still have a partially sewn coat out of a beautiful plum melton wool with brass buttons. I don’t even know if it’s going to fit me anymore, to be honest, but I’m going to give it a go. I am completely intimidated to sew this for some reason- but it’s either getting made now, or I’m going to get rid of it. So, because I can’t bring myself to get rid of it, I guess that means I’m going to be sewing it this weekend 😉

 

2018 Make Nine, skirts, the artyologist

  • I have some brown and plum coloured plaid “wool” in my stash that I am going to use to make a circle or 4 gored skirt. It’s not real wool- I bought it many years ago, but it’s got a tweedy sort of texture to it. I don’t have very much fabric, but I’m sure I’ll have enough for a skirt- I can always decrease the fullness if necessary. This will be a practical addition to my wardrobe, since I don’t have very many good winter weight skirts.

 

2018 Make Nine, Simplicity 3673, the artyologist

  • For years I have been dreaming of a jumper dress and jacket suit combo out of some wool-like fabric I inherited from my aunt. I have 2.5 metres of a blue and tan gingham, and 2 metres of a coordinating blue. I’ve never been brave enough to cut into it- but this is the year! I am not sure if this Simplicity 3673 pattern, centre view C, will work with the gingham check, but if not, I’ll hack the pattern to make something similar if not exactly the same. If I also manage to get a matching jacket done up, that will turn this challenge into a Make Ten instead 😉

 

2018 Make Nine, background dress, the artyologist

  • I would like a “Background Dress” as described in this Sear’s catalogue. I haven’t chosen a pattern yet, but it will be something that can be paired with a bunch of different accessories, sweaters, shoes etc. for endless options. I will use either a teal rayon or tan and black ikat patterned rayon, and I’d like the dress to have a similar 1940’s shape to it.

 

2018 Make Nine, Butterick 5748, the artyologist

  • Butterick 5748 is such a cute dress with that bow detail. I love early 1960’s dresses- they’d lost the fussiness of the 50’s, but hadn’t quite gotten into the psychedelic 60’s yet. I have a cream and brown calico cotton which I think would make a really nice sundress.

Whew. If I manage to get all of these sewn, along with all my other creative endeavors, I will be happy. Hopefully now that I’ve put it out here I’ll actually do it too- accountability works wonders! I might change some of my patterns along the way, but as long as I end up with nine garments at the end of the year, that’s good with me.

Have you heard of the Make Nine Challenge? Are you going to be taking part, or making any other kind of sewing related goals this year? What projects do you have planned? And, have you made any of these patterns before?

 

Outfit + Gold & Sparkle = Holiday Outfit

Outfit + Gold & Sparkle = Holiday Outfit, the artyologist, vogue 8789

Now that it’s the Christmas season, it is time to start dressing for the occasion. (OK, it’s been the Christmas season for a while, I’m just kind of late at getting a holiday post up). But how do you dress for the holidays when when you don’t own “Christmas” clothing, or you just don’t like wearing novelty prints of Christmas trees? I’m all for a festively, kitschy holiday outfit. . .  on other vintage loving gals, but it’s just not for me. However, I do love to dress for the season. So how do you dress for the season, when you don’t want to wear poinsettia dresses, red is not your best colour, or you don’t want a wardrobe full of themed items that can only be worn at certain times of the year?

My go-to solution for dressing for the holidays, whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines, or Family Day (wait- no- you don’t really dress up for Family Day. . . ) is to take a regular outfit, add different accessories to it, and thus turn it into a holiday outfit. For example, at Christmastime, take a whole bunch of gold bling and sparkly jewellery, and voila! With a few changes, it’s suddenly a holiday outfit!

vintage holiday outfit, vogue 8789, the artyologist

I wore this exact same outfit last week, minus all the gold, and it looked like a regular old unholidayish dress. But taking the same basic pieces: a striped dress, a black bolero, black tights and black pumps and then restyling them with a gold belt and clutch, metallic gold nail polish, sparkly eyeshadow, and sparkly rhinestone jewellery made it suddenly seem more festive. Making those few changes made it the perfect thing to wear to the Christmas lunch at our church.

I’ve also worn this dress in the springtime, here, and the accessories I paired that time made it look the farthest thing from Christmas you could think of. Imagine if I had paired this dress with spider jewellery, a veiled hat, and a velvet jacket- suddenly it would look perfect for Halloween. Accessories really are a girl’s best friend- a few key pieces can completely change the look of your outfit to suit whichever holiday you are going for.

So, if you aren’t into outfits that scream “CHRISTMAS!!!!”, but you do want to add a bit of a festive touch, accessories are where it’s at.

gold and sparkly necklace, the artyologist

Here are some more ways to add a bit of holiday cheer to your outfit:

  • Wear a bow in your hair. It’s like dressing up as a present. . . only more subtle. 😉
  • Plaid is the perfect Christmas material because it has nothing to do with Christmas, and yet it looks so festive when worn this time of year. And you can wear it any other season, and it looks lovely- I’m all for fabrics that do double duty.
  • Wear darker hued shades of “Christmas colours”. Instead of wearing bright red and green, try jewel tones like burgundy and emerald. Rich colours like navy blue can look very winter appropriate too, with some silver jewellery added, for example.
  • Christmas jewellery adds a festive touch, but is a bit more understated than a Christmas dress. And, it doesn’t take up tons of space, so collecting Christmas earrings and brooches doesn’t take up your entire wardrobe, but adds a nice festive touch.
  • ‘Tis the season for rich and sumptuous fabrics like velvet and taffeta. They are great for both Christmas, and also New Years, and as most people don’t get the opportunity to wear them year round, it’s time to bust them out of the closet!
  • As I said before: gold and sparkles is where it’s at. In a society where people are more likely to have ugly sweater parties, I say- bring on the glam and the glitz! Any excuse to break out the cocktail dresses is good by me.

So, do you like going all out dressing for the season? Or do you like your Christmas outfits to be a bit more subtle? Or maybe you don’t dress for the holidays at all? Do you have any other holiday outfit tips?

gold and sparkle holiday outfit, the artyologist

holiday outfit, vogue 8789, the artyologist

vintage clutch detail, the artyologist

ps. This is the same vintage Laura Ashley bolero from last week– and here you can see the fabric better!

holiday outfit the artyologist, vogue 8789

vintage gold clutch detail, the artyologist

vintage holiday outfit, gold and sparkle, the artyologist

Photo Shoots with Friends

photo shoots with friends, chantelle-and-i, the artyologist

This post is coming to you pre-scheduled as I am on a holiday this week with friends, one of whom is my dear friend Chantelle, who is pictured in these photos today. I decided it would be a perfect time to share these photos, which I got back in June when I visited her, as they are too special to not post at all despite the lateness of them!

It is a bit of a tradition that when my friend Chantelle and I get together, we do a photo shoot- we did this even in my pre-blogging days. (Maybe sometime I will share some of those old pictures. . .) Sometimes our photo shoots are themed, and usually the theme is some kind of vintage style, because that is what I have for “costumes”. As in, it is a costume for her, and regular clothing for me 😉 We’ve done “model”, “wedding dresses”, “1940’s” and last year we did “1950’s“. This time, we didn’t have any theme planned- and as I was traveling, I didn’t bring extras in my suitcase. However, while I was visiting, I found this great straw hat at the thrift shop and Chantelle was able to borrow this lovely blue topper, so we figured that was good enough.

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-hat-detail

The photos of both of us were taken with self timer and, as I didn’t have my tripod with me, we precariously balanced a pile of wood on top of a kitchen stool and placed the camera on top! It was a bit dangerous for the camera, and we had no way of knowing where we were in the frame, so the results were a bit interesting. Somehow we still managed to end up with these lovely shots though- and even with me running back and forth, I managed to not look too disheveled!

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-standing

I’ve shown both this skirt and shirt together before, but why mess with a good thing, right? I am not above repeating an outfit if it worked out well the first time. And, I wasn’t kidding last week when I said I have worn this skirt too many times to count. I even brought it on my trip this week, so I might be wearing it as we speak 🙂 However it is nice to share my new hat, especially since I have worn it a few times now. Sometimes, like in the case of this hat, thrifting can be very rewarding. I saw a hat very similar to this one, with an asymmetrical brim, and green ribbon and accent, for sale online, but it was quite expensive. It was a justifiable price, for a handcrafted piece of millinery, but I am so glad I found this secondhand one instead!

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, hat-detail-nicole

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-adjusting-hat

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, nicole-spinning-skirt

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-portrait-1

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, wildflowers-and-nicole

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle

She looks like she should be going to a Royal Wedding. 🙂

nicole straw hat, photo shoots with friends, the artyologist

And because you can’t have any photoshoot without silly ones. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-being-creepy

I didn’t realize I was so far away from Chantelle in this picture, and instead of hugging her, I am just creepily/awkwardly putting my hand on her shoulder! It doesn’t help that I have that strange expression either. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-snobby

These expressions, above, are just too funny. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-laughing

Do you enjoy doing photo shoots together when you meet up with friends? Have you ever been looking for something in a shop or online, only to find something similar in a thrift shop?

Peony Season

seersucker dress, peony season, the artyologist

I sometimes seem to think of seasons in terms of flowers. When the snow is melting, it will be tulip season soon. Once the weather has warmed, it is blossom time. The middle of May means lilac season. And then finally, as the lilacs fade we reach my favourite of all: peony season. Peony season is the best, because it comes in June. The trees are lush with leaves, and the gardens are filling in with green foliage. We aren’t into summer yet, so the days are warm, but not too hot, and the evenings are cool. And my favourite large, pretentious, many-petaled, sweetly scented flowers burst into bloom! We are lucky to have six peony bushes: four white ones, and two fuchsia pink ones, which are not my favourite (my absolute favourite are the blush pink variety) but medium pink is the next best thing! I couldn’t not have a photo shoot with the pink peonies when they were in bloom, but alas, I don’t currently own any pinks that are cool toned like this peony bush (and peach tones would look terrible with this backdrop). So beiges, browns, olives – and a tiny bit of a pink necklace had to do instead. This is an outfit I wear a lot though, so it’s nice to show this dress off again, as the last time was over a year ago.

peonies-1, the artyologist

teacup necklace and seersucker dress, the artyologist

I guess I don’t really have much to say about this outfit, aside from the fact that: I actually wear this dress a lot in the summer, I am trying to break in these shoes semi-successfully (don’t you hate breaking in shoes??!!), and I bought this purse when I was eighteen, carried it for a few years, then decided that I didn’t really love it. Fortunately I kept it though, and have been using it again- I think I just needed a bit of break from it to remember that I do still like it 🙂

What is your favourite “flower season”  and which flowers grow where you live?

peonies-and-sky, the artyologist

kilties shoes--sitting-on-rock, the artyologist

peony-petal-detail, the artyologist

teacup necklace-detail, the artyologist

portrait and peony, the artyologist

olive green doctors bag purse-on-rocks, the artyologist

peony-bush, the artyologist

green doctors bag purse, the artyologist

peasant style dress, sitting-with-purse, the artyologist

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With The Hell Bunny Melissa Top)

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist

Apparently I wasn’t kidding when I said that my Roman Holiday inspired circle skirt was going to be a versatile addition to my wardrobe. I’ve already worn it a few times, and here it is again; this time paired with my new Hell Bunny Melissa top.

I rarely ever sew or buy neutrals. I’m always drawn to the patterns: the florals, the ginghams, the stripes, the abstract prints. My sewing stash is full of patterns (most of them florals) and my wardrobe is bursting with them too. As much as I love patterns though, there is something to be said for a nice neutral solid. Neutrals are just so easy to pair with everything- I guess that’s why they are “wardrobe basics”. I have been endeavouring lately to add some more neutral pieces to my wardrobe- after one too many times of trying to pair my separates and coming up with “pattern clashing” rather than “pattern mixing”.

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), in the flowers, the artyologist

Both my skirt and my blouse here, are recent additions to my wardrobe, to try and fill in the voids and create a more mix-and-match wardrobe. Strangely enough, this outfit is so neutral and monochromatic, and the only pattern comes in from the feathered clutch. Apparently it’s either “all the patterns” or none 🙂 I got this Hell Bunny Melissa top a few weeks ago, from Rowena, since I had a store credit to use up, and decided that a black peasant blouse would be a good option. This blouse originally had a keyhole in the front, but as that was too revealing for comfort, I just sewed a piece of black fabric behind the keyhole, and now it’s perfect. I really like this top as it is just a bit dressier than a t-shirt, but the cotton fabric makes it comfortable and still cool for summer. This outfit makes me think of something you would wear to a picnic in the 1950’s: wildly unpractical- but it looks nice!

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, sitting under the plum tree

So, as I don’t have much else to say about anything, I will stop talking for now. Oh, but one last note- these pictures were taken in front of our plum tree. Isn’t it beautiful? Or rather, wasn’t it? It’s finished blooming now. But, now the lilacs are in bloom, and after them, then it will be the peonies. . .  isn’t it nice that flowers bloom at different times?

Do you lean towards neutrals and solids, or patterns? What flowers are blooming for you right now? (if you are in Spring/Summer where you live.)

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top) the artyologist, holding-blossoms-2

ps: I might be smiling, but in reality I was being eaten alive by mosquitos!

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, pearls

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, hanging-branches

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, spinning

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, purse

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, sky-and-blossoms

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, back

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, blossoms-1

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, sitting-and-tree