Category Archives: personal style journal

SS Wardrobe Part I: Runway Inspiration

While industry insiders have moved right along to Fall, I’ve been looking back at S/S 2018 shows and pinning away onto my Editorial/Runway pin board. The looks I’m drawn to generally don’t directly translate to my real life, but a board filled with beautiful artistry has proven to be a great reference to borrow details from while beginning to think about my next seasonal closet and sewing project(s). I followed the widely recommended process of pinning freely without overthinking then combing through and looking for patterns. Here’s what I found and how I might apply it to my real closet.

Green & Blue

Mint, seafoam, pistachio, olive, sage, chartreuse, teal and a touch of baby blue! So beautiful, all of them. I already own pieces in many of these colors, so I’ll mostly be shopping my own closet to make combinations I’ve previously overlooked.

SS2018 Blue and Green

Delpozo, Anya Hindmarch, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Fendi, Derek Lam

Pink & Red

This color combo, which was once favorite, disappeared entirely from my wardrobe for at least the last decade and now I’m suddenly pinning it ALOT. I own one red dress, but it’s more orangey than cherry and not a stitch of pink so I’ll be looking to pair these colors with one or more of the patterns I have planned to sew up for spring.

SS2018 pink and red collage

Boss, Coach, Alexander McQueen, Adam Selman, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Bottega Venetta, vivienne Westwood, Rojas, Alice + Olivia

Sleeveless Crewneck

This cut was represented repeatedly in a wide variety of styles and is one I’ve always felt really comfortable and attractive wearing. After nursing a child for much longer than I ever anticipated, it’s nice to look at tops without considering accessibility, if you know what I mean! I’d like this cut for a basic tank, statement tank and everyday dress so I’m thinking a blend of sewing and thrifting will be in order here.

SS2018 High Neckline Sleeveless

Delpozo, Marni, Loewe, Nicole Miller, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana

Buttoned Up

A couple years after eliminating all my corporate office attire back in 2014, I started craving some more grown up looks and reintroduced a collared shirt to my wardrobe by way of a vintage looking patterned blouse which I wear buttoned all the way to the top. I’d love a drapey short sleeve version for spring and summer and found lots of inspiration for layering them in interesting ways or achieving the look without the traditional button placket. I haven’t sewn a button down shirt since college so this would be a great project to take on in terms of improving specific skills and fun to fabric shop for, but I’ll also keep an eye out while thrifting in case a perfect item presents itself.

SS2018 buttoned up collage

Alena Akhmadullina, Prada, Delpozo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ace & Jig, Anya Hindmarch

Coach 1941

This is one designer where I found myself pinning the entire show while wondering when they starting making anything other than handbags. They weren’t even on my radar before and here I’m seeing all my high school wardrobe dreams come true! It’s like a more luxe version of the layered thrifted slips and doc martens with black knee high socks combo I was sporting back in the early 90’s. This has me feeling crazy nostalgic and in need of a slip dress, STAT!

SS2018 Coach Collage

Saint Laurent

This is another show I just loved in general, the flowy cream blouses with structured jackets, incredible accessories and interesting but wearable shorts. I can actually imagine wearing all of these pieces in my real life but will mostly be taking styling inspiration unless I can find a piece of similar jewelry in my budget…and the detail and colors of that jacket might become a future sewing project as my skills improve!

Saint Laurent

You may (or may not) have noticed that Gucci was represented in every category…obsessed! I’m determined to build a thoughtful versatile wardrobe full of color, print and ornate details and there’s so much inspiration there.

My original vision for this post was to include both runway and street style inspiration along with the sewing patterns I’ve selected, plans for executing each one and pieces I already own that I’m excited about but it’s taking longer to put together than I anticipated and was getting way too long so I decided to split it into a short series. Be back soon!


Slow Style: 2nd Year Reflections

September marked the end of my second year committed to slow fashion, so over the weekend I took some time to look back at my sewing projects, shopping log, original commitment and one year review.  With it being time to consider my wardrobe for the upcoming fall/winter season and Slow Fashion October, it’s the perfect time to gain fresh perspective, set new style and sewing goals and make a new commitment as I head into year 3.

Where I started

05-26-16 full closet

My closet one year ago

I ended my first year in September of 2016 feeling accomplished. I was happy with my clothes, I’d cut my shopping way down and sewn 6 new garments for myself. I’d created a beautiful cohesive mood board to help guide future projects and I was feeling inspired to focus more time and energy on slow stitch and natural dyes, bringing elements of my artwork into my closet. My goal was to use materials I had on hand and work on one project each month. Rules were abandoned because where to shop had become second nature.

“This year is simply about making. Experimenting. Creating mindfully.”    – I said

That’s not exactly how I’d summarize the last 12 months and I’m hopeful that writing this all out will lead to a more focused year three.

What I Bought

I’ve been logging all my clothing purchases since September of 2015, along with where I bought them and how much I spent.  At the end of year one, I was surprised to see that I’d bought 27 things in 12 months, 6 new and 21 used. This year I was floored when I tallied up a total of 68! I’m about to attempt justifying this number by breaking it down in more detail. Spoiler alert: It can’t be justified. Mistakes were made.

Brand New // 11 pieces // $380 total

I can at least say that great thought went into the new purchases and I don’t consider any of them to be mistakes. The corduroy pants, moccasins and athletic wear were purchased from companies I felt good about supporting and they’re durable items that suit my lifestyle, get lots of use and replaced pieces that were so worn out I couldn’t even donate them. The harem style pants were especially versatile, frequently taking me from a typical day of SAHM life to a family friday night out seamlessly, particularly in the combination below.

Slow style year 2.png

Company Missions:   Manitobah  //  Patagonia  //  Prana

A swimsuit from Target and 5 bra’s from Macy’s make up the rest of the new purchases. I allowed these guilt free since I don’t know how to make them yet and the ethical brands I looked at just didn’t have what I wanted at a price point I could justify as a stay at home mom with a limited amount of savings. I wore the last ones until they were trash and will do the same with these. Sometimes that just has to be enough, and I’m okay with that.

Second Hand // 57 pieces // $180 total

The used items, not pictured here because of the ridiculous number, is where I should have done a better job editing. I had so many sewing fails this year that I just wasn’t adding new things to my rotation and my impatience led to a few trips where I picked up way too many pieces at once. Generally, I dig through thrift shops and take away one new treasure or just pick up clothes for the kiddo who’s constantly outgrowing things. I need to get back to that place. In reviewing the list, I determined I spent $67 on 18 second hand items which I either never wear or have already donated back to the thrift store…not cool. There were plenty of great finds that I wore a lot and continue to wear, so I’m trying to stop thinking of how I could have spent the wasted money and just let it be another lesson.

What I Made


I was feeling disappointed in myself when I first started to outline this post because I didn’t think I’d gotten much sewing done, but looking back I did work on 13 projects. Unfortunately, only 4 are in my closet and wearable, one of which was not even technically handmade but rather thrifted and mended. Two were thrifted and completely restyled and the dress was made from scratch. I can at least say I met my goal of working on 1 project per month and these are some of my favorite things.

Part of the issue was just the learning curve involved with making clothing. Combine that with patterns I bought on impulse just because there was a sale and fabric in my stash I thought I could use and it was a recipe for disaster. Even if they’d all turned out wearable, I’m fairly certain that the lack of planning behind each one would have led to total wardrobe duds. It’s no coincidence that after taking a closer look at the failures, my #2017makenine line up and subsequent projects were much more successful.

At the rate I’ve been going, and with just 3 months left, I’m not sure I’ll complete all the projects on that list, but I have one in process at the moment and so far it seems to be going well.

What I Learned


Year 1 didn’t actually undo my bad habits like I thought it had. Clearly, based on the number of items I bought, I still need a more strict set of guidelines for shopping, even if it is second-hand. In addition to the thrifting, I quickly realized without mindfulness, it’s easy to transfer bad shopping habits from clothes to sewing patterns or fabric. I’ll definitely be adding these purchases to the shopping log from now on…not sure why I didn’t from the get go.


I need to move beyond high school home economics skills to master garment construction and fitting before I can make my Allessandro Michele for Gucci dreams come true. In order to accomplish this, I’ve forced myself to set aside the guilt that comes from creating waste so I can just sew through bolts of muslin to learn my craft and gain the confidence required to cut into an expensive piece of fine fabric and know I won’t be throwing my money down the drain. I’ve already picked up my first bolt.

Owning a Fabric Stash

My fabric stash was mostly useless. Adorable vintage fabrics I’d thrifted never felt like ‘me’ when I’d dig through the bin to find something for a project. Some of my favorite’s are small pieces that need to be one element in a specific design while the remaining fabric will need to be purchased. Even pieces I bought brand new and excitedly prewashed in preparation for a project didn’t get used because they were either the wrong size, color or material for what I eventually wanted to make.

Based on this article I found while google searching ‘KonMari for artists’ I won’t be stashing fabric without a plan anymore. It seems pretty obvious, but I was 20 years deep in the “just in case” mentality with enough “imaginary work” to last a lifetime if I had no other obligations. The article is a good read for creatives on the path to simplicity. My overstuffed creative space is getting closer and closer to a simple little sewing corner with no extra stuff hanging around. I plan on using this method moving forward:

Project Idea -> Commitment -> Deadline -> Materials Hunt

Personal Style  & Wardrobe Planning

The biggest mistake I made was confusing creative inspiration with my personal style. I created this mood board thinking it would guide my sewing and shopping until I had my ideal wardrobe, but as my closet began to align with this vision, I started to crave more color, variety and vintage flair. This mood board inspired me to create, but doesn’t represent my forever closet.

SS Year 2 Mood Board

Removing all of my art related content from this blog and compartmentalizing my separate interests helped me come to this conclusion, and reaffirmed my decision to separate the two. It’s obvious to me now why so many designers have uniforms. Not every idea belongs in my own everyday working wardrobe. They can simply be channelled into individual bodies of work while my personal style remains separate. Of course, there will be some overlap at times, but in hindsight, I see where I went wrong. The fact that when I created this mood board the dominant color of blue was mostly non-existent in my current closet should have raised a red flag. I love some of the blue pieces I added, but this whole wabi sabi theme I was so drawn to when creating this collage just isn’t what I’m actually wanting to wear every day.

Maybe I should just buy a black turtleneck and call it a day…I kid…sorta?

What’s next?


Well, a few weeks ago I turned 37, and in addition to realizing I’ve been working towards an aesthtetic that wasn’t totally me, I suddenly felt like half my closet should belong to a teenager. I treated myself to a new book, The Curated Closet, created a pin board called 37 to gather new wardrobe inspiration and  promptly took that inspiration thrifting and scooped up 9 new pieces to add to my wardrobe…yeah, the exact thing I was just saying was a big mistake I made earlier this year!

So, next on the agenda is no shopping for a while. No clothes. No patterns. No fabric. I’m starting to work through some of the exercises in the book in order to recalibrate and be sure I’m heading in the right direction with any new additions.

Once I’ve worked out a list of any gaps, I’ll select my next sewing project and allow the occasional thrift shop visit. I realize I’m completely contradicting what I said in this post in terms of loosening the reigns on shopping, but I wrote that before assessing my year of shopping and I guess either I wasn’t being honest with myself or perhaps had just completely forgotten how much I’d really acquired. Can I still blame mommy brain at almost 3 1/2?

A New Commitment / Note to self:

    1. Forget perfectly cohesive visual representations of your style and keep a small file of whatever you truly love (and really wear!). Figure out how it works together.
    2. Keep a well thought out and prioritized list of items to sew and/or purchase over time. Take it slow!
    3. Practice sewing. Practice pattern drafting. Do the work. Master your craft.
    4. Buy second-hand. No poor quality items. No temporary filler items. No items to upcycle unless you’re shopping for a specific planned project.
    5. Support socially / environmentally ethical companies when you must buy new.


I think dedicating this space to slow fashion, personal style and sewing will keep me more focused on my goals so I don’t find myself so far off track again. At the same time I have to laugh at how I’m beating myself up over such little mistakes when just 5 years ago I was buying brand new clothes every week without a second thought. In the big scheme of things it’s just second hand clothes, but I am determined to get this whole wardrobe thing figured out so change is more of a slow evolution than periodic overhaul. Let’s see what year 3 brings…

Closet Goals

I read a variety of style blogs that run the gamut from extreme minimalism to careless over consumption and now that I’ve declared this space a personal style blog, I thought I’d share where I stand on this spectrum…or at least just talk to myself about my current thoughts on the subject. Over the years, I’ve been influenced by it all and gone from too much shopping, not enough planning, closet full of nothing to wear to restricting shopping, excessive planning and a tiny closet that started to wear out and bore me way too quickly. At this point, every time I flip to this image in my inspiration notebook, all I can think is closet goals!


There are a lot of pieces in there. When the heck do you use ALL of those bags?! But you know what? To me, it looks like a closet filled with special items collected over time that are truly cherished, well cared for and loved. I imagine it belongs to a woman with a strong sense of her own style, who sees dressing as an art and has fun choosing an outfit each day.

As I sew, dig through charity stores and shop for vintage, these are my goals.

I’m dedicated to an ethical wardrobe and learning more about sustainability every day. I’m on board with slowly and thoughtfully adding new things. But minimal? I don’t really think so. I just love clothes, fashion design and the thrill of the hunt! Digging through the large donation thrift shops and finding that vintage treasure someone cleared out of an attic, 100% silk, wool, or cashmere on the cheap, testing out a trend I’m not sure about for $3 …yes, please! Continuing to queue up sewing projects because I enjoy learning new skills and creating things? Of course.

The idea of capsule wardrobes is helping me work out the colors and pieces that make up my personal list of essentials, giving me a more solid foundation to build upon but I’m approaching the sweet spot where I can just add things I love while keeping it functional. In my climate, most of my clothes can be used year round so, with a few exceptions, packing away seasonal clothes isn’t necessary. I love an eclectic mix of things I find beautiful to combine in all different ways accessible in my closet at all times. Based on how quickly I got tired of my very minimal closet, I think it will be perfect to have enough items that it takes 3 or 4 weeks to cycle through all my favorites so they last longer and I don’t burn out on wearing them.


A while back, I would have talked myself out of this clutch because it’s not something I’ll use every day. Now I’m okay with owning something special for date nights, even if I only get to use it twice a month. I’d had the idea of what I wanted in my mind for a while, so when I spotted it in a vintage shop (although, is 90’s vintage? I was in high school in the 90’s…doesn’t add up!) on vacation for $12 I felt good about taking it home. Okay, I actually walked away and had a beer down the street because it was navy and not black, but then I decided I still loved it and went back for it. Thoughtful and spontaneous!

All my chatter has me curious to hear from you. How often do you feel you should wear something for it to earn it’s space in your wardrobe? Every month? Every week? What are your thoughts on owning more than necessary if everything is mostly second hand or handmade and the rest ethical? My perspective has been all over the map the last few years but for the moment it’s a relief to loosen up the reigns. I’m hoping I’ve learned enough that I can just enjoy wardrobe building for the fun creative process it can be without falling back into old patterns and making lots of mistakes. And I suppose I can go easy on myself if I thrift something that isn’t for life…back to the thrift shop it can go right?


Cut & Paste


I have to believe that anyone into personal style who also loves to sew has the box of clothing items they just can’t seem to part with because you know you could [fill in the blank] and it would be perfect! My issue with said box is it basically turns into a black hole where ideas go to die and clothes never see the light of day. For this reason, I decided to put ALL my clothing into my closet and move things I’d worn to one end as I went. After a couple months, I reviewed my wardrobe board and did a (dare I say) final sort of items into 3 categories:

  • love = hang back in the closet
  • meh = donate/sell
  • love but don’t wear because xyz = project box

Keeping the love but don’t wear items in my closet was only complicating getting dressed, obviously, so I decided to snap a quick picture of each piece before returning them to the black hole. Next I used Photoshop Elements to create 8 1/2 x 11″ layouts, printed and cut them out to glue into my wardrobe/sewing journal.


Now I can flip through my journal when I’m feeling the urge to shop and prioritize a project. Drawing in some grids gives me a clean space for jotting down notes for each. Many need mending, fit alterations, dyeing, or restyling, and others I’d like to knock off the pattern or sew/purchase a new item to go with it. I do realize I could have completed some mending in the time I used to play cut and paste, but there’s 33 projects so in the long run I feel it’s worth the couple hours to keep them all on my radar and moving forward.






I made it look so fun, my kiddo immediately asked for some clothes for his own project and we spent the best Saturday morning creating together!


I’m so grateful for the online sewing and personal style community. Though I’ve been doing things like this for as long as I can remember, I now know I’m not a total weirdo and others out there share my obsession interests!

Next on the agenda is some actual time at the sewing machine. I still have #2017makenine to finish and one of those projects has been cut and on my table for longer than I’d care to admit…


A Personal Style Blog


Back in 2012, I started this blog to document my journey as a textile artist. I wrote about anything and everything, textile collage, online classes I took, learning embroidery, carving stamps, printing  and painting fabric, experimenting with wallpaper paste collage and art journaling, organizing my studio, random craft and sewing projects, handmade holidays and daily life . It was with me through my first group art show, Art Walk booth, gallery exhibition and local retail shop experience.

After having  a baby a few years ago I followed my interests back to dollmaking and slow fashion and wrote about that. At first I liked seeing the progression of things over time, but after a while, blending it all together just didn’t feel right. After a lot of thought, and with more clarity than when I first started, I decided to launch an Instagram account and shop under a new name to share my dolls with the world and wipe everything from this site unrelated to slow fashion, personal style and wardrobe sewing.

I have endless inspiration and ideas for posts and projects surrounding these themes and look forward to having a personal space reserved for indulging my slow style journey and participating in the growing online discussion. I don’t know that it was necessary to address the change, but it felt strange deleting the bulk of 5 years worth of content and not mentioning it, so there it is.

If you’re reading, I hope this is a welcome change. It did seem the most interest was generated on these posts anyway. So, until next time….and if you happened to be here for my other creations, Little Stream Studio will be coming soon!


#2017MAKENINE: 1 & 2

01-15-17 midi skirt featured

Happy New Year! Starting the year strong, jumping into #2017makenine on Instagram last week and managing to complete my first two projects already. One was just mending and the other was already in the works, but that was intentional to get momentum for the more tedious projects to come so I’m still feeling proud of myself.

01-15-17 sewing journal

Since I’d already started a bullet journal specifically for sewing and worked out my silhouettes and, therefore, types of pieces I wanted to sew to create them, coming up with my nine projects was quick and easy.

My Nine

01-10-17 #2017makenine

  1. Alabama Chanin inspired applique shirt
  2. Wide leg pants
  3. Lightweight knee length jacket
  4. M7473 tunic (View D)
  5. Schnittchen Anna dress
  6. Pullover woven top
  7. Colorblocked statement jacket using B6328 View C
  8. Midi skirt
  9. Mend thrifted cashmere sweater

Project #1

01-15-17 visible mendingI’ve had a drawer filled with mending for a while, but when I snagged this short sleeved baby blue cashmere sweater from the thrift store, it immediately earned a spot at the top of the pile. It had a little hole right near the neckline and I was interested in finally trying my hand at visible mending. My first attempt was horrendous. I pulled it out and gave it another go and this was the result. I don’t think it’s perfect and I’ll probably revisit it once I’ve had some more practice and master it, but for now I like how it looks…and no more hole!

Project 2: Midi Skirt

01-15-17 midi skirt full frontThis fabric is from a skirt I found thrifting, 100% cotton, made in Nepal and so beautiful. The original skirt was horribly unflattering so the entire thing was deconstructed and a brand new pattern was cut in order to start from scratch. The only original bit is the hem.01-15-17 midi skirt backIt’s a basic rectangular skirt with a straight waistband, carefully gathered and pleated to control where the bulk sits. I pinned 5 times before finally sewing the waistband into place. There are some puckers making me wish I’d interfaced the entire thing but then it probably would have been too bulky, so oh well.01-15-17 midi skirt front detail I hadn’t sewn a zipper forever so I was happy with how nicely it went in, although I’m not sure I aligned it with the upper edge properly. I think I may have done the waistband overlap wrong too, but I was sewing without instructions and it looks and feels okay on so I’m not stressing over that either.

01-15-17 midi skirt back detailI’m just thrilled to have a skirt in my wardrobe at last! This is the only one I own right now and as you can see in my journal above, it’s the silhouette I’m most obsessed with right now.01-15-17 midi skirt front

Based on the current weather and how long the jacket has been on my wish list, I should prioritize that next but I don’t have all the fabric yet so we’ll see what actually hits the machine!


Slow Style: Reflecting on the 1st year

My birthday, September 16th, marked one year since making my slow style commitment and I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on how it went, what I learned and consider where to go from here.

05-26-16 full closet

My current closet

Where I Started

I’ve had a draft sitting untouched forever about my starting point last year, so I’ll just go ahead and summarize here and delete that! Out of curiosity, I counted the total number of garments I owned at the time and how my wardrobe measured up in the categories Handmade, Thrifted, Ethical and Fast Fashion. I was happy to find that of about 120 total, over half was thrifted, one third was fast fashion and the rest was split between handmade and ethical. Of course, I donated literally hundreds of garments after becoming a mom and quitting my job 2 years ago, but these numbers showed that once I started over with focus and a conscience that I was really walking my talk. It’s also worth noting that, with few exceptions, all of the fast fashion has been in my closet for 3+ years.

What I Bought


Now this was actually quite startling to me…I STILL bought 27 pieces of clothing throughout the year! That’s equivalent to one every two weeks and I felt like I’d completely quit shopping. Goes to show how bad I was before :/ I can at least say that 21 were second hand from thrift stores and the other 6 were from companies I felt good about. Not pictured is a sequin skirt I bought off ETSY for a Vegas trip and future occasions, the top was handmade in Guatemala and purchased from a vendor in Santa Fe, the pants are from Patagonia and the cami’s are from PACT.

What I Made


Although I started this back in September of 2015, I didn’t actually start sewing until April of this year. So in 6 months I made 6 garments, a pace I’m totally satisfied with. It’s given me the chance to see what I reach for every day and plan projects accordingly. I’d love to sew all day every day but then my closet would probably be the same mess it was before!

What I Learned

I learned that I LOVE the clothes I make for myself, even when they’re imperfect, and that one handmade item can easily replace a handful of ready to wear items because I’m happy to wear the same things over and OVER again. Unfortunately, I learned this the second half of the year once I started sewing and had already thrifted a bunch of clothes that I’ll never wear now…but at least they weren’t brand new. Some of the items I thrifted are my favorites as well, so not all was lost. The unworn stuff has been piled on my sewing table to make quick notes about what I don’t like. I think that, along with a good look at the favorites will keep my sewing focused on true wardrobe builders.


What’s Next?

SS Year 2 Mood Board

What started as a goal to change my shopping habits and improve my technical skills ended up being a true shift in my mindset and lifestyle. In the second year of my Slow Style series, I hope to continue with about one garment per month using mostly materials I already have in my stash. I’ve been interested in slow stitch and natural dyes for quite some time and I think that’s where I’m finally heading now. Blurring the lines between my art and my wardrobe more and more. This moodboard is hanging in my sewing area to gently guide upcoming projects. I no longer need rules about where to shop, it’s second nature. This year is simply about making. Experimenting. Creating mindfully.