Tag Archives: inspiration notebook

Spring Wardrobe

When I wrapped up Part I of my Spring Summer Wardrobe Inspiration, looking at the Runway, I was anxious to throw together the street style and sewing pattern portion but was quickly overwhelmed by all the ideas I had saved and decided to get  back to The Curated Closet and work through a few more chapters to narrow my scope…and 1,000 hours later, here we are!

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The combined result of multiple chapters is a small collection of images that represent specific details about my personal style and capture the eclectic blend of all my favorite things. It includes things I already love and wear as well as pointing to pieces that will be true wardrobe treasures. Printing and sorting everything out on the table was the most fun and helpful part. Grouping the images in various ways made it clear which fabrics to use for basics, which key pieces are needed to create my repeated silhouettes, and how to incorporate color, print and embellishment in ways that will truly be versatile. So lets get into the details…

Favorite Silhouettes

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fitted top + wide leg pant // softly tailored tucked top + high waist midi skirt

As much as I tried to narrow down redundant outfits, I could not bring myself to delete any of these because I’m in love with all of these colors and I realize that my collection of tops can be pretty small because I crave variety in bottoms a lot more. This explains why buying a cute new top every time my wardrobe got boring never worked!

The Patterns

  • True Bias Lander Pants: I love the exposed button front and pockets on these pants but I think I’ll end up widening the end of the leg on the full length view.
  • Simplicity 8058 by Cynthia Rowley: I waited for a pattern sale at JoAnn’s and then it was out of stock so I’ve just ordered it from Etsy. The sewn up versions online look promising.
  • Sailor front pant: I’m on the hunt so if you’re reading and have a pattern suggestion, please do share!
  • High waist midi skirt: I’m planning on drafting this one myself, which should be pretty simple.
  • Simplicity 8019: I picked this up in a $1 sale then days later found a vintage (80’s) version that could easily be restyled into this exact style. I’ll be blogging it soon and not sewing this up right away, but might go for a second one eventually.

Pants, Pants and More Pants

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I wasn’t sure how some of these images fit into the big picture until sorting them into groups, but a 40’s style trouser, cropped wide leg pant and a statement fabric boyfriend style have now been added to my sewing list. Once again, variety in bottom colors and silhouettes will increase my outfit combo’s a lot quicker than throwing more tops at the same pair of blue jeans, so this list is particularly long!

The Patterns

  • Simplicity 8243: I picked this up for $1 at a JoAnn’s sale in hopes I can recreate the top left looks.
  • True Bias Lander Pants: I love the look of this pattern enough to plan on sewing up both the full length and cropped version, but the cropped will be a lower priority since I’ve already thrifted a similar style in denim.
  • McCalls M7445: I fell in love with these on Katie’s blog and plan to copy her modifications to make a flat front pair. (These are currently about halfway done)
  • French Navy Calyer Pant: These were an impulse buy the moment she released them. Luckily, I think if I consider statement fabrics like the bottom row above, they actually check a box on my wardrobe wish list.

Gray Basics

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I ended up with a medium gray piece in every single garment category which wasn’t shocking since it’s my preferred neutral so when I make the trip to LA, I know I can pick up jersey, linen, suiting or bottom weight materials and have a project to pair with any or all of them. As for the moon shirt, I’ve been wanting that for so long that I think I’ll just pull the trigger and order it on ETSY.

The Patterns

  • True Bias Lander Pants and/or Cynthia Rowley flares
  • Self drafted midi skirt or Simplicity 8019 70’s button front skirt
  • Alabama Stitch Book: The appliqued tank was on my 2017 Make Nine list and I never made it but still want to wear it and definitely still want to complete a project in this book I’ve owned for years.
  • Menswear inspired vest: This will be lower on the sewing list since I have a great little thrifted vest collection and may score one before I have the chance to sew one, but if I see a good looking pattern on sale I’m open to scooping it up.

Basic Tee’s with a Twist

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I love these simple, comfy, easy to wear but interesting styles and can see pairing them with all of my dream pants and skirts up above. I don’t have patterns paired up with any of them yet but I know there’s plenty of raglan’s to be had and I’m confident if I sat down and did it, I could also draft these using my old college drafting book. The gathered top on the left would best serve me in white but the other two would be amazing just as pictured. Guess I’ll just see what I find on my fabric hunt!

Long Layering Piece

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A lightweight long line layering piece is another item from my 2017 make nine that I never made and still had represented in my final collection of pictures. It’s also one of the few things that actually uses a printed fabric so that will be fun to shop for.

The Patterns

  • Simplicity 8553: Another $1 sale pattern. I’m hopeful View C and the right print will come together to create what I’m after.
  • Button down dress: I’m loving the idea of a dress to wear unbuttoned over jeans so this is on my radar if I see the right pattern, but no plans yet.

Military Inspired

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In time, a vest and jacket version of both the army green and black with gold trim details would be amazing to own, but for the current season I’ll aim for a vest. Guess I’ll decide which gets made first depending on whether I score an army fade garment to upcycle or the perfect gold trim first.

Embroidery

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Get in my closet, all of you! Just love the homespun vibe of these creative pieces.

The Projects

  •  Neckline Embroidery: The perfect accessory and I have a thrifted white tee hanging in my closet begging for the spotlight.
  • Sashiko mended jeans: These have been on my wishlist for quite a while but I don’t have the right jeans to start with…on the thrift list for now.
  • Embroidered white blouse: Those incredible crisp white button downs are by Tessa Perlow and I want to make my own! They combine a look I already wear and love with the handmade details I crave, just total perfection, and designing my own embroidery is something I’ve always wanted to do and never gotten around to.

Feminine Romantic

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I’m consistently drawn to these colors and fabrics and think tops are a practical way to wear them in my real life. I’m thinking one 40’s style blouse (which I’m open to buying in a vintage shop if the opportunity presents itself) and something like the upper left hand tank which is pretty but also very beachy and wearable.

The Patterns

  • Simplicity 8462: The design of the button back blouse in this pattern has potential but I haven’t found any reviews online of it sewn up, so I’ll make a sample to test it out then decide if it’s worth using nice fabric for.
  • Simplicity 8216: I’m in love with this blouse and the many sewn up versions online make it very promising. I definitely want a sleeveless version with the bow but could see myself wearing multiple different views and combinations.
  • My self drafted tank will be a perfect base with a couple quick modifications

40’s Floral Dress

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This will be a lower priority since date nights / girls nights where I’d wear it are seldom, but I will keep my eyes open when fabric shopping for the right floral that feels completely “me.” No pattern yet and no rush, but if I had the need to dress up, I’m not prepared with what’s already in my closet, so it seems fair to include this in my longer term plans.

Accessories

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I have a cool piece of artisan made woven trim I picked up from a Scandinavian Festival that I wear as a necktie like this photo. I LOVE it and could add one or two different variations just to switch things up. I used to go for statement jewelry and I was surprised to see that there’s almost no jewelry in my images, but instead, a garment as a stand out piece with the exception of the occasional woven belt.

Colors

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These two non-outfit images made the cut for the mood and colors. Wes Anderson, how I love thee!

From the Runway

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Last but not least, I had to take a moment to compare my findings to my runway inspiration because I’m obsessive thorough and found plenty of overlap! The green and blue, pink and red, sleeveless crew neck, buttoned up, and St Laurent were all clearly translated to looks I can reach for on any given day. The one thing that didn’t come through in my street style inspo is the Coach 90’s vibe, so maybe I’ll just have to appreciate that from afar and not bring it into my closet just yet. I do question whether you’re too old to play with a trend that’s happening for the second time in your lifetime…maybe so? I haven’t completely ruled out Doc Martens though, so maybe not??


This whole exercise became more of a long term handmade wardrobe plan than simply a seasonal update, but I’m okay with that because I waste a lot of potential sewing time stalled out between projects not knowing what to do next. Also, since I plan to drive down to LA to shop for fabric, it will be nice to have a specific list to work with and stash materials for multiple planned projects at once.  Trekking down there with my 4 year old will be…interesting…better make it worth it!!

In other news, I ordered a tri-pod that allows my camera to shoot in portrait orientation and a cordless remote because my camera situation has been putting a real damper on my blogging abilities. When it arrives, I actually have two projects to share and would love to play around with some outfit round ups and things. Back soon…

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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!

Cut & Paste

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

Collage A Day In May: Part 2

I didn’t intend to get halfway through June before posting the rest of my project from May but here we go!

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I love how flipping through this notebook not only inspires a myriad of project ideas, but evokes memories from the different times in my life when I collected each one. It’s surprising how well I recall each one after so many years…a human ability that’s apparently shared by the pigeon 🙂

Collage a Day In May

I’ve been working through some serious purging in my studio and in the process unearthed 20 years worth of old images that I’d always intended to create an inspiration notebook out of. The point of all the purging is to take a now or never approach to the excess materials I’ve hoarded so I decided to do my own little personal challenge and make a collage each day in May. With them sorted and clipped it’s been a perfect daily practice, only taking about 15 minutes. It’s also reigniting my passion for fashion and the dreams of my 21 year old self, fresh out of fashion school…will see where that leads!

Here are my first ten pages…

May 1

May 1

May 2

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May 3

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May 4

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May 7

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At first I just started gluing without overthinking it, but each one that followed became it’s own creation with a specific mood or color scheme. Pinterest is amazing, but I just love the process of arranging images on a page to make a whole new composition. So much fun!

See Part 2 of this post here