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Taking baby steps: Identifying my “style”

High on my success with holiday pillow covers, I decided to tackle something a bit more challenging. I settled on a skirt. I figured it can’t be that tough- no arm holes or crotch area to worry about. It all seemed pretty straightforward.

I decided my next step was to figure out what specific skirt to make and how to do it. I have one major concern regarding the creation of clothing- I want to really wear what I make without looking like a weirdo. Most of the patterns I see in the fabric stores freak me out. The apparel looks dated and the proportions often seem off. I refuse to look like a bag lady or someone who just stepped off of the Little House on the Praire set.

I cruised around online to see what other sewing bloggers are creating. Holy, Prada ladies- cool it with the huge patch pockets. They are universally unflattering (there are some exceptions, but not many). I also discovered that sewing bloggers are a small group who tend to get excited about and create clothing using the same patterns. Coletterie’s patterns seem really popular. I can’t tell you how many beignet skirts, peony dresses, and sorbetto tops I found featured on sewing blogs. Obviously, the people at Coletterie are doing something right. Since I figured she’s an expert, I bought the owner and founder of Coletterie’s book, The Colette Sewing Handbook to officially get me started down the road to apparel making.

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My copy of the Colette handbook

Chapter 2 suggests coming up with a “thoughtful plan” for your sewing. In other words, figure out your personal style and stick to it as you sew new pieces for your wardrobe. Although I am still pretty clueless, I do know that creating apparel from scratch takes a significant amount of time and effort. I can’t image dedicating time and resources to something you don’t plan on wearing regularly. I decided to take the book’s advice and define my style before I made any creation decisions. This was tougher than I’d anticipated. When I go shopping, I know what I like. I think I’m pretty good at selecting things that look good on me, and I haven’t made a what-was-I-thinking clothing purchase since 2009 (an unfortunate lavender top with puffy sleeves and an empire waist that makes me look pregnant- oops). It’s one thing to select one item from several in a store, but to start from scratch.. I needed to figure out what exactly made my clothing work for me, so I started taking a pictorial record. Below are some of my favorites. (I didn’t intend to share these images publicly, so please excuse the funky angle and my lopped off head.)

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Lunch and shopping with girlfriends. shirt- Gap, skirt- Loft, sandals- Nine West

I think these pants are great! Pants and shirt- Old Navy, sandals- Nine West

I think these pants are great! Pants and shirt- Old Navy, sandals- Nine West

A recent acquisition- the "Bridget" dress from Banana Republic, shoes- Nine West, necklace- Francesca's

A recent acquisition- the “Bridget” dress from Banana Republic, shoes- Nine West, necklace- Francesca’s

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Finally, a picture with my head! My university instructor look- jacket- Gap, turtleneck- Banana Republic, skirt- Loft, tights- Target, booties- White House Black Market, necklace- Francesca’s

The images helped me come to a few conclusions. First, I favor vibrant pops of color. Second, I wear a lot of slim fitting skirts and loose fitting tops. Third, I wear lots of long necklaces and scarves (no scarves pictured here, but quite a few showed up in my photo collection). I wear a lot of navy, black, and red. I realized I own only two garments with ruffles, none with puffy sleeves (except for the aforementioned shopping mistake which I never wear), and only one pastel colored top. If I were to label my style, I guess preppy and classic are terms that fit.

Armed with a better understanding of my style, I started searching again for a skirt project. I fell in love with this cutie in the window of J. Crew a while ago (click to see the city mini in Dublin tartan). Unfortunately, at $98 it’s out of my graduate student budget. Then I found this tutorial by Elisabeth over at Growing Home. It’s inspired by the J. Crew skirt! Obviously, this was the skirt sewing project for me!

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3 thoughts on “Taking baby steps: Identifying my “style”

  1. Good luck with your new sewing endeavours, that skirt look do-able for a novice and if you do up a mock (muslin) first you’ll be more confident working with your main fabric. I look forward to seeing the finished garment.

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