Project Sewn and My Signature Style

Iris Apfel for Mac
Iris - Mac Cosmetics Ad
Project Sewn 

The votes are in and a big congratulations goes to Oona from Oonaballona for her impressive "Eye of Iris" which was inspired by the unforgettable and one of a kind fashion icon Iris Apfel. Her winning entry consisted of:  a  wool sheath, an elaborately patterned coat, and a pair of fury leg warmers, my favorite part of her ensemble. All self made I might add.

In my opinion "Eye of the Iris" was this week's most unique entry and it definitely embodied the spirit of  Ms. Apfel.  Like, Ms. Apfel, Oona certainly has a very outspoken style without ever having to say a word. Her interesting mix of fabrics and accessories scream that she's gonna do her thing, her way, forget silly fashion rules!

Coming in a close second was my personal pick, Steam Train Frock, by Kathleen of Grosgrain.  Her outfit was inspired by her icon, Ulyana Sergeenko. Her ensemble was a combination of a self-drafted warm brown self drafted wool/fur 3-tiered circle skirt and a self-altered, recycled black sweater accessorized with a skinny black belt at the waist. The pictures of Kathleen in the outfit are in my opinion truly breath taking.  I'll admit that I wasn't familiar with Ulyana Sergeenko before this competition, but after checking out these images of her on the web, I totally get why Kathleen chose her. I think that Kathleen's Steam Train Frock is a great interpretation of  Ulyana's modern yet turn of the century styling. 

Project Sewn has really gotten off to a great start and I am really looking forward to seeing the entries for next week's "Make it Pink" challenge. Be sure to check out the entries on next Tuesday. 

My Signature Style
In the meantime, I'm very busy working out my own signature style.  In fact, I am very excited to say that I have found a very fun and useful tool that is making that task quite easy. Once I have my style figured out,  I'll share what it is and the process and tools that I am using to sort it all out.


Basic Sewing Patterns/Project Sewn

Basic Sewing Patterns

After seeing the amazing pieces that Nikki Brooks over at beautejadore made using M5927 as a base, I have been on the hunt for a basic fitted dress pattern that has a separate bodice and skirt. She made this neoprene dress, this black leather and brocade dressthis lemon peplum top, this herringbone dress and this lantern sleeve dress.

It would seem that Nikki is not the only one who takes a base pattern and changes it up to create other great pieces, SewpetiteGa likes to use M5972 for many of her creations.  She used it to make this  Kate Spade inspired dress, this J.Crew Factory Inspired dress, this plaid peplum top,  and this  white sheath dress w/ a removable peplum.

I really think that this concept of using basic patterns as a basis for the staple pieces of my homemade wardrobe will suit my lifestyle very well. While I will on occasion sew up a few trendy pieces, my primary focus will be on whipping up "tried and true" pieces with simple classic lines. Once I get the fitting down pat, I anticipate that using basic patterns will save me construction time and produce a better final product that I will love to wear over and over again.

Here is what I'll be busy doing over the next few days:
  • Determining the clothing styles that look good on me
  • Taking inventory of my closet 
  • Purging clothes that don't fit  
  • Taking inventory of both my pattern and fabric stash
  • Purging  patterns/fabric that don't represent my style
  • Shopping for basic patterns that can be used as a base for my staple pieces

Project Sewn

As a side note, I am very excited to say that the first week of Project Sewn is underway and let me tell you, the contestants don't disappoint with their entries for the Fashion Icon Challenge.  Their choices of icons range from the legendary Katherine Hepburn to the more current Ulyana Sergeenko. Each of the ladies have put a lot of work into their entries.  Right now Oona from  Oonaballona and  Kathleen from Grosgrain are battling it out for 1st place, but they'd better watch out because Sunny from A fashionable stitch is right on their tails. I can't wait to see who wins the challenge this week. My vote is for one of the top three ...... I'll keep that to myself until the results are announced on Friday. Go over to projectsewn  to see this weeks entries and to cast your vote.


Pattern Shopping

I was so happy to find out that my local Hobby Lobby is having their $.99 sale on Simplicity patterns this week. When ever patterns are on  sale for $.99 at Hobby Lobby, I am usually the first person to walk through the door on Monday morning with my list of desired patterns in hand. I head straight for the fabric department and straight to  drawers where the patterns are kept. No looking through the pattern catalogs for me because I don't have time for that.I don't want to risk the chance of someone else walking in and snatching up my precious picks!

Of all the places that I shop for patterns on sale, I love shopping for my patterns at Hobby Lobby the best because:
  • The competition is not as steep there because all of  the "real" sewers are at Joann's or Hancock Fabrics.
  • I am always able to find the patterns that I am looking for
  • Hobby Lobby is a closer to where I live
  After careful consideration I picked up these two dress patterns:

Simplicity 1650
See  Here
Simplicity 1802
See Here

And this pencil skirt pattern:

Simplicity 1541
See Here

My main intention was to purchase a basic dress pattern with a separate bodice and straight skirt. Because I am a size smaller on the top than the bottom, I am hoping that this type of dress will be easier to fit than a sheath.  Although 1650 was not exactly what I was looking for, I think that it will suit me just fine. Currently I do not own a classic pencil skirt, so I thought that 1541 would fit the bill.  I picked up 1802 because I really like the detailing in the bodice and skirt. If I were to make it, I would omit the piping because it would be a bit too much going on for my liking.


Game On

I am so excited that the new season of Project Sewn is underway. In case you haven't heard about it, Project Sewn is a four week sewing competition between 6 seamstresses/designers.  Each Monday, the projects are posted online to be voted on by each of the competitors and the online community. The results for each weeks competition are posted on Friday of each week. Each week the designer with the lowest combined score is sent packin' until the competition is narrowed down to 3 designers.  The votes from week 4, determines who will place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. 

I'm particularly interested in how this season turns out because I have frequented the blogs of several of this season's contestants and I greatly admire their creativity and amazing sewing skills.  I can't wait to see what they each come up. I'm sure that it will be most interesting because they each have such a unique point of view.

Others in the sewing community can also sew along with each challenge and post their entries on Monday - Thursday.  On Friday, these entries are voted on as well and a winner is announced on the following Monday.   

Here's a rundown of the themes:

Week #1 (02/03)Fashion Icon Challenge: choose a favorite fashion icon and let the inspiration for your outfit begin from there! 

Week #2 (02/10)
Make It Pink: from rose, fuchsia, to blush, bubblegum, or neon---think pink! (and your style of course) 

Week #3 (02/17)
If the shoe fits" Challenge: use a favorite pair of shoes from your own closet (or some new ones for Christmas!) as an inspiration for your outfit 

Week #4 (02/24)
Signature Style week:  Make something that is your strength as a seamstress and unique to your style!

Here are the contestants for this season:

The entries for the Fashion Icon challenge will be posted next Monday and I can't wait to check them out and give you my personal take! Read more about Project Sewn here.


Goals For This Year

2014 is here and it's time for me to get back to work in my sewing room. In order to stay focused and productive, I have decided to set a few goals for myself.    

  •  I will sew amazing clothes that Rae and I will actually wear. Last year I sewed three maxis that were only worn once, a dress that I loved but that I didn't love on me,  a dress that Rae never wore, and a few other pieces that just didn't work. I have since come to the realization that I will have to be more practical and resist sewing things for myself or Rae that don't really translate into our everyday lives.

  • I will participate in at least 1 sew-along. I attempted one last year, but I did not see it through because I was having some fitting issues and I didn't bother to work the issues out because I actually didn't like the way the skirt looked on me enough to bother.
  •  I will schedule a regular time for sewing. Last year I really struggled to stay motivated and I think it was partially because I wasn't sewing often enough.
What about you? What goals have you set for yourself this year?