HELLO I MADE A FAUX ROMPER. Nothing says Chicago Summer 2017 like formal rompers – check that: formal off-the-shoulder rompers – and I, for one, am so tired of looking at them that I went and made myself a pretend romper with straps that constantly fall off of my shoulders. It’s more of a playsuit, if we’re being specific – a very tightly boned playsuit – just perfect for those super casual days when I don’t need a full range of motion nor do I mind fully exposing myself. I wore the shorts on vacation, and my Mother-in-Law declared them to be the shortest shorts she’d ever seen.
Okay, yes maybe.
I love the effortlessness of a tiny one-piece for summer, but we all know how actually very full of effort they are in practice, so I made two pieces. I’ll do what I want.
Always accidentally getting my feet chopped off in these photos.
A better jawline, please.
Matching plaids like a mother.
I can also throw this all in the washer and dryer. Take that, silky rompers of Chicago. GOODBYE.
HELLO I MADE A POET BLOUSE. Is there anything sexier than a ridiculous amount of fabric, like definitely way too much fabric, draped over your body and billowing all around you?
You: “Um …?”
It’s sexy because it’s so perfectly easy, and it’s also straight out of an old English novel, full of romance and vicars and scandal. Can’t you just see some gorgeous, socially frustrated man with curling tendrils, ripping this from my shoulders in a fit of wild passion?
With special details like tiny rows of shirring to shape the sleeves, and a draped, detached cowl at the back, and an insanely soft, liquid-y rayon fabric, I feel easy and confident and loved and like a goddamned fascinating poet. Invite me to your dinner parties.
I also embroidered a tiny pale blue “V” next to a covered button on the silk wristband. Fucking sexpot over here.
Roses are red, violets are blue
P.S. this blouse is basically see-through. GOODBYE.
HELLO I MADE THESE LOUNGE PANTS. I’ve been super excited to get started on lounging pajamas, because, let’s face it, real luxury begins at home. And the pair of tasteless, jersey sad pants from Target that I’ve been wearing for the last three years were SHAMEFUL. True story: I actually felt sorry for my husband every time I wore them. Now I’m gliding around the house like a goddamn boss bitch in drape-y emerald green velvet. NO MORE APOLOGIES.
I made ties, so the waistband can be cinched or relaxed, as needed, and added pintucked pleats for a little interest. The fabric is beyond soft and stretchy and can be thrown in the washer and dryer, so they’re comfy and easy, but NOT ugly as sin. You really can have it all! I’m wearing them right now, and life is glorious.
Wardrobe|Myself items completed:
Blue velvet top (+ 1 pincushion)
Green velvet lounge pants
I also made the top (for New Year’s Eve), but that’s a story for another time. GOODBYE.
HELLO I MADE A PHOTO CATALOGUE. Molly told me I needed to share more pictures of everything, and obviously she was right, so after my fancy closet makeover, I photo catalogued everything left hanging. I mean, I did tops and jackets anyway (bottoms are a whole other category – as are jammies and undies). It feels like a pretty full wardrobe, honestly – even after such a big purge – but I still have to live a life while I work on replacing the one I have now. Ohmigod, you guys, I’M REPLACING MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. Anyway, this is the current situation (I think if you right click and open the image in a new tab you can zoom in a little (CONFIRMED)):
* Anything with an asterisk is something I’ve already made.
The concept is obvious, right? I’m keeping or restyling or repairing or replacing. I’m not going to insult your intelligence any further.
Is this so boring?? I think maybe this is boring for you, but I find it FASCINATING. You should totally catalogue your closet – I have such a new appreciation for my clothes! Obviously do it AFTER a purge – anything you don’t totally love is definitely not worthy of a photograph. I honestly really love everything here. Or I will love it, after I do some repairs and restyling, and when it’s all charted out I can see what kinds of pieces would be great additions. I swear it will be more interesting as I move forward. GOD, YOU GUYS, COULD I DRAG OUT THE INTRO TO THIS BLOG ANY FURTHER?? JUST THROW IT ALL AWAY AND MAKE SOMETHING!
Anyway … only five pieces up there are from other contemporary designers – the shell in the top right square, the blouse in the third row far left, the denim jacket, and the two dark leather jackets – everything else is either vintage or made by me. That feels kind of great. And with the exception of the leather jackets, I hope to replace the rest of it with my own work. I’m sort of tempted to embroider my initials into everything too, just because that feels like a rich person, luxury thing to do. I once read through the descriptions of a bunch of estate pieces, and all of the (very fancy, hand sewn) undergarments had initials AND dates embroidered inside (the royals also did (maybe they still do?) that). 2017 feels like it might be a date I’d love to forget (at least politically), so maybe just initials for me.
After publishing this post I will begin my first monogram on another completed item for myself. This one is also velvet and also completely impossible to photograph. Excited to try to show you, but more excited to start wearing it. GOODBYE.
*HELLO. My closet makeover is taking longer than expected, but here’s a piece I made a couple of weeks ago!
In December, I thrifted this boring blue velvet dress for $4 – definitely hand sewn and definitely from the ’80s (hello SLEEVES!). It needed a little cleaning up to the construction, and some tweaks to make it more flattering, but for the price and sheer amount of fabric, I made sure to grab it and then look at it every now and then.
I had originally planned to shorten it and then use the excess fabric to make tons of weird velvet berries and flowers, spilling over the shoulders and onto the sleeves. And I still really love that idea, but of course once I got going, and began to see what a cornucopia of blue velvet produce would actual mean on my tiny frame, I had to adjust my expectations.
SO. I shortened it, used the excess for a high, twisted tie at the neck (hello, Balenciaga) and created tucks in the sleeves to make them a bit more wow. I also removed the back zipper and arm bands and trimmed all of the edges in a really beautiful matching grosgrain I grabbed from the remnant bin at Soutache ($4).
I made a pincushion out of the berries.
Wardrobe | Myself: Restyled Blue Velvet
I finished it recently and wore it to dinner with a friend that night. She said I reminded her of Marie Antoinette, so I took that as permission to cut off my head and not worry about hair and makeup.
The fabric is so gorgeous, and keeping it simple makes it easy and wearable, but I’m still sort of tempted to make a bunch of removable embellishments. Definitely going to make two pleated, white ruffs to wear above and between those neck ties though.
Wardrobe|Myself items completed:
Blue velvet top (+ 1 pincushion)
If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be back soon with my closet makeover, followed by a total inventory of what’s left hanging. VERY EXCITED TO REPLACE IT ALL.
When I decided to start this project, I never focused on a big cleansing moment. I figured I’d get rid of the things I didn’t love with no great fanfare, just by gradual replacements – certainly not by stopping to thank the lousy bras with wires poking through or the collection of button ups that are boring me to tears. But it’s become obvious that friends are expecting a big gesture, and when I walked into my closet yesterday morning, I suddenly craved one myself.
The amount of things I have to purge isn’t huge – I have a tiny closet and shifted to a smaller wardrobe a couple of years ago – but it is certainly meaningful. To truly keep only really special pieces requires a fair amount of ruthlessness. I already own only one pair of black pants, one tailored blazer, one pencil skirt, and they are all serviceable, but I’ve never liked the fit of the pants, and I haven’t worn the blazer in a year. The skirt is vintage, and it’s fine, but I’ve only worn it twice. It can all be way better and definitely more artful.
So what do I have in my closet now?
At first, I kept almost all of the vintage, but upon more reflection, I’ve decided to stash a fair amount of it away in the archives for my daughter (that includes the sequined pieces and a velvet jacket I made and hand-beaded for myself over a decade ago and wore only once). This is no easy move, but clearing them out will allow me to focus on what I really want to make for myself. The closet is now mostly bare, with a few pairs of jeans, a handful of pretty tops that I’ve either made for myself, purchased from thoughtful designers, or are vintage, and a few jackets. It’s not nothing, but when my daughter wanted to play in the yard earlier today, I realized I’d better get to work – none of this is casual or sturdy enough for everyday use. I need to always be mindful of how everything fits together and that everything I make feels special, but also purposeful.
Note: I haven’t even TOUCHED my dressers – all the crummy pajamas and t-shirts and socks and undies and sweaters – all the stuff that truly NEEDS TO GO. That’s coming up in Part 2, and in dire need of a major overhaul. And I will definitely not be thanking any of this crap as I stuff it into donation bags.
But First …
Being one to never fully stay on task, as I grabbed armloads of clothes and scarves and bathing suits and belts, it occurred to me that in order to build something that feels like true luxury, I would need to overhaul more than just my wardrobe. The closet, with chipping paint and cobwebs, was a reflection of the tired, dusty wardrobe within. I love the idea of wiping the slate clean and creating a little jewel box for myself (emphasis on “little” – seriously, guys, I have a very tiny closet), and so I’m sacrificing a couple of sewing days to focus on that. But I need to go so fast, because rolling around in the yard in a rare Victorian lace blouse today did not feel good.
HELLO I’M SAD. Sewing brings me incredible and immense joy. It’s also the source of (perhaps literally all) my waking- and sleeping- nightmares. The constant deadlines and pressure and worries have become too much – I’m losing myself under the weight of it all.