Friday, April 18, 2014

In Search of Productivity and Excellence: A Free Template

My Sewing Friends,
Apparently it's Easter weekend if all the bunny jokes, colored eggs, and elaborate breakfast menus are any indication. How it has snuck up on me, and bemoaning my lack of a new Easter dress (gasp! Can I even call myself a sewist? ;) isn't exactly how I want to spend my weekend. Instead I find myself in a reflective mood.
This is the time of year when we reflect on what a great sacrifice was made for us; I mean, it's not everyday that someone dies for you so you can live in peace knowing where you'll spend eternity. But as I think on this, however unspiritual it may sound I'm contemplating how I'm spending my life HERE. I've been given this great gift of life and how am I using it? How am I using my skills, talents and gifts? Am I using my time wisely and productively? I don't want just my clothes to be vibrant I want a VIBRANT LIFE!
I was listening to Episode 25 of the Thread Cult Podcast the other day, and in the interview with Liesl of Oliver & S they mentioned an article on highly productive people and a graph on time management. As if an interview with Liesl wasn't enough of a "what are you doing with your life?" kick in the pants. :)
It reminded me of my favorite book on organizing for creative people which also discussed how to deal with Important VS. Urgent.

So I created this little printout just so I could sort my own thoughts. You can see some of my big things... and as I look at what I've written I think I put some stuff in the wrong categories. :) Organization should probably be under important not urgent instead of the unimportant category. :)
Just writing it out has really helped me realize where I'm spending some of my time and where it could be better spent....
As my minuscule gift to you I figured out how to upload so you can download a PDF file of this blank chart. Hurrah for learning more computer gobblely goop! If you desire, you can download it HERE! I hope it helps you and however you choose to spend your weekend, celebrating or not; I hope you have a good one!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Create Your Own Color Palette with Crafting A Rainbow

Hello Stashbusters!
Today the lovely Gillian from Crafting A Rainbow is here to talk to us about COLOR!! I'm so excited  she said yes to the interview so let's get right to it!

How did you find your color palette? Did some one show you or was it intuitive? 
I got inspired to explore wardrobe colour palette when Colette had a spring/summer palette challenge a few years ago. That first draft wasn't the most practical (gasp - it contained butter yellow, which would look awful on me!)  but it got me thinking about what colours I like, buy, and want to wear. I kept tweaking my palette until I came up with the wearable, all-season version that I use now! 
I think most people are drawn to colours that look good on them, so my palette colours were definitely in my wardrobe before I made an official palette. One thing my palette did change is that I realised that black is less flattering on me than navy or dark grey. Once I'd figured that out, I made an effort to buy less fabric with black in it, and picked up some grey and navy cardigans at the thrift shop. Back when I first made my palette, colbalt and coral were just coming into fashion, so those were colours that I actively looked for in fabrics.This year I've been trying to find more emerald green to add to the mix. 

What benefits are there for knowing your colors?
I think having a colour palette is SO helpful! 
  • If you see good fabric in your palette colours, it's worth stashing. 
  • If you see fabric that isn't in your palette, make sure you really love it, or just pass it by!
  • Look for shoes, cardigan, tights, necklaces and other accessories that match your palette at thrift shops and sales. Those pieces will get worn a lot if they match your palette, and getting dressed is much easier! (For example, I have the same necklace in hot pink, mint green, and royal blue. Between those three colours, I can match almost every single outfit in my closet!)
  • If you knit, crochet, make jewellery or some other wearable art, making something in your palette colours will help it get worn! 
  • Come up with interesting outfits! We all get stuck in ruts, putting the same clothes together in the same ways... but with a palette it's easier to pick 2 or 3 colours and try to build an outfit around them!

Does it vary with the seasons or evolve at all?
Last year my Me-Made May challenge was to wear at least one of my palette colours every day. By the end of the month, I decided to add dark purple to my palette because it's a colour I like and feel good in. (That said, I haven't sewn a single thing in dark purple since then, so maybe I should take it back off?)
My palette actually doesn't change very much by season, but I do like to experiment with different colours when they become popular. (Could this be the year I sew something neon?) 

How do you suggest a girl figure out her colors? 
I blogged about how I make colour palettes last summer. Basically, I suggest starting by looking at the things you've already sewn, and using a colour grabber tool in a word processor to pick out the exact shades you like. Like the Colette Wardrobe Architect has suggested, think about neutrals as well. Trust yourself - I bet you already pick colours you like, so all you have to do is pull them together into an inspiring palette! (If the palette you end up with doesn't inspire you, maybe it needs some tweeking! Think again about what colours you really love to wear.

How has having a color palette changed or developed your sewing?
I started developing my palette just a few months after I started sewing, so it's hard to say how things have changed... but certainly it's a big part of what I buy and how I sew. I'd say about 90% of my handmade clothes and stash fabric have at least one colour in my palette. Most of what I sew are everyday comfy knits and stretch wovens, and consequently I wear me-mades almost every day. 
More than anything, I think my palette really impacts the fabric I buy. Who doesn't get a bit wide-eyed and greedy during in a fabric sale? My palette really helps me weed out fabrics that wouldn't get worn. Instead, I try to stock on basics that are sure to get used! (For example, I have fabric stashed to make pants in 4 palette colours, and striped, dotted or solid jersey in pretty much all my colors!)

Do you always sew to your color palette? If no, how and why do you use other colors?
I don't think a palette should limit you to ONLY those colours. Rules are meant for breaking, right? As I type this, I'm wearing 3 palette colours (grey, coral, and red), and 1 colours outside my palette (black, which I just told you isn't the best on me!) To me, it's more about feeling like myself. My palette colours make me feel prettier and happier, so naturally those are the clothes I reach for. After all, that's why I put them in the palette in the first place! 

Here are a few more posts I've written about colour palettes: 

If there's any questions, I'd be happy to answer or cheer you on!
Enjoy stashing, sewing and wearing your perfect colors

A big thanks to Gillian for taking time out of her blogging break to share her color philosophy! I totally agree with her method of stashing fabrics! How about you?

Friday, April 11, 2014

How To Get New Stash Without Buying More Fabric: An Interview with Melly Sews

I've discovered a secret! A way to get just what I want without buying MORE fabric! Aren't you dying to know... hehehe
I was delighted when Melissa from Melly Sews took some time to answer some questions I threw at her earlier this week.

Dress Here
How long have you been sewing and what kind of fabric stash do you have? 
30+ years (I started when I was 3) and I actually don't have a huge stash - I tend to buy more for specific projects than to hoard.  My entire stash is on display in this post.

If you have a stash how do you keep it under control? Or does it just run wild?
I'm too organized and a clean freak to let my stash get out of hand. I make sure to wash and then make mini fabric bolts out of everything as soon as it gets home.  

Why do you sew and what made you start dyeing your own fabric?
I sew because I'm picky and I typically can't find what I want unless I make it.  

I think of dyeing being something that needs a lot of special equipment and very messy. Is that true? 
You don't need a lot of special equipment - the entirety of my extensive dye collection and supplies fits in the tub I use to dye my fabric in. It can be messy, but I contain that by dyeing with my dye tub in my bathtub.  (You can read all about here process in detail here!)

Do you have a few tips on supplies or techniques for those of us beginning the dyeing adventure? 
Dharma Trading Co is my FAVORITE! I'd say the procion dyes are the easiest place to start. And to use natural fabrics - cotton is the easiest. Synthetics either don't dye or need different dyes/and or messier more complicated processes. Yarn dyeing with Kool-Aid is also a fun, non-toxic place to start if you like to work with wool. 

So what do you guys think? Have you ever dyed fabric before? I know there are a couple of quality pieces in my stash that I'd love to have in a different color! Big thanks to Melissa for taking time out of her busy schedule and sharing her process with us today!
Will you be dyeing fabric this weekend?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How To Master The Cabarita Collar


This is how I feel guys! Winter will end! I had a mini knit marathon and grabbed this iffy stripe from the stash. I LOVE how it worked up and is my new favorite summer top! The stripes even match one of my wardrobe staples! 
The worst thing about this top is deciding which way to wear it! 
 So I don't know about you but I struggled a bit with my Cabarita's collar and sewed it incorrectly on my first top. This time I got it right and it turned out SO PERFECT! I'd thought I'd share it with you.

1. Lay your shirt front right side up and lay collar right side up on top, matching those squares. Or to say it in a more confusing way lay wrong side of collar on right side of shirt front. :) I serged along the entire shirt neckline edge attaching collar to shirt front.
Here you can see the serging and the under stitching. 
 I used a zig zag stitch to under stitch the serged seam to the shirt. You can see the close ups below.
Top Left: Wrong side. Top Right: Right side
Bottom: Perfect roll collar
 Turns out it really was simple! Hope if you were confused it helped you out too! Cabaritas go forth and conquer Spring!
This is also my Vibrant April Stashbusting project! Whoo hoo for using up a piece out of the stash! A not liked piece to boot! To end this post full of sunshine and happiness, here's my cat who was just chilling out in the tree patch! Isn't he so pretty!

Friday, April 4, 2014

How To Find Your Colors: Resources

Hello My Curating Stashbusting Friends!
  Today I am feeling good because I've got four tops cut out, the sun is shining and I'm wearing a new dress! Plus I'm so excited about COLOR! This time of year is so hard for me because our weather is still fluctuating, leaning heavily to the colder end of the spectrum and all I want it to do is warm up so I can break out the pretty dresses and bask in the sun!
  I'm also really excited because we're finally discussing color. How does it effect your sewing? Or more importantly how does it influence your stash? I've got several links for you today that have helped me on my color search.

There seem to be two approaches to finding your colors: intuitively or by method. I started on my color journey with This post and this post by Steph.
I realized I look much better in creams and ivories than I do in white and discovered I'm a WARM person! I started paying attention when people commented on my appearance. I discovered a warm turquoise is my "magic" color after several people made some interesting comments. If you say I'm "how healthy" and "Oh, you must be feeling good." regardless of how I'm actually feeling, (I'm a type 1 diabetic which gives everyone in the world the right to comment on me) I need to pay attention. :) This is also why my good friend from college loved the way I looked in her turquoise and gold earrings.
Taking into account the colors I love, feel happy and great in and this is my core color palette.
Rich browns, turquoise (don't know why it got so washed out in the photo)
and warm reds, burgundy are my core color palette.
In case you couldn't tell Steph favors the intuitive color approach which was a really good thing because when I tried to do some more research to broaden my color palette and see if there were any great suggestions/surprises for me I found I didn't fit into any one season which made me "soft" which I interpreted to mean I can wear whatever colors I want! ( I can't find the cool website that had all the flow charts but there's tons of stuff out there)

Some other great resources I found are linked below in no particular order.

I just found Into Mind when I was researching building a cohesive wardrobe and love this post on developing your color palette. Here she dissects the seasons and discusses how to use them.

This was a fascinating article about color value that I found in the beginning of my color search. Can Being Colorblind Make You A Better Artist or Designer?

I think everyone knows about Colette's Wardrobe Architect discussions on color.

Color Explorer was a cool website I found where you can design your own palettes!

I've used this information to cull my stash of fabrics I know I probably will never wear or can see myself using anytime soon. Bye bye beauties...  I've also paid more attention to the colors of the fabrics I'm buying to make sure they fit into my general color scheme.

How about you? Do you have a color palette? Do you want one? Do you think all this color analysis is hogwash? Do you have a "magic" color?

PS. Oh yeah, do you have any other great resources on figuring all this jazz out? If you do I'd love to check it out so leave me a link!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

VIBRANT COLOR: April's Stashbusting Theme and Curating Challenge

Hello My Fellow Stashbusters! 
April is here and while I cannot personally testify to the season's changing, I hear and see hope from your photos and believe it will come eventually to this snowy windy prairie. This month harkens back to simpler younger days when friendships were started with the important questions. There was no need to ask your name or your age, just, What's your favorite color?

April's Theme
COLOR! The more the better!
 You can sew anything you want as long as it's bursting with color! 

April's Curating Challenge: We all know that color can influence everything from our appetite to our attitude and it's time our fabric collection reflects that. We've already had a sneak peek on how using color can create a cohesive wardrobe; and we'll definitely be expanding on that theme this month; because knowing the colors we love can help us be wiser in our shopping by identifying what colors we have and want more of. This will ensure that going forth we will truly be curating fabrics we will enjoy whether they are on the shelf or being turned into something else.
From Pinterest to Tumblr Source

Your challenge for this month is to create your own color palette. Don't panic we'll have interviews and a post full of helpful links to get us through this crazy process. Tonight my questions for you are: do you have a color palette? How do you use it? and most importantly, What's your favorite color? 

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Stashbusting or Why You Should Never Shop With Alzheimer's Lady

   I grabbed the first pair of dark wash jeans I saw off the shelf and hustled into the dressing room. Granny Alzheimer was getting fidgety but there was no way I was going to serve biscuits and gravy to the high school boys football team tomorrow morning in the same pair of shorts I'd been wearing all week. That same pair of shorts with that hole in the bum I'd just discovered this morning. Yeah....
   So I ignored the tag proclaiming these jeans had a slimming panel built in, didn't look at the fabric content and didn't really stop to see how they fit. I pulled them on and they didn't fall down so I whisked them off, gathered up Granny before she could disappear among the clothing racks and we headed to check out and home.
   It wasn't until I put them on the next morning and tried to put my cell phone in my pocket that I realized the "slimming panel" meant "we didn't put in the front pockets and all that top stitching that looks like front pockets is FAKE". I got another surprise the first time I sat down then stood back up. I stood up but my pants didn't. They stayed down where they had slid when I had sat. Being tall and these being low cut meant that unless I wanted to start a midriff bearing trend or share my undies with the world I was going to have to do some careful wardrobe planning when I wore these babies.
Look at those weird wrinkles! What kind of fabric does that!
   Plan my wardrobe I did. These were the only skinny jeans I owned and unfortunately were my go to pants for all my tunic tops or any time I needed to be a bit dressy. These were the only nice jeans I had and I wore them. I wore them even after the fabric started showing it's poor quality by getting these weird wrinkles and growing a size after every wear.  I wore them even when I was disgusted with the poor craftsmanship. I wore them.

Today I finished my first Maritime Shorts jeans hack and I am super proud. It was just going to be a tester pair from some navy twill I found in the stash but it was too good of quality fabric to waste so I broke out the top stitching thread and Voila! 
Proud does not fully describe how I feel about these pants. Relieved, elated, delighted! I have a lovely pair of trousers that really don't look this wrinkly in real life. Trousers that fit me very well and don't have weird wrinkles or bagginess in the wrong places. I also used up an entire piece of stash fabric so GO ME! 
It's all in the details. I'm liking these "guts" shots. How about you?
This is my main accomplishment for this month. I also managed to make two simple skirt shorts and a pair of lengthened Maritime shorts. Next month, as I continue my Maritime Marathon I'll show you all my pattern alterations and adjustments. 

My loud red Maritime Shorts! Fun Fun! More guts too!

Right now I am going to try to bask in the glow of what I have accomplished instead of looking at my 
to do list in despair... it's at times like these I wonder if I have early onset dementia because I'm not sure where March went. What did you get accomplished this month?