crafts · Me-made March · outfits

Me made March: the final roundup

Here we are – the last days of my challenge!

Day 28

Dress: Vogue 1176

Cardigan: Old Navy

Shoes: Alfani

This is the first time I’ve worn this dress – it feels so dressy to me, and I’m not really big on straight skirts.   I wore it to my recital, and I feel like it was perfect for that occasion!

Day 29

Cardigan: Jalie Pleated cardigan

Dress: Vogue 8923

Boots: Impo

This is another dress I’m trying to rescue from obscurity.  It’s very clingy, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I do tend to feel self-conscious when something clings to my hips.  The solution?  A long cardigan!

Day 30

Dress: Butterick 5523

Tights: Forever 21

Boots: Poetic License

I love this dress – it’s so versatile, and most of all comfortable!

Day 31

Jacket: Simplicity 2443

Top: American Eagle

Skirt: Vintage Pierre Cardin, shortened

Shoes: Cole Haan

It’s funny- I don’t really love this outfit (I feel like the boxy jacket + full skirt is a bit much) but I got several random compliments on it today!  I do love the individual parts.

All my photos from the challenge are in my flickr set here.

What have I learned from this challenge?  I’ve learned that I actually prefer my handmade items – I did not miss my other closet items a bit!  I feel like I’m doing well making items that I want to wear – in particular, I wear a lot of knit dresses, so I’m glad that I’ve hit those hard since the last challenge in September.

I’ve worn my knitted items this month, which has inspired me to start knitting again – so excited about that!  I can’t really explain to you why I stopped.  I think that I associated many of those items with the period of my life when I made them – a time when I was working a job that I hated, when I felt trapped and alone.  Now that I am happier, I’ve found it hard to shake the memories.  Perhaps those items have finally lost their bad associations for me?  I tend to do that… if, for example,  I wear a certain perfume during a bad event, I might remember that event and stop wearing the perfume.  Of course, I do still have fears for my wrists, so my knitting will be slower, but I’m finally motivated again!

Traveling while participating was a challenge, but it helped me to really distill my travel wardrobe.   For once I didn’t overpack (though there were two dresses I never wore!)  I missed a few days of the challenge – some without photos, some where I only wore concert dress, and some where I only wore pajamas (while getting rid of the nasty Italian virus I picked up!)

My summer sewing plans include many cute dresses.  Self-stitched September was really life-changing for me.  I realized that I wasn’t dressing to make myself happy.  What makes me happy?  Wearing dresses most of the time.  Now I do, and getting dressed every day is so fun!  I plan to continue that into warm weather, hopefully making and wearing many cute dresses.  I also plan to knit some cardigans – I have many black/neutral cardigans, but not so many colorful ones.

I’m on spring break starting today, so I hope to get in some good crafting time.  In addition, one of my friends and I are going to do a thrift expedition/clothes swap, so I’m really looking forward to that!  Thanks to everyone who has commented – and congratulations to my fellow me-made-March participants.  I have enjoyed seeing what you are wearing every day!


crafts · finished objects · knitting · Me-made March · outfits · Sewing

Me made March day 25: Damask

Shawl: Damask, handknitted by me

Cardigan: 525 America

Dress: Simplicity2848

Shoes: Bass

This outfit could be called “I have new things, so I wore them all at once.”  I’m trying to break in the shoes (which I would likely not usually wear with black tights, but they are a tad big, so I want to be sure they are broken in before I give them a chance to cause blisters.)

I knit the shawl on size 4 needles (I am a loose knitter.)  It does require attention, because the entire thing is charted, but I would describe it as pretty low stress for lace knitting.  I didn’t get it to block into pretty scallops because I was trying to stretch it larger.  I may reblock it without pins – I’m not thrilled with the points.

I had a heck of a time getting photos of damask:

It’s very, very pink.  Which I actually like.  I wore it out to walk to the coffee shop today, along with my white shoes and this coat:

which is actually even brighter than it looks in this photo, believe it or not.  The guy who made my coffee said “wow, that’s some bright outfit.  You’re like dressed as a cartoon.”  Um, thanks?  Whatever.  I like my bright colors!  Just because, here are the new shoes:

Love them.  I wanted something that had the look of an oxford to wear with dresses for walking.  I don’t really think that traditional oxfords are very flattering to the leg, so I got these.  They aren’t as high cut (don’t go as far back on the top of the foot) as traditional oxfords.  They’re also very comfortable!  I would say they run maybe half a size large – I ordered my usual size, and ended up having to put in heel inserts to make them fit perfectly (they were close enough that I didn’t bother exchanging for a smaller size.)

I have no exciting weekend plans other than sewing – yes, we are social animals around here!  I have my studio recital on Monday night, so I’m putting a lot of time and energy into preparing for that.  Recitals are stressful, and I will be glad when it’s over!

crafts · knitting · Me-made March · outfits · Sewing

Shawl blocking, more MMM

I’m making a real effort to include more handknits in my me-made-March efforts.  Here is today:

Shawl: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark.  I knit this quite awhile ago – the photos on my Ravelry page are from before we bought our house!

The rest of my outfit is not exciting – today I have a concert, so it’s all black again.

Cardigan: Style & Co, thrifted

Dress: Ann Taylor, thrifted

Tights: H&M

Boots: Impo

Here is yesterday’s entry:

Jacket: Simplicity 2443

Dress: thrifted

Shoes: vintage

Yesterday it was nearly 80 degrees.  Today? 40.  Yes, that’s what weather is like in March.  I have to drive to Carrollton, KY tonight, so I actually care what to weather is (I am bad, since I work at home, to just adjust my home temperature to however I want to dress.)

And… I finished knitting the Damask shawl.  Yes, already.  I really think my single-mindedness is what kills my knitting mojo.  I cannot work on two things at the same time, no matter how hard I try!  So when I start sewing something, I inevitably forget to work on my knitting.  I made sure to finish this in one go, but I don’t always have the patience.  Here is is unblocked (doesn’t look like much!)

I’m not great at blocking shawls, I know I don’t use enough pins or worry about things being perfectly even.  What’s the use, when I know it’s going to get many layers of cat hair on it while its wet?

Leon would like you to know that he is definitely not thinking about laying on that the second my back is turned… no sir.  What is it with cats and wet things?  Is it only my cat?  He loves to sleep on blocking sweaters more than just about anything!

I will have a finished post for the shawl once it’s all blocked.  I’m hoping it turns out pretty!  After I get back from my concert tonight, I plan to start my new dress (single-minded, I tell you.)

crafts · Me-made March · outfits

Me-made March day 22

March 22, 2011
March 22, detail
Dress: Vogue 8577, cost to make roughly

Sweater: Vintage, thrifted

Pin: Thrifted

Shoes: Keds, thrifted

I’m finally back on track with me-made March.  One thing I really enjoy about the challenge is that it gets me to wear my less worn projects.  I don’t wear this dress often – it used to make me feel costumey (though not anymore… I am used to it at this point) and it attracts lint like mad.  I bought this sweater thinking I would never use it, but I wear it all the time.  It’s the perfect length for me, though I suspect it might be cropped on someone with a normal length waist.

I am so ready for spring now.  Today it is in the 70s!  The temperatures are going to go back down later this week, so I’m enjoying them while they last.  It’s so nice to be out of tights – I don’t mind wearing them, but after awhile it gets a bit monotonous!   I even ordered a pair of shoes to wear this spring.  I got the white color, and I’m anticipating them being nice with full skirts, similar to an oxford but more flattering on the leg.

This is what my hair looks like on the second day of a set of Caruso steam rollers.  I started using them in high school, but forgot about them for years.  I saw them a bit back at Sally’s and got a new set.  I love them – my hair is very fine and mostly straight (I have a little wave underneath.)  These work almost as well as a wet set, but I don’t have to sleep in them.  I highly recommend them!


crafts · Me-made March · outfits · Sewing

Tiny shawls: Me-made March day 21


Milkweed shawl detail

Shawl: Milkweed shawl by Laura Chau, knitted in Socks that Rock mediumweight, 24 karats colorway

Pin: Vintage, belonged to my grandma (and it’s lost one of its pretty green stones, sad face)

Cardigan: Ann Taylor, thrifted

Dress: Ann Taylor petites, thrifted

Shoes: Nurture

Today one of my piano students said to me “why do you always wear weird things?”  I’m not really certain what would be considered “weird” by an elementary school student, but apparently it involves tiny shawls.  I think, all things considered, that I will take the fashion opinions of 7 year old boys with a grain of salt, yes?

I thought I would get out this shawl, since I’m knitting another mini-shawl.  I love to wear them this way, turned around backwards and tied with a pretty pin (I have a ton of brooches… my grandma didn’t have pierced ears, so all of her jewelry obsession came out in pins and necklaces.)

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t use this yarn for another shawl.  It’s very pretty, but it’s so springy and tightly wound that it refuses to hold blocking, especially in the garter stitch.  Even so, I’ve worn this quite a bit.  I hope to wear my damask shawl as much.   I am on row 54.  The great thing about the pattern is that it is knit starting with the long edge, so it gets shorter every row!

I’m also about to start on a new sewing project:

Simplicity 2209 is one of the new Lisette patterns from Simplicity.  The designer kindly sent me one to try, and I thought it would be perfect for this fun cotton sateen print (from Sawyer brook, still available.)  I was looking for a design without princess seams, so hopefully this one will suit the fabric!

Me-made March · outfits

Me made March: travel edition

I thought I must have been crazy to take the challenge before going on a trip, but it worked out pretty well! I have photos from 6 days of my 12 day trip. An additional 2 days were the same as day 1, as I wore the same outfit to fly every time. I have one day I lack a photo from, because it was so cold I never took my coat off. The rest of the days were days were I only wore my concert black. I sometimes wore my black Jalie pleated cardigan with my black dress, but I mostly wore the other (not me made) cardigan. The weather was decent enough, but inside unheated churches it was often so cold that I could see my breath while I was singing (including the one in the videos posted yesterday.) Here’s what I’ve got!

Day 3 (also days 4 and 14.)

Dress: Vogue 1194

Leggings: Vivienne tam

Shoes: Cole Haan

This was my travel outfit.  It was very comfortable, and easy enough to sleep in on the plane.  This photo was taken in the Dusseldorf airport, and I really could not tell you what is up with the giant monkey hand.

Dress: Simplicity 2443

Cardigan: thrifted

Boots: Alfani

I wore these boots every day, because they were more comfortable than my others.  I also had some trouble with my feet swelling, due to the air travel and all the walking, so these just fit better!  They do not, I would say, exactly go with everything I’m wearing, but you have to make sacrifices when traveling!  This photo was taken in Maiori, on the Amalfi coast.

Dress: Vogue 8667

Belt: made by me

Cardigan: thrifted

Photo taken in Amalfi.

Dress: Vogue 8685

Carigan: Jalie leated cardigan

Scarf: H&M

On the balcony of one of our hotels.  It’s the most beautiful view, and I’m not one who even cares about such things!  This scarf did not make it back.  It was ruined in an unfortunate encounter between me and a glass door in Rome (my nose is not broken, but I did chip my front tooth and bleed all over some very nice Italians!)

Dress: Simplicity 2443

Cardigan: made by me

Scarf: Target

In Florence… I didn’t get any outside photos without my coat on!

Dress: Delia’s

Cardigan: made by me

Scarf: Target

Taken in Montepulciano.

I will do a separate post about my traveling in a bit, so those who aren’t interested can easily skip it.  About the MMM experience – it was great to do while traveling, because most everything in my suitcase went together!  If I had realized how many days I would only get to wear my black, I might have tried harder to get around to making my choir dress.  There were four or five days where I had to wear it all day.  That’s ok though – I feel like I carried the spirit of the challenge through, and now that I’m back home I have access to all of my things!

Me-made March · outfits

MMM day 2


Top: Old Navy

Skirt: Refashioned – shortened and taken in several sizes

Tights: Betsey Johnson

Boots: Impo

I once had a boyfriend who constantly attempted to get me to tan.  He was vaguely obsessed with the idea that being pale is bad.  I didn’t listen, obviously, and continued to insist that I was going to have good skin when I got older.  My heritage is Swedish – I have the sort of pale skin that can tan, but I choose not to go in the sun.  As you can see, it wasn’t the blue wall making me pale.  I am just as fluorescent standing outside in the shade.

This skirt came from Forever 21. I usually wouldn’t bother to refashion something from there, but I loved the fabric on this skirt (it’s a linen that looks like denim.)  It’s been one of my favorite skirts this winter, though it’s probably going to be too short for warm weather, due to my odd prudishness.

This is my last post before my trip – my next photos will be in the airport (maybe during my 7 hour layover in Chicago tomorrow!)

crafts · Me-made March · outfits · Sewing

Me-made March: day one

Me-made March: day 1

Dress: Vogue 8028 (blogged here)

Tights: Hue

Shoes: Kenneth Cole

Necklace: gift

So here we are – day one of Me-Made March!  Self-stitched September was very good for me.  It taught me that I can indeed wear the things that I make every single day without anyone commenting on them looking homemade.  Since then I’ve been wearing my own creations on a regular basis!  It also taught me that I was looking at my wardrobe in a rather wrong-headed way.  I used to save my nice outfits for nice occasions and wear clothes I didn’t like every day.  I couldn’t do that in September, and I bet since then I’ve only worn pants a handful of times.  As it turns out, I prefer dresses.   Who knew?

I bet I have worn this dress more often than anything else in my winter wardrobe.  It’s so versatile, and I love it!  I actually asked for a gray pearl necklace to match it, and my Mom bought me this one for Christmas.  I’m not so much into this sort of necklace, but it works really well with a shirtdress.

The only complaint I have about this dress is that the corduroy is rather stiff on the skirt.  Sometimes it hangs a bit awkwardly, but most of the time I don’t care.  It’s a more casual dress anyway.  I also probably made it a size too big, but I was very concerned about the buttons fitting properly!



crafts · outfits · Sewing

What I’m making & wearing this week

I had a very busy weekend.  We took a trip to see Marc’s parents (and to borrow their traveling gear!)  I also subbed as the pianist for a few masses, which I played while recovering from a severely bruised wrist (I fell on it while attempting to carry a duffel bag to the car… this does not bode well for our trip.)  Last night I finally had time to get started on the project I had planned for the weekend, Vogue 8380.  I’m using a stretch cotton sateen from Sawyer Brook (now sold out… I bought the last 2 yards when it went on clearance!)  It is perhaps a bit heavy for the pattern, though I think it is one of the recommended fabrics.

I only have to add in the zipper and hem the dress – this project is very simple and straightforward.  Last night I based the dress together to try it on, and managed to get myself stuck in the dress.  I usually don’t put in zippers to test sizing – I can wriggle my way into almost anything, being quite double jointed.  What I forgot was that this dress has an empire waist.  I also cut the waistband on the crossgrain, so it doesn’t have any stretch.  The dress fits fine, but I had to hobble up to the sewing room and use a seam ripper to get myself out!  Hopefully I can finish the dress tonight after my lessons are finished.

I’m trying not to wear the clothes I’m taking on my trip this week, because I don’t want to wash them again (and I will be tired of them after 2 weeks of remixing!)  Instead, I got out this dress, which I have neglected since making it.

Dress: made by me, Butterick 5523

Tights: Forever 21

Shoes: MIA

The problem that I have with this dress is that it is long sleeved.  I like to layer cardigans and jackets over dresses in the winter, but the rather thick sleeves won’t let me do that.  It’s also a solid color, and I almost never wear outfits that don’t have any pattern.  I decided to pair it with these tights (I love these tights, and they are on their last legs… time to look for better argyle tights for next year!)  Now the dress feels like me, instead of someone else!

Weird thing about these shoes… I had stopped wearing heels for about a year after I broke my toe, and when I went back to wearing them last year I thought these shoes were hideously uncomfortable.  Now?  I think I’ve grown accustomed to heels again, and they pretty much feel fine!  I am still thinking about getting insoles for them, but I have really, really high arches, and adding depth to the bottom of shoes tends to make them bruise the tops of my feet… so probably not.

fashion · outfits

Outfit of the day & my shoe storage solutions


Dress: Vintage, thrifted

Shoes: Mia

Sorry for the radioactive photo!  I have a lot of trouble getting properly exposed photos when I’m wearing a dark outfit.  I am really, really pale, and all my childhood photo albums are filled with photos of me glowing in the dark.  Still, this was the best photo of the dress (there is another on flickr, but while I look ok (only slightly radioactive) the dress is rather dark.  I get better photos outside, but I don’t have much of a backyard, and I live in a neighborhood with tons of foot traffic – sometimes I don’t feel like being stared at!

This dress is one of my favorite thrift store finds.  I rarely find decent vintage, but I do have a few stores that I visit which I think the pickers avoid.  This dress doesn’t have a lot of hanger appeal, but I love it!  I’m finding that dresses of this era (late 1970s?) suit me.

On to the topic of the day: Storing (and sorting) shoes.

I spent this weekend sorting and culling my shoe collection.  I tend to have a lot of shoes, mostly because I have a really hard time getting rid of any.  I still had shoes from 10 years ago, and I know I don’t wear them anymore!  I forced myself to get rid of 20 pairs, none of which had been worn in the past year, and some which were only worn once (I used to buy a lot of desperations shoes – shoes to match an outfit for one occasion, usually cheap shoes that I didn’t like.)  I’ve also, within the past 2 years, decided that I’m unwilling to suffer foot pain for my shoes.  I do like to wear heels, and I wear them almost every day.  This means that I can’t buy cheap shoes, but since I don’t really buy new clothes I just spend my wardrobe money on my shoes.  I thought I would share a photo of my shoe storage:

Shoe storage

This is just one of those modular wire shelving systems.  Most of my shoes have stacked heels, and don’t fall through the mesh.  I store my flats at the bottom, with the second of every pair leaning up in the back.  I like this system because I can see what I have, and I tend to actually wear them all.  I used to keep them in my closet, but then I wore the same 2 pairs all the time.  I try not to keep anything on the floor of my closet, ever since I had a minor carpet beetle invasion in the house – I vacuum it several times a week!  I haven’t quite figured out good boot storage yet:


I store all my boots with rolled up magazines inside, so that they don’t fall over and crease.  And yes, that is a t-ball bat (you know, in case we hae any really tiny burglars!)  I have a lot of boots, because I wear them most of the time in the winter.  I wear the other shoes in the spring, summer, and fall.  I have very few pairs of sandals (and I had to send back the Seychelles I just got from 6pm – they were too big!)  I don’t wear sandals often… they just don’t go with my wardrobe very well.

Going through the shoes (and getting rid of a bunch) helped me to see where the holes are in my collection.  I do not, for instance, need any more black shoes (especially because I don’t wear them often in warm weather – I don’t care for the contrast.)  I would like a pair of casual oxford type shoes – I am seeing them worn with dresses quite often, and I think it would be nice to have a different type of flat.  I’m thinking of the Caley by Bass.

I like that it has oxford styling, but it isn’t as high cut as the traditional type.  I’m not interested in looking like I’m wearing men’s shoes, and some of the other styles remind me of jazz shoes (which I’ve already got quite enough of, thanks!)

I’m also a bit obsessed with this pair, by Poetic License:

But, they are from last season and seem to be sold out everywhere!  I can find the brown/black color, but it’s the blue with red stitching that I really love.  I might go ahead and buy the other color while I still can.  Wouldn’t they be lovely with a retro dress?  Again, they aren’t too high cut, which keeps them from looking too mannish to me.

Lately I’ve been using Pinterest to keep track of the pretty shoes I find, most of which I won’t buy.  If anyone is interested, the shoe pinboard is here.  I might also get a new pair of sandals for summer, flat ones to wear with maxi dresses, but I have yet to find any that I like.    I don’t know why Sandals don’t appeal to me!  A new pair of Mary janes is definitely in the cards, as my pair of black Mary janes is entirely too uncomfortable for wearing without tights.

I’m also obsessing a bit about what shoes to take on my trip to Italy (in 2 weeks!)  But… once I get my packing wardrobe planned that will be  a separate post.  I have yet to decide whether I’m doing me-made-march or not.  I will be in Italy for half the month, but perhaps wearing my handmade stuff might force me to pack a bit lighter!