Friday, January 19, 2018

Color Matching Solutuions

I often need to go buy fabric to "go with" an existing outfit or existing fabric, and when I'm not doing a Ready To Wear fast I might want to buy clothing, too.

But as I found out when i was in fashion design school...dragging around a baggie of fabric swatches is not fun...

And dragging around your five favorite skirts is impossible!

So i started bringing home paint swatches. (the photo  above is a bunch of purple and violet tones i picked up recently)

  Once i get home i can match the paint swatch to the color of clothes or fabric, use a paper punch to cut a small bit out of a paint card, etc.  It makes it MUCH easier  to match a color if i just pull a small Altoids tin of paint chips out of my purse, or have them pasted into a notebook!

I also use "swatch buddies" (see photo above) which is sold for quilters to carry small swatches of fabric neatly. ( you can make your own of course!) I started with the original as shown, but because i work so much with prints i moved to the larger size Swatch Buddy so you can see more of the print

And finally...
When i was accepting commissions i found out that my clients "royal blue" might not be MY "royal blue" (sometimes their "royal blue" was my "turquoise" or "navy"!)

 ...and explaining a match online could be difficult since computer colors look different on different monitors. ..

Most of us can't afford Pantone swatch books ( even if I had one, my clients wouldn't)

The solution was simple: DMC embroidery floss is matched to within a hair worldwide.

I would tell my client to tell me the code number for the matching DMC floss, and i bought the sample book so i had every color. 

Its a lot easier to carry paint chips, bits of floss, or orderly swatches of fabric with you when you are shopping for a matching blouse, or the fabric to MAKE that matching blouse!

I hope this helps!

Swatch Buddies can be found in your local quilting shop or fabric store, but  if you dont have one near you you can make your own with key tags, or punched out gift tags and double sided tape, or:

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 NO RTW Challenge

Every year i say i am going to sew my wardrobe , not just buy things, and every year ... well.. obviously i need incentive, so...

This year i am joining the RTW fast hosted by "Goodbye Valentino " .  Every year there is a challenge to buy NO Ready To Wear except for underwear, socks, and shoes.

Here is the  social media badge for people in her group:

"What constitutes an RTW fast? Refraining from buying ALL outerwear, dresses, tops, pants, shorts, sweaters, coats, exercise clothes, jeans and bathing suits. Shoes, socks and underwear are permitted"

So if you see that badge it means the person is particpating in her challlenge.

If you are doing it according to her rules... that includes no buying thrift store clothes either (although yes you can accept gifts) the ONLY exception is wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses.

if you want to give it a whirl, but you aren't up to  the Goodbye Valentino version, i made a logo of my own.  so if your version includes thrift store shopping, or "only buying tailored jackets" or whatever... this one is available for you to use (just credit me if anyone asks and don't put your name on it, thanks)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Working Toward A Vacation

Mood Board
This is basically the same post as is in my  fashion design portfolio blog, BECAUSE this is a capsule wardrobe  for travel concept.

For this project I chose to design a collection that could transition from a work related trip, to a vacation.  My target customer might need to attend a business seminar  during the day, and go out for  a social  event in the evening, or may have a day to "play tourist" in between meetings.

This is not entirely hypothetical, as my parents often combined vacations with  work related seminars or overseas  work related trips, and  luggage space was always at a premium!

In addition: Many  tourists destinations have specific dress codes, such as the Cathedrals and  places of interest in Europe which often required sleeves or  a more modest  look. 

When I was traveling Europe as a teen, many of my fellow tourists  who dressed for long walks and  crowded bus rides could not enter  some of the  tourist destinations!  Having a scarf or two  packed in my luggage (as well as a multi purpose wrap) meant that i was able to  go from  walking around comfort to  Cathedral tours.

Of course for even a pure vacation, the idea is to  pack  with space to bring home souvenirs.... expanding totes, and a  mix and match  packable wardrobe  make that possible.
 This was a "digital only" collection, which means I did not have to  sew the sample garments.  I did all the same research I would normally do, and  was required to improve my photo shop and illustrator skills for this class.

 The concept, which seems to be my niche, is a capsule wardrobe.  This capsule is intended to be useful for one of those "working vacations" where you  have a lot of meetings and  need for business suitable clothing, but you also have a lot of need for social event clothing.

So, this capsule had to  be:
  1. Modest enough  to handle tourism (and business meetings) in  a variety of cultures
  2. Dressy enough to go to events (but suitable for business events)
  3. Professional enough to  handle a board meeting by Skype at least
  4. Casual enough to be able to relax and have fun in...

while all fitting into  the luggage for a plane or cruise ship.

 One dress, one jacket, one cardigan wrap, three tops, one pants, one skirt

line sheet page 1

line sheet page 2
 By making it available in multiple colorways, including a print that mixes with  all  of them, a careful selection of pieces should enable  you to create  enough different outfits  to manage  anything a working vacation throws at you.

of course you need a purse:
Accessory Design Sketch and Line Sheet
Everyone on a vacation needs a tote bag for those shopping excursions (or to carry your dress shoes while you wear your hiking shoes), but if you are going to go someplace nice you need a nice purse...

I combined them.

 This was my first class to require we design an accessory. I had MADE them before, of course, but  illustrating them properly was new to me.

The  dressy clutch unzips  into a tote bag for shopping to night on the town convenience, and has multiple  possibilities to make it  unique, like different straps, and decorative tassels.

Fabric samples
The  decorative sheer fabric I used on the dress  and top overlay is an Italian embellished sheer, with  fabric ribbon embroidery all over it in addition to the print.  I own a few yards of this and always wanted to use it in something....

and that leopard print and roses fabric?  Its a scarf panel.  I live in hopes of finding  (or making) it in yardage someday....

In keeping with the idea that this  collection has to  be able to work for an extended trip, Everything in this collection is washable.  Except the items that have the sheer embellished overlay , everything is machine wash warm, tumble dry low or lie flat. The Italian sheer embellished items are hand washable.


so if you were building your capsule from this collection, you would first consider where you were going and HOW MUCH time you will be spending  at which type of activity.
 how much "business" how much "party" how much "semi casual walking around"?

because if you will be  needing mostly  dressier clothing your packing list will be very different than if you are MOSTLY going to be walking around  doing tourism.

you can pack for both from this collection, but you would pack differently.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

apologies for the long hiatus

my apologies for the  long break....

my father was dealing with preparing for heart surgery  when they found a tumor
the tumor is indeed malignant.
based on his existing health, and in consultation with his doctors, it has been agreed that he would not benefit from surgery, chemotherapy   or radiation.

he is going home to home hospice care.

mother has asked that the family be kept in people's thoughts and prayers, and i second that.

obviously family has taken priority  over any other activities.  i will try too update my  blogs (i know i am behind) as i can, but thank you for your patience and understanding.

thank you

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A New Capsule Wardrobe: Choosing Patterns and Adding Ready-To Wear

Vogue Pattern 1132
First of all, any time you  see a pattern that has  multiple pieces, often shown combined in different ways  (like Vogue 1132 shown above) that is a capsule wardrobe ready to go.  No additional thought required, really. You just have to make up the patterns in a choice of colors that  look good together, and perhaps make up one pattern (like a dress, or the skirt) twice.

In the images shown above you have a vest and pants made in solid grey, a jacket made in white, and a skirted suit (skirt and jacket) in a grey plaid.  The jacket is made twice with minor variations.  pair this with  different shirts and you can create a large number of looks  with that one pattern envelope.

It happens to be a style I am very fond of: I love the riding jacket look of this set, and I prefer my skirts to be full and rather long.

That set is rather  formal; here is one that is more casual (but can still be worn in an office):

Simplicity wardrobe 2539

 This pattern includes a long or short  jumper/dress, a vest, a jacket and a pair of pants. In one look (all in beige) the jumper is being used to create the look of a skirted suit, in the other its shown in a print over a turtleneck.  This set would change character rather drastically depending on your choice of material.  As shown it is a  rather casual, but still office acceptable, look... Sew this same outfit in hand painted batiks,  pieced silks, and  the look changes.

So, to get back to a more classically styled set, we have Simplicity 1784 (I already told you I like my skirts long):

Take a good look at the suggestions shown in the line art (on the right side)... a textured grey skirted suit, a white  blouse, a pink blouse, a patterned pink/white/black skirt, and a pair of black pants.  With just the items as shown you could combine  this into a variety of looks.

Most of the time, you will not be so lucky as to have an entirely self contained "wardrobe in a single pattern set".  Perhaps  the entire  planned wardrobe will not  be to your taste, or it could just be you need some more options to  fill the set out...

As mentioned, most of the time you will either use  items you already own, or buy items that are  outside your interest or skill level to make (For instance: I have NO interest in sewing a turtleneck sweater, but I do like to wear them).

Most  people, even experienced seamstresses,  find certain items to be easily available  for purchase, and  annoyingly difficult to sew.  (I did mention the turtleneck, didn't I?)  For this wardrobe items like a black  cardigan sweater and a few  other  tops  would fill out the Simplicity wardrobe  quite a bit, and you would easily expand the number of  looks.  I would be far more likely to buy a cardigan than try to sew one, and  blouses and  knit tops are easily available at most stores.

Or you can sew...

You can obviously mix and match from different  pattern sets...perhaps you like the blouse from the 1784 set shown , the jumper from 2539 and the skirt and jacket from Vogue 11322.  You can also  look for patterns  for a dress, or a knit blouse or a different skirt" to add to your these:

McCall's 6841 knits only
McCall's 6604 pullover top in a woven material
See and Sew  B5938
Adding a dress (with a different looking skirt) to one of the  packages that  has a skirt and jacket, increases the number of  options, and even if you wear the jacket over it creates a different skirt silhouette.  Seen under a jacket this dress would create the  impression of a pencil skirt, but could be worn  alone.

Always try to aim for different  styles and shapes in your "new" pieces to increase variety when you can.

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 Now as I am sure you have guessed, these were my top contenders  for my initial  wardrobe collection.


A slight emergency has forced my hand a bit on the choices, namely the fact that this Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I have nothing suitable to wear.  So sometime after I finish my homework (due Monday, it is currently Sunday) I will be sewing like a mad woman and trying to  come up with  at least something suitable to wear to a big family dinner.

True to the idea that  you should sew items that  make use of  what you already have that works for you, I will probably be making a skirt and jacket to go with a blouse I already own. (besides, I hate sewing buttonholes)

Wish me luck!

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Links Post 1 in the series, explaining the capsule or cluster concept. Post 3 in the series.

and My Pinterest board, with all sorts of useful links and concepts.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A New Capsule Wardrobe: Choosing a Second Cluster of Fabrics

To recap my last post:
My first cluster of fabrics (or my first capsule wardrobe selection) was chosen in very neutral and subdued tones shown here:

The idea being that I could take it more into the  blues, easily, but also in to  the berries and purples when I expanded the set.

this print  has small patches of precisely the same shade as the tan.
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Last minute  changes:

I added  some heavier  (and dressier) fabrics because I suddenly realized I had nothing to wear to Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday! 

No pictures yet, but I found a micro suede  that was VERY close in color to  my darker brown  fabric (the color is called potting soil ), and a pretty exact match for my cornstalk (I found out it is cornstalk, it just looks different because of the different fabric.)

So I will be making something out of that to wear  for this Thanksgiving.... pray for me.

(Note:micro suede or ultra suede is a polyester fake suede, real suede is leather.... which may or may not be cool with you, but real suede doesn't come in  standard widths and  multi yard lengths.  )

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So, given the  berries and purples I will be adding into that first cluster to expand it.... where could I take that to create a second cluster that would  use some of these pieces?

Well, what about white?

The purple will obviously go with that....

but interestingly so will this print which has both white and black in it....

and even this print which has no black at all, but a surprising amount of white:

Of course white naturally goes with black....

 Add in a black and white print and you  have an obvious second  cluster

I happen to have a fair bit of black already in my wardrobe, so adding more white would perk that up a bit and brighten it. If you are wearing  just plain black and white then of course you can add any color at all, since there is nothing to clash with it, which will let me  wear not only the berry and pink tones already discussed, but the bright red, bright blues, and almost any other color that doesn't  pair better with brown.

So there you have it, fabrics for cluster 2,  which take some of my secondary fabrics from cluster 1 and move in an entirely different direction.  The overlapping  fabrics can be worn with either  set as long as I am careful about any trims or  embellishments.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  The previous post, in which I choose the first cluster (group) of fabrics. The first post in the series, where i try to define a capsule wardrobe and  what I am doing....

Friday, November 22, 2013

A New Capsule Wardrobe: Choosing Fabrics

Following the advice of Judith Rasband (Conselle Institute of Image Management) one of the easiest ways to begin building a capsule  (or cluster) wardrobe is to start with a print.

Once you choose a print that looks good on you, you can be confident that any of the colors IN that print will work reasonably well, and you can  simply choose colors from the print in solids to expand your wardrobe.  This concept works well in both  ready to wear and sew your own clothing.

This print is one I chose to begin with for my  new wardrobe cluster. (I had a tough time choosing where to start, I own enough fabric to start my own store!)  I plan on making a skirt, and a blouse or two out of this fabric.

Here is a larger section of the  fabric:
The blue is a bit more muted than I usually wear, but is in the same family as my typically brighter  blue, so this print will work with many items I already own.  That is important since  I didn't want to have to start completely from scratch!

I then needed to select  a neutral color  to  go with  this, and I luckily already owned one!  A nice rich brown linen:

Awesome!  This would make a great casual Jacket and full Skirt, maybe a straight (pencil) skirt and possibly a Dress.
I am not too sure if I would want a pair of Pants in this, since it would wrinkle badly when I sat down.

I want another neutral so I can  mix and match a bit more... and  sure enough I found just the thing:
pardon the shadows, its the lighter color toward the bottom

This is a  moderately heavy cotton in a color called "cornstalk".  It matches the pale cream/tan in my print exactly, and works well with the brown linen too!

This is a heavier and less  draped fabric, so I plan to make a heavier  A-line skirt, perhaps  a straight skirt, a heavier Dress perhaps, Pants could be made in this, and so could a casual Jacket.  I can then mix and match the  two  neutrals with or without the print... and with a lot of other items in my closet already.

I do want  to add one more thing to start with; I want to add a knit.  So far everything has been a woven, if I add a knit  I can make some different styles... but  I do want this to stay "neutral".  Just adding another brown or beige would be boring as all get out though...


The solution is a "fashion neutral" aka leopard print

There you have it, the  4 fabrics I will be using to START my new wardrobe cluster.

I have plenty of room to expand out, based on either the print I started with, or the solids!

Just to give you a few ideas of where you can take  this collection....
obviously you can add blue. 

Believe it or not these two blue fabrics are NOT the same. One of the fabrics is a slightly shiny knit, and the other is a moderately stiff woven.  They are just a tiny bit brighter than my  print, but  they do work well together.

But where else can I take that basic cluster?

Here is a fabric with that same cornstalk color, plus a vibrant pink, and a berry purple!
Cornstalk fabric shown with  light cotton print

 I just happen to have a purple textured fabric to make  something to go with that....
(Trust me they match, cameras do odd things to color, so do  artificial lights)

Now that purple will NOT go with my original print ... but obviously it goes with the cornstalk, and lets me take a  new direction with PART of my  capsule wardrobe.

Or how about this?

This goes with the brown linen, and JUST might let me wear that purple with the brown as well...


This fabric goes with either of my neutrals (and my blues)

in a totally different way than my original print...AND there is my  berry purple again! Awesome!
So far the only thing I cannot mix into this  is white, or black... and there is a bit of white in that  last there is one thing I could wear white with... no way to bring any of my existing black clothes into it though...

And then I found this:

As you can see, by building off one or more of the  4 fabrics in my first capsule collection, I can go in quite a few different directions, and still be sure MOST of it will work together.

I was originally not too thrilled by how "boring" it looked, but it obviously has some potential!

This  therefore will be  the first cluster collection.

I will be  either continuing on to show you the second cluster collection (taking a few of these fabrics in a different direction) or  a few pattern choices, depending on what I finish writing next....
Links:  My previous post explaining the principles of a capsule or cluster wardrobe.