Fat travel to Spring

I’m still thinking about travel wardrobes after my ‘Fat Travel Planning’ blog (which was posted a little while ago now) and decided to mock up a travel wardrobe now that I can sew.

Fat travel planning

When I think back on great overseas travel experiences, a lot of my memories are unfortunately regrets about clothing! I remember being hot, uncomfortable, sore, sweaty and generally discontented.

I remember red stinging chub rub in Kyoto, I remember wearing a new shirt for the first time on a 16-hour flight to London only to discover that it made me sweat profusely and made me unusually and embarrassingly stinky. I remember feeling like that was my fault.

Core wardrobe pieces

After working through my most-worn and favourite makes in the last couple of blog posts, it occurred to me that beyond my favourite makes, there are a few pieces which go with everything in my favourites!

You might want to check out ‘Sewing Wins, but why?‘, and ‘Sewing Wins, conclusions‘ before reading this post!

This was a bit of a revelation to me and raises the possibility that certain garments can be used as yard sticks for planning future makes! I got to thinking about these as being ‘core wardrobe pieces’, the foundation which future makes can be built on (or planned on, or the yardstick they can be measured against..).

Waikerie Shirt Peach white-06
Day 1 Snooker-03
Copy of Day 2 Victorian-084

What makes a core piece?

Some of what I’m choosing here comes back to the makeup/breakdown of my wardrobe.

Outerwear makes up the smallest percentage of my wardrobe.
So I think my outerwear should be the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe. Each item of outerwear should go with basically everything in my wardrobe colour-wise. But, because outerwear sits near my face, I’ll also be careful to ensure that they sit within my Warm Autumn colour palette, which will also help to ensure that my outers don’t bring unwanted contrast to my outfits.

Tops are what I have most of
I consider tops to be like the flavour of my outfits, they’re also the item that I have most of in my wardrobe (which I think is pretty standard). The tops are where I branch out on colour and perhaps style a little bit more, although Ill still be careful to keep them relatively Warm Autumn appropriate. I might never make pants in a print, but I do sometimes branch out into patterned fabric for tops.

Tops are generally also the smallest visible item on my body, by which I mean that the colour of the top gets the least amount of real estate on me when I’m wearing it. So the fabric used on a top will be only about 1/3 of me and 2/3rds would be my pants if I wasn’t wearing an outer layer. I guess I’m trying to say that this means tops naturally lend themselves to being an accent.

Pants/bottoms are the 2nd smallest wardrobe percentage
Pants don’t have to be quite as versatile as outerwear, but they need to be more versatile than tops. At the same time, pants are the item that doesn’t go anywhere near my face, so they’re a spot where I can step outside of my Warm Autumn colours. That’s how I’ve ended up with bright pink pants (a shade I would not use for a jacket or a top) and navy tencel pants which both get a lot of wear.

Wool Glebe Pants-05
Glebe Pants Belmore Waikerie 2

Core wardrobe pieces

There were some conclusions I drew from my experiment, which included comfort, easy to pair, easy to dress up or down, fabric didn’t ‘say too much’, but they’re also makes that have proven to be versatile and well worn.

Glebe Pants are a wardrobe staple for me but rather than narrowing it down to a particular pair of Glebe in a specific colour, I think that if a top doesn’t pair well with wide-leg pants because the length is wrong, because it can’t be tucked, or because it’s too fitted… then it’s just not going to be worn.

“The Garden at Bougival” by Berthe Morisot
“Villa with Orange Trees, Nice” by Berthe Morisot

Technically, it’s safe to say that everything should work with the natural linen Glebe on the top right, but everything except bright white works with them so that would be pretty unhelpful as a rule.

This pink boiled wool Belmore Jacket, I recently rounded up some of the many many ways I wear this jacket.

Boiled wool Belmore Jacket-46

I love boiled wool. I love how it’s fancy but relaxed, and how it’s cosy but not too cosy. I took a short trip last year and although it was rather chilly, I found that this was the outer I was taking everywhere. I feel great in it, and it plays well with so many colours and is just the perfect warmth and look for most situations. Basically, I don’t think I should make pants or tops that won’t work with this jacket, since this is my go-to.

Potential addition: I noted in my ‘Sewing Wins, but why?‘ blog post that everything that is a favourite can be worn with the Banksia Bralette, so ensuring that the necklines and bust areas are soft bralette friendly will go a long way to ensuring the success of future makes!

That’s all I have for now! Do you have garments that you immediately think of as being core wardrobe items?

Sewing Wins, but why?

I’m always thinking away about how to make everything I make a great fit for my life and wardrobe, but mostly I’ve concentrated on building a colour-scheme for my wardrobe, rather than the success of individual pieces.

My reason for drilling down past the colour on some of my favourite makes is basically to see if I can pick up common themes behind the success. I hope I’ll be able to apply those to potential projects and really nail the fabric and pattern combining.

Here I’ve rounded up some of my favourite and most-worn garments and tried to work out why they work for me, how I’ve worn them and what I’ve worn them with.

Huge pocket Belmore

It’s Autumn, which means I need huge pockets to gather all the pears and peaches I find on my walk (sometimes even Glebe Pockets simply won’t do). So, this Belmore Jacket hack (which I’ve been imagining for ages) finally came to fruition!

Belmore Hack-01

These huge pockets basically span the width of the front body piece, I kind of mapped out how they could be as big as possible by comparing to the front body pieces of the Belmore.

I also skipped most of the design lines on the Belmore- so I skipped the front design lines (which has the pocket built into it) and skipped the one that runs horizontally on the back. The denim selvedge is in the centre-back seam, which makes for a visual feature and slightly easier finishing!

The final change was that when it came time to cut out the sleeve facing, I didn’t have any denim scraps that were the right size to do it, so I just skipped the facing. I put bias tape around the hem of sleeves and folded them in, forcing the fabric to let me hem it like that.

Belmore Hack-03

Fabric Details: I ordered 3m of this 10z denim from Backstreet Bargains in Hamilton (NZ), and I have maybe 50cm remaining (and some bits). In spite of being 10oz, the fabric is quite drapey and was nice to sew (not too heavy on the arms)

Belmore Hack-05

I cut this out and sewed it up over 7 hours today. Basically, the Belmore is my perfect project commitment level. Maybe I’ve also just got better at sewing since sewing my original Belmore Jacket(s), because this is my best hem yet!

Revisiting a colour-scheme

I’ve been relatively prolific in making recently, and I’ve also still been doing lots of thinking about how I could rework my colour scheme and do some more work on narrowing down a colour-scheme that I can buy fabric by.

If you’re a warm autumn, like me, you might be interested to read this blog post where I talk about taking more than a year to comprehend what that meant in terms of colour-combinations.

This time, I’ve organised some of my favourite and most-worn items (which means they’re relatively good at matching with a variety of other things in my wardrobe). Below, you can see (top to bottom) my favourite outers, knit tees, woven tops and shirts, and pants.

All clothes

Since I’ve noticed that I’ve been really enjoying low-contrast combinatons the best, I then used photoshop to map out the colour combinations in the outfits to see if my favourite outfits conform to this dressing-plan that I’ve identified for myself.

One benefit of viewing the outfits in this kind of 2D way, is that it made it a bit easier to see the colours that were showing up most often, and also helped me pick out a new pair of sneakers (my bright green ones were wearing through on the sole)- I felt pretty confident that my new dusky purple kicks would be something that would work with many of my favourite combinations!

all clothes paint

One of the takeaways from looking at my outfits like this, is that I can see that there’s a lot of monochromatic and analogous combos (so pinks with different pinks or pinks and plums (things that sit next to each other on the colour wheel)). You might remember previous posts I’ve done about colour schemes (see them on the blog here), basically I had used my other outfits to set a colour palette for myself, and I mapped out how all the combinations worked with each other, basically to prove that the colours I had included were solid choices.

Except, the colour combos for the most part (maybe not including the 3-colour red, plum and pink combo) do not really reflect the wardrobe combinations that I reach for, or the colours that I feel most comfortable in! It was basically all well and good if I wanted to be dressing in contrasting and complementary shades… I had assessed what colour combos worked together, but I hadn’t really assessed my own feelings about how I wanted to dress.

Broad in the seams colour scheme

What this means for this colour scheme that I reverse-engineered for myself is that I perhaps have to think a bit more flexibly (and some of the colours might disappear entirely). Since I probably won’t be using the colours to combine for high-contrast combos, can I think about having lighter and darker versions of each of the colours? Fabrics that are like that shade but more muted, or slightly brighter? This also means that my wardrobe isn’t less-than-10 colours (and that my fabric options aren’t super limited)! I’ll shop variations on pink and plum, and dusky red shades. I can have browns, and natural linens (probably those will be combined together in ways that are very pleasing for me).

Image from The Concept Wardrobe

I mention at the top of the post that I’m a warm autumn. I know colour seasons can be a contentious issue, and folks can often feel that ‘shopping for your colour season’ can feel a bit like ‘dressing for your shape’ if you’re fat. For me, the colour season thing gave me a place to explore from, and provided some structure. If I had decided that I might be a warm autumn but I only wanted to wear neon yellow and pastel lilac, then I would have gone ahead and done that. But, I liked a lot of the warm autumn colours- they represented (mostly) colours that I was already reaching for.

So, if the colour seasons are of interest, you might like to start with Anushka Rees and The Concept Wardrobe. You can also upload your photo into Colorwise Me, but it had a really hard time with my face but gave good results for others!

Boiled Wool Belmore Jacket

I’m in the middle of a 3-day makefest to put together a whole new outfit (comprised of things I’ve been intending to make for months) for a concert that I’m attending tomorrow night!

My outer-layer for this outfit is this Muna and Broad Belmore Jacket in pink boiled wool from FabFabrics in Botany (I got the last of it, sorry)!

Boiled wool Belmore Jacket-46

Fabric details: I ordered 2.5 metres of this pink boiled wool, and I think it’s possible that the shop sent me more than what I paid for (what a treat)! I didn’t bother measuring it before I started cutting, because I know that I have another couple of metres of this exact fabric on a roll! I have a decent chunk of fabric left over, and I recut the neckline after I wasn’t satisfied with the first one

My measurements: My current measurements are a 53″ low hip and I’m 54″ at my roundest point (around my belly). My full bust is 48″ and my upper bust is 43″. I am relatively short through the body, and have narrow shoulders compared to my other measurements.

Boiled wool Belmore Jacket-49

Pattern modifications and Size: I used a straight Size E for this. The pattern modifications I made were because of boiled wool! I interfaced the neck band, with lots of steam. This caused the neck band to shrink (by a couple of inches on each end, and unevenly). I decided I’d just shorten the jacket to match the neckline, but when I attached it I realised that doing that would interfere with the pockets. So, I recut the neckbands and didn’t interface them this time. I then attached them to the fronts but realised that the length of the jacket had shrunk, probably while I was steaming other seams, so the new neckband was quite long and didn’t leave me room to do the hem. So, I took advantage of the non-fraying qualities of boiled wool and just cut the bottom hem off in line with the neckbands.

In these pictures I haven’t yet graded the neckband and given it all a good press, mostly because I was a bit concerned about how that might go down. I also haven’t fully decided what I’ll do about the internal finishing, if I’ll do anything at all!. Also, the arms got quite long (thanks to the knit nature of the boiled wool) so although I was intending to put some cuffs on, I’ve actually just folded them back and quite like that look!

Boiled wool Belmore Jacket-51

This boiled wool Belmore Jacket is like being wrapped in a hug! I’ve been planning some kind of outer in this fabric for quite some time, so it was great to have an excuse to finally kick me into action!

On colour-schemes

I’ve been thinking a lot about colour over the past year-and-a-bit. Maybe you’ve noticed? I’ve posted blogs on my colour-scheme planning, and M&B Patreons got lots of my musings about colour seasons and wardrobe colour-planning. I’ve even got a whole Pinterest board of ‘Warm Autumn’ inspiration!

I was still ending up with outfits that I thought would ‘technically work’ but I still felt ‘bleh’! I was using colours from my Warm Autumn palette, and combining the colours in a way that the colour wheel thought should work… But not having any joy.

Waikerie Shirt
Above, a pink linen Waikerie Shirt and pink linen Glebe Pants, both Muna and Broad patterns

Often reading doesn’t lead to a huge amount of comprehension for me, so when I read through this blog about True Autumn wardrobes on the Concept Wardrobe I didn’t get a huge amount from it. Months later, I’ve had some ‘aha’ moments and realised that what I felt like I discovered for myself, was actually what I read here months ago but didn’t fully comprehend.

My face is pretty low contrast (if you exclude my rosacea cheeks, which can look very high-contrast at times) and I was trying to make outfits with contrasting colours work for me. It wasn’t until I pulled together some photos of my favourite combinations, that I realised that most were analogous or monochromatic combinations. Basically, I was most enjoying ‘dressing like a crayon‘ or dressing like several crayons which were all sitting in a similar area of the box (which is much less catchy).

Apreon 2
Above, M&B Glebe Pants, Tarlee T-Shirt (under a RTW sweater) and the Patreon Apron!

Above, not ‘instagram showstopper’ outfits, but two outfits that I liked A LOT! Not that I’m wearing my Patreon Apron out-and-about, but I loved the way it paired with the similar colours in my outfit. Right back at the top, there’s a picture of me in a dusky pink shirt and bright pink pants- not a combo I thought would work, but one that I’ve come to love (and repeat a lot)!

The pink on-pink or ‘shades of brown’ or ‘stick of butter’ dressing makes me feel purposefully dressed, put together, but also comfortable- like I’m not being worn by my clothes.

What I didn’t comprehend

From the Concept Wardrobe, True Autumn

Instead, select colours that resemble each other in hue or value. You could, for example, opt for a monochromatic look and combine different shades of one hue – such a light olive green with a darker olive green. Or you could combine neighbouring hues with the same level of darkness – such as a medium orange with a medium peach. Another option is to pair a darker neutral with a lighter accent colour.

From the Concept Wardrobe, True Autumn

Above, colour combo examples and the exact phrase that I read but didn’t really understand. There’s a lot of jargon words in there, and I’m not very good at visualising colours in my minds eye, so this washed over me like so much information does. Not helped by the fact that I thought the colour examples given looked pretty awful to me. Certainly not colours I had a lot of (or wanted a lot of) in my wardrobe.

So, that’s my long story of how reading is tough for me, and now I have a current working hypothesis. Basically, exactly as the Concept Wardrobe predicted, I most enjoy monochromatic and neighbouring hue outfits, or analogous and monochromatic combinations for my Warm Autumn/True Autumn face.

But, I’m not just going to be dressing like a stick of butter for the rest of my life. I also enjoy some contrast but where the majority of the outfit is one of low contrast (like my blue Belmore Jacket with an otherwise pink combo above).

Merchant and Mills quilted fabric

What now?

The ‘yes, and?’ question. Basically, the point of all of this for me is to make clothes that I enjoy. That I can pair into combos that I love, that make me feel great, and make me feel very ‘myself’. For so much of my life, what I’ve worn has been dictated by what was available in my size. In my late 20s, I had a black and white capsule wardrobe of clothes that were on the fancy end of workwear style, because that was easy and available (I mean, I still did a lot of hunting for those pieces).

My hope is that by narrowing these things down, I can give myself structures which I can apply when I’m thinking about buying fabric, pairing fabric with patterns, etc.

The good news? I’m pretty sure my forthcoming toffee brown and dusky pink corduroy pants will be real wardrobe workhorses that pair with lots of my existing wardrobe and make me feel great!

Colour Palette Planning

Today I’m musing on planning a colour palette, and the info here is taken from a larger post that I’ve shared on the Muna and Broad Patreon, where I’ve been posting about colour theory. Today I wanted to try and codify why some of the colours are larger than others, what that means, and how I can use that to plan my future makes.

You might have spotted my earlier post, where I attempt to reverse-engineer a colour palette from my existing favourite makes, and then use that to plan some future makes. No? You can see it here.