Wardrobe Architect: Week 3

Back at it again! I have a couple of finished projects that need to be photographed and shared. Both of them are pullovers, one knitted and one sewn. I really should get a shot of the things I have been making and wearing because it is literally a single pair of jeans and a constant rotation of raglan sleeve sweaters. I realized I loooooove wearing sweaters but there were always fit issues (usually a short torso) that made buying them a pain. Now I can have all of the sweaters I want and I’m going a bit overboard. Summer is coming soon and I have no idea what my single garment obsession will be, but it will probably be just as intense.

Speaking of clothing we love, today is another Wardrobe Architect Wednesday! This week I am looking at the style lines of clothing items and describing whether or not I would like to wear them. This is going to be a bit tricky because I feel like my opinions on how fitted/long things should be has changed recently. Too bad teenage me isn’t here to fill this in. The answer for everything would be super long, super baggy, add on some skater sneakers and weird patches. Also, tie dye. I was a weird kid.

Ok, let’s do this.

The worksheet for this week has three tables that have you rate certain fits on a scale of 0-10 where 0 is something you hate to wear and 10 is something you love to wear. Here are my results:


First, a word about the letters beside a few numbers. For skirts and dresses, there is a little ‘e’ as a reminder to myself that there is an exception for mid-thigh lengths. That exception is leggings! During the wintertime, I do like to wear heavier leggings under a skirt or dress. It feels frumpy to wear a longer dress with leggings and I actually don’t mind showing my legs if they are encased in something very opaque. On that same note, I don’t wear shorts, short skirts or short dresses with bare legs or pantyhose. I’ve tried, but the paranoia about cellulite leaves me feeling uncomfortable and awkward. No one needs to feel like that when they are out frolicking in the summer sunshine!

The other note is beside one of the jacket and coat items. I like my winter coats to be tunic length because having a warm butt on a cold, wintery Montreal day is an absolute must.

Some of the items that I have marked are things I just assume I wouldn’t look good in. In some cases, I am trying to challenge these opinions. I made myself a longer length Mesa dress that was much clingier than anything I would normally wear and I was shocked to discover that I actually liked it. Other things that are marked low are things I thought would look good but was sad to discover that they just look wroooong on me. Maxi dresses are the biggest thing in that category. Everything about a maxi dress appeals to me. Loose, comfortable, long, etc. I don’t know if it is my pear shape or the fact that my natural waist sits pretty high considering my height, but maxi dresses just look WEIRD on me. At least I tried!

For pants, my main concern to this point has been whether or not I could get them over my butt and thighs without having them tent out like clown pants at the waist. After that, it is whether or not they are actually long enough. On occasion, I have purchased pants that are too short just because I was desperately in  need of anything to cover my lower half. I was so thankful for that winter where skinny jeans tucked into wooly socks was the trend since it covered up the fact that many of my pants were a good two inches too short for me.

I surprised myself with how strongly I felt about certain necklines. I was actually saying “NO!” while typing in the lower numbers. Scoop and U-neck are the best, v-neck is acceptable, spaghetti straps have their time and place and turtlenecks are ok in the very coldest months of winter. Boat neck can be ok if the shirt actually has enough room for my shoulders. Cowl necks are a big old noooope, except in a big wooly sweater. Is there  a reason for that? I have no idea, it is just what my brain believes to be correct. Square neck, strapless, sweetheart, jewel (no idea what that is), off-shoulder and halter are a big pile of nope. I think my tomboy side is showing.

The last chart is sleeves. It made me realize that the only thing that I don’t like is a cap sleeve. Everything else, no problem!

That’s it for this week. I feel like I got off light! I am working on a few projects this week , hopefully finishing one up today or tomorrow. The sun is finally shining in Montreal so photography of finished projects in natural light is an actual possibility now. See you next time!



Wardrobe Architect Wednesday, Week 2

Well dang, it has been a couple of weeks since I took time to write on this blog! I’ve been kind of obsessed with a couple of projects so my free time has been used to work on those projects. I hope to finish knitting a sweater today and maybe work on finishing my dress tomorrow, so fingers crossed I will have some things to share soon!

Back to the wardrobe architect series!

Week 2 is all about defining a core style. As someone who feels pretty confident that they have no style whatsoever, it was a shock to realize that I do actually have preferences that affect how I choose to dress. Let’s get into it!


When you are wearing your favorite clothing, how do you feel (e.g. confident, sexy, poised, powerful, etc)?

My favourite clothes make me feel confident, cozy and comfortable. I feel feminine, but not too feminine, if that makes any sense.

 When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?


I feel as comfortable as this cat looks. I used to think that I was pretty flexible with styles, but I am definitely not. It is hard for me to put into words how I feel when wearing something I really dislike because it depends on what is wrong. I feel uncomfortable in clingy clothing items and I feel uncomfortable in super feminine, fluttery stuff….but not for the same reasons. Unfortunately, it seems like most plus size clothing stores stock only items that combine those two dreaded elements. I need to up my sewing game, stat!

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I would say that one style icon of mine is knitwear designer, Ysolda Teague. I follow her on instagram to see the awesome patterns she develops and I notice that she has a style that combines tomboyish elements with feminine ones with the added element of awesome knitwear. I imagine that there are other people who combine those styles but I can’t find specific examples other than people I know in my real life.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Romantic, floaty, glamorous, girly.

I see other women dressed in super feminine styles and think they look amazing. When I try to recreate those styles for myself, I feel weird and out of place in my own clothing. I love the look of styles that are light and floaty, or loose and a bit shapeless, on almost anyone else but when I put them on I find that I just look a bit unkempt.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with these things:

Simple, changing, quality, casual, sporty, tomboy, comfort, confidence, layered, quirky, good fit (ok, that was two), thoughtful, functional, possibility, creativity.

Are there other words you would like to add to this list? What other words describe your core style?

I might have to come back to this as I learn more about it!

Look over the answers to all of the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

Simple, casual, tomboy, quirky, thoughtful

Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you. You could create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a moodboard, or a collage. Be creative and have fun!

My style board is here. A lot of the pictures are leaning a bit more towards outfits that I would want to wear for work because that is the biggest hole in my wardrobe right now. The top part of the page looks similar to how I actually dress now, the bottom half is a bit more representative of styles I would like to incorporate. One thing is for sure, I need more pullovers and button-up shirts!


Well that is all for this week! It was a bit shorter than I would have liked, but hopefully I will get a bit better at managing writing time for the next post. For now, I’m left thinking a lot about what I like the look of versus what I like the look of and would actually feel confident wearing. I’m leaving myself with a bit of a personal exercise to think more about the differences between those two categories and to hopefully define them more clearly.

Wardrobe Architect Wednesday, Week 1

Welcome to the first week of my own wardrobe architect journal. I’m following the 2014 version of the series available on the Colette Blog. The earlier version progresses on a weekly basis instead of a monthly one.

The purpose of this process is to learn more about my own individual tastes and to develop a better sense of my individual style. This is something I’ve definitely struggled with and I’m looking forward to becoming more thoughtful about the items of clothing that I choose to make and buy.

Week one is all about identifying how your individuality can affect how you choose to present yourself to the world. I’ll be discussing how my history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body have influenced my personality and the way I dress myself. Each section has a set of questions that I’ll try my best to answer as honestly as I can.

Continue reading

Little things…

A quick post before heading out for the day! I’ve been busy being crafty over here, but not making anything too big. It feels nice to finish so many things in such a short span of time, but it is a total trick because all of these things were incredibly quick to make.

First up, baby booties for two little ones born this last week!

It is bizarre to me that I am only a couple of posts in and I’ve already shared three projects for babies. In reality, these are the only things I’ve ever made for kids other than a tiny hat that probably was too small to ever have fit its recipient.

Pardon the terrible photos! I finished these late at night and gave them to the new parents the following day.

The pattern is Saartjes’ Bootees, available as a PDF on the designers’ website or on Ravelry. Easy peasy pattern! I followed the directions for the larger size because both of the babies were larger than the average newborn. Does that mean their feet are much larger? That makes logical sense to me. All I know is that eventually these kids will fit into these booties because I’ve yet to see an adult with feet smaller than this. Now that I’ve inserted that odd image into your head, let’s move on to the other projects!

SCHOOL SUPPLLLIIIIIIIEEEEEESSS! I made myself a notebook cover and matching pencil case.

Pencil CaseNotebook Cover

**NOTE: I just want to announce that it is Roll up the Rim to Win at Tim Horton’s (aka Canadian Christmas) and that the cup pictured above was a winner. Free coffee for me! I’d like to thank my family for always believing in my and my boyfriend for taking me to Tim’s twice in a two hour period.

I picked up a single yard of this fabric last fall while on a trip to Texas. I really should have picked up a bit more but I had already gotten several yards of a couple of other gorgeous fabrics and I was torn between spending too much money and not wanting to miss out on having some of this fun stuff. I struck an excellent balance by still spending too much money and not getting enough of this fabric to actually make an item of clothing.


Making wise life choices for over 30 years!

It’s OK. I have more than enough to make these projects and maybe try to find a way to use this fabric as an accent on some clothing item.

The notebook cover is loosely based on a free Craftsy pattern. I basically saw the pattern, decided I wanted something similar, then totally disregarded all instructions and made it up as I went. I used this tutorial from the Purl Bee for the pencil case and added a little pocket on the interior so I would have a place to put my USB drive when I need it for school/work. Both projects are lined with bits of quilting cotton left over from other projects.

That’s what I’ve been making this week! Nothing like a little bit of instant gratification.


Wardrobe Architect Wednesday?

Sweeping declaration time! I’m going to commit to writing a post at least every other Wednesday!

never again.gif

Much like Marshall, the best way to ensure that I never actually do something is for me to promise myself that I WILL REALLY DO IT! This time, it is fo realz. So let’s say I hope I at least try and we will see what’s happening a few months down the road.

The focus of this current declaration is a desire to complete the Wardrobe Architect series from the Colette blog. I’ve read through all the posts before and considered completing it on my own without documenting the process. It never happened even though I enjoyed reading the responses from other people. In all honesty, when I read some of the questions I thought I would just have no way to answer them. Defining my style and my likes/dislikes has always been a challenge for me. Add in my weight gain over the past few years and all of a sudden the styles that I used to enjoy no longer make me feel as confident. I’m definitely in a weird place with my wardrobe and it seems like a good time to try to address that and try to make it into something positive.

I don’t expect this process to miraculously solve my issues with body confidence and clothing, but I hope I can be a bit self-reflective without shying away. Check in next Wednesday as I look at the first week of the process.

Tiny shirt victory

Well, shit.

I did make myself some pretty lofty promises several months ago regarding blogging and a real commitment to sharing what I create (with who?). Obviously that goal has gone totally tits up. So here is my new goal: share stuff when you remember, more often is better. Bam! Let’s do this.

So, over the past few months I have been knitting and sewing pretty consistently. I’ve knitted some socks and a hat, sewn some sweaters and shirts and even a tiny button up shirt for a cute little dude. I definitely have some trouble finishing projects if I try them on and realize that they didn’t turn out right. Right now, I have three shirts that I made and am 90% finished with, but have abandoned because I realized they weren’t what I wanted. I’d like to take the time to finish these projects properly so that I can either wear them or give them to someone who might enjoy them.

I finished one project recently that I am pretty proud of. It is McCall’s M6016 button-up shirt.


Look at this cute little bugger

My boyfriend has a lovely little nephew and he and I decided that we should make something for him. He chose this pattern and I thought it was a great opportunity to make something adorable, plus get the chance to try making a collar and button holes. It is smaller, so it will be easier, right?

eye roll.gif

Why do I bother sewing and making a butt-load of mistakes if I stubbornly refuse to learn a things from them? Logic and past experiences should have told me that sewing small stuff and maneuvering around small corners is a challenge. Live and learn (or not).

A combination of sewing machine malfunction and my general sewing ignorance meant this project was way more of a challenge than it should have been. We bought three different fabrics to make shirts and I cut and totally destroyed the first shirt pieces by straight up stabbing massive holes in the fabric when attempting to use my dull seam ripper. Attempt number two was slightly better. Many, many mishaps but I did produce a finished shirt.



I’m pretty proud of it! I used this tutorial to make the collar after seeing it referenced in so many of my favourite sewing blogs. I can’t really compare with the method used in the pattern instructions because this is my first time creating a shirt collar. This was the part of this project that I was most nervous to try and it turned out to be the easiest part! I modified the pattern a bit: improvising with rolled-up sleeves to cover a mistake, skipping the button on the collar, and using bias tape for the hem.

Lessons learned:

  • Be patient and take your time. Trying to undo mistakes with the energy and rage of She-Hulk will only result in ripped fabric and the use of many interesting swear words.
  • Things labelled “Easy” are probably easy for people that have a reasonable level of sewing skill. At the moment, you are acquiring those skills. You will improve if you let yourself make mistakes.
  • A pricier seam ripper is worth the cash.

That’s all for now, time to get back to crafting!

Let’s get going!

Hi! I’m Mags!

I created this blog several months ago in a fit of excitement about the prospect of learning to sew. I had several months between the end of term from graduate school and the start of the fall semester and I was filled with plans to create a handmade wardrobe. As is my custom, I procrastinated until mid-August to begin sewing and I left my projects completely undocumented. Oops.

Why do I want to learn to sew, anyway? I am not sure where the idea came from but I suspect it was from a coworker that I used to knit with during lunch. She was an avid knitter, like me, but she was also an experienced seamstress. She showed me pictures of dresses she was creating I was so impressed with her ability to create her own clothing. I wished I could do that for myself; I would have loved to avoid the dreaded trips to the dressing room.

This was several years ago, what the heck took me so long to start sewing? I began to research sewing patterns and quickly realized that I would need to make all kinds of alterations to patterns in order for them to fit me. This was pretty intimidating for someone who found it challenging to trace patterns and sew straight lines. I am not always the most patient person and the thought of all of the time and work required to get something that may not fit was a massive barrier to getting started. Even as a knitter, I generally avoided garments that would require proper fit. I would make a complicated lace shawl before attempting a simple pullover sweater.

Now, I want to actually learn to sew. I have accepted that my body type will require learning different ways to alter a pattern. I am tall and plus-sized with proportions that I never seem to see in other people. Off the rack clothing rarely fits and for the past few years I have had to wear what I could find to fit me. It is worth it to painstakingly trace and modify patterns, to knit swatches and calculate how my gauge will influence the finished product. I am worth it, dangit! Let’s get going.