Category Archives: One Month of Prep

6 tips for sewing with stripes

sewing with striped fabric

1. buy extra fabric. the wider your repeat the more extra you should buy. buying extra fabric gives you more wiggle room when you’re laying out your pattern, and lets you plan your stripe placement.

pinning stripes

2. baste your seams or pin parallel to your stitching instead of perpendicular to it.

sew between stripes

3. stitch at the edge between 2 stripes instead of in the middle of a stripe. It’s easier to keep your stitching straight, and it means you don’t need to split the middle of both your stripes perfectly to get the correct width of stripe.

vertical pinning

4. to match your stripes vertically (across a horizontal seam) match the patterning on your two pieces of fabric.

horizontal pinning

5. to match your stripes horizontally (across a vertical seam) off set the patterning on your two pieces of fabric.

  not perfect  not perfect horizonal matching

6. not everything has to be perfect. At some point let go of perfection.

vertical matching

6 1/2. but it’s really nice when everything lines up.

It’s a dress again.

Grey & White Striped Dress

It’s almost done!!! Squee!

I still need to hem it, add pockets and attach the straps but after that it’ll be good to go.

And to be fair, I have said that before, only to wake up the next day and take it all apart again. But I think that maybe, I mean it this time. And I am very ready for this dress to be done.

Once it is done I plan on tackling some tops, and then starting on jeans…. eep!

What do you know you don’t want from your wardrobe?

horizontal quilters ruler

I’ve been spending the past couple days writing furiously on the first chapter of the book that’ll accompany this project and I got to thinking about “wanting” and what specifically I want from my wardrobe.

One of the ways I think about what I want from a project is by specifying what I don’t want from the project.

I know for certain that I do not want this wardrobe to be a capsule wardrobe.*

*a capsule wardrobe is a very contained wardrobe, usually they have a small number of versatile pieces, and every piece works with every other piece.

I understand and appreciate why many people are drawn to the idea of having a very limited selection of clothes to choose from. If you have a limited options, you avoid the paradox of choice.**

**the paradox of choice is a term for what happens when you have so many choices you can’t make a decision or you make no decision at all. You can read more about it here.

You always know what you have, and you eventually find the looks and combinations that work best for you.

However, that’s not what I want from this project, and it’s not what I want my wardrobe to be. I love mixing and matching and combining clothes in different ways. I’ve never felt overwhelmed by my closet. I look at clothing as another medium to play with. Trying this and that. I want my wardrobe to be a place to play, but always with the option of coming back to something familiar and easy to throw on.

I know that I’ll have a rather limited wardrobe for awhile because making clothes takes time (shocking I know), but I know that my ultimate goal is not a limited wardrobe.

What do you know you DON’T want from your wardrobe?

T-shirt Reconstructions, yay or nay?

Rule #2

I’ve been thinking about the spirit of this challenge, mulling over my 2nd “rule.”

“2. if it feels like cheating it probably is.”

I put that rule there because cheating, even when the rules are self imposed, usually feels like cheating.

So I was digging through my current wardrobe looking for a piece of clothing and ran across the pile of t-shirts I never wear. I never wear t-shirts. Ever. And so I started thinking about t-shirt reconstructions.*

*a t-shirt reconstruction is where you take a t-shirt, cut it up, and reconstruct it into something else, they’ve kind of a been gateway into the larger crafting/DIY movement because everyone has old t-shirts they can cut up.


Anyway, I’ve never been a huge fan of reconstructing t-shirts partly because I think it’s very easy for a project to go terribly and horribly wrong, and partly because I think the best thing t-shirt material is good for is t-shirts.

I’ve also never been a huge fan of wearing t-shirts, I never like how they fit. They’re always too tight, or too loose, or too short, or too something. But I have gotten a couple because they had cute prints, or they were gifts, or whatever.

So, I’ve been mulling over the intentions behind this wardrobe project, and the goal of it, trying to decide whether or not t-shirt reconstructions feels like cheating.

My goal for this project is to explore identity, how clothing reflects & projects an identity. For this project, the making clothes aspect is something I thought would be a fun challenge, but the main goal is to explore clothing and fashion as they relate to the self.

In that spirit I think if I can reconstruct a t-shirt into a shirt I would wear, it’ll be an insightful lens into what kind of shirts I wear and why.

It’s starting to look like a dress…

The dress is starting to look like an actual dress! Wheeee!


There’s still a bunch to do, (sewing the skirt together, hemming, straps, and all the finishing) but I’m mentally ready for this dress to be finished so I can move on to the next thing.

I’m planning on building a couple tops next. Not sure exactly what they’ll be, but they will be tops (of some kind.)

Probably a couple tanks, camis and an over-shirt or two.

All of this while I procrastinate like hell on making jeans.

I know how I want to tackle jeans. I want to take apart a pair I currently own, pattern them and alter that pattern. And I know I can (in theory) make a pair of jeans, but they seem quite intimidating at the moment…

There are options and pockets everywhere!

I realized yesterday when I was working on the grey and white striped dress that I could put pockets anywhere I wanted.

And then I realized I could put pockets on every single piece of clothing in my entire closet, if I really wanted to.

Pockets everywhere!

I probably won’t. But you know, I could. If I wanted to.

And the ‘could’ is the real point.

If you could put pockets on anything what would you put pockets on?

And what if, there were more options then we thought there were?

What if there are always more options than we think there are?

Hitting the sewing restart button.

So I restarted the grey & white seersucker dress and I’m feeling much (much much much) better about it.


It’s basically a shift dress, but I’ll add gourds to the skirt to make the skirt full, and keep playing with the stripes to make it interesting.


And I get to add pockets!

Not loving the placement of these two, but I’ll definitely be adding at least two pockets.

Pockets, pockets, pockets!

I’m crazy excited about being able to create a wardrobe with a plethora of pockets, instead of a significant pocket deficiency.

I could put pockets on EVERYTHING!!

(I won’t, but I could.)

I know this dress is going to be tons better because of how easily it’s coming together. It took ages to finish the first bodice, and I felt like I was fighting it the entire way. But this bodice came together this morning, and while the dress isn’t close to done, I don’t want to stuff it in the trash and light it on fire either, which is a huge step in the right direction.

Yay ease! (and pockets!) 

No more of this “I should be making…”

Last night I was having a moment of “this isn’t work, this is all stupid, what the fuck have I gotten myself into.”

Funny how those moments always come at midnight and feel like DOOOOOOM!

It was the dress. It just wasn’t working. I was feeling like I should be making cute-fruffy-dresses. But I don’t wear cute-fruffy-dresses.

This where I left the dress last night.


The bodice was basically done, and I knew what I wanted to do for the skirt.

But it’s really not my kind of a dress, and I spent this morning ripping the whole bodice apart.

IMG_2946 IMG_2960

Zipper, top stitching and all.


So I’m starting again, with less of a plan and more of a good feeling.

No more of this “I should be making…” shit.

I’m having a moment of “this is a really terrible idea”

I’m having a moment of “this is a really terrible idea.”

Maybe it’s the weather. Rainy, drizzly, cold-but-not-cold.

Maybe it’s that I’m working on a dress and remembering how much I hate-hate-hate facings, and I can’t seem to get them to stay put.

Maybe it’s that this project really is a terrible idea.

But really, I feel like it’s coming from thinking about what I ‘should’ be making.

I keep feeling like I should be making super cute little dresses.

But that’s not what I usually wear most of the time, and it’s not really what I want to be making right now.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a cute dress. (and the Thing 1 & Thing 2 dress is totally happening because that fabric is amazing.)

But I’m building a dress out of the white and grey seersucker and kind of hating it. It’s sort of a riff on a party dress. It would look super cute on the right person, but I’m not loving it.

I’ll grab photos tomorrow, but at this point I’m thinking I’ll take it all apart and make something that really takes advantage of, and plays with the stripes.

I don’t wear classic party dresses.

I have nothing against them, they look super cute, I just don’t wear them.

I wonder how long it’ll take for me to internalize that I just don’t wear them.

So for now, the party dress will go in the corner, and I’ll go work on my sweater.



I’ve been knitting sweaters!

This is a rather large deal since I usually knit complex lace shawls, and don’t remember the last time I finished a sweater.


The first is a sweater-dress, it was intended to be a tunic. But I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn, and it ended up more dress length than tunic length (oops).

I just need to finish off the armholes, weave in the ends, and wash it. yay!

The colors aren’t really my thing, and I’m wondering if I want to over dye the whole sweater. I’m just not sure I’d ever wear a pink/brown/beige/green variegated sweater-dress. Plus there’s some pretty funky pooling.


The second is a beautiful jewely green tunic (for real this time). I just finished creating the armholes, and am working my way down the torso. Absolutely adoring the color, and can’t wait to wear it!

Sweaters! I am knitting them!