Holmes and Yang Spring 2014

This week brought the first hints of fall with temperatures dropping and days becoming noticeably shorter. As summer comes to an end and so many are heading back to school, I guess it makes sense that I find myself drawn back to my blog (my homework) that has been neglected, yet not forgotten.

I have so many projects to share! I have been quite busy the last few months, but still found a few hours here and there to throw together some new finished pieces. And, although that makes it sound like I have been knocking away at my project queue and emptying the stash, I have more than filled the vacant spots with new fabric from a few shopping splurges that have caused me to swear off fabric shopping until 2014.

Speaking of 2014, nothing says fall like spring fashion! I have been devouring the photos coming out of New York Fashion Week. I really love these pieces from Holmes and Yang. The collection is so wearable. Wearable is the key word, it is a goal of mine. I must make more wearable clothing. I so often fall into the trap of sewing fantasy, and not my wardrobe reality. 90% of the time when I go out, I wear a nice shirt and jeans, I do not wear a dress. If I do wear a dress, it is simple, casual. I should make clothes for the real occasions in my life, not the make-believe.

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The color palette is perfect, it actually feels just as much fall as it does spring. The fabrics are elevated, but simple. There is a touch of print in the jacket and the panel in the pencil skirt, but it is not overwhelming. I love the basic tank, in both colors. I am not one to wear a maxi skirt, but I love the simple white tank so much that I had to include it. I need to add such basics to bring balance and peace to my wardrobe.

All photos from Style.com

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Finished Project: Tracy Reese V1314

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I finally finished this simple knit dress! I originally hoped to finish it before last Thanksgiving, but the holidays came and went with little time for sewing. I finally dug in after the first of the year, but for a simple two seams up the side dress it took a lot longer than expected to get it just right. I had to make several alterations, and I made a few adjustments for style. My usual Vogue size 10 was too big based on initial measurements, so I cut out an 8, but I still had to take in 2 inches on each side (which required re-doing all the gathering) and take in the sleeves. After an initial fitting, I decided to lower the neckline and raise the hemline as well. 

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This dress is quite revealing, but black is very forgiving. I bought this fabric from Fine Fabrics, it is a flanel knit so it’s incredibly soft and has a lovely bounce. I prewashed the fabric and saw no sign of pills, so hopefully that means it will last for a long time.

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For comparison, here is the original line drawing for this pattern, V1314. In addition to lowering the neckline, I also folded out the neckline binding, giving a small quarter inch border which helps give a more casual look. My goals for this dress included making it comfortable (easy to accomplish when you’re wrapped in such a soft knit) and also making it look casual and chic at the same time. Recently I have been quite dissapointed when I look into my closet and see so many lovely dresses that I never wear because I feel they are too fancy for a regular night out. I feel like this dress hits a good middle ground, and I look forward to wearing it soon.

One of my favorites

How did this dress never make it on the blog?

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It is one of the most worn pieces in my closet. It is a great casual dress that goes with everything.

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The fabric is a wonderful lightweight cotton that is not showing any signs of aging. It is so soft! I bought it at Fine Fabrics probably four years ago. I originally finished this dress with brown buttons down the front, but they did not feel quite right so I replaced them with these covered buttons and absolutely love the way they look! The pattern is a Very Easy Vogue that is out of print.

A Bright and Bold Coat for Spring

I have been obsessed with bright coats and jackets since I began my yellow jacket almost a year ago. I have recieved so many compliments on that jacket, partly because it has a unique vintage swing style to it, but also because it it such a gorgeous and rich golden hue (that I feel doesnt quite come across in the photos). 

Ever since I overcame my fear of venturing into outerwear, I have been keeping my eyes out for more patterns to fill out my coat and jacket needs (ok, wants). I was so excited to see this latest release from vogue patterns, V8884.

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It is the perfect simple trench coat.

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I saw this orange jacket on the Banana Republic website, and I think it’s a perfect bright and cheery interpretation of the classic trench. This jacket is meant to be sewn in cotton, making it a great transitional piece that can last through the summer, which around here is often filled with chilly morning fog. I need to hurry up and finish some projects so I can add this to the queue, and it will take up quite a big spot when I do!

Sources: 1, 2, 3.

Cable Knit Cowl

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A project that was abandoned and lost to the depths of my storage ottoman for almost two years has resurfaced and been given new life. I originally planned to make a scarf with a nifty slot to loop through it self and tie neatly around the neck, but when I started running out of yarn and nearing the end I had a hard time visualizing how to actually finish it off. And it was much shorter than I imagined, quite an awkward length. Chunky yarn goes quick! Then, one day last week, I pulled it out and suddenly realised that it was the perfect length for a cowl! Problem solved; project finished; cowl worn and loved three times since.

Big Burgundy Herringbone Cowl

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I bought the yarn for this project early last summer before our annual fishing trip to keep my hands busy on the long car rides and lazy afternoons. It is the most luxurious Blue Sky Worsted alpaca and merino blend. It is a hand dyed yarn which gives it the most subtle and elegant depth of color. I don’t usually follow patterns so closely as to buy the exact yarn recommended, but when I visited Knit and Pearl in Santa Barbara to find a suitable yarn and set my hands on the real thing, I knew nothing else would do. I found this pattern at Purl Soho, it’s the Big Herringbone Cowl.

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The herringbone stitch creates a very plush and thick fabric. The pattern calls for a size 17 circular needle, and I thought I could get away with a smaller size, but after a few circles I found that I really needed the recommended needle to get the relaxed drape I wanted.

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I really feel like I am wearing a blanket when I put this on, and with how cold I get and with the winter we are having, this has been a wonderful addition to my wardrobe!