Inspiration Files

It Was all Yellow

Last summer I was having a serious love affair with almost the entire spectrum of yellow. Gold. Ochre. Lemon. Canary. Sunflower. Mustard. There were a couple of spring 2011 runways that were to blame for this. Marc Jacobs clever use of marigold and diaphanous yellow with plum and coral. And Salvatore Ferragamo’s sun-kissed yellows falling into skin tones. It wasn’t just the color; I was very taken with the 70s influences of both collections and wrote about my plans to hijack one of these peasant looks back in May 2011.

Knocking off the Ferragamo outfit was near the top of my list last year and a must-finish this summer.

Normally, I’m not into big skirts but something about the easy Italian glamour thing appealed to me, romanesque sandals and all. How to translate without feeling too costumey is always a good challenge when being inspired by runway looks. And since I’m past the age for cropped tops, I wanted a similar cotton-y blouse without the belly-show.

You got to see a sneak peak of the blouse earlier this week and I really love it to pieces! I’ve worn it a few times already. A few of you commented on my buttonholes, and I wish I could say I could do that by hand, but the hand-stitched parts were only the buttons themselves. I’ve been blessed for the last year or so to have a machine that makes buttonholes which don’t make me scream. I once spent a week of nights practicing tailored buttonholes with gimp and button thread and needless to say I think it would take me another year practicing until I actually put them on a garment.

Blouse: Simplicity 7892, dated 1977. I dug this gem up on Etsy. It’s been awhile since I’ve sewn from a vintage pattern and boy, this one is a beaut. I don’t know if it’s the 70s cut, but it has a narrow-to-wide shaping from bust to waist that’s perfect for a pear-ish figure like mine. Here’s how it looks untucked:


There are a lot of little details I really liked about this pattern, like a curved sleeve hem–a drafting detail that seemed to disappear from patterns after the 70s–and lots of little helpful dots and notches to get all that gathering lined up. I didn’t make any fit changes but trimmed the seam allowances on the tissue to 3/8″, and raised the sleeves to 3/4 length (which I liked in the Ferragamo blouse).

Skirt: I think both of my inspiration skirts are basically dirndls (two rectangles). So that’s what I cut. I measured my waist and multiplied by 3 to get the total skirt width and then measured down to mid-calf to get the length. I added a button stand to the front panel and a wide waistband with belt loops (which you can’t see because I couldn’t find a small enough belt!). That width is a good idea in theory, and true to the runway style, but the gathering was a beast and after an hour working it all out and trying it on, the cotton was so poofy it gave me an extra set of hips.

So I ended up unpicking and drawing in a hip curve at the side seams, taking in the waist by a good twenty inches. When you do this to a straight rectangle, the side seams will drop a bit. So I also drew up a little curve along the the hem to compensate.

Fabric: I really had in my mind a goldenrod colored cotton poplin to match the runway outfit. And I was absolutely delighted to find a Radiance silk/cotton poplin in–ooh, yes–butterscotch! Do you know about Radiance? It’s a lovely fabric, with a cotton-ish drape but one side has the silky sheen of a satin. It feels like heaven. I’ve used it before as a purse lining but never in a garment. Usually this fabric prettier and richer with the satin side facing out but I really didn’t want something that dressy, so I used the “homespun” side, and for a touch made the sash with the satin side.

Despite it being a waylaid project for so long, I’m glad I still feel inspired by it and think it adds some fun pieces to my wardrobe. Isn’t it fun to be surprised when a style risk clicks? And this golden Klimt yellow is surprising, bringing out the amber in my eyes.

And p.s. the photos were taken on a very grey day, in an uninhabited but historic art deco home that we’ve adored for years. At one point we trespassed (tsk tsk) just to get a look at the truly surreal deco fish tanks in the living room. We tried to get inside again but…

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If It Weren’t for the Skeeters

{update: Oops, I didn’t realize comments on this post were disabled. I had a conflict with one of my plugins. All is working now!}

I’ll go for months and months without shopping and then suddenly I get a get a bee in my bonnet to make a whole day of it. I rarely drive anywhere–most of my week happens within a five-block radius–but I love my car so it gives me an excuse to tool around town in my Ladybug.

A shopping day starts with a latte from my favorite coffee shop and then I visit a few local boutiques. There’s always a stop at Anthropologie, and mostly I just drool over their furniture and all the little knick-knack housewares. Sometimes I’ll cruise as far as the mall to check out lingerie sales at Nordstrom. But I really love small boutiques that have their own creative voice, that operate more like galleries rather than try to serve everyone at once. Kick Pleat is one of those shops, with a tightly edited, small collection of designers, mostly independent European brands you wouldn’t find elsewhere in Austin.

Two of my absolute musts for the summer were a blouse-y white tee shirt and silk shorts. I really thought I’d get around to making a tee by now, so I couldn’t resist this floaty white tee which has that right amount of haphazard slouch I like to throw on with everything.

{I’m a sucker for lady sandals, especially ones with bizarre slug ornaments…}

If it weren’t for the mean skeeters, I’d probably wear something short every day. I had a few pairs I planned to make this summer, including a remake of my pretty purple silk charmeuse shorts. They were one of those projects on which I spent more time working out the finishing techniques than fitting them properly and I accidentally cut the wrong size (down). I mocked up the next size up only to realize that the pattern is better suited for a more structured fabric than charmeuse. The original pattern was in the Burda June 2010 issue and is a sweet little short pattern, but has a bit of tailored fit and not quite the drapey loose-fitting style suited to something like charmeuse. (There were two looks in the magazine, which are both available at BurdaStyle here and here.)

My sewing hours the last week have been spent working out a new pattern, but keeping all the trouser-y details. A contour waistband, fly, options for cuffs and welts are all unexpected touches in silk, dontcha think? I’m working out sample #3 and I think I’ve got the pant leg just right. It’s almost a different pattern entirely and sometimes I wonder why I just don’t have a trouser block to begin with!

A few of my inspiration shorts:

{Credits: Shopbop, ForwardForward, Ralph Lauren}

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In Which I Dream of Stella Once Again

Why hello! I didn’t want May to get away from me before I stopped by my own blog. As you can tell I have been on a sort of blog vacation–pretty much a forced internet vacation with the sluggiest hotel wi-fi on the planet. I’ve been seriously eyeing an iPad as a result, because 3G is just better in travel circumstances and traveling with a ginormous Macbook is just not doing it for me anymore!

So I was just immersed in two weeks of an intensive course in counseling, consisting of 9-12 hour teaching and practice every day with activities at night. It was enough to send me crashing into bed every night with barely enough inspiration to brush my teeth. But somehow I convinced myself while packing I might have time to sew. I brought along my bra patterns and a few lingerie fabrics–mini sewing! and what little spare time I had was spent designing and drawing out a few new bra styles. I also picked apart an old bra to clone and I’ve been deconstructing several others to learn more about materials and construction. It’s fair to say that I’ve been obsessed with bras the last month, and here’s what’s been inspiring me lately…

Stella McCartney. I just fawn over this lingerie. Such beautiful little details, like silk wire channeling, pleated straps, funky metal rings. This is a simple contour padded bra but the drama is in the details, which I appreciate now that I’ve made a few bras of my own, and have tried on a few of hers! {via net-a-porter.com}

Huit. This is a French lingerie company and most of their bras are soft cup or unlined cups, which are perfectly fine by me. They work really well under simple tops. I really adore their simple little designs and especially the colors.{via herroom.com. More Huit here and here.}

Wundervoll. I adore the funky styles by this German brand. They veer toward athletic-inspired designs, a bit left of center. {via lilleboutique.com}

{via net-a-porter.com}

Elle Macpherson Intimates. I own a couple Elle Macpherson bras and they fit me wonderfully (great deals when on sale!). This season the brand really embraced the vintage-style look, and this lace applique silk set just really nails everything I love about lingerie right now.

Check out those high-waisted knickers! Coincidentally, just before I left I won my very first internet give-away in the form of the high-waist Betty Knickers from OohLulu, thanks to Lizz at A Good Wardrobe. These would be a great starting point to knock off Elle Macpherson, dontcha think?

I’m glad to be home, despite the oh, 40-degree temperature hike from Washington to Austin, and ready to dig into new projects! And as you can guess, a new bra is in the works!

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Sweet Shorts, Sour Shorts, Spicy Shorts

Well, hello hello, and happy belated Easter! We do celebrate and this year’s holiday was pretty laid back, just spending the day talking with friends under a big oak tree and a little stroll through my garden to pick flowers. I got me an Easter bonnet, too! A fine big-brimmed straw hat that I wish I would’ve had when modeling my Lonsdale last summer. It will work its way into one of my future blog shoots, I’m sure.

This week I’m dreaming of shorts. And tank tops. Alas, it’s that time again.

{credit: google images}

I haven’t really worn sleeves in two weeks. This is why I never made a proper spring wardrobe plan, because heck, spring just flits in and out of Texas like a hummingbird. Now you see it, not you don’t.

My shorts fixation of the moment is being taunted by all the images of scalloped hems and lace shorts on Pinterest. (See my board.)

And serendipitously, today Colette released a cute little sailor short pattern in their new spring collection. You bet I’ll be trying these!

Last summer I wrote a bit about the way my style has changed living in Texas. I was never much of a skin-barer and I never had a need to be. I never really wore sandals, even in midwestern summers, and now they’re at least half of my shoe wardrobe. So slowly, over time, my tastes and my eye has adjusted to a breezier, skin-showing style.

I’ve liked the way summer clothes have taught me to celebrate my figure and make peace with those parts of the body I used to try and hide. I mean, I guess in a roundabout way I could blame Texas for actually giving me the courage to wear skinny jeans. (This year I even treated myself to SKINNY LEATHER pants. For reals.)

It took me awhile to be okay with shorts, for example, but now I can’t imagine living outside of them. A couple years ago, I timidly bought a pair of pretty little Ikat shorts on clearance at Anthropologie. And they became my uniform. I barely took them off for a couple summers straight. I need me lots more shorts.

In August, I sewed my first pair, pretty purple silk shorts, from a Burda pattern. They were so beautiful. I was so proud of the fly I drafted for them and how it all came out. And then I committed the ultimate sewing mishap–I’d completely sewn the wrong size (down). It could’ve been a costly mistake but thankfully the silk was left over from another project so I chalked it up to a fancy muslin. I’m determined to get them right this summer, and even ordered more of the same charmeuse.

The first pair on my agenda, however, are Pattern Runway’s Sweet Short.

After Oona first alerted me to this new line last summer, I promptly ran over to Etsy and ordered a few of their patterns. And now I really need them.

Thankfully, before I went a-cutting I found Liz’s pretty, gauzy take on these and her original assessment of the fit, or I would’ve banged them out without measuring or even making a muslin. (Do I learn?) According to my measurements I’d fit exactly halfway between their X-Small and a Small. The thing is, there are rather big distances between the sizes, unlike many of my shorts or trouser patterns (like Burda). Rather than cutting out some willy-nilly in-between size, I decided to do some measuring first and drew in the seam lines along the X-Small to get an idea of the ease. The finished measurements of waist and the hip have 4.5″ (11.4cm) of wearing ease! Just FYI. That’s quite a bit for fitted shorts, or at least a fitted waistband. Hopefully, the half size down will be good enough but I’m definitely making a muslin dammit. Tonight.

So stay tuned for further shorts developments. And a full-on summer wardrobe plan. I’ve got some drafting ideas up my sleeves!

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it’s not easy being green

Do you ever feel like spring is just a bunch of exclamation marks?!

!!!!!!!!

Growing, growing, green. That unstoppable energy of spring is hard to keep up with. And March in particular is often the only “spring” we get in Austin–from here on out it rapidly turns to summer. So we get extra exclamation marks for that. I’m an avid gardener and it’s hard not to want to be outside digging in the dirt every chance I get. Here’s a bit of home for the “expat” Texans out there:

I have declared this the Year of the Bluebonnet. There are some years that they are smaller in crop than the others but between some perfectly timed rains in the fall and spring they are INSANE this year and I’m sure the Texas-dwellers out there have noticed the highways brimming with them. I dreamed for years of having a wildflower patch, something that simulated a meadow in a city garden kind of way. We have a pretty large yard for a city and even for central Austin–but it was entirely covered in shade and invasive plant-weeds. It took one fall of serious weeding, hacking down a few junk trees and bushes, and throwing out a few packets of seeds. Now my little patch of sunlight has taken on a life of its own. Some years the poppies show off, others the larkspur. Last year I had one lowly bluebonnet and all of this somehow came from THAT. (I never tire of the wonder that one plant can generate about 1000 more in just one season of seed-bearing.)

March is also a thick time because it’s also my man’s birthday month. Friends, birthdays are a really big, big deal around here. Sometimes wearily so. We usually take the day off (okay, sometimes more than one) and basically fill it with everything we love. It just so happens that Derek’s birthday is also St. Patrick’s Day. Yeah, he is part Irish and all heart so his bday always has this double-the-party energy. Add to all this SXSW, which seriously takes over Austin for about a week straight–the buzz, the traffic, the 10s of thousands of people crowding every square inch of this little town, the feeling that you are always missing some kind of huge convergent opportunity.

So we had a l’il party last night and now that things are calming down, from my quiet little porch in the universe, I can think about how much I adore this man and hope he had the bestest birthday:

{In this one, he’s wearing a vest I made him a couple of years ago from a vintage 1940s pattern. I’m going to do another one soon.}

Derek wears green velvet pants to breakfast and top hats to conferences. He collects circus paraphernalia and weeps in front of a Marc Chagall. He has the biggest heart and zest for life of anyone I know–and often loves people so much it hurts him. Darn Irish. I know it’s not easy being green.

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The Hidden Things

Oh Austin, I love you.

{Sign on Silk Road Fabrics.}

Something about this struck me as very typical Austin. That people here who don’t generally suffer from workaholism. That there are still places one has to find by accident, or in this case rely on word of mouth for opening hours.

Austin is one of those rare cities that has the kind of places one must stumble upon. Groovy restaurants that haven’t been Yelp-ed and mapped and Twittered to death. It’s got a fair share of the Secret South. (There’s an art collective literally hiding in a forest.) The sign might be spray-painted, the pedestrian traffic nil, but those homemade Mexican grandmama tortillas are the secret everyone loves to keep secret, or just recommend the old-fashioned way. It’s one of the reasons Derek and I gravitated here. We always call it a haven for creative people; it’s urban but incredibly easy to be an artist and live an artistic lifestyle without a competitive strain to prove oneself.

Silk Road used to be just a walk away from our neighborhood, in a lovely little cottage that was torn down a couple months ago. (Sigh, no more fabric sources for me that don’t require a driving haul through a labyrinth of Austin traffic.) Long before I got back into sewing I used to browse the exquisite silks and walk out with a couple glass buttons. They have gorgeous linens too–my first-ever fabric purchase in Austin eventually became the wide-leg trousers. Last year they moved deep into the East Side, still a source of hidden creativity despite upscale development. I had to turn around twice at the train tracks before I realized the store was inside the Flatbed coop.

Now here’s a place I’ve heard about but never visited. The closed doors of Silk Road sent me wandering instead around this heavenly mothership of all things printmaking.

All in all, a very Austin experience… where you end up when you were looking for something else.

Anyhow, this would’ve been the one local place I’d find some lovely lace trims for Sherry’s Ruby Slip. I’ll have to wait. I’m finding a bit of pleasure in that, too–the pleasure of the waiting, of finding the one thing that can’t be found by anyone else.

This is about lingerie, I guess, in a roundabout way. In lieu of a slip, I made a new bra over the weekend. I wanted to sew another one fairly soon after my first try, to refine fit and design changes while the experience was still fresh in my mind.

It’s still plain and super cutesy pink, but I wanted to use up the fabric and notions I got from Bramakers Supply to test my changes. I tried changing the pattern to a more vertical seam and went to a full-band bra. I also went down a cup size, which fit just perfectly despite my worries on the first bra. (My first was a modified 32C, which as it turns out was a bit of wishful thinking!)

My sewing will stop for two weeks as we travel abroad, but my first order of sewing business in the New Year will be a luxe version of the bra from this lace-like gilded lycra. It came all the way from Germany via e-lingeria.de and took almost two months, but I am so pleased. Gorgeous stuff.

Have a wonderful holiday, and I hope that true and meaningful secrets are revealed to you!

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A Year of Sewing Burda

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Even to those abroad who don’t celebrate… it really is a lovely holiday. No pressure. Just sitting around eating and drinking with friends and family. I normally go mad cooking and baking but this year I’m only on pumpkin pie duty. I get to sloth around in PJs until late afternoon, so spent some of my free time organizing patterns.

Our lovely postman brought me the new Burda yesterday. A good mail day! It’s the only magazine to which I subscribe–the rest of the mailbox is just junk (well, bills). The last few issues have really caught my eye; I’ve been inspired by the way they’ve been on top of all the urban leather and faux fur trends lately.

My fave has to be this persian lamb cocoon-like coat.

(My late grandmother had a groovy couch upholstered in this stuff so I’m partial to it.)

A great leather top à la Isabel Marant:

Leather shorts and chiffon blouse, yum:

I still love Burda mostly for its design point of view–or just that it risks having one from time to time. The great thing about sewing, of course, is the ability and freedom to shift a pattern’s style to your own, regardless of a pattern company’s aesthetic or demographic. But I still like to be inspired by design rather than having to re-imagine it.

Still, getting a new Burda gave me some pause. The magazine alone adds exponentially to my pattern list! And I’m probably at the point, as I’m sure many sewers get to, where I feel a bit overwhelmed by the project wish list (and my pattern collection). So I decided to weed stuff out this week. It might be Ebay time.

So I went through a year’s worth of Burdas and made a big Evernote catalogue of all the patterns I liked. I weeded out those that felt like repeats, and some of the statement pieces. I always get drawn to the crazy cover styles, but I think I need fewer fantasy garments on my sewing list. I kept all the ones I’ve already traced. That still left about 15!

I’ve only been sewing from these magazines for just a little over a year. Looking back, there was the Number Six Dress:

Which, by the way, gets the most search referrals to the site. No, not sewing. Battlestar. (Hello, Cylons!)

The silk shorts (sadly I traced and made the wrong size! but they were beautiful to look at!):

The drapey white shirt:

My silk tank was a recent Burda make, and I’ve nearly finished two other garments (just waiting for my serger to come back from repairs!).

Two years ago I’d never even heard of Burda. All I had known back in my first sewing life were the mainstream pattern companies. Since then I’ve been a rabid collector of patterns far and wide. Over the past year I dove into Marfy, Colette, Sewaholic, Hotpatterns, and several other little off-the-beaten-path pattern makers. I mean, I have Sewing Pattern ADD.

Every pattern company fits so differently, and I’d really love to focus on understanding fit more in the next season of my sewing, rather than acquire new patterns. I’d like to keep sewing from Burda especially, mostly for their designs, but need to work out their sleeve shaping and bust fit. The Burda sleeve caps and armscyes are quite high and narrow compared to other patterns, which sometimes looks odd on more casual shirts.

Truth be told, I love the idea of having on hand my own blocks (tnts, what have you) to work out my own designs, and have already worked from a Burda t-shirt to design several top styles. Maybe that will be what the next season of sewing is all about for me!

And before I leave this post, I’ll add that I’m very very thankful for the amazing and colorful man next to me. I’m glad we found each other. He’s almost as much of a fashion nut than I am. He’s a theatrical character and makes everything brighter around him. (He screeches Bob Dylan and Broadway tunes at the top of his lungs every morning to wake up.) Someday I’ll introduce him, but in the spirit of Tasia’s recent post, I am thankful that he supports my crazy sewing habits.

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Out with the Old Sleepwear, I Think

Have you ever fantasized about sitting at a vanity, powdering up before bed in a long bias-cut nightgown with a matching housecoat? I think there’s one such scene in Holiday Inn but I can’t be sure. I was pretty obsessed with that movie’s clothes as a teen, so to me 40s glamour will always mean Ginger Rogers floating around a piano.

I wonder if the lure is not just the glamorous style but the whole concept of a bedtime ritual. The time it takes to undress as much as it takes to dress.

{Carole Lombard}

Then there’s also the long-gone distinction between boudoir and the rest of one’s wardrobe. I mean, how could those beautiful buttons be wasted on sleeping!

When we were first married, D bought me some becoming camisole nighties but they have languished in my closet in favor of the old t-shirts and yoga pants. The thing is, I get cold at night, even in the summer. There was the minky pajama set that I wore to death for two winters straight, but finally threw them away for diplomacy’s sake. They were not D’s favorite, to say the least, and I’ll spare you from the names they suffered. He wants to talk to someone other than a fuzzy potato creature putzing around the house late at night. Fair enough. I want to be warm. It goes back and forth.

I’m trying to come up with some pajama ideas that combine the best of both worlds. Clothes that gives me a hint of that nighttime ritual, feel pretty enough, but still putz-friendly. As much as I love silk, I just don’t like wearing it in bed, so I’m thinking about what I can do with knits.

I have this cotton knit fabric:

Which needs some kind of drapey design for the big swashy print. For the top, I like this popular pattern from New Look, with the kimono sleeves and hip bands:

But I don’t need a new pattern to do this. It looks so easy to draft and I’ve already created a batwing-like top from my Lydia t-shirt pattern. It would just need a few modifications.

For the bottoms, I waded through all my Burda issues and found a couple elasticated waist pants that are slightly wide-legged. This is from the November 2009 issue, made for a woven but I’m sure would do fine in a knit:

I also have this Kwik Sew pattern but I think these bottoms with that top might be a bit too banded and harem-ish? Perhaps I’ll save this pattern for another pajama experiment.

Do you ever get in a pajama rut? Do you keep your night clothes separate from day clothes?

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In Progress: The Good Times Dress

Finally, I have moved more than halfway through my ready-to-sew garments from the summer. The latest is a little bit of Studio 54.

This is Hotpatterns Good Times Dress, which is inspired by a DVF style, and in a totally glam silk jersey. I might be having a silk jersey crush. It’s so lovely and easy to sew, and skims the curves in a very flattering way.

I originally cut this dress for a friend who was performing in a 25-year reunion concert with her band. This was back in July and I didn’t really have time to complete it but I probably needed an excuse to cut it out. I’d always wanted to try Hotpatterns as I’ve accumulated a few. I’d bought the lovely hibiscus-colored jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics over a year ago, for a project for another friend and we ended up going with something else. In the end, I really wanted that fabric (and dress) for myself anyway!

As you might notice, the dress remains unhemmed (the sleeves and hem will be about four inches shorter). This is because I’ve decided to put the dress in time out for awhile so I don’t make any more holes or mistakes.

It took me a couple of days to figure out the yokes. The HP instructions have you roll up the bodice into its yoke “like a sausage” for a clean finish, much like the “burrito method” in shirtmaking. The problem with doing it this way is that the neckline is already closed, making it impossible to turn inside out. Ask me how I know–I had some kind of origami puzzle going on after sewing it according to the illustration.

To do this correctly, one must roll the entire garment (including the opposite yoke), into the yoke, sew and then turn out through the open armhole.

After figuring out the yokes, my serger started acting up. It needs a tune-up like last year. I kept ripping out a lot of serged stitches before I figured out that the problem was not with me or my needle but my machine. I wound up poking a big hole in the garment where the pocket goes, and had to sew over it.

I’m exaggerating by pulling on the dress but sometimes pockets in knits just don’t lay well. I love pockets but might just serge them out of the picture when I come back to the dress.

The whole pattern is basically a bunch of rectangles, which I think is pretty clever in its simplicity. The sleeves are sewn in at right angles to the straight line of the shoulder. I’d probably call them kimono-style, with a square armpit. But I can’t figure out how to sew that intersection of seams at the armpit without all the bunching and this is the point where I stopped before I ripped out yet another seam.

I love the proportions of the shapes in the dress. It has just a little bit of waist-shaping but otherwise relies on the drape of the fabric and ties for style.

I’m excited to see this done and will be back modeling this dress. It’s too much pretty to waste.

In the meantime, I’m going to have to set aside the rest of my project list since most of it requires a fixed serger (except the bra) and I’m ready to get on with some fall sewing!

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Fall Color Inspirations

Hurrah for fall! (And thanks all for the birthday wishes!) I love how the light starts to sleep. I love the smell of decay and compost and fall-blooming flowers. It’s probably my entire motivation to for gardening in Texas. There is nothing like those cool mornings and starting from a fresh palette after the hard summer. (I’m sure it works in reverse in spring-oriented climates!)

Back in July I was already oogling over the mustards, ochres, turmerics, old gold colors that showed up in a lot of fall trends. I’m finally getting around to making up my list of fall inspirations, and put together a color palette as a start:

{Marc Jacobs Spring 2011, Gucci Fall 2011, myrakim at Etsy, Mucha sketch, my fall palette, Jaeger Fall 2011}

I’ve been really inspired by other bloggers who use Pantone or Colour Lovers to come up with schemes. I might form an addiction to Pinterest. Finally, I can collect all those visual ideas and save my hard drive.

I really enjoy planning my wardrobe seasonally as a creative exercise. It helps me define my mood and personal life goals for the next few months–visioning through fashion!

Once I get a mood, I start thinking about actual pieces I’d like to add to my wardrobe. I make a huge, unruly list of dream clothes, shoes, accessories and then pair it down to the manageable and affordable (I have a budget twice a year). A little over a year ago I started adding sewing projects into the list, as I finally started sewing enough to rely on it for fashion.

My sewing ideas are also unruly at the moment but I have a few things I’d really like to try, like a take on the saffron cropped jacket:

It’d require some drafting, and probably be my most ambitious sewing project yet, so we’ll see how far I get.

And something like this 60s-ish coat dress.

I love the military silhouette and found a similar style in a pattern, but am thinking it’s those colors that are really attracting me more than anything else (can you tell I liked that collection?).

Practically speaking, fall and winter planning is difficult for me–I love fall clothes the best but serious outer layers are only necessary for two months and the rest of the year just plain hot. So while I’m having fun plotting fall ideas, I’m trying to look ahead to February, when I usually ditch my must-have-wool-cape fantasies.

How do you keep track of sewing or fashion inspirations? Do you make plans with fashion or do you just go as you go?

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