Archive for the ‘style’ Category

Sewing Style: Floral Button-Up

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This outfit has been in the queue of things to blog for MONTHS. I got the skirt just in the nick time for Inspired Retreat. It traveled marvelously well and proved to be just the perfect statement piece I needed for a dinner there.

The top was something I sewed in May for Silhouette Summit. There’s something about going out of town that urges me to sew like crazy!

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I had this fabric in my stash from an excursion to the fabric district years ago. I thought I would just make something for Penelope with it, but it just sat. And I never made anything for her. The bright, tropical print was screaming at me the second I purchased my flight to Hawaii, so I did something about it.

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I made this button up without a collar. Basically using Grainline’s Scout Tee, extending the middle front and adding buttons. It was easy enough. I sort of wish I would have made a collar for it. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to work with, but I think a collar would have looked nice.

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It was part laziness, part strategic planning that I opted for only 4 buttons in the front. I tie the front of most of my button-ups anyway, so I just omitted them for that very reason. Tying up the excess like that makes for a sleeker line with the skirt since there’s no bulk of a shirt underneath the skirt. I know. I’m genius. It’s not a matter of style, but a matter of comfort in this case. I don’t like bulk.
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It was an easy enough sew, taking me just under 2 hours to make it happen from beginning to end. I feel a little Miami granny-ish with the florals, but paired with the metallic knife pleats I just own the look.

Outfit details

I was stoked to find Pleated Empire is local to Draper! I’m a huge fan of the rebel skirt (featured above) and their Floral Blazer and Mesh Ribbon Skirt.

Sewing Style: 90’s Influenced Fit & Flare

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Megan Nielsen sent me this gorgeous lawn (at least I think it’s a lawn) about 2 years ago. It was more time than I would like to admit. Why, oh why do I tend to let such pretty fabric just sit in my stash? I have no idea.

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I wanted it to be something flowy and free for summer. Miriam convinced me that I should make a fit and flare dress. She’s right. She’s always right when it comes to sewing matters.

I didn’t have any good light-weight stretchy black knit on hand, so I ended up dicing up an old maxi dress that I made (and never blogged, only wore once) while I was pregnant with Juniper. That fabric is getting much more use now as the top and sleeves of my dress.

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I used the scout tee for the base of this dress. I pieced the front and took in the sides to compensate for the knit in the back. I considered not taking it in and having it with more of a 90’s proportion, but it feels so feminine with the tapered waist. I’m glad I didn’t make it baggy.

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The dress is so comfortable and light-weight. Perfect for those hot summer days. It was an easy sew, too. Because of the knit back, I didn’t need to put in any enclosures. And I put in a knit binding at the collar so that was super easy.

Anyone know a good technique for binding a woven neckline without it puckering or curling? Let me know. I’m all ears!

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Outfit details:

  • dress: scout tee, revised | fabric from megan nielsen
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: THP shop
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bag: coach (!!!! a mother’s day gift from my mom !!!!)

All photos by Sam Pierson

Sewing: The Feminist Bathing Suit

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When I tell people that I like to sew my own swimming suits, I tend to get the same reaction of awe and I-could-never-do-anything-like-that self-doubt. Sewing a swimsuit isn’t that hard. Shopping for one is hard.

Let me put this in perspective. How many women out there go to the store, pick out the first suit they like, try it on, love it and go home? And if you’re reading this and you do that, you’re either pre-pubescent or a freaking unicorn. Because that doesn’t exist.

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Every woman I talk to spends at least the double-digits in hours either searching for, trying on, buying/returning a swimsuit. It’s a laborious task finding the swimsuit of the season. It is!

I’m thin. My BMI is in the “you need to gain weight” range. It always has been. So many think it might be easy for me to find a suit I just love. It’s not. I always end the swimsuit excursion feeling emotionally bankrupt, thinking: My boobs are too small, my torso is too long and my body is too pasty. 

Why? Why on earth put myself through that kind of torture? WHY?!?!?

 

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You know what? I have an amazing body. WE ALL HAVE AMAZING BODIES. It’s just that 99% of the time our bodies don’t fit the block created by one manufacturer or another. And is that bad? NO.

So I’m not going to waste another minute feeling upset that my body doesn’t fit a man-made proportion, or spend a second on the things I could do to enhance or change my god-given proportions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it. It’s just not for me. Not right now.

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Now I spend that half-day obsessing over muslins and sketches. I huddle over my sewing machines finishing every detail as best as I can. I’ve drafted my own sewing pattern through lots of trial and error (version 1.0 here), so now I have a pattern for swim bottoms that fits me perfectly. I can adjust that pattern to the style I’m going for. Drafting a top takes more time, but it’s worth it.

At the end of the experience, I have a swimsuit I’ve made. A swimsuit I’m proud of. A swimsuit that fits me. 

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Some may think that sewing is so antiquated. I’ll tell you there’s nothing more empowering than that sewing machine. If you’re on the fence about sewing a swimsuit this year, get off the fence and start making one right now. It’ll be the best investment in you you’ll make this summer.

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Outfit details:

  • floral knit: L.A. Fabric District
  • scuba knit: Fabric.com
  • necklace: H&M
  • shoes: Forever 21
  • bracelet: THP shop

I drafted each pattern from scratch. I would consider starting at Burdastyle, if you download their patterns make sure that patterns have seam allowance before you cut them out. :)

If sewing isn’t for you, check out my swimwear inspiration board.

All images by Sam Pierson

Understated Style: My Momiform

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Finally I’m getting around to posting some of the many things I’ve made lately. I’ve been busy with projects (some secret and some not so secret) that I haven’t had much time to update this blog. I miss blogging. Instagram has kind of taken over, but I still love the accountability that blogging gives me.

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I found this slub open-knit fabric as a remnant at Michael Levine loft for $3 per pound which means the fabric came out to a whopping $1. Yes. You read right. I love the L.A. fabric district!

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I wanted something light-weight for summer so I whipped up a simple raglan. I don’t like making super basic basics because you can buy those things über cheap at places like Target so I added a couple of fun details that make it unique (at least to me).

I did a reverse hem on the sleeves so you see the underside of the fabric and the raw edges. Since it’s a knit and doesn’t easily fray, it looks purposeful.

I’ve had a heck of a time telling which side is which when I’m racing to throw on my clothes in the morning to get the kids into their routine so I wanted to do something fun to differentiate the front and the back. Instead of sewing a tag only I can see, I added a suede detail on the back side of the shirt. It adds a fun bit of visual interest. I used the raw edge of the hide, but I may go back and cut it at an angle.

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This and a pair of jeans has been my go-to.

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And leather chucks. I wanted to be part of the cool crowd with some rad convers shoes. But between my kids and me, canvas shoes wouldn’t stay nice very long. So I bought leather ones. Good choice, if you ask me. They’ve held up well against vomit, sumi ink, otterpop juice and mud.

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Outfit details:

  • necklace: gift from a friend
  • bracelet: DIY (here)
  • top: handmade (I sized up on the Lane Raglan)
  • purse: c/o Lily Jade
  • jeans: c/o DownEast
  • shoes: Amazon (affiliate, but really this is where I bought them)

Style: Easy-going Palazzo Pants

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These last few months have included a lot of fun travel. I’m getting worn out, but I’m also meeting so many fabulous people and having a wonderful time seeing new places.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

All photos by Brandi Gard

This month has taken me to Nashville, Tennessee area for Inspired Retreat.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Naturally, I was bored with my current selection of clothes. I had to make something new. I had some fabric that I knew needed to be palazzo pants or culottes. It’s a very breezy fabric I found at Michael Levine Loft in L.A.’s fabric district. I love visiting there, but I need to sew up more of my fabric stash before I visit again. I have too much fabric now!

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I used a vintage patternsimplicity 8550 for the pants. The size I got measured for a 23″ waist (who has a waist that small?!? NOT ME. but looking at the technical drawing and the flat pattern pieces, I did the math and it was a simple gathered pant with a straight waist. I could alter the waistband without having to change anything else. I did add an extra 2 inches in the length just in case. I’d rather they be too long than too short.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

The fabric I chose is a glorified broomstick fabric (you know broom stick skirts from the 90s?? Yes. Like that. I ironed the fabric before sewing with it, which may cause a problem down the line, but I like the feel of them better when the crinkles aren’t SO dramatic.

In an ideal situation, I would have let the fabric rest before cutting into it. I didn’t, which is why the patterns don’t quite match up at the seams. It kind of drives me nuts, but I’ve actively decided not to care about it because at the end of the day I crossed a project off my list that I’ve been meaning to do for some time.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

I decided to sew and complete these all on Saturday (the day before leaving for Tennessee). I’m thrilled that I finished them and they worked! I plan on making another pair, but with a few slight changes.

It was a real treat to have Brandi of Brandi Gard photography photograph this session. It’s not often I get to take direction from a pro. Feeling so glamorous.

©Brandi Gard | Melissa Esplin

Outfit details:

  • top: thrifted
  • necklace: H&M
  • bracelet: The Haute Pursuit
  • pants: self-made
  • shoes: TOMS
  • sunglasses: c/o TomKat Studio

Next I plan to finish my Easter dress. And upholster a chair.

 

 

 

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