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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, February 16, 2018

On colour, personal style and palettes

My ideas on this one are all over the place, what else is new, but I will start in the middle and work out.

I think we all go through life transitions when we wonder about our personal style and if and how it should be updated.

After all how you look on the outside reflects a lot of how you feel about yourself on the inside. In my experience when there is something of a match it's a good thing.

Hands up anyone who has looked at their clothes at some point and said this isn't who I am any more?

New mothers with work clothes, students going into the workforce, moving from the ranks to management, somebody's mommy to suddenly somebody's mother-in-law.

Of course at every stage there are undertows that seem to carry you along, and promise that will be in the right direction. Career basics - black, grey and that damned white shirt for example.

Age appropriate is a good one too, and kind of tricky when you don't actually feel one bit older. 

Some of us, OK its me I am talking about, in fact feel as if we were the original hipster all along and a lot of folks are just now catching up.

You know, the sewing before it was cool crowd.

Which brings me to the expectation that black and grey loose clothes are sort of good taste. Timeless the word is, and I think this is probably true. 

I figure the last oversized vest outfit in its own way documented that.

However I really am drawn to colour. Even when it's not particularly tasteful.

I'm big on cheerful.

After all have you ever noticed that whenever someone says Gee you look nice today, it is nearly always the day you have on that red dress and almost never the day you are wearing a grey raincoat.

So despite the fact I have a bin of black and grey scraps I snagged at a designer's off cut sale, and have brought along to experiment with, I am still drawn to colour.

Case in point here, in an awful photograph with my most googley eye glasses on to catch the light, is a version of Stylearc's Blaire shirt.

 I made this as a chapter garment for the chapter in my book that's about measuring and patterns - obvious I know but I am a literal sort of person.

This is a really loose shirt, I made mine in a 10, down from the 12 my measurements would have indicated and I want you to know that I am completely aware it is kind of nutty.

But I laughed when I made it, and I laugh when I wear it, and it sure goes on and off fast when a person is trying on something she is sewing to check fit.

This one is sort of a sewer's Hawaiian shirt but since sewing is about as close as I get to feeling like Jimmy Buffet, it's perfect.


Cactusneedle said...

I love it! I love loose, comfortable shirts. I hate gaposis at the bosom apex, constantly having to pull the shirt closed so as not to show old lady cleavage. lol I also like a longish short sleeve. Did you change your sleeve from the pattern? Your shirt sleeves appear to cover more arm that the pattern photo.

Nursebennett said...

I LOVE this shirt! Love the color, style, everything! You look happy wearing it!

SewRuthie said...

Whwn I tidied up the sewing room I saved two fabric tape measures - they stretch out quickly and become unrelaiable, but they would be great for something at some point I'm sure!

sewingkm said...

Sew cheerful - love that! And I totally live by this - dying my hair auburn and sewing lots of turquoise and pumpkin solid and print tops. My bottoms are nearly all neutral but never gray. Color does make me feel and look cheerful especially since my 7th decade is just around the corner! Karen

Kay said...

Wow, this top is lots cuter than I expected from the pattern illustration. I love the inside joke of the tape measure print. It would make me smile when I wore it too!

I totally relate to feeling like an OG hipster and not feeling my age (in my head. My body often feels every day of my age).

Sometimes I suspect that when people say, "I like your ..." what they really mean is, "I SEE your ..." But I take complements where I can get them.

I like to think my wardrobe matches who I am - roomy, colorful, and just a little bit wild.

I'm looking forward to your book's release!

Laceflower said...

I'm sure red is a neutral!

tmd said...

I think grey and black are touted so much because they are easy. I remember Trinny & Susannah were fond of saying “always wear color with color,” but then trouble spawns in mismatches, undertones, clashes, and too many prints in the wardrobe. That said, I like a nice color—it’s like a specimen plant in the landscape.

Sydney Brown said...

Great fabric! I love that shirt on you! Nice collar size - not too big.

Kansas Sky said...

What I absolutely love is what you wear and what you write about. You always inspire and brighten, even when you're sewing gray!

beckster said...

I just recently found your blog, and I love reading it! You are a cheerful person, and that is always welcome. I look forward to learning a lot from you. I have never figured out who I am, and I better hurry before it's over!

Dianne said...

I would never have believed that this pattern could look so good, I will certainly get it now.

Janee said...

I've been thinking about my style a lot lately, as well. Working on getting rid of excess clothing, donating what I no longer love so that others can use them, and I keep stumbling over the items that really do belong to a former self: mostly office wear that I made in the days I dressed more formally every day. But that was so very many years ago, and I may never dress that way again. I'm building a better everyday wardrobe that suits the me I am now - dressmaker/alterationist/teacher in my home studio - but I have a feeling some of those tailored jackets I spent hours making will never be given away!
Oh, and I love that shirt on you - you do look well in cheerful color!

bbarna said...

After years of trying to wear black in the corporate world, and having multiple people ask me "are you feeling ok" , I had my colours done (remember that?) and was told that as a summer, I should never wear black close to my face. So for the past 30 years, navy has been my black. No more trouble.
Love the shirt.
Barb from Prince George.

Leigh said...

I love color too. And jewelry. No one ever says I look great in grey. Usually purple, teal, majenta, and the like with a great (hand)knitted cowl. I have to be careful though. I will buy prints all day long and then have nothing to wear them with. Because who likes buying neutrals?