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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adjustable elastic waistband tutorial

If you have a skinny mini like I do, you probably love adjustable elastic waistbands in children's clothing. While I like that sewing allows me to customize and put elastic in Gracie's clothes, sometimes I know I'd like the outfit to grow with her. When I found a supplier of button-hole elastic (at Mary Jo's in Gastonia, NC), I bought a bunch. Here's how to use it:

Construct your garment including attaching waistband facings:

Sew a button hole on each side of the waistband facing. I lined mine up with the belt loops on the front so that the waist front would lay flat. Sew flat buttons on the inside of the waistband about an inch from the buttonhole openings.
 Cut elastic to desired length and roll one end over and stitch it down. Feed elastic through the waistband and then roll and stitch down the second end. Try it on the child and adjust!

I made both of these skirts from McCall's 
6689. I would definitely recommend this pattern if you have a little girl to sew for!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A lined jacket (Simplicity 2284)

 I picked up this lovely boucle fabric a couple of years ago when I visited A Fabric Place (Aka Michael's Fabrics) in Baltimore. I have been hesitant to use it (I'm not sure why), but finally, I took the plunge and made up Simplicity 2284 with the fabric (including lining and buttons) that I purchased on that trip. The trim is from a visit to G Street fabrics last summer.
I went with view C since I did not have a coordinating zipper (nor did I wish to buy one), plus, I know I don't care if this is totally buttoned. I really like how the button loop closure at the top looks.
The jacket is a great fit thanks to a cup size pattern - makes it much quicker to adjust (and less adjustment needed). I also like the length of the jacket.
The lining was not too hard to insert. I hand stitched the sleeve and jacket hems to the lining pieces.

One of the other details I really liked was the faux welt pockets at the upper chest (but high enough to not be a boob issue). The lower pockets on the front are practical, and the bias cut sleeve hems and pockets give it a little extra flair.

This is definitely a nice classic piece for my wardrobe.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Style Icons?

I've seen other bloggers address this topic and I've been thinking about it a bit, so here style icons:

First of all, I want to be my own style icon. I want to be comfortable in my skin and in my body and love what I wear. I think it is important to define myself in a way that represents myself well to my daughter and the girls I teach. I am conscious of having a position in life as a mother and a teacher to influence young women. I try to dress as a professional while still being approachable. I have to dress in a way that is adaptable to the many situations I encounter throughout the day.

At the age of 40, I think I am at a point where I am still young and have lots of options, but I can also pull off serious stuff that looks like playing dress-up on a 20-something. I don't have my 20 year old body, and after giving birth to four beautiful children, spending a grand total of a solid decade either pregnant and/or nursing, I don't give a flip. I do intend to get a little more serious about exercise once the weather warms up, but not because I am worried about swimsuit weather, but for just obvious health reasons.

With these things in mind, let me introduce my style icons.

First up, our FLOTUS, Michelle Obama. I love the bold colors and I love the cardigans. I love the flared skirts she often chooses. Those are things that work for me even though I have neither Michelle's height nor her toned arms. She always looks classy and effortless.

Another former FLOTUS and now former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, makes my list. Now Hillary has made some fashion blunders over the years, but I'm willing to forgive this atrocious orange pantsuit (yikes, that is NOT her color). Hillary was one of my first adult icons. I graduated college the semester that she became First Lady and I loved that she was a strong woman - and smart and opinionated. I will also admit that I do headbands and scrunchies...if they work for a woman who has flown around the world for her job, they can work for a woman who has to fly out the door with four kids in tow by 7am every morning. I also love that she has found her style - from the pantsuits (because sometimes skirts ARE a pain in the butt and you just want to be able to move around without flashing people or sit comfortably) to the sunglasses and her (lately) more interesting jackets. I also love that she has let her hair grow longer again. Screw the "rules" - if women are going to run things, the old rules need to be flipped.

I think Kate Middleton always looks stylish, but especially when she wears ladylike dresses. Some days I want to feel pretty. I could totally channel this look.
I would also add that her wedding dress was one of the best things I have seen - so classy and classic, plus her sister Pippa's dress was rockin' too. Young girls need to see that you can be stunning without being sleazy or having your "girls" hanging out.
While I like classy, professional, and ladylike looks, I also have an appreciation for the fiercely quirky, and I share this style icon with my daughter. We both love Katy Perry!

Now, I won't be dying my hair pink or blue, nor will I be wearing a cupcake bra, but what I love about Katy's style is the fun. She is fun without being vulgar (like a singer who showed up at an awards show with one boob hanging free, nipple covered in a pasty). She wears costumes...but she also rocks some fierce vintage glamour and doesn't take herself too seriously. If we can't laugh at ourselves from time to time, what's the point?

Like many young women who came of age in the 90's, I would count Jennifer Aniston as a style icon. She epitomizes casual coolness and hairdo I could actually emulate (without going crazy!). She also is another Hollywood icon whose behavior does not eclipse her style - points for that.

Whether it is business casual Michelle, professional Hillary, ladylike Kate, fun Katy, or laid-back Jennifer that I channel, I want to wear the clothes without the clothes wearing me. Taking some inspiration from these women as well as others, I like to add my own favorite style elements - colorblocking, above knee-length skirts, and great knit tops. I think having style icons is fun and inspirational, you should always be confident in your own style. I try to do that and hope it shows to others.

Who are your inspirations?