Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Proportionally proportioned

Part of the capsule experiment is that I need to be held accountable to developing a style that I am happy with.  It’s very easy to throw on a top and bottom, but, in putting it all together I want to look “together”. 

But what does that mean?  Actually, I don’t know.  Very a-typical of me, but I don’t have a real definition of where I’m heading as I travel this road of “sh-tyle”.

I suppose I want to be able to take a month of outfits and photograph them again and be in love with all that I see.  

I’m also loving the compliments.  And they’re compliments about how “fresh” I look and how “happy” and how I “lend a professional feel” to a meeting.  I love these compliments as they are seeing how I feel; how I feel about myself.  

I’m definitely on the right road.

So now, I’m reviewing the outfits that worked and those that didn’t quite hit the mark.

For me, the most obvious thing to get right (or wrong) is proportions.

Have you heard about the golden ratio?  Where the ideal body proportion is one where the body is 8 head lengths long.  

Here are a few links that explain it way better than I.

The eight sections consist of :-
forehead to chin
chin to bust
bust to waist (of which I am short)
waist to leg break (of which I am long)
leg break to mid thigh (of which I am short)
mid thigh to knee
knee to mid lower leg
mid lower leg to foot

So here’s my analysis of my body proportions…

In the first picture, I used three tricks, from what I can see – a belt to draw the eye to the waist; hide the leg break via a dress skirt and wear heels.  Altogether this gives a slightly leggier look than the jeans and tee.

In my life, I cannot always dress to these rules.  I need my basic jeans and tee.  So I’m still working on how to make this outfit look more aesthetically balanced.

The next type of proportion is using the Fibonacci series on clothing ratios to determine what is the most pleasing to the eye.

Here I’m referring to the 1:2 ratio of the Fibonacci series.  In all three outfits, the belt plays a major role.  In the first and third picture, you can see that it’s a 1:1 ratio.  I think this ratio makes me look a bit more boxy, maybe even stumpy.   Whereas in the middle photo, the belt helps to emphasize a 1:2 ratio.  The middle outfit is one of my current favourite outfits.

What do you think?  Am I on the right track?  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A week in review :- guilty pleasures; around the home and a dedication

Little snippets...

- a rare photo of me with my girls
- a stylish Baby Mac
- loving My Little Pony this week
- Little Miss M's recipe - Butterfly Cakes
- a favoured arcade housing a favoured chocolate cafe
- going for a solo drive with the volume up HIGH

A dedication to my Dear Husband - my favourite and my best! 
(plus an extra favoured photo)

- He's got it all covered - hula hoop for the girls, doing the dishes for me and listening to his podcast for himself
- No space is too small to offer a little comfort to a sleeping bub
- Ms A - Big smiles with Daddy
- Ms A - even bigger smiles with Opa
Have a happy week, peeps!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DIY : Swirly Paisley - white button down shirt

It had been a very long time since I had last attempted an adult clothing sewing pattern. 

Being a beginner sewist (I refuse to refer to myself as a sewer!), I needed patterns that were extensive in their instructions, smart in their construction and professional in their finishes.  Having reignited my sewing career using my favourite bag designer's pattern, I was used to high quality patterns.

As time had gone on, though, and my need for fit-to-size clothing, I thought I might be in a good place to start exploring womens clothing again.  I chose this Vogue pattern as my re-entrance project.

One of the reasons I didn’t continue with making my own clothing back then was because I didn’t know how to alter a pattern to fit, or where to find that sort of information (short of doing a course).   And what was the point of making clothing that was as ill-fitting as what I could find off the rack?

Just a decade or so on, and the internet has made a huge difference to my feelings on taking on this type of project.  This time round I was an eager and willing student of youtube uni.

This Vogue pattern was quite a good starting point for me.  The finishes were quite good with all seams being flat-felled.  Not having a serger, this was a real bonus.  The construction was quite smart and the style was along the lines of what I was looking for to add to my capsule wardrobe.  Also, there seemed to be enough seams in the appropriate places to be able to make the alterations that I needed.  Further to that, the pattern included different breast cup sizing options.  One less alteration I would have to figure out on my own.

So, the alterations I had to make on this pattern were to :-
  •        raise the waistline
  •        reduce the shoulder width (which, on viewing the photos may not have been necessary)
  •        reduce the whole body circumference
  •        shape the waist to be more fitted (it's a loose shirt and I wanted more structure)
  •        reduce the arm sleeve circumference
  •        reduce the length of the sleeve
  •        reduce the length of the garment
  •        change the button placement

While it does seem like a lot of alterations, a couple of things that I did not have to alter that are worth noting (in my mind) :-
  •        shoulder-to-bust point length
  •        arm hole circumference
  •        neck circumference
  •        bust shaping
I traced the original pattern onto some of this “paper”.  Awesome stuff – sturdy enough to play around with yet thin enough to be used as a pattern.  I then altered the pattern by various folds (just in case the alterations didn’t work).
From there I cut out the material and sewed as directed.

 I am pretty happy with the result.  I can wear it tucked in or not.  Belted or not.  Over a camisole with one button or left open.  I’m comfortable wearing it with pants or shorts or a skirt.  And also with or without a blazer or cardigan.

I would definitely give this pattern a go again, and either mix up the fabric weight or the looseness.  Both of these, I think, would give a different effect.  I would also be happy making exactly the same thing if that’s what my wardrobe needed.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A week in review : Good one Little Miss M

Two good ones from Little Miss M this past week...

After been given a particularly slobby kiss by Ms A, Little Miss M, looking a bit perplexed says "Hmmm... awww, thanks A.  That was a, um, a delicious kiss."

One evening, as we were coming home a bit later than usual, Little Miss M notices all the different colours in the sky due to the sun setting.  Then she turns to her dad and I and says, "My favourite part of the day is the sunset because it's like a gift to everyone."

Isn't that the sweetest thing?

Anyhoo, I got a bit lazy last week (and a bit side tracked with the long weekend) so here is two weeks worth of snippetry.  I hope you've had lots of lovely snippets.

- coffee, hershey kiss, sour cherry pie with a maple syrup whipped cream and a lemon curd filled bagel for breakfast from Bowery to Williamsburg (Ah America, I do love your food).
- "Pupil of the Week"!!!!  Well done, Little Miss M!  I'm so proud of you.  And thanks for the excuse to get an indulgent morning coffee.
- quintessential Melbourne - a hidden lane way complete with a disco ball catching the early morning sun.
- Thanks for your help, Ms A.
- Having fun in the sun (and water).
- whoopee cushion !!!
- drink du jour
- my sleeping angels
- my playing angels
- a favoured meeting place

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday's Treat : Koko Black

Sedate, elegant, dark and comforting, Koko Black has been a favourite chocolate haunt of mine from the time I had discovered it.

I am and I’m not a chocolate snob.  I love the creamy smoothness of Sisko orbs and the crisp crunchy bites of Ganache’s chocolate covered caramelised hazelnuts.  I’m also addicted to Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations and Cadbury's Special Edition Mint Flake.  I LOVE CHOCOLATE.

But when it comes to Iced Chocolate and Hot Chocolate, I am very particular and will not risk this type of chocolate experience with a less than stellar product.  If I have a craving for an iced chocolate or a hot chocolate, I will wait until I am at one of my favourite haunts to satisfy the craving rather than ordering at any old café.

My favourite at Koko Black is the Iced Chocolate and the Iced Coffee.  Normally, it is the Iced Chocolate for me, unless I’m trying to satisfy a coffee and dessert craving.

Today, it is the Iced Chocolate at Bourke St Koko Black. 

Set deep in the Royal Arcade, ground floor Koko Black offers a lovely respite from the crowds and glaring sunshine and a perfect vantage point for people watching.  With a skylight roofline, there is enough light to stay connected with the glorious weather that Melbourne had on offer today.

Even with a steady (but not busy) stream of customers, the staff remain attentive and pleasant, maintaining the elegant feel of the shop/café.

The Iced Chocolate is deeply chocolatey – a splashing of chocolate syrup down the sides of the glass, creamy chocolate drink kept cold with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream and vanilla-bean ice-cream, and a generous sprinkling chocolate flakes.


Hmmm... if I can draw myself away from the Iced Chocolate or Iced Coffee, I might give this a go next time.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DIY : how many uses - cape, roof, dress, wrapping "paper"...

Homemade Lap Blanket

I am tentatively making my way into the world of quilting.  And these sweet little lap blankets are my stepping stones into that crafting nirvana.

These blankets teach me about sandwiching techniques and binding.  I’ve also enjoyed how my lettering has been coming along and I welcome some more practice with names that have curves in them.

For this blanket, I was determined to improve my machine binding.  In traditional quilting, binding the sides consists of sewing the binding on one side of the quilt and hand stitching the other side. 

Personally, I find hand stitching quite meditative and I do enjoy it, but it does require not having little girls that like to jump on your lap in any instant.  Plus hand stitching is still a time-consuming task for me, so it pays for me to practice another technique, a quicker technique of binding.

The lettering was hand drawn and then appliquéd using a small zig zag stitch.  As I chose a lettering fabric that was too close in colour to the blanket fabric, I tried to outline the letters to define them a bit better.

The flower was also a free form drawing, but this time a raw edge appliqué.  The question is, is the flower a design feature or something to correct the uncentered lettering?  Hahaha. 

As presents for children, I love these blankets.  Either on it’s own or with a book, as in this instance, I’m quite proud to present them.  I imagine that the recipient will get as much enjoyment out of it as my girls get from the one here at home.  And my girls use their blanket A LOT.  And yes, it’s time for Baby Mac to have one of her own.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A week in review : a bit of this and a lot of that

A small snippet of my week - a collage of simple pleasures.

- Right side : food indulgences including a welcome to Autumn (a hot chocolate)
- Sisters playing together inside and out
- Beautiful interfaced, wadded and ironed material
- Ms A lending a "helping" hand in the kitchen 
What were your simple pleasures this week?