What with the Wardrobe Sudoku Contest being two whole months and ten projects, and what with my recent series considering wardrobe plans and finding a style, I’ve been doing a lot of contemplation about the projects I was working on, and how it relates to my overall wardrobe, sewing, and style goals as a whole, especially as it relates to the wardrobe planning I started last year. So I figured that I would sort of have a catch all of ramblings that I found myself pondering as I went through this contest. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about over the past two months:
(1) As much as my weight has been fluctuating the past few years, my pattern sizing, by and large, has remained fairly consistent. My Burda sizes are pretty much what they were when I first started sewing them several years ago. Some of my older pieces have gotten a bit tight, so I got nervous, and remeasured myself, and got even more nervous because some of the numbers had changed. Which led to me sewing several tops that were too big. Not so large as to be unwearable, but, I’d go down at least one size for all of the patterns next time I sew them. A bit sad I’m not in love with my tops, but, after that experience I feel more comfortable selecting a pattern size for myself again. Sad to say, it’s a skill I’ve sort of lost in the past few years of sewing so much for others.
(2) If I really want to, I can find time to sew every day. It might mean trading out a meal or an hour of sleep, but, I can. This was something I’d sort of used as an excuse in the past for not getting things done. But, if I really want to, I can get things done in 1-2 hours a day. Larger projects (like cutting out fabric) I can strategically plan for the days I have a chunk of time, and smaller things (like sewing a pocket or tracing a pattern) I can do in a one hour time segment. This contest has got me in the habit of sewing every day, or, at the least, thinking about sewing every day, which is a great improvement from where I was even a few months ago. Regardless of how my sudoku board actually turned out, this is what I really needed to gain from this experience, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
(3) I need to rethink my pattern storage. I actually have a fairly organized pattern stash in that I have a catalog system that allows me to find things fairly quickly. And when you have as many patterns as I do, that isn’t a small task. But my physical storage is practically at capacity. And the vast majority of it is pretty much buried behind a wall of fabric at the moment. I need my patterns to be more accessible to encourage me to use them, and to be efficient at re-filing them. Not that I wouldn’t reach for a Burda 9 times out of 10 anyway, but since I keep my Burda magazines easily accessible, when it came time to make final pattern choices, if I was between a Burda and a non-Burda, I went Burda, simply for ease of pulling out the pattern. Which means my storage system is actually rather ineffective. I’ve actually schemed up quite an awesome plan to remedy this, but it might require another paycheck and a large enough chunk of time to head to Ikea…
(4) I recently went through a long series of posts about wardrobe planning, but I think I need to ponder this some more. I felt pretty happy with my Polyvore prowess, but this didn’t really translate into a wardrobe that I loved. I think, maybe, I was a bit too restrictive in my color scheme, with a bit too much focus on my main accent color, and not enough focus on the neutral colors. Or, maybe, I needed more different accent colors to add variety. I recently read an article about pairing down a closet based on consolidating colors, but, honestly, I’m not sure I could deal with such a narrow color palette for an entire wardrobe, especially considering the struggle I had with a 16-piece collection!
(5) I don’t know if I am the sort of person who can pull off wearing combine prints particularly well. I always love when contestants on Project Runway or other sewing bloggers mix all the crazy prints together and look amazing. I’m just not sure I can do that. Or, at least, I don’t think it was entirely successful in this collection. I still love prints, but I think when I mix too many of them it feels like the clothes are fighting each other. It doesn’t feel effortless. And one thing I’ve learned from skating is that things things in life are rarely effortless, but if you can fool others into thinking they are then you’re doing something right.
(6) I think I need to find some way to add something more “me” into my looks. Not gonna lie, I’m a pretty hardcore nerd. And while part of my wardrobe musings was aimed at getting me away from living a life in jeans and graphic t-shirts, a wardrobe of solid basics and background neutrals isn’t really “me” either. Of course, saying this is a bit ironic because the problem I have with my sudoku wardrobe is that there aren’t enough basic neutrals. But, honestly, there must be a better way for me to blend my love of nerd-dom and sartorial interests that can be both stylish and sophisticated without being too fussy, or having to resort to wearing geek-print leggings and t-shirts on a daily basis. Not that there is anything wrong with geek-print leggings and t-shirts. I’m just at a point where I don’t think I can pull that off with the unassuming nonchalance of someone two-thirds my age. Though I’ve got some interesting ideas of things I want to play with. This is probably something that won’t manifest as a reality for a while, but it’s an idea I also can’t quite seem to get out of my head. So, more nerdy clothing on the forefront? In the form of mini wardrobe collections? It is a distinct possibility.
(7) My sewing machine controls the weather. I may have noted this before, as the creation of my blue raincoat put California into so deep a drought that a winter of rain and floods hasn’t been enough to get us out of it. This Wardrobe Sudoku project has had much the same effect. I thought I would sew a nice set of transitional pieces that would take me from winter into spring. But we’ve had no spring. It lasted all of one glorious perfect day, and now it’s summer. Which probably sounds insane to those who suffered through Storm Crazy Balls on the east coast, but, seriously. Summer. I should have sudokued for summer, because, looking through my wardrobe, I am ill equipped for the soon-to-be hot days ahead. I’m totally set for the end of next fall though!
(8) I’ve got a German butt. I mean, there isn’t really a better way to say it. Seriously, Burda drafts for my ass. There is no way I would have finished this wardrobe if I’d had to do major muslins for all of the bottoms – I honestly just cut the fabric and preyed. One time it didn’t work out, but, after learning from my fabric choice error, the rest of them fit astonishingly well. Granted, I fudge them a bit by sewing slightly smaller seam allowanced than I cut, but it’s a very minor change to get a great fit out of the envelope (or, well, magazine).
(9) The best fly front tutorial to use with Burda drafting:
(10) I probably would not do a sudoku board plan again without another Pattern Review contest. While I did learn the importance of creating pieces that play well with others, if I was going to make a mini-wardrobe collection in the future I would probably want to include more dresses and other sorts of pieces, and mix and match in less restrictive ways than are allowed through this set up. I’m really glad I did it, but, I don’t think I need to do another sudoku board plan anytime soon.
(11) I really do like everything I’ve made much better in hindsight. The white pants I was a bit cautious of when I’d first finished, but now I absolutely love them. I feel so elegant and comfortable every time I put them on. The cold shoulder top is a really cozy piece, even if I’ll have to wear a modesty tank under it in the real world. I really want to make another in a fabric that will be more appropriate for spring, and in a smaller size. I always loved the skinny trousers, but they are really warm, so I will definitely need to make another pair in a less thick fabric soon. And I really like the neck tie blouse – I think I might make another in a silky fabric soon as well.
(12) It takes a really long time to photograph 16 outfits! And it is also a really hot and annoying task. And one should not evaluate one’s own work after going through the task of changing and photographing 16 outfits, as one will likely be hot, rushed, and annoyed with everything.
(13) I have to figure out what is up with my camera and my editing software. My camera won’t focus or shoot on automatic settings anymore, and my editing software makes the photos look great during the edit, but they seem really blurry after I upload them? There must be some compression happening somewhere, but I need to figure out where the problem is so I can remedy it. I don’t really want to get a new camera, but I really need to figure out if I can get mine fixed somehow. Also, I might need to work out self-timer settings so I can photograph things more conveniently in the future.
(14) I miss my sister who is the best at positioning me for fashion photos. I am not as creative or poised without her telling me to turn in my foot just that much.
(15) I really want to participate in the Bargainista contest that is happening right now too! But I have too many commissions to do, and it was really hard with these contests overlapping. I really wish that the new contest hadn’t started until April 1, because I have a really awesome project I want to try for it. I’ll maybe have to pull some late nights to see if I can fit it in by the 15th…