How to coax a palette out of your existing wardrobe;
Identifying your primary colors;
Ideas for using your palette to create new outfits;
Tips for using accent colors in unexpected ways;
Using your palette when you shop!
Once you’ve created your palette based on the clothes already in your closet, carry it with you when you shop! (Click the photo to go straight to my article. Photo is my own, also used in the published article.)
This post appeared originally at my A Musing blog, here.
The last 2 TST posts are all about developing your shopping strategy. Part 1 suggests making the prospect less daunting by narrowing your focus before heading to the thrift shop; Part 2 shows how to apply your strategy while shopping. Today, I want to explore the idea of applying thrift-shopping strategy to other types of stores.
I was at one of my favorite fabric stores the other day (Mill End Fabrics, if you happen to be in Portland); I hadn’t been there in quite a while, things were all rearranged, so this was basically a reconnaissance mission, not a buying one. While touring one of my favorite sections (Silks—not usually a source of bargains), I noticed a larger-than-usual display of remnants. It occurred to me that even in a store that’s not a thrift shop per se, bargain-spotting tactics still apply— beyond the usual sales. (This particular store doesn’t have a lot of sales, actually; since it’s stocked with mill ends of designer fabrics, they’re already priced well.)
My thrift-shopping heart beat just a little faster as I approached the remnant display, lured by the subtle glow of silk crepes, georgettes, and charmeuses. (Sorry— there’s something about silk fabrics that makes me talk like that.) I was so entranced that it didn’t occur to me to take a photo of the whole display, but I do at least have some pictures of what I bought. Here’s the whole group:
My new silk remnants! 1. Black & white printed georgette. 2. Berry organdy. 3. Striped crepe de chine. 4. Printed charmeuse. 5. Lavender stretch charmeuse.
Last week on Makeover Monday, I showed you how to remove a collar from a button-down shirt, and finish the raw edges to create a fun, versatile accessory piece. Today, I decided to experiment with the rest of that shirt. We’ll see how this turns out…
Faced with the raw-edged remains of my now collarless-shirt, I thought I should at least give it a chance at a new life. After all, it’s a nice-quality, soft, lightweight cotton in a beautiful coral-meets-terracotta color, and it’s only the collar that’s gone:
Previously on Makeover Monday, I showed you the beginnings of my Take Tango to Work (TTTW) wardrobe, thanks to a fantastic find at one of my favorite thrift shops. I also concluded that, to make my tango wardrobe work-appropriate (and vice-versa), I should focus on professional fabrics and colors, and wear them in tango-ready silhouettes. Now that I’ve started sewing a few things based on that general concept, today we’ll be talking about how to choose patterns for maximum garment versatility. And I’ll show you a fabulous skirt I’ve just made, in 2 outfit variations: Professional Lindy and Tango Lindy!
Since I’ve decided a new skirt is a top wardrobe priority, my first step was finding the right pattern. I was lucky enough to find this in my pattern collection:
Butterick 4859 skirt pattern. I made Version B. Sadly, this pattern is now out of print, but I found this one that’s similar (and still available): Vogue 7937.
Today, on my way from one errand to another, I decided to take a different route. (This is common for me.) Well into this exploratory drive, I realized I was going to go more or less right past one of my favorite fabric stores in Portland: Mill End Store, which announces itself as having the largest display of fabrics in America. (I’ve been there. I believe them. How did I get so lucky as to end up in this city??) So, natch, I decided to pop in.
Now, since I hadn’t planned a fabric-shopping foray, not to mention that I had just been in this shop a little over a week ago (and I had purchased plenty of impulse items then, thank you very much), I had no shopping list, no plan, no agenda. Dangerous stuff for a fabric lover. The only decision I made before entering was that I would act as if I was there for the very first time, and simply browse. (This is something I usually avoid like the proverbial plague, since it frequently leads to the aforementioned impulse purchases.) Continue reading →
As promised: Santa Fe Wardrobe, the shopping edition!
I like to start by “shopping my closet”. I know, I know, it’s much more fun to go out and get new stuff, but hey, it can also be rewarding to unearth something you haven’t worn in (she said with a blush) over 2 years, and find that it works perfectly with your travel wardrobe color palette! So into the closet I go, and find all these pieces that fit not only the color palette but my actual clothing needs for my trip to Santa Fe:
Now that I’ve chosen the color palette for my Santa Fe travel mini-wardrobe, let me show you how that translates into fabric. (Yes, it’s true that I plan to sew most of this wardrobe, but stay tuned for the shopper’s version in my next post! I will also show you how I incorporated several items from my existing wardrobe into this travel collection.)
Remember my palette? Here it is again, below the fabrics (plus my turquoise necklace) with the palette colors:
Now that I’ve shown you a little about one of my current sewing projects, the bronze matte jersey dress with pewter jersey lining, I want to put this project in context. I’m planning a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, around the end of August, and decided this was a great excuse (if I actually need one) to make some new clothes. And since I have also been working on some ideas for great travel wardrobes, this is the perfect time to try out my theories!
The first thing I want to do for a new mini-wardrobe (it’s a 4-day trip) is create a color palette. It so happens that I’ve been twice already to Santa Fe, and it is one of my very favorite places, in part because of the beautiful colors there, which are all the more brilliant in the clear golden light of the high desert. I fell in love with everything from the innumerable shades of green and the earthy, natural colors of architecture and basket-weaving to the silver and turquoise of the jewelry you see everywhere in the Southwest. So the inspiration for my Santa Fe color palette was obvious. I headed over to Colourlovers. Continue reading →
Today, the final detail I need to deal with is that long slit in the center back of the dress, you know, the one that goes from the neck all the way down to there. Tres sexy indeed, but how does one wear a bra with it?? I decided that slit needed some closure (but then, don’t we all?). Continue reading →
The dress pattern I’m using, Vogue 1305 (photo 1) is quite interesting; one side is draped, the other side is not, and there is a loosely-cut dolman sleeve on the draped side (the non-draped side is sleeveless). Slits on the sleeve, center back, and on the non-draped leg are featured. This dress is also fully lined (interesting for a stretch-fabric garment), which means that the color of the lining fabric will show to some extent. (See more about my choice of lining fabric, plus details of initial issues with this project, in my 7/25/12 post.)
Looking at the pattern pieces (photo 2), you can see that the pieces for the draped sides have a shape that’s dramatically different than the non-draping sides; this presented a bit of a challenge, since I planned on making a shorter version of this dress. Here’s how to do it (and note that this is specific to this pattern): Continue reading →