Finding My Stripes

I think I’ve always considered Spring to be a favorite season of mine -when Ohio actually experiences one that is ;). Spring is the mark of new beginnings–figuratively and literally speaking. After being cooped up inside all winter, it feels really good to shed the old and welcome the new.

Last week, I swapped out my winter clothes for Spring and that always feels good. Often times, my swapping comes with a bit of sifting too. I like to use that time to go through all the stuff I kept from the year(s) before and figure out what I missed and what I didn’t. Hopefully, by the end I have a big bag of stuff to donate, stuff to toss, (and inevitably stuff to hang on to that contains sentimental attachment *Making sure the biggest bag isn’t this one is the real challenge).

To be real for a minute…I don’t know about anyone else, but every year when I swap clothes, it turns into a sort of self-evaluation. I know interest in clothing can have a frivolous connotation, but you can learn a lot about yourself (or anyone) from clothing choices. It’s amazing how powerful clothing really can be. I teach fashion history, and I try to emphasize how much fashion (in a more general sense) is really just a mirror of what is happening in the world. When relating fashion on more personal levels, more times than not, our clothes are reflections of ourselves. Who are we? We can usually tell by looking through our closets. Rarely do our personal styles remain the same through the years, and this is because WE don’t stay the same through the years. We are humans, we evolve. We go through different stages of our lives and our clothing tells that story. Personally, I am at a point in life where change is probably around the corner. And as we all know, change can be hard but necessary. To get a little psychological, that is also something I can detect just by sifting through my closet. I want to move on and welcome change (toss a bunch of things), but I also want to hang on (keep a bunch of things). Can anyone else relate?

As I was sifting, I pulled out these pants from the tote and (as with the pink pants) thought, “huh these are fun, I should really wear these” and so, this blog post happened.

So, I bring you more stripes. Obviously, not ticking fabric this time ;) This was one of those projects where I saw the fabric in the store and immediately thought–“PANTS!” There was really no other fate for this fun striped fabric.

I actually made these a few years ago, and I remember that the stripe fabric is from JoAnns, but I honestly cannot tell you which pant pattern I used. It very possibly was one that I modified. I did have to line the pants completely because the stripe fabric was just transparent enough to consider lining a good idea. And because I had just enough fabric for these pants, I ended up hemming the pants to the absolute smallest amount possible, and by that I mean I used very narrow hem tape stitched at about a quarter inch. :[] (I promise, I won’t do that again). But you know how it is…half the time, sewing is problem solving situations you know you shouldn’t have gotten into in the first place. ;)

When I yanked these out of the tote, I wasn’t completely sure how I would style them. At first, I thought maybe a graphic tee. Then my mind went to a basic tee with a jacket, and I think that was a good choice. The pants alone are statement enough, so the basic top and jacket help the balance. What do you think? How would you style a pair of striped pants?

To return to the *realness* part of this post from the beginning: I love these pants. But the reality is, I made them a few years ago and haven’t worn them much and they no longer feel like the me I am today. They maybe were the me I was when I made them. And I know what I should do. Though I should be trying to keep the “keep for sentimental purposes” pile to a minimum, these pants will probably be added to that pile. I have a hard time tossing things I make because I feel like they are a good form of documentation. If you’re a maker, keep what you make (or at least take photos). They document your journey of making, which with you, changes. And it’s okay to document the change.



Outfit details:

Leather jacket: Victoria’s Secret; Tee: Target; Shoes: hand-me-down from a friend; Necklace: Made by me, find similar here.


Just in Time

One of my handmade resolutions this year has been to make more ‘everyday’ kind of clothing (which will continue as one of my #memademay goals). I would say that these pants fit that bill. I’ve been wanting to make a pair of paper-bag style pants for quite some time, it was just a matter of finding a good pattern and picking the right fabric.

I knew I wanted them to be striped, so I went with a basic 100% cotton ticking fabric. Yes…fabric generally used for pillows and other home decor kind of projects, but I thought I’d give it a shot, and honestly, it worked pretty well.

I used McCall’s pattern #m7726 (View C), but made a few adjustments: I chose the shorter length, but the shorter length turned out to be just a little shorter than I thought so I decided to add a band to the bottom with the stripes going horizontal instead of vertical, which narrowed the leg a touch while adding just a bit more length.Β  I also omitted two of the belt loops, and then of course made basic fitting adjustments–mostly to the rise and inseam.

From far away, the color of the stripes look much more gray than blue, which makes me think of those “what color is it!?” internet photos that were filtering around a while back (ya know, the dress: is it white or blue?) The stripes are definitely a navy blue, btw. ;) Fabric from Joann’s.

While my makes usually lean more toward outfitting the top portion of the body, I do still enjoy making pants and this pattern was definitely a keeper. I’m definitely excited to wear these ticking stripe pants throughout Spring and am thankful the weather decided to warm up just in time for me to wear these lovelys.

I think next I’ll make the wider leg version (view D). Have you tried this pattern? What do you think of it?


Also, can you tell how enthusiastic I am to be wearing my new pants? Hey, your clothes should make you happy, right?


Outfit details:

Button down-Gap (many years ago); purse-J.W. Hulme; Shoes-Lotta from Stockholm

Old Movie Inspired

Ask my husband, and he’ll tell you that almost every time we watch an old movie on TCM, I’m running over to the TV with my phone so I can get a picture of a costume that I find inspiring.

I was totally inspired for this next one…by Ann Miller in Two Tickets to Broadway. I used the same pattern Β (M7513) as I did for the jacket in this post. And again, I also did some dyeing for it. Instead of marbling though, I did a full dunk of color. I used RIT dye again, and I did a little bit of color mixing (thanks to RIT’s website full of dye recipes) to achieve this periwinkle hue. Here’s how it came out:


It took a little searching to find some appliques I thought would work the best. I finally decided on these from Mood fabrics. They ended up giving just the look I was hoping for.

Leather look pants helped with that edgy aesthetic I was going for ;)

The trim I used was a combination of a normal braid trim with faux leather.

I contemplated making the collar the same periwinkle shade, but ultimately thought it would do well as a contrast piece.

Outfit details:

Belt: BCBGeneration (many years ago); Leather look pants from H&M (last year); Shoes: hand-me-down from a friend!