Update, Plans And Style Talk

Hi! It’s been a while eh? I felt the need for a break from sewing, blogging and life in general. I felt a little stressed with things being full-on at home and we decided we needed a holiday of sorts. We luckily managed to book a few days in Barmouth, Mid Wales and it turned out to be a lovely restful time. I can’t believe how lucky we were with the weather either. Three and a half days were spent on the beach in gorgeous sunshine and the rest of the time we had lovely walks….and the best bit was going out for some delicious meals. Ohhhh, it was so nice not to have to cook!

Here are a few photos from our break, Barmouth can be pretty when the weather plays nicely:

Update, Plans, And Style Talk
Update, Plans, And Style Talk
Update, Plans, And Style Talk

We also have some big house and garden renovations planned for the Autumn and after some more family time at home, we had to start on some preparation for those. We’ll be having major landscaping work done in the back garden in October, so plants have had to be moved by us and then we booked tree surgeons to come and do major clearing work before the makeover gets done…we had 5 men working in our back garden yesterday and I was chief tea maker for them all 🙂 .

Other plans are to have interior decor changed in the hall, stairs and upstairs landing areas of the house at the start of September, so last week I was stripping wallpaper in preparation for that too. I’ve been busy, busy, busy!

Obviously, with all of that going on, there’s been zero sewing done by me, though I do have one final summer top to share with you on the blog soon. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about my personal style and what I want to be blogging about in the future with some regard to that.

As I started to mull over the subject of my style, I watched a fascinating Ted Talk on YouTube by Molly Bingaman. In it, she covers the subject of personal style and identity. It’s really worth a watch.

The video really resonated with me as I came to realise that I fitted into the last category that she mentioned and lots of little lightbulbs went off in my head.

It made me understand why I can often feel really irritated by clothes, particularly tops, that don’t feel like they follow my form and move with me when I want to move. I can’t bear fabrics that stand away from my body like crisp cotton for instance and I dislike sleeves that don’t hug my wrists or have too much fullness or a shape that flaps around….it drives me crazy.  Anything that doesn’t sit right on my shoulders or neckline can irritate me too.

If my clothing feels off I can’t feel focused on my daily tasks and that’s no good for my well being when it’s a source of stress.

It’s interesting to note that this need for my clothes to follow my form also fits nicely in with the points about Kibbe style that I mentioned in this post where I talk about being a Dramatic Classic (for me just a hint of the dramatic part in relation to longer sleek lines). 

I didn’t just stop at that one realisation about my style though…I was in the mood for more navel-gazing and at the start of August, I decided to join a personal style membership course run by Christie Ressel. I’ve watched lots of training videos already and had a fun time delving deep into the subject of style. 

One huge factor that I’ve had to face up to is the fact that I’ve often made myself clothes that are maybe too dressy for my lifestyle or just simply not really what I enjoy wearing or feel like me. I’m  very guilty of being too influenced by what I see on Instagram and trying to imitate others (bet I’m not the only one in that respect 🙂 )  

I’ve purged a few items from my closet and I want to do a big try-on session to see what outfits I can make with others and what wardrobe gaps I have.

Part of my process has also involved gathering images for a mood board and thinking of a descriptor for my style that’ll help me assess a garment or outfit to make sure it fits with my lifestyle. In three succinct words, I’ve come up with “upscale casual with a twist”.

Casual features because it’s to remind me to beware of my errand running, mostly at home lifestyle and the ‘upscale’ part refers to the fact that no matter how I try…even when I dress casually, I always look polished (or so I’ve been told). Upscale also refers to my love of tailored (well-fitting) clothes and good fabrics. The ‘twist’ part refers to the fact that I’m a creative person that makes her own clothes so they are always original. My plan is to be mindful of dressing down the dressy items in my wardrobe. Here’s my mood board on Pinterest if you fancy a look.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that if I put an outfit on and it isn’t balanced in regards to feminine and masculine (or Yin and Yang) then it can feel off. Too feminine/girly can feel wrong and too masculine/severe/sporty can feel off too. In fact today I wore a boyfriend blazer (I prefer a fitted shorter blazer), a red top, white jeans and trainers. I realised that apart from the blazer being too boxy the trainers felt wrong to me and a heeled sandal would have been a bit better…it’s the little tweaks that can really make a difference.

My style learning curve’s ongoing but a lot of fun and I’m already thinking about some upcoming sewing projects for the Autumn. 

First on my list is something that I’ve been planning for a while and it’s a short cream denim-type jacket using the top part of this vintage Nina Ricci design from 1969 as my starting point.

A short fitted jacket will open up more outfit combos to wear with wide-leg full-length pants and is something that’s been lacking in my wardrobe for a long time. I also have a much loved and much worn olive green cotton sateen RTW trench which I can’t bear to part with, so I plan on remodelling it to a short jacket too.

Another planned project will be using a gorgeous panel print jersey from Marcy Tilton Fabrics for a graphic long-sleeved tee and if I can get hold of the perfect shade of soft denim, I would love some full-length wide-leg jeans.

So for starters, coming up in the next few weeks, I’ll show you my final summer top make, chat about trends and hopefully share my two short jackets, so stay tuned.

And that’s my update….it turned out to be quite a wordy post so if you stuck it out till the end, bless you!

Chat soon!

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  1. August 26, 2021 / 6:47 am

    Looking forward to hearing about your style journey.

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 9:13 am

      Thanks, Catherine!

  2. Brenda Honey
    August 26, 2021 / 1:34 pm

    Thanks for the update. Your posts are always interesting and informative. I look forward to each one.

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 2:42 pm

      Thank you, Brenda. That’s so nice of you to say.

  3. August 26, 2021 / 2:21 pm

    I loved that TED talk by Molly! Her outfit did suit her perfectly EXCEPT that dart on her jumper was too high :)) and it annoyed me that it annoyed me. That’s what sewing your own clothes will do to us irrevocably. I couldn’t agree with her more that we need to dress WHO we are not who someone else is or who we wish or want to be. For example I just cannot do blazers. I’ve tried so many times throughout my life to REALLY try and wear them – with a skirt, jeans, a dress but every one I’ve owned and worn just doesn’t look right. When I discovered Kibbe and landed instantly on my body type (Soft Dramatic) I finally found out why blazers just look terrible! I’ve never had a job where a blazer was a necessity thank heavens 🙂 Coverings are far more challenging for me and I have several jacket, covering patterns. Already I’ve struck success with the Cambria duster in a gorgeous olive sateen but I have other plans as well. I’m examining chore jackets, and wrap jackets like the Sierra Maker by Closet Core patterns. Style is so much fun. I’ve always enjoyed reading and seeing your process of style planning, making and modeling. I look forward to walking this next lap in your style journey with you!

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 2:51 pm

      Thanks, Kathleen. Glad you enjoyed that video…and your comment made me chuckle…I noticed that dart too!!
      Totally agree, we need to dress who we are. I’ve been guilty of being swayed by images on Instagram and ‘the hottest pattern trends’ that everyone’s making and I need to stop myself from doing that and to really think before I make something new and to ask myself…” will this really suit me?” “Will I feel comfortable?”. “Does it fit my lifestyle?”
      Not surprised about how you feel in blazers…you need an outer layer with a bit more fluidity. A wrap-style sounds great and maybe a softer collar too, Hope you find something you love.

  4. August 26, 2021 / 4:50 pm

    The Ted Talk was fascinating and your blog post underlined an aspect that we all need to revisit: thinking before we leap into a new project. Really considering how our next choice fits into our personal style. This is a great reminder that can save us much wastage and culling time later. Thanks for the inspiration to get real and get authentic.

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 6:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Angela. I’m so glad my musings resonated with you x

  5. Joan
    August 26, 2021 / 5:05 pm

    Hi Diane! Very happy that you just needed a break: I am always worried that some dreadful family calamity has befallen a favorite blogger when their posts don’t arrive (I’ve got a decade or more on you, so I have been through such and don’t wish it upon others!).

    Will definitely check out the TED talk. I did look at your Mood board: FUN! And I saw several themes on asymmetrical necklines, interesting knit tops, cropped leather/moto jackets in tan (I bought a black one last Fall, to go with my black hair!).

    I definitely feel that one has to be honest with self about actual lifestyle if you hope to be satisfied with what you sew! I think there is a lot more interest in style in Europe these days, even in your smaller communities, than there is in the U.S.
    OR, our style is utterly street and youth-based (grunge with bare midriff and short cut-offs for summer!), or fleece and leggings for cold weather… I am now in a small University Midwest town, and it is a bit hard to get dressed for anything! The bar is SO LOW! Women my age wear shorts and tops to restaurants in summer, even our nice restaurants, meaning they don’t change a thing when they “go out”.

    But as a sewer, many if not most of us, want to express our personality better than we can with RTW, no matter how casual or dressy our lifestyle. So my goal is to keep my eye on expressing myself through my clothing, even if my lifestyle as a retired, mostly at home, wife of a prof, is very casual!

    Re. style and wearing clothing that we are really comfortable in: it IS A JOURNEY! Fashion is a continuum and we are on a continuum in our own lives! We can surely understand ourselves better, and our clothing choices will continue to evolve and change because of it. (Psych major with two parents who were sociologists!)

    Also, is it possible that you are just naturally “a seeker” when it comes to fashion and your style? I know many people who are on “quests” of various sorts. Perhaps you are, as well!

    I love that Nina Ricci jacket, and look forward to seeing what you do with it! Re. 60’s style, I just took a SECOND Palmer-Pletsch 5-day class, working on cementing my fitting skills, and my last garment was an A-line stretch rayon crepe LBD with a cutaway armhole that is rather 60’s: perfect for my figure (a little too much tummy right now). I love this silhouette for summer, and rather love the 60’s silhouettes (tho I’m not interested in dressing to that period, I just like the cut of that era).

    Wishing you an exciting and positive remodeling experience! (Been through a few of those that did not go as planned! We prevailed however!)

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 7:18 pm

      Hi Joan, yes, all’s well with my family at present, thank goodness.
      Glad you’ve enjoyed my post and my mood board. I definitely want some interesting and comfy knit tops and those tan leather jackets were added because I’ve had some gorgeous tan faux leather in my stash for quite some time and I keep threatening to sew it up (a bit nervous about it as I’ve never sewn a thicker faux leather before), so hopefully seeing it on my mood board will remind me to add it to my project list. I hope you also manage to sew some outfits that you love, to fit in with your casual lifestyle.

      I agree that as sewers we do have that need to express our personalities through style and fashion absolutely is on a continuum, as we are too. I certainly feel like I’m changing constantly and want my clothes to express that too.
      Ooh, you might be right…perhaps I am a seeker with my style. I love exploring it 🙂
      I’m glad you like that vintage pattern…isn’t it fab? And 60s dress shapes appeal to me too. I just cut out pieces to do a toile for my jacket. I’ll be using the tops section and having the hemline stop somewhere around that below-waist seam. I’m enjoying getting back to sewing.

      • Joan Weakland
        August 31, 2021 / 5:21 pm

        The Nina Ricci jacket would be a fantastic timeless jacket in your tan leather! Maybe it would have a longer life than a moto-style jacket?!

        • diane
          August 31, 2021 / 6:57 pm

          Oooh, yes, maybe!

  6. Joan
    August 26, 2021 / 5:08 pm

    p.s. Lovely photos of Barmouth! We need/are planning a getaway, too!

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 6:57 pm

      Thanks! I hope you succeed in getting a break too.

  7. Joan
    August 26, 2021 / 5:16 pm

    p.p.s. Your end-of-blog signature has gone AWOL.

    • diane
      August 26, 2021 / 6:53 pm

      Hmm, seems to be ok on my phone and laptop…

      • Joan
        August 31, 2021 / 5:19 pm

        Signature has returned!

  8. Heather Myers
    August 27, 2021 / 4:00 am

    This post and associated videos / links are very thought provoking. I’m thinking about these things too, as I’m soon to retire and have a more active, less structured non-work life.

    I too like clothes which fit especially my torso area, are rather tailored, classic, with an interesting or unexpected feature or detail. Plus I like something which makes me smile when wearing it, e.g. sometimes a bit of ruffle, color… Here’s a rather surprising (to me) example – . I made a swing dress earlier this summer from a crisp light grey / blue lightweight Japanese cotton from my “fabric pantry” with a lawn pink -green- white blue madras ruffle on the v neck and front patch pockets. I unexpectedly really enjoy wearing despite grey not being my color, and how fun and feminine it is compared to many other garments I have. This has caused a lot of thought along the same lines as your post! Thanks!

    Thanks, and I look

    • diane
      August 27, 2021 / 9:57 am

      Thanks, Heather. I’m glad you found my thoughts and links interesting. It sounds as though we like a few similar clothes silhouettes too, but also, as your dress proves…when we try something different we can surprise ourselves and enjoy the new shape/colour of it. So many facets to our style journeys eh?

  9. Heather Myers
    August 27, 2021 / 4:03 am

    Forward to seeing your journey. ( Apology for the 2 part message.)

    • diane
      August 27, 2021 / 9:57 am

      No worries, thank you!

  10. Vicki M
    September 3, 2021 / 11:57 pm

    Fun post. I am a member of Insideout Blog and their 7 steps to style program. I recently retired and have grown my grey hair out. Now I find grey to be good neutral whereas brown was before. So I am also going through a transformation. My style recipe is – current, classic and comfortable. It’s fun to change things up and I look forward to following along with you.

    • diane
      September 4, 2021 / 10:39 am

      Hi Vicki, glad you enjoyed my post. Ah yes, I’ve heard of the7 Style Steps program, it sounds great and I love your style descriptors. It’s definitely fun to change things up. enjoy your journey x

  11. Sharon
    September 12, 2021 / 8:13 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post and another wants her clothes to move with her, not be stiff and stand away from my body. I appreciate your thoughts and mood board and I look forward to seeing how you style your jacket from the vintage pattern.

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