Monday, July 14, 2014

Pretty Mommy | The Nautical Theme Continues

It is completely unintentional that so many of my outfits have revolved around a sort of nautical theme.  I picked up this skirt about a month ago at one of those consignment shops where they pay you for your clothes.  I don't typically shop at these kind of stores, but I was dropping off a few things that no longer fit into my mommy wardrobe and decided to have a look around while I waited.

The skirt is J. Crew from about eight years ago (so it sat in someone's closet for quite a while before they sold it).  I remember when J. Crew had this skirt, because it was right after I quit working there and I couldn't justify buying it without my employee discount.  Bonus, I now got it for much cheaper than my discount would have allowed.  (Plus I am smaller than I was in college, so I have a skirt that fits me now instead of eight years ago).  Can we talk about how fun this skirt is?  I just love the sandy border along the bottom of the skirt and the fun details of the people vacationing.  (Can you spot the water skiers?  There's no boat pulling them . . .)

I rarely accessorize my outfits, especially with jewelry - mostly because I have only ever bought myself one piece of jewelry in my life.  Yup, this necklace is it.  It usually comes out in the summer because of the tropical feel.  I remember when I used to wear it at work, I would get compliments followed by something along the lines of "but, you usually don't wear fun jewelry very often . . ." 

Attacked with baby kisses!
Have you ever shopped at an "upscale" consignment shop?  What's your take on them?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Like Boden, but Better

Oh my word, I feel like I have been working on this project forever - and I sort have been.  Recently, I shared about how I draw some of my inspiration from Boden catalogs.  When I saw the Emily skirt, I really wanted to buy it, but knew it was something that I could easily replicate.  Well, it was easy in the sense that it was not difficult, but hand embroidering a border of seventy-five inches took a bit longer than I expected.

Close-up of my embroidery and red hem tape.

I started out with a plan to make an exact copy, but as I started drawing out my flowers and looking at the photo of the real skirt, I couldn't help but feel that a nautical theme would be "better."  After spending about an hour drawing flowers, I scrapped that idea all together and starting searching pinterest for nautical themes.  Soon after, I had my little motifs picked out and I went to work drawing them out and planning how they would look on the skirt.

Though time consuming, the embroidery was a perfect project because it was easy to pick up and put down when I only had short increments of time (the story of my life right now).  But with all the work that went into the skirt because of the embroidery, I had really built up my expectations of this skirt.  I wanted to LOVE this skirt, in the end I like it, but I don't love it.

My best attempt at copying the picture from the catalog . . .

My original intent was just to make a gathered dirndl skirt and wing it.  Upon further consideration, I decided to use the skirt portion of the Cambi dress.  I liked the pocket placement of the Cambi, and I've been wanting to sew up this pattern for a long time.  A half dress is better than nothing, right?  Sewing this up has reminded me that I really need a Cambi in my closet.  It has also shown me the importance of choosing a lightweight fabric if I do the full skirt option.  The stiffness of the seersucker makes the skirt feel much fuller, so I will probably sew up the a-line version or use a much different fabric in the future.

Check out the cutie in the background!

Now that this project is done, I am excited to start something a little less time consuming.  My summer sewing list is huge, and I feel like summer is just dwindling away.  Next up is the pattern I received from this lovely lady.  Wondering what the pattern is, well you will just have to cross your fingers that I find the time to sew it up.  What's left on your summer sewing list?


Thursday, June 26, 2014

I've wanted this for more than ten years . . .

Well, I finally do have a sewing project to share with you!  While it is not a garment, it is something that I have wanted to make myself for a very long time.  As in, I've wanted to make this for more than ten years!  I made myself a knitting needle case.

I am one of those people who decides to start a knitting project, and has the yarn and pattern ready to go.  Then I find myself wondering, where the heck is my size 3 circular set?  Instead of finding it, I'll find the little plastic baggy that I bought it in.  Then I'm still left to wonder where on earth the darn needle is.  I'm hoping that by storing all of my needles in this case, and keeping the case in my knitting bag, I will easily be able to find my knitting needles anytime I need them.  I also plan to insert little slips of card stock in the slot when the needles are in use, reminding me which project they are in.

I mentioned that I have been wanting a knitting needle solution for a while, but I am quite glad that I waited until recently to make this for myself.  One reason is, I customized it to the needles that I use most frequently.  When I first learned how to knit, I used larger sized needles, like US 8 and larger.  Now, I love knitting with lace and fingering weight yarns, so I use much smaller needles.

I got the idea for this needle case off of a picture I saw on Pinterest.  I decided that I didn't really need to buy a pattern, because it is basically a series of rectangles.  I wanted something that would hold eight sets of DPNs as well as eight circular needles.  Ta-da!  That is what I made, plus there is a pocket that is perfect for holding my measuring tape, scissors, stitch markers and any other knitting essentials.

I even got fancy and decided to embroider little numbers on each of the pockets to remind me which needles go where, as well as a flower in the corner.  I used tracing paper to trace one of the flowers from the outer fabric, then I embroidered that flower onto the navy fabric.  I really like this added detail.

Having this needle case is going to help me keep my knitting organized, and hopefully will help me to be more productive in my knitting as well.

Is there anything you have been wanting to make yourself, but just haven't prioritized it?  For my knitters out there, how do you store your knitting needles, is it a working solution?  I would love to know.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Pretty Mommy | Inspiration

Oh dear, I promised that pretty mommy outfit posts would not be the only content on my blog, but it seems I've had little else and haven't even been keeping up with the outfit posts!  My Little One is content to take two half hour naps a day, and it just doesn't leave me with a lot of time for blogging or sewing.  Let me tell you, I have been using up twenty nine minutes of each of her naps to do some sewing - but these little increments don't allow for a lot of progress.
Retro Pocket DressMonte Carlo Dress
In light of the fact that I haven't been able to capture my mommy style as of late, I've decided to share a bit of my inspiration: Boden.  I don't know how I got on their mailing list, but I seriously love browsing through the Boden catalog each time it arrives.  My favorite thing is their use of color; after spending years in an office environment surrounded by black and grey and where navy was considered a "pop of color", it is so refreshing to see bright colors.

I love using the Boden catalog as inspiration for putting together outfits from my closet, as well as for sewing project ideas.  When I find something that I really want to copy, I check out the item online, because they give you all of the measurements you would need to make a similar garment.  They even provide hem circumferences and the length of the front neck drop.  (Although, the obvious reason for this is so if you are buying the item you can get a better idea of fit, not for sewists to make replicas - haha).  Lately there are quite a few items that I would like to copy, I know I won't have time for everything I want to make - but here are few things catching my attention:
Emily SkirtGingham Shirt Dress
Seriously, how easy would it be to buy some seersucker fabric and make a cute dirndl skirt like the one above?  How about finding a shirt dress pattern and adding a few strategic pin tucks to the bodice using a gingham fabric?
Vintage Sun TopStripy Colourblock Tee

The top above could be easily recreated with a cute floral fabric, just use a TNT blouse pattern and add a Peter Pan collar.  A simple t-shirt is made fun with some color blocking.  I bet even the Renfrew pattern could easily be adapted to make this shirt!

What about you, do you use RTW as inspiration for your own sewing?  Have you made any direct copies of something you have seen in the store?  Have you used RTW fashion as inspiration to make something fabulous of your own?  If you have, I would love to know how it turned out.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Pretty Mommy | Who Wears Short Shorts?

This is so embarrassing to admit, but I have only owned one pair of shorts for the past five or six years. They were a pair of denim "short shorts" from American Eagle that were frayed where the hem should have been.  I noticed that they seemed to be getting shorter and shorter every year (they were washed a lot, because hey, I only had one pair!).  Well I finally decided that this was the year they needed to go, and I obviously needed a replacement.  I sort of loath shopping, so it was a chore to find a new pair.  I struggled finding something that didn't make me look like I was trying to relive my teenage years, but also something that didn't say "mom shorts."

These J. Crew shorts ended up being perfect for me.  Yes, the ones with only a 3 inch inseam.  People, I am a short shorts kinda girl, mostly because I am short and anything longer than 3 or 4 inches looks almost capri length on me.  Seriously, I loved these so much I bought another pair in pink.  Now that I will have the opportunity to wear shorts more than just the weekends I figure I need more than one pair.

I wore this outfit on Saturday, which was hot and muggy - and a bit rainy.  Usually in high humidity I opt for a basic pony tail with my hair, because anything else just ends up a hot mess.  However, I have been trying to make a bit more of an effort lately.  As a result I came up with this idea to do two half french braids pulled back into a pony tail.  It has been the perfect solution for me, and I repeated the look again on Sunday.

Honestly, I think my style is still a bit in limbo here.  As I mentioned in my previous Pretty Mommy post, it has been a bit of a difficult transition between my classy office look that I loved, and now my mostly SAHM look.  I miss dressing up in skirts and dresses, and while I know that some moms can still make that look work - I just haven't be able to.

While I am still trying to determine my style, this outfit does have a few elements that are totally me.  Fun shoes and bright colors.  I can't forget to mention that the loose fitting top does make nursing a hassle free event.


P.S. - here's my photographer's attempt to get me and Baby Girl in the same photo.  She's constantly on the move!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dear Tasia, You are awesome!

So in my last sewing related post I talked about finishing a 1940's maternity dress, and this is not that dress.  While I did finish the dress (yeah), for some reason, I haven't had the need to promenade around in a 1940's maternity dress.  Weird, huh?  Anyway, once the dress was finished I felt I had some momentum and I should keep sewing.  My sewing pattern from Vicki had not yet arrived so I thought that this would be the perfect intermittent project, and it was!

Seriously, why did I not listen to the sewing community sooner about how awesome this pattern is?  It seems everyone who has ever worn a t-shirt and knows how to sew has whipped out one of these babies.  I have had the Renfrew pattern in my stash since Tasia first released it.  At first I was waiting for a sew along (that was back when I felt like I needed a sew along for any project).  Then I kept reading about how everyone was afraid to sew with knits.  I thought, well I'm not afraid to sew with knits, but if so-and-so is then I should be too.  Ha, what a horrible, self-imposed fear.  So glad I overcame that fear while sewing maternity clothes last year, it made diving into this project much easier.

Honestly, I had every intention to blog about this shirt in early March when I finished it and took these photos.  Then life happened, so you get to see them now.  I was even thinking about retaking the pictures now that the weather has warmed up and it is beautiful outside, but then I figured I would rather spend the time writing up a blog post than taking more pictures . . . because life is busy.

Tasia's patterns are pretty well known for having great instructions that are easy to follow, but it still surprised me how easy this was to sew up.  The whole time I was sewing this, I was thinking I will never have to buy t-shirts again, I'll just sew up a billion of these. . . but I am a busy mom, so I was totally lying to myself.  I have bought t-shirts since sewing this, but I'm convinced that I will sew more Renfrews.

I love the fabric, it is a rayon/cotton blend from Girl Charlee.  It was my second time ordering fabric from an on-line retailer and I was a bit hesitant as I did not love my first experience.  However, with Girl Charlee, my fabric arrived looking a lot more like I expected it to look and I am much happier.  I've even been browsing the website some more, looking for the perfect fabric for an upcoming project - you know, for when I have time to sew.

Here is one last look at my new not-so-new shirt in action with my baby girl.  Oh man, she looks so young in these pictures.  Note to self, must write blog post shortly after taking photos . . .


Monday, May 19, 2014

Pretty Mommy | Nautical Stripes to the Rescue

Shirt: J. Crew, Skirt: White House Black Market, Shoes: Anthropologie

I know this post is a bit different from what you are used to seeing on this blog - I did not make a single thing in this outfit!  So here's the deal, ever since my daughter was born I've been obsessing a bit over fashion.  Prior to Baby Girl I had a strong sense of my personal style and I really liked it.  Problem is, 90% of my wardrobe no longer fits my current lifestyle (and some of it just plain doesn't fit).  Going from an office job with a professional dress code is very different from working part time in an extremely casual environment and being a mommy the rest of the time.

So, when I noticed that one of my favorite bloggers was hosting a mama style monday on Instagram, I decided I wanted in!  I figured that if I was going to make the effort of taking pictures of myself, that I may as well post them on my blog.  Plus, I have learned that if I am going to rely solely on knitting and sewing posts I may as well abandon this blog.

Pretty Mommy.  Like that title?  When I first came home from the hospital with Baby Girl my youngest sister was over visiting.  While sitting on my bed she looked at my pedicure (the only when I have ever had in my life) and said "oh, your toes are so pretty and you shaved your legs, what a pretty mommy."  Seriously, after nine months of feeling like a tank and still having a baby belly, that comment made me feel like a model.  I had been thinking about a way of trying to somehow incorporate that into my blog ever since.  So here it is, Pretty Mommy, a posting category for my attempts to find my new personal style while accommodating mommyhood.  Don't worry, this will not become the only content on my blog.  I am just picking up sewing again, though it is coming along quite slowly.

Okay, about the outfit.  I have always loved this skirt and I used to wear it to work, but I have always had trouble styling it.  Nothing in my closet really goes with bright pink, I actually cringe when I think of some of the ways that I wore this to work.  But now as a mom, I think a casual t-shirt goes perfectly with it.  The nautical stripes dress down the skirt, while still allowing me to feel "put together".  Plus the t-shirt and skirt combo works perfect for the fact that I am still nursing.  The shoes are from Anthropologie and they are the only shoe with a high heel that I have attempted since becoming a mom.  They are my favorite pair of shoes and I wear them all of the time.

Mama and Baby Girl