Author Archives: Jen

About Jen

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

SIA interpretation: Courthouse ceiling

Time for my interpretation of the most recent Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge!

Inspiration:

Last week, Daenel @ Living Outside the Stacks chose one of her own photographs, one of the ceiling in the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri, a photograph she took in 2013 during a family trip. You can read more about the Old Courthouse — which is now located in the Gateway Arch National Park! — here and here.

Photograph of the Old Courthouse ceiling in St. Louis, Missouri, photo taken by Living Outside the Stacks

Photograph of the Old Courthouse ceiling in St. Louis, Missouri, photo taken by Living Outside the Stacks

Daenel chose this photograph of because of the soft muted colors and the architectural features.

Interpretation:

The starting points for my SIA-inspired outfit were two items:

  • my Wedgwood Jasperware pendant, which has the soft blue color as well as the architectural feel of the ceiling
  • my geometric-print slip-on sneakers, again due to the geometric feel of the design and the soft, muted color combo of grey, pink, blue, and white

At first, I was thinking of an outfit created around one or the other — and then I realized that I could combine the two! And I added additional patterns to the mix with my berry & navy gingham shirt and striped tote bag. This outfit was super comfy but still professional enough for in-service week before our fall quarter begins.

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo with a Wedgwood necklace

Above and below are closeups of this beautiful Wedgwood Jasperware pendant necklace, a piece of jewelry my mom got in England decades ago. You’ve seen me wear this necklace before here and here. The chain fell at an awkward length in regards to my dress, so I shortened the chain by tying a rubber elastic around the end. It worked! 🙂 I kept the rest of my jewelry very simple.

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo with a Wedgwood necklace

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Below is a closeup of pattern-mixing the gingham print of my button-front and the striped pattern of my coated canvas tote. I loved this pink and teal color combo!

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Librarian for Life + Style | Teal + pink combo

Weather:  Sunny and breezy — perfect summer-to-fall transitional day!

Where:  In-service week before fall quarter begins

What:

Please note that I get commission through affiliate links in this post. This goes toward covering my website and file storage fees, so thank you for helping support this blog!

There’s still time to participate in SIA, and here’s how:

Everyone is welcome to participate — bloggers, non-bloggers, all genders, all ages, even pets! Just send a pic of an outfit — selfies and flat lays are also welcome — inspired by this week’s SIA artwork to this week’s curator, Daenel, at livingoutsidethestacks@gmail.com by this Tuesday, September 25th. Daenel will then post the SIA round-up on her blog, Living Outside the Stacks, this Wednesday, September 26th.

Also be sure to check out SIA co-founder Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey.

Can’t wait to see what y’all are inspired to wear!


Linkups:  Visible Monday | #iwillwearwhatilike | Shoe and Tell | Weekly Fashion Link up | Mix It Mondays | Start the Week Stylish | #HowISummer | Confident Twosdays | Turning Heads | Style With a Smile | The Style File | Style Swap Tuesdays | Style Sessions | Trend SpinWho’s Wearing What Wednesdays | I Feel Pretty Wednesdays | Style Perspectives | Fashion Linkup | Weekly Wednesday Fashion linkup | Style on the Daily | Oh, Hey Girl! | Thursday Fashion Files | Top of the World | Thursday Moda | Fashion Friday | Fun Fashion Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fancy Friday | Friday Favorites | Weekend Wear Link Up | #SaturdayShareLinkUp

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Sewing adventures: Summer sewing projects 2018

Have y’all noticed that I do sewing project posts during school year break times? (That means summer or winter break, and once in a blue moon, spring break.) Because that’s the only time I have the time — or let’s face it, the mental energy! — to tackle the various sewing projects that inevitably pile up during the school year.

This summer break, we have had to stay indoors a considerable amount of time due to the smoke haze caused by the summer wildfires blazing all around us in the Pacific Northwest. On the plus side, that meant that we had time to work on a lot of house projects together, and for me to work on sewing projects.

Chambray shirtdress:

First up, I had never liked the slight puffs on this denim chambray shirtdress that I bought years ago from eShakti, and which you’ve seen me wear here. Honestly, I always felt mumsy with those puffed sleeves, and as a result, I didn’t wear this shirtdress as much. (And while I love Anne of Green Gables and find her puffed sleeve passion adorable, I do not like puffed sleeves on me. I have broad shoulders, and I don’t need puffs to accentuate them.)

So I made this shirtdress sleeveless! Sleeves — and specifically, curved hems — are difficult, but I read this tutorial for how to make the process easier by using a wider facing.

Librarian for Life + Style | Denim shirtdress sleeveless sewing project

The photo above cracks me up! You can see the puffing on the right sleeve above. I used a stretch denim fabric I already had to make the facing for the sleeve on the right. But then I realized I could just use the same fabric from the existing sleeves (duh!), so that’s why the sleeve on the left above is shorter than the right one.

When I unstitched the sleeves, I realized that the leftover stitch lines made a fantastic guide to follow when sewing on the facing and then starting on the first topstitch.

Librarian for Life + Style | Denim shirtdress sewing closeup

I first thought I’d do just a single topstitch to make things easier on myself, but then I realized that a double topstitch would tie in more with all the other double topstitching on the rest of the shirtdress. It would make it look more professional and finished, plus another line of topstitching would help keep the facing flat. With all the topstitching, any mistake I made would show up, because I was stitching on the front-facing side of the fabric. My secret to be as error-free as possible? I went very, very, very slowly, even hand-cranking the needle around the curved parts.

All that effort was worth it, as I loved loved loved how it turned out! You can see what a difference that double topstitch made in the collage below.

Librarian for Life + Style | Denim shirtdress topstitch collage

Librarian for Life + Style | Denim shirtdress topstich closeup

My thread was slightly lighter in color, and thinner, but I’m pretty proud of the results!

Librarian for Life + Style | Denim shirtdress double topstitch closeup

I’m also thinking that making my shirtdress sleeveless will make it more versatile, as I can layer it over turtlenecks in the winter. And no more feeling mumsy when wearing a dress! Life is too short not to feel comfortable in one’s clothing. 🙂

Here’s a quick look at how the newly sleeveless shirtdress looks on me now. I took this photo, and others, in our walk-in closet, so the lighting is TERRIBLE. (Also, would you believe me if I told you that I *did* wipe down the mirror before I took these closet photos — I really did! — and yet smudges still stand out in the photos. Sigh. #bloggerproblems)

Librarian for Life + Style | Chambray shirtdress try-on

Bow blouse tie:

I bought a bow blouse years ago from the Jason Wu collection for Target, which I’ve worn before here. The “blouse” was actually a t-shirt, and the fabric was too light for the scarf part, so it always hung a bit oddly on the top. I’ve always liked the design of the bow/scarf fabric, so instead of the tee hanging in my closet, unworn, I decided to unstitch the bow/scarf fabric and turn it into a thin scarf, which I can use for a lady tie, head scarf, or fabric belt!

Librarian for Life + Style | Jason Wu scarf refashion sewing project

It was a pretty straightforward sewing project. I decided to just do a simple stitch along one side of the open part that I had unstitched from the t-shirt collar. The only tricky part was the slightly slippery fabric.

Librarian for Life + Style | Scarf stitching closeup

The fabric that was around the t-shirt collar is obviously thinner than the ends, but I don’t mind that. It will make the fabric easier to use as a lady tie, and when I use it as a head scarf, it’s long enough to wrap twice around my hair.

Here’s how my new thin scarf looks now, as both a fabric belt and a lady tie. And bonus shirtdress pics! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on my new scarf tie and newly sleeveless denim shirtdress

Vintage caftan:

This one is special, as it involves a vintage caftan that my mother had bought decades ago when my parents travelled to Thailand. This caftan is older than I am! It has beautiful embroidery, and the rich purple color is still completely unfaded.

I had stored it years ago, and I recently decided to try it on again. The only problem? My hips are now wider, and I could baaaaaaaaaarely fit the caftan past my hips. I was scared I was going to pop seams.

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple caftan closeups

So I decided to check on the underside to see if there was enough fabric to widen the hip seams. And that’s when I discovered something really neat! At some point in the last forty years, my mom had actually sewed an additional seam to take in the sides — so all I had to do was unstitch the seam my mom had put in, in order to widen the hip seams back to their original width. Woot!

The only issue, and it was minor, was that my mom had also cut in the sides to provide more shaping for the waist and had done a zig-zag stitch to secure the ends. So that meant that I would need to add another seam of my own, but a shorter one just to connect the top and bottom parts of the original seam. You can see the original seam, my mom’s zig-zag stitching, and her seam alternation in the photo below.

Before:Librarian for Life + Style | Purple caftan sewing closeup, before

During:

I thought it was amazing that the original line my mom had drawn with the hem marker was still visible. I discovered this as I unstitched my mom’s seam alteration. This means that my mom did a great job following that hem marker line!

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple caftan sewing closeup

After:

Below, you can get a better idea of what I meant by needing to sew a new seam to reconnect the original hem. Super easy! And I actually appreciate that my mom had cut in this bit of fabric in the waist, as it does provide more shape for the caftan.

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple caftan sewing closeup, after

I gained an extra half-inch on each side with this simple alteration. And when I tried on the caftan afterward, it slid up my hips just fine. WHEW. Success! The simplest sewing project of them all, but the most satisfying one. 😀

Here’s a look at me in newly altered — but vintage! — caftan. (Note: The color of the caftan looks more berry in the photo below, but that’s because of the terrible lighting in my closet. In real life, it looks like the deep, rich purple you can see in the closeups above.)

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple caftan try-on


Do you enjoy sewing? If so, do you prefer to sew new pieces, or do you like to refashion existing clothing more? Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Visible Monday | #iwillwearwhatilike | Shoe and Tell | Weekly Fashion Link up | Mix It Mondays | Start the Week Stylish | #HowISummer | Confident Twosdays | Turning Heads | Style With a Smile | The Style File | Style Swap Tuesdays | Style Sessions | Trend SpinWho’s Wearing What Wednesdays | I Feel Pretty Wednesdays | Style Perspectives | Fashion Linkup | Weekly Wednesday Fashion linkup | Style on the Daily | Oh, Hey Girl! | Thursday Fashion Files | Top of the World | Thursday Moda | Fashion Friday | Fun Fashion Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fancy Friday | Friday Favorites | Weekend Wear Link Up | #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Summer festival jewelry + accessories round-up

I started the year with a “no shopping” rule, and for clothing, I’ve stuck to that, excepting items I’ve bought with gift cards. But this summer, Sam and I went to a lot of local and regional festivals, and I decided that helping support local artists and small businesses — with booths full of interesting jewelry and accessories — was also a good exception to this rule.

So I’ve rounded up all the jewelry and accessories I purchased this past summer at local festivals, arranged chronologically by festival. (And please note that whenever possible, I am linking to jewelry sites, but I am not getting any commission from any clicks or possible purchases.)

Tacoma Pride Fest

At our local Pride Festival, I bought a recycled leather tote bag, with matching clutch/makeup bag, at Patrick Kdep’s booth, Patrick’s Creations. You’ve seen this bronze tote bag several times throughout the summer, including here with a black maxidress and here with a paisley top and dusty rose jeans.

Librarian for Life + Style | Patrick's Creation tote bag

Librarian for Life + Style | Bronze clutch bag closeup

Point Ruston local vendor fest

One day when Sam and I were strolling along Point Ruston, we stumbled upon a local vendor fest, and Sandford & Daughter had a booth there with jewelry made from copper tiles salvaged from the old City Hall building in downtown Tacoma. Variations of these earrings, plus other jewelry made with salvaged copper tiles, are still available online!

You can see where I wore these earrings on this Instagram post from July.

Librarian for Life + Style | Earrings made from Tacoma City Hall tiles

Ethnic Fest

At Ethnic Fest, I snagged these wood rainbow earrings by Green Tree Jewelry. They’re so lightweight, and I like that I can showcase my LGBTQ+ advocacy whenever I wear them! 🙂 And these “Pride Earrings” are still available on the Green Tree Jewelry site!

Librarian for Life + Style | Green Tree wood rainbow earrings

Also at the Ethnic Fest, I couldn’t pass up these awesome patent leather circle bag with magazine cover photos of Michelle and Barack Obama. The bag also came with a coordinating wallet, as seen here in this post. I got this purse at Nikky’s Niche Designs booth, who also gifted me a cute little purse charm of a lady in a black-and-white print dress. 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Circle bag closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Nikky's Niche purse charm

Glass Fest NW

At the Glass Fest Northwest, located at the marina behind the Museum of Glass, I picked up this brass bracelet from the SquirrelVsCoyote booth. I love love LOVE the bold and feminist statement juxtaposed with the delicacy of the bracelet design itself. This bracelet is also still available on the SquirrelVsCoyote Etsy shop.

You’ve seen me wear this bracelet in several posts over the summer, including here, here, and online in this Instagram post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Brass bracelet by SquirrelVsCoyote

Librarian for Life + Style | Brass bracelet closeup

Sumner Rhubarb Fest

As you’ve seen in several posts on my Instagram feed, including here, here, here, here, and here, I’ve been wearing the three lightweight leather earrings I got at the Koko Made What booth our first time attending the Sumner Rhubarb Pie Festival. I will always support a girl entrepreneur, and these earrings are so fun — and easy on the earlobes!

You can custom order earrings through Koko Made What’s Instagram. (And isn’t that name just the best?!)

Librarian for Life + Style | Koko Made What leather earrings

McKinley Hill Street Fair

At this year’s McKinley Hill Street Fair, I picked up wood African circle earrings at Kijiji Village Craft booth. And you’ve already seen me wear these fun earrings here in this post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Wood circle earrings

Looking back over the items I’ve purchased at local fairs and festivals this past summer, I have definitely been drawn toward lightweight statement earrings! I’m also into recycled jewelry, as evidenced by the recycled leather tote bag and earrings made from salvaged copper. And best of all, I get to wear interesting and unique jewelry and accessories made by local or regional artists and support small business owners at the same time!

Any personal faves of yours? I’d love to hear from you —  please leave a comment and share! 🙂


Linkups:  Visible Monday | #iwillwearwhatilike | Shoe and Tell | Weekly Fashion Link up | Mix It Mondays | Start the Week Stylish | #HowISummer | Confident Twosdays | Turning Heads | Style With a Smile | The Style File | Style Swap Tuesdays | Style Sessions | Trend SpinWho’s Wearing What Wednesdays | I Feel Pretty Wednesdays | Style Perspectives | Fashion Linkup | Weekly Wednesday Fashion linkup | Style on the Daily | Oh, Hey Girl! | Thursday Fashion Files | Top of the World | Thursday Moda | Fashion Friday | Fun Fashion Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fancy Friday | Friday Favorites | Weekend Wear Link Up | #SaturdayShareLinkUp

SIA: Courthouse ceiling

Time for a new Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge!

Inspiration:

This week, Daenel @ Living Outside the Stacks chose one of her own photographs; she is an accomplished photographer, which you can read more about here on her blog. She chose a photograph of the ceiling in the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri, a photograph she took in 2013 during a family trip.

You can read more about the Old Courthouse — which is now located in the Gateway Arch National Park! — here and here.

Photograph of the Old Courthouse ceiling in St. Louis, Missouri, photo taken by Living Outside the Stacks

Photograph of the Old Courthouse ceiling in St. Louis, Missouri, photo taken by Living Outside the Stacks

Daenel chose this photograph of because of the soft muted colors and the architecture. It is certainly beautiful! And the circular view reminds of one of those kaleidoscope images. (And this not the first architectural dome that has provided sartorial inspiration for us, as seen here from a prior SIA post.)

How to participate in SIA:

Everyone is welcome to participate — bloggers, non-bloggers, all genders, all ages, even pets! Just send a pic of an outfit — selfies and flat lays are also welcome — inspired by this week’s SIA artwork to this week’s curator, Daenel, at livingoutsidethestacks@gmail.com by next Tuesday, September 25th. Daenel will then post the SIA round-up on her blog, Living Outside the Stacks, next Wednesday, September 26th.

Also be sure to check out SIA co-founder Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey.

Can’t wait to see what y’all are inspired to wear!

Cat wings | Dressing up a cat tee for work with a midi skirt

This is my final summer work look (although I’ve been on summer break for a few weeks; my 3-day-a-week posting schedule can delay outfit postings), although it could TOTALLY work for a fall work outfit for those, like me, who are still experiencing hotter temps.

So it still feels like good timing for this outfit, which for me has ALL THE THINGS:  cats, more cats, a midi skirt, pattern-mixing, comfy tee, statement earrings, red lipstick, and a public art mural backdrop.

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

That’s right, I’m doubling down on the cats! #noregrets

And I had to choose WHICH cat tote to pair with my cat tee, because I have more than one cat-print tote bag. I am that kind of cat lady, yes I am. Again, #noregrets. I chose my multi-cat tote bag over my bolder “Meow!” cat tote, as seen here, because I wanted my Jason Wu for Target cat tee to take center stage.

Librarian for Life + style | Cat tote and tee closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat tee + silver earrings closeup

Ahhhh, red lipstick and retro-style silver hoop earrings. Classic. And my silver metallic nail polish matching my earrings? Hello, my name is Jen, and I love to color-coordinate. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat tee + silver earrings closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

The backdrop is one of wings in a Native American art style. It’s actually one pair of wings in a trio of wing murals, and I’ve been wanting to take photos here for awhile. I particularly like this pair of wings, because of the bold lines and color combo!

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Librarian for Life + Style | Cat wings | Midi dotted skirt with a cat tee

Weather:  Hot and dry

Where:  Summer work day

What:

Please note that I get commission for clicks made through affiliate links in this post. This goes toward covering my website and file storage fees, so thank you for helping support this blog!

Linkups:  Visible Monday | #iwillwearwhatilike | Shoe and Tell | Weekly Fashion Link up | Mix It Mondays | Start the Week Stylish | #HowISummer | Confident Twosdays | Turning Heads | Style With a Smile | The Style File | Style Swap Tuesdays | Style Sessions | Trend SpinWho’s Wearing What Wednesdays | I Feel Pretty Wednesdays | Style Perspectives | Fashion Linkup | Weekly Wednesday Fashion linkup | Style on the Daily | Oh, Hey Girl! | Thursday Fashion Files | Top of the World | Thursday Moda | Fashion Friday | Fun Fashion Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fancy Friday | Friday Favorites | Weekend Wear Link Up | #SaturdayShareLinkUp