Tag Archives: scarves

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

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SIA interpretation: Autumn abstract

A quick note that the reader poll is still open to vote for your favorite outfit of mine from last month — thanks in advance!

And now it’s time for my interpretation of the most recent Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge. 🙂

Inspiration:

Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey chose “Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)” by Jackson Pollock, which he painted in 1950. It’s one of the most notable examples of the “poured-painting” style that Pollock used during the late 1940s and early 1950s. You can read more about this painting here and here.

Below is an openly licensed photograph of the painting hanging in The Met:

Photograph of "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) by Jackson Pollock" by Tim Pendemon, CC BY 2.0

Photograph of “Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) by Jackson Pollock” by Tim Pendemon, CC BY 2.0

And below is a closeup detail of the painting via The Met’s website, where you can also see additional closeups and photographs of the painting. The detail below gives you a better sense of the colors Pollock used in the abstract painting.

Detail of "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)" by Jackson Pollock

Detail of “Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)” by Jackson Pollock

Salazar chose this painting because she “recently learned that his drip paintings are so pleasing to look at because they contain fractal patterns similar to those in nature, which I found fascinating… Plus, the neutral color scheme and the title make this an appropriate choice for September.”

My interpretation:

My outfit is a bit out-of-the-box, at least regarding the SIA challenge, but no worries, I will explain all. I am on summer break right now, so I wanted to highlight a typical outfit that’s more casual and sportier than what you usually see on my blog. I wore this outfit on a sunny (albeit chillier) summer day last weekend, when my husband and I enjoyed a picnic and stroll along the Ruston Way waterfront.

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan closeup

So how does this tie in with the abstract inspiration artwork? The navy and tan colors reflect the two major colors in the painting, obviously. But for me, this outfit — and how it ties into the SIA challenge — comes down to the closeup of textures and accessories, seen above and below.

Salazar mentioned that Pollock’s abstract paintings “contain fractal patterns similar to those in nature,” and I was intrigued by that. Therefore, I chose pieces that, upon closer inspection, have interesting patterns, like the cable knit pattern on this fisherman’s sweater, and the checkerboard pattern on my sneakers. But the core of this idea is the scarf, which is actually a map of the Portland transit system! (Click on the photo below to open a larger version.) It just looks like random lines and squiggles on a piece of cotton fabric, but there is method to its madness. Like Pollock’s abstract paintings. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan closeups

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

It felt great to be out by the water. And if you’re a longtime reader (thank you, as always!), then you know the Ruston Way waterfront is one of my favorite places in Tacoma.

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

Librarian for Life + Style | Navy + tan sporty

Weather:  Sunny but chillier — and it’s always colder by the water

Where:  Picnic and stroll along Ruston Way waterfront

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!

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, Salazar, at 14shadesofgreyblog@gmail.com by this Tuesday, September 11th. Salazar will then post the SIA round-up on her blog, 14 Shades of Grey, this Wednesday, September 12th.

Can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!

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 interpretation: Anna Atkins

It’s time for my interpretation of this week’s Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge!

Inspiration:

It was my turn to curate, and I had recently come across the amazing botanical photographs of Anna Atkins (1799-1871), who is considered to be the first woman to take a photograph — and the first person EVER to publish a book of photographic images. Below is a collage of three of her cyanotype photographs, featuring ferns, leaves, and feathers. You can read more about Anna Atkins and her work here and here.

Collage of Anna Atkins' photography, 1843-1853 (public domain)

Collage of Anna Atkins’ photography, 1843-1853 (public domain)

Interpretation:

Most of her cyanotype photographs are blue in color, but I especially love the ones that appear more purple. As I said in last week’s SIA announcement post, I thought there would be scope for prints and/or jewelry — and I did both! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl closeup

This is a new dress from Lands’ End, in the classic “fit and flare” silhouette, that I got for my birthday via a gift card from my good friend Stephanie. This exact dress is still available!!! The print is a purple paisley — it’s a print Sam picked out — and I realized it would be PERFECT for this style challenge! The print reminds me of both the ferns and feathers Anna Atkins took cyanotype photographs of.

I added flower bead earrings to echo the flowers Anna Atkins also took photographs of, and of course, the purple tones coordinated with my monochromatic outfit. And of course, purple lip stain! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl + flower earrings

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

I added my purple shawl to both go with the purple monochromatic look, as well as provide warmth if I needed layers. I wore this dress for a dinner out with Sam and friends, and I was perfectly comfortable. I feel like this dress is one I can dress up or down, depending on the accessories I choose. Versatility for the win!

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple paisley dress + shawl

Weather: Warm with a breeze

Where: Out to dinner

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!

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

Everyone is encouraged 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, me, at librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com by this Tuesday, August 28th. I will then post the SIA round-up on my blog this Wednesday, August 29th.

Also be sure to check out my fellow SIA co-hosts, Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey and Daenel @ Living Outside the Stacks.


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 Spin| Who’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 interpretation: Arrow Collar advertisement

It’s time for my interpretation for this week’s Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge!

Inspiration artwork:

It was Salazar‘s turn to curate, and she chose an ad for Arrow shirt collar by J. C. Leyendecker. The male model in the ad is based on his long-time partner, Charles Beach. You can read more about Leyendecker and see more of his artwork here.

Arrow Collar advertisement by J. C. Leyendecker

Arrow Collar advertisement by J. C. Leyendecker

Since we’re in the middle of summer, Salazar “wanted to pick a summery piece, and this one — with its white-and-beige color scheme and touches of green, black, and pink — just fits the bill.”

I also appreciated that the ad includes both a man and a woman, so here’s a peek at what my sweetie Sam and I wore for the challenge (psst… you can see Sam’s entire outfit on Wednesday’s round-up on Salazar’s blog):

Librarian for Life + Style | Double SIA inspiration

My interpretation:

And now more details about what I wore… I thought first about wearing my bow blouse tee, seen here, but I wanted to wear a shirt with a collar, since the ad is for the Arrow Collar. So I wore my diamond-print button-front shirt instead, and tied a thin salmon pink scarf into a bow for a “lady tie,” which echoed the pink scarf in the woman’s hair. Neutral khakis and a structured tote finished off the look and tied into the inspiration artwork.

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

My peep-toe wedges with the black piping were a last-minute addition to the outfit, and I think they ended up making the look! They tie into the color scheme, link all the black accents in my outfit together, and the style could be considered a feminine take on spats. ♥

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

And finally, a closeup of the diamond-print and shirt collar, as well as the bronze-and-bead earrings. I chose these earrings because they reminded me of little arrows, which tied into the Arrow Collar company! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + earrings closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

Librarian for Life + Style | Bow blouse + khakis + peep-toe wedges

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

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, Salazar, at 14shadesofgreyblog@gmail.com by this Tuesday, July 31st. Salazar will then post the SIA round-up on her blog, 14 Shades of Grey, this Wednesday, August 1st.

Can’t wait to see what y’all come up with, and be sure to check out fellow SIA co-host Daenel @ Living Outside the Stacks.

Cute ‘n’ casual | Chambray with a floral scarf + animal print flats

Today’s post is all about feeling comfortable, casual, and cute. This is something I wore on a past weekend, but dressing casual doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with a little pattern-mixing. Not in my world, at least. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Also, my library-themed tote bag adds one more pattern to add to the mix! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

The backdrop for these photos is the Tacoma Public School District administrative building. I liked all the brick, including these muted brick mosaics along the staircase, as you can see in the photos below.

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Librarian for Life + Style | Cute 'n' casual | Chambray + animal print + floral

Weather:  Chilly but with some sun

Where:  Out and about on the weekend

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:  Hello MondayVisible Monday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsStyle With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdayI Feel Pretty WednesdaysWeekly Wednesday Fashion LinkupTop of the WorldThursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for FashionFun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFancy FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp