Tag Archives: shirtdresses

SIA interpretation: Melody (Musica)

It’s time for my interpretation of the most recent Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge.

Inspiration:

For the challenge, Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey chose the 1895/1897 painting “Melody (Musica)” by English painter Kate Bunce (1856–1927). Bunce was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, but she was also influenced by the pre-Raphaelites, and you can see both styles in the painting.

"Melody (Musica)" (1895/97) by Kate Elizabeth Bunce is in the Public Domain

“Melody (Musica)” (1895/97) by Kate Elizabeth Bunce is in the Public Domain

Interpretation:

I knew I had to incorporate a floral pattern into my SIA outfit, since the floral pattern is so central to the inspiration painting. But I first thought of a different floral dress, the cotton floral dress seen here, and I was considering layering it under a red cardigan. But that combo felt a little uninspiring to me. And on the morning I planned to wear that original outfit, I spied my floral shirtdress, and the lightbulb in my brain went off. I’ve worn this shirtdress as a tunic over leggings before, as a zipped-up jacket over jeans , as well as a long cardigan over ankle pants. Remixing this shirtdress over another dress this time felt fresh and fun to me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress layered over a red fit-and-flare dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress layered over a red fit-and-flare dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress layered over a red fit-and-flare dress

The woman in the painting is wearing ornate gold jewelry, so all of my jewelry is also gold, including a gold-and-crystal necklace, a gold circle ring, a gold-and-onyx sculptural ring, and a gold floral bracelet. The gold circle ring also ties into the circular mirror on the wall behind the woman in the painting. And finally, I doubled up on the floral with my cloisonné earrings. I quite liked the combination of a dark floral pattern paired with a light floral pattern. (You can click on each photo below to enlarge them.)

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of gold jewelry

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of floral cloisonné earrings

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of gold circle ring and bracelet

Although the floral pattern of this shirtdress feels quite springlike to me — and you may recall that I have this SAME floral pattern in a peplum vest! — I felt like it transitioned nicely into autumn when paired with the red dress and black tights.

And a note about my flats — they’re new! My old black ballet flats had finally given up the ghost (they started cracking on the sides), so it was time to replace them. These new round-toe flats are equally as comfy as my old flats, and the quilted sides and patent leather cap toes add some unexpected texture-mixing to the classic shape. You’ll be seeing more of them, I promise!

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress layered over a red fit-and-flare dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress layered over a red fit-and-flare dress

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress layered over a red fit-and-flare dress

Weather:  Autumnal chill

Where:  Work day, including reference desk shift and teaching

What:

Please note that I get commission for 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, October 23rd. Salazar will then post the SIA round-up on her blog, 14 Shades of Grey, this Wednesday, October 24th.

Can’t wait to see what we all are inspired to come up with in the round-up on Wednesday!

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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!


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Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress

I felt really great in today’s outfit, my white-and-grey plaid shirtdress, which I’ve worn before here with my grey ankle boots. This time, I wore the shirtdress with grey heather tights, a textured silver metallic belt, and burgundy patent leather brogues. It’s such a classic silhouette, this fit-and-flare shirtdress, but the details of the brogues and the metallic belt provide some unexpected details up close.

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress

Librarian for Life + Style | Plaid shirtdress + wide silver belt closeup

A fit-and-flare dress practically begs to be twirled in, right?! Right.

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress

I wore my burgundy overcoat on this chilly fall day, which provided a fantastic pop of color to my outfit — and it also really does pop against the backdrop of orange-y fall foliage!

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress + burgundy overcoat

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress + burgundy overcoat

Librarian for Life + Style | Burgundy brogues + plaid shirtdress + burgundy overcoat

And last but not least, this is the fourth and final post in my (informal) series of taking pics along East 34th Street Bridge, a fun way to capture the seasons here in Tacoma. So here you go, fall foliage along East 34th Street Bridge in east Tacoma! See here for winter picshere for spring pics, and here for summer pics along this same bridge.

Librarian for Life + Style | Fall foliage along East 34th Street Bridge in Tacoma

Weather:  Cold and clear

Where:  Teaching day at the library

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!

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Remixing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Earlier this year, I loooooooooved remixing my wrap dress as a long cardigan. Kezzie, a longtime reader of this style blog (thank you!) mentioned in a comment on that post about how she also has remixed shirtdresses as long cardigans or jackets. I cataloged that brilliant idea in my head — yes, I mentally picture my brain as a kind of library card catalog, complete with drawers and categories — and brought it back out again when I purchased my new-to-me floral shirtdress.

Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of remixing this shirtdress, first as a tunic over leggings, seen at left, and this time as a long cardigan or jacket over ankle pants, seen at right below. And the shorter length of this shirtdress works particularly well for wearing it as a long cardigan!

Librarian for Life + Style | Remixing my floral shirtdress

I loved wearing this outfit, y’all. So much I wore it twice! Once to work, and then again on the weekend to a reading discussion group. And since I layered the shirtdress-turned-long-cardigan over a sleeveless shell, it was totally wearable for a summer work outfit. I could have worn any number of shoes with this outfit, so if your work dress code doesn’t allow for open-toed shoes or sandals, you could easily pair this kind of look with pumps or flats.

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of headband in my pixie cut

I pinned my bangs back on my new pixie cut and added a thin black headband to play a bit with it, and I fluffed up the back. And instead of big earrings or black metal hoops, I went with little turquoise drop earrings to pick up on the bits of turquoise in the floral print.

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

And last but not least, this is the third in our series of taking pics along East 34th Street Bridge, a fun way to capture the seasons here in Tacoma. So here you go, summertime and full-blooming, leafy trees along East 34th Street Bridge in east Tacoma! See here for winter pics, and here for spring pics along this same bridge.

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing my floral shirtdress as a long cardigan

Weather:  sunny and mild

Where:  work day, then remixed for a reading discussion group on the weekend

What:

  • Shirtdress (worn as long cardigan):  Phillip Lim for Target 2013 collection, new via Poshmark
  • Ankle pants:  Tommy Hilfiger via Macy’s, old
  • Shell:  Dana Buchman for Kohl’s, old
  • T-strap sandals:  Payless, gift from my mom, old

Shop my outfit:

similar floral duster  //  similar white shell  //  very similar olive ankle pants  //  similar black t-strap sandals

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral long cardigan/duster outfit collage

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SIA interpretation: On the road

Time for my interpretation of this week’s Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge, this round curated by SIA co-founder Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey.

Inspiration to interpretation:

Salazar chose an animated GIF inspired by a flower seller in Vietnam from a series of illustrated, animated GIFs called “On the Road” by Chinese artist and illustrator Oamul.

Librarian for Life + Style | SIA 'On the Road' inspiration collage

I thought my new-to-me floral shirtdress from the 2013 Phillip Lim for Target collection, as detailed in my monthly budget adventures post from last week, totally fit the inspiration bill! And there are lots of flowers, both in the print of my shirtdress, plus in the bright red rhododendron flower bush behind me. (There’s a clump of orangey-red flowers in the illustration.) And there are bits of black in the flower seller’s outfit, who is also wearing strappy flat sandals. 😀

It also felt fitting that the inspiration artist, Oamul, is Chinese, and my shirtdress was designed by Phillip Lim, an Asian-American artist of Chinese and Cambodian descent born in Thailand. Cheers to awesome Asian designers and artists!

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

It’s called a “shirtdress” but it is WAY too short for me to wear it as a dress. It also has an interesting and different cut on the back, which you can glimpse in the pics just above and below. So I just treated the dress as a tunic, layering it over black leggings. And HELLO perfect match with my tan-and-black colorblock tote!

This pattern is SO interesting, as is the cut of this dress/tunic, that I kept getting compliments on this outfit, both when I first wore it on the weekend and when I rewore it the next day to work. I felt cool and comfortable in this combo.

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

The backdrop for all the photos is the Fireman’s Park, located in downtown Tacoma across the old City Hall building. It’s this very sweet little park tucked away on the side; its location on the Metro Parks website is described as “carved into a hillside.” Downtown Tacoma is full of interesting public art and buildings and tiny little niches.

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

Librarian for Life + Style | Old favorites in new guises | New-to-me floral shirtdress + leggings

Weather:  Sunny with a chilly breeze

Where:  To a farmer’s market and literary reading on the weekend; To work during the week

What:

  • Shirtdress:  Phillip Lim for Target, old, via Poshmark
  • Leggings:  Spanx for Macy’s, this fall
  • Strappy sandals:  Lands’ End, old
  • Hoop earrings:  Made in Oregon, Christmas gift, old
  • Colorblock tote bag:  Christian Siriano for Payless, old

Shop my outfit:

similar floral shirtdress  //  exact black leggings  //  very similar black flat sandals

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral shirtdress + leggings outfit collage

Still time to participate in SIA!

Everyone — bloggers, non-bloggers, all genders, all ages, even pets! — is welcome to participate. Just send a pic of an outfit — selfies and flat lays are also just fine — inspired by this week’s SIA artwork to this week’s curator, Salazar, at 14shadesofgreyblog@gmail.com. Salazar will post the SIA round-up on her blog, 14 Shades of Grey, on Wednesday, July 5.

Can’t wait to see what all y’all are inspired to wear — let’s all get on the road! 😀


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp