The Artistic Wardrobe – Research

Artistic Wardrobe Series, Diy, Style, Thoughts 2020-08-19

So, where do you start your styling journey? First a few warnings – this post is about different ways of using style archetypes systems to create an individual wardrobe. It’s about ones outer appearance and seriously nerdy! All methods presented here might or might not work for you. There are other ways of working with style and if you don’t like this, find something else.

Is this only for women? No! Most systems have a brother. I don’t know why it isn’t a big thing but I have found valuable information from those too.

This is going to be a heavy posts so go and get a cup of coffee before digging in. First a brief early history on style archetype history.

As said in the last post I’ll be linking to other peoples materials since there is great work already done. Next a selection of style archetype systems I’ve looked into. I’m borrowing the layout for this section from Style Syntax, a fantastic styling blog and resource of everything personal styling. Here we go:

The first system I encountered whas Carol Tuttles Dressing Your Truth

This system has four archetypes that blends into one another. It’s a fairly easy, straight forward system to use. The books are affordable and theres a free video guide at the home page. Perfect system for DIYing.

The most fun system I found is Kati L Moores Fantastical Beauty

Theres a free styling e-book at her page that can be used to find your fairytale archetype, with or witout animal familiarity attached  to it. Personal styling and style guides can be bought at her webpage. Overall it is a fairly easy and affordable system. I love the storytelling possibility tied to this system and the more extravagant themes that can be created.

Another fun system is by David Zyla

You can learn this system from getting a personal styling with Mr Zyla or buying his book Color your Style. His method of extracting personal colors from your body was a new insight for me on color theory. His archetypes makes no sense but it’s a fun game to collect the clues for them.

And last but not least is David Kibbe

The best way of approaching this is either getting a personal styling with Mr Kibbe in New York or joining the Strictly Kibbe Facebook group. The first option is expensive and works wonders, the second is time consuming but free. His book Metamorphosis from 1987 is out of print and horrible expensive. I secretly wonder if the title is a humorous nod to Franz Kafka. Since I love watching old Hollywood movies this has become a favorite.

Harriet McJimsey mentioned in the video above and David Kibbe has inspired many others to create their own systems and extensions on these. Some have valuable things to ad the styling landscape, most have not.

This is like a treasure hunt that comes with an entire map of hidden treasures. I think it’s valuable to do your own findings, mostly because it then become your own individual journey. A problem is that you can easily be stuck in typing yourself for every system and then trying to get all the archetypes and colors from different systems to fit together into a neat coherent system. That is an impossible task and can become a hobby in itself, like laying puzzles. But no wardrobe will be created that way.

Next time I will share my own findings and look at fun things in DIYing your styling. Have a fantastic week!

Alexander McQueen Dress – First thoughts

Design Download, Diy, Sewing, Sewing Pattern, Thoughts 2020-08-12

This pattern was unassembled for month and it was with some resistance I glued all the pages together a couple of weeks ago. It was not the work involved that stopped me, more that I didn’t know what to do with it. This pattern is 220 A4 pages long, took a handful of glue sticks and some patience to assembly. So, then I made a toile of the crucial part, the swirly cut torso. Im happily surprised to see that it was possible to put together and that it fitted.

The last Alexander McQueen pattern I made was a bit small for me. But still, I have no idea what to do with the dress if I finish this project. I got some expert advice on how to possibly work with it for my own needs but Im still not sure.  It don’t feel right to just sew, wear it once and then have it burned. I have to think about this one a bit longer before there is an actual dress.

Im sharing the pictures of my journey with this pattern so far, hoping it to be helpful for someone else. Take care!

Vogue Patterns Fall 2020 Review

Sewing, Sewing Pattern, Style 2020-08-07

Here is my favorites from the Vogue Patterns Fall 2020 release. There was really too many likable patterns this time. Starting from the bottom up with V1726.

Images from Vogue Patterns

This gave me a clear 1980s ”New Romantics” vibe. Loved that era in both music and style. Sewing your own clothes was a big thing then as it is now. In later years this style has had a comeback and especially Isabel Marant have fantastic interpretations of it. I think washed shirt denim and faded color cottons is great fabric choices if you want the original feel. Im an elder so Im loving this with some caution.

Images from Vogue Patterns

V1727 is my absolute favorite! Its bias cut and a great top that’s softer than a shirt but more strict than a regular blouse. If fits perfectly under a jacket or blazer for a more Avantgarde look. Im hanging on the doors to buy this one, already noted yardage for the longer version in my notebook.

Images fron Vogue Patterns

V1719 is not an atypical sewing pattern for 2020 but still an interesting take on the jumpsuit. This pattern is more narrow and flared legged than most others we see. The legs feels a bit short on the sample though. I’ll go for ponte knit in this one and skipping the belt. Love the piping on the pockets on the blue version, very elegant. 

Images from Vogue Patterns

V1724 looks like an interesting sewing project for fall, and a great dress. The slit sleeve is a detail that’s been used before but together with the vertical panels it works really well. Hope I find a reason to make this dress, its gorgeous.

Images from Vogue Patterns

The V1717 wardrobe is another favorite of mine. All pieces are great and there has been similar garments from Chanel, Gucci, Miu Miu and others. The wrap skirt is to me a very 1960s style. Everything seems a bit wide but since its a fairly easy construction and looks like what’s been seen elsewhere, its probably how it should look. I like it anyway.

Images from Vogue Patterns

And last a biker jacket! The V1714 has an interesting cut that probably makes this pattern a great choice for curvier bodys out there. I think this one is going to be a sewing community favorite. I already have a great biker jacket and is a bit fearful of wide peplums, so this one is not for me either.

Have a nice weekend!

The Art of an Artistic Wardrobe – Introduction

Artistic Wardrobe Series, Creativity, Style, Thoughts 2020-08-05

This is the beginning of a series of posts on how to style garment sewing. Strange question maybe but I’ll start with my personal thoughts on this.

For a long time Ive been pondering why I end up not liking most things I create for myself. Very few me made garments have stayed in my wardrobe or got worn at all, and that for years. And it’s not the technique. I alter cloths for others without problem. Ive made several well fitting garments that got sold, given away or ended up in my archive. So where do the sewing process go wrong? Am I choosing the wrong fabrics or the wrong sewing patterns? Maybe Im oddly shaped or just too old for wearing home mades?

Successful sewing project, 1950s shorts that has been worn for years.

For some months I went on a search to find out how to create a wardrobe that better fitted my lifestyle and looked more natural on my body. Of course I found several sources devoted to that question. A thing that caught me was all the different styling systems out there. I did a lot of quises, tests, took fotos of myself, made drawings and moodboards. Then there was books to read, different styling shortcuts to test and emotional feelings to be processed. I could be going through the entire process here but, since there are smart people out there with extensive knowledge on this subject I rather point in their direction when needed. Im not an expert, this is my personal views on styling ones sewing. So for some weeks I’ll be giving my thoughts and experiences on;

  • Finding style inspiration for sewing
  • How to find sources of beyond basic sewing patterns
  • Alter and hack sewing patterns for certain styles
  • Choose fabrics and colors
  • Capsules and/or outfits sewing
Different sewing pattern resources.

When I started this I wasn’t prepared for the emotional aspect of it. Sewing is a slow craft with much work involved. It can be quite difficult to fail. And one will fail over and over so its best to come prepared. In searching for your style it’s also possible to discover yourself in a different way and that can be difficult. Some people probably perceive this as a shallow experience but I think that’s more depending on who you are. What you take away from learning more about both inner and outside aspects of yourself is up to you. It’s not the deep waters itself that makes you a deep sea fish. I suggest that anyone in this process to let it take time and put garment sewing on the back burner for a while. A winter coat, dress or knitted sweater is a very obvious project, it’s in your face. Wait with these projects until you’re sure in which direction the styling search is taking you. Enthusiasm was not my best friend in the beginning I must say.

So what do you sew then? Underwear is less visible and can also give some insights and important clues on what feels comfortable and flattering. It involves less fabric too. Then we have interior textiles and children’s clothes. These projects are outside yourself and easier to create with low emotional involvement.

Next time I will go into actual styling systems… the time consuming part. Have a nice week!

DIY Waxed Cotton Jacket

Design, Diy, Other, Sewing, Sewing Pattern, Style 2020-05-27

This project has taken its time. The goal was to make a classic waxed cotton motorcycle jacket like the ones Belstaff and Barbour makes. These jackets has been around since the 30s and style-wise one of my favorites. Just think of Steve McQueen, fun little article about his racing career here. Love the rustic look of an aged, anonymous jacket like this with the typical asymmetrical left chest pocket, drunk pocket I think its called.

Belstaff jacket from the 60s and an early Barbour jacket. Pictures from Vintage Showroom!

I ordered Chocolate brown oilskin from Merchant & Mills in march. The rest of the things took a month to get. I wanted all metals to bee antique brass and the lining to be checked cotton flannel so it took some research to get everything right.

During the toiling I learned a lesson when it comes to shape. I already know that sewing patters isn’t standardized in body proportions. For me most indie patterns are on the short side, the waistline hits the lower point of my ribs and the hemline on a mid length skirt is above my knees. It never struck me that some companies fit are so far from my body shape that it’s almost impossible to make it work, my first pattern choice didn’t work so after some searching I found the Burda Style 10/2013 jacket. Already had the fabric, so no going back.

This jacket is a bit different from the originals. Its base is an ordinary mens style blazer cut with no side seam and looks a bit more formal. I liked that look and wasn’t so interested in adding some of the details but otherwise I basically followed the instructions. I made bellow pockets and skewed the left pocket to make it look more like the vintage motorcycle jacket. Instructions for making bellow pockets is found at Müller & Sohn

I had to skip the front buttons from the original too, could have hammered them in anyway but then I cant change zipper if it breaks. As I plan to wear this jacket for a long time that could happen. Also added belt loops on the sides but it didn’t look great belted so I removed that one.

Outside of Jacket
Inside of Jacket. There is a zippered pocket somewhere.

Loved working in oilskin, the fabric is fabouous! I have a soft spot for working with leathers and plastic materials but there is always the risk to screw up and end up with visible lines of holes in the fabric if you have to rip a seam. With oilskin there isnt that problem, the holes are visible after ripping but nothing a new coat of wax cant fix. It feels sturdy but also flexible and stichings look gorgeous. I have a few meters in other colors so there will be more things to come.

Cant help thinking of the Rick Owens quote ”Every jacket I make has interior pockets big enough to store a book and a sandwich and a passport.” I’m having that plus four more on this one.

When Your Capsule Wardrobe Derails!

Creativity, Sewing Pattern, Style, Thoughts 2020-02-20

Ive been working on my module for The great module seawalong for a while. The Kabuki tee from Paper Theory Patterns turned out great, the Burda skinny jeans from BurdaStyle 8/19 not so much. The fabric was too stiff and soft at the same time, very strange. I was ok with it, slightly worried that my module was too basic, dull and of course dark but fine anyway. As research for a blog post about it I came across Carol Tuttle and her Dressing Your Truth concept. Made the free analysis and must say, it totally derailed the whole project and my wardrobe with it. At first I wasn’t too happy about the result. It felt lame and containing everything I usually try to avoid, but why did I feel like that? Then I thought it would be a fun experiment to examine my preferences a bit.

Came across an old envelope with inspirational pictures I’ve gathered for another capsule project. The images in the envelope was what got discarded in the process.

Patterns from Jenny Hellström, DP Studio, Greenstyle Creations, Burda and Trend Patterns. Images from Vogue Runway.

There it was, the muted colors and curved lines I was supposed to wear! Everything doesn’t work but put together it looks fun and interesting. My finished capsule didn’t. Then I decided to have a look into a favorite resource of mine, a scrap book of fashion pictures made in the 80s and 90s.

There it was again, over and over!

Im writing this in the process of building another module for the sewalong, with some new patterns and new fabrics from my stash. Also making a new print for fabric to accompany the new colors and lines. Its early to say how this will turn out and how it will proceed, but I will continue this research and get back later.

Alexander McQueen Jacket

Design Download, Diy, Fashion, Sewing, Sewing Pattern, Style 2020-02-08

I printed pictures of all the Showstudio Design Downloads and let my husband choose the designs he liked best. One of them was the infamously difficult Alexander McQueen Jacket. So that one became the next make. I already had this pattern in my computer and dreaded a bit printing it out.

Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer known for theatrical, provocative fashion shows and his masterful tailoring. He started the journey at Savile Row as a tailors apprentice, studied fashion design at Central Saint Martin and later worked as head designer for Givenchy. The Alexander Mqueen brand was started in 1992 and the designer himself was awarded for his work several times. He died by suicide in 2010.

This jacket is from the 2003 fall ”Scanners” collection and is a complex tailored jacket with elements from both Victorian womenswear and Japanese kimonos. There is a fantastic, in-depth introduction to this pattern at Pattern Vault, a source of information on designer patterns I highly recommend.

  • Pattern Info: Drawn. Has a 1 cm seam allowence and a lot of markings. Size 40.
  • Fabric: About 2,5 m polyester suiting and a bit less acetate lining.
  • Notions: Chiffong bias binding, scraps of satin + thread and more thread.
No, it isn’t an animal.

Theres one difficulty with this pattern, the back pleats and darts. When you managed that problem the rest is pretty easy. The first dart made me think of late 19th century cutting, then I quickly got lost. After failing the first time with getting the folds in the right position I started over. The second attempt I traced everything exactly and then thread marked every line and marking making it visible from both sides. it magically worked and I was able to press all folds flat. I secured them on the backside at a few points and then moved on. One try at getting all folds in place took a weekend and just following the instruction won’t cut it, you have to think too. It probably was more difficult since I decided to line the jacket but as it turned out so nice, it was worth it.

Old tracings and new…

Then the fitting. My shoulders are straight so I adjusted for that and added a stretch satin panel in the side since the jacket was really tight.

The setting of the sleeves comes with a simple instruction and I chose to cover the seam and opening with bias binding as one big loop. The rest of the sewing is pretty basic.

Conclusion: Im glad I lined it but should have chosen a fabric that pressed more easily. This polyester creases like crazy when one steams it, total nightmare getting loads of pleats in place. Next time, I’ll chose a high quality suiting or brocade and quality lining. Stripes looks fantastic with this. Yes, there will be next time. I want one that’s perfect.

There are two time consuming parts in this, the pleating and the finishing. I would suggest to finish by hand and cover all inside seams with chiffong bias binding or similar to get a nice clean look.

Pros: This jacket has great movability built into it and looks amazing! It’s the ultimate couture comfort garment. This will sound odd but it also has sort of its own presence… has to be experienced.

Cons: If you don’t like a challenge or is a beginner, this isn’t suitable. It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic you are, can’t compete an ordinary jacket, don’t try.

Thanks for reading!

Karate Gi Trousers Pattern

Design, Diy, Other, Sewing, Sewing Pattern 2020-01-27

Say Hello to Tant Monokroms first ever sewing resource, a drafting instruction with printable (primitive) hand drawn pieces for classic Karate Gi trousers.

In my early twenties I copied the trousers from my Karate Gi for the first time. I wanted something fun to wear for yoga and had seen a similar pattern in a book. I made loads of these pants the years to come for myself, friends and family. Making them over and over made me realized that the pattern could easily be sized up or down just by adjusting length and circumference of the leg tube. Nowadays I have my geometrical crotch pieces in cardboard ready and can draft these from memory at any time.

Photo by SOON SANTOS on Unsplash

The Karate Gi is the sturdy uniform worn when practicing Karate and other martial arts. The original is made in tightly woven cotton canvas with reinforced seams to hold for intense training. The fabrics thickness and the loose fit makes it stand out from the body and prevents it from clinging and restricting the movements when sweating heavily. The origin of the uniform is fishermens working clothes from Japan, first used by Judo practitioners and later adopted by Karate. Must say that I never made a pair for wearing in the Dojo. For martial arts practice a real suit is long lasting, reliable and worth the investment.

With that said I hope you try this pattern with its unusual construction, perfect for movability training and can also be shortened to make cool fighter shorts. The pattern fits sewist of all skill levels and can be sewn as a minimal fabric waist garment.

Happy sewing!

Fashion Central Saint Martins

Book, Design, Fashion, Reviews 2020-01-17

This book celebrates one of the most famous and influental fashion schools in the world, Central Saint Martins. It contains student works, sketches and short interviews with the most famous students from the 1960s to the 2010s like Katherine Hamnett, John Galliano, Alexander Mqueen, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and others.

I argued with myself in the bookstore before buying this. My recent idea to sew up all 14 of the Showstudio Design Downloads was one of the best arguments for it. Many of the designers represented started their journeys at Central Saint Martins and the book gives a small, creative overview of their origin in the design world. The layout is messy, collage-like and resembles a students portfolio, love that type of look. Glad I got the book in the end, find it really inspiring.

My favorite quote so far comes from fashion designer Giles Deacon on what piece of advice he’ll give to aspiring or current fashion students.

Do more drawing; take the broom out your arse.

Giles Deacon

The Gareth Pugh Balloon

Art, Craft, Design, Design Download, Fashion, Sewing 2019-12-25

Well, last sewing of the year and second Showstudio Design Download make. The perfect accessory to my Christmas party dress.

The British designer Gareth Pughs designs are as much artwork as clothes. He is mostly known for his use of inflatable parts to create volume and use of odd materials like electrical charged plastic, latex, pvc, foam footballs, balloons, synthetic and human hair. This design was first featured in his 2003 Central Saint Martin graduate collection.

From the fabulous book Fashion Central Saint Martins
  • Pattern info: Photocopy, has marked seam allowance and comes with instruction + fabric recommendation.
  • Fabric: Scrap pieces of polyester satins.
  • Notions: Zipper, thread and a large 50 cm balloon.

This is a really simple and fun pattern to make and can be varied endlessly. As a garment it is hard to wear but make a few and try it out, it could work. As an accessory I can come up with loads of possibilities such as children’s parties and for masquerade costumes. As decoration it can be great for weddings or summer parties, just make loads of them.

I live in Northern Sweden so, ”We only sell those during Halloween,” the girl in the shop said when I asked for a large balloon. She asked what I was going to use it for, (probably where looking suspicious) so I had to explain that it was going to serve as filling for a fabric balloon. It must have sounded confusing. Thankfully, there were a few left and I could go on with the project.

  • Pros: Easy, super fun, decorative project. Never thought I would like this so much.
  • Cons: No, unless you only make very practical and usable stuff. In that case I would see this project as educational.

Merry Christmas!