Tag Archives: fashion

Twenty (seven) pieces update

Just thought I’d write a little update about my Twenty (seven) Pieces adventure. Since writing my last post I replaced my Joe’s (but I may still try an alteration a friend sent me on them) with some straight leg jeans from American Eagle (they redesigned them with a higher waistline in the back) and altered one of my dresses to be more of a longer shirt/dress/blouse so that I can continue wearing it even while breastfeeding.

I used an iPhone app called Style Book to give you a better glimpse into my closet and to document for myself that I do actually own clothes (something I tend to forget when they are in the laundry). Here goes:

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And here are some of my favorite/typical looks:

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Overall, I’m pretty pleased with what I have worked my way down to. These are the clothes I pretty much only wore as it was. The other stuff was just taking up space in my closet and rarely got pulled out.

We’ve also been taking the 20 pieces concept beyond our clothes. I recently cleaned out my kitchen and got rid of a bunch of tools, pans, etc that like the clothes in my former closet, were just sitting there cluttering up my cabinets and falling out on me when I went to grab stuff I actually used on a regular basis.

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A bunch of kitchen stuff out of my cupboards and bagged up for friends and my sister.

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My much more organized and simplified shelves. Everything easy to get to. Before the purge this was jumbled top to bottom with kitchen items and no order to it. I pulled one thing out and several other things went sliding and falling out on me. It was a mess.

Having less stuff is so much nicer than I ever thought it would be. Having a few favorite, well-made pieces is so much more preferable to mounds of things I never or hardly ever use. It has also been nice to bless others with our extras. My sister just got back from a year long stint in South Korea and she needed kitchen stuff. A couple friends are having babies and they were happy to have the clothes my kids had outgrown or rarely wore.

In my case, the old adage, “‘Tis better to give than receive,” certainly holds true.

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Closet Purge Round 1: Bean

Earlier this year a friend of ours (Hi Julie!) from awhile back helped start up something called The Twenty Pieces Project.

For those of you out of the loop I will summarize or you can click the link and go read all about it. Julie and her friend were having a day together, had a conversation about a magazine article in which a rich socialite had decided to not fall into her crowd which lived on new stuff all the time and instead have a simple and classic wardrobe of twenty pieces. Then one thing led to another and these ladies decided to try and do the same.

And I have kind of been thinking about the challenge ever since. Initially I thought that there was no way I could do this because post baby body changes and all that. But that was just a lame excuse.

This week a variety of stress points came to a head in my life and I broke out in hives because of it. And that pretty much was the catalyst for me deciding that our lives need to be simplified in a variety of aspects.

Why do we have clothes in our closets that we never wear or only wear when we are desperate because the laundry needs to be done? Why is it necessary to have mountains of laundry every week?

So I started in on the mountains of laundry and today I attempted my first round of purging Bean’s closet.

It’s no secret that little girls clothes are cute and lovely. If you are ever blessed with a daughter, you needn’t worry about clothing her. People see things in stores and “just can’t resist” picking them up for you/her. And in our family with two older girl cousins, hand me downs abound. And by abound, I mean ABOUND:

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I am completely grateful, don’t get me wrong. We have SO MUCH and all of it is completely adorable and I haven’t really had to buy any of it. I can count on one hand the number of items I have purchased.

But is it necessary? Does she really NEED that many clothes? Why are my daughter’s drawers and closet overflowing at capacity, but she only really wears a handful of dresses? Every morning she comes in my room before I’m even really awake and asks, “Mama, can I wear a dress today?” It is a sad, sad and miserable day in Bean’s world when she can’t wear a dress.

As I did the first round of purging I discovered that there were a lot of clothes that I was keeping more for me than her either because of a cute pattern or some other sentimental reason. There were several pieces that I knew she hated wearing, but I liked them and would make her wear. So silly and ridiculous.

Then there were pieces, like the San Diego Chargers cheerleading uniform, that I felt obligated to have in her closet for family that purchased it and are fans even though we are not football fans and I wouldn’t really ever put her in (sorry Mom and Dad!) because we just don’t really walk around in sports paraphernalia (Dodgers tee and hats excepting).

There were also duplicates of things like three different brown cardigans, two purple tee shirts, two red long sleeved shirts with a character on them, three puffer vests, etc.

So after this initial round we are at 37 items. I think there are a couple things hiding out in the laundry still. But 58 items made it into the “to give” pile and that is a victory for today!

The give-aways:

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Bean’s much more manageable drawers and closet after the first round of purging:

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I say round one because I’d really like to get all of us down to 20-30 pieces. I think this is a good start though.

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Turning a girl sized pattern to American Girl sized

If you remember, back in July I made my niece a dress.

Well, when I found out she was getting an American Girl doll for Christmas (Shhh… it’s a surprise), I decided that I would try to make a matching dress for her doll. Her mom agreed that she would probably love it. I had a bunch of fabric leftover from my niece’s dress, so no need to buy anything new. However, I did not have a pattern. I tried to see if I could find one online, but did not encounter much luck.

So. I did math.

I was never really all that great at math. I do think part of it stems from some pretty terrible teachers in junior high and high school. Because some of the equations that I did figure out have definitely stuck with me. Like the proportional equation. And some geometry stuff that helped us out when we put in our own hardwood floors.

Give me a few minutes and I may be able to explain some math to you AND help you figure out some pattern making skills.

I still had the pattern pieces from the dress I made from “Project Runway Inspired” Simplicity Pattern 3510. I also still had my niece’s measurements and I found a few different websites that listed the dressmaker’s measurements for the American Girl doll.

So, I took all my measurements and the pattern pieces and started doing math and some drawing.

In order to do this I would measure a portion of the pattern piece, say the width of the armhole, and then plug it into my proportional equation (I am really not sure if that is the correct name for this equation, just go with it) along with some of the other measurements. This is the kind of math where there are knowns and unknowns and you have to do a little figuring to find out what the unknowns are (X).

So let’s go with the armhole example (FS = Full size, AG = American Girl):

FS armhole width               X (AG armhole width)
—————–            =       ———————
FS chest width                     AG chest width

So to find X you have to break down the equation until X is left by itself on one side of the equal sign.

2 1/8″           X
—–       =    —–
25″              11.25″

Now I’m not really sure the whole theory behind this, but you multiply in an X across the equal sign.

(2 1/8″) * (11.25″) = (25″) * X

Then to get the X by itself you have to divide both sides by 25 which eliminates the 25 on the X side.

(2 1/8″) * (11.25″)
——————       =        X
            25″

In this case X = 0.956″

So, then you know that when you are drawing the armhole, that it needs to be about an inch wide for the American Girl dress.

So, like I said when I was doing the equation I was also taking into consideration where on the body the measurements occured and using corresponding measurements. You wouldn’t for example, use the dolls height in the above equation over the chest measurement. And you want to use the width measurements with other width measurements and height measurements with other heigh measurements.

Or, if you were making a dress with sleeves, you would want to use the wrist and arm measurements when figuring out how wide and long to make the sleeves.

Does that make sense? I hope it does.

Here were my final pattern pieces:

I actually cut out the matching mini pockets for the American Doll dress too, but when it came down to actually sewing them, it was much too hard, even hand sewing them. They were soooo tiny. The dress isn’t an exact match, but I think it turned out pretty good.

I was also concerned about whether the doll version would fit over the doll’s head, so I decided to put a snap in at the back to give more room for pulling it over the doll’s head.

A few of the sites I found that talked about making doll clothes to match big kid clothes said to make it more accurate you should find coordinating fabrics with scaled down versions of the pattern (quilting cottons are a good place to look for this). I just wanted to use up some of the extra fabric I had on hand, so I didn’t do this. I think it looks alright. I did, however, scale down the size of the binding around the armhole to 1/4″ binding. I think on my niece’s dress I used 3/4″.

Anyway, it really is just a matter of knowing a little math, maybe having a calculator on hand if you can’t do math in your head like me, some blank paper, a ruler, measuring tape and a bit of drawing skills. Or if you are not super impressed with your drawing skills, you could make a rough drawn version by hand, scan it and clean it up in a program like Adobe Illustrator.

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Daily, 11/16


Little girl clothes and accessories are far too cute and irresistible. Saw this hat at Old Navy today and we had to have it.

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Fall Fashion Week -Friday

I have two outfits today. One was for my earlier public appearances at the pediatrician’s office (again!!!), Target for prescription, and the natural food store for immune system boosters.

I am so over my little guy being sick! It is ruining what used to be my favorite season. Last night the poor guy puked for two hours straight and none of us slept well after that.

Wait. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, fashion. My other outfit is what I will really be wearing for the rest if the day.

So here goes, outfit one:

Nursing tank – Target, $16
V-neck tee -Target, $8
Belt – Target, $14
Wrap – Target, ??
Leggings – Target, ??
Bronze flats – Target, bridesmaid gift from my sister
Skirt – me, it is the basic yoke skirt from Free Style Handmade Bags & Skirts.

Here’s the thing about that skirt. It doesn’t really fit me. I recently read the “how to use this book” and “before you get started” sections of this book (better late than never?) and discovered that all the skirts in the book are “the standard size four” which is about two sizes too small for me. I can wear it high waisted, but after a couple hours I am over it. It is uncomfortable. So the skirt has pretty much been sitting in the back of my closet ever since I made it.

So this is my secondary outfit which is much more comfortable:

Basically I just lost the wrap and skirt. Honestly, I will probably loose the belt too. I refuse to buy into the new trend of tights/leggings outside the house as a replacement for pants. But since the rest of my day consists of catching up on sleep and possibly dealing with more projectile vomit, I think I can get away with it around here.

For more fall fashion fun, check out Emery’s blog.

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Fall Fashion Week – Wednesday

This is me justifying my costume purchases (denoted with a *) as legitimate parts of my wardrobe.

Green tunic, Target clearance $8 *
Bottoms: AE Straight Jeans, $40

Bird necklace, Target clearance, $4 *

Shoes: Nine & Company, purchased at Khols so long ago I can’t remember how much they were.

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Fall Fashion Week – Tuesday

I was wearing my Halloween costume earlier for the preschool party so I kept the skirt, threw on a long sleeve tee and some flip flops (California Autumn, remember?) before running out the door to do all my errands. The kids were on a crazy post preschool high so that explains my haggard expression.



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It’s all in the details.

I’ve decided to take a new approach to this whole photo shoot wardrobe business. The new approach is based on the fact that Bean has one fallish outfit that both Stephen and I have items in our closet that coordinate with. I also decided that a pallet based on oranges and browns would be appropriate for some fall photos.

I think more than the varying votes, I found some of the other commentary to be useful in coming up with what we’ll be wearing. Stuff about bright colors popping in the photos, little details, whether or not I’ll want “fall” themed photos in my home year round (the answer is YES, I love fall), etc. Anyway, I decided to base what we’re going to wear around this outfit of Bean’s:

I know it is kind of cheesey in that it screams fall, but I just really love that little shirt on her!

So I’ve decided to go ahead and get the Old Navy sweater. I have a long sleeved orange-ish (different shade) tee that I’ll wear underneath and I’m pretty sure I’m going to wear some jeans (albeit some different, real deal maternity ones because those AE ones were comfortable for all of an hour) and my boots. Stephen has a couple of different shirt options with jeans, maybe one of his favorite jackets and some brown shoes.

I loved Barbie’s suggestion of something knitted for Bean as well and decided that she needed a fun beanie to go with that outfit (and cover up her bald little head). I already had the yarn on hand too so no more unexpected purchases for the photo shoot were necessary. The whole thing only took me a few hours to figure out and I just love it!

Pattern: My own. And I actually wrote it down (follows)!
Yarn: Less than one skeins Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds in Earthy Brown and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Persimmon Heather
Needles: 7mm bamboo DPNs
Size: Made to fit my 13 month old daughter’s head which is in the 50th percentile for her age.
Made for: Bean
Modifications: None
Started: October 30, 2009
Completed: October 30, 2009

And what is a cute beanie without a cute model to fill it out?

So for those of you interested in making your own version of this beanie, here are the instructions:

Using 7mm DPNs and chunky yarn, cast on 45 sts (15 on each needle) and join for working in the round being careful not to twist.

Starting with a purl round, work 10 rounds garter stitch (in the round this means one purl round then one knit round). Next work 12 rounds stocking stitch (knit every row).

Row 22: [K3, K2tog] to end.
Rows 23 & 24: St st
Row 25: [K2, K2tog] to end.
Rows 26 & 27: St st
Row 28: [K1, K2tog] to end.
Rows 28 & 29: St st
Row 30: [K2tog] to end

Break yarn leaving a longish tail. Thread tail through remaining loops and pull tight. Weave in ends.

The flower is not my own. I used this pattern from Lion Brand, but only did it in one color. After it was completed, I fastened it on with a button in the center and then tacked it down in a few other places so that it wouldn’t be flapping all over the place.

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Attempts at maternity Fall fashion…

In two weeks our amazingly talented friend, John Stephens, is going to shoot our family and just me for some maternity/family photos.

And now I’m agonizing over what to wear.

I kind of want to get this sweater from Old Navy, just for the shoot (well, I’d wear it the rest of the winter too, but mainly just for the shoot):

I’d either pair it with some jeans and boots or a skirt, tights and boots and I’d wear a long sleeved tee underneath (not sure which one yet).

My frugal side, the side that doesn’t want to spend nearly half my monthly personal budget on a maternity sweater that I’ll only get a couple months use out of, says to just make do with what I have. So this is what I have… (I cut my head off in most of the pictures because my hair is insane… which, by the way, the stuff I bought at Sephora does nothing for me… and I’m really not good at making cute little faces when I’m taking my own picture like Emery)

Option #1

Eggplant ruffleneck short sleeved sweater from GAP Maternity, AE straight leg jeans (still burnt that they discontinued these ones), brown leather Aldo boots.

Option #2

JCrew ribbed tan sweater that I’ve had for several years, brown satin belt, GAP Maternity flowery pleated neck sheer shirt, same jeans and boots. Another option for this one is some boot cut maternity jeans and pointy flats that are the exact pink of the flowers.

Option #3

Heathered green pullover that I knit myself, same jeans and boots.

Option #4

Heathered purple sweater tunic, brown thermal (though after seeing this photo I think it looks better with this grey turtleneck I have), same jeans and boots.

Option #5

Brown thermal, green Motherhood Maternity top, same jeans and I think I had some bronze flats on with these (see picture below).

Option #6

Striped brown thermal, burnt orange gathered sleeve tee (coloring is a little off in this photo, it is much darker and less red looking), AE jeans, bronze flats.

Option #7

Orange/green/brown plaid Target top, brown cords, bronze flats.

Option #8

Grey ruffly Target sweater, green tank top, maroon Banana Republic silk slip dress, grey chevron tights, brown leather Aldo boots.

So, what do you think? Buy the sweater or make do with what I have?

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Per Emily’s Request

Feeling a little bored and trying to escape the constant whining of certain household members right now. So I thought I’d put together more ensembles…

Nursing Fashion #2
-AE Stripe Scarf, $19.50
-Expressiva Shirred Scoop Neck Top, $32
-AE 77 Straight Jean, $49.50
-AE Sunrise Sandal, $29.50
-Urban Outfitters Chain Reaction Earings, $18
-Urban Outfitters Rose Hinge Cuff, $24

I like this one because not only do you have the nursing top, but you can also use the scarf as a nursing cover if you suck at being discreet like me. 🙂

Nursing Fashion #7
-AE 77 Straigh Jean, $49.50
-Expressiva Crocheted Medallion Top, $36
-Mossimo Supply Co. Willa Ring Sandals, $14.99
-Urban Outfitters Round Earings, $28
-Urban Outfitters Sabina Half Moon Sachel, $245

Nursing Fashion #6
-Expressiva Couture Keyhole Top, $27.99
-AE Tuxedo Twill Bermuda Shorts, $39.50
-AE Sunrise Sandal, $29.50
-Urban Outfitters Kimchi Blue Double Pocket Tote, $68
-Urban Outfitters Enamel Feather Earings, $18

Nursing Fashion #5
-Expressiva Flirty Ruffle Top, $27.99
-AE Skinny Denim Bermuda, $39.50
-Urban Outfitters Long Leaf Necklace, $28
-Mossimo Supply Co. Willa Ring Sandals, $14.99
-Urban Outfitters Glass Cluster Flower Earings, $16
-Urban Outfitters Sabina Leather Half Moon Sachel, $245

Nursing Fashion #4
-Expressiva Lace Trim Crossover Top, $29
-AE Soft Knit Skirt, $24.50
-AE Stripe Scarf, $19.50
-AE Medallion Espadrilles, $39.50
-Urban Outfitters Art Nouveau Peacock Earings, $18
-Urban Outfitters Sabina Leather Half Moon Sachel, $245

Nursing Fashion #3
-Expressiva Square Neck Top, $29.99
-AE Military Camo Bermuda Short, $39.50
-AE Medallion Espadrilles, $39.50
-Urban Outfitters Kimchi Blue Double Pocket Tote, $68
-Urban Outfitters Hoops with Glass Beads, $18
-Urban Outfitters Triple Leather Bird Charm Bracelet, $28

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