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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