Preppy nursing fashionista

I had a friend describe my style as ‘preppy’ a few months back. I always termed this ‘modern classics’ myself, but OK, preppy. It fits. I’m a sailing mom in a midwest college town, and I love beaches up north Michigan. Yeah, that’d be preppy.

So what’s the preppy nursing fashionista wearing these spring days? I love a striped top with wide leg pants. It just feels so summery. But of course my boat neck striped top is not nursing compatible. I define this as it covers my belly AND breasts. I get by this by wearing a nursing camisole, but I am also going to sew a nursing top (Jalie 3132, with some mods for a different neckline, a lapped bateau neck).

This mama pairs this outfit with a big sailing canvas tote. I have bunches – made from actual sails which are not as nice as the one I saw at Land’s End Canvas tonight, of course, since they’re cut from 30 year old sails left in someone’s attic (or the sailing club, for years!) But I think if I found one of the white-ish ones, added some blue canvas trim, and leather handles, it would be a chic version of my grocery shopping and boat sail totes.

Wedges. Boot cut jeans, a pretty top with a seersucker jacket belted over it (this is why you need a nursing top, otherwise, every time babe/toddler asks to nurse, you’re unbuckling belt, opening jacket… yada, yada.Of course you could buy a cheap or thrifted striped tee and follow these instructions for making a nursing one to wear under a jacket, too.

Yeah, I could rock that as a casual friday or weekend look. Preppy, indeed. This summer, hoping to finally get out sailing again, now that our toddler is a bit older (2 in June) and our preschooler will big enough and experienced enough around the boat to be reasonably helpful.

I also have docksiders, the actual Sperry ones, that I bought years ago at a marine flea market (about 15 years ago). They’re in good shape, but my foot got bigger after babies and they’re tiiiight, so I don’t like wearing them a lot. I need to stretch them out somehow. Of course I don’t wear any of this on the actual boat ūüėČ It’s more like shorts, a tee shirt (nursing is fine) and Keen sandals.

Winter basics and some shoppin’

Cape, trousers, fur vest, leather dress, fun!

I pulled this from BurdaStyle (the German web site). I have inherited a couple pairs of ‘carrot’ pants, vintage Escada, and am making them skinnier at the ankles like this pair. I like the roomy trouser look as well. But I can see how these look great with a cape, so I’m going to try them. Yes, I wore them once, you know, back in the 1980s, and, yes, I’m trying it again.

I also visited my local consignment boutique with my extra fancy local daily deals coupon and I shopped. Oh boy did I! I had two hours to myself, it was a blast. I tried on nearly everything I liked that was in my size, and came home with a bunch of new stuff to invigorate my wardrobe. I got five jackets or cardigans – two cardi’s – one a cropped-sleeve one, a ruffled one, a gray jacket, a teal velveteen, a black leather and a pea-green leather(!) Very cool. I also got two dressy wide leg trousers, a pair of trouser jeans in a dark flare, a pair of cream corduroys (to replace my very old/too large ones) and two pairs of shoes, platform purple suede peep toes, and silver ballerina. A very nice haul and I’m pleased with everything. I still covet a cape I saw there, but I’ll check back in a week or so and see if it’s on sale. (you know more of a sale than a consignment shop would usually have!!)

I’ve made no secret I don’t buy new clothes (well, hardly ever). Shoes, yes, accessories, yes, but not clothes. I save so much by buying used, and I find I shop with more, well, restraint. I won’t like everything, a lot won’t fit (must have tried on every pair of size 4 jeans I liked, only to discover I’m a 0/2 size jean (!) I tried on a bunch of THOSE too, before finding one pair that actually fit my waist. I think I paid $12 for them. I can also buy higher quality items that way, and still spend as little as if I’d have shopped at a discount fashion store. Plus, we have a proliferation of nice upscale consignment shops, several decent middle-of-the-road ones, and then the usual dive-thrift stores. None that are truly scary, I would not take my kids there if it were.

So it was a good day for my wardrobe. Tomorrow, running and yoga. A good day for my health.

Love my stuff

I started a resolution this year to love our stuff – all the stuff that we have around our house, from mom’s china to our pizza dough recipe book. This also includes my large wardrobe, my large scarf and accessory wardrobe and my shoes.

If it’s not loved, it gets to go somewhere it can be loved by someone else. This week, I donated seven pairs of dressy pants and my favorite Jcrew suit , all of which are now too large. I dropped them at a friend’s house who is collecting them for the Dress for Success women’s center clothes closet. They outfit a woman in need with a great new wardrobe to interview in, right down to accessories. My suit, trusty and knock-em-dead gorgeous on the right size 8-10 body, is all that. When I got there, I commented that I had all pants. But she’d just had another friend drop off 10 blouses, so we joked that her blouses + my pants = dress for success outfits!

So in the Love Our Stuff posts, weekly, I’ll post one outfit image, what other stuff we used and whom we loved it with (friends go better with cappucino, don’t you think?)

Same goes for sewing from my stash, planning things to sew from my stash – both patterns and fabric. I’m headed to Pattern Review Weekend in Chicago, with a day of shopping, and that there is a big risk to add to the stash without planning, so I’ve committed to swatching and planning what I really need, setting a budget and doing what I’m doing so well – finding time to sew every week.

You do the math..

Breastfeeding + running + bicycling (april 1) + swimming – dairy products = they don’t make jeans this small for under $150. I’m down to 112lbs – that’s less than my prepregnancy weight. Sadly, I wish my skin had gone back down to 112lbs too but it appears stuck at some other higher number and isn’t going to snap back. Yeah, welcome to the 40s.

So! I must begin to learn to sew jeans. Size 0 jeans or some crazy number (I think I’m a 2 in RTW, a 10 in big 4, a 34 in Burda and varies in the independents.

I have a desire to buy a nice sweater I saw at a boutique, but I need (want) lawn furniture. I spent my fun money on photos of me and the kids (totally worth it) so I’m making do.

Spring forward

I make summer garments in September, hoping to extend the season. But in March, I can’t even take the thought of making another turtleneck, and all I want to do is sew sundresses! The problem with that is, well, it’ll be late May before I’m seen again in my sundresses (except for that brief respite last week in Sanibel, FL where I donned a sundress nearly every day). And I love ruanas and capes this time of year, so, a turtleneck is a really useful piece of clothing!

The spring before last, I made a gorgeous version of Christine Jonson’s Princess Seam Jacket #427 and loved it. It was the perfect weight for spring. Last spring, heavily pregnant, I sewed a BurdaStyle wrap dress.

This spring I stare at my closet and think, I really could use some updates to this stuff. I brought out some spring wear from my storage bags in the basement. Things like 3/4 sleeve tops, short sleeve sweaters, that sort of thing. Colors I generally wear in spring. But today I’m positively stymied as to what to even plan to sew. Yes, I have lists – on paper, on this blog – of what I should be sewing. And I even have inspiration from some browsing I’ve done lately at some of my favorite boutiques. But I can’t even make a move.

I thought I might join a contest over on Pattern Review – a five-piece mini wardrobe (you know what a fan I am of the mini wardrobe, just see the vacation post!) but I missed the start of that contest while on vacation, and it’s two weeks into it, and I’m too busy.

I have two collections of patterns I think that I should visit and craft my own mini wardrobe. First, Christine Jonson has made it super easy with her Travel Trios to sew up a 3 or 6 or 9 piece wardrobe. And then I do have a collection of Vogue Elements (they still are popular on Ebay) patterns that have almost everything one could want – jackets, short skirts, skinny pants, wide pants, dresses, even some summer casual tops, shorts and pants.

I would set a goal to wear them during the PatternReview¬† PR Weekend Chicago in mid-May, a much more doable time frame. The challenge with that is we’re spanning a season that is pretty wild in the midwest. It could snow next week. And be 90 by mid-May. But this cool spring, I’m guessing it won’t be 90 in Chicago in mid-May.

The other two items are a big tote and matching oversized clutch. Perfect for PR weekend.

I spent some time in the stash. Pulled out five knits, two prints and three solids. One is even cut, already. Grabbed a ruana from my closet, and will also grab a pair of cotton sateen trousers. I do know for a busy mother of two small children (4 and 9 months) that I have to maximize my time. I can do that most effectively with Christine Jonson patterns (no muslins, no fitting issues, just tissue fit the pants to adjust the crotch depth and leg length and that should be it).¬† They’ll sew up perfect, as they always do. I’ll add in an Elizabeth Lee nursing dress (again, always a TNT).¬† I’ll be one happy and stylish mama.

  • 3 tops – sleeveless and reversible wrap top, a 3/4 sleeve v-neck top, and a shirred turtleneck with long sleeves. The reversible is a¬† sketchy watercolor floral on one side and a solid on the other.
  • 1 skirt – A-line, knee length in a fun print that coordinates with all three tops.
  • 1 jacket – a shaped, draped wrap jacket in black knit that has a pattern almost like suede to it (it’s a knit).
  • 1 pair of pants – also in black (same as above) with front seaming and banded waist.
  • 1 dress for breastfeeding – a classic v-neck sheath dress with elbow length sleeves, knee length in a charcoal gray with an interesting silver and black horizontal wave design on it. It’s chic enough for a city weekend kind of dress.
  • Plus the sateen pants, a ruana and another long sleeved crossover v-neck top from my wardrobe.

Now, the sewing plan – I never like to cut ahead, but I have one top cut. I think I’ll focus on finishing that top, and cutting one other for this week. Next weekend, cut another and sew one, all the way thru to May. Most of these will take an hour or two at the most.

My fantasy travel packing list…

…I pack for a sun vacation like this: swimsuit, sexy maillot style (it’s what all the French girls wear…)poncho, wide legged linen pants, wrap skirt, big sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.

I would consider buying this, if only for the suit (I have everything else in other patterns)

That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less. It all fits into a swank carry on. I have some chic oversized bag to go along with this, my e-book reader and an ipod. Could I travel this light? Could I travel this light on this trip? It’s not looking like it – the problem is, not that I don’t have laundry facilities, or even these items, it’s that I want to take more. I have so many fun things I’d like to take!

But in this fantasy world, I’m on a yacht in Greece (I do know how this works, I have sailed on a yacht in Greece…) and this is my single bag and I cruise down to the cobalt seas of the Adriatic (though I actually sailed the Ionian.) I am hanging out with a rich guy (maybe my guy, but somehow we are rich). Our children are there, and they, too, impeccably dressed. Someone else fixes PB&J for them though, while I sip a cocktail. And of course I am dressed in my black maillot, wide leg linen pants and big sun hat with oversize sunglasses.

And to add to this fantasy, I’ve sewn this all myself, every piece. Lest you think I’m crazy, this all started with a pattern I saw on Ebay. I was going to buy it, but the only thing I really needed was the swimsuit (I have a zillion poncho patterns, even more wide leg pants patterns, and at least three or four wrap skirts, maybe five or six). I do have a maillot pattern, of course, this one was more of a plunging neck halter maillot, rather than the classic style.¬† But I didn’t buy the pattern. Yet. But I do want to sew, and I set myself a goal to someday, pack just like this for one trip. The islands. a private plane…oh who am I kidding? It’ll be coach, but I am seriously doing that trip.

The best thing about sewing is this wardrobe is in your reach for, oh, about $50. $6.99 for the vintage pattern. Say, five yards of some gauzy fabric for the poncho and skirt. Two yards of linen or chambray for the pants. One yard of swimwear fabric (you could get by with one suit, though they show two). One yard cotton twill for the hat. Voila! Nine yards of fabric, if you shop well (that is, coupon, sale, your friend’s stash @ $4.50 per yard – average – totally doable). YOU could be this glamorous for $50 and a couple weekends of sewing. For an extra $6 you could get a print swimsuit fabric and make two! (swimsuits are easy and fun to make!)

The most fun thing of all though is how a pattern sparks this idea. This daydream of sailing in Greece (it’s been twenty years this year), this fantasy brought to you by a single vintage pattern I happened to stumble across on ebay.

more baby sling sewing

No, no, not for me, but my neighbors are expecting babies! I think a divine gift would be a ring sling, and maybe a teething necklace and bracelet set, for my uber-fashionable neighbors (they keep me on my toes!) I’m quite excited they are both having new babies this summer. It’s been such a wonderful place – all this new life, it’s really got some mojo here on Virginia Ave going on. Between the three of us, we have 7 children age 5 or under.

And I will make a couple of gift/donation slings for the LLL table / raffle at the mom 2 mom sale. And another one for our La Leche League birth 2 baby fair table, too. Plus, a friend is expecting, and while she likes her two-shouldered carriers, she wanted a sling for quick trips into the store (nothing beats a sling for that poppability.)

I love my slings. I also have three wrapped carriers, an Ergo, two pouch slings and a borrowed Baby K’tan. But I reach for my ring slings again and again. I like their fashionable aspect (yes, the Ergo is comfy but it’s a black backpack…), I like that I can slide the baby sideways, nurse him and cover his head with the tail of the sling. I even did this when he was five weeks old at a new prospective client pitch meeting! No kidding! Nursing, next to my programmer, across from my three clients. I just tucked him under it under the guise that he’d just ‘go to sleep’ and he, by then, could find his way pretty easily to nurse with a bit of help.

snowbirds

Sewing idea list | February 13, 2011 | By

We are planning a week long getaway to Florida in a few weeks (hoping for the last-minute deals!) and normally I’d sew a bunch of things for this occasion, but this year I think I’ll just have time to take things I have sewn in years past. There’s nothing like a trip to make me think of sewing something for it!

This trip, however, I’ll be poring over my wardrobe looking for fun items to take, things I’ve sewn already. A nursing dress or two, a wrap skirt, denim jacket, wide leg pants. I’m never sure if I want to bring my zip off pants or not. One trip to the Cayman Islands in 2003, I remember landing on the island, and as the plane parked on the tarmac, there was this sound of zipping all over the plane. Every row had at least one person zipping off their cargo pants and retrieving flip flops from carry ons. It was really funny. It was 86 degrees when we landed, admittedly.

So if I had to glom this together from my wardrobe:

denim blazer, wide leg linen pants, red print sundress, ivory jersey sundress, yellow maxi dress, pink swim dress coverup, two swimsuits, sarong, black shorts, tan shorts (maybe those zip offs), white shirt, big sun hat, a big scarf or two and a cardiwrap. Toss in a couple of tank tops.  flip flops, sport sandals, running shoes and a journal. Maybe a novel (what a concept!)

Of course, for my peanuts, sundresses and sandals, capri pants and tee shirts. For my little guy, onesies and rompers.

I discovered a fun site

Polyvore.com – where you can assemble fashion collages & publish them. Fun! Now if only I could upload my own images there (so I could mix and match what’s in my closet already.) I added a sheer drapey blouse in coral, black pants, a gray cocoon cardigan, bright green satchel bag and these sassy cream wedges that remind me a lot of my peep toe wedges with the gold heels (that I fancied up with some gold swirly fabric paint). Of course that’s not a deep-in-the-heart-of-winter shoe, but I could always wear boots to the office…

Anyway, fun site, had some enjoyment making the outfits. A similar outfit in my closet would be a pink silk charmeuse top, a gray swing cardi (to be sewed) black pants, a bright green bag (hmm, don’t have one currently, might have to make one…)

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