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.

DIY No-sew nursing tops

diy-nursing-breastfeeding-no-sew-top

Reach in, pull over the lowered armseye to access breast

This is a super easy tute, and cheap to do. You can purchase inexpensive knit shirts, or get some from thrift or second-hand stores. Don’t be afraid to cut up a trendy tee with some detail at the neckline or down the front, to make stylish versions of this. I’ve used a basic tee from my Goodwill bag.

Lay your tee shirts on a flat surface. Measure down from the neck/shoulder edge

DIY-nursing-breastfeeding-no-sew-top

Measure down 12.5" from neck/shoulder edge and pin at the sideseam

to 12.5″ and put a pin at the sideseam. This is about the right measurement for almost any nursing mom (assuming the tee fits you in the bust). Then, using a curved ruler (this is a french curve) or even just hand-drawing a curve, cut a shallow curved shape in from the sideseam, curving up to the shoulder. You’ll be cutting the sleeve off close to where it’s sewn on, making a low-armhole tank top.

Using a french curve or freehand, draw a nice curved shape

Then, you wear this tank under a jacket or cardigan as I’ve shown here, and when you want to nurse, just reach inside and pull the lowered armhole across to access your breast.

You can even sew these too – any basic shell (woven fabric) or tank top pattern will do just fine. You do not need to finish the armseye edges if it’s a knit fabric. This can go dressy in silk under a work blazer or leather jacket. It can go casual in knit cotton under a denim jacket.

Two low armseyes, ready for nursing!

The peach knit top example was too large for me, so I added pintucks across the midriff to cinch it up a little. This involved actual sewing 😉

Worn under a jacket or cardigan, this nursing tee looks like a regular tee

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.

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