Me Made May, Styling

Me-Made-May 2015: Days 25 – 31

… And just like that, all 31 days of May have gone by, and with it a whole month of celebrating me-made clothing! This week saw me keeping to my pledge (well, for the most part) and wearing at least one me-made garment a day for 6 out of the 7 days of the week.

Monday, 25 May 2015

A repeat of my Lindy petal skirt on Monday, I didn’t manage to get a picture of it as I was running late and… I had worn the exact same outfit pairing a couple of days before so I wasn’t too fussed about documenting it.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

I whipped out my denim pleated pencil skirt for one more last hurrah before the end of the month and paired it with a black RTW shell top. (I really need to start making more of these generic tops)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Way back in September last year, I sewed up a wearable muslin of By Hand London’s Sabrina dress, and due to all the fitting problems I had with it, I ended up hacking a lot of it up. (I was also a little too intimidated to attempt to remake the full dress pattern again – if you’ve been a regular reader, you’d have seen my hack of the Sabrina dress into a crop top here and here.)

The result is this dress I wore on Thursday, it’s got princess seams that are part of the pattern(still a bit too big in the bust) and a waistline seam that isn’t (from when I removed length from the bodice). It’s wearable, but it’s not my favourite because of the fit and the crummy $2/m fabric I used to make it. I can’t wait to get round to making a proper version of this dress so I can upcycle / bin this one!

That being said, if anyone has any tips from removing bodice length from a princess-seamed dress with no waist seam, PLEASE share them!! I would love to find out how best I should go about doing this!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Fridays at my office are casual business wear, and since I was already in a holiday mood for the long Vesak day weekend, I decided it was time to bring out the party workwear – the Itch to Stitch Emily Culottes. I mostly resisted wearing my pair earlier on in the month because I had gotten it into my head that the broadcloth I had used tended to crumple very easily (and crisply) and would leave lots of butt creases on my behind – a big no-no for client meetings!

As with the Sabrina muslin I wore on Thursday, it seems that it was all in my head (I tend to do that a lot). By the time evening rolled around I had realised that the fabric wasn’t creasing as crisply as I remembered and that any wrinkles that set in were quite soft and looked just like they were worn in from a day of wear. These culottes will definitely be joining my work wardrobe rotation!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Back to the good ol’ chevron skirt for the 2nd last day of MMM, plus a bright hot pink blouse for good measure. I guess my dog got sick of me wearing the chevron skirt because she’s clearly not impressed with it…

Sunday, 31 May 2015

This By Hand London Flora dress has been one of those projects that I started 3 weeks ago but has been left sitting on my sewing table while life caught up with me. But in view of the impending Indie Pattern Month and the indie dress pattern competition running in the first week, I took some time out to finish it off yesterday and this morning, and promptly wore it to church not more than 15 minutes after I had finished pressing it.

I’ll have a post with more information on the Flora dress coming up tomorrow (plus an entry to the Dresses category of Indie Pattern Month) so be sure to come by tomorrow if you’ll like to read about that!

As a bonus, I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon in my brand new Flora taking in one of Singapore’s best attractions like a tourist – the two conservatories at Gardens by the Bay. Here are some iPhone snaps to entice you guys to come visit my sunny (and very, very humid) island!

All in all, I’m really glad I took the time to participate in Me Made May this year! (Thanks Zo!) I’ve gotten to meet some really lovely people both here and on instagram through MMM and have learnt a lot about my style and preferences. Here are my biggest take-aways that I will definitely be keeping in mind when I choose my next sewing projects:

1. I NEED more white button-up shirts and generic black A-line or pencil skirts for work. I have only one court-appropriate me-made garment (a black skirt)!

2. More tops! Some shell tops would be great and suitable for both work and casual wear – I’m thinking the Sewaholic Pendrell pattern view C? Also I could benefit from a smart looking cardigan / blazer that is comfortable for long hours in the office – the Grainline Morris blazer in black ponte knit anyone?

3. More dresses! I have way too many skirts, it’s time to make some dresses!

4. Sew all the knits – this month I fell in love with knit garments and how easy they are to whip up! There are a couple of Kitchy Coo Lady Skaters in my future, you can count on it!

PS. Am I the only one who has been buying patterns left right and centre? With all the discounts going on for Indie Pattern Month, new release sales and Memorial Day / Queen’s Birthday sales, I’ve found myself buying and researching new patterns every other hour! I’m currently deciding between True Bias’ Hudsons and Named’s Alexandria Peg Leg Trousers for a pair of woven slimline trousers for casual wear – if anyone has any input / recommendations for that do drop me a comment below!

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Me Made May, Styling

Me-Made-May 2015 : Days 18 – 24

The last 7 days of Me Made May have been rather slow moving – I was down with food poisoning (curse you, half-off supermarket sushi!!) for a good 2 days and was in full-on black and white for a court day before that, so effectively I only have a 4 day wardrobe to share with you guys today.

Day 18, Monday

On Monday I bust out my beloved Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt again, paired with a sleeveless RTW button down top. I’m amazed how fast this skirt is becoming a staple in my wardrobe – I definitely need to make more up in a greater variety of fabric soon.

And in case you’re wondering why I’m posing so enthusiastically with a Vogue Patterns magazine, that’s because I went to check out the new (relatively) Orchard Library on Orchard Road in Singapore last Monday and discovered that they stock copies of Vogue Patterns Magazine and Thread Magazine! Hurray! Perfect forΒ us in Singapore where delivery from anywhere else in the world costs a bomb.

The magazines are kept in these adorable pull out cubby holes in the wall, with the latest issues displayed in the front glass panel, which doubles as a decor feature! This is one idea I am definitely pinning as future home inspiration.

As it turns out, the library also stocks Japanese sewing books and some fitting books. I even managed to find copies of Gertie’s two books! Amazing. Be warned though, if you ever plan on borrowing books with patterns, you’ll have to check the patterns themselves out separately. Be sure to go down to the shelf on the third floor, under the staircase and find the corresponding patterns to the books – I didn’t know about this until someone pointed this out to me on instagram (thank you @oppknits!)

Day 9, Tuesday

Another day, another knit skirt – this is another new favourite that has entered my weekly rotation because of Me Made May. Another great thing about #MMMay15 ? Forcing me to rethink my outfit pairings – this chevron knit skirt was originally destined to be paired with a black top to play down the too-casual print, but in the spirit of Me Made May I decided to take a risk and wear it with this electric blue shell top instead. Judging by all the comments from the good people of instagram, it seems that I made the right choice.

Day 13, Saturday

Day 10 was a court day and days 11 and 12 were sick days, so you can guess how relieved I was to finally be out and about and getting back on track with my MMMay pledge on Saturday! Here I am in my Ray of Sunshine tulip skirt and a brand new mint-coloured pair of Nike Frees that I had just bought that day – I LOVE this combination, and they’re SO light! (… and so is my wallet after buying these shoes) It’s not my usual style, but hey, this month is all about pushing boundaries right?

Day 14, Sunday

Back into something more within my comfort zone for church yesterday in this cream RTW top and my soon-to-be-blogged bright orchid Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt. I kid you not when I say that I have been finding every opportunity to wear this skirt – to the theatre, to church, to the beach, I’ve pretty much done it all.

Anybody who said that they didn’t need a bright purple, borderline luminous hollyburn skirt clearly didn’t know what they were missing. Now, can I get away with one in vermillion orange…?

PS. As most of you can probably tell, I failed at getting enough garments in time to make the Wardrobe Challenge ): But no fear, because that just means that I’ve got a lot of delicious makes in the works and possibly a few entries in the upcoming Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch! I am really excited, I just hope I can find the time to finish them all!

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Me Made May, Styling

Me-Made-May 2015 : Days 11-17

Phew, time sure flew by quick! We’ve now just passed the halfway mark of Me-Made-May 2015 and I must say that it’s going a lot better than I expected. MMMay was a bit of a challenge this week as I had a prescribed uniform of black and white (court attire – kind of boring) for several days this week, and over the weekend had a wedding to attend in Kuala Lumpur (i.e. out of the country), all of which I didn’t have any me-made outfits appropriate for the occasion.

Well, less talk, more pictures, I’ll get a move on with showing you what me-made garments I wore this week!

Day 11, Monday

Once again, I started off the work week with my yellow coco banana top – I’m starting to feel that I should make another one of this with a bit less flare in the waist to hip portion. I really like the fit in the shoulders and the bust, but it’s a little too flared to be suitable for tucking into skirts and pants.

Day 12, Tuesday

On day 12 I took my brand new, freshly hemmed chevron knit pencil skirt out for a road test and found it hugely satisfying! If the number of comments and likes on instagram are indication it would seem that a lot of people liked it too! The best part? It cost all of S$7 (US$5.30). The pattern is the skirt back of the freeΒ Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt (minus the waistband) which was used in cutting out both the skirt front and back of the chevron skirt without any fitting changes. I got the idea from this Delia Creates tutorial, but decided against using the pleated pencil skirt for it because the pattern is made for woven and I didn’t want to have to fiddle about with picking and tracing a new size (the Lindy Petal Skirt is made for knit materials).

Day 13, Wednesday

Wednesday was a court day (for which I don’t have much appropriate me-made clothing), so I “cheated” by wearing me-made pyjamas instead! Here I am in my Seamwork Magazine Savannah camisole made from bargain bin pinstriped poly cutting out my first ever BHL flora dress in the hopes that I could get it ready before the weekend. (I couldn’t.)

Day 14, Thursday

A court day yet again, but this time I managed to sneak in a me-made self-drafted skirt. I made this skirt right when I started sewing, but completely learnt nothing from the process as I was literally just doing whatever my teacher told me to do without understanding what interfacing, understitching, facing, darts etc were. It was my mistake as well I suppose, as the teacher I had signed up with dealt mostly with experienced sewers and was a lot better at drafting than dealing with beginner sewists. She was lovely though, so I may go back to take some drafting lessons eventually!

That being said this skirt seems to sit far too low – it hangs at the hip rather than the waist or high waist. I’ll need to see if I can rectify that…

Day 16, Saturday

That’s right, I missed Day 15 ): this was because it was another court day without me-made garments, and because I was knocking off work and hopping right into a car to drive into Malaysia, I wasn’t able to wear any me-made items or take any pictures.

On Saturday though, we woke up early, bright eyed and busy tailed, to get some time in playing the Escape Rooms at Berjaya Times Square and getting our hair done in time for the wedding that night. My me-made garment of the day was this Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank in cheap aztec cotton.Β 

Day 17, Sunday

And last but certainly not least, my Tessuti Pattern’s Ruby Top in pineapple print for the last of the weekend trip and the long 5 hour drive home! These pictures were taken at the National Monument for Malaysia’s fallen soldiers in KL. The place was so serene and beautiful, I highly recommend coming in the morning so you get the light hitting the monument from the side – gorgeous!

(Also, check out those waves in my ponytail – I got a blow-out the day before and my curls lasted all of 2 hours ): still, those waves are pretty nice imo)

And that’s all for this week, thanks for reading!

I also posted a little caption on last Monday’s instagram picture on what me-made-may means to me and how I feel about it! Read it below and let me know if you agree!

 

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Sewing, Styling

Culottes Conundrum // Styling the Emily Culottes

Up till recently, I would not have been caught dead wearing a pair of culottes. It’s not that I hated them – in fact, I loved everything about them… except when they were on me. The thing about culottes is that they have the very real potential to be the most unflattering garment ever. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve put on a pair of wide-legged culottes only to take them right off again because (a) it made my child-bearing hips look bigger than they already were and (b) the below-knee length made my legs look shorter than ever before! It wasn’t long before I wrote this trend off as a “model-only” look… but I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.

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Some of you may have been following along with my wardrobe architect journey (soon to be continued – I’m sorry it’s been a while!), and it’s been really helpful for identifying the kind of silhouettes and shapes that work for me. When trying to decide how to style my Itch to StitchΒ Emily Culottes, I applied some of the concepts I learnt through the WA Challenge and realised it makes a HUGE differenceΒ when I follow a few simple styling rules that I’ll be sharing with you guys today.

Now I’m not claiming to be a style expert and I’m not saying that all these tips will work for everyone – the aim of this post today is to share a little about the styling rules I’ve employed to make the culottes trend work on my 5′ 3″ pear-shaped frame. I’m hoping that these tips will help encourage some of you to give this trend a shot and will be useful in helping you to figure out what works on your body and what doesn’t! Alright, ready? Here we go!

Rule #1. Dark colours on the bottom, light on the top.

Let’s start with basics, shall we? Everyone knows that dark colours have a slimming effect and light colours have a broadening effect, but sometimes we forget that this applies to loose clothing as well.

As you can see from my first version of the Emily Culottes, I was too romanced by the idea of white culottes that I forgot my own rule and made one up in a oyster-toned cream. Below you can see what a huge difference a dark top and light pants make to my appearance as compared to a lighter coloured top and dark pants.

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Rule #2. Always mind your proportions.Β 

This is something that a lot of you may have heard of or already apply in your styling. Personally, it took me 23 years to even begin to understand this concept and I’m still learning more about it every day! Your proportions play a huge role in determining how you appear – we can look shorter or taller, bigger or leaner, more bootylicious or less, all based on how we allow our clothing to dictate our proportions.

Credit to Style Makeover HQ.com

For instance, if you know you have a long torso, wear your culottes higher waisted to balance out your proportions. This should also have the added advantage of letting the culottes sit at the smallest point of your waist, thereby accentuating the fit and flare silhouette.Β Conversely, if you have a short torso, wear them at your natural waist or lower to make it seem like you have a lower waistline and to balance out your longer legs (lucky you!).

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I included two pictures of Posh (aka VB aka Queen of Not-Smiling) so that you could see how wearing a pair of culottes higher waist or lower waist makes a difference to a person’s proportions. Note how Posh looks like she has a slightly longer torso in the middle picture, and a slightly stunted torso in the right hand side one. (I can’t believe she looks great in both photos, what IS she?!)

Rule #3. Fit & Flare

Fit and flare is one way I manage my proportions and balance out my figure. Since culottes are usually flared or loose fitting, I pair them with a fitted top to balance out my figure. The interesting about culottes for pears, is that if your culottes are structured and voluminous enough, they can actually hide the size of your hips! Paired with a fitted top, this means that you will overall look slimmer.

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My favourite look is to pair my Emily Culottes with a crop top (though this houndstooth one reveals a little too much of my belly for my liking), as it doesn’t need to be tucked in and therefore eliminates bulk at the waistline. This creates an illusion of a slimmer waistline (when measurements-wise, I don’t have a clearly defined waist!) which is always a good idea.

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If you’re uncomfortable with fitted tops or crop tops, then by all means pick a longer top with a looser fit! Just make sure your top is fitted at the shoulders or the sleeves, like this boxy top below…

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Or sleeveless, to balance out the overwhelming amount of coverage you’re getting below the waist.

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I’ve seen quite a few pictures on pinterest where culottes are styled with an oversized top and sweater – and those people look great! But from what I’ve experimented on myself, that style doesn’t work for me, as it only seems to add bulk on my frame. Nevertheless, if you think that style works for you, go for it! It’s all about what you feel good in.

Rule #4. The longer the pants, the higher the heel.

This is a rule that I live by and apply universally across ALL my outfits. As I mentioned in one of my Wardrobe Architect posts, long bottoms (i.e. below the knee) create the appearance of shorter legs. By wearing heels, you restore your proportions and create the illusion of a longer leg.Β (Plus, if you’ve got thunder thighs like me, heels also help to create the appearance of a longer, leaner leg.)

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Compare how I look wearing heeled loafers vs flat loafers in the picture above. It doesn’t look bad, but my legs look longer and overall, I look more proportionate in the left picture than on the right. (These pictures were taken within an hour of each other… I have no idea why I look so different??)

Also, is it just me but does wearing culottes with flats automatically make one seem like they’re either channelling the boho vibe or the japanese look?

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There’s nothing wrong with the boho or japanese styles, but they just aren’t for me. If you love them, then more power to you! You get to wear your culottes with comfy flats while my toes get pinched and blistered for the sake of vanity (cue crying emoji).

Note: Conversely, the shorter the hemline, the lower the heel. When a skirt or shorts hits more than 2 or 3 inches above the knee, I opt to wear flats – this helps to tone down the skankiness of the outfit and is also a LOT more comfortable! This may be why I am able to get away with wearing kitten heels in these pictures – because my culottes are only knee length!

Rule #5. Experiment on yourself!

And last, but certainly not least, if there is only one rule you should remember… it’s that there are no rules! I know this is extremely lame and cliched, but it IS true. Nobody should dictate how you dress, or what you feel comfortable in – what’s important is that YOU feel good about how you look.

Some of the places you can look to for help are fashion websites or pinterest for inspiration on how to style your clothing – just remember that what works for fashion bloggers and models may not look or feel right on you or me, which is fine! With a little time and experimentation you’ll be able to identify what shapes and styles look good on you, even when it’s someone else wearing it (psst, this also helps with online shopping!). I’ve put together a pinterest board of culotte styles that I really love and will be trying out here – check it out if you’re interested!

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Plus… if you’re loving my culottes, the pattern is still on sale over on Itch to Stitch’s website! To read my review on the pattern, click here.Β 

If you’ve got a pinterest board of your own or recommendations to style or fashion blogs, feel free to share them with me in the comments below, I would love to see them! Also, if you would like to see more of these posts or recommendations on articles for proportions and styling that I’ve found useful, shout out and let me know!

Note: All photos used in this post that do not belong to me have been sourced from my pinterest board here.

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