Summer ’18 wardrobe: Closet inventory

Summer ’18 wardrobe: Closet inventory

Across the top row of this grid are what I’m calling the fixer-uppers: four pieces that need a bit of work before they can actually factor into my summer wardrobe. But I’m including them here in my summer closet edit anyway, as motivation to get it done:

– The tuxedo-pleated and ruffled cotton top is a garment I think of as a summer closet necessity. I always and forever love a sweet eyelet or ruffled white top (such as the one seen yesterday), paired with camo or faded jeans or beat-up khakis. I’ve been missing this element the past few years because I have this one, from J.Crew many years ago, which hasn’t been wearable for a while but I haven’t managed to replace. So I’ll be making that a priority and using this one as a stand-in when it comes to making outfit projections tomorrow. This one needs a dye job if it’s to continue on, so that’s two priorities in one photo: dye this one and make its white ruffled replacement.

– The (formerly) white linen shell is the one that got in with the blue load of laundry and now needs to be dyed a more decisive blue.

– The unfinished Clyde Jacket was a sample-sale score late last year, and I need to carve out and finish off some nice deep armholes to make it a super-funtional smock-vest.

– The jeans. They’re too thin to patch and too dear to let go, so I’ve got them on the waitlist with Indigo Proof! I’m hoping Rain can shore them up sufficiently, and hoping to have them back before the summer is over.

As those are fixed, they’ll join these ranks:

CAMISOLES, TANKS AND TOPS

Camisoles in green, indigo and black ikat
Meg-made sweater tee
Sweatshirt vest
– Linen muscle tee (Everlane 2017, available again at the moment)
Sleeveless tee in striped hemp jersey and black hemp jersey
Blue-striped shell (also: black silk gauze version)
– Dotted chambray tunic (Endless Summer, made by a friend)
Blue striped Fen top
Plaid top
Black chambray top
Chambray button-up
– Tobacco linen tunic (Nade 2016, no longer available)

VESTS AND SMOCKS

– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
Black Anna vest
– Smock x 3 (State Smocks, upcycled, available on repeat — mine are all from 2017)

Also my beloved old trench-style vest (J.Crew c. 2010) seen here.

PANTS

Canvas wide-legs
Recycled denim wide-legs
– Clay wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Culotte, made in Nashville, sample sale 2017)
Camo wide-legs
Denim wide-legs
– B/w palazzos (Ace&Jig 2017, no longer available)
– Chinos (J.Crew 2015/16, no longer available)
– Linen palazzos (Elizabeth Suzann Florence, made in Nashville, sample/modified 2017)
– natural denim jeans (Imogene+Willie, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)
– dark cropped jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, 2016, made in LA, no longer available)

I’ve pulled out those old J.Crew chinos again, gonna give ’em another go, and I’ve got the b/w Ace&Jig pants in here but I think I may be selling them. They’re just a little too big, and combined with how gauzy/flowy they are, it’s a bit much for me.

DRESSES

Whoops, no, not factoring in any dresses right now. While I’m sure I’ll wear some of them — especially when we get into the thick of the summer soup — they’re not just key players for me, so I figure I might as well not fool myself about it.

SHOES

– Sneakers (Veja Wata, brand new!)
– Faux-snake flats (J.Crew 2017, made in Italy, no longer available)
– Tan flats (Solid State Studios, 2017, handmade in LA, custom order)
– Black huaraches (Nisolo Ecuador, 2017, responsibly made in their own factory)
– Tan sandals (J.Crew, c. 2009)
– Black sandals (Jane Sews, 2016, no longer available)
– Black patent flat clogs (No.6 Alexis, made in US, brand new!)

Of the 34 garments pictured, I’ve made 17 over the past five years (that’s half! plus one linked but not pictured); 2 were made for me by friends; 4 were made locally; 2 were made in LA; 3 are upcycled/refashions; 1 is from eminently transparent Ace&Jig; 1 is from Everlane, who swear they only uses the good factories so, y’know, fingers crossed; and 3 of the remaining four are from more than 5 years ago (the other one being a couple-few years old). Like I keep saying: It’s a slow process, building up a slow closet, but this is proof that if you keep at it over the course of a few years, it can be done!

All that aside, check out this lineup alongside yesterday’s mood board. How in-the-zone am I?

Summer ’18 wardrobe: Closet inventory

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Summer ’18 wardrobe: Mood and color

Summer '18 wardrobe: Mood and inventory

I started to make a Summer ’18 mood board at Pinterest the other day and realized that my ruling mood board right now (and always) is my All things lovely board, formed over the past nearly-ten years and really the inner me in Pinterest-board form. I want to listen to that more, and it’s telling me a LOT about myself right now, so for today I made the mini mashup mood board above, pulling from the two. Here’s what it says to me about how I want to dress this summer: breezy, light and loose, as usual; and in my normal palette range of watery blue/greens mixed with b/w, indigo, navy, russet-y pale browntones, and a little bit of stripe or pattern here and there. But it also tells me I’m craving some hits of stronger color. I’m particular feeling the red-orange and pinkish-red bits and want to work in a pop of that somehow, along with a spot of yellow. (This yellow top of Jaime’s is killing me.) An unexpected red shoe was my favorite styling trick of the late ’90s and early aughts, so with all of the above, I’m a little obsessed with these Everlane slides right now and might be acquiring them soon. I might also need to think about a pair of statement shades. ;)

All of this will influence my plans for Summer of Basics, coming up on June 1. But meanwhile, it’s making me feel pretty dang good about the state of my summer closet!

I’m genuinely excited about this summer, you guys. My first summer in Nashville, Fringe Supply HQ was in a windowless, airless, ventless, death trap of a room, and I dressed accordingly: tank tops, shorts, sandals and sweat. Then for the past three summers (as you’ve heard me drone on about), our little warehouse was meat-locker cold, to the point that I often had to leave by mid-afternoon to work somewhere I could recover the feeling in my fingers and the normal flow of blood in my brain. THIS SUMMER! This summer we have control of our own climate, and I can actually dress for summer — can enjoy the sleeveless clothes I love so much without worrying about bringing my wool coat to work with me, as I did last year. It’s so liberating, I don’t even have words to describe it! So tomorrow I’ll show you the roundup of my summer clothes that tie into the vibe above so nicely.

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Recycled pants (2018 FO-14)

Recycled pants (2018 FO-14)

On Saturday, while our beloved contractor was tearing an ever larger hole in the middle of our house,* I was on the other side of the wall from him, in my little workroom, keeping myself occupied by sewing up the other pair of pants I had cut out a few weeks ago. These are the same as all my other modified Robbie pants — my “toddlers” — with the caveat that each pair varies slightly in the rise and/or the thigh. (That’s in addition to the more major modifications shared by them all: my own pockets, longer legs, wider hems, totally different waistband.) Between the fabric and the particular tweaks I made when cutting this one, this is basically the pair I’ve been wanting the whole time; what I’ve always wished the denim pair to be. The fabric here is 100% recycled cotton — denim industry waste, woven into a heavy canvas. The light-denim color combined with this silhouette makes them feel a little bit 1970s, in a good way. And despite a hilarious number of thread issues along the way,** I’m extremely pleased with them.

These and the natural canvas pair are sure to be the cornerstones of my summer wardrobe this year, which I’ll be getting into the planning for tomorrow! I promise photos of them on me in the course of all that. These never look like much on the hanger …

Pattern: Robbie Pant by Tessuti (reuse No. 6, whoa)
Modifications: self-drafted pockets, assorted tweaks, modified 2″ waistband
Fabric: 100% recycled cotton canvas, not commercially available anywhere that I know of

*If you haven’t seen it in my Instagram Stories, we’re remodeling our bathroom, which — as they do — keeps turning into a bigger and bigger job than expected.

**Thread 1 was garbage, so I switched to thread 2, which ran out an inch shy of my finishing the waistband top-stitching, so then came thread 3, followed by the bobbin (still thread 1) running out just short of the second hem being complete (finished with thread 3). And since I only use natural thread in my serger, there are a total of four different threads used here! lol

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Jenny Gordy’s shirt, mitts kits & Elsewhere

Round-up of links for knitters and sewers

The most-answered question of the week was my open-ended Q about moths; I’m planning to read through it all today/tomorrow, but thank you so much for all the in-depth responses! The most-asked question of the week would be regarding that cute striped shirt Jenny Gordy was wearing in her Our Tools, Ourselves photos — lots of people wondering if there’s a sewing pattern for it. According to Jenny, it’s a Madewell shirt from a few years ago (i.e., no longer available), and the closest pattern I know off the top of my head is the Kalle Shirt + Shirtdress pattern, pictured above, from Closet Case Patterns. (Which happens to also be on my shortlist of contenders for Summer of Basics!) It doesn’t have the neck gathers like the one on Jenny, but you could easily replace the center-back pleat with gathers back there. And maybe widen the cuffs at the sleeves.

Also, Verb has restocked the beautiful Log Cabin Mitts kits (pattern here) in their incredible Range rambouillet, which is a truly exceptional small-batch yarn that sadly won’t be repeated, so if you desire a kit (or skeins) hop on it!

Other than that, Elsewhere:

– Such an important subject I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring up, PLEASE READ: The cost of a knitting pattern

– For those of us who are likely never going to make our own: Responsibly made underwear

– All the praise hands for Lynn Zwerling of Knitting Behind Bars

– Fashion over-consumption is “a monster of our own creation. But there seems to be a growing (and welcome) consensus that it’s time to cut off its head.

– “You get it from your mother.” Well, yes and no.

– And congratulations to Katrina Rodabaugh! Can’t wait to get my hands on her book. (To which I contributed a little quote, full disclosure.)

Have the most amazing weekend, everybody! I’ve got some secret knitting to finish up. ;) How about you?

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Make Your Own Basics: The jackets

Make Your Own Basics: The jackets

Some of you wanting to really stretch your sewing skills for this year’s Summer of Basics might be considering outerwear. We’ve talked before in Make Your Own Basics about coats and trench coats, but there are still a few archetypal jackets and patterns left to be considered:

THE JEAN JACKET: Audrey by Seamwork is a true classic (For more of the work-jacket version, see Ottoline)

THE ANORAK: Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns hits all the notes

THE BIKER / MOTO: B6169 by Liesl Gibson is a somewhat fitted, pared down take on the look (For the full lapels, see Melissa Watson for McCall’s M7694; or for a knitted cardigan see Elsie, and sweater-vest version, see Harley)

Do you know what you’re making for Summer of Basics yet? You can survey the entire Make Your Own Basics series at Pinterest if you need something to spark ideas!

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Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten)

Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten) studio tour and interview

The ten of you who’ve been reading this blog since the beginning might remember that my very first Blog Crush post (Jan 2012) was an ode to Jenny Gordy’s now-dormant-but-still-readable blog. Jenny and her webshop, Wiksten, were a huge inspiration to me in starting Fringe Supply Co. — I still have the original printed Wiksten Tank pattern I ordered from her, which contributed to so many of my opinions about what receiving an online order should feel like. And of course she and her patterns and her personal style have been referenced here many times over the years. So it’s a real treat for me to get to run this interview with her today. And I know a lot of you are equally huge fans, so I hope you’ll enjoy this peek into her studio and her knitting and sewing life.

For more of Jenny, follow @shopwiksten on Instagram; check out her current blog here (here’s her daughter, Iris, wearing my dream outfit); and see all of her patterns and fabric bundles in her shop. And for those wondering about the Kimono Jacket pattern pictured above and mentioned below (with modifications and variations since it first appeared in Making), Jenny says it’s coming in June! So the wait is almost over.

Thanks for doing this, Jenny! Here we go—

. . .

Do you knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye, sew … ?

I have the most experience with sewing, which I’ve done since I was a child. I’ve always found it incredibly empowering to be able to dream something up and then literally stitch it into existence that very day (like the time my best friend and I decided we just HAD to make a wedding dress for her hamster so that it could get married). Growing up, I spent afternoons and evenings with anyone who would teach me — from my grandmother and mother to my friends’ mothers.

I loved sewing clothing so much that I ended up going to fashion school in New York to study patternmaking. In school, I had to figure out how to construct garments by myself, and I got to take couture sewing classes. Going to class every day made me feel so giddy that I was bouncing off the walls. I felt very lucky.

When I was in my late twenties I learned how to knit, and it opened up a whole new world to me. I still can’t believe I wasted over twenty years of my life NOT KNITTING! I’m happiest when creating, and this was a relaxing way I could do that just for fun with no pressure or deadlines. I still love sewing, but for me it’s work. Knitting isn’t. It’s comforting and cozy, portable and easy.

Although I’m able to read and write patterns well enough, I don’t consider myself an experienced knitter. I only want to wear things in very simple styles, so I’ve never learned how to do more complicated pieces. In my knitting work I tend to focus on perfecting simple things by doing them over and over again, so I’d say I’m very experienced with a few things and not much else.

I haven’t done much dyeing in recent years, but when I had my clothing line I used to do a bit of fabric dyeing. I did just indigo-dye a Kimono Jacket sample for the pattern cover, which turned out really lovely and made me hungry for more. My friends and I are constantly talking about wanting to dye things with avocado pits, but I still haven’t done it.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten) studio tour and interview

Tell us about your tool preferences and peccadilloes.

There are 3 sewing tools I’m obsessed with: (1) a sleeve board for pressing narrow things like sleeve cuffs and underarm seams, (2) a seam gauge for hemming, and (3) an edgestitching foot (for a sewing machine). If you know my patterns well or have taken classes from me, that last one might make you laugh since I can never shut up about it. I have no interest in sewing without these tools. I think everyone probably knows about a seam gauge, but I’m shocked that so many people endure sewing without those other two.

I also have to have two Zirkel magnetic pin holders — one at my cutting table and one next to my sewing machine. Fiskars Razor Edge spring-assist shears are the only scissors I’ve found that don’t fatigue my thumb after constant cutting. Fiskars doesn’t make the style I like anymore, but you can get the old ones on Etsy. People think I’m crazy for using them on both paper and fabric, but they’re so sharp it doesn’t even matter.

As far as knitting tools go, I’m pretty into using Addi Turbo Lace circular needles for most projects, and I like using wood double-pointed needles for socks or tiny baby things.

How do you store or organize your tools? Or do you?

I bought a label maker last year and put lots of things into labeled clear plastic bins with lids, which makes it very easy to find things. My cutting table has shelves on the backside with massive space for storage, so I tuck the bins away since the plastic isn’t so attractive. I have an assortment of wood caddies, baskets, and handmade ceramic cups and dishes around my studio that hold various tools and supplies. One of my favorite things I’ve recently installed is a Shaker peg rail with shelf above the cutting table for hanging patterns, scissors, rulers and other patternmaking supplies. It’s freed up a lot of table space.

How do you store or organize your works-in-progress?

I have a nice collection of beautiful woven pouches with zippers or drawstrings for holding my knitting projects. I keep these, along with some needles and yarn, in a drawer of the credenza below our living room TV for easy access.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten) studio tour and interview

Are there any particularly prized possessions amongst your tools?

I was very close to my grandmother, who taught me how to sew. When she died, I inherited her vast collection of vintage fabric scraps and crafting tools. I will basically never need to buy hand-sewing needles ever again. She loved to travel and would collect thimbles from all over the world, and my mom recently let me have a sweet handmade ceramic one from her collection in our favorite colors, blue and white. The whole look of it just really reminds me of her.

Do you lend your tools?

Always! I want everyone to share the joy that I get from knitting and sewing, so I actively try to convert people into crafters if they show the tiniest bit of interest. I always offer to give my friends free lessons and lend tools if they’re into it. If I get the tools back, great. If not, no worries!

What is your favorite place to knit?

I love to travel, so I would say my most pleasurable knitting is done on a plane, in the car on a road trip, in a hotel room, or in a beautiful setting outdoors. However, most of my knitting is done on the couch while watching my daughter play or while watching a movie, preferably covered in cats. Sometimes I knit in bed with headphones and an audiobook while my husband reads next to me. I love knitting at friends’ houses when we have knitting night. There are too many favorite places! I love them all.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten) studio tour and interview

What effect do the seasons have on you?

I knit and sew year round. I’m definitely one of those people who knit at the beach.

Do you have a dark secret, guilty pleasure or odd quirk, where your fiber pursuits are concerned?

Nothing too interesting. I’m pretty monogamous when it comes to knitting projects. I usually stick to one at a time. Also I no longer buy yarn unless I’m going to start on a specific pattern immediately.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been working on the same knitting project for 5 months! It’s the West End Cardigan by Hannah Fettig in Quince & Co Owl in Cinnamon. I’ve been really distracted by some things going on in my life, and I keep messing up and having to rip back and do sections over. Although not a particularly difficult pattern, it’s just been a real struggle to finish. I typically do not give up though.

Over the winter, I worked on sketching and swatching women’s cardigan and pullover knitting pattern designs that I’m really anxious to start writing. So many other projects have been getting in the way, but I’m going to have some time this summer to devote to it. I’m sure I’ll end up trying to do a kid’s version too if I can find the time.

In sewing projects, I’ve just finished up the Kimono Jacket pattern. I’m always sewing Wiksten samples to both test things out and create content for Instagram. I love sewing my own designs, because I’ve done them so many times that it’s a breeze. It’s just really satisfying to do the same thing over and over again, getting better each time. I’m going to take a week or two to have fun sewing samples and give myself a break before diving head first into the next pattern. I have a list of pattern ideas that I want to develop in the next year, and I’m just so excited about them.

Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten) studio tour and interview

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Photos by Jenny Gordy and Anna Caitlin Harris, used with permission

New-again Favorites: Sweatshirt sweaters

New-again Favorites: Sweatshirt sweaters

The discussion of my sweatshirt vest (and its V-patch neck detail) sent me looking back through my favorites for sweater patterns I’ve seen and loved with similar sweatshirt-y details. Here are my all-time favorites:

TOP: Polwarth by Ysolda Teague is the one I had mentioned in my post, and reader Karen C. alerted me to the existence of Ysolda’s tutorial about the brioche V detail (from a top-down perspective)

ABOVE LEFT: Redford by Julie Hoover is an older gem I’d forgotten about, complete with side panels and really beautifully executed V-patch (perfectly unisex)

ABOVE RIGHT: Gable by Hannah Fettig turns the whole idiom upside-down

BELOW: Sweatshirt Sweater by Purl Soho is one of the more oft-mentioned patterns in the history of this blog, with the ol’ kangaroo pocket rather than the neck detail

New-again Favorites: Sweatshirt sweaters

p.s. Yesterday was A Day and I haven’t had a chance to read carefully through all of the amazing thoughts on moths, but I’m getting there!

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