Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 2: Closet inventory

Fall closet inventory
Fall closet inventory

So I mentioned on my Fall Mood post yesterday that, having gotten my sartorial feet back under me, so to speak, I’ve been starting to have a little more fun getting dressed again. Yesterday I talked a bit about color seeping back into the mix, which you can see above, and the other aspect of that is what I referred to as “curve balls” — by which I just mean putting things together in odd or unexpected ways.

I am no Cary and Jenna — as much as I admire their reckless abandon when it comes to pattern and color. But I do like to mix things up, even in my own minimalist-leaning ways. For example, camo is my favorite print on earth because, in addition to being neutral and going with just about anything, it’s fun to mess with. When I bought the seemingly dressy, black silk Elizabeth Suzann Artist Smock in February, I wasn’t convinced I loved it enough to keep it … until I put it on with my camo pants and silver shoes, at which point there was no giving it back. I bought a pair of Ace&Jig pants this summer — black and white, being me — and my favorite thing is to wear them with my snake-print ballet flats. Even just throwing in a tan shoe where a black one would have been the obvious choice, and vice versa, can make an outfit feel more me, more idiosyncratic. More amusing. Sometimes it means I’m wearing something others might find confusing, but if it makes me feel good, out the door we go — that is all I care about.

I’m feeling really good about the clothes I’ve made over the past year — as if I’ve really hit my stride as both a chooser and a maker — and although they are very straight, I feel like they all lend themselves to the odd combos and to the days when I just feel like playing it straight. And meanwhile, I’ve bought a few pieces that raise the quirk quotient.

It feels really premature (in the unrelenting heat) to be putting together this inventory of my fall and winter selects, while many of the clothes from my summer list will continue to play a starring role for the next few weeks — more about that tomorrow. But anyway, here’s what I’ll have to work with over the coming months:

camel cardigan
yoke sweater
striped raglan pullover
fisherman sweater
black cardigan
grey wool “sweatshirt” (sewn, wool knit)
purple cardigan
black lopi raglan
– boiled wool pullover (J.Crew 2014)
– shrunken cotton fisherman (L.L. Bean c.2010 but still available)
– cashmere turtleneck (J.Crew c. 2009)
cowichan-style vest
black Anna vest
grey vintage waistcoat
Sloper turtleneck

It’s astonishing to me how different this is from last year at this time, when those first four sweaters didn’t yet exist, nor did the grey pullover. Having them all in my closet, waiting for fall to arrive, feels like a major wardrobe windfall. And going through this process, I’m feeling extremely good about my decision to cast on the vanilla cardigan. The grey turtleneck is on its last legs, but I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more wears this year. The next thing I cast on, though, will be a simple grey pullover.

black muscle tee (see also black gauze version)
striped muscle tee
– grey sleeveless tee (Everlane, no longer available)
white linen shell
– dotted chambray tunic (Endless Summer, made by a friend)
– plaid top (me-made, never blogged)
– silk smock (Elizabeth Suzann)
chambray button-up
– plaid cotton flannel shirt (Uniqlo c. 2011)
– plaid wool flannel shirt (Fischer, 2015)

I still need to make another version of my black sleeveless top that’s longer in the front, for layering. And I’m planning to make another flannel shirt for myself this year — another Archer — but looking over the lineup here, I don’t feel any urgency about any other tops at the moment. Although I’m still itching to bring the big-pleated top idea to life. Oh, and I already have the sleeveless tee cut out of the same grey wool knit as the “sweatshirt” pictured, so that will definitely get sewn together soon, perfect for winter layering.

I’ve been stalking the State Smock releases since we still lived in California, so at least four years, and can never spot one that’s right for me that isn’t already sold. That is, until last month (while I was piecing together the interview with Adrienne) when I scored both an olive drab one and a pale pink one; and then while I was in Denver, I managed to get a white one. I don’t know what it is, but it is the most magical garment ever. If I’ve had the olive one for 50 days, let’s say, I’ve worn it for all or some of at least 30 of them. The pink one gets worn mostly around the house, while sewing, etc. And I expect to wear the crap out of the white one forthwith. I would happily wear one every day of the year. These guys have really given me whole new ways to wear my existing clothes — more on that tomorrow.

– threadbare jeans (Old Navy c. 2013)
– natural denim jeans (Imogene+Willie, made in US, 2016)
handmade jeans
– dark cropped jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, made in US, 2016)

I am well-stocked in the jeans department. There are the faded jeans pictured plus the visibly mended pair, both of which are perilously fragile and need more shoring up, but that’s the color of denim I want to be wearing right now: super faded. The natural jeans are great. The handmades are my all-time favorites — nicest and best-fitting pair I’ve ever owned — and the only way to get them to fade is to wear them. A lot. Hopefully the dark denim will seem more appealing once cold weather is upon us. And in addition to the J.Crew jeans pictured, I also have my dark denim Imogene+Willie jeans. (The ones that went to Paris with me.) Definitely no needs here.

– b/w patterned pants (Ace&Jig Derby in Highland, no longer available)
olive pants
– camo pants, heavily mended (Gap c.2009)
– wide-leg khakis (J.Crew, 2016)

This makes it look like I have a well-rounded pants collection at the moment, but: the Ace&Jig pants will feel much too thin and flimsy in just a few weeks; the olive pants got ruined in the wash; the camo pants are also perilously fragile and my most beloved ever, so I’m wearing them sparingly; and I don’t wear the khakis very much. The olive “toddler pants,” as I call them, are really the only thing I want to wear right now, so my plan is basically to make four pairs that will replace what you see here: a natural canvas pair, denim, wool herringbone, and camo. Those will get me through the winter, and they’re clearly the most urgent items on my make list right now.

Tomorrow: outfits!


PREVIOUSLY in Fall 2017 Wardrobe: Mood








2017 FO-12 : My first jeans

MADE: My first jeans

I always think I don’t have much to say about any given FO — that the post will be mostly pictures. And then I inevitably proceed to write 3000 words. But I feel like I have just three words to say about this one: I. Made. Jeans. I’ve said it about a hundred times since it happened. I made jeans. But beyond that, there really isn’t a lot to say, since, as it turns out, there’s not much to it! Open up the pattern, find your size, follow the instructions (and/or the tutorials or online class), and you’ll wind up with a pair of one-of-a-kind jeans. So many sewers told me that, and it turns out to be perfectly true.

MADE: My first jeans

In my case, I had the good fortune to make this first pair (Oh yes, there will be more!) in the company of the pattern designer, Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns, and a roomful of really awesome women in the big classroom space at Fancy Tiger Crafts. With Heather there, she could not only demonstrate each step before we did it, but we each arrived for the workshop weekend with our jeans cut and basted together, so step one was a fitting with Heather. There were 16 of us, I believe, and not only did we all leave with finished jeans, they were each fascinatingly unique to the person who made them. Not just in the sense of fit — although there was that. (Look at this video Heather posted. HEART!) But also in the details: whether we were making Ginger skinny jeans or Morgan jeans, zip-fly or button, what color our denim was (stretch or non), what fabric we chose for our pocket linings, thread color, whether we did any fancy stitching on the pockets … so many personal little details. (Mine: Morgan jeans, zip fly, dark indigo denim, non-stretch, striped khadi pocket linings, gold topstitching, no pocket decoration.) When we all stood together in our JEANS on Sunday for class photos, I could hardly stand how awesome it was. They all looked so legit and professional, and yet there was no chance of mixing up any two pairs. We had all made our mark.

MADE: My first jeans

I did get a little stressed out at the end of the day on Saturday — the second of two all-day days of being in a room sewing nonstop (with a half-day left to go). I was determined to get the shape of the thigh exactly right. Heather had asked us not to concern ourselves too much with perfection on what was sure to be our first of several pairs. But I didn’t want to leave with a pair that didn’t quite fit me in the same exact way as the other jeans already in my closet don’t quite fit me. I told myself before I went that I would rather come home with a pattern piece for the leg that was just what I wanted than with finished jeans. So I was taking the time (and Heather was indulging me) to tweak the thigh, at a point where I was incredibly tired and falling behind. So yeah, I almost cried when I had to do it five times and then catch up with everyone else, but it was nothing to do with the pattern or the difficulty level or anything. It was all me. And it was worth it — I have the customized pattern piece AND the finished jeans.

Well, almost. The only thing I didn’t get done is attaching the belt loops, which I will get around to but am in no rush about, since I don’t even own a belt. And I’m putting off hemming them until they’ve been worn a bunch and washed a few times.

MADE: My first jeans

I’ve been saying for a few years that my goal in life was to one day be wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, a combo as ordinary as possible, except that I made them both — but in all honesty, I never really imagined the jeans would ever happen. It seemed SO far-fetched. As usual, a public commitment to do something is what made it happen for me, and sewing my first Archer this summer really made it manageable. When I unfolded the Morgan pattern to start my homework, and saw that it all fit on one piece of pattern tissue and was fewer pieces than Archer, I let out a little snort of relief.

I am telling you straight up: If you can make a button-up shirt, you can make jeans. I am wearing the proof.

Pattern: Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns, size 12, tweaked for fit*
Fabric: Unknown selvage denim from a friend of a friend’s stash**
Cost: $18 pattern + $40 fabric + ~$2 khadi scraps + $9 hardware kit + $4 top-stitching thread = $73


*My only pattern mod, other than the fitting, was to widen/straighten the lower leg.

**The FoF believed it to be Japanese made and dyed with natural indigo, but the friend doubts the latter. Since naturally dyed fabric is basically non-existent in the commercial realm other than some people dabbling in natural indigo denim, I was really trying to find and use a naturally dyed fabric, but this fabric might not have been. I’ll never know for sure!

Special thanks to Heather, also, for snapping these FO photos of me, somewhere near Redstone CO.


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Fisherman sweater redux





Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

I got back to Nashville late Tuesday, homemade jeans in hand and beaming with pride. We did take pics while I was in Colorado, so I’ll tell you all about them on Monday. But meanwhile, a bit of Elsewhere:

– Many of you know about the hilarious and talented DG Strong (@amazingdg), one of my oldest/dearest friends and the guy responsible for getting all of your Fringe Supply Co. orders out the door so quickly, among other things. But did you know he’s a State Fair Best in Show ribbon winner? He’d love to tell you all about it. (photo, above left)

– State the Label (ref.) and a whole bunch of other indie brands are having a hurricane relief fundraiser today — details here

– Felicia has written another super thoughtful piece, this time about Our fear of going back, of undoing or redoing, and it ties in to our recent discussion here about how we feel about mistakes. (above right)

– The North Face + Fibershed = Climate-beneficial beanie

– Cute new pants pattern from True Bias, the Lander Pant

The Refashioners challenge is always a highlight of the year. (Related: Never not wowed by Sasha.)

– “Designer jeans are a relatively new phenomenon; people who ordinarily wouldn’t have worn the Western jeans thought it was okay to wear them if they had a designer name on them, as opposed to Levi’s, Lee or Wrangler—the traditional jeans manufacturers,” Calvin Klein told Playboy in 1984. “My name is on the outside of the jeans and on the inside of almost everything else I make …”

– and I love absolutely everything about this photo and caption

IN TINY SHOP NEWS: We have a darling new option for you tiny scissors lovers, Lykke short-tip interchangeable sets are back in stock, and the bone narrow-rim buttons are now available in itty bitty 10mm. Plus I’ve done a few more mark-downs in the sale section!

I get to have an actual sleep-in-do-whatever weekend this weekend, and I’m so excited about it after the last jam-packed month. Happy knitting, and see you next week!






And the winners are …

Summer of Basics winners

I’m not the least bit sad that summer is over and September is here, but I am sad that Summer of Basics is coming to a close! I’ve been so blown away and inspired by what everyone was making, and just by how many people jumped in and really challenged themselves, that I fully expect to suffer withdrawal as it begins to die down. (And I definitely have post-project depression now that my fisherman sweater is done.) Most of all, I’m hugely thankful to everyone who took me up on the challenge. I wanted to push myself this summer, and I might very well not have completed either my first button-up or my first pants if not for having such good company in which to tackle them.

But now it’s time for prizes! You know how I feel about this: The real prize is the garments you made and the experience you gained and the fun you had on the #summerofbasics feed. (Even real-life friendship. Geez, tearjerker right here!) But we do have some great giveaways to announce, just to gild the lily. For my part, I was smart enough to make Fringe’s contribution a random drawing — I am so glad I don’t have to actually judge, because you guys have made it way too hard! The three remaining prizes will be announced on the respective prize donors’ blogs this week as follows:

Wednesday: Best Modification/Alteration to be announced on the Kelbourne Woolens blog
Thursday: Best Combination of Garments to be announced on the Grainline Studio blog
Friday: Best First Garment (knitted or sewn) to be announced on the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog

So make sure you check in at each location to see who won, as well as what the fine ladies of Kelbourne-Grainline-Fancy made!

And for today, the winner of the random drawing for the $100 Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate is <drumroll> @stephaniebastek! This skirt Stephanie made with her mom’s guidance and her grandmother’s thread was one of my favorite stories along the way, so I smiled wide when I opened my eyes and saw what my finger had landed on. Go read it. Stephanie followed this (her first sewn garment) with two lovely dresses. (This skirt is Colette’s Zinnia pattern.)

. . .

Despite everything I just said, I’ve decided to add some fun bonus prizes just because there’s so much amazing stuff in the feed, I wanted to be able to call attention to a few more people. So the following participants are each getting a Fringe Field Bag in the color of their choice:

• The “Someone Distract Her While I Steal Her Stuff” Award goes to: Actually, nope, I can’t pick. There are too many contenders!

• The “That is TOO MUCH” Medal goes to: @callmedwj for her matching pup-and-me sweaters

• The “I Love Her Attitude” Prize goes to: @whitneyknits, go read that caption

• The “Upcycling Genius” Grant goes to: @radiolazyy for this absolutely stunning jacket made from three old pairs of black jeans, wider shot of all three drop-dead gorgeous garments here. (Honorable mention to @tanneicasey for her hand-stitched, handmade espadrilles fashioned from her kid’s old jeans)

• The “Why Didn’t I Think of That” Certificate goes to: @beththais — I would never have thought to get that chic little sleeveless top out of the Reeta Shirtdress. So good!

• The “Workplace Chic” Commendation goes to: @mariecarter, and I can’t believe those are her firsts!

• and the coveted “Damn, She Makes Pregnancy Look Good!” Badge goes to: @claireallenplatt

If I’ve just mentioned your name, please email me at <contact@fringesupplyco.com> to collect your prize!

. . .

A lot of people have asked if I’ll be hosting this challenge again next year, and I think that’s a pretty safe bet. Seriously, thank you so much for making it such a blast! Thanks so much to Grainline Studio, Fancy Tiger Crafts and Kelbourne Woolens for the amazing prizes! And if you missed the full three months of wonder, at least check out the #sob17finisher feed. I promise you’ll feel inspired.


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics:

2017 FO-10 : My first pants (SoB-2)

Finished: Olive pants (Summer of Basics)

These are pictures of me wearing a perfectly ordinary blue work shirt and olive green pants — ordinary except for the fact that I made them! I believe that’s referred to as leveling up. Thank you, Summer of Basics.

The shirt, of course, is my Archer (my first button-up, and first SoB finish), and the pants (my first pants) are my second SoB finish. They’re nearly as simple as a pair of pants can be — just elastic-waist pull-up pants — but they make me so proud. Mostly because of how much detail I put into them, and how nicely sewn they are, owing to my new serger. (Er, my year-old serger that I finally learned how to use, which has completely changed my life.) I started with the Tessuti Robbie Pant that some of you recommended on my side-pocket pants post. I looked at a bunch of similar patterns, and assumed I’d wind up basically drafting my own, but started with this one because I thought the leg shape looked the most like what I was after. So the four pieces of the pant legs are essentially Robbie, with just some tweaks — a little lower front crotch, a little width out of the thigh, lengthened a few inches and sewn with a wider hem. Then I made up my own pockets, changed the waistband (both the width and how it’s sewn), and top-stitched the hell out of them.

Finished: Olive pants (Summer of Basics)

My biggest concern was how the fabric would work for this, since it’s a fairly heavy canvas. With a thinner fabric, in an elastic-waist scenario, volume isn’t quite so much of a concern, but here I was trying to balance a nice, loose, wide-leg silhouette with not having too much heavy fabric gathered around my waist. These are the size small (I’m about an 8-10 on bottom in store-bought clothes, for reference) and they’re still a tiny bit big, even with my tweaks. I have a long waist, essentially no hips and a flat rear-end, so I tend to wind up with too much fabric pooling around my butt and the sides of my hips, no matter what kind of pants they are. I did pretty good on these for a first go, but on the next pair I’ll redraw the outer leg line, and also change the rise in the back — the line where the upper edge of the pant meets the waistband is too high for my liking. But regardless, I love these and can’t wait to draft the next pair.

Finished: Olive pants (Summer of Basics)

The fabric came from Elizabeth Suzann’s recent garage sale. It’s slightly more olive than army, so I have to be a little careful what I put with it, but it’s really nice stuff. I got a bolt of unknown yardage for $100 — a lifetime supply, basically. If I underestimate it at 30 yards (knowing it’s probably more like 50), that makes it about $3/yard at the most. Unless I never make anything else out of it, in which case the fabric for these pants cost me $100!

There’s also a secret happy detail to them: I reused the 2″ elastic that came out of my ancient, beloved, threadbare pink pajama pants I recently had to say goodbye to. So they’re still with me! ;)

Pattern: Robbie Pant by Tessuti (modified)
Fabric: Unknown canvas remnant
Cost: $8.00 pattern + ~$4.00 fabric + reuse elastic = $12.00

p.s. These photos were taken by my husband in his painting studio. For those of you who’ve asked about his work before, note that we recently updated his website


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Best-ever baby gift


Elsewhere: Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Phew, this week has been a humdinger and I am so glad it’s Friday. We were on the road last weekend (and Path of Totality in our own backyard day; way to go, Karen!) and I have some travels ahead of me, so I’m super excited to be home this weekend, no obligations beautiful weather for seaming my sweater on the porch, and hoping to sew my pants for Summer of Basics!

This batch of Elsewhere is a whole lot of eye candy and a couple of interesting reads:

– Most interesting piece I’ve ever read about wartime knitting brigades — and the photos are beyond amazing (thanks, dg)

Lori is absolutely killing me with all the Sven and Solveig photos (above right)

Stunning map of Pakistan made up of regional embroidery styles

Good lord those swatches (above left)

– These little crochet/leaf scultpures are jaw-droppingly beautiful

And this crocheted play structure is IN.CREDIBLE.

– I’m obsessed with these slightly insane sewing patterns: Sharewear from Atatac — see the Garments section for sewn examples (thx, Deborah) (I downloaded five of them.)

5 simple ways to spend less money on clothes (as true for making as for shopping)

God bless Helen Mirren (see also)

A brief history of silhouettes — I love this stuff

IN SHOP NEWS: We finally got a fresh batch of the narrow-rim horn and bone buttons, and the fourth installment of the Mason-Dixon Field Guides, Log Cabin is here!

Happy weekending, everyone—



2017 FO-9 : Best-ever baby gift

2017 FO-9 : Best-ever baby gift

I suck at baby gifts. I am much better at mommy gifts, so normally that’s what I do when the situation arises. But I suddenly have four friends with brand-new or imminent babies, one of whom is my friend (and now Fringe Supply Co. crewmate) Allison of Shutters & Shuttles. So when I got invited to a baby shower for her — my first in a decade or so — I decided I better hurry up and get better at baby gifts. I have a little obsession with Wiksten’s new Baby Harem Pants pattern, wishing it came in my size, of course, and it dawned on me that I had THE PERFECT fabric for making Allison’s gender-unknown baby a pair of them: the fabric she dyed and wove for me during the original Slow Fashion October.

Have you ever seen anything cuter in your whole entire life? You should feel how soft they are. My sense that pajama pants or other loungewear would be an excellent use of (the rest of) the fabric is 100% confirmed.

To my other new-mom friends who might be reading this: Yes, you probably have some coming your way. I want to make a pair out of every 1/2-yard scrap of fabric I wind up with from here on out — they are so simple and satisfying to make.

The only thing I’ll do differently next time, at least when making the tinier of the sizes (this pair is the 3-6 month size), is to finish the bottom edge of the pant legs before sewing the legs together. There was absolutely no chance of my being able to turn and press a hem with the french seams and all, in this squishy fabric, nevermind getting that tiny opening under the foot of the machine. (I wound up just serging the edge. And the leg opening was the exact width of the foot on my serger, so that was not easy!) But I highly recommend this pattern, especially to new sewers looking for an easy and exciting win.

Regarding the wrapping, the little organic cotton sandwich bag is from Natural Linens, which I had learned about last month on Reading My Tea Leaves, such a beautiful and calming blog. Apparently I did not bring a single scrap of gift wrapping supplies from California, and it made a perfect little last-second reusable wrap. The “ribbon” is a piece of bias tape — also organic cotton, indigo-dyed by my friend Molly — left over from this camisole.

And yes, she loved them.


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: My first button-up shirt