The Wardrobe Architect: Weeks 8 & 9

The Wardrobe Architect

Again I have missed a week, so I’m playing catch up a little.

I have had a reasonable excuse, though I’ve been going through a hefty HR process with work for nearly two years and had my final meeting on Monday so I have spent the last few weeks focussing on non-sewing matters (and boy, oh boy – how I have missed this!). So please cross your fingers and toes for me.

Week 8: Hair, Make-Up & Beauty


As a bit of a coincidence I’d also had my hair cut that weekend, into a bob. I am currently in the process of growing out the red hair I’ve had for years now, mainly due to the fact that there’s a whole rainbow of colours out there and I have had a hankering to dye my hair royal blue for some time. Even through my hair grows very quickly this has still become a pain in the proverbial.

Bobbed hair

At the moment I’m styling out the two tone and covering my greys with a close to natural brown which eventually washes out and the red shows through (as a side note my husband constantly tells me to grow out the grey, I think he thinks I’ve got some kid of awesome Rouge streak going on, when in fact I’ve been salt and pepper since I was 22).


So off went a big chunk and here I am with a short bob and a side swept fringe, because I like to sport a beehive much of the time and I also like to pin curl it if I was a more glam style for an evening out.

Pin curls

I don’t know if it’s a mix of getting that little but older and not wanting to be all Susan Kennedy (neighbour’s fans from the 80s will know what I’m taking about) but long hair is not for me any longer. I had years of the cyclical grow it long, get frustrated, cut it short, wish I hadn’t, grow it long etc. I am happily settled with a bob now and since losing weight I think it suits me much more.

Make Up

I’m an everyday make up gal. On a rare Sunday I’ll be make-up free “to give my skin a break” or more like “I know I’m not leaving the house and all I want to do is slob about in my pjs, watch films and eat popcorn and chocolate” also referred to as PMT.

My weekday workface:

foundation, concealer, powder, blusher, eyebrow mascara, mascara.

Weekend day:

the same as the above with a winged/cat eye eyeliner going on.

Going out/special occasion:

the above plus eye-shadow, highlighting powder on the cheekbones and brow bones, lipstick (of course ensuring the rules of eyes or lips are already in place).

Being an English Rose I have found it very difficult to find a foundation that’s perfect for me, but after years of finding things too dark I found Maybelline 24H Super Stay in Light Beige and it made me so ridiculously happy I could have cried, and we have been firm friends ever since. I stick with No7 translucent pressed power and No7 classic concealer (which they have stopped doing now, so I’m going to have to so in store and do their match made thing, has anyone done this?).

As far as colours go with eye-shadow, I love them ALL. Nothing puts me off and I’ll try anything, I particularly like deep red and purple shades at the moment.  With lipstick I’m not so adventurous, I still with reds usually but recently my make-up artist friend did me up for a shoot and she put an orangey tone on my lips and I loved it so I am trying to think outside the box a little.


I have become a Lush addict. I don’t have much beauty stuff that isn’t from Lush.


I usually have on the go in a month:

  • Soap for my body and face (I alternate which one I use each time but I love Honey I Washed the Kids)
  • Buffy bar and a sugar scrub
  • A bath bomb and a bubble bar
  • A couple of toner tabs
  • A fresh face mask
  • Body Lotion (Sympathy for the Skin currently – smells like banana custard)

The reason I decided to buy most of my beauty products from Lush is because I agree with their values and I have been really off put by rubbing anything massively chemically into my skin (and now approaching my mid-30s I really think it’s important to nourish it as much as possible with goodness). They may be a little more expensive than other products out there but I really do think you’re paying for quality.

While my regime in the morning is quick (shower, soap, body lotion) once a week I’ll run a hot bath add a bomb or bubble bar, whack a face mask on and stick some sci-fi on the laptop to watch while I relax. I think it’s very important to have a little time for yourself, especially if, like me, you’re super busy at work and can’t sit still when you’re at home.

Week 9: The Capsule Wardrobe

Can I make all of the things? Stick with all of the silhouettes I created in earlier weeks?

I have a plan with sewing for Vegas where am promising myself that I will make things that can be mixed and matched, especially for day wear. Does this count as a holiday capsule wardrobe?

Maybe I can’t focus on anything past Vegas at the moment (which I’m not complaining about at all, honest!).

Taking into consideration my previous silhouettes, I think setting myself goals on a few core items to make (when I get back from Vegas) might be the best idea, so on that note:

  • A line skirts; with maybe a large box pleat at the front on one
  • Shirts; I really like how my green shirt turned out and I can make it with or without the sleeves which would be perfect for all season wear
  • Pair of black trousers
  • Tailored jackets
  • A couple of knee length dresses
  • I may even get the knitting machine out and make a couple of jumpers or cardigans that I can mix or match.

I think the colour issue will be interesting as I tend to go for strong block colours, so we’ll see where this leads, I must remember to take the mix and match into consideration and not get carried away! I am certainly going to spend some time riffling through my pattern boxes this weekend and seeing what I can dig up that fits in.

The Wardrobe Architect Week 6 & 7

The Wardrobe Architect

So I feel off the WA weekly wagon. I just found it really hard, given my answers to the palette week, to organise it in any sort of way…..because, let’s be honest, I’m all about the statement colours!

Neutrals are no good for me. I try to avoid neutrals because I spent so many years in them. I like bright and vivacious. So it took me a long time to get to the point where I could write this blog but I did feel a certain amount of frustration when I think about certain palettes. I did, however, think about how much I am limiting myself by cutting out certain colour combinations, and I think I found a happy medium with the following results.

WA colours

Although I do feel slightly more lost and a little more garish, how will any of that go together?!

Week 7 is about patterned fabric. Now I am totally one of those pinteresters who has a fabric board so I know what I like and what I don’t like. I decided to just link up to my board I have already created on there as I feel like I’d be repeating myself otherwise.


In summary: I like florals and novelty prints but most of all I prefer block colours. I don’t have a lot of items in my wardrobe that are prints. I find that block colours look more professional for work and I really wanted to make a wardrobe that was transferable from home to the office. I have to admit that I am rather scared of matching prints too, it has to be said. That’s something to conquer this year though!

The Wardrobe Architect: Week Five

The Wardrobe Architect

Dare I say that this week has been my favourite?! I find it hard to see in black and white and I love colour. This week we were asked to consider the words we came up with previously, the colours we wear and the colours that are in our stash.

I feel like I have a little head start with this as around about a year ago I decided to try and ditch the black outfits I wore at work (it is far too easy to dress in black at the office) and splash some colour about.

Many of the dresses I have made while blogging here have been work appropriate, it’s something I try to keep in mind when I make a new item or put an outfit together.

So, with the above in mind I went to the Robert Kaufman website and looked at the Kona colours as I know they’ve got fantastic block colours (I’ve used them before for sewing). I decided to put together a palette from there. This is what I came up with:


No surprises for  me really, I know what I like; bold, bright and warm colours. I’m not one for wearing pastels, being pale I think they look a bit wishy washy on me and I prefer something that is a contrast to my complexion.

This exercise was good in two ways, it cemented some thought I’d had about my preferences and it let me have a nosey at the fab fabric Kona colours (my purse will grumble). I’m Looking forward to week 6 already!

The Wardrobe Architect: Week 4

The Wardrobe Architect

This week I feel the real fun started. We took our answers from week 3 and started to pull them together to create silhouettes. I used Polyvore as suggested and pinned my creations onto my core style board on Pinterest.

I have to say I’m pretty happy with what I came up with. Having something visual is much better for me when I’m considering what it is I like.

It has solidified that even though I’m happy for skirts to be many things – A Line, full and pencil – bodices really need to be fitted, on dresses, tops and jumpers.

We were asked to think about how we’d cross combine these items, I think all of the below could easily be swapped about and fit together perfectly. I couldn’t help but go for colour but the silhouettes on the pieces I chose are more what it’s about really. I’m very happy with my work this week.

I’d love to see what everyone else came up with, comment and link below so I can have a nosey and follow you!

Week 4 6 Week 4 5 Week 4 3 Week 4 2 Week 4 1 Week 4 7

Week 4 4

The Wardrobe Architect: Week 3

The Wardrobe Architect

This week the focus is on shape. Shape of the garment, not the shape of you and how this makes you feel.

The main elements being:

  • Ease (tight or loose)
  • Length
  • Neckline
  • Waistline position
  • Sleeve length
  • Fullness

We were asked to fill in a worksheet which was in a matrix form listing shapes comparable to items of clothing and on a scale, how comfortable you feel in them.

The Results

Ease: there really was no surprises for me, I know I like form fitting clothes and feel more comfortable in them than in loosely fitting garments.

Length: It did come as a bit of a surprise that while I would normally never wear a a skirt or a dress above knee length I did answer that I would wear much shorter pants. It’s definitely something I’d never really thought about before. For top lengths I found I was open to anything apart from having my midriff exposed. Covered up and with a bolero? yes! Re-living the 90s crop top years….er, definitely not!

Fullness: Skirt wise I’m happy wearing any type of fullness, preferably fitted but I do like a full circle or a fuller skirt at times dependant on the occasion.

Waistline: Again no surprises. I like them high or natural. I feel horrid in dropped waistlines and think they do nothing for my shape.

Necklines: I’m comfortable across the board really. I think my neck and décolletage is really one of my best features so I’m happy to show it off. I’m less happy in higher necklines but they’re not something I wouldn’t consider or never wear.

Sleeves: Again, much the same as above, I’m happy in most and can’t really pick something I’m happiest in.

Overall: It seems from the above it’s my bottom half I have most issues with (no surprises there). I am constantly “big bum” plagued – even when it’s not that big – I know I’m self-concious about this part of me.

I really feel like we’re getting to the nitty gritty this week and I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses especially knowing that our results from week three will be combined next week with proportions.

The Wardrobe Architect: Week 2

The Wardrobe Architect

Week 2 of Coletterie’s Wardrobe Architect series is all about defining a core style.

Using the worksheet provided and working alongside the answers from the previous week, we were asked to answer a few questions and then collect 15-20 images.

The Results

There were no massive surprises for me, but this has helped solidify what I already know and it has made me feel like I’m on the right track with the things I’m creating.

Maybe I need to be a little more practical with what I make though, dresses are all well and good but I’m not about to lounge about in the house or go to Tesco in them, it’s definitely given me some focus.

I really enjoyed the visual part too, being dyslexic I find that images are a very handy tool and make sense much more than the written word when it comes to focusing my mind on what I like or not.

If you’d like to check out my Core Style Pinterest Board please do, and if you’re following the series please link me up in the comments below, I’d love to see yours!

My Answers To Worksheet 2

When you are wearing your favourite clothing, how do you feel?

Like I can take on the world, I feel confident and good in my skin.

When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel? What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?

Very self-conscious. I can’t stop thinking about the fact people might think I look odd, even though they probably don’t even notice I’m wearing anything out of the ordinary for me. I think that’s why, a lot of the time, I stick to what I know will make me feel comfortable.

Who do you consider to be your style icons? What is it about them that appeals to you?

Actual: Joan Collins and Liz Taylor of the 50s/early 60s. Fictional: Joan Holloway. I love that they’re feminine without showing a lot of flesh and that their style is form fitting rather then loose.

What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?

Anything floaty, bo-ho etc…I love it on other people but the rolled out of bed and looking natural thing is not for me. I like plucked and preened, hair set, make up on, suited and booted.

Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location, and body. List at least 15 words that you associate with your answers. 

  • Vintage
  • 50s
  • 60s
  • Freedom of choice
  • Individual
  • Practical
  • Comfortable
  • Fitted
  • Classy
  • Sculpted
  • Block-colour
  • Classic
  • Structured
  • Feminine

Look over the answers to all of the questions above. If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?

Vintage, Classic, Individual, Sculptured, Structured

Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you. You could create a pinterest board, a folder on your computer, a moodboard, or a collage. Be creative and have fun!

The Wardrobe Architect: Week 1

The Wardrobe Architect

You may have read from my previous post that I’ve joined in on Coletterie’s The Wardrobe Architect series, hoping that it will give me a little boost this year so I make things more wearable and suitable to my day to day life.  Saria of Colette Patterns has started the series with a worksheet to fill in and boy, oh boy have I done that. Over 1,000 words later it certainly has clarified a few things in my mind (don’t worry I won’t be posting to bore you to death!)

The seven topics given (with descriptions) to think about are:

  • History: Your personal history and life events.
  • Philosophy: Your religion, spirituality, or general philosophy.
  • Culture: Your cultural background and the aesthetic values you grew up with.
  • Community: Your friends and the people around you.
  • Activities: Your interests, activities, and hobbies.
  • Location: Where you live.
  • Body: How you feel about your body.

To summarise my lengthy worksheet

While my history, culture and community have had a big influence on the way that I dress and the things I make, over the last few years I have become more comfortable with my choices.

My burlesque career (2008 -2013) has influenced a lot of what I’ve worn over the years and whilst I thought I had to conform to the Vivien of Holloway and Stop Staring type clothing, in the last couple of years I’ve found my own loves in vintage, more late 50s/60s styles that aren’t the general rockabilly/50s styles most burlesque performers feel they need to wear to fit in to the scene. I’ve found what I really love now and don’t feel like I need to dress in a certain way to conform to a certain lifestyle or passion, I dress for what I like, even when it isn’t everyone else cup of tea.

What I learnt from my Grandparents (my Nana made the majority of my clothes when I was a nipper) still shows true today and that’s the satisfaction of making something yourself.  I remember when Nana let me pick out material for a dress for the school disco when I was little and picking the trimmings, it was a little something special and something that I knew no one else but I would have. I think that’s something that has stuck with me, that you can make something individual and have the freedom to choose what you like and not what others decide looks good or fashionable.

A lot of the things I have been sewing over the last year have been suitable for work/weddings/going out, I don’t have a lot of things that I would wear during the day on a weekend. After work I tend to work-out and then go for a run, then home, shower and pretty much putting on comfy stuff to lounge about in (big woolly jumpers and woolly leggings now its winter!). I am all too aware that my wardrobe isn’t too practical at the moment and would like to remedy this.

Wearing fitted clothes with pencil skirts and heels make me feel better than things that are looser, but the hemlines are always knee-length as that’s what I feel comfortable with. Short skirts make me feel uncomfortable, I am not sure why. I have a nice set of pins and I have no problem with wearing shorts that would be the same length or shorter than some short skirts, but I just have this mental block when it comes to it.

A Joanie Start to the New Year & Wardrobe Architecture

The Wardrobe Architect

I loved this post on Coletterie encouraging us to take charge of our wardrobes this year.

I definitely fall into the category of someone who acquires things I don’t use, buys fabric because it’s on clearance and regrets it,  and goes for something because it’s close enough!

I’m really looking forward to the follow up posts, hopefully this will help me with a little management and structure when I’m compiling my list of what to sew and what not to sew this year.

And on that note (and before I get too sensible about things) I’ve decided that the next thing I am going to sew will be this fabulous Butterick pattern for a blouse. Mostly I have decided to do it in green because I have the wonderful outfit my beloved Joanie (have I said how much I love Mad Men?!) wore a couple of series back which I really want to emulate.

I’ve bought some plain green cotton, which might be a little too heavy but we’ll see, either way it’ll work out as a good practice or something I can go swishing about the office in.

I start this weekend, wish me luck!

Butterick 2475