Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Swiss-cheese sweater

I was always a fan of my boyfriend's rust-orange sweater. Sadly, something else must have been a fan too—of its taste! He passed the sweater on to me after finding a number of small holes (which might have been from moths) dotting its surface. Now, I'll repair one hole. I might even repair two holes. But get to three or four holes, and it's time to let that garment go! Except, I was such a fan...and there was so much usable surface left on the sweater, I couldn't bear to just throw it away.

The sweater was a little big on me; I thought about trying to sew a few vertical seams to make it tighter and simultaneously hide the holes inside, but I kept finding shopping websites featuring sweaters absolutely riddled with holes. Big holes, small holes, huge rips, it seemed like distressed sweaters were trending.

So I decided to make one of my own.

I enlarged most of the moth holes and then scattered a few other new holes throughout the rest of the front.

I wanted a ragged "accidentally unraveled" look, but couldn't quite achieve it with the tight knit, so I settled for cutting out more or less perfect circles in varying sizes. I used nail scissors because the blades are better suited for cutting curves. 

I did a lot of trying on, re-cutting, enlarging, and adding more holes. They look random, but they are actually very deliberately arranged to achieve what I hoped was an aesthetic balance.

One controversial decision I made was to not put any holes in the back of the sweater. In fact, the one hole that was already there, I very carefully patched with a piece I'd cut from the front.
Before patching
After patching

My last step was to take in the sides a little bit to make the sweater fit me better. I removed a bit of fabric from the armpit area, and flared the seams towards the bottom so it would still fit over my hips as a tunic.

For its first wear, I decided to let the sweater do the talking, and paired it with mostly neutral pieces—a pair of unobtrusive jeans, beige thigh-high boots, and gold earrings. Underneath the sweater, I went with a flesh-toned camisole, because I found that anything more colorful looked weird up at the top where you could see the straps through some of the holes.

In looking over the pictures, I noticed that, from some angles, only one of the holes shows—in a rather unfortunate location. Some gutter-bound minds would have a field day with that, so I think I might enlarge some of the holes closer to the neckline to make the currently biggest one stand out less.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bird earrings

There was a time, around 10 years ago, when brown was my favorite color of clothing. I guess it was the hippie in me, struggling valiantly to stock my wardrobe in nothing but earth tones. Back then, an all-brown outfit, with a paisley top no less (I love paisley!), would have probably made me sing with joy. Those days are behind me; now brown alone (even multiple shades of it!) is not enough to satisfy my need for lots of color.

That's why this blog post is all about the tiniest part of my outfit—the earrings! I bought them just a couple months ago, for a whopping 6 dollars. They were fair trade, so I can feel good about the extra expense, and I was on vacation, one of few circumstances in which I let myself disregard my price limits. There were many birds to choose from, but I needed yellow earrings at the time, so these finches seemed like a good, versatile choice (of course, just as with my star-studded boots from last week, I neglected to consider that such an ostentatious motif might make the earrings difficult to coordinate, even if they were the right color!).

Fortunately, when the rest of your outfit is (so extremely boringly!) neutral, bright yellow birds can be a perfect accent piece!

I must hereby offer the disclaimer that, though I'm calling these birds goldfinches, the coloring isn't quite right and the shape is a little too long and slender. They are made by a Kenyan artisan, and  probably represent some unique African bird that I'm not familiar with, but I really have no idea. I'm an Unfashionista, not an ornithologist!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Foxy and Fun

 Saturday is a day for cute animal sweaters and jeans.

This cute fox sweater initially disappointed me, being a little too short and a little too wide for my torso, but I managed to sew it into submission, and I found it looks really adorable over a camisole with an extra-long lace hem.

Little did I know the fox and I had both struck the same pose!
For footwear, I checked off another box on my unworn boots list, finally making use of a pair of camel suede boots I bought way back in October (on the same thrift store run where I acquired my green heart necklace). At first I thought these boots were a bad purchase, because the slightly elongated round toes made my feet look big, but after having worn them a day, I have to say I love how they look on my legs, and I love how comfortable they feel! I think I'll keep them around for a while.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Gold Stars

This winter has dragged on for far too long with far too few warm spells to break it up. Despite several mid-season shopping trips, I've worn through every garment I have that's suited for cold weather.

The one and only thing that continues to add new life to my wardrobe is boots. The fruits of my boot-shopping spree of last fall were finally running out when I went on another one last week. I purchased 3 pairs of over-the-knee boots in a variety of colors, 2 pairs of knee high boots, and one pair of mid-calf boots, which I sincerely hope will last me until spring arrives. Oh, and there was this one pair of denim booties with gold stars that I'd found on eBay a while back.

Denim's basically a neutral, I thought when I bought them, and gold is a neutral too, so surely I won't have any trouble coordinating with these nifty boots! Sometimes my thought processes mystify even me. Unsurprisingly, my so-called "neutral" boots proved way too distinctive for most purposes, until I finally decided to make them the focal point of my outfit.

I would really like to work on my ability to do something other than matchy-matchy, but today was not the day for such experimentation. To go with the indigo denim on the shoes, I wore a darker pair of blue skinny jeans. To go with the gold of the stars, I wore a gold top. My first attempt at this outfit saw me wearing my good old gold tunic sweater, but that wasn't quite good enough. I figured what this outfit really needed was a second layer, so I traded the sweater for a sleeveless blouse and added a long navy cardigan. The flowy cardigan adds interest to the silhouette (as do the dangling waist ties of the top), and the excess of navy made the gold seem that much more precious.

Monday, March 5, 2018


After I noticed that I was wearing an unusually high number of red outfits in February, I felt it was necessary to document every remaining outfit I wore through the end of the month.

This one is fairly similar to when I first altered this dress, except I traded the black boots for red ones (naturally!) and silver jewelry for gold. I also made the original alteration permanent, so now this dress will never be anything but stepped.

For my last red-based outfit of the month, I actually only used red as an accent. The bulk of the look came from my grey sweater dress, but I wore burgundy boots and a long cherry-themed necklace.

Now that it's March (and I've basically worn everything red in my wardrobe), I guess it's time to move on to green!