Friday, August 19, 2016

Middle Age, Minimalism, and Decision Fatigue

My brain has been overwhelmed for some years now. Being in my later 40's brings all sorts of life challenges. There's age and tiredness to start with. There's the challenges of raising teenagers which is enough in itself, but throw in a 5 year old too and you'll see just how rare it is to please all of them at once. There's my and my husband's aging parents and his brother with brain cancer (appointment next week to see if it has spread to the right hemisphere so prayers please). Kindergarten, high school, swimming all the time, what the heck to make for dinner, yada yada yada....

The best way I've come up with to make things more manageable in my life (besides coffee, prayer, and more sleep) is to reduce the amount of decisions that need to be made throughout the day. I've got certain routines as far as what housework is done on what days and what dinners are made. I've simplified my "beauty" routine by washing my hair only twice a week and quitting make-up altogether. I've decluttered the house except for Elena's gosh darn toys that are still everywhere, not that it was ever all that cluttered but it helps my inner peace to see the outer spaces neat.

The capsule wardrobe I've been playing with for the past year has narrowed down even more and is getting more and more minimalistic. I've reduced the number of colors and prints because I find that solids and neutrals are more soothing and chill. I'm using a comfortable to me but possibly boring to others range of black, gray, cream, teal, and blushy pinks/corals. Everything fits easily into my narrow 1950's closet with space to spare. I'm keeping the clothes' shapes simple too.

I do sometimes still crave something new though so this simple tee is the result of a last minute sew before leaving for a weekend swimming meet for Andrew last month. I had leftovers of this rayon spandex knit from the Imagine Gnats shop. (Gone now but here are some similar fabrics.) There was just enough to make a Maria Denmark Kimono tee (free pattern) as long as I didn't hem it. That's how close it was. It's drapey, easy going, and neutral while having a fun on-trend print. It goes with many things in my wardrobe so it's useful too.

For anyone new to sewing or maybe new to sewing knits, a tee like this is the easiest thing you can do. There are only 2 pieces, that's 4 seams and some hems. The armhole and neckline and just turned and topstitched with a double needle. It's a 20 minute sew and approximately $6-$7. I'm wearing it here with my knit joggers from last year and my sunhat. 

It really doesn't get any easier. This style of shirt is such a basic wardrobe builder that you will find a hundred uses for. I wore this outfit all day around home and running errands and now I'm wearing it out tonight to a local brewery. I hope you have a great weekend and find some time to do something nice for yourself.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Kimono for Me

Last summer I made myself a Kimono out of black chiffon. I don't know much about chiffon and have very little experience sewing it. I received this piece as a prize from the fabulous Alida of Alida Makes for the original Sew the Show Series last year. I used a basic Simplicity pattern 1620 (which oddly only seems to come in the larger sizes now) and modified it somewhat. I shortened the sleeves and did narrow rolled hems around all the edges. It was alright, just ok. I wore it once or twice, but it didn't feel very cool. It felt frumpy even when worn with a tank and joggers and heels.

So as crazy as this sounds, I was watching the Netflix Full House reunion series with my daughter and I noticed lots of kimonos so I guess they're still in enough. The awesome Gibbler wore one in every episode I think. I pulled my frumpy kimono out of the closet and gave it an update.

I trimmed off all the hems and then cut the front shorter and at an angle. Then I cut strips of chiffon, folded them in half and sewed them around all the edges. I used my regular machine and mock-overlocked the seam allowance and pressed it towards the body of the kimono. I topstitched with a decorative stitch all around. I also shortened the sleeves even more.

I left the back long and flowy and with it's original narrow hem. The back seam and the shoulder seams are all french seams. The underarm/side seam is stitched and overlocked. With a sheer chiffon, the inside finishes were important.

I wore it to church today with my Downton Abbey Lady Skater dress and felt very chic with my salt and pepper hair and silver jewelry. 

How chic? About this chic:

And this chic.

Ha, ha! I'm all posed out and feeling completely silly so that's it. I'm going to go walk around my nephew's birthday party now and try to act normal, but I really feel amazing in this outfit so I think I'll try to keep the attitude. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!