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I know you’re wondering so. I’m still grey, animal print, cowl-necked, striped. the end.

wait, new in 2013 was metallic stripes. i might have 6 of those.

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still keeping it classy though.

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have a great holiday and perhaps you’ll see more of us in 2014! haha

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Don’t

Just, no.

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I made a shirt

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Although “made” might be overstating it. As might “shirt.”

Imagine a shir that looks like this,  except that it's cuteThis pattern is Simplicity 2181 “Misses Knit Tops.”  It is a fairly simple pattern in that it is only 4 pieces — front, back, and two “overlays” sewn to the sides and twisted across the front. It is difficult because it requires knit fabric (I just realized that any shirt without buttons or a zipper needs to be stretchy enough to pull on). Knits stretch when you sew them, the pins slip out, and they don’t like to crease neatly when pressed. For these reason knits suck and I don’t know why I bother, except I like wearing them and I’m hoping that my skills will improve with time.

The fabric is a “watercolor stripe” knit I got for $4.99 on sale at Denver Fabrics.  It caught my eye because of that 2011-is-that-an-animal-print styling, plus these are my favorite colors to wear.

The pattern caught my eye because Simplicity Patterns were on sale for $1 each.  If you buy patterns but don’t know this yet, take heed: Pattern pricing (actually everything to do with sewing pricing) is a strange-ass racket. They are marked for sale at $9.99-$17.99 or so. They are always sold retail for 40% (which exempts them from most major retailer coupons “for full price items only.”) Then they randomly (?) go on ridiculous discounts like $1 each. If you’re interested in sewing, spend some time browsing the pattern sites (or better yet, a good sewing site like patternreview.com) and start keeping a list of patterns you’re interested in.  You’ll have it handy as soon as you see a “1$ sale” at the fabric store, which is good because everyone will be hogging the Simplicity books.  And the last thing any sew-ist needs is more wasted time in the fabric store.

I’ve known for a couple of years now that ruched and gathered tops work best for me. I was happy to see that my style instincts were right on track, there. My technique, unfortunately, is not. The neckline is wonky because I sewed the facing in along the V-neck — I can’t press it flat, so the lining poofs out like some extra-ruffled collar action. Like some kind of  Dickey . Seriously my husband trying to be nice said “oh is that another design detail?” NO IT’S NOT, Good Husband, it is just that  I’m not finished putting the shirt on! Come over here and give me a hand, will you.  I think I need to be more careful stitching the lining along the exact same V as the shirt front. Also I need to follow directions about “clipping curves,” and stuff like that, which always seems “extra” but you know it’s probably in the directions for a reason.

Speaking of directions, the sleeve is messed up there because I accidentally sewed things backwards and had to cut it apart. You can see where a leftover piece of backwards-stuff is still attached.  There is no good reason why I sew stuff backwards on accident; I sit there telling myself “Read the directions, Robin! DONT MESS UP!” and then next thing I know, Good Husband is trying to put the shirt on me saying “I really don’t think this can work, like it is mathmatically impossible for it to go on over your head.”  OKAY FINE I will fix it.  Everyone standing around waiting for the “look at my new shirt” demonstration, please retire and await the next announcement.

Next step: Carefully rip the seam out of the mistakie-place, avoid damaging the shirt, figure out to do with the arm holes. See if I can iron it into something presentable.

Then get ready to wear that baby out on the town. For real.

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Back to the Beginning

"inconceivable!"

i don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but i recently had a baby. as a result i spend a lot of time staring at my son’s face and reflecting on things like how my life up to now came to be, where i’m going now, and other things. for instance, how is it that when i open my closet, there are only *3* shirts in there? and also that i hate every single one of those stinking shirts? how did i get here?

another thing i noticed during one of these baby-staring sessions is that while most newborns are supposed to look like winston churchill, mine looks a lot like wallace shawn.

as you know, wallace shawn is famous for playing vizzini in the princess bride. if you were alive in the 80s you know what i’m talking about:

"all you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

vizzini was known to tell inigo and andre the giant that whenever you get stuck on something, you should always go back to the beginning. when you find yourself lost, go back to the beginning. i thought he had a good point. so last night i spent some time rereading my old posts. why did we start this blog? what was my objective? what was my attitude? did i look good? am i where i wanted to be when this all started?

2 years ago, i was wearing nothing but hoodies. that was my uniform. it was easy breezy and comfortable. why can’t i have that again? i can’t even remember why i thought i needed to get rid of hoodie aki. probably because the hoodies i did have were old tattered and pilled. so what if i bought *nice* hoodies? i can haz that back again, right? so that’s another homework assignment for me. get some nice hoodies.

(i have a vague recollection that when we started i had an earnest desire to make this into a good fashion blog. now i feel like we are the fashion equivalent of the onion… people like to laugh though, right?)

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so… now that the pants situation is under control, the eye of sauron turns to shirts. we’re operating on the assumption that my current body is the body i’m going to have for a while. i’m dressing the body i have. and right now? i still have the jiggly post-baby blobby jiggles. my goal is not to highlight this area. robin told me that for this body type, “flowy” shirts are good (i think she means baggy sacks). in addition, i have to remember my existing rules about the shirts i wear: cowl or wide crew necks to give my neck a little space but without exposing any cleave, sleeves that do not showcase my linebacker shoulders and big flabby upper arm. if that wasn’t hard enough i now have a new requirement: armpits need to breathe. i do not like fabric hugging my pits. lucky for me the stores are currently filled with 80s-esque wing sleeved shirts. unfortunately it also follows the 80s trend of being cropped. wow, so this is going to be a fun challenge. i need to find tops that will make me look like this:

incidentally, my son went as a bat this halloween. this look is of the moment.

so, off to the bon i went. on the rack, this INC shirt looked HUGE. in the picture, it looks ok. but in person, it really was huge. I needed a smaller size but since it was on clearance the L is all they had. poop.

this had good "flow" but it had a little too much of it, i fear

next up i wanted to try the “distract the eyes” technique. the frills DID cover up my giant tummy. however, since it’s november and i don’t need tank tops right now, this was a no. good to know for future reference though.

also, no one needs to see my shoulders

then i got distracted. this is my “oooh shiny!” shirt. when victims on the tv show “what not to wear” are given the rules to shop by and sent out on their own they often still try to get away with buying clothes from their old look that sent them there in the first place. this is my weakness. leopard. mmm. nothing wrong with them, but sleeveless tops are not what we were looking for today. but i had to try it out. clearance!

another INC shirt, unfortunately one size too small.

it was too tight and the old aki would have bought this anyway in the hopes of “one day, when i lose 5,000 pounds…” but i was strong. i looked down to remind myself that i am trying to hide, not highlight the tummy:

in the foreground is the boob shelf. below is the gut. sad. scary. but also kind of cute, no? no?

i am totally getting distracted here. looking for fall/winter shirts here, aki! this next item, my favorite neckline and the clearance status compelled me to try it on. even though it has horizontal stripes. in colors i don’t particularly like.

surprisingly not bad but not what i'm looking for this day.

OK. FOCUS. moved over to nordstrom in the point of view sales rack. ah, here’s a bat shirt!

it's the right size and color but the fit and fabric were meh for me. plus i could smuggle a couple of hobbits in the sleeveses.

by this point i am really really tired and need to go pick up my son from preschool. the last one was actually my favorite even though it is the weirdest looking on the hanger. what was working against it was the length, sadly. i would like to be able to raise my arms without exposing my stomach.

ta-da! i actually really liked this even with the webby wing attachment and its horizontal stripes. but it was a size too small.

so what am i learning here? i realized that i do like these baggy wings, even though you’d think that as a petite (i’m 3’8″) lady i should probably avoid clothes that only add volume to my body. what’s that about? this is something i need to explore further. i am going to keep on looking. wish me luck!

in the meantime, maybe this should be my uniform.

it meets all my requirements, doesn't it?

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it’s not that i was too busy to post anything. it’s that i wasn’t buying any clothes. i was pregnant and frankly i didn’t see the point in spending any money on temporary clothing. first i was growing. and then i would be shrinking. and *then* i was going to start buying new clothes. that was the plan. but when am i done shrinking? am i really shrinking? i just had my 6 week post-baby check-up and you know what? i am not shrinking. i am actually gaining. so is it realistic for me to keep wearing ratty old stinky clothes until one day i magically drop 15 pounds?

hello. which way to awesome assville?

then my blog partner robin gave me a wake up call. i’d been stubbornly wearing the one pair of pants that still fit me, which was my 1st trimester maternity jeans. nothing else fit. i wasn’t going to buy anything new. i wasn’t going to fit into my pre-pregnancy pants. so i kept wearing the ONE jeans over and over again. every. single. day. and one day i got a package in the mail: pants. robin had sent me pants. PUT ON SOME REAL CLOTHES, it said. DRESS THE BODY YOU HAVE, it screamed. STOP PRETENDING, it punched me in the face. so i plodded on over to target to return the camel-toe yoga pants in exchange for a pair of jeans on clearance for $1.56. then i wore the $1.56 pants every day. every. single. day. then one day again, robin said to me “don’t you think you deserve to wear pants that aren’t $1.56?”

oh.

yes. yes, i do. thank you again, robin. so last week i treated myself to a pair of nice designer jeans. second hand at goodwill. i’m still rebelling a little because i think i *will* lost some weight and refuse to pay retail to dress my temporary body. but my butt looks good. my butt thanks you. my butt salutes you, robin.

ohai!

up next: shirts

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Winterized Sundress

 
 
 
Milli Vanilli Chilly Willy

Boden short-sleeved jersey dress (Blueberry Batik) with burgundy cardigan, rust-brown tights, black boots, forest green handbag with braided handle

 
 
No, I am not posting just because Aki did. I am posting because I liked my outfit last week! What’s up is, I am not shopping much these days: it’s winter, and I’m being crazy frugal. This makes me crazy boring, unless you think it’s fascinating when people repurpose leftovers into fried rice for dinner and buy cheap beer at Trader Joes.  Which, wait, is this also why my clothes don’t fit? Let’s not go there.
 
So I’m not burning through Nordstrom sales like a caffeine-crazed Marie Antoinette.  I did buy a solid pair of black Aerosole boots to replace my previous ones, which lasted about 18 months.  I also got a dark green handbag with a braided handle, which is a total $29.99 knock-off but I luv it and I LOVE that color dark green.  Thankfully, 2009 Robin stocked up on a bunch of good work clothes, leaving me some good solid pieces to work with (btw if you see 2009 Robin will you tell her to withhold more taxes and cut the cell phone bill?)  I can be pretty tenacious with a good pair of wool pants and a cardigan, like I can wear them three days a week if I have to.  I try to mix up scarves and necklaces, wear colored shoes as long as it’s not totally swamped with rain outside, and smile a lot to trick people into thinking I’m cute.
 
And finally I tried winterizing a sundress.  I should’ve done this sooner because it was pretty fun. This is the blueberry batik print I got from Boden last summer.  It’s loose and forgiving, lots of colors in the print so it was easy to find pieces that worked with it. I wear this burgundy cardigan three days a week.  The rust-colored tights aren’t exactly the same color but somehow I think that made it even better.  Black boots — yes I know I KNOW I hate black but listen, I’m made of flesh and blood like any woman. And this is what I wear when it rains. 

Same dress on beach in summer, San Diego. Wait, it was pretty cold then, too.

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