Category Archives: Fashion

2012 Goals Check-Up: January


It’s now the beginning of February and I’m wanting to check in on how I’m doing towards my goals for the year as of the end of last month.

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. In Progress/This is actively being worked on. I am working on scrubs for my new job (Yay!), some wardrobe essentials I’m sadly lacking, and I plan to make the girls’ Easter dresses.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. This will become a priority this month.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m nearly finished my first course. At my current rate I’ll be done my BSN portion of my education by October 2012. Woo hoo!
  4. Save money for our first house. We are budgeting and saving! Yay! We plan to rent a house this spring, for 12 months, and then buy after that lease is up.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. In Progress/Some days are better than others, but I am trying my best.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I started working on my in progress vintage sweater last weekend. I’ve been working on it when I have nothing to do. I hope it’s done by fall.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. This will not happen until spring, I’m sure. I have been working out 3-5 days a week at the gym, though. Yay me!
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. Sewing area is in progress. Bedroom is a beast and very overwhelming. I’ll get to it soon. We’re planning on moving and I need to get that stuff under control so we can pack and go when we need to.


Planning My Wardrobe: Sewing the Basics


I’ve done some review of my basics checklist and here’s what it looks like now:

I’m going to need to make myself some things to have my basics covered. So far I have two things in progress (WIP = Work In Progress). The blouse needs the buttons sewn on and the cigarette pants need their waistband attached and then to be hemmed. Not totally sure if I will crop them or not. I ‘m going to wear them for a day, or at least a few hours, after I get the waistband done to determine if I want them full length or not. Here’s the patterns I’m using to make my items:

Basic Blouse = Simplicity 2339 View B

Pull Over Tops = McCall’s 2818 Views A and C (bottom two in pic)

Little Brown Dress = Simplicity 2648

Circle Skirt = New Look 6149

Pencil Skirt, Wide Legged Trousers, and Cigarette Pants = Butterick B5391

Trouser Style Jeans = Butterick B5682

Fitted Waist Jacket/Blazer = Vogue 8333

Bras = Bravo Bella Bravo #2 Bra Pattern

Planning My Wardrobe: First Step = Knowing My Style


Before I went about making a list of things I knew I would wear all the time I had to figure out what I would wear all the time. Basically, I had to determine my style. Developing my style has been a lifelong process. I’ve never been afraid of fashion or trends. Typically I was one of the first to wear a trend in my social circles. As I got older I developed a more refined style that included a lot of classics with a hint of trendy items, usually accessories.

I was a kid that often wore hand-me-downs, and I loved playing dress up with my mother’s and grandmother’s clothing. I can remember being 4 or 5 and prancing in my mother’s Aigner high-heeled boots, or singing on my grandmother’s hearth in her gorgeous costume jewelry and fancy dress coat from the 60’s. Loving retro and vintage fashion has always been a part of me. Now I fully embrace that and want to show it more in my wardrobe. I figured my best bet would be to develop some style icons and look at how they dressed to pull ideas for things I really would enjoy wearing all the time. Here’s the ladies I love style-wise:

Sophia Loren

Cinched waists, tight but classy clothes, pencil skirts, wiggle dresses, fur outerwear, and LEOPARD PRINT! OMG! I am so addicted to leopard print!

Marilyn Monroe

Tailored, fitted, wiggle dresses and pencil skirts, bombshell silhouette with great support undergarments.

Jean Harlow

Bias cut, fur outerwear, satin, silk, velvet.

Katharine Hepburn

Loafers with a little heel, wide legged trousers, tailored blouses and blazers.

From these I came up with my list of things I would wear most often, and that I would get the most use out of. My own basics. I hope you enjoyed your peek at my style inspiration.

Planning My Wardrobe


This weekend I pretty much cleaned. Yeah, envy my exciting life. lol Seriously. I was just tired of my desk looking like a bomb went off. So Friday night I cleaned it up. I swear it’s cleaner than it’s ever been since we built it. It’s not done yet, as I still have to go through the hutch on top of my desk. Once I do that, planning to do so this coming weekend, I will post pictures. There will be no before pics. Sorry, it’s too embarrassing. lol Well, I LOVED the results of my newly cleaned and organized desk surface. So much so that Saturday I decided to really tackle the rest of the house. It looks AMAZING! I got the kitchen, baths, and great room taken care of. I still have to handle the entry, master bedroom, kids’ room, and my sewing nook. It’s so awesome to be able to exist in orderly living spaces! I took today off, as I felt I deserved a day of rest. I did some sewing for the play I’m the costume designer for, and did some light cleaning (laundry and dishes). I took a glorious nap and then after dinner read one of my favorite blogs, The Glamorous Housewife. She has some excellent posts on vintage and vintage inspired fashion, and wardrobe planning.

I’ve never really planned my wardrobe. Ever. And it shows. I have a lot of pieces but a lot of them are not really my style, don’t fit the way I’d like them to fit (I’m growing to hate ready to wear more and more as I sew more), or are orphans (nothing matches them). I’ve also come to realize that I have a definite style and my wardrobe isn’t exactly living up to all I am. I am not a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. I actually hate jeans. They have a purpose, a utilitarian one, in my mind. I would wear them to paint or work on cars or something, but I actually wear them almost daily… and I hate it. I like trousers, skirts, and dresses. Well tailored pieces that look impeccable. I hate t-shirts. I literally only wear them to the gym or to sleep in (rarely), because that’s their purpose to me. Utilitarian. I like blouses, sweaters, and other tops that have a bit of a fancier appearance. I love the lines of 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s clothing. They fit my hourglass figure perfectly. So, my style is best described as retro elegance with a splash of glam.

With that in mind I’ve come up with my Diva Basics (because I really am a diva lol). These are the things I wear, or would wear if I had them, all the time, mixed with other pieces and accessorized perfectly.

Just off the top of my head I have:

  • 2 V-neck sweaters, one in brown and one in khaki
  • 2 cream colored cardigans (one beaded, one not)
  • I know I have some pullovers, but I need to go through them because a lot of them I know I don’t wear
  • 1 pair knee high boots
  • 1 pair vintage heels
  • 1 pair loafers
  • 1 trench coat
  • 1 overcoat
  • 3 sport bottoms
  • 5 sport tops
  • 2 bras that kind-of fit, but I have on order a pattern and supplies to make 2 that REALLY fit
  • approximately 12+ panties, I need to go through them, though
  • 4 pair nude nylons
  • 4 pair tights
  • 1 full slip
  • 1 girdle

And I have in process:

  • 1 basic blouse, it just needs buttons sewn on
  • 1 pair cropped cigarette pants, needs the waistband sewn on and the hems done
  • 1 overcoat – I have a tan wool one, but I have wanted a faux leopard fur one for AGES and I’m making one. It’s not quite halfway done.

I’ll be going through my wardrobe this week and weeding out what I don’t love anymore for any reason. Then I will reassess my checklist. I really need only clothes I love.

New Year, New Goals


So, it’s time for a new year and time for new goals. Last year’s goals were not too bad, really. I did a few of them, which is better than none I think. Here’s the recap:

  1. Rebuild my wardrobe. – This is still in progress by the end of 2011 and I’ve made significant progress. I got rid of a TON of clothing (donated/freecycled) and I have been steadily building a really wearable wardrobe that I love.
  2. Get my craft mojo back! – I hardly did any knitting or crocheting, but I did get my craft mojo seriously going with decorating projects and sewing.
  3. Cull excess crap from my surroundings and life. – I got rid of all the excess knitting/crocheting supplies that I was NEVER going to use and no longer loved. Yay! I also moved my sewing space from the bedroom into the great room and reorg’ed it a bit. It still needs more organization work, though.
  4. Land my first RN job! – I got my RN license and got my first job! Yay! I start Jan. 2012!
  5. Get our finances in better order. – This finally started happening around the end of the year. I got into bulk cooking which has saved us a LOT of money, and we’ve been doing less frivolous spending.
  6. Prepare to buy our first house. – Didn’t happen.
  7. Devote more energy into my relationship with Bill. – Made some small improvements, but there’s still a TON of room left to be better.
  8. Devote more energy into my relationships with Evie and Abbie. – I think I made pretty good strides with this, but there’s always room for improvement.
  9. Try out for another play! – I’ve decided to not try out for acting gigs for now. I got involved in costuming and really love it.
  10. Prepare for my first competitive run. – Yeah, um, didn’t happen. My large rear end was way too comfy to sit on this year.
  11. Go out and sing karaoke! – Didn’t happen.

I’m actually pretty proud of how much I did do as far as my goals this past year. Yay me! Now, this year I want to accomplish the following… or at least make progress towards these things:

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. I really want more dresses. I also want to make myself a pair of pants that fit me well. I’m currently in process of preparing my dream winter coat for sewing, so that will be first on the list to get done.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. I have 5 potential dresses to make this coming year. I need to confirm them asap and make sure I have satisfied customers so they can recommend me to others.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m starting Jan. 2, 2012 with Western Governor’s University. I really think this is totally doable. I’d like to get my MSN within 2 years, tops.
  4. Save money for our first house. We are tightening our belts a bit so we can start saving for a down payment. Now is really the time for us to buy so we just need to get our money in order for it.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. I adore my family and need to make sure they are aware of that daily.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I have a sweater for myself and one for my mother in the works. I need to FINISH something. Even if I don’t love doing it anymore I want to make sure I finish what I promised to do.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. My large rear end is SUPER comfy, but.. it’s a big BUTT, and I want to get it just a little smaller. So I need to start moving, regularly. Not in the hyper spurts that I tend to do. I have severe motivation issues and lose steam with most exercise, but I really enjoy walking my neighborhood. It’s scenic and peaceful, so I need to use that to my advantage and do something.
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. They both need SERIOUS help. This is a big challenge for me as I’m kind of chaos incarnate and don’t really have an organized bone in my body. lol But I gotta try.

I think that’s it. Fewer things than last year, but things that are far more important to me at this point.

I hope you all have a happy, prosperous and safe New Year!

Sewing: Vintage Strawberry Sorbetto


I’ve been very busy with the sewing machine lately. Here’s the most recent thing to get finished:

Another item for my fall wardrobe. I used Colette Patterns‘ free Sorbetto tank to make a shell I could layer all fall and then again in spring. I cut the pattern in a size 12, based on my high bust measurement and then FBA’d it to death (2.5 inches to each side). I used Queen of the Flies’ post to help me with my pattern adjustments.

The fabric is a vintage 1950’s cotton that I purchased from Selvedge Shop and the trim is purchased single fold bias tape in dark brown. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Off my body it kind of has odd shaping, but on me it is PERFECT!

It was a little chilly out, so this is as much as I’m going to expose to show the detail on the tank. It’s hard to see, but I didn’t hem the bottom as instructed as I wanted it a little longer, so I just used the bias tape to finish the bottom like the neckline and armholes.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

Sewing: Circle Skirt and Wrap Blouse


I had a lot of fun making this outfit for the Colette Patterns Fall 2011 Palette Challenge. It was my first time sewing knits, my first time completely resizing a pattern, my second full bust adjustment, and I’m so happy with how it all turned out!

May I present you with New Look 6149:

I styled it today with my Naturalizer Barstowe Wide Calf Boots, vintage frame purse from LadyListen, pearl and smoky quartz necklace from Orion Designs, and prescription sunglasses in Anne Klein frames.

***UPDATE*** Reader deal from LadyListen! If you mention you saw LadyListen, or Linda’s other shop Msmichiganroux, here on Stumbling Through Life you will get 20% off on your purchase. I can’t recommend Linda any more highly. Go check out her awesome vintage wares!

I love how retro this outfit appears without looking old and dated. I also love the little bit of glitz in the skirt to give it a touch of glamor.

And because you just can’t have a circle skirt without wanting to twirl:

The top is made in poly ITY knit fabric and the skirt is in cotton with a lovely metallic gold detail to the print that really didn’t show up in the photos. I purchased the pattern from the Simplicity patterns site when they had their HUGE sale on OOP patterns. The largest size is an 18 and I would have been more like a 20/22 in the skirt, so I had to add 2 inches to the pattern. I did my first lapped zipper and LOVE the results. I’m only doing lapped zippers on my clothes from now on, if at all possible. I left the back piece of the top pattern alone at an 18 and massively adjusted the front. It really does fit perfectly. It’s very, very comfortable.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge