Define (your) Style

If you were to stop by my house on most days, you would most likely find me in some version of worn out t-shirt and shabby, loose-fitting pants. To work outside or in the barn, you would find my shabby, casual work “style” covered with an equally shabby pair of overalls.

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For certain neither look is something you would find on the fashion runways.

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And speaking is definitely not needed for you to know the farmer I am (the barn coverall aroma will help tell the story too!)

But, for the small part of my life that I get to shower, properly dry(& comb) my hair, and put on clean clothes, I love to have clothes that represent other parts of the person I am.

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A few weeks ago I spent an early morning scrolling through new sewing pattern releases with a trip to JoAnn Fabrics for a customer project slated for later that day. Unfortunately, for my pocketbook, several patterns caught my attention.

With new patterns sparking inspiration, my necessary shopping trip became a little more “necessary.” ūüôā

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This Butterick dress pattern became the first project from that shopping trip.

I love the look of wrap dresses and tops, so many fashion experts speak highly about wrap dresses being comfortable, flattering, and easy to wear, but I have never had much luck finding a piece of wrap style clothing that felt or looked right on me. So, going into this project, there was some risk of disappointment in the finished garment. My challenge became, “Is a wrap dress part of¬†my style?”

Enthusiasm for the project increased after finding a great floral piece of fabric.

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Making View A

Instead of making a muslin test garment ¬† (because…well…enthusiasm drums out good common sense sometimes…**shake head**I know**never learn**) ¬† Instead….I did some pattern review research to see if I could connect any other sewer’s common issues; nothing major turned up, so full throttle ahead.

After reading the reviews, I did make a few changes in construction:

     !. Eliminated the neck facings and added a bodice and skirt lining

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lining

 2. Lengthened the right belt to be able to wrap completely around

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belt wraps all the way around waist

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stretch knit band

     3. Added a stretch knit neck band

The lining addition is something I do to most dresses because it eliminates the need for a slip and the dress wears better with a lining.

The added belt length came from reading Emily Hallman Designs posts about her wrap dress sewing experience, having a belt that wraps completely around keeps the dress more securely closed.

The stretch knit band of black scuba knit fabric was added for additional modesty and closer fit through the crossover. The dress without the band buckled open and seemed to expose my chest down to my belly button (not really to my belly button, but much lower than was in my comfort zone). My wrap dress research turned up this band technique as a way to overcome this common problem.

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to wrap or not to wrap…is that the question?

I also had to change the angle of the bust darts with the original placement pointing awkwardly high (thanks 50+ year old bosom).

And, after wearing the dress twice now, I am still deciding if a wrap garment speaks my style language. This dress checks all the boxes identified with a wrap dress in that it is comfortable. It is easy to wear; slip it on, tie it around, accessorize and off I go. Finally, flattering, hmm…? I love the print and seeing my reflection in the mirror isn’t painful , but when I see the pictures taken for this post I am still undecided….would it be better with a longer skirt length or the view with the ruffle?…should the bodice have been longer or cross-over differently? Just not sure, maybe it is a style “language” that has an accent I have not yet perfected?

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Are you ready to ride?

Posts to this blog have been few and far between lately; Not for a lack of things happening but more because of the speed and wild emotional shifts that accompany the many things happening.

When I started this blog several years ago, it was early summer just before my 50th birthday. Dear Husband and I had begun training for our 330 mile bicycle trip from Pittsburgh to Washington DC via the Greater Allegheny Passage and the C & O Canal Path. This blog became a way to share the new adventures and new attitudes of my life in this next more mature season.

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With the end of this school year, our family begins preparations for a new, big adventure along with the next level of season change.

Honorable Son #2 will begin his senior year of high school. When he graduates in June of next year, high school will be a thing of the past, college and transitioning into adulthood will dominate the conversations.

The speed at which this season of life seems to have gone by¬†takes my breath away. Remembering the uncertainty of our education choices, Home-schooling/Cyber schooling was questioned by many around us, but Dear Husband and I felt guided and compelled to follow that different path. Many days, I too questioned our decision, feeling over-whelmed, over-worked, and under-qualified to give my children the education they needed to succeed in the world. It was most certainly God’s hand that “made our paths straight” when needed and kept my heart convicted to this education journey.

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We have begun making plans to set out on a challenging adventure and travel by motorcycle on the Trans-America Trail as a way to mark this new season and deposit a bucket full of family memories, raising each of us to a “different you” for our “next level.”

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TransAm Trail

“The TransAmerica Trail is the cross-country ride of a lifetime, with over 6,000 miles of mostly off-pavement travel and updates as needed from the creator, Sam, to keep the trail current. From scenic vistas and unique attractions to rough terrain and challenging conditions, the TAT presents every rider with the opportunity for an unforgettable journey and memories that will last a lifetime. Depending on the weather and location, riders may face challenges including mud, sand, snow, and rocks among others. As the trail is made up of dirt, gravel, forest, farm, and brief sections of paved roads, The TAT may be traversed using either a dual-sport motorcycle or a 4√ó4 vehicle.”

We have purchased our motorcycles, (2) Suzuki DR650, and (2) Yamaha XT250.

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Our decision to purchase (2) pairs of motorcycles was made based on rider comfort-size and weight of bike, and then spare parts-two different bikes opposed to four means fewer spare parts to pack for the trip.

The list of preparations is long. Besides the purchasing and packing for self-contained travel, leaving the farm for one month adds a whole page of non-trip related planning.

Despite the overwhelming lists, the excitement is building. I am making a concerted effort to enjoy the planning/preparation knowing that, like my bicycle trip, time blinks by quickly and even a month long trip will quickly become a memory. I will do my best to journal the journey.

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¬†Together, let’s enjoy the ride!