Stolen Sky Sweater*

*And associated ramblings. Warning, many outbound links.

My youngest sister had a great book called The Queen Who Stole the Sky when we were growing up. The Queen had it made into a dress and while the rest of the country lived in darkness and cold, she had a fabulous dress that changed colour throughout the course of the day. It was the ultimate dress.

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Recently I was lucky enough to win a voucher for Mood Fabrics from the lovely Tools By Hollie for this dress. This was a dream come true, or was until they sent my order. This cost quite a queenly sum to have sent to NZ (they don’t ship here) via a friends house in New Jersey. When it arrived 50% of the order was wrong, for which they refunded me $4 US because I shopped with a voucher. It was (impending Dad joke alert) a real mood killer. First world sewing problems.

However the two pieces of fabric I’d ordered that I was most in love with were the 50% that were right. One of which was this amazing mohair that reminded me of the sky. This is my second make of the Talvikki Sweater by Named Clothing. All the heart eyes for this pattern!

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The only adjustments I made from making this the first time were to lower the side vents by 2.5cms and use 1.5cm instead of 1cm seams on the side seams.

I don’t have any luck with interfacing stretch though. I’m not sure if we just don’t have the right variety of interfacing here in NZ but it’s not a winning combo and certainly I wouldn’t want to take this garment off in a hurry!

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I’ve worn this three times since making it last weekend which is a good sign I think!

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Recently I’ve been in a bit of style desert. Maybe it’s Winter? Maybe it’s the new job? Maybe it’s letting my hair transition to grey? Whatever it is, I am in a rut.

I think part of it is that I have frequently dressed more in costumes than in clothes. And by that I mean I have a persona for the different areas of my life and I have clothes to do with. Working in a job that is totally and only “me” has been a challenge. For anyone who has ever worked at a university you will understand there is not really a dress code, and certainly I would pity the person who tried to inflict such a think on eccentric academics! So basically I can wear whatever I like, within reason. Which is a terrifyingly open parameter.

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I’ve been enjoying Steph’s & Lesley’s recent posts about their wardrobe challenges and also my best style gal-pal was recently given some very sage advice by her partner: “You need to shop for the lifestyle you have”. Very salient.

This jersey and some of my makes for IPM feel like a good new direction for me to be heading in. I think outlining my lifestyle challenges alongside my style preferences is probably a good way of exploring where to head from here.

My Lifestyle

Day job is best described as smart casual with as much artistic license as I want. The weekends are my own, and the same would apply.

Evening job is less large scale and glitzy than it once was and my SWAP wardrobe that I am working away on – photos to come when Spring does! – reflects that. This wardrobe will also mix and match well with my day wardrobe for going out at night.

My Style

  • Colourful
  • Dramatic
  • Separates – mostly trousers
  • Artistic
  • Prints
  • Statement jewelery
  • Interesting comfortable shoes

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My old job was more corporate in its style and gave me an easy character to dress for. The outfits I’ve felt most at ease with lately have been more casual pants with interesting and colourful tops. The Modigliani Sweatshirt and the Sweatshirt of the Dead have been solid pieces. I’ve not worn any of my blazers since starting work and instead am wearing leather jackets or kimono/cardi style overlayers. Skirts like the Checked Alberta have been ok when worn with a jeather moto jacked and combat style boots but would feel just wrong with heeled boots and a shirt and blazer as per the photos in that post. I’ve just shortened these pants to 3/4 as I am getting heaps of wear out of a pair of 3/4 jeans I recently got at a clothing swap. The grey cardi in that same post never gets worn.

Yesterday I spent 3/4 of an hour putting stretch underarm gussets into a silk vintage dress that has been on the mending pile for over 3 years only to find out it doesn’t fit me anymore. My body is no longer that of a 30 something year old, and while I have no complaints at all, it’s sad to say goodbye to wardrobe treasures.

Anyway, this ramble has gone on long enough. Interested in your thoughts and suggestions regarding transitioning wardrobes and lifestyles and your experiences.

Outfit deets:

  • G Star Raw jeans: second hand from a Dunedin second hand clothing store
  • Sneakers: All Birds (if you live in NZ or US check them out! So good. Sadly they don’t ship anywhere else.)
  • Grey t-shirt: second hand from local $3 clothing warehouse
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20 thoughts on “Stolen Sky Sweater*

  1. That’s the life: walking around clad in a piece of the sky πŸ™‚

    As for work wardrobe, personally, the “non-code” in academia drives me slightly nuts because I still feel judged on the basis of my appearance, just without rules to lean on… I’m not comfortable in very formal clothes and they do look out of place (so: no blazers). But I’m also not in an age bracket where being more informal would not take away from my “seriousness”… so I’m on a wild-goose chase after a style niche that would work.

    My strategy so far: make more shirts πŸ™‚ I would also like to make more simple skirts in neutral colors and pants. If only I could sew faster and get less distracted by pretty dresses…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post, Naomi. The sky in a top is divine. Love! I also love the way you describe your style. I think I’d secretly like to be able to describe my style similarly.

    I can relate to the vintage dress issue as something similar happened to me recently. I wore a vintage dress I had kept but it just didn’t flatter me as it used to. 😦

    My advice is just to keep pushing and reflecting and eventually it will be clear to you what is right for you now. As an aside, the best dressed academic I know has a style that seems clearly her own. Instead of wearing classic suit jackets she wears one-off pieces such as a colourful boiled- wool jacket with interesting embroidery, plus interesting shoes. I always enjoy seeing what she wears when I am at professional conferences. She looks put together but also a little bit artistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Naomi! I love the story…your sweater is definitely a lovely perfect piece of the sky! The dilemmas of finding our best style and wardrobe are always interesting to me, as my own seems to always be in flux. I blame my eclectic ‘style’ on the fact that I love to chase whatever new shiny thing I see in RTW. That results in a bizarre wardrobe so I’ll be watching with interest as you discover what works for you in your new job/life.

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    1. Thanks! We are now heading out of Winter (slowly) into Spring so it will be interesting to see what changes happen there too. I think observation and reflection are key at the moment. Less making more using and seeing where gaps exist.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Over here in your western island, I’m fed up with winter! My money is on ‘fed up with winter’ for your style rut justification too Naomi! I just love that jumper, squishy and gorgeous and your hair always looks bouncy and full, unlike my own flacid mop. Dressing for a uni job really does give you license to let your hair down, live it and represent us all πŸ˜‰ xx

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  5. This version Talvikki sweater is so much fun. It looks great and has a comfortable look. Your own personal style never leaves you. The only thing that changes when you move on the new job is perhaps what garments you wear. A skirt instead of jeans/trousers and a dress instead of separates. Having a job that gives you freedom to wear casual yet smart and artistical looking clothes is great.

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  6. The fabric really does look like sky!! Great choice for a sweater (pattern AND fabric, hehe!). So sorry about your Mood experience–I don’t shop there anymore because I’ve heard too many bad things about service and mistakes like the ones you experienced, plus they’re pricey.

    I can relate a bit to your style quandary. I went from working in a “jeans everyday” environment to one that was very corporate (but not full-on suit corporate), and then got into vintage but that doesn’t make much sense for my daily life and style any more. I’m trying to find my way, while also trying to give my wardrobe some things I felt were missing (bright colors! flair! fun! “cool” factor! etc.) and enjoying the process of making it myself. I’m very much looking forward to reading about your thought process as you try to define and rediscover your own style. You come up with some super-cool stuff, and I know you’ll find your way out of the rut. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mads. Interesting your comments re Mood. They have such good press! So I was thinking I was the only one.
      Changing jobs really does impact on wardrobe choice for sure. There is some crossover from my old job, but I’m finding it’s the way I am combining garments that is really needing to change. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Apparently Mood have different people for customer service on the website business vs. in-person. I’ve heard similar stories about wrong fabric and resistance to making it right; my thinking is they feel like the Project Runway fame means they don’t have to try that hard because people will still shop there (“just like on Project Runway!”), and unfortunately that is probably true. =/ Maybe they’re nicer to their network bloggers, but you are definitely not the first person I’ve heard with a sub-par experience.

        Liked by 1 person

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