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Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung


Handmade Fashion Challenge 2015 Style Guide

HandmadeFashionJean ChungComment

Teresa, of CanaryKnits and I announced the beginning of Handmade Fashion Challenge this morning. In order to help the participants to decide what to make from now until October 31, we put together this style guide.

- Style Guide -

1) Go look at your closet and take out everything you wore last week.


2) If your outfits from last week could talk, what would be the 3 words that describe your work, position, authority, personality and style?


3) From the last week's wardrobe, which one was your favorite outfit, and why? Which was your least favorite?


4) Plan your capsule wardrobe. Capsule wardrobe should be something that would fit into your luggage if you were to live out of a suitcase for a month but still look fashionable and put together. There are several approaches based on your answers from the last 3 questions.


a.  If your last week's outfits are basically shirts and tees in solid/muted colors over black pants a.k.a. "BORING" => Build your new look around basic items with cardigans or vests so you can layer and change the look. Take a look at the color wheel, and locate the color you frequently wear. Pick the color directly opposite from your "frequently worn" color. Make the new garment in that color.


b. If you found yourself saying something like, "I have nothing to wear!!!" more than once last week... => Make something really eyecatching: Dresses with bold prints, skirts with embroidery details or lace, flowy blouses.


c. If you realize you have 50+ tops and shirts but only 2 pairs of pants that work with your daily outfit or you have fancy dresses but very little comfortable outfits => Make something that would fill the "hole" in your closet.


d. If your favorite/least favorite outfits were based on fitting issues => Make something well-tailored to your shape. Take correct measurements of your body!


e. If your favorite/least favorite outfits were based on practicality such as "it's cold in the office but all I have is thin cardigans and skirts that bare my legs" => Make shawls or jackets to include in your daily wardrobe.


f. Develop a theme around the 3 words you have from Question 2. Do you need more serious outfits? Beachwear for vacation or weekends? Fun, flirty outfits for any upcoming holidays?


g. If you are still wondering what you should make => Make something challenging: Sew a pair of jeans perfectly tailored to your shape; knit elaborate beaded lace piece or cable sweater that will wow your friends; ,ake something from vintage patterns; mix up several patterns you have to create a new look.


{Announcement} Handmade Fashion Challenge

HandmadeFashionJean ChungComment

I am an advocate for well-made handmade garments and accessories in this fast, trend-based fashion era.  Learning and participating in Fashion Revolution and MeMadeMay, I was starting to feel that many people, especially people who don't understand handmade clothing have this notion of Handmade = Homemade = cheap and ugly. I wanted to change that. Throughout the past 7 years since joining Ravelry and blogsphere, I have been inspired by so many indie designers and crafters. The finished objects I've seen were fashionable, flattering, filled with love and careful planning. Yes, there were some not-so-nice ones too:

But I promise, handmade fashion is not any less fashion-forward than mass manufactured fashion. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was catching up on podcasts on my ipod. I met Teresa, of CanaryKnits at TNNA 2 years ago and was thrilled to know that she had started podcasting. While I was listening to Teresa talking about decluttering, KonMarie Method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and her capsule wardrobe, it made me think about my own closet full of unworn clothes, stash fabrics and yarns that was stuffed under the pile of clothes because my in laws occupied my work room since Logan was born. How awesome would it be to declutter, organize, get rid of things that do not "spark joy" and then fill the space with beautiful handmade clothing that I put love and care into from scratch.

I left a comment mentioning this thought on Teresa's blog and then the conversation started, and the idea turned into a real thing: Handmade Fashion Challenge 2015. 

WHY: Your clothing should be relevant to your life and impart positive energy into your every day. We want to encourage you to make pieces you’ll actually wear this fall/winter, and share the experience with your fellow crafters on Instagram!


WHAT: Mini collection of your choice of 4 pieces for your wardrobe fall/winter 2015 wardrobe. Anything, any craft, any skill level you want. But definitely something you’ll use.


WHERE: Instagram. The visual format is straightforward and the hashtaging allows everyone to easily share with each other. You can participate by announcing your planned pieces, photograph your progress, your finished items, and anything in between. Just remember to hashtag #hmfc2015


WHEN: July 1 - October 31, 2015.


PRIZES: A winner will be drawn from the pool of participants who have completed their challenge.


HOW: To be eligible for the prize draws, you MUST post finished garment photos of each piece you’ve created by October 31, 2015 with the hashtag #hmfc2015

Winner(s) will be announced on November 3, 2015.



Quiz: find out what will fit best in your wardrobe

Instagram: take fun and interesting photos with the free apps Aviary, Fused, Rookie, Instagram Layout, and more!

Thoughtful wardrobes: read more on the helpful Coletterie blog


Review: Allure fiber wash by Bijou Basin Ranch

ReviewsJean ChungComment

As someone who knits and sews all the time, my closet is now full of things that I treasure, and carefully maintain. I don't trust the washing machine with my knits, especially. Even if it's knitted with superwash yarns, because I've had a couple of incidents where my superwash knit socks have felted or shrunk after being in the washing machine.

With the right products, and good timing, washing knits by hand doesn't take that much time or effort. I especially love products that let me wash without rinsing; the less I have to do, the better! 

Allure Wash is a new fiber wash product in the market this year. You're probably already familiar with Bijou Basin Ranch company, the one that makes beautiful, delicious yak yarns as well as other luxurious yarns. The company website promises that Allure effectively removes soils and odors but gentle enough to guard colors on delicate fabrics. The formula is all natural, no-rinse wash that leaves no residue.

The sample Allure fiber wash came in three bottles: in "Woodland Mist," "Prairie Breeze," and "Fragrance Free" version. 

I knew that I wanted to try one of the fragrant ones. The name, "Woodland Mist" really pulled me in. Other fiber washes I have tried had names that simply identified the fragrance as "Lavender" or "Citrus." The names on Allure bottles were somewhat mysterious. I imagined smelling pretty flowers in a romantically misty, foggy morning. 

I filled a medium size bucket with warm water first, and then put my short-sleeve version of Lady Mary cardigan in the bucket to soak it. Then I added a capful of the Woodland Mist fiber wash in the bucket, shook it around a bit to make it foamy. 

I like to do washing when I take a shower at night, because that way, I wouldn't forget about the knits soaking in water. Since natural fibers get weak in warm water, I don't like to keep my knits in water longer than necessary, but I often forget to check on it after waiting the recommended 10-15 minutes. So I just put it in the sink, let them soak while I take a shower, and then when I get out of the shower, I drain the water immediately. (Yay for no-rinse formula). 

How about the fragrance? So while I was washing the cardigan, I didn't actually notice any strong scent, which was a bit disappointing at first. Other products I've used before would immediately start smelling like perfume once I put it in the water. But then when I stepped out of the shower, I noticed that the entire bathroom was smelling so fresh, so light, and feminine. I was pleasantly surprised! It reminded me of luxurious spas or something.

I drained the water and squeezed out excess water before carefully putting it on a large bath towel and roll it gently to remove more water. Then I laid it out on the mesh sweater drying rack overnight.

My cardigan smells so fresh and lovely! It's merino wool and has some metal content that makes it metallic gold, so it was already buttery soft but now it feels clean and lofty. 

The samples came in generous 100ml bottles so I'm going to be reaching for these often from now on.  The actual product comes in 16 oz, 3.4 oz, and 0.23 oz (single-use packet) sizes. 

Product Name: Allure 
Category: Fine Fiber & Fabric Wash, Premium No-Rinse Formula
Manufacturer: Bijou Basin Ranch, Inc.
Washing and Drying Instructions: See the website
To Purchase: Allure Wash or Bijou Basin Ranch website



Disclaimer: This product was sent to me to review by Stitchcraft Marketing and Allure Wash/Bijou Basin Ranch, Inc. The opinions in this post and blog are entirely mine, and I was not otherwise paid, compensated, contracted, or obligated to review this product.