London: Summer Travel Wardrobe

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

The Packing Challenges:

As the London departure date was fast approaching, I had to pack something for my trip…. for thirteen days…in the summer…and in a carry on. ¬†Okay, so London is typically rainy. ¬†Even in the summer. ¬†Easy. Just pack what should be London-wear.

Guess what? No rain and sweltering heat instead.  Actually, any travel location can leave you staring into your suitcase wishing you had packed different items.

I only used my umbrella once and that was to block the sun from my dewy brow. ¬†Looking back, ¬†packing the umbrella wasted valuable suitcase space. ¬† I rolled, ‘cubed-packed’, stuffed and crammed. ¬† It will be fine….traveling from late June to the beginning of July should¬†be better than Tucson in the summer, right?

So what did I do? ¬†Packed LAYERS. ¬†Living in a hotter climate and being sensitive to the heat, I’m usually a one layer gal….maybe two if it is cool in the morning and night. ¬†¬†I gathered a collection of thin long sleeved tees, camisoles and tees to provide options. ¬†If the temps were warm or hot, I knew I wouldn’t want to lug around a coat while walking, on the Tube, or in a taxi = dewy brow for Dana.
Below is the (clickable) photo gallery of clothing and accessories I sewed, bought, or made for the trip.

*Camisoles in white and tan, not shown.

As you can see, my color scheme was white, tan, bronze, gray, black, chambray blue, and olive green.   Everything was neutral and could be mixed and matched to be worn together.   I ended up wearing everything but the black merino sweater and the Jacket in a Pocket.   I was still too warm overall but enjoyed wearing my newly made vest for a few cool mornings.

Enjoying London with Mom

Enjoying London with Mom. ¬†Crossbody bag from Kohl’s.

Other Preparations:
1.)  I packed and weighed my rolling bag to the 22 pound international airline limit.  Turns out, nobody cared!   Maybe I was just lucky.

Headed to the airport

Headed to the airport

2.)  Toiletries were simple when packed in zip top bags.  Not glamorous, but effective. I had all of the liquids in one (upper right) and the remaining three bags contained all other essentials.

Toiletries divided up in four 1 quart bags

Toiletries divided up in four 1 quart bags

3.)  Self-packed snacks of trail mix and string cheese.   Sharing these with my mom helped stave off hunger at the airport, on the plane,  and in our hotel room.   Another benefit as we ate them was the extra space they afforded for packing souveniers.

4.) Empty water bottle.  I packed an inexpensive one that clipped to the side of my bag.  It was convenient to have for post-security.  The opening was big enough to fill with ice cubes, which I love in my drinks.

Reflections:

What I brought on the plane:
-My rolling suitcase carry on measured 22″ x 14″ x 9″. ¬†It is a older Samsonite from Costco. Here is something similar.
-The under the seat ECOSUSI carry on from Amazon measured 18″W x 8″H x 11″L. ¬†This was a lifesaver bag! ¬†I LOVED the sleeve on the back to slide over the telescope handle of my rolling bag.
-Neck pillow was a MUST since I want the option to sleep on the plane as much as possible.

Most important items I packed: ¬†Padded inserts for shoes. I thought my shoes were comfortable before I left, but the padded inserts from Dr. Scholl’s were invaluable! My handy little Fitbit clocked in over 20K steps one day, so I’m glad I had extra cushion.

Second most important item: Portable battery charger  There is nothing like the horrible feeling of being lost and having a dead phone.  If needed, I could charge my phone in my purse quickly when relying on Google Maps and the Citymapper App. (Available for Android and Apple).
Third most important item: The Yubi Voltage Power Converter.  This was used every day after returning to the hotel to charge up the extra batteries.  It was a bit overkill for this trip, but we hope to use it for other trips in the future.

Fourth most important item:  Olive green anorak jacket.  This is still one of my favorite makes.  It was a great coat to have on the plane to keep warm and use as a pillow.

What I would have packed instead: ¬†Cotton or rayon dress or skirt that could have been worn with comfortable walking shoes or sandals. ¬†I’m not sure I have ANY sandals that could have passed the 20K-steps-a-day test, but in hindsight, I would have begged, borrowed or stole for a pair.

What worked and why: ¬†Tees and camisoles! ¬†They saved me. ¬†I’m so glad I threw a few in my bag at the last minute.

Biggest lessons learned:

1.) ¬†I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it was the too-big-for-my-phone recommended SD storage card. ¬† To allow for videos and tons of pictures, we wanted a new SD card. ¬†We were misinformed by the phone salesperson where we bought the new phone and should have double checked. ¬†I didn’t figure it out until a few days into the trip. ¬† I was happily clicking away, a few pictures were stored, but the phone was not capturing any future photos. ¬†I was pretty bummed, to say the least. ¬†So take it from me. ¬†Verify for yourself on the largest SD card your phone can handle BEFORE you leave for your trip and make sure it is storing the pics!! ūüôĀ

2.) ¬†Carry on luggage. ¬†No checked bags. ¬†I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try and to get around with a heavy checked bag. ¬†Being self sufficient and ready to go was so convenient. ¬†I only regret not packing some lighter weight dress/skirt items. ¬†This will be my new goal for all travel going forward.

Travel outfit:

When in London, you MUST take a cheesy tourist-y photo in a phone booth.

I hope this post was helpful on some level.  More tips can be found in the companion post about travel jewelry.

Have you had packing fails for your trips?  Or do you have any trip tips you want to share?   I want to hear about it!  Please leave your comments below.

-Dana

Simplicity 2153 Silly Putty Jacket

Tried and True Simplicity 2153

Tried and True Simplicity 2153

Am I dating myself if I ask you about the color of Silly Putty? ¬†You know, the dirty, well-loved Silly Putty after it has been used on newsprint a few times. ¬†Looks a little gross, but it provided lots of fun for me when I was a kid….and there is interesting history of the gooey stuff to read¬†here. ¬† And if you can’t get enough, put in Silly Putty in Google images to see the many playful uses of this stuff.

The dirty, well-used Silly Putty

The dirty, well-used Silly Putty

Anyway, when I see this pinkish-brown color I think of Silly Putty and I happen to love it.   Here is another version from the same pattern green jacket I made here with a few changes.
I absolutely love this OOP Simplicity 2153 pattern.   It is still available for sale on various sites on the web.  I have plans to make this up in a khaki twill fabric to have a safari-like vest or jacket.  My favorite part of the jacket is the length which means my hands fit comfortably into the pockets and that it covers my rear.  A definite plus in my book.

Bum Coverage

Bum Coverage

The fabric is a linen and rayon blend, which means that it gets a rumpled look but it breathes well. It is also lightweight, which is important for layering and living in the desert.   If I need more warmth, adding a scarf usually does the trick.

Silly Putty Back View

Silly Putty Back View

In the above picture, the jacket looks like it has white splotches all over it, but it is just shadows.  It is roomy without looking too big.  I made a size 14.

Below is an up close shot of the pockets with the selvedges sewn around the tops of the pockets. ¬† This was a different approach than with the olive version. ¬†I tried to achieve a worn in look that didn’t look too formal or fussy, not that this would ever look like a formal jacket, but I wanted to be able to pull out of the closet, put it on and go.
Pockets IMG_4383

Collar Ties

Collar Ties

Above, you can see that I used the selvedge and incorporated it into the pocket and collar. ¬†I always look at the selvedges of the fabrics I purchase and see how they hold up during the laundering phase. ¬†If they survive and have an appealing look, I experiment with ways to include them into the garment. ¬†The collar contains elastic in the outer edge and is sewn to the ties. ¬†I won’t be cinching it up so leaving it this way just makes the collar stand up, stay in place and ready for wear.

Inside elastic casing with bias tape

Inside elastic casing with bias tape

I purchased my zipper for the olive jacket and this jacket from ZipperShipper. ¬†They have a great selection, good prices and fast shipping. ¬†I guessed on the ‘medium brown’ color knowing it wouldn’t be a perfect match for this weird shade of brown, ¬†but it works and the quality of the zipper is great.

Elastic casing made with bias tape

Elastic casing made with bias tape

Something I repeated from the olive green jacket was the elastic waist casing.   I pulled the elastic to a comfortable measurement, attached the ties and then knotted them.  This means that I can grab the coat and GO.  No fussing about with a fidgety waist drawstring.  I can always count on the elastic gathering evenly.

Possible accessories

Possible accessories

If I want to add a little more interest, I have a me-made necklace I made out of acrylic beads or a scarf to pair with it.

Optional additions

Optional additions

Finished product

Finished product

There is a reason why a M-65 Army utility jacket like this has been so popular over the years for military, fishing, hunting and fashion.  I get it!  It provides pockets galore, no-fuss practical style and if you happen to sew, it can be made up in many types of fabric.  If you happen to be interested in the history of such a jacket, here is an article worth reading.

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing.

-Dana

 

 

Fall Brings Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Although this will post in November, I worked on this jacket for a good part of October. This time of year brings about the prolific use of orange everywhere-mostly for Halloween, but also for fall decorations.   The above picture is a bright geranium from my yard, blooming like it is the prime season for this flower.  Nature provides great inspiration by offering wonderful color combinations, so here is my interpretation of these two.

Using Simplicity 2153, I used some heavy duty green duck fabric in olive and combined it with a cotton tee from Walmart. ¬†I’m not sure this borderline fluorescent-y orange is the best color for me, so I normally lean toward the coral and peach versions. ¬†It combined with olive, so here it is. ¬†This jacket took a while because I did a lot of unpicking!
IMG_3958The reason it took a while ¬†was because I originally envisioned the coat having flaps on the four pockets with either buttons and buttonholes, or hook and loop tape. ¬†The flaps didn’t sit right and the buttonholes sewn with upholstery thread didn’t look right either. ¬† So I decided to use the buttons as only decoration and put them on the edges of the pockets anyway. ¬†I like the simplicity of it now and there is less fuss getting in and out of the pockets.

I was motivated to make a olive green utility jacket for three reasons: 1.) I love olive drab and it happens to be the color of my eyes 2.) I needed a single layer outer casual jacket 3.) It is BIG in fashion and I can sew it my way. 4.) It has a great history here.

Casual jacket with fancy necklace

Casual jacket with fancy necklace

The necklace was purchased at DSW, the olive duck/bottomweight fabric was purchased at SAS Fabrics, my local mill end store. The fabric is a little stiff right now, so I hope with a few tosses in the washer and dryer, it will soften up.IMG_3975
Here are the items I collected before starting the project:
Simplicity 2153

Simplicity 2153

My local fabric stores did not have the olive colored brass zipper, so I ordered online from Zipper Shipper. All you do it look for the type of zipper you want and enter in the desired color and length. It is my new go-to for zipper needs because the cost was great, shipping was fast, and the quality of the zipper is very good. The contrast thread was Coats and Clark Upholstery thread in gold, antique brass buttons are from Hobby Lobby. Seam tape in olive, and the best find was parachute cord at Joann’s in the beading section–who knew?? Oh, and Simplicity 2153, view C with D collar.IMG_3963
Back View relaxed

Back View relaxed

Here is a the back view without cinching the waist tie.
Back view cinched

Back view cinched

Here, I pulled the waist cord and cinched it to give more waist definition. I will probably make this jacket again in a lighter weight fabric. I like the length, and the pockets are in the right place. One change I would make after finishing the jacket would be to change the bias tape from olive to a gold color. It would have been a better match to the gold top stitching and buttons. It is only visible from the inside, so as with many projects, YOU will know it’s there. Lesson I learned: Make a note and pay closer attention next time.
Optional sleeve detail

Optional sleeve detail

I love the sleeve detail because rolled up sleeves are more practical for me, and I could still unbutton and unfold them and cuff them at the wrist if I want. The strap and button are attached to the sleeve first, then sewn in the flat method before the side seams are sewn.

Some other changes I made were the parachute cord was attached to 1/2″ elastic in the collar and the waist. ¬†I like the way elastic keeps a gathered look instead of messing with a pull tie or cord to help evenly distribute the fabric. ¬†It always stays scrunched and the ties hang out just enough to be cinched up if needed.

Ready to make another version!

Ready to make another version!

I’m very happy now that it is done, because I was starting to lose interest. Pushing beyond my ‘sewing ADD’, I am happy to report cooler temperatures (finally!!) and I am better prepared with one more outer jacket…Yah! I think I will try either a vest or jacket in a windbreaker weight next time with black buttons, ties, and zipper to wear with yoga pants to run errands or take walks.
What are you sewing in preparation for cooler temperatures?