Accessory after the fact?

In the interest of having something to talk about other than pattern twiddling (almost there… I think…) and tiny pleating samples, I thought I’d muse for a minute or two on something that came up a bit in the comments of my last post.


Yes, I know, this includes a fairly large chunk of things I can’t sew, so really has no place here, but bear with me, I just spent two hours trying to figure out how to rotate an undersleeve. (Thank you, Sherry, for responding to my piteous pleas… 😉 ). So, accessories.

I was a bit surprised to get compliments on my shoes and belts, of all things, since I generally think I’m… not rubbish at accessorizing, exactly, but I tend not to think about it much. I have a few go-to pieces that I use a LOT (like my belts) and then there’s the really costumy stuff (like the spiked belt in the foreground up there) that only comes out for special occasions. Which are few and far between these days, frankly. (Ok, I did wear the belt with the big spikes a lot at first, but it’s gradually shedding spikes so now I save it…)

I know a lot of people (*cough my mother cough*) who can do amazing things with accessories. Scarves, necklaces, bracelets, rings, hats, shoes—all can put an outfit from boring to chic, or from chic to out of the ballpark. But most often I don’t even think of them. I do up my game a bit for photo shoots (shocker) especially since I don’t need to limit my footwear to what’s weather-appropriate that I can put up with on my feet for eight hours. My usual accessorizing is a pair of big dangly earrings and maybe (maybe, maybe) a necklace. Once in a blue moon, a bracelet. The one big thing I really never, ever got a hang of is scarves (for decorative, rather than functional purposes… when it comes to wrapping up your face, I’m a champion scarf-wearer). My mom does amazing things with them. I just feel fake and showy.

The jewelry box

I have a mixed relationship with hats. Obviously they’re necessary for winter—I have a red velvet, vaguely turban-esque hat that I wear in the winter that is my “hat that makes winter worthwhile”, and it does admirably except that it’s not warm enough for the truly cold weather, so when it gets really grim I wear a toque, or my hoodie hood, underneath it. Not the best look, but fashion suffers all around when it comes to the deep minuses. Anyway, I like hats. I look good in them. But they don’t work well with my short, spiky hair. And since it’s very unlikely that I won’t want to take my hat off at some point, I never wear them. Sad, I know.

I am a big fan of the huge, dangly earrings. Unlike hats, they do go well with the short spiky hair. Although I do find my ears getting a bit sensitive now that I’m older (I fear the days of shoving a safety pin through the hole and calling it good are gone) so I don’t wear them every day.

Necklaces I’m fine with as long as they’re short, I prefer chokers or just a little bit longer… but I don’t really think of them for everyday. Same with bracelets, although these tend to annoy me, and don’t play well with long sleeves (or at least I don’t know how to make them play well)

A lot of my pieces in the shot above are, you may have noticed, a wee bit costumy? Most of it was bought with belly dance in mind, even the stuff that didn’t end up being quite over-the-top enough. Once in a while there’s a regular outfit or occasion where I get to break out this “good stuff”, but it’s rare. Too bad, really. I love these pieces. They may technically be costume jewelry—no precious metals or genuine jewels here—but they warm my heart.

What’s your favourite accessory? Are you using your accessories to the best of your ability? And most importantly—what am I missing out on?

Sample pleats. Interfaced version on right.

Now, so it’s not a completely sewing-free post, I’ll show you my sample cuff-pleats. After my musing the other day, I thought that I might try and just line my cuffs with lining fabric rather than fashion fabric, to reduce bulk. And I’m happy to say, I think this approach will work. The sample on the left has no interfacing, the sample on the right has, and really I don’t see any difference at all between the two of them once pressed. For each sample pleat I edgestitched one folded side but left the other (you should be able to see the difference if you click through to the full-size photo)… I will edgestitch the inner folds, but I’m kinda leaning towards leaving the outer folds alone. Thoughts?



Filed under Sewing

8 responses to “Accessorial

  1. Edgestitching the inner folds and leaving outer ones alone seems right to me.

    About accesories… Compared to me, you put a lot of thought and effort into that.
    I don’t do jewelry except for a big ring on each hand which I wear every day (every once in a while, I will buy new ones and I usually wear them to death. For the past 10 year, they have always been silver with semi-precious stones, often amber) and I like glasses with somewhat ‘statement’-y frames. My ears are pierces but I rarely remember to wear earrings. I haven’t worn long earrings since I switched back from contacts to glasses.
    I love hats and gloves but I don’t often manage to fit them into an outfit. With scarves, I’m like you and only use them when practical. Things dangling from my neck or wrists tend to drive me crazy anyway…

  2. I love accessories and never leave the house without them. Ever! On reflection, I think this is because they add another layer to a one-dimensional outfit. I live in an all-year-round warm/hot climate and therefore don’t get to do the groovy jackets, coats, cardigans, layered shirts, scarves etc….. When I step out of the house it’s just me and one layer. It feels all a bit too simple or underdressed. There’s no ‘pop’. For me, groovy necklaces, bangles, earrings, rings and brooches take an outfit to the next level without adding warmth.

  3. I LOVE accessories, unfortunately so do my two and six year olds. Within five minutes of putting them on they end up transferred to my sweet little girls. I also have sensitive ears, when you do wear earrings try rubbing neosporin on them before you put them in, that helps a little bit.

  4. I LOVE vintage jewelry (Some of my pearls have been in the family ~100 years). And I’ve collected scarves for years but only recently figured out how to use them well.

  5. I made a goal to accessorize every day last year. I extended my goal to this year.
    I feel much more put together when I add a necklace or bracelet. I switch out bags occasionally but I always run the risk of leaving essential items at home. D’oh!
    Sometimes I will decide on the statement necklace or shoes that I want to wear and build the outfit around that. (Did I mention I have a shoe and bag closet?) Long necklaces help to elongate the body. You do not need this but some of the rest of us benefit from the lengthening effect of the long line. That being said I love a chocker with an oversized pendant/shell.
    I should have just written a post on this, eh? Great topic! 😀

  6. I’m not a big accessory wearer because I often feel like I am playing dress-up. I guess it goes back to the days when I would sneak in my mom’s drawer and put on all the jewelry that she rarely wore. I buy a lot of vintage scarves too, but mostly use them to hold my hair when it looks crazy.

    The one thing I love is pins ! I wear them a lot to change the look of clothes, often in place of buttons. I just “refashioned” two sweaters with pins. the fact that they have a bit of an old lady vibe makes me like them even more.

  7. I like such detailed clothes that I seldom wear jewelry. I have about two dozen fabric belts, though.

    I’d probably interface and edgestitch the outer pleats if I were you. That type of treatment means your cuffs will look smarter for longer between cleaning/pressing.

  8. AAAAAHHHHH! Finally a post about something I know! 😉

    What’s your favourite accessory?
    WELL! um….. hmmmm. ok – I have a few rings that are my absolute favorite things to wear. But I love all types of jewelery and would feel terrible if I didn’t have any to wear. That’s right! I take jewelery camping.

    Are you using your accessories to the best of your ability?
    I think that I do. Lately I haven’t been in the mood to wear stuff as I’ve been sick, and it’s not good for my rings to wear them when I’m doing yard work. I think that jewelery helps to finish an outfit off. And that sometimes if you don’t have the right piece(s) it’s better to go without than just wear something. I’m not a jewelery snob though. I LOVE costume jewelery.

    And most importantly—what am I missing out on?
    You need to think of your jewelery as another wardrobe. An extension of your clothes. It’s also a way to add sentimentality to your everyday. I have a bracelet that was a special gift, and when I wear it I remember that she thought I was special. It’s a way to bring colour or sparkle or an industrial edge to your look without making permament changes to your clothes. Your spiky belts and wristbands do that for a plain long sleeve top.

    As for the scarf thing – I just managed to start wearing them about 2 years ago without feeling top heavy and weird. Actually I started out by putting them on at home when I was alone and “practising”. LOL

    I HAVE to be comfy with what I’m wearing or I go a little nutty.

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