April Goal: Plan a Summer Wardrobe

March was a fail. An epic, epic fail. I did not update the blog. I did not complete my goal. I can blame illness (a stomach bug that knocked me out for a week). I can blame the busyness of other random projects. But honestly, I think I got lazy.

A month lost is not a year lost, however, so I’m jumping back on the horse for April and setting a new monthly goal: To plan a summer wardrobe.

I’ve never been much of a fashionista, though I’ve always wished I was. I spend a lot of time drooling over clothes that I love, but I rarely made the effort to convert my wardrobe to the pieces I dream about. Until now, I’ve been hesitant over a few things:

  • Money: How can I possibly afford a whole new wardrobe? I’ll have to get creative– by making and thrifting as many things as I can!
  • Spontaneous Purchasing: I tend to buy things impulsively (usually on sale) and then realize after the fact that they don’t work with my ideal style… so off they go into the corner of my closet to keep the dust bunnies company until they make the inevitable trip to GoodWill. No more spontaneous buys! If I know what I’m looking for before I toss it in the cart, I’ll be less likely to fall into this trap.
  • Lack of Confidence: I never feel like I can pull off the amazing clothes that so many of favorite bloggers wear… but if I make careful decisions about what silhouettes and styles really look good on me, a new wardrobe will hopefully shake off these negative thoughts.

Sarai over at Colette Patterns has been doing a blog series called “The Wardrobe Architect” where she invites others to join her in developing a new wardrobe. I love the slow and steady pace she’s been taking, dedicating time and thought into each step of discovering individual style… from colors, to silhouettes to thoughtfully putting together a capsule wardrobe. Instead of trying to piece together tops and bottoms that I buy randomly, it sure would be nice to define my style first and THEN figure out the rest!

To avoid slacking off like I did last month, I’ve set specific goals (loosely following the Wardrobe Architect series) to meet throughout the month, and will post accordingly. The goals are as follows:

  • April 14th: Define my summer color palette and put together a mood board of my favorite styles
  • April 21th: Define my ideal silhouettes and put together a Polyvore set of four outfits that match those guidelines
  • April 30th: Have my mini summer capsule wardrobe planned– including any sewing patterns I plan on using!

Now that my goals are set, it’s time to get cracking. Wish me luck!

February Goal: Complete!

My February Goal was to learn how to sew with knits… and learn to sew with knits I did!

I never got a chance to try out my serger (boo), but with lots of help from the Sewing with Knits Craftsy class, I feel like I have have nearly mastered knits on my regular machine. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know how excited I was to install and use my first walking foot! I also purchased and used ball-point needles for the first time.

My favorite finished project of the month was just a basic tee… but it feels so good to know that I can make this necessary wardrobe staple for myself!


I’m still working on my photography skills (like where in my tiny tiny house I can take photos when it’s too wet and cold outside).

The other project I completed was this super-soft cuddly hoodie. The pattern instructions called for sweatshirt fleece, but I couldn’t find anything to my liking… so I ended up purchasing a few yards of a heathered sweater knit. It’s got more drape and less thickness than fleece, but was more my style. Plus, the fabric feels like a super cozy blanket, and I can’t think of anything I would rather spend my winter nights curled up with!


The good news is that the sweater turned out super comfy… the bad news is it isn’t very flattering or photogenic, so all you get is a quick iPhone photo of the finished product on a dress form. This will likely be something I rarely wear outside of the house, but will wear to death inside!

My biggest challenge: Once again, time was my biggest issue this month. I had big goals to sew several garments and I only made it through two (and a half if you count my first failed attempt at leggings). I was out of town two weekends in a row, which majorly cut into my crafting time, but I also know that I could have pushed myself more on weeknights. I still want to make a few more things, so I may eek them in to another post later in the month!

What I learned: I LOVE sewing with knits! In fact I find a lot of it easier than sewing with woven fabrics. Now that I’ve learned tricks to make the process easier, I can’t wait to try my hand at some more complex patterns!

Up next, my March goal. I’ll write a proper post about that later this week!

February Goal: Sew with Knits

My goal for the month of February is to learn how to sew with knits!

Why this goal?

About a year and a half ago, I started learning aerial silks. I joined a gym in town called Louisville Turners, which offers a wide variety of circus classes. I’ve been there off and on over the last couple years, but I still (very much) consider myself a beginner with a LOT to learn (and a lot of strength yet to build).

Aerial Silks

In addition to aerial silks, I started attending weekly aerial yoga classes. What is aerial yoga? Think traditional yoga, but with much more time spent upside-down, and plenty of three-feet-off the ground poses. Both of these classes require a special sort of wardrobe: tight fitting but comfortable clothes, sleeves to cover your armpits and tights or pants that cover your legs to keep yourself from getting silk-burns (yes, those happen, even WITH the proper clothing). Most traditional workout clothes don’t work for aerial arts because they are made out of slick-wicking material, which is great for running but bad when you need more friction for climbing. Non-slick yoga pants are usually wide legged– another no-no, as they can catch get tangled up during tricky moves.

Tree Pose, Aerial Style

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to sew my own circus wardrobe! The thing that has been stopping me is my fear of sewing with knits. I’ve done plenty of woven dresses and tops, but the one and only time I ever sewed with knits I ended up with a very sub-par garment.

How will I achieve this goal?

I plan on tackling this challenge with the help of a few resources. First of all, I purchased the class “Sewing with Knits” from Craftsy several months ago, and this challenge is the perfect reason to finally dig in to it. Included in the curriculum of the class are step by step instruction on making several different knit garments, a few of which will be perfect for aerial attire. Though the class focusses mostly on sewing with a regular sewing machine, I hope to also use this month to learn how to use the old Singer Serger my mother-in-law passed down to me a few years ago.

What will the end product be?

By the end of February I hope to make several aerial yoga and aerial silks appropriate pieces. In the order I hope to complete them:

  • A basic hoodie - For warmups in the FREEZING cold gym, particularly the yoga room. For the hoodie, I will be following along with Meg McElwee’s Craftsy class and using her included pattern.
  • Leggings – I will be using Cake Pattern’s Espresso Leggings pattern
  • A basic knit top – The trick is getting it tight enough that it doesn’t show belly when I’m upside-down, but loose enough not to restrict movement. I will be using another pattern featured in the Craftsy class.
  • Shorts - I like to layer-up in the winter, so a nice pair of knit shorts over leggings can make me feel a little bit better! This pattern will also come from the Craftsy class.


January Goal: (Mostly) Complete

The month of January has officially past! My first goal was to design this website, and I managed to get it most of the way there…. but not all the way. I pushed the design live, even though it still needs some fine tuning. Below is a screenshot of the original photoshop mockup! If you are viewing this through a feed reader, please visit the site to see (most of it) it in action!



The overall site has been designed but it needs some cleaning up. I still need to fix the responsive/mobile versions of the design, and get my secondary pages spruced up. I hope to keep tweaking it this month and get it to a point of completion soon!

My biggest challenge: This month got tough when a huge work project started eeking it’s way into my nights and weekends. 10+ hours a day behind a computer can really take a toll on a girl! I really only had the last week of January to work on it, so I tried to cram a whole months worth of work into one week… a bit too ambitious.

What I learned: It’s hard to be creative on a project that feels like work. Even though I love design and I love building websites, if that is all I do all day every day I get burned out REAL quick.

So what’s next? I’ll reveal details about my February goal later this week. Stay tuned!

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Hello, 2014 blog entry number two!

I do not currently have any updates on my first monthly challenge, other than to say that my day-job has been overwhelmingly busy and has left me with hardly any time to work on it. Despite this fact, there’s no way I’m gonna miss my first goal, so hopefully I will have a real update on that soon!

What I DO want to share is an outfit I made for a Great Gatsby themed New Years party I attended a week ago!


The fabric was a very lucky find at JoAnn Fabrics. I walked in and there it was on a display rack– a bolt of furry black SUEDEsays fabric marked WAY down from it’s original $16/yard price. In the days prior, I had grand daydreams of sheer lace overlays, hand beaded necklines, and silky slips, but as soon as I saw this fabric I knew I would be able to get away with something much simpler, and still pretty dramatic.

Gatsby Dress Pattern

I self drafted the pattern, using the Colette Patterns Sorbetto as a rough guide for the neckline and armholes. I omitted (ie ignored) the darts and extended the bottom by a few feet.

Thanks to the simplicity of loose fitting flapper-style dresses, this costume took only four seams (two shoulders and two sides) and it was pretty much done! Instead of putting bias tape around the edges like in the Sorbetto instructions, I simply folded over the fabric and sewed a very small hem. It doesn’t fray easily, and the texture of the fabric lends itself very nicely to this method. I also knew that this was not a dress I would likely wear again, so I wasn’t too concerned about making it perfect.

Once it was sewn up and hemmed, I trimmed all of the extra fuzz away from the neck and arms (still in tact, it gave me a hairy-chest effect). I had originally intended to add a sparkly, drop waist belt, but ended up liking it better without.

Gatsby Dress

Add a hand-made feathered headband, pearls, sparkly earrings and an updo– and there you have it! One simple but dramatic Gatsby-inspired costume for one fantastically fun New Years party. 

Too-Busy Syndrome

Like so many people out there, I have the whole “too busy syndrome” thing DOWN.

“What have you been up to lately?”
“Oh you know. Work and stuff and things. I’ve just been SO BUSY.”

….But when I really get to thinking… I realize that I really have very little to show for all that business. What exactly have I been spending all those busy hours doing?

Watching TV. Playing Sims on my phone. Making stupid faces at my dog. Planning out all of the projects I want to get done when I have more time to do them.


Before I got married, I told myself I was gonna whip myself back into shape. Just follow me here for a second. This story is relevant.

I took a few steps towards that fitness goal: I started eating a little better (most of the time), I started taking a few aerial arts classes, and I started doing pushups before bed. Then I got the bright idea that I was going to start Insanity. I got my hands on a copy and then psyched myself up… and I told everyone I was gonna start when my life got a little LESS BUSY. You know the drill.  “I’ll start next week… but then again, I should just wait until after the wedding (I just have too many other things to take care of)… then after my six-week yoga class is over (I can’t possibly do Insanity AND yoga at the SAME TIME)… then the weekend after my friends are in town (They can’t see me work out! They’ll get so bored!)… yadda yadda yadda.”

A YEAR passed and I was still just TOO BUSY to start the damn thing.

Then, one Sunday morning, I woke up, turned to my husband and said…. “This is it! I’m starting Insanity today.” And I did.

I went strong for four straight weeks, working out (almost) every day for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. I made it though an entire month and I didn’t fall short on any other obligations! What a shock, right?

Tackling that workout got me thinking about all the projects in my life that I “busy” myself out of. If I can get through a full month of non-stop Insanity, surely I can show the same sort of dedication to other things. (Preferably things that are a little less sweaty.)

I’ve decided to take this motivation and carry it over into a new personal game, of sorts. Starting in January of 2014, I am going to give myself a challenge to tackle over the course of one month. These challenges may range from completing an advanced knitting/sewing project, to learning a new instrument, to career-bettering tasks like building something in a new (to me) programming language or photo manipulation or designing a website just for fun. I want to make it entertaining for myself… and hopefully it will give me something better to show for all that “business,” besides a thorough knowledge of bad reality TV.

Then, there is THIS BLOG. Blogging. Becoming a blogger.

I love reading blogs, but I’m terrible and writing them. It’s because I hardly ever write anything anymore (besides work emails) and I feel like my communication skills are pretty rusty. It’s also because I’m intimidated by all those prolific crafter-bloggers who seem to knit two sweaters every day, design super interactive websites for five clients in five weeks, and still have time to take beautiful photos and write detailed notes about what they’re doing (not to mention work a full time job and take care of seventeen children).

I want to chronicle this “monthly challenge project” over the next year. As long as my motivation holds out, it will give me a good reason to blog. Hopefully, by blogging (semi) regularly, I’ll get better at writing too. Every month I will write (at minimum) three posts: One to state the challenge, one mid-month update, and one upon completion. If I happen to do anything else creative that month (like launching a website at work), there will be more than three posts.

So that’s it, folks! That’s my origin story for Stephanie Clark Creative. My very FIRST JANUARY GOAL is to actually design and build this website and blog (for those of you who don’t know design, the current setup is WordPress’ default theme) by the end of the month. That’s just another giant project I’ve been too busy to finish. You know. For the last two years.

Wish me luck my friends!