Cut Out the Middle Man

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Firstly, my apologies for no Project Streamline post this week.  My busy day yesterday did not include photographing the next lot of clothes so tune in again next week when we hopefully reach the end of the wardrobe confessions.

Meanwhile, I wanted to tell you about some more clothes that I acquired last week.  Don’t worry I am sticking to my plan of keeping a minimalist wardrobe.  One of my work colleagues decided to get rid of a bag of clothes destined for the op shop which had been sitting under her desk for over a year.  I am not sure why taking them to the op shop/donation bin was so difficult but I generously offered to drop them off for her.  When handing over the bag she lightly suggested that I could check if there was anything I could use.  Most of my work colleagues are aware that I sew and refashion clothes.

I selected the following items and so the clothes went directly from her to me without going via the op shop.

This paisley cotton skirt is the first thing I have started unpicking.  I intend to keep the fabric for either patchwork or a summer outfit for Miss O or Izz.  It will depend on what they need.

The fabric from this pink top will go towards my current patchwork project.  The cotton lace is worth saving for when I need it.

I intend to use this pretty border print to make a summer skirt for Miss O.  I love the cool, summery look of it.

Finally, this black singlet top is a very soft, ribbed fabric and I will cut it down to make a singlet for Miss O.

I will post the results when the refashioning projects are completed.

Project Streamline – Summer Tops/Shirts

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I am getting close to the end of cataloging the categories of clothing in my wardrobe.  Naturally, I have left the most difficult till last.  Even so, I have split the tops into a couple of groups.  Today I am looking at the summer (short-sleeved and sleeveless ) tops that I have.


As usual this includes the full range from old polo shirts that I use for painting to tops I wear to social events.

2012-07-02 012 T-shirts in good condition that I wear regularly though not frequently
They are both ‘souvenirs’ that I will happily keep and use until they wear out.  I probably will not buy any more of this style in the future.

2012-07-02 022 polo shirts – the darker one is actually a corporate freebie but the logo is reasonably discreet so I do wear it.  The lighter shirt  is quite faded and whilst still wearable is probably not required so I think it will go to the op shop where someone may get some use from it.  In the following photos you will see that I have more than enough shirts to wear when I am painting/gardening etc.

2012-07-02 03These tops are identical and are a simple scoop-neck top with a cap sleeve.  You can see my penchant for buying more than 1 of the same style when I find something that I like.

2012-07-02 04I have had these tops for over 10 years and they are a permanent fixture in my wardrobe.  They are not identical but very similar.  They have a short sleeve which is quite fitted and are perfect for travelling and suitable for wearing under a rugby top.  They feature in almost all of my holiday photos and will be going to the USA with me in a couple of months.

2012-07-02 05These 4 paint-spattered polo shirts belonged to my daughters when they were at high school (10-15 years ago).  They are hold every colour paint that we have used in 3 different houses!  I wear them when gardening or painting and will continue to do so as they are no use for anything else – not even as rags as they are polyester cotton and have no absorbency.  One day I will throw them out.

2012-07-02 06These are 3 shirts which are suitable for wearing at home but have not descended to the level of the previous selection.  I will probably get rid of the green one and keep the others.

2012-07-02 07Just in case you thought that I don’t have any presentable tops – here is a sleeveless linen one I made last year.  I have 2 more in the same style that are partly made so they will be new for next summer.

2012-07-02 082 basic cotton/lycra camisoles for wearing under shirts/cardigans

2012-07-02 093 cotton shirts that I have made.  The red/white definitely stays but the others are looking past their best so I might move them along.  I will reserve my judgement on that for a bit longer.

2012-07-02 10This is a loose cotton shirt that I made many years ago and it is excellent for those really hot days as it is 100% cotton.  Not the fanciest style or pattern but definitely a keeper.

2012-07-02 11This black collared top is well-worn but super comfy and goes with anything.  It stays.

As usual, I am forced to make some decisions, simply by virtue of having to put in writing why I own some of these pieces.

I will throw 2 of the ‘painting shirts’ in the bin.  The faded navy polo shirt and the green t-shirt will go to the op shop.  I will decide the fate of a couple of others when the warmer weather returns.

Next week will be my 3/4 and long-sleeve tops and then that should be almost the end of Project Streamline.

It has been an enlightening exercise to list all of my clothes here week by week.  I can now see where I have an excess and what I need to replace or add to.

Project Streamline – Coats & Jackets


In Project Streamline this week I am looking at my coats and jackets.  Many people who live in more extreme climates would suggest that we do not need jackets or coats in Queensland.  However, we live in one of the cooler districts and these are mostly quite lightweight so they all get some use during the year.  The colours are either neutral or fit with my basic colour combinations.  We are only 3 weeks into our ‘official’ winter season and these have all been worn this year.

2012-06-25 01Navy water-resistant, lined jacket
This is a practical colour, easy to clean, has adjustable cuffs and a concealed hood
Good for outdoor activities and travelling.

2012-06-25 02Dark navy, lined, double-breasted, wool coat
20+ years old, usually worn once or twice each winter.  I wore this today to work and probably will for the next couple of days as it is quite cold when I leave home and again when I walk from the train station to the office.

2012-06-25 03Lightweight, khaki/navy water-resistant jacket
This was a corporate gift about 8 years ago.  It gets worn when I don’t need the weight/bulk of my navy jacket.

2012-06-25 04Black cord jacket
I wear this to work regularly as it teams with all of my work clothes.

2012-06-25 05Dusty pink suede jacket
Versatile item which is worn to the office with business attire or jeans on the weekend.

2012-06-25 06Pink vest (polar fleece lining)
Great for in between seasonal wear.  Colour fits with the rest of my clothes.

2012-06-25 07Red polar fleece jacket
I bought this a few months ago for our holiday in August/September.  I plan to keep it for the trip although I have worn it once – when we went to the football.

2012-06-25 08Red, hooded wind/waterproof jacket
This belonged to Belle but she no longer wanted/needed it so I decided to use it when we are travelling.  It is lightweight and takes up very little space.  The sizing on me is generous so I can wear it over a couple of other layers if required.

After I had taken all of the photos, I remembered that I have another spray jacket (navy zip-front one) but it is much lesser quality and does not stop the wind as well as the red one.

I am happy that all of my jackets and coats have earned their place in my wardrobe and they will stay, even though they are mostly worn only during about 4 months of the year.

Next week I will start on my tops/t-shirts/blouses.  I have put these off until last because I am not sure how to group them and there are more than any other category.  However, I will bite the bullet and do them so tune in next week to see how I justify them.

Project Streamline – Cardigans


As promised, here is my review of the next category in my wardrobe – cardigans.  There was a time, not too long ago, when I did not own any cardigans.  However, I have discovered the versatility of this particular item, especially light-weight ones in our mild climate.

2012-06-18 01I bought these 3 identical cardigans at Uniqlo in Japan when we there on holidays in 2009.They are a fine cotton knit which is perfect for trans-seasonal wear and in the airconditioned office during summer.

2012-06-18 02This gold-coloured lacy knit cardigan is perfect for wearing over sleeveless summer tops.

2012-06-18 03Here is a 3/4 sleeve red cardigan which is also useful for trans-seasonal wear.  It goes well with my predominately red/black wardrobe.

2012-06-18 04My only true winter cardigan is this turquoise woollen one.  I bought it in Tasmania several years ago.  It is beautifully soft, warm merino wool which is grown and processed in Oatlands, Tasmania.

I have one other cardigan which is an older black one.  It lives on the back of my chair at work for whenever the airconditioning becomes unreasonably cold.  If it wasn’t for this role it would be in the op shop.

The beige Uniqlo cardigan is the least appealing in terms of colour and does not get worn as much as the others.  The final analysis is that the beige one may go.  All of the others are worn regularly and fit with the main colours of my wardrobe.

Project Streamline – Skirts


Following on from my earlier posts on trousers, shorts and dress, here is the latest instalment of Project Streamline – skirts.

2012-06-11 01Grey patterned skirt with lining and ruffle
PROS – I love the style, always get positive comments
CONS – slightly too big in the waist, only one top that I can wear with it
DECISION – keep and continue to wear, alter the waistband to improve the fit, consider this skirt when buying more tops

2012-06-11 02Black skirt with lining and ruffle
PROS – I love the style, plenty of options of what to wear with it
CONS – the style is not as obvious in plain black, I have another black skirt which I prefer
DECISION – keep and continue to wear, probably would not replace it as I really don’t need 2 black skirts

2012-06-11 03Black crepe skirt
PROS – length, weight and style
DECISION – keep and continue to wear

2012-06-11 04Black and floral skirt
PROS – good fit, nice fabric, pretty
CONS – only suitable to wear with one top, 7 years old and I am just about sick of it, some of the embroidery is starting to catch and unravel small threads
DECISION – will probably be the next thing to go

2012-06-11 05Black and white striped denim skirt
PROS – good fit, comfortable
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing it in the warmer weather

2012-06-11 06Floral skirt
PROS – good fit, get positive comments, I like it
CONS – only have 1 top to wear with it
DECISION – buy/make more tops to wear with it

2012-06-11 07Pink cotton skirt
PROS – bright colour, comfortable
CONS – several years old, won’t last forever
DECISION – keep it and continue to wear

My skirt collection is all about what I wear in public – unlike my trousers!  I have not included a skirt which I put aside when I first started Project 333 back in April as it most likely will not go back in the wardrobe.

Much and all as I have loved the floral embroidered skirt I think it is almost time to let it go.  Other than that the rest will stay for the time being.

Project Streamline – Shorts


I know it is almost winter (and the temperatures definitely reflect that fact) but today I am going to review my selection of shorts.  Perhaps it is easier to be rational about clothes in the opposite season?


Once again, I will catalogue everything that are shorts regardless of the state of them.

2012-05-28 01Good casual shorts – 3 pairs – black, white and khaki in the same style.
PROS – colour, fit
CONS –none
DECISION – they all stay – basis of my summer casual wardrobe

2012-05-28 02Rugby knit shorts x 2 – grey and red
PROS – comfortable, worn at home
CONS – 11 years old, paint-spattered
DECISION – keep wearing until they wear out

2012-05-28 03Refashioned shorts from some hiking pants
PROS – super comfortable and lightweight
CONS – generally worn at home or locally
DECISION – keep wearing them

2012-05-28 04Board shorts
PROS – hardly worn
CONS – not sure how much I will wear these
DECISION – reassess my swimwear/board shorts when it gets closer to summer

Today I heard of someone planning an overseas trip who thought 1 pair travel pants, 3 pairs jeans, 3 pairs cargo pants and a skirt was a reasonable number of ‘bottoms’ to pack.  I don’t even own 3 pairs of jeans!!  When I hear stories like that I know that I do not really have a lot of clothes.

Project Streamline – Trousers


It is now the middle of May and halfway through the 3 month period of my participation in Project 333.

I flouted the ‘rules’ on Saturday and wore a plain red knit top, white ¾ trousers and red/white striped overshirt.  None of these were on my original list.  The weather was unseasonably warm and all of these items are on my ‘big picture’ list.

Let me explain.  Ever since I started the challenge of wearing only 33 items for a period of 3 months, I have been mentally working on creating a master list.  This means I will not look at my wardrobe in terms of the next 3 months but rather the whole year encompassing all 4 seasons.  I am identifying what works and what doesn’t and rather than have a major cull it will be a matter of removing things as they wear out and replacing only if required.

The first part of the journey is to catalogue what I really have instead of simply saying that I don’t have many clothes.  Each week I will photograph and discuss one type of article of clothing.  Today is trousers so you can judge for yourself.


This category includes everything from trousers to wear to work to trackpants that I do not wear outside the boundaries of our property.

2012-05-14 01Charcoal grey work trousers
PROS – colour, weight, style
CONS – too big in the waist, slightly too long, only one pair, about 7 years old
DECISION – wear for the rest of the winter  then send to op shop.  Replace with 2 pairs of well-fitting trousers.

2012-05-14 02Black ¾ trousers
PROS – good fit, nice fabric, suit work and casual wear
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing until they wear out, consider something similar as a replacement

2012-05-14 03Jeans No 1
PROS – perfect fit, op shop jean which I bought and altered to fit
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing them

2012-05-14 04Jeans No 2
PROS – good fit, well-worn
CONS – getting threadbare in places
DECISION – keep wearing till the end of winter, send to op shop, look for another pair to replace them

2012-05-14 05Black Cotton casual 3/4 trousers
PROS – good fit, basic colour
CONS – a few years old, won’t last forever
DECISION – keep them continue to wear

I also have an identical white pair (the ones I wore on Saturday).  Same as above.

2012-05-14 06Striped 3/4 cotton trousers
PROS – there are 7 nice matching buttons that I can salvage
CONS – 6 years old, a bit faded, the top I always wore with them has gone to the op shop, not really my colour, a bit tight
DECISION – remove buttons, send to the op shop

2012-05-14 07Navy 3/4 trousers
PROS – go with most tops I have
CONS – starting to fade a bit, am a bit over navy
DECISION – they get a reprieve at least until next summer.  Op shop if I find that I am not wearing them

2012-05-14 08Navy trackpants x 2
PROS – comfortable
CONS – unflattering
DECISION – keep wearing them at home

2012-05-14 09Grey drawstring pants
PROS – comfortable
CONS – unflattering
DECISION – keep wearing them at home

2012-05-14 10Cotton 3/4 pants x 3
PROS – comfortable, suitable for home and local activities
CONS – not my colours, starting to wear out
DECISION – keep wearing them at home

2012-05-14 11Sage green lightweight jeans
PROS – good condition, bought from op shop
CONS – not my colour, don’t wear them them much
DECISION – back to the op shop

2012-05-14 12Charcoal travel pants
PROS – comfortable, zip-off legs, love them
CONS – nil
DECISION – keep wearing them and buy another identical pair before we go overseas later in the year.

2012-05-14 13Beige travel pants
PROS – zip-off legs
CONS – not super comfortable, dry more quickly than the other style
DECISION – keep until we go overseas then decide their fate

This has been a cathartic exercise and if you are trying to minimise your wardrobe I would strongly suggest trying to convince someone else either verbally or in writing why you should keep certain items.  It has also been useful to do all of one type of garment together and then you can see just how many you really have and the range of occasions that they cover.

Watch out for more posts on the same theme each Monday for several weeks.  Categories will include skirts, dresses (that will be short as I only own 1 dress), shorts, cardigans and so on.

Now that I have laid bare the inner secrets of the best and worst of my trousers please feel free to comment – the number, quality etc as well as my thoughts and decisions.