Wardrobe Architect Week 11: Planning Your Pieces

This week’s Wardrobe Architect is all about planning what to make to achieve the capsule (ish) wardrobe of our dreams. I think I might slightly struggle with this because although I’ve been planning my sewing since October, I still feel I am a little bit all over the place and I definitely get seduced by shiny new patterns all the time!

The original post says: “In the last couple installments, we talked about choosing silhouettes for our new mini wardrobes and defining a color palette.

With those two things in mind, along with all the work we’ve done before on defining our style and prints that we like, it’s time to decide what pieces we need to create a coherent little wardrobe.”

In the original post she suggests you shop your closet to see what you already have that fits with your chosen silhouettes and palettes. I’ve put together a couple of collages of vaguely what I’m aiming for.

 I already have (I know it’s boring but I’m just going to list these because I don’t know how best to create collages from things I’ve made):

Dresses (I have others but don’t really wear them!)
Electric blue jersey dress
Navy blue Rushcutter dress
Spotty drapey knit dress (GBSB)
2 Summer Elisalex dresses
Mustard and navy flowers Sallie maxi dress
Jazzy Moneta dress
Navy and white striped Marianne dress

Skirts
Navy blue Simplicity skirt
Black Simplicity skirt
Denim Moss skirt
Silver Delphine skirt
Grey quilted Mabel skirt

Tops
2 blue (turquoise and electric blue) Cocos
2 Archer shirts (blue spotty and flowery)
Blue patterned Melilot shirt
2 Plantain tees (Breton-style and yellow and navy flowers)
A RTW cream tee with kimono sleeves, slightly oversized
A RTW (charity shop find) mustard yellow flowy blouse with a peter pan collar
(These last 2 tops are some of my favourites to wear to I intend to rub them off and copy them at some point so I can have more of the same style in my wardrobe)

Trousers and Jeans
Simplicity trousers
RTW wide legged navy trousers (which I took in last year)
RTW primark grey patterned pleated trousers (which I’ve had for years).
One pair of grey jeans given to me by a friend.
Black and navy skinny trousers which I’ve had for years and are getting a bit worn out

Coats and Jackets
Black Victoria blazer
Refashioned blue Victoria blazer
Freemantle coat
A now quite old duffel coat which has seen better days

Wow, now I’ve written all this down it seems like a lot! It’s hard to believe I still have holes in my wardrobe! I have a lot of basic long-sleeved jersey tops (all from primark shamefully, though I have worn them for probably 10 years now!) which I plan to replace over the course of next Winter, so I won’t include these in my plans below.

  1. White Archer shirt – I don’t actually own a white shirt!
  2. Dark blue Ginger jeans
  3. Black Ginger jeans
  4. Dark blue Morgan jeans
  5. Light blue (and thin denim) Morgan jeans
  6. Yellow Albion duffel coat
  7. Mustard yellow or powder blue 60s-style coat from the GBSB book
  8. Navy and white or black and white culottes from Butterick B6178
  9. Black wide-legged trousers (probably from McCalls M6515
  10. Papercut Guise pants from a patterned fabric with either black or navy in

I think 10 things should be enough to be getting on with! Especially on top of my #2017MakeNine. I’m not going to set myself a deadline for sewing all of these pieces, because that will remove all the fun I think – I’m not a quick sewist I have realised – but hopefully once I’ve ticked these and my Make Nine off (and, of course, there is some overlap like the 2 jeans patterns), I should be pretty close to having a working capsule-ish wardrobe! I’m already finding I have more outfits since starting the Wardrobe Architect because of focussing on my colour palette, and once I’ve got the above pieces, I should have loads of ways of putting things together. Yay!

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Me Made May 2017 recap

My pledge for Me Made May this year was to wear at least one item of me made (or refashioned) clothing each day in May. And I managed it! Yay! I remember when I first started sewing it was a couple of years before I felt like I had enough clothes to be able to take part, so to have enough to wear something every day is pretty cool.

Week One:

Day 1: black simplicity 2451 with my newest charity shop jumper; Day 2: navy spotty rushcutter dress; Day 3: navy blue simplicity trousers and red and blue checked violet blouse; Day 4: spotty drapey knit dress; Day 5: bright blue jersey dress; Days 6 & 7 blue spotty archer with rtw jeans.

Week Two:

Day 8: navy blue simplicity trousers and turquoise coco top; Day 9: black simplicity 2451 skirt and pink stripey banksia top; Day 10: silver toaster sweater; Day 11: flowery archer with rtw jumper and trousers; Day 12: my dressmaker’s ball dress; Days 12 & 13: refashioned coral mustard and navy dress into a shirt; Day 14: blue spotty archer.

 

Week Three:

Day 15: refashioners shirt refashion; Day 16: semi-successful moneta dress with mustard astoria; Day 17: black simplicity 2451 with my favourite charity shop jumper; Day 18: refashioned dress with peter pan collar; Day 19: navy simplicity trousers and electric blue coco top; Day 20: refashioned teapot dress; Day 21: simplicity trousers and my favourite charity shop jumper.

Week Four (and a bit)

Day 22: navy simplicity 2451 skirt and melilot shirt; Day 23: silver delphine skirt and rtw jumper; Day 24: navy scribble striped marianne dress; Day 25: wide-legged trousers I took in at the waist with breton striped plantain tee; Day 26: denim moss skirt with my merchant and mills sewing t shirt; Day 27: Gertie cigarette trousers (as part of my dressmaker’s ball outfit) with a rtw jumper and the coat I made from my Grandma’s vintage pattern; Days 28 & 29: Coco t shirt and rtw jeans; Day 30: navy simplicity trousers and silver toaster sweater; Day 31: electric blue jersey dress.
Things I’ve learned from Me Made May:

  • I hate taking daily photos. Thankfully The Boyfriend was a good instagram husband and took most of them for me, but quite often I’d realise we hadn’t taken a photo when I went to bed!
  • My simplicity trousers got a lot of wear. I definitely need more trousers I can wear at work – though I also wear them on days off too.
  • Quite often (unless I was wearing a dress) I would either have a top or a bottom but not a full outfit, so I need to make more pieces that go together. Hopefully by the time I’ve finished the Wardrobe Architect I’ll have ideas for more of a capsule wardrobe.
  • I failed to refashion anything in May, which was another part of my pledge. I have a bunch of clothes ready for alteration, so hopefully this month I’ll get back into refashioning.
  • There were a whole bunch of things I’ve made – mostly when I first started sewing which I haven’t worn this year and didn’t wear last year, so I’m going to have a wardrobe clear out to get rid of things I know I’m not going to wear.
  • I definitely need to make jeans, and more casual things to wear on my days off.
  • I found wearing dresses easier than putting together separates, so I’m planning to make a few more dresses. They’re also good for hot weather – if we get more hot weather than the one week we had in the middle of May!
  • It was nice to rediscover some of the clothes I’ve made or refashioned which I haven’t worn for a while.
  • There weren’t that many things I wore more than once (apart from my trousers and simplicity skirts), so I think I don’t need loads and loads more clothes, so I’ll try to be more thoughtful about what I make from now on.

What did you learn if you took part in Me Made May? Did you succeed in your pledge?

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My Denim Moss Skirt

After the success of making a denim moss skirt for my sister for Christmas (though it was a little late!), I decided to make myself one, especially because there was enough fabric left from my sister’s one!

I do love it, but it’s not perfect!

I think the way it sits around my waist isn’t helped by my posture – I have quite hunched shoulders and my back is a bit curved so my belly sticks out. This is when I’m not thinking about it, which I usually do when taking blog pictures – I stand artificially straight! But even with the compensation it does look a bit odd.

I think the main problem is that it’s a little too big on the waistband. This is the first Moss Skirt I’ve made for myself and so I guess it’s a wearable toile. I made the straight size 2, with the extra hem band. Marie from Sewn Bristol talked about angling in the waistband on the Moss Skirt in a vlog, so if I make it again, I’ll try that. I do fancy making it again, possibly without the hem band in a more work-appropriate fabric as it is a nice skirt. With pockets!

You can see from the back view that I probably do need a sway-back adjustment as it sits oddly above my bum – my bum seems to make a shelf on which fabric is pooling. I know I sound like a broken record, but I really do need to start working on my makes fitting better. I also have a Burda Academy course which I signed up for ages ago (but it’s a take any time one so I didn’t miss it!) which will teach me how to draft my own blocks/slopers. I think this will really help me when tackling new patterns as I’ll be able to compare them to my blocks and see what adjustments I’m likely to have to make.

Something went a little awry when I was sewing the fly. The one on my sister’s skirt was perfect, but something happened where it’s a little twisted at the bottom of the curve of the fly. It’s not super noticeable, but I notice it! But I did use a proper jeans button, like I did on my sister’s one, which pleases me probably more than it should!
Pockets! That is all.

I used some lovely sewing-themed cotton for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. It seemed apt. And it was given to me by one of my very best friends, so it adds a lovely meaning to the skirt.

Here’s a close-up of it – it has pins, pin cushions, buttons, safety pins and lots of other crafty things on it. Also you can see here that I overlocked most of the seams. I’m just about getting to grips with my overlocker, though I haven’t been brave enough to actually sew anything on it yet; I’m currently sewing seams on my sewing machine and then neatening the edges on the overlocker. I make too many mistakes to be trying to unpick overlocker thread – or to have shaved off the seam allowance on the first go, then realising I’ve messed up again!

I really like how the topstitching shows off the seams lines – especially on the back yoke pieces. But my god was my sewing machine not enjoying sewing the top stitching! I didn’t have anywhere near as many problems on my sister’s one, but it was just spewing out so much thread and it was really, really loopy. I fiddled with the tension loads but it still wasn’t having it. I did my best, but the topstitching doesn’t look great on the inside! It also seemed to slightly stretch out the hem, as the fabric has a slight stretch to it. This does not bode well for making my first pair of jeans……

I thought I’d leave you with this photo of my helper for my photoshoot!

Having finally had weather warm enough to venture outside in, I went out to take these pictures and was immediately set upon by our neighbour’s cat who we call Julian (but his real name is Mr Pickles). He’s very friendly, but often outstays his welcome, especially when he comes into our flat and I’m trying to cut out fabric and he jumps on the table and won’t get down/jumps back up as soon as I put him on the floor! That’s what cats should be like, though, so I can’t be too annoyed 🙂 He does make me want cats, having grown up with them my whole life!

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Wardrobe Architect Week 7: Exploring Solids and Prints

Well I’ve got a little behind with my Wardrobe Architect posts! The last one I wrote was almost a month ago – so much for writing a post every 2 weeks! I ran out of time for blogging much the last couple of weeks because I was working on my dress for The Dressmakers Ball (which was amazing! Post to follow soon), which took much, much, much longer than I thought. Also last weekend we had a power cut for half an afternoon and a whole evening and night (the power came back on the early hours of the next morning) so I did lose some time there.

Anyway, to this week’s Wardrobe Architect post. It’s all about exploring solids and prints this week (it’s not just a clever title!). The introduction for this week says:

“What I’ve heard over and over from you guys is that prints are incredibly seductive. Fabric stores are awash in adorable prints that look great on the bolt. But often, we get them home and don’t know what to do with them. Or, we make garments that sit in our closet and never get worn, either because they are too loud, too cute, or they just don’t go with anything.

By thinking ahead about the prints that you are really drawn to, you can narrow your choices and sidestep this feeling of being overwhelmed at the fabric store. If you know what’s really you, you’re less likely to collect things simply because they’re pretty or cute.”

There are also some questions to think about to help you narrow your choices with regard to solids and prints:

Prints vs. solids: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually want to be comprised of prints? Some people wear prints all the time, for others they’re more of an accent.
I think at the moment prints are probably maybe 30-40% of my tops and dresses, but 0% of my trousers and skirts. I would like to have a couple of pairs of cool patterned slouchy trousers, but that probably is about the balance I like.

Scale: Do you tend to prefer large scale prints, small scale, or a mixture of both?
I think mostly I like smaller scale prints – being quite a small person I’m not sure I’d be able to pull off a giant print. Maybe if it was a simple shape of garment and there was, like, one repeat? Oooh, there’s an idea!

Contrast: Do the prints you like use lots of contrasting, bold colors? Or are they more tonal and subdued?
Definitely more tonal and subdued – I know I’d be a bit scared to wear something in crazy colours!

Naturalism: Do you feel drawn to flowing, organic, or naturalistic prints? Or are strong, abstract, geometric designs your thing? Or are there versions of both that you love?
I’m not really a fan of floral prints, so I would go for abstract and geometric designs definitely.

Mood: There are hundreds of styles of prints. Are there prints you choose that relate to your 5 style words?
Not sure, I’ll have to think more on this one.

I’ve narrowed down the kinds of prints I wear to a few categories.

Spots

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit Dress#SewDots Delphine skirtNavy Spotty Rushcutter DressBlue Spotty Archer Button Up
(Clockwise from top left: Drapey Knit dress, Sew Dots Delphine skirt (with a spotty lining), Blue Spotty Archer shirt, Dark Blue Spotty Rushcutter dress)


(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Stripes

Interestingly all the striped things I’ve made have been basically the same colour!

Breton Striped Plantain Tee
(Clockwise from top left: Colette Laurel, Ugly Dress Refashion, Marianne Dress (not yet blogged), Breton striped Plantain Tee)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Geometric (or not spots or stripes)

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtTilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative)Aztec Linden sweatshirt(Clockwise from top left: Melilot Shirt, Coco Dress, Aztec Pattern Linden, Moneta Party Dress)

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

Florals and Novelty

Weirdly I’ve actually made a few flowery things even though I didn’t think it was my thing! Also there are some cute novelty print fabrics, but I tend to steer clear of them as I’m afraid I’ll feel stupid wearing them!

Yellow and Navy Flowery Deer and Doe Plantain Tee

(Clockwise from top left: Flowery Archer, Flowery Plantain, Vintage Summer Dress, Orla Kiely-esque Colette Laurel)

Interestingly I don’t really wear these items very much, apart from the archer, which I think means I need more archers, and that the prints and fit of the 2 dresses weren’t brilliant!

These are 3 of my favourite novelty prints – I think I could pull off the blue cats one because it’s actually a little more abstract. Or maybe I just need to grow some balls and wear what the hell I like!?

(images from my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board)

I’ve found it really interesting to really analyse which prints I like and wear. The main theme, though, seems to be blue! I think I might have subconsciously known which prints I like, but having really thought about it and bringing it into my mind more consciously, hopefully my fabric buying won’t end with me thinking ‘what am I going to make’ and then ‘I’m never going to wear this’.

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March Makes and April Plans

March turned out to not be that productive a month for me sewing-wise, but I knew that would probably be the case as I was away 3 out of the last 4 weekends, and I do most of my sewing at the weekend. This also meant I didn’t really have anything finished to blog, hence the little break from blogging.

I did manage to make my toaster sweater, which has already got a lot of wear, so I think there are more of these in my future!

I mostly made the Simplicity 1696 trousers I’ve been planning since October……which is 6 months ago! I’ll hopefully finish them this weekend, then I’ll do a full post about all the fit adjustments I’ve done/will have to do. I’ve got to properly sew the leg seams (they’re just basted), add the waistband lining and hem them. Hopefully!

I also make a present for my niece’s second birthday, but I’ll save that for my full post at some point in the future.

I don’t think that’s too bad considering I was so busy and therefore tired! I’m definitely finding that I am happy to not have evening or weekend plans 95% of the time, and if I have to do stuff more often than that I get knackered!

So now onto my plans for April (which we’re almost a week into!). I’m hopeful of making a few things because I have next week off work and although I will go out and about a bit, I’m hoping to sew at least a bit on most of the days.

The first thing I’m hoping to make is some Carolyn Pyjamas out of this amazing boaty liberty fabric which one of my friends gave me a couple of weeks ago when I was in London. I love it! And the pattern is one of my #2017MakeNine. I’m thinking to add some red piping – although someone on instagram suggested I do white piping, which I think will also look good. Which do you think I should do? There are 3 metres, so I think it will be enough for a pair of pjs, though I may do short sleeves with long trousers if there isn’t enough for long sleeves.

My next must-make is what I hope will be a good Spring garment; a stripey Marianne Dress. This is a pattern I’ve had in my stash for ages, and I don’t know why I’ve not yet gotten around to making it! This is partly why I added it to my #2017MakeNine. I bought this navy scribble striped fabric after seeing it on Rosabella’s youtube channel. I’m sometimes wary of ordering fabric online but because she said it was good quality, I thought it safe to give it a go and it does feel nice. I hope it sews up well! I’m thinking I’ll make the shirt-sleeved version but without the collar and without colour-blocking, though I may change my mind! Any thoughts?

My third hopefully definite make is my denim Moss Skirt. I cut it out a while ago, and having made one already for my sister, I feel sort of confident that I can make it without too many places where I get stuck!

Of course, this is already a pretty ambitious bunch of projects, but I’m hoping to make a start on some jeans finally. Both of Closet Case Patterns’ jeans patterns are also on my #2017MakeNine so I want to tick off one or two this month! I’m going fabric shopping in Birmingham on Saturday this week and one of my main aims is to get some denim for one or both pairs.

If I get time after all of this (which seems really unlikely!) I want to have a go at the Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut Patterns. I bought this last month as I wanted a slightly more fitted jacket pattern than the By Hand London Victoria Blazer which I’ve made 3 times (1,2,3), as I feel more put-together at work in a blazer.

I’m also considering going to the Dressmakers’ Ball, which is on 12th May, so it might be that half of these plans go out of the window in favour of making a gown of some kind! I’m tempted to go just because when do you get the chance to make and wear a gown!? Are you going to the ball? Have you already started your dress?

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