Wardrobe Architect Week 9: The Capsule Wardrobe

After covering all the things that have been covered in the previous few weeks of the Wardrobe Architect, Colette say now is the time to put it into practical terms by coming up with a capsule wardrobe.

“A capsule wardrobe is a small, manageable subset of your wardrobe, and it usually is something you can plan seasonally (twice a year, or perhaps 4 times a year).

A typical capsule wardrobe consists of between 20 and 33 items, depending on who you ask and what kinds of items you’re including. It doesn’t have to include every single thing you might wear for the season, but it is the foundation for the rest of your wardrobe. The idea is that once you have the capsule wardrobe figured out, the rest is gravy.”

I feel like I’m getting slightly better at knowing what I wear and making accordingly, but I do have some gaps in my me mades and some alternative silhouettes I think I could explore.

The original post gives these handy prompts:

  1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season.
  2. Create a color palette.
  3. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.
  4. Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

1. Choose one to six silhouettes for the season

Since Summer is so short in the UK I tend not to focus so much on warm weather clothing, so I think my silhouettes will be for all year around – just maybe in different fabrics or without tights and cardigans in the Summer. Also I’ve covered a lot of this before in the week about exploring shapes, but it helps me to see things visually.

a. Skinny jeans/trousers with looser tops and shirts – I’m particularly drawn to button ups at the moment

b. Looser trousers with loose tops

I’m liking the coulotte trend at the moment, and I think they would be comfortable when it does get hot. Again I like them with loosers style tops.

c. Shift/swing dresses

d. Mini skirts with loose and/or cropped tops.

e. Cardigans, jackets and coats have pretty much been summed up in the above photos (which can all be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board).

2. Choose a colour palette.

I’ve covered my colour palette in the week about my colour story and the one about choosing a palette, but I’ll recap here.

3 & 4. Break down your silhouettes and colors into a list of pieces.Organize what to make, what to buy, and what you already own.

I’m going to cover these 2 together in terms of planning what to make, and looking at what I’ve already got. I’ve got more tops I think that anything else.

My blue patterned Melilot shirt (left) and my blue spotty archer see quite a lot of wear and they fit my palette and silhouettes.

Blue Patterned Melilot ShirtBlue Spotty Archer Button Up

I’ve got some short of cropped, and boxy-ish tops too, which I wear quite often, such as my silver toaster sweater and my mustard astoria top.

Mustard Ponte Seamwork Astoria

I have some nice shift/cocoony dresses, like my new Marianne dress, my electric blue peppermint magazine jersey dress, my drapey knit dress and my rushcutter.

#SewDots GBSB Drapey Knit DressNavy Spotty Rushcutter Dress

So then in terms of what to make, here are my plans (which will probably take a year to complete!)

Ginger Jeans in black and dark blue (and possibly mustard if I’m feeling bold in the future) and Morgan Jeans in dark blue and a lighter shade of denim.

I’ve got both the Papercut Guise Trousers and the Butterick B6178 (which came free with one of the magazines I’ve bought recently) and I think this has me pretty much covered to recreate the silhouettes above. I don’t have any specific fabric or colours in mind, but I think with the coulottes I want some more summery colours/prints. I might copy the stripey ones above too. And I like the spotty trousers above which I could copy with the guise pattern. I like the idea of patterned bottoms – I tend to wear plain bottoms and patterned tops.

I recently treated myself to both the Sew Over It Nancy Dress and the Pauline Alice Xerea Dress, so I should be able to make dresses in my dream silhouettes. I have some nice navy, grey and white patterned viscose which I’m planning for the Nancy and I’m thinking some colour blocking for the Xerea.

I’ve got the Closet Case Patterns Ebony Tee and Dress and the Named Patterns Inari Tee and Dress so between them they should cover most eventualities of tops (and dresses as alternatives to the ones above).

I also want to make 2 coats – one proper winter coat, maybe in a 60s style like the one from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book, and one a rip-off of Seasalt’s lovely duffle coats using the Colette Albion pattern.

Sea Salt Yellow Duffel Coat

Well I think that’s probably enough things to be getting on with for now! Maybe eventually I’ll reach peak capsule wardrobe. I’ll probably also still always make random things that don’t fit into the capsule!

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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’.

Wardrobe Architect Week 6: Organising Your Palette

I feel like I’ve lost my blogging mojo a little bit recently, but I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, so I’m going to do the next week of the Wardrobe Architect, week 6: Organising Your Colour Palette.

Following on from me identifying the colours I like wearing in my previous Wardrobe Architect post, this week is about sorting the colours into categories, which will hopefully help me make decisions about what to make in which of my colours. I have added a few extra colours to flesh out my palettes.

This was my original palette:

As they say in the original post for this week:

“Neutral colors are basics that go with just about anything. Think browns, grays, black, white, beige, etc.

Generally, neutrals convey an air of sophistication and elegance, though they can become boring if used exclusively or untempered by other kinds of visual interest, like texture, silhouette, or detail.”

 

Colette define ‘nearly neutrals’ as “anything you personally wear like a neutral. You feel confident combining them easily with other colors.”

“Your own definition of nearly neutrals can vary. Think of colors that seem to go well with everything, like burgundy, navy, wine red, very pale blush pink, olive green, gold, etc.”

I don’t have many statement colours, but this is definitely the happiest of my palettes!

“These are the colors that don’t necessarily go with everything, but have a lot of visual impact. For me, these colors elicit some of the strongest feelings. They have a lot more visual weight, and they tend to make clothing more recognizable.

Statement colors can be used in large or small doses. You can have many of them, or just a few.”

They also added metallics to their narrowed down palettes, but they really aren’t colours I wear so it felt like I would be forcing it to add some into mine.

I like how collecting the colours I picked last time into smaller collections will help me focus on creating a wardrobe which will hopefully mean things I make will go with other things I make – and if they don’t, I know they are statement colours so that’s okay!

Wardrobe Architect Week 5: Your Colour Story

This week’s Wardrobe Architect exercise is about coming up with a colour story for your wardrobe. To quote the original post:

“Color is an extremely powerful force in our lives.

Color affects our mood. It affects how food tastes to us. It affects how and what we buy. The color of the pills we take can even affect the efficacy of the medication within. That is what a powerful psychological effect color has over us.

Not only is color a potent communication tool, but it’s also a nuanced one. We are capable of perceiving a huge number of colors, each one arousing a slightly different feeling in us.

Perhaps you can’t articulate why a certain shade of apricot feels good to you, but a slightly yellower shade does not. Somewhere deep within your mind, a combination of biology, culture, and context makes that decision before you are even aware of it.

It creates a visceral, physical response that you experience as emotion.” (source)

I pretty much already knew what my palette would be, but it’s hard to pin down exact shades of blue (for example), so it did take longer than I thought it would. Also I struggled to come up with 12 colours! Looking through my handmade wardrobe, though, I’ve pretty much stuck to these colours, which really surprised me. I thought I was a bit more all over the place, but it seems I’ve always kept to a fairly limited palette!

I did pin some pictures on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board to help me narrow these colours down. I tried to avoid pinning pictures of clothes, though, so I wouldn’t pin things thinking I liked the colour, when actually I liked the silhouette. What strikes me is that this palette looks quite bright, but I feel like I dress quite boringly a lot of the time, so that needs rectifying. I also need more coral in my wardrobe. I really do like it but when I made my lace dress and jacket for the wedding I went to last year, I initially wanted a coral jacket and not a mustard one but I couldn’t find any fabric in the shade of coral I like – and it turns out coral is a word that means anything from pale pink to bright orange!

I feel like these colours are mostly the ones I think I look okay in – I would never put red on my colour palette for instance. Do you find you’re naturally drawn to clothes in colours that suit you?

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Wardrobe Architect Week 4: Proportions and Silhouettes

wardrobe-architectThis week’s Wardrobe Architect is about finding out what silhouettes we like to wear. It builds on last week’s assessment of the shapes of garments we like to wear and puts them together to make outfits, which emphasise or hide different areas of our bodies by ease or length. The idea is that we will come up with some key silhouettes we like, which will become the templates for what we sew and what will hopefully become a capsule wardrobe.

I came up with a few ideas for outfits I like to wear – some are smart, some are casual, some are for Winter and some for Summer. I found pictures that were the shape of garment I was looking for, but not necessarily the colour. All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board.

1.Skinny jeans, loose top, cardigan flats.

1.b Or the above outfit as a bit more casual with trainers and a different top.

2. Pleated Trousers with a loose shirt, jumper and flats

2.b Then there’s a more casual version of this with boyfriend jeans and trainers.

3. Short skirt, tights, slightly fitted top/shirt (tucked in), cardigan, flats or ankle boots.

4. Loose shift dresses, tights, cardigan, ankle boots.

5. Fit and flare Summer dresses with sandals.

 

I could swap out sandals for shoes or trainers and lose the cardigans and jumpers for more Summery versions of the outfits. Living in England we don’t have much of a Summer usually – a couple of weeks if we’re lucky – so layers are usually the way to go when it’s warmer.

I’ve found this week really helpful in terms of working out a capsule wardrobe! I’ve been feeling recently that I have lots of clothes and not much to wear, and I carry on making things but still think I have nothing to wear. This exercise will definitely help me pick what to make so that I have lots of combinations I can put together into outfits I actually like and feel are ‘me’.

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February Makes and March Plans

I literally can’t believe we’re already in March. (I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation recently, so this sentence is my homage to Chris Traeger!) I was moderately successful in completing my makes for February – I made only one thing I planned, but I made 2 extra things I hadn’t planned. I also had a mammoth cutting out session so I still have a few projects ready to go!

In a rare moment of blogging, I’ve actually blogged everything I made in February already (this may come back a bite me on the arse when I run out of things to blog!). First up I made this Colette Mabel skirt, to match the one I made for my sister for Christmas.

my-grey-quilty-mabel-1I also made what I thought would be my entry into the #MonetaParty, which was in the end my first version of the pattern, from the navy-with-white-flecks jersey:

moneta-party-dress-1Then I made my second, way more successful version of the Moneta, which rescued the pattern in my eyes – I felt it was a bit frumpy and not really my style in my first version. It goes to show the importance of fabric choice!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-6

So my plans for March are pretty much the things I didn’t get around to making in February……including these effing trousers which have been on my to-make list since I started doing these posts back in October! They are at least cut out! I’m planning to tackle them this weekend.

october-planning-simplicity-trousersI do also want to make my Toaster Sweater, which is also already cut out. I think it will be a good top for the still-quite-cold-weather we’re having in Gloucestershire! And I love the silver jersey I’ve got for it. Now if I could only get my overlocker working……

toaster-sweater-fabric

If I have time – which is unlikely to be honest as I’m away for 2 whole weekends in March – I’ll try to make my denim Moss Skirt, which is basically a copy of the one I made for my sister.

I want to try to get some fabric this month to try to make a start on my #2017MakeNine. The Moneta Dress was one of them, so I’ve at least made one. I also have Christine Haynes’s Marianne Dress on there and I do have fabric for that so hopefully that will be made in April.

I also want to get back into refashioning – I have quite a stash of garments to refashion – as that is one of the things I consider to be under the ‘thrift’ part of my blog name! Though as I’m away for some of March, this might have to wait until April!

What are your sewing plans for March?

Definitely my #MonetaParty Dress

jazzy-moneta-party-dressAfter what turned out to be my wearble muslin of the Colette Moneta, I was persuaded by Sarah from Like Sew Amazing (who has a fab new vlog, the first episode of which is about all 6 of her Monetas and features yours truly!) to make another one when she invited me to her house for a irl Moneta Party. It was really fun to sew with someone else – it’s normally such a solitary pursuit, it was a novelty to do it with company!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-2I feel the main saving grace of this Moneta compared to the other, is the fabric. Eagle-eyed readers may recognise the fabric as the one I used for my Coco Dress. I used the pattern in a different way, centering the space between the diamonds instead of the diamonds themselves as I did for the Coco. I think it works better this way, which is good because to start with I was going to place the diamonds around the bodice in the same was as the Coco. And the diamonds pretty much line up on the side seams. Yay!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-4The fabric looks even more trippy and like a magic eye picture from the back!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-7The black fabric is some ponte I bought from my local sewing shop. I had thought they didn’t have that much of a range of dressmaking fabrics, but actually it’s pretty good when I looked closely and ignored the boxes of fat quarters! They have needlecord, lots of patterned cottons and a pretty good range of jerseys for a shop of that size. They also have everything you could possibly want in their massive range of haberdashery items.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-5I really like the ponte as it has a nice structure to it, making it a lot easier to sew with than the thin fabric from my last version! The jazzy fabric is quite thin, but not too difficult to manhandle for just a couple of seams! The only problem with this combination of fabrics is the skirt pulls down the bodice slightly because the jazzy fabric is much more stretchy.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-6I again cut out the straight size xs and this time didn’t need to make any fitting changes under the arms – I guess different jerseys behave in different ways. I also cut out the short sleeves instead of the longer ones because I didn’t think the 3/4 length sleeves would work in the black fabric. I did cut out the sleeves in both fabrics and asked Sarah’s opinion and she thought the black would look better – and she was totally right!

The main change I made, which I hadn’t initially planned, was to add a neckband.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-3I measured the neckline of the bodice – the front neck was 34.5cm and the back neck 31cm. Added together this comes to 65.5cm. I decided to take 4cm off this length, guessing that this would be enough smaller to sit flat but not so much smaller it puckered the neckline. I’m sure there is a science to this, but my guess was okay. I then added 2cm back on for the seam allowance to be able to sew the 2 ends together into a loop. I cut the band to be 5cm wide. After sewing the 2 ends together, I folded the band in half lengthways, wrong sides together and tacked it all the way around. I then lined up the 2 edges of the band with the neckline of the bodice, stretching it slightly to make it fit. I then stitched it with a 1cm seam allowance, flipped it to the inside and topstitched it with my twin needle.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-8If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen that while at Sarah’s house I played with an overlocker for the first time. She had it all set up ready and it wasn’t as scary to use as I thought it would be – I feared the fabric would run away and cut itself in half before I knew what was happening! But it’s pretty much like a normal sewing machine, of course! Some of the insides (which I had time to do at Sarah’s) look lovely so I’m definitely a convert to overlockers, and I even got mine out the box for the first time, having bought it a couple of months ago! I managed to thread it but the stitches were all loopy and no matter how much I changed the tension, it didn’t fix it. Any ideas? Is it possible I did actually thread it wrong and it kind of works but not properly?

I’ll leave you with this outtake from my photos – this was me testing the camera set up, feeling really cold and wearing my glasses (which I took off for the photos!)

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-9
 

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Twin Mabels for Twin Sisters

You know how I was making those skirts for my sister for Christmas? Well one of the 3 I made in time for Christmas was a Mabel made out of this cool quilted jersey from Fabricland (though we got it in grey and it seems to be only available in khaki now).

This is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-1And this is my sister’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabelLike us the skirts are more fraternal (non-identical) twins than identical twins. They are both a size small – I traced off a size bigger in this pattern after the too-tight original Mabel I made a couple of years ago. Phoebe’s is 3 inches longer than mine, which was the length she requested. I made mine in the standard length for the pattern, which hits me just on the knee.

I’m pretty pleased with my pattern matching skillz on both, if I do say so myself! This is Phoebe’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-3And this is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-6

Mine isn’t quite as good as the  pattern isn’t uninterrupted – I’ve got two poofy bits and 2 flats bits (technical terms, obviously!) next to each other, when they should alternate. But at least the lines match up.

I managed to mostly match them on the waistband too, at least in terms of the vertical lines, if not the horizontal zigzags perfectly.

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-4Mine was a bit better matched across the back – sorry Phoebe! One of the back panels of hers ended up slightly on the wonk – I guess the fabric wasn’t perfectly folded in half. I haven’t done a huge amount of pattern matching, so I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out 🙂

my-grey-quilty-mabel-7I love the little kick pleat at the back!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-3These are definitely really quick skirts to sew up. At least they are when you don’t sew the waistband on upside down, without realising until you’ve finished the skirt and topstitched the top edge to stop it rolling. Though I’m just guessing that this would be really annoying and time-consuming to fix……… I actually didn’t topstitch the top edge of mine because I was feeling lazy!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-5I used a twin needle (heh!) for the hem and stitching in the ditch of the bottom of the waistband, and topstitching the top edge of Phoebe’s skirt, but for mine I just used a normal zigzag for the hem and stitching in the ditch. You actually really can’t see the stitching on this fabric, so it didn’t matter to me too much on my own whether it looked all professional like a twin needle makes it look.

my-grey-quilty-mabel-8I modelled the skirt with a tight rtw top tucked in, so you could see it, but I’ll really wear it with this black jumper in the Winter, and maybe my Astoria when the weather gets a bit warmer. I actually wore it exactly as in the above photo to work on Monday and I got quite a few compliments. And I love saying ‘thank you, I made it’ when I get complimented on something I’ve made. #sorrynotsorry.

Who would you like to wear matching clothes with?

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