One of the goals in my sewing life is to, at some point, make some garments that actually co-ordinate. I haven’t particularly focused on this yet, as I’ve preferred to make things that appealed on a standalone basis, to acquire new skills or see how something “worked”. For this autumn/winter though, I’m going to try and make a few items that co-ordinate – both with each other – and items I already have. That will inevitably mean some solids – and Lordy, do I need some interesting solids that aren’t Old Navy t-shirts – as well as a few print pieces and even – a COAT. Duh duh duh! I signed up for a class in October, so I’m hoping that will go well!
Anyway, I decided to set myself a couple of loose rules to attempt to make the process more practical and useful:
- Firstly, I wanted to use as much existing stash as possible, both in terms of fabric and patterns. I have a healthy amount of each and I really must try to make a dent in those piles. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this completely, but wanted to try.
- I also wanted to actually reuse some patterns I’ve already done most of the work with. I haven’t remade anything yet and I have a few good and decent patterns that I’ve been intending to remake anyway.
- I’m challenging myself to only make items that a) match each other in some way (which is obviously the idea of an A/W wardrobe), but more importantly, b) that I can make at least two outfits with, using existing wardrobe items I own. I’m hoping this will curb my tendency to make/buy clothes that I like, but go with NOTHING I own. This will also get easier as time goes on, since they should at least match new items from this group I’ve already finished.
Alright, so that’s the idea. Let’s see how it pans out! Enough waffling and let’s see what I’ve come up with:
So, as mentioned, I’m taking the plunge into the dark art of coat-making. I have a two-session class with plenty of sewing in between, so hopefully I will have a new coat before the end of October. After a fair bit of looking around I settled on the new Lisette B6385 coat. I had spotted it a while ago and liked it, plus it’s a classic style and not crazily difficult (I don’t think, at least) for a first coat. I feel like I’ll get some good coat fundamentals under my belt with this design. I haven’t decided on which collar option I’ll go for and I still need to get fabric (this weekend). It’ll likely be navy/blue/charcoal/wine or similar. So, have pattern, need fabric.
As a second jacket project I’m thinking either the Grainline Morris blazer (that everyone has made) or possibly even a rainjacket. I do live in Seattle after all. I already have the Sewaholic Cypress cape and Seymour jacket patterns, so this might be the way to go. I prefer the Morris as a project, but in truth I’d probably get more use from the Seymour. And they’re both pretty cool rainjackets! This is a second tier make so I’ll make one of them if I have time left. I have olive or navy ponte if it’s the Morris, but will need to buy fabric for the others. Have one of pattern/fabric for each.
So, not to bore you with body issues, but the state of my wardrobe is that I have a ton of nice clothes that are still too small for me, post-baby. I have maternity clothes that are obviously not something I’m wearing any more and then I have the “post-baby” clothes I bought. They are the ones every new mum buys to “make do” until they get back to their pre-pregnancy size. So I have a handful of Old Navy tshirts and some jogging pants, as well as a few non-descript skirts and baggy summer dresses. I know plenty of mums who got back or close to their pre-baby size quite quickly and I find it very impressive. I haven’t yet though and, while I find it a little frustrating, it’s frankly about time I made some decent fitting clothes at my current size. All this is to say that this is the principal driver for some of my choices in this A/W collection: good solid basics that fit me well! Yay!
Linden sweatshirt: I made a short-sleeved Linden earlier this year and I wear it all the time. I recently bought a surprise bundle of terry knit fabrics from LA Finch Fabrics and I was very, VERY happy with what I received. The knits are all great colours and they are such nice quality. There are a couple that are soft as butter – this is a step up from what I’ve seen before, I can tell you. I can thoroughly recommend this pack if you’re looking for a similar lot. Anyway, I’m going to use one for a long-sleeved Linden. Have pattern READY and fabric.
Sewing Bee Breton top: I’ve been thinking about a Breton top for a while, PLUS I received a dare from Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow to sew something from this book. So I kill at least two birds (possibly three or four) with one stone! I have some lovely soft oatmeal and navy striped jersey knit I bought from District Fabrics in a sale a while back . It’s not that original but it will work! Have pattern, have fabric.
Seamwork Astoria jumper: I’ve already made this one! Yay! Again, it was using existing pattern and fabric. It should co-ordinate well with the Beignet and maxi skirt I think. Had pattern, had fabric.
Colette Moneta: My last Moneta was a success, so I’m going to make another, probably in a slightly heavier fabric. I wear dresses all year round, so it will get good wear. Existing pattern READY, haven’t decided on fabric.
Named Clothing Tuuli: I really want to make this dress since it reminds me a little of the Moneta, which worked well. This would be a new pattern though, so I’m keeping it as a second tier make. If I do make it, it will definitely be a print. New pattern/new fabric probably.
I’m trying to focus on separates for this season as that’s what I really need, so I’m planning three skirts:
Liesl & Co Everyday Skirt: A skirt I already made and which was a success. This time I think I’ll go for something like chambray in a solid to make it a multi-tasker. Having said that, so many of the other pieces are solids, there’s a good chance I’ll change my mind. I have tons of nice cotton prints I could use for this. Have pattern READY, have fabric.
Colette Beignet skirt: I’ve had this pattern for a while and have admired many versions of it by other sewists. The truth is I was holding on this one for a little weight loss, but sod it. I have a lovely herringbone blue/black fleece that might work nicely. Have pattern, have fabric.
M6966: I had a black maxi skirt that I bought while I was pregnant. Boring it was, but I wore that thing to death. So practical when you’re on the run and it’s cold outside. I found this pattern lurking in my stash and will make it from some nice soft black rayon knit I already own. Have pattern, have fabric.
Aaahh, trousers. I’m definitely a jeans-wearer, but I’ll save that for a later date I think. The coat is enough! What I would like to do is get a good fit on some trousers and make a couple of “all-round” pairs that I can throw on. It’s been more challenging than I thought finding a pattern! I’ve had some great suggestions from different people (including Kamila from A Swarm of Chickadees) and I now have a little trousers/pants pile to work with. (I probably shouldn’t put the words “pile” and “trousers” so closely together in a sentence). I may write a separate post on the trouser-hunting thing since I found it so tricky, but, for now, I’m choosing some “classic” styles to try and get a good fit going:
Pauline Alice Port trousers: These look like a good all-round chino style trouser and there is plenty of help with the fit. There are some excellent articles on the Pauline Alice blog about adjusting the pattern and this definitely helped sway me. They are ankle-length, which gave me a little pause, but I think I can make that work. I have some nice grey herringbone fleecey/wool fabric from Robert Kaufman, which I’m thinking might be nice. Have pattern/have fabric.
Style Arc Barb: I’ve seen a fair bit written about these and I’ll be honest: they’re not the type of trousers I would normally go for. BUT, I got the pattern free for signing up to the Style Arc newsletter, plus I’ve been interested in their patterns for a while, so it’s a good chance to try one. And, most importantly, I feel it could be a great pair of trousers to practice fit on. Let’s see! Fabric wise – hmm. They suggest stretch
gabardine bengaline (thanks for the correction Siobhan!) and I had to look that up to see what it was! 🙂 I’m not sure what I’ll use yet for these, but I think it will likely be black. Have pattern, maybe have fabric.
I do have quite a few more pairs of trousers I think are great, so if I have some success with these first two, I may move onto those after! One of these is the Papercut Patterns Guise trousers. Gorgeous!
So there you are! There are my plans for the next few months. What do you think? Am I crazy? I have a few other wee bits and pieces in there too of course: a couple of Xmas gifts, sweaters for my boys and I just began construction of a new bag, so maybe it’s a little ambitious. It should be fun though! 😀
14 thoughts on “A/W wardrobe plans or Trying To Be Organised”
You are very well prepared! I made a pair of Style Arc Elle pants recently and really loved them; now I’m about to cut out some Wallis pants. Just a warning that the stretch bengaline that many of their pants is drafted for is *extremely* stretchy, so if you try to substitute with another stretch woven you may find them a bit small. I hear the bengaline they sell is of very high quality, but mine just came from Spotlight.
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Prepared is the correct word. Whether it actually happens is another matter, heh. Bengaline, bengaline, of course – you are quite correct. I looked up wool gabardine as a suggestion for the coat, not these trousers. I confess that even after looking up bengaline, it still sounds more like a cough medicine than a fabric choice to me, so I am most grateful for your tip. I can see there’s quite a bit to be said on it from patternreview, so I’ll do a little more hunting/researching. Ta again! PS. What is Spotlight? Is it an Australian shop?
Yes, Spotlight is an Australian chain store. Much like JoAnn’s, but I think they have a slightly better selection of fabric. Bengaline is a curious fabric – I see it a lot in RTW here and of course in Style Arc patterns. But it doesn’t seem to be readily available in the US. I think Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow did a video review of it to illustrate its properties to her US audience. If you can’t find any, I’m happy to buy some and post it to you, assuming postage costs wouldn’t be *too* prohibitive – I’ve seen some on the Spotlight clearance table for $8/m but it usually retails for about $17/m.
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Well, that’s extremely generous of you. Thank you. I’m away to hunt for some coat fabric on Saturday (actually for the Lisette B6385 coat, as I think you were asking me if I’d tried the Lisette range on another post; this is the first one, can’t wait!), so I’ll have a look and also scope out my favourite online shops if the physical store doesn’t have any. I hope I can find some, but will bear your kind offer in mind if need be. Similarly, if you need anything from the US, just let me know. I don’t know how costs compare, but it’s a lot cheaper here than in the UK for many things.
Believe it or not, JoAnn has bengaline – online and in the store. I bought some in navy at the weekend. it’s U.S. $10 a yard, but I always have a coupon 🙂 I have yet to work with it, so I can’t say how stretchy it will be, but I’m trying out a pattern so didn’t want to go for the expensive version.
Ooh great! I will check it out, particularly with the nutso Black Friday sale Jo-Ann has on this weekend. I’ll just try and time it well, so as not to be crushed by the hordes. So, I didddd actually find something similar and then managed to cut the trousers out the wrong way, i.e. with the stretch going down. I really don’t know how I managed that, but it put me off sewing them for a while! 🙂 Maybe the time has come to try again… anyway, I will stop rambling. Thanks for your helpful comment!
Blimey! You’ve got some plans! And I’m sure you’ll get through it!
The coat class sounds fun. And I’m interested in the Breton top in particular as I’ve been meaning to make that for a friend for a while now.
Looking forward to catching up with your progress.
(Bengaline- cough medicine … lol!)
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Haha, you are so right, I know it. Ah well – got to have something to aim for, right? And so many of them are either fairly simple knits or repeats, I’m quite optimistic (or in denial). I’ve already traced out the Breton, so that should be done soon I hope! I’m interested in the fact it’s a facing actually – haven’t done that on a knit before!
I’m definitely on board with sewing (shopping, knitting, dressing…) for the body you have now, rather than waiting til you are some other size or shape. It’s just too sad, and makes you grumpy at your body, rather than grumpy at your clothes for not fitting you – “yay my body in its awesome clothes” is much more fun 🙂
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Yes, you are 100% correct. I hadn’t quite gotten to the totally grumpy at my body stage, but I do want to make and wear certain clothes and I got a bit fed up about that. I’ve never been someone who buys smaller clothes for “when they lose weight” or anything, so I figured I should just go for it. Thanks for the reply and back-up! 🙂
Yeah, I’ve got a wardrobe full of clothes from skinnier days, but your post has reminded me to get ruthless with them – if I can tear them up and turn them into something I can actually wear, hurrah! If not, they’re going to the charity shop. However beautiful they are, if they don’t actually fit they’re just sitting around taking up space and making me feel bad for no good reason.
The sale starts at 6 am on Wednesday. It will probably be crazy – which is why I went at the weekend. In JoAnn the bengaline is in the suiting section. One time I was in the store looking for ponte roma and they looked at me like I was potty, so don’t bank on anyone knowing what you are talking about. I figured out that the price of $9.99 is a clue and also fabric content of 81% polyester, 15% rayon and 4% spandex. And bengaline was on the bolt end in tiny letters – well, tiny to my eyes! I just noticed on the web site that it says hand wash and dry cleaning recommended. I threw the yardage in a cold wash in the machine at the weekend. Woops. But it seemed to come out fine, but I didn’t measure before and after for shrinkage.
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Thanks for the tips! Actually, we’re going up to Vancouver for Thanksgiving (well, not for Thanksgiving, but you know what I mean), but not leaving until Thu, so Wed it will have to be. My very local JoAnn’s is fairrrlllly quiet compared to some of the bigger ones, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed! I will use your clues accordingly and track the fabled bengaline down! And I’m glad you told me that about the wash because I have to be honest – I’m of the “life’s too short to hand wash” school of thought. I can live with some shrinkage! 😀