The new year is here and with it the new years resolutions! I made quite a few for myself. As per usual, some of which are more realistic than others if I am being completely honest but one of the biggest challenges I have given myself for this year is avoiding purchasing nay new clothing items for myself. Instead I will be attempting to sew all of the clothing items I need throughout the year (and probably a couple of more).
Ready for another new pattern release!?
This is the pattern I didn’t even know I needed until I had it but boy, oh boy was I in need of it! What pattern am I talking about, you ask? Well the new Patterns for Pirates Brunch Blouse of course!
In case you missed it, I had a pretty adventurous time sewing a dress made out of a beautiful woven fabric a few months ago that made me a bit nervous to take on this project, but the style was so cute and I already had the fabric (a silky print from JoAnn’s) in my stash so I took the leap and made another dress, this time with much better results!
Now don’t get me wrong, I still love me some good knits but sometimes I have a hard time getting a good “dressy” or “professional” look from my beloved and oh so comfy Double Brushed Polyester or Cotton Spandex blends. Wovens, however, lend themselves much better to a dressy and professional look but of course can be totally casual too (it’s all about that styling!).
Made For Mermaids newest pattern just released, the Cora Culottes! These super adorable shorts come with a variety of inseams from 4 inches (which are the ones I made up during testing) up to seventeen inches and give you the look of a full skirt with the comfort (and anti-chafing amazingness) of a pair of shorts. They are also super comfy, breezy, and endlessly versatile!
One of the things you learn very quickly when sewing clothing is how many different types of “apparel fabrics” there are and how many different fabrics fit into the categories of wovens, knits, linens, etc. The next thing you learn is how incredibly important it is to stick with the “right” fabric for any given project or you can easily end up with a bunch of wasted time, energy, fabric, and money, crying on your closet floor wishing you would have just followed the instructions. in the first place.. (Please tell me that’s happened to someone else too so I feel a little less embarrassed right now.. No? Ok then… )
Knowing all of this though, I broke all the rules last week when I made a knit cardigan pattern, the Patterns for Pirates Grandpa Cardi, out of a woven apparel fabric with absolutely ZERO stretch. It was a lot of work and quite the process but the end results made it so worth it!
Whoo buddy has this project been an adventure!
In case you aren’t in the Patterns for Pirates or Made for Mermaids pattern groups on Facebook (which is silly because OF COURSE you are right??) the fall 2017 #sewminicapsule contest is just wrapping up. You can read more about the contest here, but basically the point is to use the patterns from those designers only to make a mini capsule wardrobe. I talked a lot more about the process of planning such a capsule in a previous post (which you so should go read if you struggled at all with planning a capsule wardrobe!) and wanted to share the fruits of my labor, if you will, the product of my efforts, and the rewards from my sewing struggles, my 2017 mini fall capsule wardrobe!!
Lets start with a quick break down of all my nine pieces! You’ll see they are all very simple and go really well together, which is the magic of all of the planning we did previously (see what I did there??). This is literally my perfect casual fall wardrobe and I am so beyond smitten!
With fall right around the corner, I am already thinking of fall outfits and everything else fall. Flannels, puffy vests, leggings, comfy sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes, are all the things of my dreams right now. (Even though it is literally just starting to get hot in Minnesota but whatever!)
And after loving having a spring/summer mini capsule wardrobe so much, I have been thinking about my fall capsule wardrobe and how I want that to look. I learned so much from doing my spring/summer capsule wardrobe that, thankfully, I am able to go into my fall planning with a much more critical mindset and a few more tricks my sleeve, which of course I am going to share with you!
I have worked out a two-part “system” for planning my own capsule wardrobes, part one being “pre-planning” and the second being “planning” (original naming, I know) that makes my pieces all work so much better together and give me the most possible outfit combinations. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in because this is going to be a long one!
If you ever want a project to challenge your sewing skills just make a swimsuit (or four) on a deadline!
I was lucky enough to be able to be a tester for Patterns for Pirates new Take The Plunge one-piece suit which means for the last couple of weeks swim suits are ALL I have been sewing. The whole process of being a tester was an absolute blast though, and while it was stressful at times trying to make something perfect to photograph while sewing with swimwear fabric for literally the first time ever, I now have three new suits (one was a total lost cause) that are comfortable, fit me really well, and that I am very proud of.
Fit is everything when it comes to clothes. Even the most expensive clothes can look incredibly cheap when they are ill fitting. I have said it before and I stand by it, making your own clothes is the best way to make sure you get the perfect fit for you and your body. Utilizing a good tailor can help too though 😉 Style, however, can be just as important and can be even more challenging than finding the perfect fit.
Knowing your “body shape” is the first step in trying to determine what clothing styles are going to work for you. We all know bodies that come in a wide ranges of sizes, heights, and proportions of course and that, no matter what, those bodies are all beautiful but knowing which basic “shape” your body is can take a lot out of the frustration out of picking what to wear. There are a lot of different websites that already explain how to determine your body shape, including this one and this one, so I won’t go into the procedure or the math of determining body shape here but I will caveat this with saying these are very vague categories and, even within the categories, there can be a wide range of body types. For example, I consider myself a “full hourglass” meaning I have the general proportions of an hourglass figure but I still want to, and need to, include the fact that I have a large chest and a big booty. Those are all important things to consider when I look at style lines in clothing and proportions of garments and just saying ” I am an hour glass” would give me the guidance I really need.
Today I wanted to talk quickly about one of the big things that brought me to the idea of utilizing a capsule wardrobe in the first place. This topic is a bit different than the projects that I usually share but to me it is important and I am going to try to keep it brief!
I have mentioned before on my blog that I love a good documentary. They are one of my favorite things to listen to while I am sewing and I will watch a documentary on just about any topic really, I’m not picky. Vegetarianism, the Hoover Dam, weird animals of the world, an island that operates completely off of clean, self made energy (highly recommend by the way!), are all topics I have learned more about through a documentary because, seriously, I will watch anything.
A couple of months ago I stumbled across a documentary on the fast fashion industry called The True Cost. The caption intrigued me and I hadn’t found anything else to watch yet so I put it on as simple background noise. Ten minutes into the documentary I was no longer sewing, I was completely engrossed in the documentary. In a tiny little nutshell, the movie explains the changes in the fashion industry over the last couple of decades, the reasons behind the change, and how it has affected people across the world and it resonated with me on a personal level. It is heartbreaking, upsetting, disturbing and eyeopening all at the same time. (If you dont know about how bad fast fashion can be I highly recommend you read this as soon as humanly possible!)
I had started the documentary and began to sew not more than two hours after getting home from the mall where I had purchased clothing items from Forever 21, Francesca’s, and other stores that advertise getting new stock everyday as a great thing. None of the items I bought that day were things I loved but they were trendy and cheap so I brought them home anyway. The items were also terrible quality. I knew even when I was buying them that I wouldn’t have them more than a couple of months. They were the exact pieces of clothing that the movie talks about. The exact cause of all of the pain and suffering I had just watched.
The Hey June Lane Raglan has quickly become one of my favorite patterns! I have made three so far and plan to make a few more in the next couple of weeks (or months) if time allows. It is a super quick and easy sew and, depending on what material you choose, can look and feel super casual or super dressy.
My three versions range that whole spectrum with a super casual version made from $4.99 white knit fabric form hobby, a mid level casual grey version with a heathered jersey from a local fabric outlet, and dressy camel version made from a think ponte knit purchased at my local JoAnn fabrics.