Wardrobe Architect 2015: Week 11, Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe & Sewing Queue

I’m still (still!!) trying to part with garments I almost never wear to make room for more useable items, but I’ve accepted that this is an ongoing process. After all, time’s passing and I want to get started on the next stage (actually sewing stuff) while I don’t have to rush because I have nothing to wear. I’ve tried to purge as much warm-weather clothes as possible and my plan is to use the fall/winter stuff I already have for now then ditch what I don’t love once it’s warm enough that I’m not wearing them frequently.

Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe


  1. MAKE: Knee-length Hollyburn in black cotton broadcloth or poplin; white lining with white eyelet ruffle (longer than overskirt); contour waistband; elastic in back of waistband
  2. MAKE: Long petticoat skirt in black lawn or voile with deep ruffle, gathered at waist with back elastic
  3. IN PROCESS: Brown midi petticoat skirt–need to shorten the skirt I have and fix waistband (add lining? add pockets?)
  4. IN PROCESS: Blue denim Hollyburn–need to take in waistband (okay, this color isn’t technically in my palette, but I’m considering it a neutral denim)
  5. IN PROCESS: Black floral circle skirt with attached black eyelet petticoat–need to replace waistband


  1. MAKE: Peplum top in black ponte with Nevermore collar (Simplicity 1699 view B)
  2. MAKE: Sweetheart t-shirt in white jersey (from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual)
  3. MAKE: Sweetheart t-shirt in black jersey (assuming this pattern works for me)
  4. MAKE: Peplum top from Lady Skater in cream? or cream floral?
  5. MAKE: Another cream or green top?
  6. HAVE: Black & white polka dot Bronte top
  7. HAVE: Gray & black horses print Bronte top
  8. IN PROCESS: Black tunic top from Weekender Dress pattern
  9. IN PROCESS: Black gauze top–need to add rows of elastic to waist


  1. HAVE: Gray floral Lady Skater
  2. HAVE: Black and gray Weekender Dress
  3. HAVE: Green and pink floral Lady Skater
  4. HAVE: Green knee-length dress with neck ties (purchased)


  1. MAKE: Long-sleeved bolero in gray (or black?) linen or laceweight sweater knit or lightweight sweatshirt fleece (Butterick 5232 [out of print, sorry!])
  2. HAVE: Olive military jacket (purchased, but need to fix closures)
  3. HAVE: Gray jersey elbow-length cardigan w/ ruffles (purchased)
  4. HAVE: Black and cream lightweight sweater knit cardigan (purchased)

So that’s 22 pieces, 18 of which I will have made! I already have the patterns I need, so I feel pretty confident that I’ll be making useful items (the only thing I haven’t made up before is the Sweetheart t-shirt).

My most urgent need is for white and cream tops, and then skirts (I’m a little sad there are no dresses* in my queue, but the separates will be more useful). I’ve ordered swatches of various cotton knits and lightweight wovens to figure out what fabrics will work for the items on my to-make list. While I’m waiting for those, I suppose I should really start tackling the in-process items–most of these are refashions or fixes of things I’ve already made to make them a bit more useful.

The only things on my to-purchase list are socks (probably some lightweight knee-highs) and another pair of sandals.

I hope to have all these completed in the next couple of months so that I’m wearing them when it’s warm (and getting into hellishly hot). Then I’ll revisit the Wardrobe Architect exercises (and possibly do another wardrobe purge) in July so I can start planning and sewing for fall and winter. (However, although I call this the “spring/summer” capsule wardrobe, I do fully intend to wear many of these in fall/winter, so I won’t end up with two entirely discrete capsule wardrobes. At the moment, I anticipate making long-sleeve t-shirts, turtlenecks, and wool dresses.)

*Totally unrelated: I’m seriously considering doing the Weekend Dressmaking Intensive at Workroom Social in June. It’s a little pricey for this penny-pincher, but I could really use some fitting help!

Wardrobe Architect 2015: Weeks 9 & 10

I chose three silhouettes for my spring/summer capsule wardrobe:

spring-summer-sil-1 spring-summer-sil-2 spring-summer-sil-3

Of course, these aren’t the actual garments or colors, but they’re showing roughly the shapes and types of pieces I’ll be going for. They fall into these categories:

  • Fitted t-shirts/knit tops
  • Peplum tops
  • High-waisted skirts, knee length or below and A-line or wider
  • Skater dresses
  • Cropped cardigans and boleros
  • Strappy sandals with closed toes and low heels

This should give me some good variety, since I can mix and match tops and skirts, and even layer skater dresses over longer skirts for another look.

I’m not actually going to narrow down my main palette for the season since my palette is pretty limited to start with, but I may incorporate more floral prints.


I feel like my plans are becoming more concrete! I’ve already been listing items I have that fit into these requirements and thinking about what I need to make to fill the gaps.

Wardrobe Architect 2015: Week 8, Makeup & Hair

Wardrobe Architect Week 8 is all about “your beauty routine.” This is easy to cross off the list since I barely do anything for mine. I don’t wear makeup regularly (only on rare special occasions and for some costumes) and I almost always wear my hair the same way. I already spend the least amount of time I possibly can on getting ready in the morning (sleep is more important than “beauty” to me–I am not a morning person) and I think I’ve pared my products down to the bare minimum (moisturizer and lip balm). I could probably stand to throw out some products I never use, but there isn’t a lot. So I’m going to count this week done!

Dottie Vintage Bag

The strap hardware on my regular bag broke recently, so I used this opportunity (*cough*excuse*cough*) to make the Dottie Vintage Bag I’ve been planning.


Outer fabric is She Who Sews Vintage Canvas Black.


Check out that tape measure ribbon I used for zipper pulls! Perfect, right?? I picked it up from my favorite trim store, Pacific Trimming. I also used a two-way purse zipper, though the pattern didn’t call for one.


Lining is She Who Sews Tape Measure Red.


It turns out this “red” was a bit too orange for my taste, so I used some generic gray gabardine (probably 100% polyester–from some random fabric store in the Garment District) for the handles and piping. But I think I like it better with the gray anyway.


The pattern has just one pocket–the interior zipper pocket. I added three more: two interior slots for my iPod and a pen, and one exterior patch pocket with a magnetic snap for my MetroCard.


I don’t sew non-apparel items often, but I’m pretty pleased with this. The pattern wasn’t difficult to follow; the only part that ended up being really tricky was attaching the main body pieces to the top/bottom piece (which is joined in one big loop at that point). I wonder if there’s any trick to sewing two pieces together that are meant to be at right angles from each other. I also found that the CraftFuse didn’t want to stay fused (maybe I didn’t iron it long enough?), so next time I use it I’ll machine baste around the fused pieces, too.

This is also the first time I’ve made piping! It could be tighter; just don’t look too closely, okay? 🙂 It was easier and less tedious than I though it’d be. Maybe I should try to incorporate it in garments more often.

I wish I’d added a cross-body strap so it’s a bit more useable for me. Even though I used the longer strap length, they’re really too short to comfortably fit over my shoulder. Next time!

Wardrobe Architect 2015: Weeks 5, 6, & 7, Color Palettes and Solids vs. Prints

Wardrobe Architect Weeks 56, and 7 were fairly easy for me. I chose to pick up paint chips to determine my color palette (I found this much simpler than trying to pick colors in Photoshop). As you can see, my palette is almost entirely neutrals (or “nearly neutrals”). This isn’t a shock to me; they’re honestly the colors I like, plus it’s true I tend to gravitate toward them because they make matching clothes easy. (Apparently yellow and orange are entirely banned, and I only have one purple item of clothing, which I’ve kept just because I love the shape.) It’s really useful to spell this out, though, since I do sometimes find myself drawn to a certain item of clothing, a fabric, or an accessory only to regret the purchase later because either it just isn’t “me” or it doesn’t match anything else in my closet! Now I can point to this palette to restrain those urges and focus on what really works.


(Of course, the paint manufacturers have much more fanciful names for these colors.)

As for solids vs. prints, I tend to prefer solids. I’m amused to find that I have strong feelings about certain prints (I hate blocky geometrics, most stripes, and chevrons, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in animal print). The only prints I enjoy pretty consistently are florals–but only realistic and/or “antique-y” florals. I prefer naturalistic prints and dislike anything modern and/or “loud.” Oh! And I like classic “preppy” prints like plaids and argyle. Those really scream “fall,” though, so I probably won’t be shopping for any of those until I’m planning my fall/winter makes. My fabric Pinterest board is a pretty good roundup of prints I like.


(Okay, yes, there are a fair number of novelty prints, too–I believe nearly all are related to at least one of the following: Halloween, autumn, literature, sewing, or chocolate. They suffer from being rather theme-y and difficult to match for everyday wear. Whatever; I’m totally making an autumn leaves dress for fall one of these days.)

Choosing Season-Appropriate Fabrics

I’m still working on wardrobe weeding (yes, apparently I do need at least a full month for that!), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t already started planning what to sew for spring and summer–and what fabrics I’ll need to buy. The article Fabric Swaps for Every Season from Seamwork looks like it will be a useful resource, especially for someone like me who does a lot of fabric shopping online (but is far from a fabric expert!). I just wish their diagram had a branch for “doesn’t wrinkle.” 😉