Wardrobe Architect 2016

The warm weather this weekend has me thinking about my spring/summer wardrobe. I’m putting together a Pinterest board of things I like and possible patterns, but I’m keeping it private for now to let the ideas percolate. In general, I’m currently leaning toward more long skirts, light layers, and cropped tops (pretty much the same silhouettes as last year; I’m just discovering more holes in my wardrobe that need to be filled!). I’m also a little bored with some of the patterns I’ve been working with, so I’m planning to branch out with a few new things. (Super excited about those.)

I have a bunch of non-capsule wardrobe projects on my plate, too. One of them is a dress whose bodice I just finished fitting, so I hope to be working on that pretty steadily. (It’s for an event that’s a few months off–for once, I’ve started well in advance!) I have another costume planned; just waiting for confirmation that I’ll be going to the event where it’s needed before I start working. And look for a post on a new bag in a few days….

Plaid Flannel Petticoat

This may be my new favorite skirt! I didn’t use a pattern, but it’s very similar to the lightweight brown petticoat skirt I wore all summer. I should probably stop trying new skirt patterns and just make this one in different fabrics.

Anyway! It’s a 20-inch-long half-circle skirt with a 7-inch ruffle. This particular one has in-seam pockets.

It has a flat waistband on the front and sides with two elastic areas in the back, and closes with an invisible zip in the center back.

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(Enjoy this rare opportunity to see my hair not in a bun.) Oh, I’d meant to gather the skirt to the waistband all around, but it wasn’t quite full enough in front. So rather than cutting it wider (and therefore shorter), I made two small box pleats in the front to ensure the side seams and pockets were actually on the sides.

Outer fabric is a supercozy gray plaid flannel (so soft! I kind of wish I’d bought more to make pajamas or something). I’d always planned to line it with rayon bemberg so that I don’t have to wear a slip underneath. Remembering how annoying it was to work with when I made my drawers, though, I decided to underline it rather than line it . . . then I changed my mind and underlined the main skirt body but kept the ruffle separate for fullness.

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(Yeah, I AM going to post this photo, even though it’s incredibly blurry!) I used a different bemberg than for the drawers and I must say this one was much easier to work with. I found it a bit stiffer–more like taffeta, and it does have a lovely taffeta rustle. Plus, the color is GORGEOUS.

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Very bright metallic silver! I’m tempted to use it as the main fabric for a ball gown. Hmm . . .

So for my Fall/Winter 2015 Capsule Wardrobe, I’m down to two skirts that need fixes (maybe one), a dress that I might postpone until spring, and a sweater situation that I haven’t decided what to do about.

I can’t believe that soon it will be time to think about 2016 spring/summer. The Wardrobe Architect exercise over the past year has been really helpful. I have a much better idea of what silhouettes and colors I’ll wear all the time because I like the way they feel and look. And I made a bunch of wardrobe staples that I’m really pleased with. My plan is to continue to add to the staples for 2016 between formal dresses and costumes.

(I just remembered that I never blogged about my November ball gown. Honestly, I wasn’t happy with it at all! I have to stop trying to make strapless dresses; they’ve never turned out quite right. I have other ideas for the formal events I have coming up in 2016, though.)

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve)
  4. Cream floral Lady Skater (elbow-length sleeve) (might be moved to spring)
  5. Black knit dress (long sleeve)
  6. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)
  7. Plaid Lady Skater (long sleeve)

Skirts/Pants

  1. Black wool Walking Skirt (need to fix waistband)
  2. Corduroy Ginger
  3. Jean Hollyburn
  4. Nevermore skirt
  5. Green plaid wool skirt (need to add lining–eh…maybe, maybe not)
  6. Jeans
  7. Flannel petticoat

Tops

  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black cameo Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)

Outerwear

  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater? (Still debating what to do with the one I bought, which is too big.)
  6. Heavy black wool coat

Accessories

  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown snow boots
  5. Brown oxfords
  6. Scarves
  7. Brown satchel
  8. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  9. Black leather gloves
  10. Brown leather gloves

Plaid Lady Skater

First make of 2016 (with cameo from Bailey). (I actually finished this weeks ago; just slow about blogging.) This is a long-sleeve Lady Skater in plaid. I used the long sleeves from the Lady Skater pattern with no modifications and they (fortunately, since I didn’t measure, haha) fit perfectly.
As I have in the past, I raised the waistline slightly and increased the skirt length. The two other modifications I made were adding a contrasting “belt” (shortened the bodice and put in strips of the other fabric in place of the length I removed) and POCKETS.
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This time, I did shaped pockets and stabilized the top pocket edge with interfacing. These are much more stable than regular in-seam pockets in a jersey skirt, which makes them more useful. To create the pocket pattern, I just examined my Hollyburn pattern–it won’t work as-is with the Lady Skater skirt, but gives you an idea of what  you need to do (draw out the pocket bag and modify the front skirt).
(Incidentally, I have an OTR knit dress with in-seam pockets that are attached at the waistline, which makes them pretty stable AND hidden. I may have to try that the on the next knit dress.)
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Main fabric is Brown Black Plaid Cotton Jersey Blend Knit from Girl Charlee. It’s very thin and not terribly soft (I also found that it liked to cling to itself a lot), but it’s also the only plaid jersey I’ve been able to find (and I can’t complain too much considering the price). Contrasting fabric is Black Solid Cotton Modal Spandex Ribbing Knit from Girl Charlee, and it’s soooo soft! I hope they restock it because I think it could make cozy t-shirts and/or maybe a wrap dress?
Anyway, that’s one more off the to-do list!

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve) (but I’ve hardly been wearing this at all, now that we’re in layering weather)
  4. Cream floral Lady Skater (elbow-length sleeve) (might be moved to spring)
  5. Black knit dress (long sleeve)
  6. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)
  7. Plaid Lady Skater (long sleeve)

Skirts/Pants

  1. Black wool Walking Skirt (need to fix waistband)
  2. Corduroy Ginger
  3. Jean Hollyburn
  4. Nevermore skirt
  5. Green plaid wool skirt (need to add lining–eh…maybe, maybe not)
  6. Jeans
  7. Flannel petticoat 

Tops

  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black cameo Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)

Outerwear

  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater? (I did buy one recently, but it doesn’t fit very well so I’m considering returning it. Still haven’t found any good sweater knit to make my own.)
  6. Heavy black wool coat

Accessories

  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown snow boots
  5. Brown oxfords
  6. Scarves
  7. Brown satchel
  8. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  9. Black leather gloves
  10. Brown leather gloves

Edwardian Drawers/Slip

Just as I was thinking about making a half slip or two, someone gave me the Edwardian Underthings (#203) pattern from Folkwear and I thought, hey, why not make drawers out of slip material?? So I attempted to make drawers out of rayon bemberg.

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Turns out rayon bemberg (yes, that’s what I mean, autocorrect–stop changing it to bombers!!) is a huge pain in the ass to work with. I spent all my sewing time wishing I’d just decided to make a regular half slip (with two side seams only). But I persevered and flat felled all the seams (sloppily, ha).

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However, I looked at the placket instructions and despaired, so I just closed up the side seams, left off the waistband entirely, and finished the waist with some lingerie elastic (like in these instructions). I didn’t take any closeup photos of that because, uh, it looks awful. In my defense, it’s the first time I’ve tried that and bemberg is really slippery, AND this is what I’m using to zigzag:

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It zigzags by moving the fabric rather than the needle, so it’s really difficult to keep the fabric lined up neatly and to keep it from shifting–even when you’re not using a slippery fabric.

But this is an undergarment and I think it’ll work fine for that! Next time: Make drawers out of cotton and use rayon bemberg for simple half slips only. Lesson learned.

Meanwhile, I’ve made a few changes to my fall/winter wardrobe plan, so here’s the annotated update:

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve) (but I’ve hardly been wearing this at all, now that we’re in layering weather)
  4. Gray wool Giselle (3/4 sleeve) (I still like the idea, but the Lady Skaters I added below will probably be more useful, so this is getting nixed for now)
  5. Cream floral Lady Skater (elbow-length sleeve) (NEW! This might be more of a spring item, though)
  6. Black knit dress (long sleeve)
  7. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)
  8. Plaid Lady Skater (long sleeve) (NEW!)

Skirts/Pants

  1. Brown tweed Hollyburn (unfortunately, this doesn’t fit me at all anymore, so it got donated!)
  2. Black wool Walking Skirt (need to fix waistband)
  3. Corduroy Ginger
  4. Jean Hollyburn
  5. Nevermore skirt
  6. Green plaid wool skirt (need to add lining–eh…maybe, maybe not)
  7. Jeans
  8. Flannel petticoat  (NEW!)

Tops

  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black cameo Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)

Outerwear

  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater? (on second thought, I think this needs to be washable, so maybe something cotton or cotton/silk? I’m having trouble finding sweater knit that I like, so this may be something I buy even though it SHOULD be easy to sew)
  6. Heavy black wool coat

Accessories

  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown snow boots (NEW! bought these already because I’ll be in snow country soon and the black boots won’t cut it–they’re paddock boots)
  5. Brown oxfords
  6. Scarves
  7. Brown satchel
  8. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  9. Black leather gloves
  10. Brown leather gloves

Hoodie + Hooded Tunic

It’s a two for one! Both of these items are based on Simplicity 1251, View B. First up: A tunic. I wasn’t really planning on this one–it’s not in the right colorway for Wardrobe Architect and isn’t very stretchy at all…but I saw a possibility with the border print (plus, I’d bought this fabric from Girl Charlee ages ago–Marigold Floral on Dusty Teal Border Print Cotton Jersey Knit Fabric; it doesn’t seem to be available anymore–and never done anything with it) and the hoodie was so easy to put together (yes, the hoodie came first) that I went for it anyway.

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So, as you can see, I placed the border print on the bottom of the sleeves and around the hood. I think I followed the pattern instructions pretty closely for this one, except that I turned the hems of the sleeves and bottom up rather than attempting to do a lettuce hem.

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Oh, the other modifications were that I increased the flare from the waist (as usual), made the hood a bit bigger, and chopped off about 3.5-4 inches from the bottom. That tunic is really long!

Next up is the hoodie:

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This is a super-soft and cozy modal/poly sherpa fleece knit from Fabric.com. Sooooo comfy. (Also apparently no longer available! So sad!) This was from the same pattern pieces as the tunic (with the added flare), but I kept the original length in the back and cut it up way shorter in the front. And I added an inch in the center front for the seam allowance around the zipper. (The zipper is 12 inches in length, just fyi.)

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For this one, I did attempt a lettuce edge with  my serger, but the fabric just wasn’t stretchy enough so it isn’t obvious. Oh well.

In addition to adding a separating zipper in the front, I decided to use cotton twill tape to bind the neckline rather than bias tape, based off an OTR hoodie I have. It looks great on the inside and is soft, but I’m not sure how you’d use that method to do the V-neck if you wanted to make it without a zipper in the front….

Anyway, my one regret is that I cheaped out on the zipper, and it STICKS IRRITATINGLY. I’m trying to decide if it annoys me enough to buy a new zipper and replace it (especially since I did such a nice job installing it, siiiigh)….

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Overall, I found this pattern to be easy and flattering and I loved the shape and bell sleeves! (I might have to steal those sleeves for other things….) The hood was a little small for my giant hair, but for someone with a cute pixie cute like on the pattern envelope it would be fine. Fortunately, that’s an easy thing to change if you prefer giant hoods like I do.

Obviously, I didn’t do any of the needle felting–that’s not something I know how to do or am interested in learning/investing in anytime soon (so many other things to do/learn/buy first!). I like the roses, though, and it’s good inspiration for appliqué placement.

I’m not sure how often I’ll wear the tunic since the fabric just isn’t that comfy (not stretchy enough), but I’m tempted to make another in a better fabric. At least the hoodie means one more thing finally checked off the Wardrobe Architect plan!

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Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve)
  4. Gray wool Giselle (3/4 sleeve)–Perhaps to be replaced with a long-sleeved Lady Skater or two??
  5. Black knit dress (long sleeve)
  6. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)

Skirts/Pants

  1. Brown tweed Hollyburn
  2. Black wool Walking Skirt (need to fix waistband)
  3. Corduroy Ginger
  4. Jean Hollyburn
  5. Nevermore skirt
  6. Green plaid wool skirt (need to add lining)
  7. Jeans

Tops

  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black cameo Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)

Outerwear

  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater?
  6. Heavy black wool coat

Accessories

  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown oxfords
  5. Scarves
  6. Brown satchel
  7. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  8. Black leather gloves
  9. Brown leather gloves

Ivory Turtleneck

This is KwikSew K4069, view B. Super simple! I picked the size based on high bust and actually I think it fits pretty well. I originally graded it up 2 sizes at the hips since I’m “pear-shaped” and like more flare anyway, but that was waaaay too big. I might’ve been able to just sew up a straight size.

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This fabric is an ivory rayon/spandex blend (which seems to be out of stock at fabric.com). It’s a bit sheer (and obviously shows every bump in my bra) and it’s very drapey, but it also feels quite slinky and cool. I think it’ll make a good layering piece.

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I actually followed most of the instructions in the pattern and did the majority of the construction on my serger. Because I hemmed the bottom and sleeves with a straight stitch (my regular machine can’t do zigzags in knits–this is why I gave in and bought a serger in the first place), they’re not stretchy, so if I make something in the future where I’ll want to push up the sleeves I’ll just add cuffs instead of turning under the sleeve hems.

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Anyway, this took almost no time to put together and I’d definitely be up for making some more of these as basics in fabrics with a bit more structure! This would also be cute in a comfy sweater knit. (Maybe for a sweater I’d shorten the bodice so it ends at the waist since I’m wearing so many dresses and skirts with high waists.)

About the rest of my Wardrobe Architect plan…uh…I might’ve ordered some fabric for two more Lady Skaters and might be abandoning my wool Giselle plan. Let’s see what develops when the fabric actually arrives and I start sewing, though….

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve)
  4. Gray wool Giselle (3/4 sleeve)–Perhaps to be replaced with a long-sleeved Lady Skater or two??
  5. Black knit dress (long sleeve)
  6. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)

Skirts/Pants

  1. Brown tweed Hollyburn
  2. Black wool Walking Skirt (need to fix waistband)
  3. Corduroy Ginger
  4. Jean Hollyburn
  5. Nevermore skirt
  6. Green plaid wool skirt (need to add lining)
  7. Jeans

Tops

  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black cameo Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)

Outerwear

  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater?
  6. Heavy black wool coat

Accessories

  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown oxfords
  5. Scarves
  6. Brown satchel
  7. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  8. Black leather gloves
  9. Brown leather gloves

Wardrobe Architect: Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe Plan

Okay, here are my preliminary plans for fall/winter capsule wardrobe sewing. I live in a place that gets snow, but where I’m often inside in heating that is too warm, so layering is generally the best idea. This means I need a few more tops and dresses than I had for spring/summer since I’ll want some with short sleeves and some with long.

As for actual garments to sew, I’m trying to make sure this time that they not only fill a hole in my wardrobe but also get me excited to sew. I found that my spring/summer plans included a few too many TNT (tried-and-true) patterns that, while quick to sew, were less interesting (and thus didn’t always come to pass, haha). This time I’m trying to make sure each thing I’m planning to sew is also something that I’m really excited about.

So, in that vein, these are the items I’m planning to make:

  • Wool dress: Giselle view A in gray wool (fully lined, perhaps in purple with purple binding at the neckline and sleeve ends?)
  • Long-sleeve fit-and-flare knit dress: McCalls’ 6951 view D in black interlock (perhaps with raised neckline & Nevermore collar)
  • Corduroy A-line skirt: Ginger version 2 in brown corduroy
  • Turtleneck: Vogue 8670 view E in cream jersey
  • Hoodie: Simplicity 1251 view B in black sweatshirt fleece–would redraft hood based on another I have and add a center front separating zip

And here’s my complete capsule wardrobe! Stuff in bold is stuff I’m planning to sew; italics indicates items that need to be purchased.

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater (short sleeve)
  2. Black Weekender dress (short sleeve)
  3. Green purchased dress (short sleeve)
  4. Gray wool Giselle (3/4 sleeve)
  5. Black knit dress with Nevermore collar (long sleeve)
  6. Red purchased dress (long sleeve)

Skirts/Pants

  1. Brown tweed Hollyburn
  2. Black wool Walking Skirt
  3. Corduroy Ginger
  4. Jean Hollyburn
  5. Nevermore skirt
  6. Jeans

Tops

  1. Plain black T-shirt (short sleeve)
  2. White sweetheart T-shirt (short sleeve)
  3. Gray cropped V-neck (elbow-length)
  4. Black wrap top (elbow-length)
  5. Cream turtleneck (long sleeve)
  6. Black Bronte (long sleeve)
  7. Black Weekender tunic (long sleeve)

Outerwear

  1. Black corduroy blazer
  2. Pumpkin corduroy blazer
  3. Black fleece zip-up hoodie
  4. Bottle green wool sweater
  5. Black or gray wool sweater?
  6. Heavy black wool coat

Accessories

  1. Slips
  2. Tights & socks
  3. Black boots
  4. Brown oxfords
  5. Scarves
  6. Brown satchel
  7. Black She Who Sews Dottie bag
  8. Black leather gloves
  9. Brown leather gloves

You will notice I included shoes and accessories this time. I had informally kept them in mind for spring/summer, but fall/winter is when I wear really functional accessories so I wanted to make sure I have what I will be using and make informed decisions on replacements.