Casual chic holiday wear – dresses, wardrobe

More casual partying clothes for the 2012 holiday period from Eileen Fisher’s Holiday Tool Kit.

”holiday-kit-2”
Eileen Fisher

The folded red item is a simple dress.

My previous post on this capsule was about patterns for the tops and pants.

This is about patterns for the dresses, plus some of my own ideas for expanding these 6 items to a holiday travel wardrobe.

There aren’t patterns to copy the dresses exactly, so they need a little pattern work. But again they’re mostly quite simple makes.

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Drape front jersey dress

”drape-front-shift”
Eileen Fisher

A loose shift dress shape with cap sleeves, rather than a fitted sheath, though it does taper slightly to the hem. Like the tops, that means it’s based on the casual dartless block.

The neckline is like the popular DKNY knit, Vogue 1250.

”v1250-dkny”

But that DKNY dress is rather fitted. The shape of the Eileen Fisher dress is more like this DKNY for wovens, Vogue 1300.

”v1300”

So some pattern combining may be needed.

Or you might prefer to lengthen this top for wovens, Vogue 8816.

”v8816”

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V-neck sleeveless A-line layering dress in velvet with silk trim

”pullover-dress-combo”
Eileen Fisher

A low-thigh length overdress with flare and a shaped hem.
Made in velvet, with silk charmeuse for side panels and trim on neckline and armholes.

The pattern is basically a v-necked a-line dress with shaped hem.

Here’s a Fashion Star pattern, McCall’s 6553. It has seams for side panels, though they are much wider than the inspiration.
Alter the neck line and hem line shapes to copy the inspiration, or to what’s most flattering for you.

”v6553”

Butterick 5655 View B is simpler.
Use the outer-layer pattern pieces only, and change the neckline and length.

”b5655”

Kwik Sew 3802 is for knits, and has another way of achieving an interesting hem shape. Omit the sleeves and change the neckline.

”ks3802”

The Eileen Fisher version is made in two fabrics, velvet with contrast shiny trim for neck and armhole edges and side panels. If you want this texture change you’ll have to make a pattern for adding the side strip from underarm to hem. Quite easy pattern work. Just draw a line on the pattern where you want the new seam, and remember to add seam allowances. Combine the front and back side pieces into one pattern piece for a neater result.

For many sewers the sewing is more difficult than the pattern making. Combining velvet and charmeuse is a bit of a challenge. So you might like a simpler fabric combination. It’s easiest to combine 2 of the same fabric type, just different in colour or print.

And remember this is an overdress, so you need a size larger than usual for a dress, to allow for comfortable layering.

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A possible wardrobe

These 6 items – 2 dresses, 3 tops and pants – could make a good “dressy casual” party wardrobe capsule.
Easy wear shapes, but in shines and velvets. See end of my previous post on this capsule for more fabric suggestions.

For a complete holiday period travel wardrobe, I think you need to add some more fitted tops, to layer under the over-dress or give a different silhouette. Or to layer under these over-sized tops if you need more warmth.
Tees, blouses, shirts – keep up the quality with the fabrics.
And more than one pair of pants. Plus a slim skirt of any length.

Add a cardigan jacket if you want more layering options.
McCall’s 6084 is a quick pattern for both wovens and knits which I’ve suggested for previous Eileen Fisher capsules.
This gives a change of silhouette, it’s not wearable over those wide tops. Make it thigh length for a different look.

”m6084”

There are many similar patterns in another of my posts on Eileen Fisher styles.

For a heavier jacket : Eileen Fisher’s key jacket style for this season has a funnel neck. There are many patterns for these. Here’s one with very dropped shoulders, Very Easy Vogue 8539.

”v8539”

Remember your coat needs to be generous sized to wear over those loose tops. So a poncho or cape might be a good idea.

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Accessories

Add scarves, socks, jewellery, a hat. . .
‘This year’ shoes : ankle boots or decorated ballet flats. Eileen Fisher also has mid-heeled pumps and wedge heel sandals.

‘This year’ bag/ purse : a duffle bag or big clutch. Oversized clothes cause problems for shoulder and cross body bags. They need very long straps so the bag hangs at low hip/ thigh level – not a flattering spot to emphasise for many of us.

Duffle bag and clutch are easy shapes to make your own patterns for, if you have a little experience with bag making.
If you’d like some support for your efforts :

Studio Kat Cordicella duffle bag.
Make it in bling fabrics for a party bag :D

”cordicella”

Hot Patterns Out to Lunch clutch.

”hp-out-to-lunch”

Eileen Fisher has a clutch in suede. There are several BMV patterns for smaller clutches, if a big bag/ purse isn’t a flattering proportion for you, or you prefer a small bag for parties.

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Of course choose your own celebratory style if these boxy garments aren’t to your taste :D

And you haven’t got to wear red, black, grey – extra important to wear flattering colours on special occasions!

What is your key to special festive wear ? It’s probably obvious from my comments that for me it’s the quality of the fabrics. How about lots of extra embellishment ? exuberant use of fabric ? or wild colour ? is a skirt essential ? or a very close fit ? bare skin ? heaped-on bling ?

Have fun with your choices :D

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Links and patterns available December 2012

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Explore posts in the same categories: Eileen Fisher, specific capsules

3 Comments on “Casual chic holiday wear – dresses, wardrobe”

  1. Dara Harper Says:

    Thanks so much for your interesting and informative posts. Have a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

    ________________________________


  2. Happy Holidays Lisanne! i find these EF posts so helpful! You have a wonderful eye for finding patterns which contain the elements needed to develop that ‘Eileen F’ vibe. I have a hard time with that, tho by following your example i have hopes to improve :)

    It’s especially helpful for us who have budgets. I’m really taken with the Kwik Sew tunic’s hem, and the way the tunic shows the shape thru the torso before flaring out. A kind of flouncy, ruffly feminine minimalism!

    Thank you again and have a great evening, steph


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