Archive for the ‘specific capsules’ category

A capsule for Earth Day

April 27, 2013

Judith Rasband tells us to cut down on our clothes buying, to celebrate Earth Day (which was Monday 22 April).

Here’s the basic capsule of classics she thinks we should be choosing instead of high fashion.

”earth-day-capsule”
image from Conselle blog

Re-cycling

Oddly, Judith Rasband doesn’t mention making new clothes from old ones.
Much done by all the people who love turning pre-owned clothes into something else.

The goddess of this is Marisa of New dress a day, and her book with the same name. Or see Cloth magazine. Or here are more book suggestions from an enthusiast.

As I was a small child in WWII, when children’s clothes were made out of the not-too-badly-worn sections of adult clothes, this is the first thing that comes to mind for me when re-cycling clothes is mentioned.

As Judith Rasband’s choices are classics, there are dozens of possible patterns. Here are some easy makes for beginners, and supremely elegant designer versions needing advanced skills.

- – -

Safari jacket

Go for high quality and use Claire Shaeffer Vogue 8732.

”v8732”

For a much simpler make, there’s Kwik Sew 3534.

”k3534”

Also see my post on jackets with many pockets.

Choose your pocket locations with care ! If your upper-lower body proportions are not balanced, you may look better in a 2-pocket style – on your hips if you’re upper body dominant, above your waist if you’re a pear shape.

A safari jacket is the casual jacket Judith Rasband tends to go for. If you like something a bit softer, I think a drape front jacket is now a casual classic. Imogen Lamport has a post on choosing your cardigan jacket to flatter your body shape. For other casual possibilities, see my post on choices for the jacket in a basic casual capsule.

- – -

Camp shirt and straight leg pants

Let’s go simple rather than designer, for ease of making, and choose Kwik Sew Kwik Start beginner patterns.

Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3475 is a basic camp shirt.

”ks3475”

Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3314 straight leg pants have an elastic waist.

”ks3314”

If you’d prefer elegant designer versions, how about a couple of patterns by Chado Ralph Rucci.
Vogue 1215

”v1215”

and Vogue 1054.

”v1054”

Change the length a bit to layer under Claire Shaeffer’s safari jacket.

Or use Chado Ralph Rucci’s Vogue 1347 shirt jacket.

”v1347”

(Sadly the Chado Ralph Rucci Vogue 1144 safari jacket pattern is out of print.)

- – -

Straight and flared skirts

Kwik Sew Kwik Start patterns for speed and simplicity again.

Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3765 is a straight skirt with elastic waist.

”ks3765”

Kwik Sew Kwik Start 2806 is a flared skirt with elastic waist.

”ks2805”

If you prefer a fitted waist, Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3877 is an a-line skirt with darts, zip, waistband.

”ks3877”

The basic classic patterns for these styles are
McCall’s 3830 for a straight skirt,

”m3830”

and McCall’s 3341 for an a-line skirt.

”m3341”

The flared skirt illustrated by Judith Rasband is a designer skirt with horizontal pin tuck detail round the hem.
No need to go for the detailing, but if you’d like some designer elegance for your skirts, there are plenty of straight skirts among the designer co-ordinates at Vogue patterns.

Currently only one flared skirt designer pattern – lengthen the skirt from Rachel Comey in Vogue 1247.

”v1247”

From Chado Ralph Rucci there’s a bias cut straight skirt, Vogue 1310. And some dresses it’s possible to take a flared skirt pattern from – Chado Ralph Rucci at Vogue.

- – -

Intermediate patterns

I’ve chosen specific patterns needing easy and couture sewing skills. Of course there are many other ways of picking the styles for a basic group of jacket/ top/ pants/ straight and full skirts.

How about the wardrobe pattern book ‘Dressmaking’ by Alison Smith for intermediate sewing skills. Then the wardrobe pattern Vogue 6701 has a jacket a bit more advanced than Alison Smith’s (separate the dress into peplum top and flared skirt).

Many pattern companies have basic camp shirt, skirt and pants patterns. They don’t all have a safari jacket style, but if they go for basic classics they usually have a shirt jacket pattern which you could add pockets to. These are just a few of the possibilities :
Cutting Line Designs (click on Store tab)
Loes Hinse (Textile Studio for her easiest patterns)
Palmer-Pletsch at McCall’s (with fitting advice)
styleARC (what they call a safari jacket doesn’t have the 4-pocket style).

- – -

Judith Rasband suggested a simple 5-item capsule which can be business/ casual/ dressy, depending on colour, fabric, accessories. Though I would want more than one top. I’d make several shirts, other people might prefer knits !

She says – for a wardrobe that only needs to be replaced when it wears out, not because it’s gone out of fashion : “make classic pieces the bulk of your wardrobe, with a few trendy items to update and add some fun.”

Well, I’m not sure we would all be at our happiest when wearing ultra-classic styles.
And I don’t agree that it’s only ultra-classic styles that are wearable for many seasons. Fortunately, we haven’t got to choose either ultra-classics or new-each-week ultra-fashion. There are many other styles which last for more than one season.
Even ultra-classics can’t always be worn for many decades, as proportions and details change.

Here’s YouLookFab on using a few classic items with others.

Make several versions of this capsule on your way from an easy starter-wardrobe to a big challenge !

- – -

Patterns and links available April 2013

= = =

Some sources suggesting basic capsules

March 2, 2013

Having at last made my final Index page 5 which lists posts on co-ordinates and capsules, here are some other capsules which could be the starting point for a basic wardrobe.

There must be thousands of attractive inspiring outfits on the web. Apart from all the style blogs, Polyvore is set up to devise them, and there are multiple Pinterest pages.

A capsule is more than an outfit – a small group of co-ordinated clothes which can be interchanged to make several outfits.
Perhaps (2 tops, 2 bottoms) to make 4 outfits.
Or (jacket, shirt, 2 tees, pants, jeans) which together make 12 outfits to cover many situations.

Here’s my post on basic capsule options : building your wardrobe in small groups. Start with one capsule and simply add another similar.

There’s so much advice available on capsules and wardrobes, I’m amazed how many people aren’t aware of the idea :D

Judith Rasband’s college textbook Wardrobe Strategies for Women bases wardrobe building on capsules.

Once you set up the basic pieces, every time you add a co-ordinating item it can double the number of possible outfits. See my post on the power of the boring.

There’s a discussion on minimalist wardrobes at You Look Fab.

Project 333 allows a free choice of what to include in your wardrobe, but to a limit of 33 items including : clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes. As many wardrobe planners suggest a basic group of 5 – 12 garments, that’s quite a generous allowance really :D

If you find it easier to take inspiration from specific capsules or to react against them, rather than devising your own starting point, here are some of the many possibilities.

Some are specific enough to show a particular style. Some are just numbers of garments. Though even numbers have style implications. Most for example include 0 or 1 dress – no use if you love dresses.

Some of these groups just count clothes, some count both clothes and accessories. If you’re allowed infinite numbers of accessories, you can make infinite numbers of outfits with very few clothes, see the Uniform Project.

- – -

Here’s an 8-item weekend travel capsule consisting of 4 garments, 4 accessories.

Or here’s a group of 6 garments – jacket, 3 tops, skirt, choice of 2 pants : The Kit (click on the photo for more detail about each style).

In style contrast, Perfectly Packed has a classic business wardrobe of 8 garments, which can be copied easily using two wardrobe patterns, see my post on classic style.

Tim Gunn’s 10 essential elements
His 10 items are clothes only, add accessories.
For example variants of this, see the middle of my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
And Imogen Lamport’s thoughts on this list and her own version.

Imogen has several suggested capsules for different lifestyles, mostly about a dozen items. Here’s her post on a capsule wardrobe of 12 items. And here’s her post on combining colours and combining prints, very ‘this season’ co-ordination.

Stylist Angie Cox also has a few posts on capsules at YouLookFab, and now has a section called Ensembles. (She uses the word ‘outfit’ for groups of clothes on a specific person.)

Elizabeth (ejvc) suggests a 12-item group, and prices it (about $225) for sewing. If you want natural fabrics, you need to use just one pattern magazine, and mainly black fabric, to get the cost that low. Much cheaper if you’re comfortable in polyester. I would probably use a wardrobe pattern book (see Index page 3), about twice the price of a pattern magazine.

This list from the Nate Berkus Show
has 12 basic items including accessories, plus 8 add-ons : 20 in all.

Wardrobe Oxygen list updated
23 items including underwear and accessories.
I still disagree with nearly very word of this, see my post, but many people working in a very classic environment love it.

Nancy Nix-Rice builds up from 12 basic garments to 23 garments in all, plus suggestions for minimum accessories. She claims to get nearly 100 different outfits from her 12 garments. See Index page 4 for my posts on her scheme, with links to her lessons, and suggested patterns.

Seasonal 6PACs : 24 garments in all, organised in 4 seasonal groups of 6. Here’s a list of relevant posts from ejvc, who started the idea. There’s always a sewalong for the current season at Stitcher’s Guild.

Oprah Winfrey’s dream closet checklist
32 items including shoes.
(Useful tips there too on clothes that flatter different body shapes.)

Many of Janice’s posts at The Vivienne Files are suggestions for capsules, showing the different outfit combinations you can make. And most of her other posts show how to take a single garment or outfit and make many different looks by using accessories.

And here’s a whole pinterest page of capsule suggestions.

For real-life inspiration, see :
Sewing With A Plan 2013
Sewing With A Plan 2012

- – -

What about some patterns ? Most of the capsules don’t suggest specific styles. So here are my current personal easy sewing ‘Key 3′ patterns. Sewing Workshop Hudson top and pants, Indygo Junction Origami wrap.

”swhudson”
”ijorigami”

Add intermediate sewing skills, and make the Sewing Workshop Tribeca shirt and Indygo Junction Silhouette vest (close the vest up to the neck). My current ‘Vital 5′. In quality fabrics for Relaxed Luxe style.

”tribeacasilhouette”

Very different in spirit from many wardrobe plans. My needs are most like the Sewing Workshop wardrobe, see my post on Linda Lee’s layering wardrobe.

- – -

I groaned recently about some wardrobe styling advice which suggested what were supposed to be different style capsules, but were actually all variants of blazer, knit top, jeans. As I don’t wear any of those. I’m glad I’ve done all the work on identifying my own style and wardrobe needs, so I can just move on from unhelpful advice. People who love dresses probably feel equally ignored by most wardrobe suggestions.

If your personal style is ‘modern classic’ and you feel happy in blazer, tee, jeans, then good luck to you. Prefer different types of top, bottom, layer, or dresses ? Best Wishes to all the people who have to find their own capsule scheme.

Is it because I don’t match any of the simple advice on fit, colouring, style, body shape, that my blog is helpful :D

I think most wardrobe lists need to be adapted to your own personal style, colouring, body shape, lifestyle.
(All that black and classic shapes – aargh. . .)

Hence my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
See Index page 4 on wardrobe plans in general.
Also your personal style preferences.
And Index page 1 on personal style.
There are some links on the other ways to look your best, in my post on So many choices.

If you haven’t got a good starting point for your own wardrobe group, have a look at patterns that are supposed to take less than 2 hours sewing time – Index page 8.

See Index page 5 for comments on co-ordination, and posts which include specific capsules.

Starting with a small capsule and building on it isn’t the only way to get a basic wardrobe. There are many books and websites with wardrobe plans with other approaches – see wardrobe and capsule planning references thread at Stitchers Guild. Each writer has their own scheme.

If you still think planning a wardrobe is frivolous, here’s an excellent piece by The Dashing Eccentric.

As usual, have fun with it all :D

- – -

P.S. Several people have commented that we haven’t got to develop capsules and wardrobes. Just have good outfits, if that’s what works well for you. No need to worry about co-ordination if you don’t want to. Just avoid ‘orphans’ – clothes which don’t go with anything else. You don’t even need to worry about them if you only wear dresses :D

Or have several different small groups of clothes, which co-ordinate within one capsule but not with others. I should think there are very few people who have a wardrobe in which everything co-ordinates with everything else. Would that only be possible if you led a very limited life ? I haven’t got clothes wearable for both sailing and a black tie evening.

My clothes are in a limited range of colours and shapes so many, though not all, are interchangeable. Not so with accessories – some of my outfits are enhanced by scarves, some by necklaces.

- – -

Links and patterns available March 2013

= = =

Casual chic holiday wear – dresses, wardrobe

December 8, 2012

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.

- – -

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”

- – -

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.

- – -

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.

- – -

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.

- – -

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

- – -

Links and patterns available December 2012

= = =

Casual chic festive capsule – tops

November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US who start their festive wear needs this week. Here in the UK we have to wait ’til Christmas :D

These are casual partying clothes for the 2012 winter holidays, from Eileen Fisher’s Holiday Tool Kit.

”holiday-kit-1”
”holiday-kit-2”
Eileen Fisher

Some quite easy makes for a relaxed special occasion capsule.
As usual this got much too long, so I’ve made 2 parts : this on the tops and pants, and a later piece on the dresses (here).

So, what about patterns ? The tops are all based on the casual dartless block. But if you’re full in front, you may want to add a dart.
Some lengthening or shortening of pattern pieces needed to match the inspiration (even a couple of changed necklines), but otherwise the patterns are straightforward.

- – -

Velvet cowl neck box top

”velvet-top-combo”
Eileen Fisher

What Eileen Fisher calls a ‘box top’ is like a poncho with side seams, very wide.
This one is about hip length.
And has about elbow length sleeves. With the very generous size, the side seams and armholes come about half way down the upper arm.

The key to party wear here is to make everyday over-sized casual styles in special fabrics.

The indoor poncho-like McCall’s 6603 has about these proportions. Make the collar on View A (upper left) continuous and wider, and use the lower left sleeves.

”m6603”

Or there’s the Sewing Workshop Hudson top – in your usual size or one larger, and shorten the sleeves.

”swhudson”

If you prefer something less dramatically sized, there’s Butterick 5816, with a choice of cowl or draped necks.

”b5816”

If you prefer a close fit, here’s a cowl neck knit top from Katherine Tilton, Vogue 8793.

”v8793”

- – -

Ballet neck boxy tunic in shiny knit

”satin-top-combo”
Eileen Fisher

A little narrower and longer than the previous top, but otherwise much the same. The sleeves also end at the elbow, but are longer because the body of the top is a narrower.

This is a shiny knit fabric, with a contrast texture rib band used for the sleeve cuffs.
I think this would work just as well in a heavy satin fabric. Perhaps crepe backed satin so you can use the contrast.

There are multi-fabric versions of a shape like this in new Butterick 5855.

”b5855”

Or use another size of the previous pattern. This is still a style based on a casual dartless block.

Many casual wear patterns can easily be adapted for party wear simply by using party fabric, a party neckline, and elbow length sleeves.
Try one of these :

Katherine Tilton’s loose tunic for knits Vogue 8690 could look very different in shiny fabric with a ballet neckline.

”v8690”

Cutting Line Designs 2×4 includes both necklines.

”cuttingline2x4”

Have a look at my post on stylish sweatshirts for more pattern options.

- – -

Jewel neck merino knit tunic, yarn with a bit of shine

”merino-tunic-flat”
Eileen Fisher

Upper thigh length, with over-wrist long sleeves.
A conventional tunic in silhouette. Still a dartless shape, but not so oversized.
Raglan sleeves. Difficult to see on the photos, but the sleeves have an inset strip of slightly more open weave fabric which runs from neckline to wrist.

For a pattern, possibly lengthen Butterick 5679 View C and omit the side pocket section.

”b5679c”

Or Kwik Sew 3954 is another raglan sleeve choice, this one with fitted upper body and flare below, if that’s better for your body shape.

”ks3954”

- – -

More designer patterns for tops

Not exact copies of the inspiration but in similar style.
From wider to narrower :

Katherine Tilton’s Vogue 8748 big shirt for wovens is even more over-sized, with ‘armhole’ seams at elbow level.
Many variants possible. Omit the cuffs and/ or the collar. Close the front opening, and add your most flattering party neckline.

”v8748”

Loose fitting knit tunics from Alice + Olivia, Vogue 1261. With raglan, fitted and cut-on sleeves, choice of necklines and hem shapes – just the thing.

”v1261”

Or slimmer-fit knit tunics from Katherine Tilton Vogue 8817 with interesting seam detail and fabric combining.

”v8817”

- – –

Slim pants in ponte doubleknit

Large tops are best worn with slimmer pants, so your clothes don’t make you look gigantic. Make the tops long enough to cover your hips, so you can wear pant legs slimmed as far as they will go for you, without worrying about what’s happening at hip level ! My lumpy legs are not good in tight fitting leggings, but slimmer pants are possible.

For stretch knits, you might use McCall’s 6173 View A. Use an elastic waist if you prefer – no one’s going to see it under these tops.

”m6173”

If you prefer stretch woven for pants, there’s Melissa Watson’s McCall’s 6405.

”m6405”

- – -

Your choice of style and details

Would any of these tops make a good relaxed special occasion outfit for you ?
Or make all three tops and the pants for a holiday season capsule, covering most situations where you don’t need to be really dressed up. Add a long slim skirt or very full palazzo pants and you might manage many black-tie events too.

If you’d prefer to copy Eileen Fishers’ simple dresses, I have another post coming on them.

There’s a party clothes sew along at Stitchers Guild, if you’d like some other ideas !

These wide boxy shapes are definitely not everyone’s best shape or favourite style.
Perhaps you have other favourite casual patterns you could make in festive fabrics.
And clothes based on the casual dartless block are not fashionable “body con” party wear.
If you’re at your best in a more fitted styles with body shaping, there’s plenty of choice in the pattern catalogues.

If velvet and shine don’t make you happy but you do like variations in texture : lace, sequins, brocade, and touches of fake fur are current festive options.
Or these ‘this season’ prints can be good for parties : chinese, baroque, flowers on a dark background, computer generated abstracts.

Eileen Fisher uses a current berry shade of red, with black and grey. Happily if we make our own versions we can choose her shapes but aren’t limited to her colours. Especially if we have warm-toned personal colouring. Choose flattering colours that make you feel festive.

Remember Eileen Fisher clothes are usually very simple in cut. It’s the quality of the fabrics that makes them luxurious.

Enjoy whatever you make and wear for the holiday season :D

- – -

Links and patterns available November 2012

= = =


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 317 other followers