Archive for June 2012

Colours, prints, fabrications – s/s 2012

June 30, 2012

Apart from the peplum, there wasn’t a new major obvious shape influence on the catwalks for this spring/ summer season.

There are shift dresses – good to see them back as they’re such useful shape for the half of the population who are rectangle shape. But several collections have over-large shift dresses which make even the models look fat.

And there was a suggestion of wearing men’s striped flannel pyjamas as part of the ‘boyfriend’ look, but happily that didn’t last long. With versions in satin for party wear.

The main repeating ‘stories’ that appeared from several designers are about colour, print, fabric. Choose which you will, as they suit different personal styles.

The ones here are mainly from the UK Vogue February 2012 booklet on The Collections.

Sorry this is so late. Although summer officially started only a few days ago, McCalls have already published their first autumn patterns ! These summer ideas haven’t had much impact on me so far. They may head-line in Vogue, but haven’t yet percolated down to this little bit of multi-ethnic suburban middle England – not that we’ve had much opportunity to wear summer clothes yet anyway 😀

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Black, cream and gold
(Many designers show almost entirely black collections, but that’s not newsworthy.)

Gucci . . . . . . . . . . . Balenciaga


Louis Vuitton

Muted pastels and sorbets

Tommy Hilfiger

(Cream or pale green if you have warm-yellow based skin tone.)

Except for black with cream contrasts, most of the colours this season are light, and many outfits have an overall similar value of colour scheme. Not many big contrasts of light/ dark or neutral/ accent.

Well, as an alternative to low contrast there is still colour blocking, some of it as strong as ever, though now some gentler.

Ports 1961 . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1 Phillip Lim

Or of course you could follow Pantone’s seasonal colour report and make a whole outfit in this season’s orange. . .

Or high street fashion – pants in any bright colour, if you like strong colour but not orange.

Or – it’s another season with lots of denim blue.

Marc by Marc Jacobs


Underwater soft aquas and watery prints

Versace . . . . . . . . . . . Chanel

Pretty allover florals


Paisley and arabesque, either prints or cut-outs


African – the fabric styles, as well as leopard and zebra animal prints.

Donna Karan

Techno print – the sort of patterns you can only make on a computer.


Print jackets and pants are also high style this season.

Here in the UK we’re supposed to wear athletic singlets and fabrics covered in Union Jacks, patriotic for the Jubilee and Olympics.


Shimmering metallics, sheers, satins, grey and silver

Chanel . . . . . . . . . . . . The Row

For everyday not just special occasions.
Usually with simple shapes, minimalist rather than bling, possibly a sci-fi look.

Cut-outs and tape laces
several examples already.

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There are of course clothes with all sorts of interesting style elements and added embellishment – I’ve chosen examples which show the fabrics clearly.

Look at the trends for yourself : – US Vogue
UK Elle
UK In Style (scroll down for spring/ summer)

Pick which you like if you find them attractive. Otherwise take it all as entertainment and don’t worry about it 😀

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Photos from
Links available June 2012

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Variations of the relaxed wardrobe

June 23, 2012

Following on from the 12 clothes Janice of The Vivienne Files suggested as a relaxed starter wardrobe, she added a group of 4 accessories. And I need to add some layers as I don’t live in a hot summer climate.

So here are additions to my pattern suggestions in my previous post on this.

Here’s Janice’s starter group of four, as a reminder of the style. (clothes from L.L.Bean)

image from The Vivienne Files with permission

She has posted another version of these casuals, for the whole summer, here and here.

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image from The Vivienne Files with permission

Janice is always good on suggesting accessories. Here she completes the casual red group by adding hat, scarf, and choice of tennis shoes or flip-flops.

Changing the scarf and shoes is an easy way of completely changing the look of an outfit of simple basics.

I usually carry a straw basket, and they would work well with this group. Or a fabric tote/ messenger bag/ backpack. Make them with your scraps 😀

How about new McCall’s 6577 for both hat and tote.


UK Elle July 2012 issue has a big fabric hat in pink and white stripes 😀

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Add a layer – many options

This capsule is very oriented to summer wearing when you only need only one layer, with occasional use of a knit cardigan or shirt-jacket for cool evenings. See my previous post for pattern suggestions.

I don’t live in a hot climate, and need a layer. When you have a layering piece to work with as part of your outfit, I think the layer you choose can make a big difference to the overall style.

Continuing with Cutting Line patterns, for a layering jacket that closes fully there’s Pure and Simple.


If you’d like your capsule to have ‘sports luxe’ style use a hoodie – see my sports luxe post for patterns. Or a stylish new pullover hoodie for wovens, Butterick 5791


For a softer style I might choose a cascade/ drape cardigan. Definitely not a fitted blazer with this wardrobe – these clothes are too relaxed 😀 If you like the notched collar effect, choose an oversized boxy jacket to go over loose fitting tops. So many BMV patterns have appeared since I last wrote on big jackets, I’m planning a separate post on cascade and boxy styles !

For a more unusual look, Eileen Fisher this season frequently uses a poncho as her covering layer, in a gauze, mesh, or a very light knit. Cropped to elbow and waist length.

For a pattern, cut your own rectangle by direct marking on the fabric. Or possibilities in new Butterick 5790.


Or what Eileen Fisher calls a ‘box top’, basically a poncho with side seams. Simply sew up the side edge part way.

Eileen Fisher March 2012

Or try Elizabeth Gillett’s ‘jacket’ version, new Vogue 8820 View C.


For outerwear I would of course choose a parka. See my post on parka patterns. Or Sewaholic Patterns’ new Minoru jacket is popular.


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A vacation/ holiday group

This red relaxed group could make a good holiday-vacation travel wardrobe.

Add an outerwear jacket to carry on the journey, swim suit and pareo, some camisoles or shells (one in a dressy fabric) – none take much packing space.

Plus another layer in flat-packing style which could double as a robe. Such as a kimono (see my post) or caftan. Or another style made from rectangles.

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Widening the style reference for your summer wardrobe

Janice of The Vivienne Files followed her post on building a wardrobe of red relaxed clothes with a related group in black and grey. Those are closely fitted styles, including a blazer, slim pants, leggings, and short tight skirts. More trendy-edgy than many of her recent selections, she calls them ‘less conservative’.

Perhaps she and I use the word ‘conservative’ with different meanings – for me it is a rather negative word ! I don’t think the clothes in the red-based group are ‘conservative’ in the sense of old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy. I think of them as the simplest of relaxed basics.

In fact June 2012 UK Elle has a lead article on ‘sports luxe’ – now called ‘haute casual’ to make it look new – so perhaps we wearers of these relaxed shapes are ahead of the game 😀

Think of the black and red groups as week/ weekend, city/ suburb, or town/ country selections.

Janice has several more posts illustrating her theme of building a wardrobe in groups of 4 :
camel and grey
teal and navy
These are also more trendy and stylish.
The ‘red’ group I’ve focussed on is best for relaxed wear.

These wardrobes all have the same basic ‘Four by Four’ plan : one group of 2 tops 2 bottoms in one main colour, another group of 4 in the second main colour, a third group of 4 tops in mixed colours with added accents, plus 4 accessories.

This is a very simple wardrobe building scheme. My final posts inspired by this wardrobe from The Vivienne Files are planned to be about simple personal wardrobe building.

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Many more variations possible by changing the colours, fabrics, prints, jacket and accessories – for different looks from the same group of simple shapes. (I’m planning a post on this season’s colours, prints, fabrications.)

Which would be your favourite style choices for colours, fabrics, layer and accessories, for adding your personal touch to these casual basics 😀

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Links and patterns available June 2012

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Snippet on Apples

June 16, 2012

Beware fanciful body shape descriptors.

‘Pear’ is not so misleading – it describes the bottom heavy. Advice for flattering styles depends on whether you’re long or short-waisted, have an indented waist or prominent high hips. But in general the shape is lower body dominant.


But apples – this is used as a shape description in two different ways.

An American apple :


Apple is used as a label for people who are upper body dominant.

An English apple :


Apple is used as a label for people who are midriff dominant.

So beware, if you are looking at advice for an ‘apple’ body shape, that it’s the right apple !

June 2012

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Variations on a summer capsule

June 9, 2012

I wrote a previous post on patterns for the summer capsule suggested by image consultant Judith Rasband in an e-mail dated 30 April 2012.


Wonder of wonders, with a change of jacket and colours this is a capsule I could wear myself. So here are some comments on alternatives :
– A simple variation with a different jacket.
– For a different style, base your 6 item capsule on a wardrobe pattern with added items.
– Different colours.

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Change the style of the capsule by changing the jacket

With a softened jacket this capsule could work well for me. I might choose a cascade or funnel collar in a more drapey fabric. Especially as I’d rarely be wearing a jacket over only one light layer.

It’s surprising how big a difference changing the jacket and accessories can make to the general spirit of the group.


Drape cardigan from Jigsaw (sources of other items in previous post).

Without accessories and another strong colour this group could look rather dull and unbalanced. But that’s easily changed, and the whole capsule does look much softer. A scarf would be a quick option for brightening it up.

Though of course you haven’t got to dress bright if that’s not your style ! I’m not comfortable in strong contrasts or accent colours, but I do like the character given by interesting style elements, textures and trims.

Many jacket patterns in cascade or drape style. McCall’s 6444 (left) and McCall’s 6084 (right) are possibilities.


So make 2 jackets and 2 groups of accessories and get an even wider range of style options 😀

For related style inspiration, look at this season’s style summary pdf from Eileen Fisher.

As with Judith Rasband’s capsule, you probably won’t get 100% successful layering combinations. But still a good range of choices. In winter I would want to wear all these layers at the same time. In summer you get 3-4 different 1-layer looks from Rasband’s group (with each bottom), plus options from layering the blazer or big shirt over the other tops.

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A different starting point for 6 items

If you’d prefer a bigger style change : add a big shirt or a cascade/drape jacket to a wardrobe pattern with 5 items. These are what Nancy Nix-Rice suggests when adding “extras” to her core wardrobe of classics.

Here’s a post from The Vivienne Files about using a shirt to make many different outfits.

In another message (10 May 2012), Judith Rasband suggests a 2-piece dress which looks like a shirt-dress. Make your favourite shirt pattern, and a simple gathered or pleated skirt – easy to move in. Both in the same fabric. Add a belt to disguise the waistband.

Or choose your own group of 6 items, perhaps with guidance from ejvc’s ‘free choice’ summer 6PAC at Stitchers Guild.

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Your own colours

Rasband chose classic colours for these enduring styles.

These colours are not best for me. So generalise :
light neutral : top (white)
dark neutral : top, pants, skirt, accessories (navy, navy-white stripe)
accent colour : jacket, accessories (rust)
bright accent colour : top (yellow)

Or use the colour allocations suggested by ejvc for her summer 6PAC at Stitchers Guild. Make slimming columns of colours at the same level of intensity.

Or perhaps you like to start the other way round : make the basics in accent colour and add a few neutrals, as suggested in this post by The Vivienne Files.

Or of course if you love colour you can make everything different and use no neutrals at all, as in many current outfits 😀

At first I added a section here on this season’s colours, prints, fabrications, but that’s really a separate topic, so is another post.

Which are your most flattering neutrals and favourite accents ?

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Add a scarf

It’s easiest to test if colour options work for you by trying a scarf.

Long thin scarves which can be wound around loosely in many different ways are not too warming for a mild season. An accessory not a necessity, and very current.
Wearable with most tops and layers. People round here use them to add accents and individuality to all their neutrals.

Make it yourself – though at 2 to 2-1/2 yards/ metres long they’re fabric extravagant. Cut a 15-18 inch/ 40-45 cm strip for the scarf. Or the right width to crush down to 3-4 inches/ 10 cm of effect if it’s a springy fabric. Practice your rolled hemming, and use the rest of the fabric for a top !

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So many possibilities. And why be limited to just one of each item 😀

Most capsules are easy to extend by adding camisoles, tees, jeans. A classic knit twin set. A long ‘boyfriend’ knit cardigan. A short skirt and tights/ leggings. A sheath dress. . . Wear only these and you’ll look ‘modern classic’. Pick one or two and they’ll fit in with many styles.

On the other hand, those are all popular choices because they have few style elements so are easy to co-ordinate. If you like the clothes in Rasband’s group because they have more interesting style elements, perhaps it’s easer to organise your no-need-to-think wardrobe in terms of outfits. Instead of trying to pick a small group of items which all work as no-fail co-ordinates. Some wardrobe advisers suggest you take photos of your outfit combinations, so you don’t have to remember what works with what. Or make a written list – personally I find pictures easier.

Which are your favourite choices for summer 😀

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Links and patterns available June 2012

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