Archive for April 2013

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.

image from Conselle blog


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. Sweaters were knitted in stripes from still usable yarn unpicked from adult ones. Just what was available, colour irrelevant. So I have difficulty with thinking re-cycled clothes can be attractive πŸ˜€

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.

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Safari jacket

Go for high quality and use Claire Shaeffer Vogue 8732.


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


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.

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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.


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


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


and Vogue 1054.


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

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


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

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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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.

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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 (making ultra-conservative styles). 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).

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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 between 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 while working your way from an easy starter-wardrobe to a big challenge !

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Patterns and links available April 2013

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e-Book initiative

April 20, 2013

πŸ˜€ Whee – hee πŸ˜€

Last weekend someone took the 450,000th view of my posts.

πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Thank you for your interest.

In celebration, here’s a new idea – combining small groups of posts that go well together, and putting them in e-book form so they’re easy to access.

Here’s the first, on Wardrobe Planning.

e-book on wardrobe planning.pdf

A pdf in US letter size, which prints okay on A4 too.
Formatted for reading in print.
Of course the links only work when you read it on-line, but they do work from Adobe Reader.

It includes the posts on :
Your personal wardrobe plan.
Building a wardrobe in small groups.
The power of the boring.

πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Thanks to you for your interest. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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Rich Links on personal style

April 13, 2013

More Rich Links with lots to explore when you get there. And some chatter ! This time on personal style.

Do you know your body shape, colouring, personal style?
What flatters your special combination of qualities ?
What do you enjoy wearing ?
Have you got an effective wardrobe ?
Or do you just enjoy reading about it all πŸ˜€

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Follow Imogen Lamport’s April Style Challenge at Inside-Out Style.
Get some ideas for re-thinking how you wear your clothes. (Sorry, a bit late now – do it in May instead !)

More inspiration for using your existing clothes to best advantage, from Jill Chivers of My Year Without Clothes Shopping. She and Imogen have a video on styling up a basic outfit of tee and jeans.

Imogen Lamport also has good groups of posts on
body shape.
colour personality. (Posts on individual colour types in the Archive for early April 2010 – scroll down.)
capsule wardrobes.

And a recent series on which neutrals are flattering to wear with your hair colour (allowing for warm-cool differences) :

Another Australian site for getting to know what you like to wear describes 6 steps to a personal makeover.
There’s much good advice here, without making any purchases.

The Joy of Clothes has a fun style quiz – even if I don’t recognise myself in much of it !

Lot’s of advice to explore from The Chic Fashionista. Another style quiz (look under Fashion 101 > your personal style) – this one does include me πŸ˜€ except I’ve never owned a pair of black pumps. Interesting advice on wardrobe essentials – ignore that the examples are all white, grey, black.

Or simply search your body shape, for innumerable suggestions. Example for me : “pear body shape”.

If you’re interested in exploring your personal colouring, there are free videos on the 6 basic colour types used by UK Colour Me Beautiful.
The videos are oriented to selling handbags, but you can always move on once you get to that section !

The videos show people who are clearly dominant on one of the UK ColourMB 6 colour types :
Light . . . . . . . . . . . Deep
Warm (yellow) . . Cool (blue)
Clear . . . . . . . . . . . Soft
(muted, added grey)
Many of us are a mixture. I need to wear Light clothes in Warm colours with a touch of Soft.

Not the same as the US Color Me Beautiful company, which uses the 4 seasonal colourings based on 2 dimensions :
light-warm . . . . Spring
light-cool . . . . . . Summer
deep-warm . . . . Autumn
deep-cool . . . . . . Winter

Sadly I don’t look good in all the colours suggested by either of these colour schemes. I find it best to use colours directly based on the colours in my hair, eyes, and skin, as I have cool hair, warm skin. There are many of us, but UK CMB says it’s impossible.

US ColorMB’s seasons are similar to the colour system used by Dressing Your Truth. Who go so far as to relate colour of clothes directly to face shape and clothing personality.
DYT . . . . colour . . . . style . . . . . MBTI temperament
Type 1 . . Spring . . . . . Casual . . . . . . SP
Type 2 . . Summer . . . Romantic . . . .NF
Type 3 . . Autumn . . . . Classic . . . . . SJ
Type 4 . . Winter . . . . . Dramatic . . . NT
DYT claim their system is unique – this way of relating it to well known categories of colour, style, personality is mine. See also this post from Expressing Your Truth which analyses in detail how DYT is derivative. (Much information on that site about many other style and colouring systems.)

Of course DYT makes an extreme over-simplification of all our subtle individual differences. Psychologists long ago gave up on the idea that there’s any link between face or body shape and personality.
Indeed, DYT have to colour people’s hair so they look good in the colour of clothes suggested for their personality. Which to me doesn’t seem a way of respecting the Truth of our own bodies and personalities.

But anyway DYT have a free course on identifying your Type.
And many entertaining free videos about their system. See if you like the ideas and presentation style.
Despite all the limitations I enjoy watching this material. But it’s probably most helpful for people who don’t know there are innumerable sources of personal style advice – consultants, sites, books – out there !
(Don’t buy the book ‘Dressing your truth’ – expensive and says little about clothes.)

UK Colour Me Beautiful expands the usual 4 categories of personal style to 6 :
City Chic – elegant quality basics with an emphasis on accessories, or minimalism. See Janice of The Vivienne Files for inspiring outfits in this style.
Classic – traditional classic, modern classic, tweeds.
Natural – casual, relaxed, rugged, sporting.
Romantic – feminine, vintage.
Dramatic – edgy, sexy, fashionista.
Creative – a wide range of possibilities, from the Tilton and Sewing Workshop patterns through crafter’s embellishment, Goth/ Lolita/ steam punk, to grunge or the wildest of unexpected shape/ colour/ print/ texture combinations. Or ‘eclectic’ – any style depending on how you feel at the time ! (Have a look at Fantastical Beauty and Urban Threads.)

UK CMB have nothing free on-line about these styles, but they have got an on-line course for training professional personal stylists !

The 7 personal styles in the Australian 6-step wardrobe revamp include 6 similar styles and also ‘Alluring’.
Alluring/ Sexy
Choose a main style, then a secondary one to add special character to it.

My main style is relaxed, but having a ‘chic’ category helps me include the quality aspect that’s important to me. With touches of creative and feminine. I’m not at all into being highly visible, either dramatic, alluring, or aggressively creative !

‘Alluring’, ‘casual’, ‘feminine’, ‘creative’ – there are many situations, such as at work, where these styles are either inappropriate or unhelpful. It’s good to know your tendency and preference, so you can think how to get round it. Sometimes your secondary style is helpful. I’m a ‘natural’ and unhappy in classics (as I keep saying πŸ˜€ ) When I was working I focussed on my ‘chic’ side to look successful and competent. I know a supermarket supervisor who goes home in black leather and chains – when at work he keeps his ponytail with the company uniform.

Does any combination of these categories describe your personal style ? Where do you feel you fit in ?

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I’ve looked at many systems describing body shapes, colouring, and personal styles. None of them fit me exactly. Some of them I can fit myself into quite easily, others only with great difficulty. But I’ve learned something or got inspiration from nearly all of them, so it’s worthwhile as well as entertaining.
I am nearly always a combination of categories, and have learned much about what suits me by working out what would be a combined style.
Your own judgement about you feel ‘comfortable’ in is the best guide – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. . .

Have a look at some of this for a bit of enjoyable relaxation.
If it gives you any ideas for your own style, that’s a bonus πŸ˜€

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Links available April 2013

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Speedy Patterns update 2013

April 6, 2013

The Stitchers Guild annual Sewing With A Plan contest comes to an end on Tuesday April 30. So it’s time for an update of patterns that can be sewn in less than 2 hours – to help with any last minute sprint to the finishing line πŸ˜€

The SWAP requirement this year is to make a couple of different capsules of :
5 items : 3 tops, 2 bottoms, or
4 items : 2 tops, 1 bottom, 1 dress
plus a linking item which can be worn with both groups.
Giving a total 9, 10, or 11 items.

There’s a very wide variety of patterns available which the pattern companies claim can be sewn in less than 2 hours.
As there are dozens of them, I’m giving more information here about the few that I haven’t covered before, and just giving links to the ones I’ve shown drawings of previously.

[2015 update : There’s a download pattern line, Seamwork from Colette patterns, which claim to be makable in less than 3 hours.]

This list includes patterns that are oop but still available from US BMV (in 2013).

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Wardrobes and outfits

Simplicity 1561 described as sleepwear, but could be tunic, camisole, pants


Simplicity 5314 – sleepwear robe and pants. Shorten the robe for casual jacket-pants.


Simplicity 8589 – quick maternity wardrobe, for wovens.


Previously mentioned patterns :
New Look 6816 – knit top, skirt and pants.
Butterick 5225 – Life Style Wardrobe coded Easy rather than Very Easy. Butterick say it (presumably each garment) needs 2 hours of sewing time.

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Nancy Cornwell’s 90 minute fleece book has patterns for capes, ponchos, vests, scarves.

Previously mentioned patterns :
McCall’s 6209 – ponchos with a variety of shapes and necklines.
McCall’s 3448 – even easier, 1 hour ponchos.

And see the capes below.

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Make on the day needed. (Though, having once supervised the making of an entire Shakespeare play costumes in style like the nativity ones, in 2 days, I wouldn’t recommend this for peace of mind !)

McCall’s 2339 – nativity.


McCall’s 6142 – clowns.


McCall’s 4139 – vampire capes.


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Simplicity 1609 is a vintage 60s dress pattern for wovens, which they call a ‘Jiffy’ dress. In the 60s it was a quick make in comparison to what had gone before. But as it has a back zip and many darts, it’s not quick by today’s standards.


Many quick dress patterns have been shown in previous posts.


McCall’s 6074 – gathered front, sleeveless.
McCall’s 5893 – empire bodice, short sleeve option.


Butterick 5211 – shift, short sleeves.
McCall’s 6551 – shift with 2 necklines, 2 sleeves, 3 hems.

McCall’s 6465 – slightly a-line, 4 sleeves, 4 hems.
McCall’s 6102 – a-line, cup sizes to C and D, sleeveless or short sleeve.
McCall’s 9172 – a-line, sleeveless or short sleeves.

New Look 6804 – sleeveless.
New Look 6889 – sleeveless or cap sleeve.

New Look 6890 – gathered neckline, 5 raglan sleeve options, 3 lengths.
McCall’s 6558 – peasant style, 3 bodices, elastic waist, 4 hems.

This post – Quick patterns update 2012 – tops, dresses
includes quick dress patterns from independent designers.

Or find some of the fabric that is shirred along one side. Simply cut a length to go round you comfortably. Sew one seam to make a tube with the shirring at one end, and there’s a sun-dress. Well, you might like to take the time to add some straps.

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I haven’t found anything new, but there are many existing possibilities.


Butterick 5224 – many empire waist options.
McCall’s 5241 – cascade style cardigan, 3 front lengths all with the same back.


Butterick 4989 – various cascade/ waterfall front options.
McCall’s 6084 – cascade shawl collar with 4 sleeve lengths.

Butterick 4138 – unlined blazer they say can be made in 2 hours ! Choice of pocket styles and long or short sleeves.
Not so quick, the Palmer-Pletsch 8 hour jacket, McCall’s 6172.

These posts – Quick patterns update 2012 – skirts, pants, jackets, and Fast jackets – both include quick jacket patterns from independent designers.

Least-effort jacket ? Shirley Adams shows how to make a fleece jacket in a few minutes – in her Bog coat video.


McCall’s 2260 – unlined vests

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Several tops which I have given pictures of before, and which are still available :

New Look 6807 – 4 raglan sleeve options, knits.
New Look 6892 – raglan ‘peasant’ style, many sleeve options, wovens.

McCalls 5855 – 1-hour kaftan.

Butterick 5948 – dartless pullovers with various necklines, body and sleeve lengths. Site used to say they could be sewn in 2 hours, but no longer does. Borderline perhaps!

The 2015 Palmer-Pletsch shirts are :
McCall’s 6932 3 hour camp shit.
McCall;s 6613 band collar shirt – makes no time claims !

And many of the dress patterns can easily be shortened to make a top.

This post – Quick patterns update 2012 – tops, dresses
includes quick top patterns from independent designers, mainly for knits. Peggy Sagers demonstrates sewing Silhouette patterns 600 Classic Blouse for wovens in 1 hour in her associated webcast.

Many people have tee/ knit patterns they can make in a whiz on a serger/ overlocker. But if the pattern company doesn’t claim that, I haven’t mentioned it.

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Previously mentioned patterns :

McCall’s 5430 – wrap flared skirt.
Silhouette 2050 – straight wrap skirt with darts, button closure, no vertical seams.
McCall’s 6567 – elastic waist skirt with various lengths and hems, also a mock wrap version.
Simplicity 2368 – dirndl, mock wrap and 4 gore styles, 3 lengths.

Or make a dirndl skirt by cutting 2 fabric rectangles and sewing a casing for elastic around the top.

Skirt and pants
Simplicity 2414 – tiered skirt + elastic waist pants.

Butterick 5153 – one-seam pants, for women, men, children, various lengths.
McCall’s 6568 – elastic waist pants, 3 lengths, 2 leg shapes.
McCall’s 5889 – 1 hour tapered leg pants include several lengths.

This post – Quick patterns update 2012 – skirts, pants, jackets – includes quick skirt and pant patterns from independent designers.

new pattern 2015 : Simplicity 1068 for knit skirts and pants.

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Dozens more quick sewing patterns at AllFreeSewing. Though of course there’s no guarantee of the quality of the patterns or instructions.

What a rich selection, so many styles to choose from – pretty, casual, elegant, business-like. Which do you like ?

24 days left to the end of the SWAP contest.

So you need no more than 5 minutes of sewing time a day to make one of these patterns in the time available.

Or – whew – starting from scratch ? There are so many of these patterns to choose from – you could make one item a day starting from now, make a whole SWAP wardrobe, and finish with two weeks to relax and recover before the end of the contest !

Enjoy your sewing, make what you love.
So only do speedy sewing if you find it fun πŸ˜€

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Patterns and links available (some patterns oop and only from US BMV) April 2013

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