Archive for the ‘designers, trends’ category

A capsule / core wardrobe for Autumn 2016

October 8, 2016

Here is what Sew Over It patterns in London think are the 5 current key items (City Break e-book with download patterns, bust 33-45″).

”sew-over-it-capsule”

There’s a long (22 min.) and chatty video introducing the styles.

I think these are ‘current smart’ style, rather than classic / casual / pretty / dramatic. . . which is interesting, as most patterns from this company are vintage-style dresses.

They suggest this order of sewing difficulty :
knit top / dress, skirt,
shirt / dress
(simple style – no collar band, cuff or sleeve placket),
skinny jeans, coat.

Sew Over It claim to write teaching patterns.
If you would like more sewing support, Tilly and the Buttons have online video classes on making an easier skirt and tee, and a more difficult shirt.
Sew Over It have a video class and a free sew-along on fitting and making slim pants.

– – –

Add items to widen the scope

Want a 6 item group of
2 tops
2 bottoms
2 layers ?
Add a moto/biker jacket, such as Hot Patterns 1207.
Goes up a level of sewing skill, though you could leave out the exposed zips and use in-seam pockets.

”HPmoto-line”

For my own wardrobe needs I would want a pullover top and some non-stretch pants, such as Vogue 9063.

”v9063”

And a slouchy top such as the Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee.

”tessuti-mandy”

– – –

A complete 12 item core wardrobe

Those added 4 garments shift things up from the original capsule to a 10-item wardrobe.
4 tops
1 dress
1 skirt
2 pants
2 jackets.

A commonly suggested 12 item wardrobe would add 2 more jackets or other layers, for people in a climate with that need.
If you don’t wear many jackets, you could add 2 more tops – tees in your favourite colours, or Sew Over It have several pretty blouse patterns.

– – –

Explore the world of jacket riches !

Starting from (tee + jeans / pencil skirt) or (shirt + jeans / pencil skirt), jackets have huge potential for completely changing the style of an outfit.

As well as waterfall and moto jackets, there are many other current jacket types which would go well with the slim fit of the original capsule.
The first three can look more current at thigh / tunic or calf / duster length.

Kimono, such as New Look 6438.

Classic knit cardigan, such as New Look 6735.
Make longer and at least 2 sizes larger for a ‘boyfriend’ look.

Shawl collar woven, such as McCall’s 6084.

Bomber / blouson, such as McCall’s 7100.
McCall’s had a sew-along for this pattern.

Trench / safari / utility jacket, such as this from Lisette, Butterick 6361. Or this example from Allie Olson at Indie Sew can have a hood.

‘French’ or ‘Chanel’ Style :
Basic, Vogue 7975.
Claire Shaeffer couture, Vogue 8804.

Blazer with notched lapel collar :
Basic, Butterick 5926.
Claire Shaeffer couture, Vogue 9099.

Sleeveless coat / long vest, such as this from Sandra Betzina, Vogue 1528. Or Simplicity 8177 from Mimi G with video tutorials.
There’s an interesting selection of vests in the new patterns for this season at Butterick Fall 2016.

Most of those jackets are too fitted to wear over loose fitting tops. Here are some current styles to co-ordinate with looser tops :

Modern poncho, such as Butterick 6392. Or the group from Marfy Patterns (no instructions or seam allowances).

Oversized hoodie, such as Hot Patterns 1179.

Cocoon, such as Marilla Walker’s Fremantle raglan shape, or the Cocoon coat by Wardrobe By Me. This one from BurdaStyle 10/2013 has a sew-along video (not free).

Slouchy, such as Cali Faye Brenna.
Or the Rose dolman jacket from Marilla Walker.

Or step aside from fashion.

An unstructured jacket from Loes Hinse
or lagenlook frills from Tina Givens
might not go so well with the crisp basics in this Sew Over It capsule.

But you could go for an art-shirt-jacket by
Kathryn Brenne
Louise Cutting
Diane Ericson
Linda Lee
Marcy Tilton

Or try fabric piecing with Koos van den Akker or Fit for Art,
and quilting with Mary Ray.

Well that has got us rather a long way from the practical realities of a compact wardrobe starting with the Sew Over It capsule.
If you had to choose a maximum of four jacket / layer styles which are most true to you, that make you feel at home and at your best, which would they be ?
Your choices may be very different from mine – have you got a favourite pattern company that I haven’t mentioned ?
Hmm, I managed to get my needs down to five. . .

– – –

Some other sources of modern classic wardrobes

Tee, shirt, jeans, pencil skirt, waterfall jacket – the capsule styles are ‘modern classics’. So the Sew Over It patterns aren’t unique, though it’s good to have such basics grouped together.  StyleARC and Burda Style are also good sources of modern classic patterns.

BurdaStyle have download groups of patterns which are in the same style, for about $25. Good for wardrobes, and good value if you want to make more than 4 of the patterns. Their knits kit is a bit like the Sew Over It group, with patterns for fitted and loose tees, leggings, and woven shirt and skirt, also drafting and sewing webinars.

StyleARC patterns have pattern bundles which copy celebrity outfits.

The disadvantage of both those companies is the minimal instructions. You do need to know what you’re doing.

Sew Over It by contrast gives detailed instructions with clear photos. Many of their patterns have been tested in face-to-face classes before being issued generally.

– – –

For maximum wardrobe versatility, use your best neutral colours for the first of each item. I like to use texture and tonal variations.
Add accent colours and prints when you make more of the items.
Change fabric types, change hem and sleeve lengths, omit collars, and the alternatives are almost endless. . .

– – –

Patterns and links available October 2016

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Combine fabrics, embellish

November 2, 2013

The first ‘avant garde’ post was about architectural shapes.
This post is about adding interesting and unique design elements using all the possibilities of textile surface art – combining fabrics and adding texture and embellishment.

There are so many options for creativity. This post has these sections :
– patterns with basic shapes for fabric combining and embellishment.
– embellishment techniques.
– multi-fabric combining :
. . . different main pattern pieces in different fabrics.
. . . fabric combining in patchwork and other shapes.
– high fashion in ‘artistic’ colours and prints.

There’s many exciting and inspiring ‘art to wear’ sites and blogs, this is just a short guide to a few starting points.
And sorry, just some suggested links. Lots of attractive images if you follow up the links, but I haven’t included many visuals here. I wouldn’t know where to stop 😀

– – –

Basic garments for embellishment

There are several patterns with simple shapes specifically for adding your own fabric combination or embellishment.

Fit for Art Tabula Rasa jacket (includes help with fit, other patterns for style changes)

Yvonne Porcella Jacket from The Sewing Workshop (simplest shape, terrible instructions) (gallery here).
There’s also a pdf guide to embellishment for it (not free).

Kayla Kennington has patterns built from rectangles. Her site is not active at present, but her patterns are available from sewingpatterns.com.

Or decorate the simple shapes of peasant workwear such as from Folkwear patterns.

If you just like doing the embellishment without doing the garment construction, use basic existing garments (such as from BlankApparel.com). Though that isn’t a way of getting interesting garment shapes.

– – –

Embellishment Techniques

Many many internet sources of advice on :
– fabric painting, dying, stencilling, stamping, foiling. . .
– hand and machine embroidery, appliqué, texturising, couching, beading, heirloom stitching . . .
– plus sources for delicious ribbons, motifs, trims. . .
And dozens of books too.
Sorry I’m not going to attempt to pick out the good ones !

Perhaps work through a CD by Marcy Tilton on Surface Design, or her many on-line tutorials.

Several Craftsy classes to try :
Decorative seams
Edge finishes
Creative closures
Sewn texture
Stupendous Stitching
Machine embroidery, hand-stitched looks
Hand embellishing knit fabric
Designing details – pockets

Several McCall’s patterns for making fabric flowers.

Here’s a pdf from Shirley Adams of Alternatives for making multiple different shells using different decorative techniques.

Multiple fabric combinations within one garment

This is the current ‘multi-media’ approach to clothes.

See the Style.com Fall 2013 trend reports Crazy Fur section (click on right centre photo) for designer inspiration on using fur, some in combinations.
and Style.com Spring 2013 trend reports Collage Degree section (click on left centre photo) for designer inspiration on combining patterned fabrics.

I love combining fabrics in a quilt, but find it much more difficult in clothes.
Easiest to use fabrics from quilt fabric designers, which are issued in groups of prints specifically designed to co-ordinate.

Whole pattern pieces

The most seen ‘high-street fashion’ multi-fabric look is to have whole pattern pieces in different fabrics, especially in princess seam styles. Many Big4 and Burda patterns in which this is done quite simply, with solids in ‘colour blocking’. ‘Texture blocking’ or ‘multi-media’ print combining are the newest idea.

At the extreme, if you add a CB seam and a waist seam to a princess seam jacket, you’ll have 16 different fabric areas to play with in the body alone. Then add on more fabrics for sleeves, collar, facings😀

Try these sources for more casual patterns in this style :
Design and Planning Concepts
Indygo Junction
Serendipity Studio

Patchwork and other fabric shapes

If you love piecing and quilting, there’s plenty of fashion inspiration for using smaller areas of each fabric too.

There’s a Craftsy class on making a Quilted jacket

And there are many independent pattern designers who provide patterns for ‘wearable art’ pieced and quilted garments. These are just some of them.
Dana Marie
Grainline Gear
Lorraine Torrence Designs
Pavelka Design (sewing patterns link at bottom of page)
Rag Merchant
Taylor Made Designs

Here are a couple of examples.

Silhouette 4013 dress for knits.

”silhouette4013”

McCall’s 6712 top and circular skirt.

”m8712”

The king of print combination is Koos van den Akker at Vogue.
Here’s a slide show of his styles to click through.

– – –

‘Artistic’ high fashion

There’s another route, for people who aren’t so interested in architectural shapes and embellishment.

And that is to wear high fashion shapes in strong prints and strong colours.
YouLookFab gives an example here, from one of those style bloggers who appears to have an unlimited clothing budget.

As in the combining of contrasting prints and textures (see my post with an example), this requires a gifted artistic eye.
There’s a good article on mixing prints and textures here. [Ignore their Style Personality quiz, which only has one style.]

Note there’s no combining of colours or prints within one garment. They’re dramatically combined from separate garments.
But it is a rather different approach to wardrobe building than wearing a couple of neutrals and one accent colour with one quiet print😀

Lots of attractive and dramatic prints around. But take care if you have low contrast colouring or a quieter personality – perhaps these fabrics will swamp your own looks. It is possible to choose prints, textures, colours which ensure people look at you, not the fabric !

– – –

I grinned while pulling this list together. I delight in all clothes. But the styles I actually wear myself are a bit like this – though very quiet versions !

I’m definitely a follower not an innovator in this area, but I’m fascinated by all the possibilities.
I’m particularly entranced by an old embellishment set I have from Lois Ericson, which has stencils and machine embroidery software for the same shapes. Almost infinite potential.

– – –

If you love this sort of jacket, enjoy being at the forefront of fashion this season 😀

There’s so much rich creativity available for clothes making. If this is your style I’m sure you have your own sources of delight and inspiration.

Do you show your personal style in the jacket shapes you choose ? This season there are quiet or striking versions of :
– tailored blazer,
– drapey or curvy shapes,
– assertive edgy shapes of bomber/ biker/ military,
– architectural shapes.

Or do you prefer simple shapes but delight in the bold or subtle combination of colour, print, texture, embellishment ? There’s a huge range – from overwhelming, challenging, sublime through to modest in scope.

No end to the delicious possibilities 😀
Apart from the pleasures of looking at all this – when it comes to what you wear yourself, which makes you feel most happy, comfortable with and true to yourself 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available November 2013

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Stylish fleeces and hoodies

October 26, 2013

I seem to have been going through a phase where I disagree with everything said by stylists.
Ah well, perhaps it’s a test that I’m clear about my own style.

A style book I looked at recently (Wardrobe Secrets by Emily Neill) said there are no rules about what to wear, except you must never wear a turtle (polo) neck, and it’s good to wear a V-neck.
Oh dear, I feel the cold and with my long neck and long head, I think I look much better in a turtle neck. And I haven’t worn a classic V-neck since school uniform – with my face shape and flat chest they don’t look anywhere near the best I can be.

And Imogen Lamport of Inside-Out Style has a couple of recent posts in which she appears to be anti-fleece and anti-hoodie.

Oh. Hmm. No doubt I’m over-reacting, but there seem to be several sub-texts here :
– that it’s impossible to look stylish and trendy in a fleece or hoodie,
– that everyone wants to look stylish and trendy,
– and that it’s impossible to look stylish and trendy when wearing protective winter outerwear.
(The people who buy Chanel ski jackets would be surprised to hear that 😀 There’s even a Lands End ‘down to -40 degrees C’ padded jacket in the style worn by all the trendy girls round here.)

Well of course that set me off on a whole lot of trains of thought. Happily there are many recent patterns for ‘Easy Luxe’ elegant fleeces and hoodies.

– – –

Stylish hoodies

McCall’s 6444

”m6444”

Butterick 5791 (includes elastic waist pants)

”b5791”

Vogue 8854.

”v8854”

McCall’s 6603

”m6603”

McCall’s 6849

”m6849”

(Or shorten this dress, Vogue 8806.)

– – –

Stylish fleeces

Some new patterns could be cosy and comfortable in fleece, yet look ‘stylish’ rather than ‘sporty’ (Though why not look sporty-casual if you want to – there are plenty of new patterns. It’s a very popular look round here.)

McCall’s 6658

”m6658”

Vogue 8924

”v8924”

Butterick 5961 by Katherine Tilton

”b5961”

Simplicity 1543 by Patty Reed

”s1543”

Butterick 5816 is said to be for light fabrics. But it was a summer pattern issue, and I think it could work well in warm fabrics too. (Pattern info doesn’t mention using 2 fabrics, very trendy but not clear that there are instructions for it.)

”b5816”

– – –

Well, this is obviously a topic close to my heart, as I keep returning to it.
See my previous posts on
fleeces and hoodies
and on the vague borderline between ultra-casual and loungewear styles.

Hurrah, lots of options for those of us who love ‘Easy Luxe’ 😀

And here’s YouLookFab on wearing a hoodie with a blazer – she definitely doesn’t think a hoodies are not for the stylish 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available October 2013

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Turned up collar

October 5, 2013

There is a blazer detail that’s emphasised this season – many versions with turned up collar.
(I first mentioned it in a post on workwear suggestions from UK In Style magazine a couple of years ago.)

Gucci at Saks

”guccisaks”

Philosophy at Saks

”philosophysaks”

This one has a lovely change of texture by using a mesh overlay except in the collar and ‘lapel’ area.

Including Eileen Fisher’s featured jacket this season.

”efjkt”

Oddly there’s no photo on the Eileen Fisher site which shows the collar clearly.

(For a softer look, Eileen Fisher also has several jackets with a cascade/ waterfall front. Though in leather I think they look assertively edgy rather than soft. See my post on new patterns for soft and shapely jackets.).

A turned up collar is a possible style for both business and a more casual look.
Could work well in a setting which needs a more professional look but with a bit of fashion forward edge.

Easy to mimic using McCall’s 6711, which has a collar that can be made and worn either up or down.

”m6711jkt”

(Simplicity Sew Stylish 1542 View A is a softer style with a notched neckline, not like the RTW examples I’ve given photos of.)

On the McCall’s pattern, the princess seams give easy opportunities for this season’s colour blocking or texture blocking.
Or use leather just for the collar or for added trims, round the edges or in the princess seams.
The Eileen Fisher jacket has leather piping in a waist seam.

The McCall’s jacket is part of a wardrobe pattern, with a good variety for combining crisp and soft lines. Though as usual you have to check if the jacket will layer over other sleeves.

– – –

Collar details

Choose which way to make the jacket. If you press the collar and lapels to roll down and back, then turn up the collar, you may look just look as if you’re sheltering from a draft ! Make a version with collar pressed flat if you want to look sleek and in control with this turned up collar.
Though of course the conventional blazer collar turned up and worn with a scarf is a classic casual look.

Look closely and you’ll see this turned up collar may be made with a slightly wider neckline so the collar upper edge lies lower on the neck.

Also the notch in the McCall’s pattern is wider than the notches in the RTW versions. The pattern uses a collar which is easy to sew.

The RTW jackets have a collar inset into an angled corner, a much more advanced sewing technique. Not mentioned in my old Vogue Sewing Book which I thought was comprehensive. Surprisingly difficult to find guidance. These tutorials from the RTW tailoring sewalong at Paper, Scissors, Cloth show the method needed. They show the crucial techniques, which need accurate stitching :
– when attaching the under-collar to jacket and upper-collar to facings, sew only to the ‘match point’, not into the seam allowance beyond it (tutorial here – after first 2 steps).
– when joining body-under collar and upper collar-facing units, sew away from that match-point corner in both directions (tutorial here).

Not many patterns with an inset collar. Here’s a few (these are just examples which have that collar in a corner, they’re not patterns for turned up collars) : Vogue 8845 by Claire Shaeffer, Vogue Wardrobe 8887, Burda 03/2010 # 116.

– – –

Personally I wouldn’t look at all friendly with all those angles close to my face ! (though it would look better in light colours).

Is this a style element that would look good on you, or is the crispness and this collar shape not best for your personal lines and the attitude you like to convey ?

– – –

Pattern and links available September 2013

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