Archive for the ‘current fashion’ category

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


Philosophy at Saks


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.


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.


(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.

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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.

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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 ?

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Pattern and links available September 2013

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Jackets – architectural shapes

September 28, 2013

I’ve been reviewing the new jacket patterns, with blazers here, and soft and shapely styles here.

But perhaps your taste in jackets is neither for crisp blazers or shapely softer styles.
There are several other options mentioned by YouLookFab in her review of jacket trends for the season (2013).
I may write on the more edgy looks – bomber, biker, military, though there aren’t many new patterns.

YouLookFab didn’t mention the soft and shapely styles in her review, but you obviously like them, as my post on them got more visitors in its first weekend than I’ve had for some time 😀

– – –

Avant garde

YouLookFab also picks out ‘avant garde’ as a key style for the season.

She says :

Avant-garde: A non-classic style that is arty, sometimes asymmetrical, architectural and boxy, usually quite dramatic, and full of interesting design elements that make it unique. Avant-garde styles have a long expiry date because they are pretty trend-immune, but don’t look classic either.

Well, that doesn’t place many limits on what we can wear 😀

I’ve picked two key themes out of that quote :
– architectural shapes
– interesting and unique design elements.
I have so many links and comments, I’ve divided this into 2 posts, this one on sources of ‘interesting’ shapes. Second post to come on links about adding ‘textile art’ details.

Not a listing of new patterns, just some of the more obvious links.

– – –

Architectural shapes


Ivey Abitz
Krista Larson
Terry Macey, Angelika Eisenbach

That is a just a small selection of studio designers who produce unusual clothes.

Eileen Fisher
Gudrun Sjoden
are more mainstream with multiple retail stores.

Many more links to styles of this type in the Lagenlook thread at Stitchers Guild.

Patterns (garments not prints)

Louise Cutting at Cutting Line Designs
Linda Lee of The Sewing Workshop
Shapes by Louise Cutting and Linda Lee
Diane Ericson (ReVisions)
Tina Givens has many interesting patterns. But do make a trial garment – many of the patterns and instructions need considerable adapting to get them to work.

Koos van den Akker at Vogue
Lynn Mizono at Vogue
Marcy Tilton at Vogue
Katherine Tilton at Vogue
Katherine Tilton at Butterick

There are also usually a few individual designer jackets at Vogue which are ‘architectural’ or strongly unusual, both hard-edged and softer styles. These are some of the current ones (2013, these links don’t work in 2016, do a search if you’re interested) :

Vogue 1264 by Anne Klein


Vogue 1211 by Guy Laroche


Vogue 1347 by Chado Ralph Rucci.


Vogue 1263 by Donna Karan


Vogue 1346 by Donna Karan


Vogue 1129 by Donna Karan


Some non-English language sources of more unusual shapes :

For extreme shapes try the books by Tomoko Nakamichi:
Pattern Magic
Pattern Magic 2
Pattern Magic Stretch fabrics

or the series by Hisako Sato :
Drape Drape
Drape Drape 2
Drape Drape 3

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What a lot of riches to explore ! Even if you don’t want to wear this style of garment yourself – if you’re fascinated by the shapes of clothes and how patterns work to achieve them, you’ll take pleasure in all this !

Or perhaps you’re more interested in jackets with unique details – jackets that are ‘textile art’, jackets that use fabric combining or are rich with embellishment. I have a second post planned with links on those topics.

Enjoy 😀

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Originally published September 2013, links revised August 2016

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New jacket patterns – soft and shapely

September 14, 2013

I started reviewing the new season’s patterns while talking about capsules for the season.
And one of the suggested jackets is a blazer –
see my previous post on new patterns for them.

I’m not a blazer wearer. I was amused by Angie of YouLookFab’s recent post on her personal shopping list for fall 2013. As the colours, shapes, styles she wants are all wrong for me. Big city style for people who look their best in strong cool colours and sharply edged clothes. A good reminder to enjoy styling advice for the ideas, but not to follow it blindly !

That doesn’t mean my fashion future is hopeless and I’m doomed to drabness, just that I have a different personal style. I could dress happily out of several trendy catalogues. I’ll mention Mint Velvet here, as their mini-catalogue doesn’t include a single blazer 😀 I love the styles, though it’s all a bit black for me. And I could wear nearly everything in the Poetry catalogue if they were the right colours and lengths.

In fact, mis-firing advice from stylists I usually admire has been a feature of this summer. Both Judith Rasband (Conselle newsletter of 31 May) and Imogen Lamport (Inside-Out post of 7 August) have told everyone to wear black. Oh dear, oh dear, have they got so famous they don’t bother to look at real people any more.

Anyway, back to topic – when I was talking about blazers, I was following YouLookFab’s advice in her post on a capsule for this season.
But there are many other possible jacket styles. YouLookFab’s review of jacket high-styles for the coming season doesn’t include any soft or feminine styles, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fashionable. And this post is about the new patterns for them. These patterns may have notched or shawl collars, but most are neither straight nor structured and many don’t have strongly defined shoulders.

I’ve divided these patterns into :
– more drape in the styling, a softer non-tailored look.
– cascade collars.
– emphasised waist (often with a peplum), for people who have an indented waist, or want to look more shapely.

– – –

Skim Fitting and Drapey

Vogue 8845 by Claire Shaeffer no doubt has instructions for beautiful couture.


Vogue 1364 by Sandra Betzina


That back centre panel can be cut on the bias or have added texture interest.

No shaping, and Cascade collar

Even more drapey, cascade collars have been around for a while, but there are plenty still in this season’s trendy catalogues. Drape down to no lower than waist level. Many small cup people look better with drape to bust level, while if you have a large cup size you may prefer the drape to waist level or lower.

No new patterns, but several already available.
McCall’s 6444 has both higher and lower drape options.


Close fitted and Shapely

Butterick 5962 by Gertie


New Look 6231 wardrobe with a choice of necklines and peplum styles. (Despite the slimness of those pants, this pattern doesn’t insist you use knits or stretch fabrics.)
With a shoulder princess pattern, it’s relatively easy to change the neckline style by changing the central front section, so this jacket has many styling possibilities.


Vogue 8931 is shapely and structured, not soft in effect.


With a choice of collars, and colour blocking suggestions.

– – –

Would any of these new patterns flatter your body shape and enhance your personal style ?

And of course they can all be made in the new fabrications too, see my previous post on blazer patterns.
Some of the patterns here already include ideas for colour blocking or texture blocking.

But perhaps you don’t wear either blazers or shapely soft styles. Perhaps you prefer more edgy or fashion extremes, or the sort of creativity which is outside fashion.
YouLookFab mentioned these in her review of jacket trends for the season.
And I’m hoping to write posts on
patterns for bomber/ biker/ military jackets
and on the new curved shoulder look.
YouLookFab also picks ‘avant garde’ as an important style for the season. And I have posts planned on some of the many options for those.

So, many many exciting jacket possibilities.

Choose the ones you love 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available September 2013

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Winter capsule – blazer, pants

August 31, 2013

Two of my favourite stylists have suggested similar small casual capsules for the coming winter 2013, so I thought I’d use them as a focus for talking about some of the new patterns.
The Vivienne Files

They both use layers, tops, and pants.
No skirts, despite UK Vogue’s insistence that they’re a key look this season, see my post on skirts for this winter.
And no dresses, though the pattern catalogues are full of them. Perhaps home sewers are more likely to have a dress-wearing personal style 😀
(If you do prefer skirts and dresses, here’s another capsule from The Vivienne Files.)

The basic capsules have :
– 2 layers
– 3-6 tops, mainly knits but include 1 shirt
– 2-3 pants
– 1-2 big scarves
– 2 pairs shoes
– 1 bag.
– 1 belt

My comments have turned into a series of posts.
– here the main focus is on blazer-style jackets, with a note on pants.
I’m also planning :
– a couple of posts on other jacket styles (see YouLookFab on jacket trends for the season).
– one on tops.
– and possibly one on accessories.

– – –

Travel capsule

Incidentally, Janice of The Vivienne Files is talking about a minimal travel capsule, and shows all the advantages of mix-and-match.
Wear to travel : (“Key 3” outfit) 1 pants, 1 layer, 1 top,
plus 1 big scarf/ shawl, 1 pair comfortable shoes.
Carry a small bag with : (“Four Pack”) 1 pants, 1 layer, 1 shirt, 1 dressier top,
plus 1 big scarf/ shawl, 1 pair dressy shoes, (nightwear, small size toiletries, spare undies and socks).

The only bulky heavy item is the shoes, so try to lighten them. No jeans – they’re bulky and heavy. A knit for the packed layer would be light and pack down well.
Very little to carry and, if you have access to washing facilities, you have the basis for over 30 different looks !
(P.S. ejvc has some interesting ideas about making this group in her post here.)

– – –


First a brief mention of the pants.

Both stylists go for 2 pairs of pants, slim and even more slim.
Plus YouLookFab adds a comfortable-casual pair of ‘boyfriend’ jeans.

sources at YouLookFab

There aren’t any new slim ‘pants only’ patterns, but plenty of pants combined with the jackets, so I’ll mention them there.

If you’re looking for really slim high-stretch styles, McCall’s is a good source of patterns.

For jeans, each of the big companies has their own basic pattern.
Jalie 2908 jeans was the top Pattern Review pattern for 2009.


Pattern Review have 85 pages of tips in a chat and advice jeans sew along for this pattern.

– – –


Both stylists suggest 2 layering options.

This is where Angie and Janice have the biggest difference of opinion : one suggests sweater knits (she’s suggesting a travel capsule), the other has more structured wovens.

The Vivienne Files goes for a couple of classic thicker knits, sweater (what we in the UK call a jumper) and cardigan.

sources at The Vivienne Files

There isn’t a good source of sweater knit fabrics here, so knit your own or buy RTW.

You LookFab picks a blazer and a moto/ biker jacket. She’s going for one more formal and one more casual style, to get a wide variety of looks out of a small capsule.

sources at YouLookFab
(not clear from the image, but it’s a shawl-collar blazer)

Moto/ biker basically is a closer fitting style with exposed zips, often asymmetrical and in a tough fabric such as leather.
I’m planning to talk about these in a later post.
This post is about new patterns for blazer-like styles.

– – –


Many of the new notched collar patterns are buttoned at bust level. Which is interesting as nearly all blazer patterns recently have been buttoned at waist level.
Indeed, YouLookFab says that trendy jackets are buttoned low.

Long low-buttoned lapels may be high fashion,
but they’re difficult to get to lay flat for anyone but the B cup people who the patterns are made for.
And they’re not such a flattering look for many people with large cup size (see Imogen Lamport’s post on buttoning).
It’s a compromise decision, as long lapels do add a lengthening line.

So choose which is most flattering for you. And make sure the visual focus of attention is on the collar, not on the ‘break point’ where it turns back to start the lapels.

Blazer-like styles

Butterick 5926 has a notched collar.


The collar in Vogue 8939 is less usual.
And ah good, a wardrobe jacket that’s designed to fit over long sleeves.


Butterick 5965 wardrobe has a shawl collar.


McCall’s 6655 jacket by Palmer-Pletsch has 2 lengths and a good variety of collars. The blazer picked by YouLookFab is like the one lower left here, though not colour blocked.


– – –


In her post on jacket styles for the coming season, YouLookFab mentions the tuxedo as well as the blazer.

I take it to mean a version of the blazer that is ‘boyfriend styled’, looking as if you’re wearing a man’s jacket :
long and large – wide
more structured – crisp

Obviously the big pattern companies disagree with her, as there used to be several patterns for tuxedos, now no more.

Here’s a couple of download patterns from Burda Style.

Notched collar, Burda 03/2010 # 116


Shawl collar, Burda 04/2013 # 101


– – –


Blazer jackets no longer have to be made out of dark neutrals in gaberdine or men’s tailoring fabrics (unless you want to of course).
Big floral and geometric prints are still in style.

And the new idea is ‘multi-media’ styles (see YouLookFab’s post – link at top of this – for tops in different fabrications).
That means you can make your jacket or top with :
– colour blocking.
– areas with different styles of print.
– texture blocking – add lace, leather trims or sections, bias cut or textured areas.
It’s easiest to do texture blocking if all the fabrics have the same weight and weave. Using areas of different fabric types, such as combining knits and wovens, velvet and charmeuse, can be a technical challenge.

Blazers may be associated with serious work and power, but nowadays the most formal shape of blazer can be worn to an exotic occasion if you use the right fabric 😀

Maybe the blazer shape is classic, but using fabrication there’s lots of fashion forward jacket exploration possible this season. Well actually even classic fabrics are currently high fashion. A recent TV show had a multi-million-selling girl pop group wearing matched solid fabric blazer pant suits !

Does a blazer or tuxedo suit your personal style ?
See my post on details of blazer styling to make them your own.

Blazers are straighter and more structured, for people with a straighter shape, or who want to look more formal. Angie of YouLookFab herself has a crisper look and tends to suggest those styles. (As a supplementary post from YouLookFab, here are some capsules suggested by her readers.)

But if you’re like me, and not happy in a straighter more structured and classic jacket, there are plenty of other new jacket possibilities, which I’m planning posts on.

– – –

Patterns and links available August 2013

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