Archive for the ‘current fashion’ category

Skirt styles for winter 2013

August 17, 2013

UK Vogue catwalk edit for Winter 2013 says skirts will be a focus this season. Especially 3 styles – pencil, pleats, full and flouncy.

Nearly all worn below knee length. At lower knee cap or lower calf for most people. Mid-calf if you have thin legs.

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McCall’s 3830 classic pattern.


At calf length, you need a hem vent for ease of walking. In the early 20c, they weren’t allowed to show their legs, so made slim skirts without vents – rightly called ‘hobble’ skirts !

Written sewalong from Tuppence Ha’penny (for pencil skirts in general, not this specific pattern).

Lots of video sewalongs listed in my post on Skirts – video sewalongs.

Pencil skirts are styled by UK Vogue this season especially with sweater knit tops and flat shoes.
Here’s a post from YouLookFab about styling a longer skirt , though on a tall person with good shoulders.
And here she is on tops to wear untucked with pencil skirts.

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All around pleats such as Butterick 5756


supplement to instructions, from Fashion Sewing Blog

Or similar McCall’s 6706 if you’d like a shorter style.

If you have difficulty getting your head round how pleating works, here’s a YouTube on pleats.

These pleated skirts can be worn short and flirty, or long. With a long top, or waist definition.

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Full and flouncy

Long again, worn with a fitted top and waist definition. Most of these are fitted at the waist and flare out. Not many with gathered fullness.

Mad Men style – I was a teenager in the 50s and I can tell you it wasn’t a glamorous time. But the skirts are lovely !

Here’s a basic pattern, Vogue 8749.


Though a true New Look skirt is much fuller than this. One point of Dior’s design was to celebrate the end of wartime shortages. So look for a skirt pattern that uses 5 or 6 yards of fabric !

Or test your creativity by making McCall’s 6712 a bit longer.


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For these flared skirts, add sewing a curved hem to your skills.

Very narrow hem – tutorial from Allison.

Narrow hem – many web tutorials, I like the clear photos in this one from Victory patterns.

Yes, 3 lines of stitching – trying to get away with only 2 doesn’t work well !

Wide hem – actually a bit more difficult.
Use similar technique to the narrow double fold in the tutorial from Victory.
Only sew the first row of stitching, as a first turning in/ gathering line.
Fold up hem without guide sewing line,
and press the hem into place, pressing out the fullness.
Best if hand sewn.
Lots of hem tips in general, including on wider hems, from SewMamaSew.

(P.S. Vildy suggests using a hem facing if you want a wide curved hem.)

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Lantern skirt

And – though this isn’t recommended by UK Vogue !
How about a ‘lantern’ skirt for those of us with wide hips and trim ankles.

Wall London

Make as a ‘balloon’ skirt (see my post) using the underskirt method, but low calf length.

Check if you need to add a hem slit so you can walk.
A slit at CB is probably best for most people. Make an open slit if you like to show your legs, an overlapping vent if you want it to be unnoticed when you’re standing still. Trace the vent from another skirt pattern, if you’re not comfortable with just adding to the seam allowances.

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Might this season convert you to skirt wearing !

Long skirts are best for my leg shape, and I love swirling, so I’m tempted 😀

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Patterns and links available August 2013

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Summer jacket – combining contrasts

July 27, 2013

Another outfit from UK In Style magazine’s suggestions for summer weddings.
With emphasis on combining very different contrasts in one outfit.

Very different from the softly styled muted colouring kimono in my previous post.

A straight thigh length jacket with seam interest.
Made in a solid fabric (white for this summer’s theme), perhaps with a shiny texture or leather.

UK In Style July 2013

For the jacket pattern, try Kwik Sew 3732.


Not clear from either image, but both jacket and pattern have large hip patch pockets.

The outfit jacket also has matching seam interest across the sleeves, easy to add.
And 3/4 sleeves – add to taste.

Outfit styling

All this season’s textures and patterns in one outfit !
brilliant styling !


big contrasts in :
surface – leather or lace
print – soft or hard edged

Textures :
lace shirt
smooth leather or shine jacket
metallic and suede shoes
snake skin bag
floaty scarf.

Patterns :
hard edged simple pattern scarf
floral pants
snake skin bag
the lace shirt adds another subtle curved pattern

Combinations of solid flat, segmented mosaic (the snake skin), background-foreground (lace and scarf), or detailed painterly shapes.

All integrated through the use of colour. Mainly white and warm, with a touch of complementary cool blue.

This outfit is styled in clear colours.
If your colouring is more muted, choose a print with muted pastel background for the pants, and repeat the background colour for the jacket and shirt.

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Whew, this sort of integration of opposites in styling takes talent or a lot of experimenting.

I can’t do this or wear this level of variety myself, but I’m fascinated by outfits like this.
Would you like to try it ?

(And P.S. – if you prefer to wear a dress to a wedding, here are many suggestions on what to wear to a wedding from Imogen Lamport at Inside-Out Style.)

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Pattern available July 2013

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Summer jacket – Kimono

July 13, 2013

I was amused by a piece in UK In Style magazine for July about wedding outfits.
Obviously they’re thinking of our recent cold sunless summers, and not expecting us to survive outdoors in a sleeveless dress.
As the emphasis of all the outfits is on a long-sleeved jacket. Over high necked tops and dresses.
None of the outfits are at all revealing !

Several interesting outfits, I’ve decided to comment on them individually as short summer posts.

The first is the most casual suggestion, a kimono.
Very fashionable this season.


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Kimono patterns

Make in a drapey soft muted print fabric, with the neck band in a contrasting dark solid colour.

The easiest beginners’ kimono pattern is Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3177.
A pattern for a dressing gown/ robe, but currently fashionable for a casual jacket too.


Choose the finished size by the effect you want – slouchy or slim.
Omit the pockets or place them differently, if that would be more flattering.
Many lengths possible – to hip, thigh, knee.

If you’d still feel you were wearing your robe in public if you made that, try Burda 7297.
Styled as robe, jacket or coat.


There are also some wardrobe patterns with kimono jackets.

Simplicity 1593 is a wardrobe for knits.


Or for something a bit more elegant there’s New Look 6161, a Project Runway pattern.


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Outfit styling

In this outfit the kimono is worn with an equally softly styled dress in a light solid colour.
Both dress and kimono at knee length.

This outfit is styled with darker muted warm colours, but there are many washed prints in other colourways, lighter, brighter, cooler, to use as a colour starting point.

This is styled for a beach wedding, with open flat shoes for coping with sand.

The clutch bag, very fashionable, is the usual flat rectangle shape, but with rounded corners to match the generally soft styling.

The outfit is in browns, blacks, creams, with a wash of other subtle tones in the print.
The bag, plus a strip in the shoes, emphasises a pale green. Possibly picked out from the muted print. A good soft way to give the outfit a bit of colour ‘lift’ without overpowering the muted effect.

An easy and attractive outfit, if you’re happy in something casual, soft, unrevealing. Vary the colour to what flatters you.

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A kimono was high fashion a couple of years ago too. Then it was a winter style as part of an emphasis on oriental style. I wrote a post then on kimono patterns.

Now the kimono is back as a summer style and part of an arty or ‘slouchy’ ultra-casual attitude.
YouLookFab has a couple of posts showing modern casual kimono styling with jeans and slim pants. And in brighter colourings, here and here.

So, if the style attracts you, you can wear kimonos both for everyday and for special occasions.

Wow, I’m fashionable this season without knowing it. Early in the year I bought an ecru lace kimono for ‘summer best’. Thigh rather than dress length, so best worn with slimmer pants. I love it 😀

Though we have just had a week of sunshine and warmth here, so perhaps we won’t need jackets this summer after all 😀

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Outfit photo from UK In Style magazine
Patterns and links available July 2013

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Fun fashion and sewing links

March 26, 2013

I don’t think I’ve ever done a purely “have a look at these” post. But here are some starting points for inspirational Weekend-Web-Wandering over the holiday. Links to links !

Enough for two weeks of this – first on fashion and sewing. Later on personal style.

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Here’s a list which claims to be the top 99 most influential fashion blogs.

It’s a good season for remembering the difference between style and fashion. Have been looking at a UK magazine issue for this month. Which says this summer we must wear black and white, or bright colours in big florals or blocking. Emerald, sunflower, red, bright blue, fuchsia.
Well, those will only flatter people with ‘Winter’ or ‘Spring’ type colouring.
And within those colour groupings, only people with some colour personalities and some personal styles would be happy wearing them.
Also apparently neutrals (grey, navy, dark brown) are a no-no this season.

Actually that leaves out a big colour story this summer, the pale beiges and pastels (see Cos) – good for some ‘Summers’.
‘Autumns’ ? – how about some gold or bronze metallic, or tangerine, greyed jade, chartreuse.
Here’s the Pantone spring 2013 colour report.
And there’s the grey/ silver metallics and sheers.

Happily other sources have a wider range of ideas about this season’s possibilities.
Here’s the US Vogue spring 2013 trends.

YouLookFab lists must-haves for spring/summer 2013.

And have a look at what M&S thinks we should be wearing this summer. Set the occasion on the left, the current ‘look’ at the top, and see what they suggest !
Fashion of course, no allowance for personal style. Plus lots of videos of models wearing the outfits. I don’t find them at all tempting (they might not mind this – I doubt I’m their target customer :D), but they are entertaining.

Yet more delight from looking at clothes ? explore the outfits at Polyvore.

While have already listed all the RTW fashion shows for winter 2013.

And’s pre-season report says the Fall 2013 trends (click on ‘The pre-fall Guide’) are :
Candy coloured coats
Leopard print
Turtleneck sweaters
Modest coverage evening wear
Big proportions
Oxfords and saddle shoes

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Patterns and sewing

Sewaholic patterns come out top pattern company in the Pattern Review of top patterns in 2012.
Good instructions, and some patterns have on-line sewalongs (sorry, they’re for pear shape people).

There are many easy free download patterns from Hot Patterns, if you’re looking for an ‘instant gratification’ project quick enough to make over the weekend.
(well except that assembling a download pattern isn’t instant gratification. . .)

Dozens more quick free sewing patterns at AllFreeSewing. Though no guarantee of the quality of the patterns or instructions.

Or look through the Hot Patterns videos – they are intended (and effective :D) to get you to buy their main pattern line, but there’s a lot of useful information as well.
They actually have a ‘channel’ on YouTube.
Click on the words “Uploaded Videos” in the button.
(The Favorite videos are something else entirely.)

Or explore FashionSewingBlogTV if you like to watch easy videos about technique.

Get inspired by the wondrous wardrobe sewing at Stitcher’s Guild. This year’s Sewing With A Plan contest ends in April. Use your Tried ‘n True patterns and there’s still time to take part if you enjoy speedy sewing 😀
Or do it without pressure and follow the seasonal capsule sew along – always one in progress.

And if you get to the end of the weekend and find you’ve made a wadder – make a special sewer’s frustration tool from Shirley Adams at Sewing Connection. Make it from the worst bit of your wadder 😀

Back to serious – you can sign on free for a couple of days at The Sewing Guru (it’s easy to cancel the instructions at PayPal).
You might manage in one weekend to watch all his videos on making a tailored jacket, but would you remember it all 😀 If you get hooked you may want to stay a member so you can watch them slowly.

At the advanced end of the technical skills scale, couture companies like Chanel give more details about what underpins their collections.

Hermes have videos about the work of their expert artisans.

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Second post planned on links for exploring personal style.
Following up all this could take weeks not days !
Have leisurely relaxing fun over the holiday weekend 😀

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Links available March 2013

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