Archive for the ‘specific capsules’ category

My sewing style is One Pattern Many Looks

November 10, 2018

The Sewing With A Plan rules for the contest at Stitcher’s Guild (January to April 2019) have been posted.
And to my surprise they suit my style of sewing.  

I have several sides to my sewing personality.
The theory side : I’m a pattern nerd and love knowing how patterns work and how garments are constructed. I read pattern making and sewing instructions for fun (yes, not many people do that 😀 ) I also love sewing videos for how clear they make technique, but don’t binge watch them as I tend to want to make the item and I have a big enough pile of half-finished projects without their help !
The newbie side : When I’m learning something I love detailed instructions and get stressed if I have to ‘wing it’. But once I know what to do, I can merrily ‘think outside the box’.
The planning side : I’m a ‘more ideas than stitches’ person. I can come up with innumerable ideas for a wardrobe plan or changes to a specific pattern, but I make very little. I’m much better at pulling these ideas together into blog posts than at actually making them all 😀
The practical side : My wearing and sewing are simple and easy :
– I wear a ‘uniform’ and mainly one silhouette – frilled blouse, slim pants, layer (some variety here), padded vest in deep winter.
– my sewing style is ‘one pattern many looks’. I have such trouble getting things to fit, it’s easier for me to start from a basic pattern and add variants, rather than exploring all the shapes and styles that professional pattern designers offer us.

The ‘One pattern many looks’ contest is also coming up at Pattern Review, starting November 15. I allow myself more freedom with pattern hacks than they do, especially adding/removing closures.

There are 3 sections to this post :
– my simplest SWAP plan,
– links to guides on simple pattern changes,
– suggestions for simple starting point patterns.

– – –

My SWAP for 2019

1 RTW blouse
1 pair of pants
9 variants of a TNT layer.

The SWAP Rules work equally well for someone who loves to make each garment from a different pattern, or even all 11 items as different types of garment. What freedom !
The main limits this year are in number of colours and prints. I wear mainly quiet neutral colours and prefer texture to print, so that’s no problem for me, but some people have difficulty with these limits.

My specific SWAP plan could use only 2 patterns :

1 RTW blouse
similar to the Liesl & Co Recital blouse.

”recital

1 pair of pants
such as the slim version of the Merchant & Mills 101 trouser.

”mm-pants”

-

9 Layers
based on the 100 Acts of Sewing Tunic No.1

”100acts-tunic”

This very simple shape has almost infinite potential for variations : every type of fabric, embellishment, simple pattern hacks including sleeveless and open front.

The paper pattern for this tunic comes in 2 size groups.
The pdf pattern with Sonya Philips’ Creative Bug tunic class has all 8 sizes.

Well, what’s important is the simple general concept of this tunic pattern rather than the specifics. The pdf pattern has some fitting oddities. Supposed to have 2″ underarm ease, but be sure to check the finished width and length before cutting.

There are many simple patterns like this, but most are rectangles and as I’m very pear shaped I like one with sloping sides. This one is quite flared.

– – –

Ideas and how-tos for variations on a basic

Look at your favourite stores and designers for ideas about style elements, silhouettes, proportions. But I find it easier to start with sources that tell you how to make the changes to a pattern.

My posts with ideas and links

I’ve written several posts about simple variants of a basic style.
You haven’t got to do a formal pattern making course, or work through one of those daunting college textbook pattern making tomes, to do these.

‘Pattern hacking’ posts.

Simple pattern altering, July 2017

What you can make from one top pattern, October 2009

Make everything from one pattern, November 2016

The next posts show many variations but don’t include pattern change specifics.

Workwear, simple style changes, July 2011

Autumn casuals, July 2011

Combine fabrics, embellish, November 2011

And scroll down my pinterest boards for style elements.

Out of print books

People write whole books on simple changes to basic patterns.
Some books from the 80s-90s :
Rusty Bensussen – Making a complete wardrobe from 4 basic patterns (patterns to scale up included, see later).
Borrow & Rosenberg – Hassle-free make your own clothes book (make your own patterns). Also ‘Son of hassle-free clothes’ with more advanced techniques.
Bottom & Chaney – Make it your own (no base patterns in this one).
The specific suggestions in these books do look ‘over the top’ to modern taste, but great fun and full of ideas.  Many of the styles make us laugh now, but most general pattern making and sewing techniques are still the same.

15 years after the Bensussen book, the book Easy Sewing the Kwik Sew Way had many variations on slightly more complex patterns (full size traceable paper patterns included) : a shirt-blouse, elastic waist bottoms (2 skirts and pants), plus a knit tee.

Modern books and videos starting from classic shapes

Most book writers and video presenters make their changes to intermediate level patterns – shirts, fly front pants, sheath dresses. . .

Some modern books and videos about simple pattern changes are linked in my post about simple pattern altering mentioned before.

There’s a new book, The Savvy Seamstress by Nicole Mallalieu.
This does not include base patterns, but is full of instructions for pattern making and sewing to change the style elements of existing patterns.

– – –

Simplest base patterns

Here are some ideas for very simple starting point patterns, with an emphasis on pattern lines and books that help with variations.
These ultra-simple patterns have no darts for shaping, no buttons or zips for getting into a close fit, and the sleeve can be sewn flat. Simple silhouettes with few style elements, so you’re free to add your own.

These are Rusty Bensussen’s 4 starting-point patterns :

”rusty-diags”

Bensussen gives measurements for drawing the patterns on a 1″ grid. The basic top pattern is very loose fitting, so your body shape doesn’t much matter (54-56″/c140cm at underarm).

The ready-made patterns from 100 Acts of Sewing have the same spirit with modern proportions – Tunic No.1, bias Skirt, Pants No.1. Tunic good for the pear shaped.

”100

Paper patterns from Sonya Philip’s on-line shop.
Pdf patterns for tunic and pants included in her Creative Bug classes.
Those classes include videos about making variations for each pattern.
There are photo tutorials for more variations on her site.
She also has base patterns for tee and leggings.

If you’re inverted triangle body shape, perhaps use some of the free downloads from Tessuti. These top patterns are simple shapes and makes, but have no help for beginners or guides for variations. One example, the Mandy Tee.

”Tessuti.

For rectangle body shapes there are several options, here are some.

The master patterns for top and pants from FitNice have the same simplicity, and with a big focus on pdf and video instructions for variations.

Fit For Art have master patterns for jacket, tee, pants, and many supplementary patterns with pattern pieces for other styles.

If you prefer Big 4 patterns, a couple of basics are Butterick 5948 and McCall’s 6465. Many views in one easy top/dress pattern. Add elastic waist skirt and pants, such as Butterick 3460.

Those patterns are all a simple fit and simple sew because they are ‘dartless’ and loose fitting. Getting a good close fit is not a quick and easy process for many of us, and moves sewing up to a different level involving darts, set-in sleeves, and closures such as zips or buttonholes.

People who are hour-glass body shape can of course do pattern alterations too, but a flattering base pattern might be more shaped than the ultra-simple patterns.
Perhaps start from one of the basic dress fitting shell patterns such as Butterick 5627, sizes 6-22, or Butterick 5628, sizes 16W-32W. (Single sizes. View A is the fitting shell, with zip at CF. View B is a dress, with fewer darts and zip at CB.)

Sure Fit Designs master patterns help with some fitting issues, and have detailed pattern making instructions for variations.

For other intermediate patterns, see the section above this on modern books and videos.

– – –

I’m better at ideas than getting things done 😀
And writing this has reminded me of 100s of options.
Once you’ve got a basic pattern to fit there are so many enticing possibilities for what to do with it, it’s difficult to know where to start – but it is fun 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available November 2018

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Relaxed but with more style than pyjamas

December 18, 2017

Christmas holiday (vacation) time, so how to dress slouchy but not slobby ?

Classy yet Trendy has a post on a loungewear capsule, what to wear round the house that’s one-up from pjs :
1 knit open front cardigan
6 short and long sleeved tees / 2 sweatshirts
4 leggings / 2 joggers

Many patterns for copying these knit styles. Here are some examples :
For a similar classic cardigan, tees and leggings, see Pamela’s Patterns, or Nancy Zieman’s wardrobe patterns for knits McCall’s 7548 and McCall’s 7331. Perhaps made in a larger size to get the extra ease of loungewear.
For a little more ‘artistic’, there are no leggings but a tee and more varied layers from Sewing Workshop e-pattern downloads.
For ‘athleisure’ style sweatshirts and joggers there’s a wardrobe of sweats from Jalie. (Add an open ended zip for a jacket, and make these look more everydaywear by omitting the bands at wrists, hips, ankles).

But this capsule plan would not work for me.

1. I don’t wear knits – they make it obvious I have no lumps and bumps where there should be, and many lumps and bumps where there shouldn’t be.

2. I need many layers, and layers that close up to the neck for warmth. My distribution of 15 items might be :
5 layers
6 tops
4 pants

3. I prefer more interesting style elements, rather than adding interest with prints or accessories.

With so many reasons that capsule is not right for me, it’s fortunate there are many other ways of dressing ultra-casual.

My preference for style that’s one-up from pjs would be clothes made in flannel or fleece. Here are a couple of easy ideas.

Butterick 6273, a sleepwear pattern made in soft but daywear fabrics.

”b4406”

Even easier : the 100 Acts of Sewing pattern group in my 2018 SWAP plan.

”100acts4”

My slouching-around outfits often include a vest. So make sleeveless versions of those ‘jackets’, perhaps in pre-quilted fabric. While writing this I’m wearing a padded vest, a cowl necked fleece top with blouse under, and flannel pj pants (in a Christmas print 😀 ). Change the flannel pants for slim cords to go outside, it’s not quite freezing here.

The Butterick and 100 Acts patterns are two easy choices. There are many other ultra-casual patterns with more interest.
StyleARC have some good layer-top-pants pattern bundles for outfits with a slouchy look.

I wrote several posts some years ago which expand the possibilities for meeting this style challenge, and I find I haven’t changed my ideas. Some of the patterns in these posts are no longer available, but a surprising number of these easy sew – easy wear styles are still in print.

Loungewear
Basic comfort styles – pyjamas for loungewear
Casual chic festive wear – tops, pants – copy Eileen Fisher by using simple shapes made in high quality fabrics.

Have a lovely Happy relaxed Christmas holiday everyone,
and Best Wishes for the New Year.

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available December 2017

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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.

”earth-day-capsule”
image from Conselle blog

Re-cycling

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.

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.

– – –

Safari jacket

Go for high quality and use Claire Shaeffer Vogue 8732.

”v8732”

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

”k3534”

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.

– – –

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.

”ks3475”

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

”ks3314”

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

”v1215”

and Vogue 1054.

”v1054”

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

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

”v1347”

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

– – –

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.

”ks3765”

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

”ks2805”

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

”ks3877”

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

”m3830”

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

”m3341”

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.

”v1247”

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.

– – –

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).

– – –

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 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 on your way from an easy starter-wardrobe to a big challenge !

– – –

Patterns and links available April 2013

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Some sources suggesting basic capsules

March 2, 2013

Having at last made my final Index page 5 which lists posts on co-ordinates and capsules, here are some other capsules which could be the starting point for a basic wardrobe.

There must be thousands of attractive inspiring outfits on the web. Apart from all the style blogs, Polyvore is set up to devise them, and there are multiple Pinterest pages.

A capsule is more than an outfit – a small group of co-ordinated clothes which can be interchanged to make several outfits.
Perhaps (2 tops, 2 bottoms) to make 4 outfits.
Or (jacket, shirt, 2 tees, pants, jeans) which together make 12 outfits to cover many situations.

Here’s my post on basic capsule options : building your wardrobe in small groups. Start with one capsule and simply add another similar.

There’s so much advice available on capsules and wardrobes, I’m amazed how many people aren’t aware of the idea 😀

Judith Rasband’s college textbook Wardrobe Strategies for Women bases wardrobe building on capsules.

Once you set up the basic pieces, every time you add a co-ordinating item it can double the number of possible outfits. See my post on the power of the boring.

There’s a discussion on minimalist wardrobes at You Look Fab.

Project 333 allows a free choice of what to include in your wardrobe, but to a limit of 33 items including : clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes. As many wardrobe planners suggest a basic group of 5 – 12 garments, that’s quite a generous allowance really 😀

If you find it easier to take inspiration from specific capsules or to react against them, rather than devising your own starting point, here are some of the many possibilities.

Some are specific enough to show a particular style. Some are just numbers of garments. Though even numbers have style implications. Most for example include 0 or 1 dress – no use if you love dresses.

Some of these groups just count clothes, some count both clothes and accessories. If you’re allowed infinite numbers of accessories, you can make infinite numbers of outfits with very few clothes, see the Uniform Project.

– – –

Here’s an 8-item weekend travel capsule consisting of 4 garments, 4 accessories.

Or here’s a group of 6 garments – jacket, 3 tops, skirt, choice of 2 pants : The Kit (click on the photo for more detail about each style).

In style contrast, Perfectly Packed has a classic business wardrobe of 8 garments, which can be copied easily using two wardrobe patterns, see my post on classic style.

Tim Gunn’s 10 essential elements
His 10 items are clothes only, add accessories.
For example variants of this, see the middle of my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
And Imogen Lamport’s thoughts on this list and her own version.

Imogen has several suggested capsules for different lifestyles, mostly about a dozen items. Here’s her post on a capsule wardrobe of 12 items. And here’s her post on combining colours and combining prints, very ‘this season’ co-ordination.

Stylist Angie Cox also has a few posts on capsules at YouLookFab, and now has a section called Ensembles. (She uses the word ‘outfit’ for groups of clothes on a specific person.)

Elizabeth (ejvc) suggests a 12-item group, and prices it (about $225) for sewing. If you want natural fabrics, you need to use just one pattern magazine, and mainly black fabric, to get the cost that low. Much cheaper if you’re comfortable in polyester. I would probably use a wardrobe pattern book (see Index page 3), about twice the price of a pattern magazine.

This list from the Nate Berkus Show
has 12 basic items including accessories, plus 8 add-ons : 20 in all.

Wardrobe Oxygen list updated
23 items including underwear and accessories.
I still disagree with nearly very word of this, see my post, but many people working in a very classic environment love it.

Nancy Nix-Rice builds up from 12 basic garments to 23 garments in all, plus suggestions for minimum accessories. She claims to get nearly 100 different outfits from her 12 garments. See Index page 4 for my posts on her scheme, with links to her lessons, and suggested patterns.

Seasonal 6PACs : 24 garments in all, organised in 4 seasonal groups of 6. Here’s a list of relevant posts from ejvc, who started the idea. There’s always a sewalong for the current season at Stitcher’s Guild.

Oprah Winfrey’s dream closet checklist
32 items including shoes.
(Useful tips there too on clothes that flatter different body shapes.)

Many of Janice’s posts at The Vivienne Files are suggestions for capsules, showing the different outfit combinations you can make. And most of her other posts show how to take a single garment or outfit and make many different looks by using accessories.

And here’s a whole pinterest page of capsule suggestions.

For real-life inspiration, see :
Sewing With A Plan 2013
Sewing With A Plan 2012

– – –

What about some patterns ? Most of the capsules don’t suggest specific styles. So here are my current personal easy sewing ‘Key 3’ patterns. Sewing Workshop Hudson top and pants, Indygo Junction Origami wrap.

”swhudson”
”ijorigami”

Add intermediate sewing skills, and make the Sewing Workshop Tribeca shirt and Indygo Junction Silhouette vest (close the vest up to the neck). My current ‘Vital 5’. In quality fabrics for Relaxed Luxe style.

”tribeacasilhouette”

Very different in spirit from many wardrobe plans. My needs are most like the Sewing Workshop wardrobe, see my post on Linda Lee’s layering wardrobe.

– – –

I groaned recently about some wardrobe styling advice which suggested what were supposed to be different style capsules, but were actually all variants of blazer, knit top, jeans. As I don’t wear any of those. I’m glad I’ve done all the work on identifying my own style and wardrobe needs, so I can just move on from unhelpful advice. People who love dresses probably feel equally ignored by most wardrobe suggestions.

If your personal style is ‘modern classic’ and you feel happy in blazer, tee, jeans, then good luck to you. Prefer different types of top, bottom, layer, or dresses ? Best Wishes to all the people who have to find their own capsule scheme.

Is it because I don’t match any of the simple advice on fit, colouring, style, body shape, that my blog is helpful 😀

I think most wardrobe lists need to be adapted to your own personal style, colouring, body shape, lifestyle.
(All that black and classic shapes – aargh. . .)

Hence my post on your personal wardrobe plan.
See Index page 4 on wardrobe plans in general.
Also your personal style preferences.
And Index page 1 on personal style.
There are some links on the other ways to look your best, in my post on So many choices.

If you haven’t got a good starting point for your own wardrobe group, have a look at patterns that are supposed to take less than 2 hours sewing time – Index page 8.

See Index page 5 for comments on co-ordination, and posts which include specific capsules.

Starting with a small capsule and building on it isn’t the only way to get a basic wardrobe. There are many books and websites with wardrobe plans with other approaches – see wardrobe and capsule planning references thread at Stitchers Guild. Each writer has their own scheme.

If you still think planning a wardrobe is frivolous, here’s an excellent piece by The Dashing Eccentric.

As usual, have fun with it all 😀

– – –

P.S. Several people have commented that we haven’t got to develop capsules and wardrobes. Just have good outfits, if that’s what works well for you. No need to worry about co-ordination if you don’t want to. Just avoid ‘orphans’ – clothes which don’t go with anything else. You don’t even need to worry about them if you only wear dresses 😀

Or have several different small groups of clothes, which co-ordinate within one capsule but not with others. I should think there are very few people who have a wardrobe in which everything co-ordinates with everything else. Would that only be possible if you led a very limited life ? I haven’t got clothes wearable for both sailing and a black tie evening.

My clothes are in a limited range of colours and shapes so many, though not all, are interchangeable. Not so with accessories – some of my outfits are enhanced by scarves, some by necklaces.

– – –

Links and patterns available March 2013

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