Planning my Autumn Wardrobe
Obviously, I don't spend all my time sewing and making things. So what, you might ask yourself, do I do when I am not sewing. And there are lots of answers to this, but one of the answers is - well, I watch You Tube videos about other people sewing and making things.
One of my favourite You Tube sewing channels is Tom Kat Stitchery (check it out here), filmed by the endlessly enthusiastic Whitney. One of the things Whitney does, to organise her sewing and her wardrobe, is to use the concept of modules. If you have a look at some of videos you can find a fuller explanation, but the basic concept is this: you assemble a collection of clothing consisting of 3 tops, 2 bottoms and one outerwear, which should all coordinate with one another. In this way you end up with 6 different outfits (or 12, if you count putting your coat or whichever outerwear you have chosen on or not). Whitney adds an extra item to this: an "all in one" outfit, such as a dress or jumpsuit, which I like as there are so many lovely dress patterns out there.
Anyway, when Whitney announced that she was going to run a work from home module sew-along I decided that I wasn't going to let the fact I don't really work from home stop me from joining in the fun. I had recently read somewhere that monotone looks are particularly flattering for the "fuller" figure, and I also had waiting to be sewn up some scrumptious teal Lady McElroy fabric I had bought on my last visit to Truro fabrics, so this became the first item of my module, and dictated the main theme: blue. Now, Whitney has videos that go into quite some detail about assessing your current wardrobe, identifying silhouettes you like from fashion and celebrity photographs, choosing colours from a coordinating colour palette, etc. I decided to design my module by going for the far more technical method of finding a couple of sewing patterns I liked, then choosing some fabric to go with them. Whilst choosing fabric I naturally came across other fabrics I liked the look of, so I then went to look for further patterns to go with them. And so on, until I had chosen my 6 garments and fabrics.
And so, with no further ado, let me share with you my plans for sewing my autumn module over the next couple of months.
Outerwear - Calgary Cardigan
I started off with the fabric for this one, which I had had bookmarked as a "fabric I want to try" for quite some time. I knew I wanted to make a long line cardigan, but struggled to find one that I felt would work well with the fabric. I didn't want a button band, or indeed a band of any type, on the front edges of the cardigan, as I felt it would look a bit odd in a cable knit finish. And of course the pattern had to come in a size that would fit my ample frame. In the end I turned to the Curvy Sewing Collective Facebook group to ask for ideas, and they came up trumps, as I had anticipated.
Amongst those suggested were the Sinclair Harper (currently a free download), the Helen's Closet Blackwood and the Cashmerette Fuller cardigans. However, in the end I decided to go with the New Horizons Calgary Cardigan, in the square collar view, as it most closely matches what I am looking for.
Bottoms 1 - Winslow Culottes
I have wanted to make myself a pair of Palazzo pants for ages, as I love the look, but have never got around to it. I think there are lots of reasons for this, starting with a general reluctance to sew trousers at all (I read they are difficult to get a good fit, and it has put my off without really even trying) and ending with the fact I am not SURE they will suit me that well. However, when I came across the Helen's Closet Winslow Culottes pattern, I knew that the time had come to give it a go. I love the look of these, and will obviously be making them long to get a more Palazzo pants look.
For fabric I chose a solid - I am not a fan of patterns on trouser fabric, it reminds me a bit much of Pyjamas. I wanted something which would be relatively hard wearing, but still would have a bit of drape and flow, so I decided to try a Tencel Twill in Navy from Fabric Godmother. I haven't sewn Tencel before, so this will be a new experience both to sew and to wear. But I have to say, the fabric, when it arrived, was lovely and so very, very soft.
Bottoms 2 - Calder Pants
Originally I intended to make a pair of yoga style knit trousers as my second pair of bottoms, but due to a fabric purchasing error (I bought a teal double knit from Minerva Fabrics) I have ended up with a fabric with know stretch. Double knit doesn't stretch. Who knew? (Well, probably lots of people, but I didn't). So, anyway, since I didn't have a stretch fabric I decided to instead find a pattern which would suit a heavier non-stretch fabric. Enter the Calder pants, by Cashmerette, which with their side zip and high waist seem perfect for me.
Of course, being the person I am, once I had decided to use the Calder pants pattern I promptly decided I didn't like the double knit I had bought. I had not noticed on the website that it was a polyester fabric, and it just feels so heavy and frankly not very nice. So I went away and bought some more Tencel Twill from Fabric Godmother - this time in Cobalt. I just LOVE how soft and smooth it feels., and I can't wait to wear it. Naturally, I also bought a Tencel knit in navy to make the original pair of yoga trousers I had been planning - but they won't be part of this module now, so I will tell you more about them later.
Tops 1 - Dartmouth Top
I chose the Dartmouth top, again from Cashmerette, as my first top. I find wrap style tops are very flattering, and I have had some success with a Cashmerette pattern previously, so it seemed like a good bet. I spent a lot of time looking at knit fabrics, and eventually decided on Art Gallery's Tiny Dancer Midnight cotton knit fabric, which I purchased from Dragonfly Fabrics.
Tops 2 - Breezy Top
This is a pattern I purchased a while ago, for a not blue fabric, which never quite got made. The peplum style is another style that I think, if well fitting, could be reasonably flattering on me. We shall see. The fabric is a Jersey knit called Petit Aviary, this time by Lady McElroy, purchased from Minerva Fabrics. I really really love the colours in this fabric, and this particular knit has a touch more floaty crepey-ness which I hope will suit the peplum well.
Tops 3 - Concord T shirt
We all need fairly ordinary tops to wear sometimes, and the Concord T-shirt from Cashmerette seems to me to be a perfect everyday top. I really hope this pattern suits me well, as I hope to use it to make lots of T-shirt tops. Now, in general, I prefer a longer T shirt with long sleeves and a v neck so I will be making this in the longest length with... wait for it... long sleeves and a V neck. I am using another Art Gallery cotton knit to make this - their Gentle Draft Moonrise, which I bought from Dragonfly Fabrics.
All-in-one - Alcott Dress
My optional extra is the Alcott Dress. This was the first garment I selected for my module, and in fact I had chosen the fabric and pattern before deciding to do a module at all. This time the fabric came first - I visited Truro Fabrics over the summer and completely fell in love with this Lady McElroy crepe knit, called Elegant Dining. If you look closely you will see that the pattern is lots and lots of spoons, although I don't think you can tell that from a distance. Again, I love the colours and the floatiness of this fabric, and was determined to find the perfect dress for it.
As I have said previously, I really like wrap tops and think they suit me well, and so I decided that a wrap top would probably make the perfect vehicle for this fabric. Enter another Cashmerette pattern - the Alcott Dress.
Now, the fabric I bought for this was quite pricey, so I decided that before making it I should perhaps make a (hopefully) wearable toile in a cheaper fabric. I found a reasonably priced teal Tencel knit at Minerva, which I am going to use for this.