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Work Clothes

Summer of Basics: Chardon Skirt

August 2, 2017
Jupe Chardon

Jupe Chardon Jupe ChardonJupe ChardonJupe ChardonAs my pile of store-bought items dwindles down in my closet, I’ve realized that I’m missing some key items: basics. I need bottoms in particular, and some solid items in general. I often start planning a sewing project based on a piece of fabric, rather than starting from the idea of a garment and my love of prints has been well represented during this project, but it is getting harder to come up with an outfit that I can wear to work. So when I saw the Summer of Basics post from Grainline Studios, I knew I would be joining in.

First up was a Chardon Skirt from Deer and Doe. This was to replace an old Zara skirt I had for years and wore until you could practically read through it. I’ve made this skirt before and know that it’s a silhouette that works for me and a pattern that doesn’t require any alterations. I love the shape and I love those deep pockets. I used some charcoal grey stretch-shirting that I had in my stash and it makes for some crisp pleats. It looks grey or blue or purple, depending on the light. I used black bias tape to finish the hem, used a plain old regular zipper on the back and finished the seams with my serger. I’ve been wearing this skirt a lot already and it’s really come in handy during the warmer temperatures. I’m happy to have a neutral basic in my wardrobe again!

Project: Chardon Skirt from Deer and Doe

Total Cost: $41 (CAD)

Pattern: $21

Fabric:  $14

Notions: $6

Total Time: 6 hours

Techniques: Bias tape hem, serging

Fit Adjustments: None! I made a straight size 38

Navy Tea House Dress from Sew House Seven

June 5, 2017

Tea House DressTea House Dress    Tea House Dress Tea House Dress Tea House Dress

Well, hello there. Welcome to the dress of pocket dreams.

I’ve had the pattern for the Tea House Dress (from Sew House Seven) for at least a year, but I held out on making this dress until I found the perfect fabric. When I saw this Robert Kaufmann Indikón Cotton Yarn Dyed Fabric at Patch Halifax, I knew it was exactly what I had been waiting for.

I played with the direction of the stripe and used the wrong side of fabric on the front and back plackets, the centre front skirt, and the sleeve cuffs. I’m glad that I opted for the shorter version, as the longer one is a lot of dress on a 5’2 person, but also because I still used nearly 4 metres of fabric on this one!

The neckline is the perfect depth on me and I didn’t need to do any kind of full-bust-adjustment. The only tricky part of this dress was the front placket. The instructions have you gather the front inside edges ever so slightly and press the pieces until they are totally flat. I’m not entirely sure what purpose that ease serves. I was able to get one the way I wanted, but the other wasn’t quite as good. I found that topstitching the front placket, which connects it to the lining placket, creates a slight puffiness in the front.

It’s a minor quibble though. I am delighted with this dress. The fit is spot-on; it’s very flattering; I love a Dolman sleeve and, of course, those pockets! In fact, this may be my favourite make of this project so far.

Project: Tea House Dress

Total Cost $108.25

Pattern: $24.25 (18 USD)

Fabric: $80

Notions: $4

Fit: Straight size 4

What to work on: That teensy bit of fullness in the front placket

See also: My beloved (and much worn) Toaster Sweater is also from Sew House Seven. I’ve got my eye on the Nehalem Pant pattern too!

 

 

Striped Archer Button-Up

April 2, 2017
Grainline Archer

Grainline ArcherGrainline ArcherGrainline ArcherGrainline ArcherGrainline Archer Grainline Archer I was supposed to be taking a break from button-up shirts and working on rounding out my handmade wardrobe. However, when I saw this fabric wedged waaaay in the back of the sale bin at my local chain fabric store (during an ill-fated attempt to find more bra fabric), I knew another one was in order. And then, I figured so long as I was going to be making one Archer Button-Up (from Grainline Studio), I might as well make two at the same time and use up some lovely fabric in my stash (post on the other one coming up next).

I wanted a really classic shirt, so I skipped the great butt-ruffle this time. I thought about doing a narrow-shoulder adjustment, but I wanted it to look slightly oversized and not as tailored, so I made a straight size 6. As this make required an extreme amount of pattern-matching, I decided to save myself at least one step and simply serge the edges of the fabric before sewing–although, it felt like cheating after all the French and flat-felled seams I’ve been doing.

I cut out the pattern pieces very, very carefully. Luckily, the stripe is 1/4 inch in width and there are 1/2 inch seam allowances, so that simplified things. I was able to plan ahead and ensure that there is no break in the pattern across the front of the shirt. I used the stripe, however, in a contrasting direction for the collar, that big ol’ pocket, the cuffs, and sleeve plackets.

This is probably one of my favourite makes of this project. Classic, made with care, and you would never know that it’s homemade! My other Archer has been getting a ton of wear, so I’m happy to have this one to add to the mix. Mother Nature was not keen on letting me get photos of this shirt. I try not to wear a garment before I take the pictures, but it was taking so long that eventually I gave up. When I put it on, I realized that I’d forgotten to put in the buttonholes on the sleeves! I’ll be adding them in, but I wear them rolled up so much I think some sleeve-tabs are also in order.

 

Project: Striped Archer Button-Up

Total Cost: $46

Fabric:$20

Total hours: 10 hours

Pattern: $22 (Since I already own this pattern, I will remove the cost of it from the total cost of my wardrobe at the update)

Notions:$4

Fit: No alternations. Straight size 6

Techniques: Buttonholes, so much pattern matching, and the alternate collar order

 

Sewaholic Oakridge Pussy Bow Blouse

March 12, 2017
Sewaholic Oakridge Blouse

Sewaholic Oakridge BlouseSewaholic Oakridge BlouseSewaholic Oakridge BlouseSewaholic Oakridge BlouseSewaholic Oakridge BlouseSewaholic Oakridge Blouse

I’m calling this my “Corporate Headshot Day Outfit.” It feels very Follow the Money, no?

For this make, I used a light weight stretch poplin from my fabric stash for the Sewaholic Oakridge Blouse. It’s crisp and I love the rich colour. I knew I wanted a larger statement bow, so I added two inches to the width and eight inches to the length. I wanted to up the drama, but also balance the proportions with my bust.

Sewaholic Patterns are (were?) made for pear-shaped bodies, so a full-bust-adjustment (1 inch) was in order. I was planning on adding width to the sleeves, but I was on a roll with my French seams and forgot to change the math.

The fit is better than it appears in the photos. I have found that this stretch fabric sticks to both my bra and the pant fabric. I don’t know if that’s due to fit, or just that it was -24C at the time of these photos. I have made a version of this shirt before (the one without the bow) in a plain cotton and I don’t get any excess fabric around the armpits on that one. It’s nothing extreme, but I’ll be interested to try this shirt on with a different – handmade – bra. (Insert all the prayer-hands and fingers-crossed emojis for that particular experiment).

Project: Oakridge Pussy Bow Blouse

Total Cost: $55

Fabric:$25

Pattern:$22

Notions: $8

Time: 10 hours.

Fit: Size 2 with a 1 inch FBA, super-sized the bow.

Techniques: French seams, internal sleeve plackets, buttonholes.

What to work on: Making a better bra! And some dresses, and some trousers. I’ve been on a shirt making streak, but I’ve got to stop procrastinating with them.

JCrew DIY: Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studios

January 13, 2017
Linden Sweatshirt

Linden Sweatshirt

Linden SweatshirtLinden Sweatshirt  Linden Sweatshirt I am the worst kind of shopper: I will see something I like, mutter to myself, “I could make that” and walk away. Then, I rarely ever get around to making my own.

But not today! Instead, I have one of my favourite makes so far to show you.

When I saw the Gayle Sweater from JCrew pop up online, I knew I would easily be able to make my own version from the Linden Sweatshirt pattern from Grainline Studios. The ribbing of this soft sweater knit (another BlackBird Fabrics score) wasn’t an exact match, but I was perfectly happy to have something “inspired” by, rather than a direct copy (although I’m sure I knitting it would be possible, just not by me at this time.)

I have made several Linden sweatshirts over the years (you can see my most recent one here) and they remain some of the most-worn items in my closet. I haven’t worked with sweater knits that much before, but I have several projects made with them to show you this month! I was careful about my cutting and made my usual adjustments for this full-length version: I sized down drastically and cut the width of the band to match body pieces rather using the ribbed band. I also increased the width of the neckband (by about 2.5x) to accommodate the bow.

I’m so happy with it! It feels preppy without being precious and a little tuxedo-inspired.

Project: JCrew DIY Linden

Total cost: $50.99

Fabric: $23

Pattern:$21.00 CAD

Notions: $6.99

Fit: Size 2 for the body and sleeves, size 8 for the bottom band. Increased the width of the neckband.

What to work on: Learning to knit!

Office Prep: Named Sointu Kimono Tee and Printed Ginger Jeans

November 1, 2016

Cropped Ginger Jeans ep_04ep_07ep_05 ep_03

One of my goals for this project was to create pieces that I could easily wear in a professional work setting. It can be a challenge to find ready-to-wear items that are a). age-appropriate and b). not boring. When I do find things I like I often have to alter them to fit properly anyway. I seem to be right in-between regular and petite sizing (I’m 5’2) and I have a curvy shape.

I stumbled across this great printed stretch-twill while looking for fabric to cover some chairs. It was mysteriously labeled “assorted denim” and I’m quite happy to report that it works easily for clothing. I used the Ginger Jeans pattern as a base, but eliminated many of the classic jean styling elements – including back pockets! I knew I would have matched the pattern of the pockets with the pant legs and they would have hopefully visually disappeared, so there didn’t seem to be much point in having them. I also have the Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers on my cutting table right now, but I prefer the higher waist of the Gingers – it’s very helpful when I am out on my bike. I am a frequent cyclist and having professional clothing I can bike in is a real plus.

The top is one that I can see myself creating many versions of, the Named Sointu Kimono Tee. I downloaded the PDF and had the top on in one afternoon! The only change I made was to shorten the length a bit. It’s basic but extremely useful and comfortable. And I can’t make everything in a dazzling print. The fabric is a fine sweater-knit I found at my local chain-store. I’ll be keeping an eye out for some heavier weight knits online – you only need a bit of fabric (I made it work with a 1/2 meter by adding in a seam at the center back and pieced the bias facing together) so I could really splurge if I wanted!

Lastly, thank you to my amazing photographers, the talented duo behind North by North Photography. Alexa and Luke immediately understood what I was looking for and made me laugh so much during our shoot.

Projects:

Printed Ginger Jeans

Total Cost: 60.48

Pattern: $24 (CAD)

Fabric: $22.48

Notions: $14

Fit: I went with a size 8 since I didn’t really know anything about the fabric content and that worked out quite well. There is a bit of bunching behind the knee, so I might try a full-calf-adjustment in the future.

Techniques: Pattern-matching where possible.

Named Sointu Kimono Tee

Total Cost: $27

Pattern: $10 (CAD)

Fabric: $11

Notions: $6

Fit: No alterations needed.

What to work on: Making more work clothes! I’ve already worn both items many times.