Jennifer W’s Curvy Capsule Wardrobe Reveal!June 1, 2017 / byJennifer W / Categories : Feeds
In my last post, I shared two frameworks for designing a mini-capsule wardrobe: the 4×4 method and the sudoku method. I also shared my plans for my own mini capsule, using the sudoku method. Here’s a refresher:
Well, it’s the end of the month and I’m ready to reveal. Here’s what my final mini-capsule wardrobe looked like:
- Itch to Stitch Bonn Shirt in a cotton lawn from Mood Fabrics
- Jalie Eleonore Jeans in a stretch twill from Mood Fabrics
- Black Cobb Hill sandals from Zappos
- Cashmerette Appleton dress (hacked into a ballerina-style cardigan) in rayon ponte from Michael Levine
- RTW cardigan from Lane Bryant (bought 4 years ago)
- Tan Cobb Hill sandals from Zappos
- Jalie Pull-on Pants in blended tencel from Joann
- Cashmerette Springfield tank in same blended tencel from Joann
- Jalie Pull-on Pants in blended tencel from Joann
- Hey June Biscayne Blouse in silk/cotton/mystery voile from Mood Fabrics
- Watch from Charming Charlie (bought 2 years ago)
- Trotter’s leopard print flats from Zappos
- Cobb Hill sandals in white from Zappos
- Pearl necklace from Stella and Dot
- Cashmerette Concord in bamboo jersey from Michael Levine
- Jalie Eleonore Jeans in stretch twill from Mood Fabrics
What changed from the original plan?
There were three main changes that took place over the course of my sewing:
- I switched out the first three rows of shoes (and I wish I had switched out the forth row too — those white sandals are doing my style no favors…)
- I switched out the necklace on the bottom row — the original pink necklace had weird fading in some of the beads. I’m not totally happy with the pearl necklace choice, but there wasn’t an obvious better option. Maybe that means I need to rethink my jewelry game.
- I ended up not sewing the knit blazer in the second row (choosing instead an old RTW cardigan) — I ran out of time to muslin the Morris Blazer and my chosen fabric was too precious/expensive to wing it.
Overall, not too bad at all!
What does the capsule look like in terms of outfits?
First, let’s look at the four outfits created by each row:
Assessment: Overall, pretty solid. I definitely need a camisole underneath the Biscayne blouse (easy enough) but I feel like I have a nice variety of outfits here for my business casual workplace. I do wish I had swapped out those white sandals — they are too casual for this capsule and especially when paired with the pearl necklace.
Now let’s look at the four outfits created along the columns of the sudoku:
Again, I’m pretty impressed! I’m not loving how clingy the pink jeans are — that’s something I realized as soon as I sewed it up. But because 1) I didn’t have time to sew another pair in a different fabric and 2) I love the color/feel of the fabric, I’m sticking with it for now — or at least until I can find another pink stretch woven to replace them with.
There are also three outfits you can make from the diagonals and the middle block of four:
I forgot to take a photo of the middle block, so you’ll have to use your imagination. But again — I’m pretty [pleased with the variety of looks that I’m getting. I feel like I could definitely pull this off for a longer business trip.
And as one of the commenters pointed out in my last post, there are also four “bonus” outfits by looking at the corner blocks:
(Picky viewers will notice that I’m supposed to be wearing the leopard print shoes in the bottom right photo. My only excuse is that by this time in the photo-taking process I had nearly lost my mind trying to keep track of all the pieces and how they fit together.)
And here’s where it falls apart a bit for me. The bottom two outfits above are virtual repeats of two other outfits in the capsule: only the shoes and the layer/accessory are different. But they both read as the “same” outfit. (Or possibly, one of those, “spot the three differences in this photo” that you might find on a kid’s placemat at a diner.) See the evidence here:
All together now
From this 16-piece sudoku wardobe (9 of which I sewed up for this project), you get 15 outfits. And here they are again, (except for the one I forgot to photograph) next to each other so you can get a sense of the overall diversity of looks:
What I’ve learned from this process
First, there is joy and pain in sewing a capsule wardobe. I found it incredibly awesome to see the plan take shape as I churned out each item. At the same time, I chafed at the pressure to sew to a plan — I kept wanting to deviate and sew something completely different. (Or keep sewing clothes that matched whatever color I had threaded in the serger.)
It’s helped me focus my fabric buying — before I was all about the cute prints but this process has show me the real value of solids. So practical — so easy to wear — so polished looking!
And now, the most important lesson for a mini-capsule: layers give you MUCH more bang for the buck than jewelry does. The switching of a necklace for a watch is a tiny thing that is easily overlooked. I should have opted for something with more “splash” — a scarf or a blazer/cardigan would have been a much better choice. (And you can always add jewelry later, if you like.)
Bonus lesson: taking photos of your capsule wardrobe like this is a nightmare. By the end, I was sweaty, my 7-year old camera girl was bored, and it took a long time to get everything put back together afterwards. If you decide to try this, consider doing a full-on photo shoot with rock music, a decked-out snack table, and stylists who will handle the details while you sip a latte and let them dress you.
As I think about evolving this capsule — adding a few more pieces on to make it even more versatile, I will definitely add skirt and a dress — something to change up the amount of leg that I’m showing and also to change the silhouette. But I’ll keep the overall neutral color palette of cream, pink, tan, gray and black — that seems to work well for my coloring and gives me enough room to go “light” or “dark” or “mixed” on any given day.
Please share your feedback in the comments — I’d love to hear your thoughts on my capsule. What did I get right? Where did I miss the boat? Do you agree with my self-assessment, or have other opinions to share? Let me know!
This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Curvy Sewing Collective
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I added an inside pocket, and made it as big as I could without interfering with the darts. It’s big enough for a phone.
I stuck a pin through the lining and leather where the tailor’s tack was (the tack was just in the lining), to mark the snap position on the leather. Then I used the washer as a template, and marked the position of the prongs with a pen (making sure it wouldn’t bleed through to the front!).
|Admire that lovely top stitching!|
How much adjustment do you do on a very simple pattern? Do you feel it’s worthwhile to make very small changes to get it just right or perhaps you sew up simple things as is and save your efforts for a special dress or coat.
This simple dress pattern is something that I choose as one of the suggestions for my Sew a Dress class at Hello Stitch in Berkeley. (scheduled again for Sun. July 30 – the first one was great fun. More details at the bottom of this post on all the upcoming classes). As it happens Craftsy asked me to write a longer post outlining all the steps to sew a simple dress, consequently I decided to sew up this pattern and get a lot of things done with one project. Plus I’ve been on a shift dress kick lately. They are such simple and pleasant things to wear. Since it was 107˚F in the SHADE here yesterday I would rather have worn a dress made of ice cubes but since that is not going to happen a shift dress it is.
I have had this fabric in my stash for a good 5 or 6 years. It’s a cotton batik that I bought in Hawaii, quite a large amount (5 yards) and just never found a use for it. Slightly heavy as a lot of batiks are, so not really good for most dresses plus the vertical stripe had me stumped. I think I found the perfect style for it that uses the stripe best. Plus I can wear my stripes navy blue espadrille sandals – double win.
Here’s the pattern envelope, with a sneak peek of a subsequent version of this dress. Which everyone has gone wild for on my Instagram teases, embroidered denim must be the thing this summer. The envelope says D0569 but all the pattern pieces say New Look 6500 so I’m calling it that. I really like New Look patterns, they come up with some super cute dresses and tops, plus they include all sizes in one envelope and cost $ 3.99 all the time.
Onward to my adjustments: I sewed this dress for the Craftsy post, not as a wearable but as a “photograph-able” item, i.e. something that would really show in the step-by-step tutorial but I had no intention of wearing it. It was actually quite a pleasure to just sew up a dress with no changes, I sewed the size 12 and went from there.
Here is the version I sewed for Craftsy, in a quilting cotton that I had in my stash, I think a remainder from a project I did for someone on Etsy ages ago. And I really loathe this color of green so don’t even tell me that you like this dress on me 🙂 Plus for the most part sewing/wearing garments with quilting cotton is a bit NO for me. With some exceptions they always look a bit off: too wrinkly, too juvenile, too unsophisticated to claim my interest.
But I include the photo of me wearing this one to show the neckline fit. That neckline was choking me – I don’t like that high round neckline and when you move your head forward it’s so uncomfortable. Good shoe match thought, right?
Back to the blue and white batik version. Can you see the difference in the neckline? It is so much more comfortable for me in the second version. I wanted to figure out exactly how much to open the neck so I made a version of just the top half of the dress in swedish tracing paper – and every time I use that I remember that is has absolutely no give. While it seems like a good idea because you can sew it – putting it on is not so easy. I did put a zipper so I could actually try it on – which worked in the end but it was kind of shredded. However it was good enough to slice and dice a bit, figuring out how I wanted the final neckline to be shaped.
I cut out the batik version based on my new neckline, and basted it together at the shoulder seams to see if I liked the neckline. It still seemed a bit too high for my preference and also I like the armholes to be more cut in at the shoulder in a sleeveless dress. So instead of cutting more off the edges of the dress I made a one piece facing for front and back, and then used tracing paper to mark a seam line. At the neck I took away a further 5/8″ (total seam allowance now 1.25″) and then on the armholes I think I sewed it at around 7/8″ which makes the armhole a bit bigger all around. You have to be careful that it doesn’t make the armhole too low but this dress had a very tight armhole so there was plenty of room.
On my next version of this dress (the embroidered chambray fabric) I’ll show how I make the one piece facing plus this upcoming version is lined so it incorporates facing and lining together.
The original New Look pattern had separate neck and armhole facings which works ok, not my preference but not as horrible as some make it out to be. But there’s a better way. Another option for these simple summer dresses is bias binding but I wanted to show the traditional or basic type of dress sewing.
But we are not done yet! In fact this adjustment should have come up first in my writing but I only remembered to take this picture a few minutes and include it. The bust dart on this dress is both large and high. I measured it on the pattern piece and could see that it needed to be lower so I did that before I did anything else, just a straightforward shift downward about 3/4″. The bust dart is kind of larger than it would be had there been other darts (vertical waist darts) or other shaping. Trying it on it made the dart a bit too pointy – not my favorite look. So I reduced the width of the dart.
On the tracing paper on the left you can see the faint outline of the original dart, too high. The second placement, lower but too big, and then the final version in the purple dotted line, just right. I sound like Goldilocks don’t I but if you’re going to do adjustments you might as well go all the way until you like the fit.
Back and side view, you can barely see the dart but that is the ideal, at least for me. Since the side seams were not even in length I split the difference at the top of the seam at the armhole and sliced off about 3/8″ off the side back at that point. Worked out fine.
So that’s chapter one on my summer shift dress extravaganza. I have some more complex things in line for my sewing table but not sure what order I will sew them.
Here’s the link to that Craftsy post: The Complete Beginners Guide to Sewing a Dress.
Update on classes at Hello Stitch Studio on Berkeley. The Fit Lab was great – we are going to schedule this class again soon. In July we are repeating Saturday classes for sewing Skirts, Tunic Tops, and a new on starting on Wed 7/26 in the evening is a Button-front shirt class. All these classes are two sessions scheduled a week apart so not a long term time commitment and you will get a project done (or nearly) and learn some new and useful techniques. The Dress class is an all-day one on Sun. 7/30. FYI: I’ve found parking to be surprisingly easy around the studio and it is no more than a 10 minute walk from the Berkeley Bart station so really convenient to get to.
This was yesterday afternoon. Survival mode with an iced coffee. thankfully lots cooler today (ha ha only mid 90’s˚F).
Happy weekend sewing,
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