Me Made Wardrobe Schemes – Fall & Winter Sewing

Something different that I’ve noticed lately is that I keep grabbing my me-made clothing out of the closet over my RTW stuff.  I think this is happening thanks to a couple things…First, I’ve gotten over my “fear” of working with knits.  I took an honest appraising look at what I choose to wear 99% of the the time, and it is not fit-n-flare woven dresses.  It is jeans, leggings, t-shirts, tunics, sweaters, long-sleeve knit tops, cardigans, and the occasional hoodie/jacket, also generally knit.  So my stash of patterns for non-knit stuff is largely aspirational sewing gear.  Which is perfectly fine, but if I’m sitting around bemoaning that I never LOVE the stuff I make, and all my patterns are for stuff I don’t love to wear, well…I think you can see where the disconnect is happening.

I also brushed up my knit sewing skills.  I was having trouble with getting professional-looking seams and hems, so I researched the bejeezus out of it and discovered things like wash-away hem tape, fusible but stretchy stabilizer strips, and using clear elastic to reinforce weight-bearing seams.  I also realized I need to embrace the proper care and feeding of knit fabric–not all of it has enough stretch to recover its shape if you stick it in the dryer.  Lay flat to dry really does need to happen with certain fabrics.

And the biggest one–I’ve finally found a few tried-and-true patterns that don’t require tweaking to create comfy, pretty clothes that I want to wear.  I’m on the upper end of the size range, and while I absolutely don’t mind the occasional challenge of grading up a garment to fit me, I also realized that, every so often, I really crave making things that just work out of the gate, or that require just the normal pattern tweaking (add/remove length, FBAs, etc.) and not a complete and total makeover before I can even think about making a muslin.  I admit it’s been mostly through trial and error, but I have a small collection of patterns that are either tweaked to perfection or great off the bat, and I can mash them together to make what I have in mind pretty confidently, which, it turns out, is great for my sewing mojo!

I’m also getting a little more adventurous as I gain confidence.  I recently tried out a pattern for leggings and LOVED them. Totally unexpected result!  They fit and they’re comfy and I totally understand why people try to wear them everywhere (they’re still not pants, though, at least for me…a shirt of some sort must cover the booty!).  But I loved them and immediately made another pair.  (I may have also been avoiding laundry–John chides me that making more pants does not solve that particular problem…I chuckle because he has no idea the depths of my fabric stash…mwahahahahahaha).  Anyhow.   Back on track.

So fall sewing.  I’ve long thougth that my “style” (if you will) is essentially a fall/winter wardrobe that gets pulled into the rest of the seasons for the ride.  I love cardigans and scarves and sweaters and long pants, layering tees, hats, boots, and thick wool socks.  In the fall and winter, I feel pretty stylish, as everybody else is wearing all the things I love to wear.  In the spring and summer, I drag my fall/winter clothes along, only casting things aside once they become too warm to bear.  I swap tank tops for sweaters, drop the socks and scarves, and eventually give in and wear shorts because pants are ludicrous in the swampy heat and humidity of late MN summer.  And as the weather cools heading toward fall, I start adding the fall/winter clothes back until I’m back to my comfort zone.

Between the impending fall season and my recent discovery that I really prefer me-made clothes to RTW (both wearing and procuring them!), I decided to sew myself a little wardrobe for fall and winter this year.  I know that sounds ambitious.  It is.  I ran it past John and he gave me a little side eye and suggested I come up with a detailed plan (oh I do love that man–detailed plans are the best sort!) before going off the fabric deep end (his term, not mine!).  Which, all things considered, is sound advice.  I took my usual clothing budget and transformed most of it into a fabric budget (still buying socks and undies and tights RTW), then went window shopping to see what I could come up with.  I’m pretty pleased with what I found, so without further ado, here’s the plan!

Cardigans are up first – 4 total, two open/drapey cardigans, one boyfriend-ish cardigan, and one cocoon style cardigan.

I’ll do a 3/4 sleeve in the black & white stripe and a full sleeve version in the cream & white stripe; both are mid-weight sweater knits.

Simple black ponte cocoon sweater.

A boyfriend-ish cardigan in abstract grey/ivory houndstooth sweater knit.

On the bottom, I’m mostly sticking with RTW jeans since my fleet is in good shape and fits well, but I’m also trying out some heavier denim “jeggings” since I have some suuuuuper stretchy denim knit in my stash (with a nifty green reverse side).  It wasn’t at all what I expected when I ordered it (kind of missed that it was a knit at all!) but it’ll be perfect for leggings.  I also want to try making some slim-fitting ponte pants, also with stash fabric.

Leggings will have yoga-style waist band for comfort.

The plan is to use grey for the top and bottom panels and teal at the knees, but I may chicken out and go monochrome if I have enough of one fabric).

Under my cardigans and over my leggings I have a few things planned, but most all are “tunic length” to accommodate the planned leggings.  I’ve got some short sleeved, slim, almost shift-like tops on deck, as well as some dolman sweaters with 3/4 sleeves.  Also giving pattern mashing a try as I add sleeves to swing tanks to make flowy tunics.  I have one wrap top on my list, too, and finally a few 3/4 sleeve shirts that hit at low hip for layering.

The floral is a pretty large-scale print, and the teal is a sweater knit.

The green stripe is a mid-weight sweater knit, the blue heather is a lighter weight sweater knit.

Both the grey and periwinkle are jersey knits. Imagine the line drawings with 3/4 sleeves!

Might scoop out the front neckline a little to be able to skip the zip in the center back? But overall I really like the shape on this one. Will use some stashed teal ponte.

All 4 fabrics are a lighter jersey. I’m thinking a variety of hemlines and probably 3/4 or short sleeves.

All in all, I figure about 25 hours of sewing to get it all done.  I want to tweak the dolman sleeves to be more fitted from the bicep down (they’re pretty loose in my previous makes for this pattern), but otherwise it’s all stuff I’ve made before in different permutations.  The color palate ended up being black, grey, & cream neutrals with purples, teals, greens, and a few artsy prints.  I’m pretty excited to start sewing, but of course, must wait for my fabric order to arrive for most of it.  And I have a few end-of-season outdoor house projects to finish up first, so that’s probably for the best!


One thought on “Me Made Wardrobe Schemes – Fall & Winter Sewing

  1. Pingback: Fall Wardrobe Sewing Update – A Cozy Oslo | Adventures in Ordinary

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