Wardrobe planning and sewing with a plan (SWAP) has been on my mind for quite a while.  As I continue to assess my wardrobe with the help of a wardrobe consultant, we are trying to get me to the point of actually having something to wear when I stand at the door of my closet.  The big question for me has been: “How do you “plan” for a “teaching–flexible–be ready at a moments notice” lifestyle and still remain “stylish” not “overdressed” or “stuffy.”

 The Wardrobe Fit-Along on YouTube with SewToFit

I love anything outdoors, I love the theatre, the ballet, camping, and even frequent the local home repair store for DIY home projects.  But, I have suits galore and pencil skirts out the kazoo, with a few date night digs to boot.  However, when I go to the closet, I look at that stuff, and think of funerals, board meetings, and “look at me” parties.  Even church doesn’t require that type of dressing anymore.  I want to feel comfortable and still maintain my laid back, classic since of style, without working too hard.

No matter how hard I try to stick to a sewing plan on my own, I continue to make vacation wear and one of a kind outfits, that just don’t go much further than the function originally intended.  Thus, in an effort to stay focused this time,  I have sought the services of Wardrobe Consultant and owner of Sew Much Fabric online fabric store, Rosalind Gathier.   For the last few months her services have been providing me with some much needed focus to forge a wardrobe suitable for my taste, my body, and my lifestyle.

I figured since I’m working through this wardrobing project, it might be fun to also include you all in on the things I learn.  Since, IRL (in real life) I teach pattern fitting and sewing, I will use my talents as a fitting instructor and sewing teacher to share with you my journey, and bring you in on the task of fitting a better wardrobe.  We can call it the “Wardrobe Fit-along,” to make sure our new threads fit our style, our taste and especially our body.  I have created a series of Sew-To-Fit: YouTube videos to share with you what I teach to my students and to help you see areas that might help you long the way.

You can go over to Roz’s blog and sign up for her monthly “Mini Wardrobe Plan” newsletter updates, and also subscribe to my YouTube channel in order to keep current with new pattern fitting information and discussions.

For the month of August, Roz recommended we focus on the “ICONIC White Shirt.”  Thus, for the month of September, my YouTube Videos will show a few of my IRL students, and sewing group members fitting the white shirts.  Something, I so desperately need in my closet.  How I let all my white shirts go, I have no clue.  I think I went too casual at some point along the way.

I am so glad to have this guidance to help me get my act together!  You get to enjoy the benefits of my learning, because I will be presenting fitting tips and pattern alterations assistance via my Youtube channel for the patterns suggested by Roz.  Some of my IRL Sewing Fashionistas group members will even be joining to show y’all the different body types and recommended styles for each person’s style and taste.

I hope you join the fun.

I made this skirt almost 3 years and ago!  Where has it been?  I had all but forgotten about it until I saw RedPants Designs make her version, now I need a fancy jacket to wear with it in cold weather.  It was all the way back in my closet folded over a pant hanger behind a few other items I just wasn’t interested in wearing.  Also, since I have been parsing my closet and checking for “holes” in my wardrobe, with the help of my trusty styling and wardrobe planning blogs, a few fun outfits I made in the past have been resurfacing.   A goldmine to my surprise.   I was so happy to adorn this fun skirt that I had to take a twirl or few.

I was having so much fun twirling, I felt like a kid.  This skirt is from the McCall’s 6608- Misses’ Skirts.  I made it from the lightest and most difficult of rayon jersey knits out there, at least I think.  It required 4 yards of fabric and I wanted every bit of that fabric in this skirt.  The drape is sublime and you would never notice it has so much volume.  Hence, the reason for all these twirling pictures y’all.

Oh, here are a couple with the skirt just hanging gracefully to the floor.   Doesn’t it make me look taller?  At least I feel taller wearing it…and with this top I made at the same time McCall’s 6400 creates a really fancy monochromatic look that I like.

I did try this top, just recently, in a heavier knit to go with my palazzo pants…but it was an epic failure.

The skirt has 4 godets, and is voluminous to say the least.  I would say it is much wider and fuller than the average circle skirt given that the godet insets add so much.  Be very careful of your fabric choices, this skirt will grow longer and longer and longer over time from the weight of the fabric and the bias cut of the parts.  I have mine pulled up to my ribcage since my heels aren’t very high.

For the waistband, I used 1.5″ elastic, and could have gone down quite a bit on the length of the elastic.  I got the elastic from Peggy Sagers with Silhouette Patterns.  I have since found a pretty good one from Lyla Messinger as well.  It helps to keep the waist area extremely smooth and is used in yoga pants.  I styled it with a simple t-shirt here…which maybe, I will add another type of shirt to see how versatile I can make this maxi.  Of course I will be making another one but somewhat shorter to wear with boots.  We shall see.

Until next time….keep sewing.

Most of the time when I want to grab a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt I end up with over stretchy, graphic and just blah-zay.  I need some basics so that when I want to dress basic, I’ll have something to wear. 


It was extremely hard to make this one plain and simple t-shirt.  No color, no patterns, no prints, stripes or fancy seams, just your plain ole’ t-shirt.  That is what this is at first glance.  But all the stylist and wardrobe planners who I consult, in books, online or InRealLife, tell you to make sure to have “the basics” and you will “always” have something to wear no matter the occasion.  

Thus, I have set out to make some basics, and I started with this T-shirt.  I’m told the next on my list of makes should be a White button down dress shirt/blouse, a good “day dress”, a black jacket with pencil skirt, a dressy jacket (this is where the Chanel-like jacket fits into the plan.) a Little Black Dress, a pair of nice black dress slacks, and well fitted jeans.  From this arsenal, I should be able to run to the closet and mix-n-match a manner of outfits just by adding choice accessories and colored pieces to match any season, spring, summer, fall, or holiday.

I’ll be calling this my tailored “T” since it has set-in sleeves.  I commonly wear RTW t-shirts which have raglan sleeves that fit pretty close to the arms and body.  The Renfrew Tee by Grainline Studios has been my go to for the last year.  It fits really well for my purposes, however, I wanted to try this one because it has the darts at the side bust and also at the waist back and front.  I only used the bust darts for the look I was after with this one.  Of course I could have just done that same thing to the Renfrew, but you know how it is—  “Why think when you can just cut.” 

Pairing it with shorts or a nice skirt changes the entire ensemble from casual to business.  So, there, is it really just another ole’ t-shirt?  I think not.  I just need to wrap my head around the idea of making the simple pieces needed to build a versatile wardrobe.  

Pattern details:  
McCalls 6355: view C,  I cut a size 16 based on the finished bust and graded the shoulders, neckline, and sleeve cap back to my normal size 14, including added 1/2″ at the shoulder/neckline to narrow the opening, it was way too wide even for the size 14.  The short sleeves were lengthened 1.5 inches from the pattern.  I lowered the front neckline by 1.5” and lowered the bust dart by 1” and angle it up a tad to taste.  The fabric is ponte knit from Hancock, so it only has 25% stretch.  Next one I will lengthen at the hem another 1.5” or so, it falls just a teeny bit to high on the hip or maybe just take in the side seams.  We shall see what happens with a different fabric.

I follow a lot of “idea” cites and get wardrobe planning tips from various sources all the time.  What are some of the special places you all check to help you sew with a plan or purpose? 

Everyday, I try something new on my sewing machines. It is important to know what my machine is capable of and recognize the need and usefulness of the accessories and attachments available.  There are many to techniques to choose from on any given day, while working with the varied projects.  For the last 8 months or so I have had the use of the Bernina 780.  (read more here)  to share the spotlight with my other machines, the Bernina 640 (purchased by me in 2010), and my 30 year old Bernina serger.

I wrote a detailed post to help you understand more about how to take full advantage of your machine  when sewing stretchy and slippery fabrics.   Check out article on the WeAllSew Blog.

Thanks for following along and as always, email me if you have any questions.

Thanks.

My birthday was last month, and a fine month it was.  To celebrate I attended a nice little Birthday Bash for those of us 40 and up.  This was my first time going to something like this with people “my age” in a sense.  Funny, that I would refer to these folks as a group…but it is different mingling in groups where the age range is too broad, the conversation topics change from “in real life” to “selfies and FB updates”.   Although, I think I could have held my own amongst any group.
Oh yeah, this was another one of those, wait until the last minute to see what you will wear moments.  I don’t know how to do it any other way.  Well actually, I do, but I choose to make rush outfits.  

 I know I am not the only one who makes better decisions for clothing under pressure.  Mind you, I did not say make better clothes— I said, make better choices.  When given too much lead time to decide on the outfit for an event, and then to go all out with the fabric and findings choices, I tend to overthink, and second guess myself.  Although, the color was set, since it was an all-white event, the pattern choices were many, and the fabrications were all over the place.  Should I do silk, cotton, knits, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, you know the drill.

It was a toss up between this Guy Laroche Pantsuit- Vogue 2937, the Guy Laroche Dress- Vogue 2899, or the Donna Karan Strapless peplum pantsuit- Vogue 1076.  You see the one I chose.  It was easy to pick, since the dress was way too dressy for me and I wasn’t feeling that high neckline in 100 degree weather.

The Strapless was on top of my list and would have gone very well with my white linen, or even my white dupioni silk.  Again, though, my reservations were only due to my tendency to feel just a tad more covered up on the top.  HAHAAAAA!!! you say, the peplum suit is no where near modest!!!!   HA—HA—HA!!! Well, with the changes I made, I think I was able to leave just a teeny bit to the imagination and keep it “Classy with a bit of Sassy.”

The Bash was a classy affair for all birthday attendees.  I danced a few rounds and stayed cool because I lined the suit with a soft lightweight rayon knit, which is normally used for lining panty crotches.  (Go figure, right?)  A few of my friends and family came along to celebrate.  My sister was on point as usual in her RTW dress.  She can make anything look awesome.

I totally redesigned this jacket as follows:

  1. Front was redrawn to create an overlap for more coverage
  2. Drape Overlay- disregarded because it was too much fabric over the bust
  3. Front closure- became a center back invisible zipper because of the overlap
  4. Knit swiss dot lace mesh overlay on the bodice and back
  5. Sleeves- disregarded all together (mostly because I ran out of time…but it turned out it was better in the long run.)
  6. Peplum was self-lined as required but finished so all seams were enclosed 
Pattern considerations and alterations:
  • Lengthened the front by 1″
  • created an overlap at the center front of 2″ which covered for the FBA
  • No true FBA was done as I had planned.
  • Took a 3/4″ wedge out of back to avoid gapping.  (See right pic above..piece #5)
    The fabric is an Eileen Fisher Ponte knit.  The pants grew quite a bit as the night carried on, and became a little baggy compared to the photo I took before the night started below.  
    The movement put a little more pressure on the front closure, which was just a little tacking I used to keep it closed.  I had not thought out a solution to keep the front from going all the way to my navel.