Polished Romantic and the Bow Blouse

One of my favorite trends this season is this beautiful combination of tailored fit and feminine style- kind of a reinterpretation of menswear with softy, flowy edges. I like to call it “Polished Romantic,” sophisticated and classy but still elegant or even delicate.

This amazing contrast is created through not only the cut and styling of a garment but also the texture and color of the fabrics. Take a fitted jacket- crop the length and use a soft boucle or wool for a wonderful feminine touch. Or a tailored blouse- widen the sleeves or add a few pleats and use a flowy silk or rayon for some added drape and softness. It is all about balancing the structure with grace and beauty.

The staple piece of this “look” for me is the “bow blouse”. There has been a lot of discussion this season about what to call this type of top- secretary blouse, CEO bow and the Thatcher collar (in honor of Prime Minister Margret Thatcher who wore the look quite often) but I find myself just going back to simple but effective “Bow Blouse”. Let me know if you have any other great name ideas!

I set out to find a pattern to make my own bow blouse for this season. I weighed a few options but I ended up choosing the Oakridge Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns. I have been an admirer of their patterns for a long time but for some reason just haven’t gotten around to making one yet… I love the relaxed look of the neckline on their version of the bow blouse- not so rigid and formal but still very feminine and professional looking. I also liked the flared waist/hips- another more girly addition to a men’s button-up. Added bonus- the pattern comes with multiple options for this top, with or without the bow neck, so there is a lot of versatility there.

Oakridge Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns

Oakridge Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns

For my fabric choice, I chose a beautiful Japanese shirting in a rich fall floral pattern and color way. I just love this fabric and thought it would pair nicely with the styling of this shirt. The Japanese shirtings that we have in the shop remind me of Liberty of London lawns but at a fraction of the cost- same silky finish, beautiful hand and amazing to sew with!

Finished Oakridge Blouse

Completed Oakridge Bow Blouse in Japanese Shirting

My Oakridge Blouse came together pretty quickly and without any major issues. I just have a couple minor changes that I will note of future versions.

1) On the button plackets and cuffs, I would only interface half of the pattern piece instead of the whole thing as directed. The button placket, in particular, ended up being quite stiff. Just a minor change that will likely make a considerable difference.

2) Sleeve fit issues- they were a bit tight especially through the bicep and elbow. That is two recent makes that I have had this problem. It is just something for my fit that I need to be more aware of- especially if I am not going to make a muslin (a sin, I know). I was able to widen the seam a bit to make my blouse more comfortable and will alter the pattern piece for next time.

Oakridge Bow Neckline

Finished Oakridge Blouse- Closer Look at Bow Neckline

The finished Oakridge Blouse turned out just as I had envisioned it! Feminine but tailored and with the soft bow front. I am not normally a bow person, but I love how this turned out and the subtleness of the look. Perfect to layer under a cardigan or jacket and I am thinking about pairing it with some great wide leg trousers. Although I do love it with my Jamie Skinny Jeans and some cute booties as well!

Here are a couple there bow blouse patterns that I have marked for future reference. If the Oakridge Blouse isn’t quite your style maybe one of these is. I love how you can take a trend that appeals to you, such as the “Polished Romantic” look, and re-imagine it to fit your style. Whether it is finding the right pattern or using a different type of fabric you can make a main stream trend entirely your own!

Other Pattern Links:

Fran Tie Shirt from Name Clothing– Love this for a more sophisticated look. Less feminine in style but makes up for it in the fabrics choice!

Washi Expansion Pack from Made by Rae– Taking the Washi Dress to a whole new level- 3 amazing new variation on her popular Washi Dress pattern

Tie Neck Blouse from BurdaStyle– Check out this as well! A whole collection of bow-style tops. They must be popular or something…

Welcome Fall 2015

Fall officially arrives this week and the perfect time to dive into Fall/Winter Fashion! We have been working for the last few weeks to put together all of the fabrics you need for your Handmade Fall Wardrobe.

I thought I’d share a bit more about our process for preparing for the new season, talk about some of the “Must Have” trends for fall and show a few of our Fall sewing projects in the works (the list is very long!). Over the coming weeks we will highlight more of the latest fashion trends and how they can be adapted to your own unique style. We might even show a few of our own interpretations…

The first step to getting ready for the new season in fashion is RESEARCH! I love Fall especially, not only because it is my favorite season, but because the fashion magazines pull out all the stops for their September issues. Over the past few weeks we have flipped through thousands (literally, thousands) of pages of high-end fashion tearing out images, sorting and putting together collections of the trends we see.

A few of our Fall Fashion Magazines!

A few of our Fall Fashion Magazines!

Then, we take a look at what we currently have available and how it falls into these latest trends. Our goal is to create wearable collections of Fall fabrics that fit in with the current looks but give you the flexibility to interpret them in your own way. We make sure each collection has a variety of weights, fabric types, etc so if you saw an amazing pair of plaid pants but you would rather have a skirt, there are options for you. Next, we fill in the gaps in our fabric selection- if there are categories missing or key items we want to have, we scour our sources across the country looking for just the right pieces.

Finally, we merchandise them on the site to make them both inspiring and easy to shop. We also link each trend to its own Pinterest board so that you can get a little bit more inspiration for your next projects.

Here are a few of the for sure “Must Have’s” this season.

#1 Shearling: This amazingly soft, dual-sided fabric can be used for everything from jackets and vests to handbags and other accessories! We saw this trend developing last fall, but this season it had really found its stride. The buttery, faux suede on one side and plush, shearling-like material on the other side, there is so much potential! Available in a wide range of colors and textures you can choose what fits best for you and your project. Be sure to check out some of the amazing garment ideas on our Pinterest Page Here and check out all of our shearlings and other amazing neutrals Here.

#2 Scholarly Chic: Tweeds, boucles, and plaids are here and ready to hit the books this fall. Think professor, librarian or simply geek chic! Mix and match them or pair them with some classic solids or textured suitings for a professional but modern look. Fashion has been trending toward looks of tailored strength and stability and these fabrics help bring that out in any number of garments. Try it in some oversized, wide-leg pants or “Chanel-style” jacket! Find more inspiration Here or shop the look Here.

#3 The Bow Blouse: While there has been much debate on what to call this particular style of blouse, it is all the rage this season. Perfect for shirting style fabrics or even a more drapey rayon challis, this style top is a great addition to any wardrobe this season. We have also imagined taking this trend and reinterpreted it into a stunning dress.  Again, so much potential! We are including this trend in a broader style we like to call “Polished Romantic,” soft but a bit structured at the same time. See other inspiration Here or shop this style online Here.

Last but not least- just a couple of projects we have been working on so far this fall. More in depth blog posts will be coming soon but here is a little sneak preview…

First, my take on the bow blouse, using Sewaholic’s Oakridge Blouse pattern in an amazing Japanese lawn. I love how it turned out and can’t wait to wear it this coming season.

Oakridge Bow Blouse in Japanese Lawn

Oakridge Bow Blouse in Japanese Lawn

Then, a shearling vest in a delicious caramel color shearling using BurdaStyle’s Lambskin Waistcoat pattern (#112). So soft, comfortable and surprisingly warm!

BurdaStyle Shearling Vest

BurdaStyle Shearling Vest

Hopefully this post gets those Fall Sewing juices flowing. Check back for lots more inspiration and tips in the coming weeks. Cheers to a great season of sewing!

~Michelle

Jamie Jeans and Denim Blues

This Spring/Summer DENIM has been everywhere in fashion- all different shades, weights and types. I have loved seeing all different styles and combinations, and as a devoted jean lover, it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all to have an extra excuse to wear mine everyday. Here are a few of my favorite denim looks that I have put together on one of our Pinterest boards (P.S. Are you following along with us?)

Denim Fashion Inspirtaion

Denim Fashion Inspiration

It only makes sense that jeans have been trending among sewists as well. My Instagram feed has been filled with so many amazing versions of handmade jeans I couldn’t help but be inspired to make my own. While I have been anxious to make both Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans and Named Clothing’s Jamie Jeans, I decided to tackle the Jamie Jeans first.

Named Clothing Jamie Jeans Pattern

Named Clothing Jamie Jeans Pattern

With the help of the beautifully written pattern directions and the great Sewalong put together by IndieSew, I completed my very first pair of handmade jeans in a couple of afternoons. I used our Super Stretchy 8.6 oz Indigo Denim from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and paired it with a matching chambray for the pockets. I also decided to use a denim blue jeans thread so that the accent stitching blended in a bit more. At the time I was hoping to hide any potential mistakes but in the end I really like the softer look it gives as well.

Completed Pair of Jamie Jeans- First pair of handmade jeans!

Completed Pair of Jamie Jeans- First pair of handmade jeans!

A couple of notes I discovered in making my Jamie Jeans. First, I followed IndieSew’s recommendation to baste all of the pieces together to check the fit. I was very fortunate in that when I pulled my basted, skinny jeans on for the first time they fit like a glove! I didn’t have to make a single change (crazy I know!). But I would have been so upset if I had taken the time to finish every seam and add all the details and have them not fit. While it added an extra hour or so of sewing time- it is well worth the price for great fitting jeans.

Great fit on my Jamie Jeans.

Great fit on my Jamie Jeans.

Second, once I got my Jamie Jeans all sewn together I noticed a bit of gaping at the fly- when I would sit or whatever the fly flap would open a bit exposing the zipper. I figured out that at the bottom of the zipper there was very little “flap” covering it so any little stretch exposed the zipper. To help prevent this from happening I back stitched across the flap and the zipper about 3/4″ up from the bottom. That helped take the overlap from only about 1/8″ to a little more than a 1/4″ and losing that little bit of length in the fly opening didn’t make any difference.

Last, I decided not to add the belt loops. Since my Jamie Jeans fit so nicely I don’t see myself ever wearing a belt with them (I’m not really a fan of belts to begin with). I did cut the strips used to make the looks and stashed them in my sewing drawer just in case I change my mind after wearing them for a while. So far I have only missed the loops when pulling my jeans on, but that is a bad habit I need to break anyway!

Love the front detailing on Named Clothing's Jamie Jeans Pattern

Love the front detailing on Named Clothing’s Jamie Jeans Pattern

Overall- I love my new pair of handmade jeans and I wear them just about every chance I get. I am already dreaming of future pairs and maybe some variations on them as well. Check out this amazing stretch printed denim… can’t you just picture them as a new pair of skinny jeans for fall! I also have Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans waiting in the wings for another pair. Now that I have made one pair of jeans there is no stopping me now!

Colors and Trends for Your Spring Sewing

Spring is here in full force and so is our spring sewing. Time to shorten those sleeves, shed those layers and break out the soft, flowy fabrics that we have been longing for all winter!

With this new season comes new trends and styles in ready-to-wear fashion. While I can’t afford most of the beautiful garments that grace the pages of the fashion magazines, it doesn’t stop me from being inspired to take those colors/trends and create my own garments. I love re-imagining the trends brought to us by ready-to-wear and designing my own pieces- re-interpreting them to fit my own unique style. As seamstresses and makers there is nothing stopping us from creating our own fashionable looks.

In getting ready for the new season here at Style Maker Fabrics, we have put together “collections” of our fabrics based on some of the hottest trends we are seeing in fashion this Spring. Over the next couple of posts I’m going share a few of my favorites along with some ideas for garments that you can make.

First, lets talk about COLOR! Last Fall, Pantone released the 10 key colors for Spring 2015 and the first thing that came to my mind was how soothing they feel. These softer colors take us away to a remote local, where we can escape everything else and just relax. Who wouldn’t want to wear colors with that have that kind of power!

Spring 2015 Colors

Pantone’s Spring 2015 Colors: Women’s Fashion

We decided to break these beautiful colors into two separate collections- a group of warmer tones we call “Desert Retreat” and a group of cooler shades called “Ocean Escape”. Both collections include an assortment of fabric types- lawn, rayon challis, knits and shirtings- letting you select your favorite color in the perfect fabric for your next project.

Our “Desert Retreat” collection combines shades of pink, tangerine, custard yellow and rich plums. Reminiscent of a beautiful sunset, these colors are warm and comforting while still having enough pop to make a statement and be unique. Pair them with earthy neutrals for a great look modern look.

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Desert Retreat

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Desert Retreat

Try using these fabrics for a playful sundress, comfortable button-up shirt or even just as a simple infinity scarf. Maybe go bold with some fitted colored jeans or by layering multiple shades these warm colors. The possibilities are endless.

Desert Retreat Fashion Inspiration

The “Ocean Escape” collection brings together the cooler shades of the sky and water. Blues have been on the rise in popularity for the past few seasons and this Spring don’t be afraid to mix and match them. Aqua, turquoise, teal, royal and navy- We love them all!

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Ocean Escape

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Ocean Escape

Perfect for pants and skirts in any shade, pair them with a soft blouse or gathered top and you are set for a beautiful spring day. Fabrics are available in everything from heavier ponte knit to light-weight double-gauze or lawn. Find the ones that are right for your style.

Ocean Escape Fashion Inspiration

Ocean Escape Fashion Inspiration

Be sure to check out the other Trend Collections that we have put together this Spring at Style Maker Fabrics. You can also shop by Fabric Type or Garment Type if that is easier for you as well.

Click on any of the images above to see more of the items or inspiration included in either collection and be sure to watch for more of our Spring Fashion inspiration on our Pinterest page.

Happy Spring Sewing!

Michelle

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