Planning a Spring Wardrobe

As spring approached I found myself anxiously dreaming of all the new clothes that I would make for the coming season. All the patterns I had on my wish list and the amazing new fabrics that were coming into the shop were calling my name. The ideas quickly spiraled out of control- there were way too many options! I decided to take a more thought out approach and actually plan my wardrobe and new projects. Keeping the “capsule” concept in mind here is the start to my new spring wardrobe.

Spring Fabric Choices

To begin my planning I thought I would start with color and fabric- two of my favorite things! This spring I am all about aqua and coral– stripes, prints, tonals and solids- I love them all! Throw in some grey (my favorite neutral), maybe a touch of navy and I will be all set.
For fabrics, I first picked a couple of plush solid knits, perfect for cardigans and layering.

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Next, I selected a variety of wovens and knits to coordinate as tanks, T-shirts and other blouses. I went for different patterns, color combinations and scales to keep things interesting.

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I rounded out my fabric choices with a few other standouts that fit in with my color story. While I still have to tackle the subject of pants/bottoms, I love what I have laid out for potential tops and layers!

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Now that I have an idea of what I want to make, let’s look at pattern options. There are so many choices out there, I decided the best place to start was in my pattern stash. I also took a look at the Seamwork patterns since I had a few credits waiting to be cashed in! Here are some of the options that I settled on.

I have been wanting to add more layering pieces to my wardrobe. I have already done some investigating on T-shirts but need to try out more tank patterns. Here are three that have been on my wish list for a while. Perfect for my combination of knit and woven fabrics I have selected.

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Here are a few new additions to my Seamwork collection as well. I think the Wembley cardigan will be perfect for summer layers. And these Moji pants are so cute- maybe I will have some new handmade pants after all!

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I am off to an excellent start for my spring wardrobe, I even stayed up late last night cutting a few things out. Watch for more posts tracking my progress in the next couple of weeks! I can’t wait to see how this comes together.

We’d love to hear what patterns you have on your spring sewing list. Are we missing something that we absolutely must add? Please share!

Now time to sew!

Michelle

Spring Canvas Blog Tour Recap

When we first had the idea of doing a spring fabric blog tour all the way back in January, we had no idea it would develop into such an amazing experience. At the end of the two week tour we couldn’t help but be inspired to dive head first into our spring sewing and try new and different looks that we would have never tried before. We can’t thank you all enough for following along with us and learning more about how to approach sewing and your own unique style!

For those of you who missed out on all of the amazing garments and ideas (or if you did follow along but wanted to revisit a few stops), here is a recap of how we started spring 2016! We also added links to the patterns and fabric used on each stop for easy reference.

Day One – Style Maker Fabrics

Day One Style Maker Fabrics

We officially launched the Spring Canvas Blog Tour right here on the Style Maker Blog with one of our favorite trends- STRIPES! We sewed up two stripe knit tops perfect for spring. Both show off the stripe knits beautifully and are way too comfortable. Read more about them HERE along with a few tips about sewing with stripes.

Patterns: Lane Raglan by Hey June | Lark Tee by Grainline Studio

Fabrics: Narrow Stripe Knit, Wide Stripe Knit | Large Repeating Stripe Knit

Day Two: Christine Haynes

Day Two Christine Haynes

Next stop took us over to Christine Haynes’ blog, City Stitching, to read more about her quest to learn more about her style and her wardrobe as a whole. She shared a couple of amazing new staples, a classic button-up and a pleated skirt, that she can mix and match with any number of other items in her closet. Read more about her journey HERE.

Patterns: Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio | Self Drafted Skirt

Fabrics: White Pin Dot Shirting | Classic Linen Blend

Day Three: The Sara Project 

Day Three The Sara Project

We then hopped over to Sara’s blog to check out not one, but two stunning new looks for spring. She truly showed off both of the fabrics she selected and her photographs are absolutely incredible! Learn more about both her looks HERE.

Patterns: Marthe Blouse by Republique Du Chiffon | Inari Tee Dress by Named Clothing

Fabrics: Shibori Rayon Challis | Palm Tree Double Knit

Day Four: Sew Charleston

Day Four Sew Charleston

Next up, Abbey, from Sew Charleston, sewed up one of our favorite new patterns, the Bowline Sweater. We love the movement and texture of this great top, especially with the added structure this fabric adds. Learn more about her fun top HERE. Be sure to also check out Abbey’s video highlighting some of her favorite fabrics from our spring collection HERE.

Pattern: Bowline Sweater by Papercut Patterns

Fabric: Textured Double Knit

Day Five: Idle Fancy

Day Five Idle Fancy

On day five we headed down to Texas to check out Mary’s amazing shirt dress. Our first version of this pattern on this tour, we love this use gingham! And isn’t that color just perfect. Learn more about Mary’s garment and the variations she used to make it suit her style perfectly HERE.

Pattern: M7351 by McCall’s

Fabric: Stretch Gingham Shirting

Day Six: House of Pinheiro

Day Six House of Pinheiro

Next, we hopped across the pond to check our Rachel’s perfectly on trend off the shoulder blouse. She went over the top with this self drafted pattern. And did you seen the tie cuffs she added? Amazing! Read all about her look and styling HERE.

Pattern: Self Drafted Blouse

Fabric: Cotton Poplin Shirting

Day Seven: Sew Crafty Chemist

Day Seven Sew Crafty Chemist

Kisha, of Sew Crafty Chemist, gave us a closer look at some of her mad sewing skills. While here garment didn’t turn out just as she had hopped, she did learn a lot in the process and gladly shared those lessons with us. Learn more HERE.

Pattern: S1756 by Simplicty

Fabrics: White Linen Blend

Day Eight: Girls in the Garden

Day Eight Girls in the Garden

We then visited Lori, from Girls in the Garden, to check out her new look for spring. She too decided on making two garments- an striking twill jacket with matching rayon top. These colors looks so good on her and are absolutely perfect for spring! Learn more about her inspiration, fabric choices and techniques HERE.

Patterns: B6661 by Burda Style | M7093 by McCall’s

Fabrics: Brushed Twill | Brushstroke Rayon Challis

Day Nine: Hey June Handmade

Day Nine Hey June Handmade

On day nine Adrianna, of Hey June Handmade, shared her new Cheyenne button-up in our beautiful Japanese tencel shirting. She claims that she has no style, but her photos and amazing spring outfit tell us the real story! Read her beautifully written post HERE.

Patterns: Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June Handmade | Self Drafted Infinity Scarf

(Check out our Infinity Scarf Tutorial HERE)

Fabrics: Japanese Tencel Shirting | Floral Print Chiffon

Day Ten: Itch to Stitch

Day Ten Itch to Stitch

The amazing photos just keep coming! Next up, Kennis, of Itch to Stitch, shared her new sleeveless top and matching culottes. The perfect look for this summer or, if you are her and living in Costa Rica, right NOW! Learn more about her amazing look HERE.

Patterns: Mila Shirt by Itch to Stitch | Emily Culottes by Itch to Stitch

Fabrics: Embrace Double GauzeMontauk Twill

Day Eleven: Diary of a Sewing Fanatic

Day Eleven Diary of a Sewing Fanatic

Day eleven brought us Carolyn and her striking spring topper that she sewed up for the tour. Doesn’t this geometric pattern just look smashing? Complete with handmade bias even. Learn all about Carolyn’s style and one of her favorite patterns HERE.

Pattern: Her own creation using a variety of patterns- See pattern recommendations in her post

Fabric: Jacquard Suiting

Day Twelve: LLadybird

Day Twelve Lladybird

We wrapped up the tour with Lauren’s adorable summer dress. The second version of M7351 and so different than the first- a bit more relaxed and fun in this rayon! And that print and color- so much fun for the warmer weather! Check out her post HERE.

Pattern: M7351 by McCall’s

Fabric: Cherry Print Rayon

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Thank you so much for joining up for our Spring Canvas Blog Tour. Huge shout out to all of the participants as well- we couldn’t have done it without you and all your amazing creativity and style! Hopefully you find this recap helpful. We would love to hear what you favorite stop on the tour was or what you have been inspired to sew for spring! Please share in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out all of the other amazing fabrics that have arrived in the shop for the season. There are so many incredible finds for every look and style. We even have a stack of our own just waiting to be sewn up!

Happy Spring Sewing!

Michelle

Clare Coat: Mission Accomplished

Better late than never! My Clare Coat is finally complete and I am truly in love! 

I have been working on this coat off and on for a few weeks now. While I did want to take my time with this project, running a business and life in general made it take a bit longer than anticipated… I will say it was worth the wait!

The Clare Coat is my second Closet Case Files pattern and I am a huge fan. Heather really pushes my abilities as a seamstress and I love that I learn something new with every pattern. Much like my Carolyn Pajamas, I broke up the task of sewing my coat into more manageable steps- front and pockets, assembled shell, sleeves, etc.

Right out of the gate I had to make my first attempt at welt pockets. Yikes! But with the help of Heather’s clear instructions and the handy sewalong on her blog they went off without a hitch. I love how they blend right into the coat while also enhancing the design at the same time. Mark that off the “skills to learn” checklist!

Clare Coat Welt Pockets

Clare Coat Welt Pockets

My next big challenge came with the installation of the zipper.
It seems like zippers always get a bad reputation for being super difficult- maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t ever really had a problem (knock on wood). I think I probably approach installing a zipper fearing for the worst and am always pleasantly surprised when it isn’t that bad. My biggest rule of thumb… take your time!

Clare Coat Collar and Zipper (with a peak at the lining)

Clare Coat Collar and Zipper (with a peak at the lining!)

For my asymmetric Clare Coat I chose an extra large zipper to really show it off and I think it turned into my favorite part about this coat. All of Heather’s little tips about how to sew the ends of the zipper and the beautiful zipper guard really make this look like a designer coat.

Clare Coat Side Zipper

Clare Coat Side Zipper

I finished off the project with the magic that was attaching the lining, or as the pattern calls it “bagging the coat.” I have done a similar technique in the past with handbags but it was quite amazing to see it done with a fully lined coat, sleeves and all! You end up with this heap of fabric that magically turns the most stunning coat with just a couple areas left to hand stitch.

"Bagged" Clare Coat

“Bagged” Clare Coat

Overall, I am really proud of my results and can now say I have made my first fully lined coat, complete with welt pockets and zipper! I love my fabric choices- especially the lining, so striking! Even though Spring is just around the corner, the medium weight of the wool blend will still let me enjoy wearing it for a few more weeks before it it time to be stashed for Fall. I was so happy to have it on the day we took the pictures for the blog- it was one chilly morning here in the Pacific Northwest!

Check Out That Lining!

Check Out That Lining!

Well, that marks the end of my Fall/Winter sewing! Spring here we come! We have been planning for weeks and can’t wait to share all the amazing fabrics, projects and lots of other special surprises!

Michelle

Styling the Linden Sweatshirt

I am a huge fan of sweatshirts! I would live in just a sweatshirt and jeans or yoga pants if I wasn’t so into sewing clothes and fashion! This Fall/Winter I really wanted to make a comfy cozy sweatshirt that didn’t really look like a sweatshirt. With so much inspiration on Instagram and some incredible knits to choose from in the shop I set to work styling and creating the perfect “secret pajama” top.

Linden Sweatshirt

Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio (View A)

For my pattern I selected the Linden sweatshirt from Grainline Studios. I haven’t been disappointed yet by one of Jen’s patterns and this one was no exception! For fabric, inspiration struck in the form of a sluby black sweater knit with printed silver metallic houndstooth print.
Strange combination I know… but subtly striking and perfect for an elevated Linden. I’m not an all out flashy person so I paired the metallic sweater knit with a super soft black sweatshirt fleece for the sleeves and neckline. A yard of each and I was ready to sew!

Metallic Houndstooth Sweater Knit

Metallic Houndstooth Sweater Knit

Drawing inspiration from Lauren at Baste & Gather, I decided to loose the band at the hem and sleeves and create a slit at the side seam. Using the helpful lengthening lines on each of the pattern pieces I lengthened the front by 4-1/2″, the back by 7″ and the sleeves by 3″. This would make up for the missing hem bands and give me enough length to create a 4″ off-set slit that hits right at the hip. With the help of a tutorial Kelli of True Bias posted on the Sew Mama Sew site I sewed up my Linden and created two perfect side slits.

Linden Side Slit Variation

Linden Side Slit Variation

I finished it off by hemming the sleeves and hemline with my overlock machine for a very professional look. I have to say I am very happy with the results and it is so comfortable to wear! Dress it up or down for just about any occasion.

Metallic Houndstooth Linden

Metallic Houndstooth Linden

Truth be told, I loved the results so much I immediately sewed up another version using an amazing lace overlaid sweater knit pared with a grey sweatshirt fleece. A yard of each, a quick sew and I had another Linden to add to my wardrobe rotation! So quick and easy, I love this Grainline Studio pattern and will definitely be making more variations in the future!

Lace Sweater Knit Linden Sweatshirt

Lace Sweater Knit Linden Sweatshirt

I think for spring I will try a lighter weight sweatshirt fleece and make a basic solid Linden in a fun Spring color. Maybe this beautiful rose… Perfect for my wardrobe basics I am on a mission to sew.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle

P.S. One last picture… I love how the houndstooth metallic shows up in this one!

Love this Houndstooth Metallic Sweater Knit Linden

Love this Houndstooth Metallic Sweater Knit Linden

Sewing a Coat: Fabric Choices and Cutting

A couple of weeks ago, I accepted a challenge to myself to sew my first fully-line coat. Since then I have been tackling all the prep work before I start sewing this week. One evening I pressed both of my fabrics, the next I cut out the lining pieces, then the exterior pieces and so on. You get the idea. I can now say that I have ALL the pieces cut, interfaced and ready to sew. Let’s just say that there are A LOT of pieces but it was definitely worth taking the time to cut them all out carefully and deliberately.

Prepped Clare Coat Pieces

Prepped Clare Coat Pieces

A couple pieces of advice that I have discovered so far on this journey… Read more

A New Closet Staple: Montlake Tee

My goal this year is to continue to build my handmade wardrobe with the goal to one day have my handmade garments make up the majority of my closet. This month I really started thinking about my foundation or staple pieces that I can mix and match with other more statement makes or with each other for a fun everyday look. The question was, which patterns to choose?

New Montlake Tee

New Montlake Tee Pattern

Enter Kimberly at Straight Stitch Designs! She must have heard me and other makers like me because a couple of weeks ago, she put out a call for pattern testers for her latest pattern, the Montlake Tee, the perfect closet basic! Read more

Challenge Accepted: Sewing a Winter Coat

The task of making my own outerwear has been a bit scary. I have been dreaming about a couple of patterns over the last year or so and I finally decided to take the plunge. With winter coats popping up everywhere in the online sewing community this month, I couldn’t make any more excuses! Indiesew has highlighted some great outerwear patterns, Lucinda at Sew Wrong has been posting lots of great tips for sewing coats on her blog (she even has a special online course coming soon) and Pinterest and Instagram are filled with lots of amazing inspiration.

During this process of creating my own handmade coat, I thought I would post my progress here on the blog. Hopefully four of five posts updating you on my challenges, tricks I learn along the way and just breaking down a somewhat daunting task into smaller more manageable bites.

Let’s start with one of my favorite steps… selecting the fabric! There are so many amazing fabrics out there perfect for outerwear. Here are a few of our favorites and some great pattern choices to pair with them.

First, let’s take a look at boucles. The perfect choice if you want a more unique, vintage look with lots of texture. They come in a variety of weights and are typically going to be a bit cooler than a wool or other heavier fabrics- perfect for more temperate climates or to enjoy year round. For a winter coat, I would probably use a cozy flannel for the lining and maybe even add an extra layer in between for some added warmth. Here are a few of the textures you might find. <Learn more about the fabrics shown below HERE>

Read more

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