It’s been a little over a week since I returned from my trip to Florida (it took me close to six days to recover from all the excitement and shenanigans) and I’m onto my next project. It is a fashion forward type of project but it started with the intention of being a versatile one. The dress I made for my friends wedding is occasion oriented. I made it for a specific event and I will probably only wear it once. It is an amazingly sewn garment but most likely, I will wear only once. Because of this, I decided to change focus for my next projects. I wanted to make more wearable pieces. When I drew sketches and tore pages from magazines of potential future designs, I noticed that a lot of my inspiration was from nighttime and pajama dressing with a 1950s vibe. Many of the garments I handle at work (I work in tech design in the sweaters, knits, and intimates category) can and are worn during the day and this is what draws me to the category. Who wouldn’t want to wear a chemise or a slip during to work, to dinner, or out and about on a Saturday? Their simplicity, daintiness, and femininity is too pretty to reserve for only nighttime. Shortly after sketching and compiling my torn images into a collage, I read this article about a fashion trend on the horizon – matching tops and bottoms. It’s a whole new look to my eye and it’s also a refreshing one. For many seasons, we’ve been on a kit about polished dresses and skirt suits a la Mad Men and I think this is a nice evolution of that trend. All of these influences came together to create my next project.
Each piece is meant to me worn and mixed and matched with each other. The sleeves can be sewn on either blouse and the bow can be on the front or the back. Also, both tops can be worn with the shorts (the two shorts shown with each blouse are the same short).
The silhouettes of each piece are simple because I wanted it to be all about the fabric. A beautiful, thick, and textural tweed (think Chanel) or a vintage, buttery (so soft to the touch), patterned cotton would be wonderful for the shorts. Because the bow on the blouse is functional, the design lends itself to be made with cotton rather than tweed (it’s hard to tie a bow with tweed).
(side note: The cotton in the image is from lovely Naughty Shorts. She has the most amazing fabrics and I suggest checking out her blog and Etsy shop if you haven’t. The tweed also in the image is from the Etsy shop Fabrics and Trimmings. I just fell in love with the color and texture of the tweed.)
The only stitch line on the flat sketches is at the bottom hem and at the inside back neck of the blouses. This is because I wanted the construction of each piece to go along with the 1950s vibe and have facings. I like facings better than bindings because it gives a cleaner and more polished look. Bindings are better and easier choices for knits but run the risk of looking sporty. I also like the idea of facings because how great would it be if the facing was a contrast pattern or fabric? Oh, I’m excited!
Best part about this project is that I hope you can wear it too. I am drafting and draping the patterns for each piece using my size 4 mannequin. Once the pattern is complete, I plan to grade it to all sizes and make it into a downloadable pattern (I originally planned thought my first downloadable pattern would be a scalloped top I made a couple weeks ago – pictures to come soon – but after completing it, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would). It’s my first foray so I hope you will be patient with me. With that said, I want the design process to be interactive. If there’s anything you want to add or eliminate from the design or if you have any comments about the design, please let me know. I want to design this together with you.
Also on my sewing to-do list is a bra, underwear, and crinoline. These pieces will be for me as lingerie has been on my mind recently (Sallie of Sallie Oh recently sewed a bra and I must give her kudos on her first attempt at sewing lingerie). I bought the bra pattern here (thanks Novita of Very Purple Person for the reference), and I bought the underwear pattern here (thanks Lizz of a Good Wardrobe for introducing me to Sarah of Ohhh Lulu). For both the bra and underwear, I will use a stretch lace and jersey (two different fabrics sewed as one ply) from a trashed sample at work. For the crinoline, I’m using Gertie’s tutorial and fabric from this Etsy shop (they have the most amazing lace fabrics).
So that’s what I’ll be up to for the next couple of months. It’s just a plan and all you sewers know that you never know where life will take you. I hope to finish these projects in the next couple of months but who knows what will happen. Oh, and just as an FYI, after I finish these projects (if I finish), I plan to get back to my sloper tutorials (yay!).
One step at a time ladies. One step at a time…