One of the things that keeps me sane during this stage of my life is my sewing hobby. I saw that Pattern Review had a wardrobe contest and I decided to try and enter. It was a pretty ambitious contest – sewing 10 items in 2 months.
I started with a vision of navy, gray, and white. All colors that I tend to wear quite a bit. Then I got into my stash to see what I had in this color scheme. When I pulled my fabric out, a green/cream/black tweed called my name and I found that I had several other coordinating fabrics.
Once I decided on the tweed, I knew I would make a Sew Lisette Butterick 6169 moto jacket. I’ve made this jacket before and loved it. Sadly, my carpet beetles loved it too and it was ruined after one wear. The carpet beetles are now history, but I needed a new moto jacket.
Once I had a selection of coordinating and inspiring fabrics, I set out planning my wardrobe.
The idea of wardrobe sudoku is to use 16 items – 4 tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories – and place them in a sudoku grid to create 10 outfits. Melly Sews has a good description on her blog. For the Pattern Review Contest 10 items had to be made during the contest time frame. Accessories could include jackets, cardigans, etc.
I used one purchased cream blouse from the Limited for my “free” piece and made 3 tops.
The pattern for this polka dot polyester crepe blouse was Simplicity 1620 [OOP]. This is a top I have made before and I like the easy but flattering fit.
I made two tee shirts using the Liesl + Co Metro Tee pattern. Both are rayon jersey, but the cream is quite a bit heavier than the black. I prefer the heavier knit to sew and wear. The black knit was difficult to hem. I ended up using 5/8″ fusible knit interfacing and folding under, but I’m a little unhappy about the effect it has on the stretch at the hems. I might just cut the bottom hem off and leave it unfinished.
I used a purchased pair of skinny jeans (a wardrobe staple) and made 3 bottoms – 2 skirts and 1 pair of pants.
This olive twill skirt was from another Out of Print (OOP) Simplicity Pattern, 2152. I was inspired by the photo on the pattern, but opted to leave the waistband in the main fabric. I also used another favorite technique for an exposed back zipper, a Craftsy tutorial which has the zipper installed with the entire tape exposed.
When I went to cut out this pattern I realized that I must have cut the paper out several years ago because the pattern was cut in a size 10. I haven’t been a size 10 since long before my blogging days. This pattern was very easy to grade by adding 3/8″ to the center front and center back panels. I didn’t change the side panels so I could avoid messing with the pockets and pocket trim.
My second skirt was another old favorite, Simplicity 1541. This is an Amazing Fit pattern which means that it has different pieces for curvy and straight fits and 1″ side seams for easy adjustments. Although I’m slightly pear shaped, I used the Average fit and the waist to hip curve worked well for me. Every time I’ve made this skirt I’ve pegged the hem by about an inch for a more flattering silhouette.
These pants were made with Burda 6938 [possibly also OOP]. This was another pattern that had been previously cut, this time a size too large. I took an extra 1/2″ from the side seams and I still feel like these pants are too roomy. I made them with a rayon twill from Fabric.com. It’s slightly heavier than most rayon challis, but still fairly thin and drapey. I think I’d like them to have just a bit more body to them. They wouldn’t hang well with side seam pockets in them so I took the pockets out and put on patch pockets like you often see in this style of RTW pants.
I don’t make enough “completer” items for my wardrobe. This contest was a good incentive to add a few third pieces.
The first piece I made was this vest, with Vogue 9215. I bought the fabric first with this type of a vest in mind. This is a polyester textured knit purchased from a local shop, Tissu Fine Fabrics. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have a pattern like this in my immense stash. When I looked through the catalogs this was the pattern I settled on. It was not on sale at the time and I wasn’t sure when it would be, so I used my teacher discount card to get it for $12.00 or so. That’s more than I ever spend for a pattern I can get at Joann’s but I knew it was the one I wanted. I’m happy with the pattern and plan to use it for a cardigan in the near future. Once you know a pattern works it’s always good sew it again, right? The shiny, new patterns always distract me, but I’m getting better at reusing the tried and true (TNT).
Once I got a little momentum I started on this jacket. At this point I had been gone for a little getaway to the Sew Expo in Puyallup and had a week of the flu, so my time was running short. Like I said before, this is the Sew Lisette for Butterick, 6169. This was by far the most time consuming project. I first block fused the entire piece of fabric with fusible weft interfacing (from Wawak). This helped a lot with the fraying of the tweed. For the zipper I just ordered a black, cream, and green zipper from Wawak. At $1.40 a piece I didn’t mind using one and keeping the other two for my stash. I decided on the green zipper and I’m happy with how it turned out. I referred to Liesl’s sew along for the bagged lining and also the Palmer Pletsch “Jackets for Real People” instructions for machine sewing that small space by the jacket facing and the hem.
When I finished the jacket I had 6 days left in the contest and 4 items to sew. Luckily they were all simple pieces and I was able to finish them all in time to get the photos and reviews written.
The third “topper” was this Simplicity Kimono, 1318. This was another piece that I’ve made before. The first time I made it was in a very lightweight polyester crepe. This black fabric is a Nicole Miller tencel from Joann’s that received quite a bit of love from some other sewing bloggers. It has more body than the rayon I used for the pants and if I had more fabric I’d definitely make a pair of pants out of it. I haven’t seen the black at Joann’s recently, but they do have a pretty blush color right now and I snatched a few yards of it.
The most boring thing I made was this black cowl. I needed something quick and easy to fill the contest requirements. I used 1/2 yard of french terry and cut a piece 32″ wide. I serged it together to form a loop and called it a cowl. This is another thing I’m pretty happy with in the end. I don’t own any solid color scarves and now I know that I could probably use a few.
The shoes were all purchased and already in my collection. A pair of Dansko flats, Born sandals, Sperry flats, and Born booties.
Stay tuned for a few of my favorite outfit photos.