Work Wardrobe: The Boxy Tee Alternative

This is my second completed top for my fall work wardrobe plan (pats self on back). It's already been to a meeting or two and settling nicely into my closet quite nicely.

Pattern: New Look's Misses' Dress or Top #6513
Fabric: 1 yd thick knit

I was originally planning to try out the Style Arc Dimity Top but it fell prey to the same bad scaling job I did on my other recently-printed PDF patterns. Rather than make a child-size top (or, you know, reprint it), I decided to use another new pattern that I had on hand, New Look 6513. The pattern is for a woven top but worked equally well with this more stable knit.

While I have made my fair share of woven boxy tees, lately I have been looking for an alternative that could be just as comfy but a bit more stylish. The split neckline and front pleats of this pattern give it a bit more interest and some shaping that I hope will make it a more wearable piece in my wardrobe.

I made a few small modifications to this pattern, as I tend to do. Rather than using a facing piece for the split neckline, I just pressed the center front seam open and topstitched the raw edges. I also shortened the sleeves, although sewer beware they might be a bit tight had I made it in a woven. I believe I also topstitched the pleats down because the knit fabric doesn't hold a press that well. The busy fabric hides the pleats some, but you can still see where they release, giving the garment a nice shape. 

 I'm hoping to continue on my plan of making some thoughtful pieces that work seamlessly in my new work life. However, I'm already getting distracted by pattern testing, Halloween costumes, and new coat fabric, so we'll see how far I get on my wardrobe plan this fall. I'd love to get a few more of these done this year.

Work Wardrobe: Style Arc Madeleine

On Wednesday, I posted about my work wardrobe plans for my new(ish) job. For me, the Style Arc Madeleine was the perfect work top.

Pattern: Style Arc's Madeleine Ponte Top
Fabric: crepe double knit
Cost: remnant from bridesmaids dresses (originally $4/yd)

I love that this pattern is interesting, with its tucks and waistband. It also makes it flattering, bringing in the fabric around the waist and releasing toward the bust. I also love that it is defined for comfy knit fabrics, and as a sleeveless top it fits easily under my blazer for meetings.

I didn't love the construction. I know Style Arc can be vague on instructions, and on a more complicated pattern it would have been nice to have a little more clarity. It also has you fold under the raw edge of the various pieces on the front, which to me seems like could have benefitted from at least some topstitching to fold it all in place. In fact, if you look closely you'll notice that I threw most of their construction ideas to the wind, leaving off an extraneous triangle piece and attaching the band as I saw fit. I'm not totally happy with the final details, as there seems to be some unnecessary bulk right there on the front of the shirt.

As a finished garment, though, I am quite happy. I have already worn it to a long day worth of meetings and was very comfortable and felt put together the whole time. First fall outfit - success!

Work Wardrobe Plans

After neglecting the rest of my wardrobe for the past eight months to sew my wedding dress, I was itching to sew up some simple, easy pieces for work. I started a new job at the beginning of this year that's mostly remote, so I needed some casual, comfortable pieces to make getting dressed in the morning more fun.

Before I could get started, though, I needed to organize my thoughts and match things up with what's in my stash. I had seen a lot of people sketching things online, so one night I sat down and had fun working up a croquis and tracing my ideas on top. Here's what's up next in my sewing queue:

Reversible Dress: My mom gave me this beautiful plaid double gauze that's sat on my shelf for a while now. At first, I wasn't feeling the plaid, but one day I turned it over and realized the other side was a beautiful blue and white stripe. I was going to feature that fabric but then I thought, why not make something reversible? Figuring out the back zip and the seam finishes will be the most challenging part of this simple dress

Style Arc Madeleine: I love the shaping of this Style Arc Ponte Top, which gives a bit of interest to an otherwise simple shirt. I would love to tuck it under a blazer for a work meeting or wear it as-is on a warm day. I may also make one up in white.

Style Arc Dimity: This idea started with the fabric, and I've been trying to find something interesting to do with it. I like that this Style Arc Top, which is a simple boxy tee but with some interesting neck gathers. Made up in a stable knit, I think it will be comfy and easy to wear.

Ruffle Top: I was wearing a loose-fitting white t-shirt the other day and wondering why I didn't have more. To dress it up a little, I'm going to try the sleeve ruffles trend. I'll make it up in a free fabric I got at a swap in case I don't end up liking it.

Pants: Finally, I bought loads of stretch bottom-weight fabric at Stone Mountain and really need some more pants in my wardrobe. I'm going to start with these blue ones. With the right details, they should work equally well in a client meeting as hopping on my bike to ride to the office.

Oh and I almost forgot! I also have plans to sew up the SBCC Rickey Blazer in a navy fabric in my stash. Even though the pattern is drafted for petites, I love the collar and shape so much I'll un-petite it just so I can sew it up.

Actually that reminds me, I've also ordered the Victory Patterns Ulysses Trench to pair with a wool I have in stash. I was really inspired by this coat and am determined to use the trench pattern for a similar effect. I won't sew this one up though until after the fall though, when we usually have our warmest weather lasting through early November. And of course since writing the first part of this paragraph, I have also purchased another coat fabric on sale at Stonemountain and Daughter.

Ok, well I think that's plenty to keep me busy for quite some time! Do you have any cool patterns or ideas you're working on?

Fall Sweater

I'd like to tell you that I carefully planned this fall sweater, that it effortlessly slid off my needles just in time for the weather to turn in late September. The reality is that I've been knitting this in fits and starts for at least two years now and any relationship with the seasons is purely coincidental. That said, this really is the perfect fall sweater.  

Pattern: adapted from Brooklyn Tweed's Hugo Cabled Pullover
Yarn: Knit Pick's CotLin in Linen and remnant yarn in mustard
Cost: $50

The color blocking, too, is a matter of coincidence. I had several skeins of a cotton yarn in a beautiful mustard color gifted to me from my knitting aunt. I loved the color but struggled with figuring out how to use it. There wasn't enough for a full sweater, and I don't have a good track record for wearing knit tops or shrugs. So I concocted the idea of making a color-blocked version using KnitPick's CotLin, a cotton-linen blend, in a similar weight. Originally I toyed with the idea of using three colors in total, but the third one that I ordered ended up being too lemony and didn't look good with the other two. So a two-toned pattern it was.

Rather than a clean transition between the two colors, I interwove them for a good ten rows, increasing the density of the color the more I went. It's a nice little touch. Ideally, the color transition would have matched across the sleeves and chest, but I'm embracing the quirkiness.

The stitch pattern is based on Brooklyn Tweed's Hugo Cabled Pullover, which I knit in full for my husband several years ago. With the different colors and neckline, however, no one would ever guess that we have matching sweaters.

My biggest challenge, the reason the colors don't quite match up across the chest and sleeves, and probably what caused the most delay in knitting, were the sleeves. I always struggle with this part. Always. At first I knit them too tight, and then I knit the cap too long. And it was especially arduous to undo all that colorwork.

The main problem comes in that I am perfectly happy to knit up a rectangular body for my sweaters in whatever gauge looks good. I then have to struggle to find instructions that match my project when it's time to make the cap of the sleeves. I'm sure expert knitters have some sort of formula or resources for this, but I'm purely experimental. For this project, I loosely followed the Brooklyn Tweed instructions since I was already borrowing their stitch pattern, and then made some modifications with trial and error to fit my yarn. The sleeves might now be a bit too wide now, but I'm calling them good enough.

Speaking of wide, I am pleased with the ease of this sweater. In addition to being bad at sleeves, I am always knitting my sweaters to be very fitted. See my last sweaters here, here, and here. For this one, I definitely wanted a more relaxed sweater that fit easily over my clothes as a layering piece. This one turned out much more like a sweater I would want to wear in my everyday life. And in the cotton and linen yarn, it is comfortable to wear and breathable.

I took it out for its first wear today and it really is the perfect sweater for fall. It kept me warm in the mornings and evenings but let enough air pass through so I didn't get too hot. I also got a few compliments, which is always nice. 

Next up, I've started to undo my fitted Kollabora sweater to knit up a Georgetown Sweater. Believe it or not, this will be my first cardigan. At my knitting speed, you'll probably see it appear on this space circa 2020 ;)

Wedding Dress Sewing: The final dress!

Ok, I can't hold off sharing any longer. You've been following me for months on this wedding dress project of mine. So here she is, all done and ready to walk down the aisle.

Before I dive into the dress details, I want to start off by saying that we had a total blast at our wedding. It was incredible! Our family and friends were there, the weather was perfect, the speeches had me laughing and crying (sometimes at the same time), and our friends' band had everyone on the dance floor. We finished out the night with a beach bonfire before retreating to a luxurious little honeymoon suite. And while the excitement and wedding nerves made it hard to fall asleep (did you see your dad trying to dance with your mom? can you believe they hid pirate's booty in the sand? do you think the photographer captured the kazoos?), we woke up the next day as a blissfully happy couple.

It appears it will take us some time to get our photos back, so I wanted to share a few shots I have of the final dress, so as not to keep you all in suspense.

First up, the dress form shot:

Ms. Dolly the dress form doesn't quite have the hips I do, but otherwise she shows off the dress quite nicely. I love the dramatic sweep of the skirt and the way the sheer, beaded bodice shows off the sweetheart neckline. I added a little, beaded belt at the waist for the transition.

Here is the skirt from the back, un-bustled on the left and bustled on the right. The back skirt has got to be one of my favorite features. I love that it looks just as elegant and intentional both ways. All that beaded tulle was definitely fun to play with.

I also have a few candid iPhone shots that my relatives have sent me from the day of. Here I am walking down the aisle with my parents.

And don't forget the Mr. with his parents, too. (Doesn't his mom just look so happy?!)

And we made it to the alter on a surprisingly clear beach day in July.

I'll update you all in a few months when I have the professional shots, but for now this saga is coming to a close and I'm getting on with some every day sewing!

For now, I'll leave you with a moment that still has me grinning from ear to ear: our kazoo processional!

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