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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anatomy of a new wardrobe

Wardrobe 01The sewing site I participate on has just run a really massive contest lasting six weeks, rather than the typical two-four week run, and I decided to give it a try.  It involved making a total of nine garments, with all items being able to coordinate with every item.  In looking over my vast collection of fabric and patterns, I saw that I could actually make this contest work for me, so why not? 

This is the initial collection I came up with and followed through with, only changing one pattern for a similar one that fit my design better.

Wardrobe 02
Romea having a snooze
During the decision stage, I had a little help picking out my patterns.  Help I could have done without but should have expected.  So much for all the nice soft beds available.

I decided that I was only going to use what I already had on hand, which means that a lot of it comes from my active sewing years in the 1980's, while a couple of other pieces have recently been given to me.

Wardrobe 03
Oh, no, fade lines!

I was totally dismayed to see that a really big piece of fabric in my favorite color has gotten light struck over the years.  I was planning to use it for a jacket.  Fortunately, the pattern had a lot of pieces, so I hoped I could manage to fit them around the faded areas. 

So that I could see exactly where the damage was, as it didn't always show up in the light, I marked the general areas.

Wardrobe 04
Thanks, Manufacturers

I also picked out a really pretty floral fabric that I have always really liked and didn't want to waste.  The colors haven't been the right shade for anything else I've done in a similar color, but this time I thought I could finally use it.  Imagine my chagrin to discover this flaw! 

I may have known it was there 30 years ago, but I needed every bit of this fabric now, and I spent way too much time trying to cut around it.  Argh.

Wardrobe 05
The shoulder cat in action

After doing all the prep work before the contest started, it was finally open and I could get started cutting out.  With a little help from my friend, the perennial shoulder cat. 

Romea was quite content to have a little rest on my bent-over back as I was trying to lay out a particularly tedious aspect of matching up a very vague print pattern that created a striped effect, which involved finding a tiny design and using that as a reference for the fronts and backs of a top and a skirt.  I didn't need the help!

For the first time in my life, I created a storyboard.  With a lot of research and input from the Doc, together we made a pretty classy presentation, I think.  And weeks later, the storyboard came to life! 

Wardrobe 06
The storyboard concept
Wardrobe 07
The storyboard in real life

The concept of the contest was to create a wardrobe of four tops, three bottoms, and two personal choices, all of which had to work together with every other item.  I chose to make three skirts each having matching tops for a potential dress effect, plus an extra top, a dress, and a jacket.  In addition, the sheer white dotted Swiss items can be added to various other combinations, although I'm not too sure just how many of those I will ever actually wear!

I spent a whole afternoon changing clothes and accessories while Doc Leo patiently pushed the camera button whenever I was ready for a new pose, so it was a real joint operation.  I've put all the combinations together by the skirt, all skirt views are in order of the storyboard, and all tops follow the same storyboard order.  I've also tried to wear each element a bit differently as often as possible.

While I may never ever in a million years actually wear some of these possibilities out in public in today's world, it was actually kind of fun playing dress-up and seeing just what all I happened to own already that could nicely accessorize the various combinations.  Unfortunately, most of it doesn't show up in the pictures, but at least now I realize just what options I can attempt in real life.

Wardrobe 08
The white skirt possibilities with each of the four tops

Wardrobe 09
The flowered skirt possibilities with each of the four tops

Wardrobe 10
The print skirt possibilities with three of the tops (no, I will not wear the white with this fabric!)

I got really creative with the dress.  I incorporated several of the wardrobe fabrics into the additional dress fabric so that I could create a few coordinated looks.  While the dress can stand alone, the jacket and both of the white pieces create totally different effects.  The dress bodice has an overlay of the white fabric, while the midriff is obviously the same as the jacket.

Wardrobe 11
How to wear a dress

I had a lot of fun putting all this together, and I think it's actually all going to be more wearable than I was afraid of.  You can check out my contest review if you want to see a few more interesting combination photos, plus there are a ton of links to the individual reviews of all items in case you'd like a bit more information or background on any particular garment.

The contest officially ends on Friday, then voting will start next week and lasts for a week.  I'll let you know how I did and if anybody actually liked what I did!


  1. That is a lot of work but looks great and you should be very proud of yourself. Good luck in the contest!

    Next time you are posing, you should try the "celebrity red carpet look" where they cross their ankles while standing straight. You have one that came close. I'm not sure what it accomplishes, but it must be something they are taught, since they all do it.

  2. An amazing collection of garments and so many different combinations. So glad my helper just wants to lay behind me :)

  3. These are fanastic...and there are so many! You did an amazing job on this. Why can't I ever see anything like this to buy! The colors are so good on you and it's so spring-y. Really beautiful work! I want you to win!

    1. Because anything that comes close to actual fashion isn't available these days in the stores is why sewing has started becoming popular again!

  4. Well done for finishing despite all your trials! Well done, too, for being adventurous and stepping outside your usual style - I'm glad you feel they may be more wearable than you feared. I love the colours. Fabulous that you managed to use up stash fabric, despite the light fading etc.

  5. So gorgeous. All of your garments came out so well and obviously in the spirit and theme of the contest.

    1. Thanks. Too bad my styling ideas are as outmoded today as my age is getting to be.

  6. Well done! You've inspired me to try something similar! ~Cassandra Brecht

  7. The fabric looks great. It is always nice to have lots of interesting choices in your wardrobe. You have a real affinity or preference for blue. It suits you and you should definitely include lots of it in your choices for all types of wear- whether casual or formal. I think that the shininess of the fabric that you chose is good.

    Angella Frasier @ 4-Wardrobe


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