Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Bronte Knit top.

One think I noticed on Me-Made-May this year was that a lot of my makes have round necks and I wanted to 'branch out' and try some different necklines, perhaps more flattering necklines, so when I saw the Bronte knit top pattern coming up on some blogs, I new I had to try it.  The pattern is Jennifer Lauren's second pattern, the first being The Afternoon blouse, which also looks lovely, but I haven't tried it yet.

The Bronte top is made up in stretchy jersey fabrics, so is really a neat fitting t-shirt, but with a great crossover detail at the front shoulder.  It is a pdf pattern and Jennifer seems to have really thought about all the details, even the way the pattern pieces are laid out are great.  Her instructions are excellent and it is a quick make.  I made mine from this multi coloured jersey from myfabrics which I bought over a year ago.  I love the colour mix of grey, aqua, black and white, but you could use any jersey with a good deal of stretch in it.  There is also a long sleeved version which would be lovely in a cosy jersey for winter.

I used little crystal buttons (3 on each shoulder) to attach the upper shoulder to the front piece. This is a nice feature and would be great scope to customise on plain jerseys, but you could just handstitch it if you wanted.

Anyway, I love it, it's a clever design and can be made in a couple of hours from start to finish - a great pattern and there will definitely be more of them.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

My summer Ten Item Wardrobe.

'Liberate Yourself with The Ten-Item Wardrobe' is the title of one of the chapters in Lessons from Madame Chic, a lovely little book by Jennifer L Scott.  I have mentioned before on the blog, that I have been trying to have less 'stuff' in general and, in particular, been aiming for the capsule wardrobe over the past couple of years.

I have literally culled my wardrobe, cleared out the clutter, filled bin bags to go to charity and also sold some of the better things and she is so right - it is very liberating!

So with a bit of experimentation and trials (Me-Made-May helped a lot with this too) I have decided on my ten item wardrobe for summer 2014.  These are the core items of trousers, skirts, dresses and blouses.  This doesn't include extras like t-shirts, cardigans, jackets, coats, special dresses (for events or functions). They include a mixture of handmade and rtw items.  I would have liked to have had all hand made items, but time just didn't permit and we have to be realistic.

So without further ado:

Ten Core Items are:

1 skirt:  Handmade Deer and Doe Chardon (cotton print)
3 trousers:  MeandEm sand chinos
                  Toast sailor type trousers.
                  Handmade grey linen trousers Tessuti Laura pant.
3 blouses All handmade Simplicity pattern 1806 (in Nani Iro Peaceful Cooing fabric)
                                   Merchant & Mills Camber top (in Nani Iro double gauze fabric)
                                   Banksia top sewing pattern (in Liberty Travelling Threads tana lawn fabric)

3 dresses Handmade Lisette Portfolio Dress (in Amy Butler Cameo fabric)
                               Endless summer tunic (in red Brussels Washer fabric) Was wearing it so not                                  in photo.
                               MeandEm light denim shift dress.

As you can see, my colours are mostly blues with some beige and red.  I put all my winter clothes away and my wardrobe is so lovely and free.  I have actually been doing this since the beginning of June and it totally works.  The extras help in terms of flexibility and practicalities of getting laundry done.  I hope this wardrobe will carry me through until early September.

The extras

Beige merino cardigan (Meandem)
Blue merino Coco 'sweater' (Tilly & the buttons)
Pale blue cardigan (fatface)
Selection of tees and sleeveless tops (mostly handmade)

Also navy jacket (not photographed) ByHandLondon Victoria Blazer (seen in this post)

Lightweight water repellent coat (Matalan)

Merchant & Mills Landgate coat (work in progress)

Incidentally, this (the extras section) is where you might want to spend most of your budget, for example, a good coat (maybe more winter appropriate) which could potentially last several years, you could spend less on your ten core items as they are more likely to change from season to season, especially if you are trend conscious.

Like I say I have been doing this for a month now and I love it so far.  Will I be fed up with it all by September... time will tell.  It is still very much in the experimental phase.  Jennifer Scott advocates wearing your ten item wardrobe all the time, like even doing housework etc and protecting it all by wearing an apron.  As most of my housework is outside in the garden growing vegetables and plants, I am afraid I do change into my 'duds'  and I also have my exercise clothing.

So, at the risk of sounding smug (this may backfire on me), as I have decided on my summer wardrobe in June.... what now?  As someone who loves sewing and knitting will it just stop? I don't think so.

It gives me a reason to:
a.  Make clothes for other family members (Already do that a bit)
b.  Try my hand at bag making, there are so many great patterns out there.
c.  Do more knitting than I have been of late.
d.  Try my hand at more ambitious sewing projects, like coat-making, trousers and jackets.
e.  Plan the autumn winter wardrobe (too much?  Perhaps, but you got to start some time!)
f.  Apron making
g.  Have had one 'learn to crochet' class, can continue with that.

So plenty of scope.  Why not give it a try.  There is no doubt that if you decide to do this, you must love all your ten items, they must be great colours, style & fit and, of course, it must work for you and the way you live your life.  This is not the only way of looking at it, there are lots of blogs and ideas about downsizing and capsule wardrobes - I just happened to like this one.

You can read more on the 'Ten Item Wardrobe' way of thinking (amongst other things) on Her way of showing her ten item wardrobe is much more professional than mine!

Also, at the beginning of the year I enjoyed doing the Wardrobe Architect series by Coletterie.  This helped me ascertain styles and shapes I like.