The Wardrobe Architect Week 9 - The Capsule Wardrobe

Wow, we're on week 9 of Colette Patterns Wardrobe Architect series already!  The time has flown, and so far I think this exercise has been really beneficial for me. 

Of course, I'm sure at some stage I'm going to be distracted by a pattern or fabric (or RTW garment) just because it's gorgeous, but having participated in the series so far I think I'm now able to make better choices.  I can identify things I love and actually want to wear, as opposed to just things I think are lovely.

Sarah Liz paid me a lovely compliment about the peplum top I posted at the weekend, saying "This top looks so right on you Sam -pattern, colour, style, everything."  Thank you Sarah Liz, your comment made my day!

So, on to this weeks exercise, which is going to be a fun one, to build a capsule wardrobe.   I'm sure you've all heard of capsule wardrobes, some of you may even have one!  I envy you if you do - I have always loved the idea of a capsule wardrobe, but having made some quite eclectic choices with my fabric and clothing purchases, what I actually have is a wardrobe of things that don't mix and match very well.  Time to change that!

The exercise set this week is to review the silhouettes we created a few weeks ago and choose one or more to make the basis of our Spring wardrobe.

I identified 5 silhouettes back in February, and have decided to use the two below as the basis for my Spring wardrobe. 

Surprisingly, you'll see I've gone for separates rather than dresses.  However much I love dresses, separates suit my lifestyle much more, so I'm going to make a concerted effort to include more in my wardrobe. 

I'm planning on making a red maxi skirt to go with the many nautical striped jersey tops already in my wardrobe, and I have plans for one or two pairs of trousers/jeans as well.  In fact I'm about to cut out my first pair of Jamie jeans!

I have several pieces of fabric that will make little sleeveless tops (don't we all!).  What I'd really like is a sewing pattern for a draped cardi similar to the one I've pictured above.  I know I could knit one, but I like them to be quite lightweight, and I don't relish the idea of all that plain stocking stitch with fine yarn on little needles!

Have you ever tried to create a capsule wardrobe?  Any tips you'd like to share?

Made by Me: Patterned Peplum top

I've been making a real effort to make some separates recently, rather than more dresses, and today I have another top to show you.

I bought this fabric recently at the Knitting and Stitching Show, from the Stitch booth.  It's a medium weight jersey - 100% polyester I think - but it's very light and has lovely drape to it. 

I knew I wanted a top of this shape - I have a plain black woven one in my wardrobe that I love - but I couldn't find a suitable pattern.   However I had recently downloaded the Republique du Chiffon Ludivine dress pattern, and decided to use the top of that for the basis of my peplum top.

To do this I cut the pattern pieces to finish at the waist, then used a 10 inch deep strip of fabric to make the peplum.  This was gathered onto the bottom of the bodice. 

I added some thin elastic to the seam to help it keep it's shape.   Unfortunately I didn't stretch the elastic quite enough when I sewed it on, so the finished seam is a little bit wavy.    The print hides the worst of it, but I decided to add belt loops  so I could wear a belt to cover the seam. 

I added a loop at each of the princess seams and both side seams.  They're positioned just over the waist seam. 

The pattern itself when together really easily, which is good, because the only instructions are in French.  Luckily I didn't need them at all.   The pattern pieces matched up perfectly, and I'd definitely use this pattern again, as the dress it's intended to be.  It's designed for knits but I think with a little adjustment (and a zip) it could work for a woven fabric too. 

I'm really happy with my new top.  Now I just need the lovely warm weather we had the other weekend to return so I can wear it without freezing to death!

Minverva Blogger Project - Crochet Jewellery

For my March Minerva project I decided to go for something completely different.  It’s a much smaller project than my others, but I’m really happy with it.

Inspired by the numerous “statement” necklaces you see everywhere at the moment I decided to crochet myself one.

I decided to use the DMC Pearl Cotton size 5, and then had to narrow down the colours I wanted to use.  There are lots!  In the end I picked three that looked good together (in my opinion!) but that had a high level of contrast.  I wanted each individual element of the necklace to stand out, so you could see the individual shapes as well as the overall shape.

Then I went searching for a motif to use.  Again, there are lots, but I finally settled on this one, which I found on

I modified it slightly after playing around with it as I decided I didn’t want the scalloped edges.  I also tried a couple of different sized crochet hooks and settled on a 2mm one. 

For the larger motifs I made the starting ring, then used rounds 1 to 3 of the pattern, finishing off with a round of single crochet (US terminology) to provide a bit of stability to the edges, as I knew I would be inserting the jump rings into them to link them together.

I made one large motif in each colour, then 2 small motifs in each colour.  The small motifs are just the starting ring and round 1 of the pattern.

Once I’d made these motifs I started playing around with a layout, not sure at this stage if I wanted any more pieces added.  I decided not to add any more, as I didn’t want the finished necklace to be too big. 

This layout looked about perfect to me.

I used small silver jump rings to join the motifs together, making sure that the individual pieces wouldn’t flip over during wear.  In the photo below you can see where I placed the jump rings.

I then used a single jump ring to attach some chain to one side of the necklace and draped it round my neck so I could work out my desired length.  I cut the chain to this length and attached it to the other side with a jump ring.   Then I cut the attached length of chain in half and added a lobster claw clasp to one cut end and a jump ring to the other. 

The chain, jump rings and clasp are included in the kit.

Further experimentation led to me making a coordinating bracelet.

For this I made 3 small motifs in pink and three in jade.  The pink ones then had row 2 of the motif added in blue. 

To join them together I started with a green one and did a single crochet in 8 of the double crochets in the ring, then picked up a pink/blue motif and did a single crochet stitch in 16 of the stitches in the outer round.  Then going back to a green motif I did single crochets in 8 of the double crochet stitches.  I repeated this until I got to the last pink/blue motif, where I did single crochets in 36 stitches around the edge.  I then worked my way back down the other side with 8 stitches in a green motif and 16 in a pink/blue one til I got back to where I started from.

After weaving in the ends I added a single jump ring to one end and a lobster claw clasp to the other.  If you have very small hands you could permanently join the bracelet into a bangle type cuff.  I can just about slip this over my hand without unfastening the clasp.

I can’t wait for the sun to shine so I can put on a nice summery top and wear my new accessories!
If you'd like to make your own crochet jewellery, you can buy the kit here.




The Wardrobe Architect - Hair, Makeup and Beauty

This week's Wardrobe Architect post asks questions about hair, makeup and beauty.  I've copied the questions Sarai asked herself (and us in her blog post) and answered each one individually.

1.       What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?

I’ve recently had my hair cut into a chin length bob, and I think this is probably the most flattering cut I’ve had for a long time. I spent several years growing my hair out from a very short crop to a length where I could in theory put it up and do different things with it. In practice I didn’t, and discovered that although I love the idea of long hair, I don’t actually like it in practice.   When my hair was longer it always felt untidy and unstylish, no matter how much I wanted it to look stylish.  This short bob just looks and feels so much more together. 

2.      How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring. Or it could vary day to day.

I love to wear make-up and hardly ever go without any at all, because I look too young without any, but I hate the feel of being “made up”. Bare Minerals powder foundation has been a godsend to me as it makes my skin look amazing, but I can’t feel it at all.
I wear glasses and often don’t know what to do with my eye makeup, but always define my eyes with at least mascara, and I’m a little bit addicted to buying lipsticks at the moment.  I have a selection ranging from nudes right through to bright red.  I just bought a coraly-orange one that I’m loving so far.

3.      How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?

I think my current hair cut and my make up generally reflect the fact that I prefer simpler shapes and less “fuss”.

4.      How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?

I don’t want to own too many products that I don’t use regularly, but I do like enough variety so that I can give myself a slightly different look occasionally.  For example, on a daily basis I like fairly neutral eye makeup, but on occasion I like to wear deep plums and purples on my eyes as they really bring out the green tones.  I wouldn’t want to wear them every day though.

5.      What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?

I don’t really have any requirements for the products I buy, other than that they feel good on my skin/hair/whatever.  I hate thick, heavy, greasy products for skin or hair, so these would go straight in the bin.  I avoid heavy foundations and any hair products that contain wax.

6.      What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?

Strong but not too bright colours feel good near my face.  For example a teal/peacock jacket or a magenta pink cardigan.  I tend to wear a more neutral shade underneath, maybe grey. 

7.      What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?

Pale, washed out colours don’t look good near my face.  Beige, very pale grey, pastels.  Luckily these are generally colours I wouldn’t wear anyway.

8.     How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?

About 30 minutes is ideal for me, including showering, dressing and doing my hair and makeup.  My hair can get quite greasy so I wash it every day in the shower. 

9.      What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?

My favourite scents are without a doubt rose based.  I dislike highly scented bath or shower products and body creams, unless they match my perfume.  I also like some citrus based scents in hot weather. 


·         After going through the questions above, add 3-5 images to your style board that reflect your own beauty signatures, or ones you’d like to incorporate.



Made by Me: Style Arc Rosie top

Last week I needed a portable project to take to my monthly sewing group.  I didn't have anything in progress and I didn't have much in the way of inspiration, but after a browse through my pattern stash I came up with the Style Arc Rosie top.


It looked to be quite simple to put together, so I moved on to my fabric stash and found one metre of printed polyester crepe. 

I cut out all the pieces the evening before the Sewcial evening, and took it all along with me.  The top went together really nicely, all the pieces fit exactly, and the directions while minimal were fine for this simple top. 

I made some changes to the way it went together, using French seams throughout.  Unfortunately I only decided to do this once I'd cut it out, and I think I used a slightly larger seam allowance than I should have done.  The top is fine, but could do with being a tiny bit looser.

Unfortunately because of the busy fabric you can't see the nice design lines.

The pattern instructions tell you to do a facing for the neck, which I changed to a bias bound finish and I also used this same finish on the cap sleeves. 

You can see from the above photo I have a bit of wrinkling (although it doesn't look as bad in real life).  I think this could easily be resolved by using the correct seam allowances!

Again, a smaller seam allowance would have allowed this top to sit a bit looser on my hips, thereby avoiding the wrinkling in the back.

Overall I'm really pleased with this top.  It's a cute and comfortable style for warmer weather, and looked good with a cardi when I wore it yesterday. 

I'm definitely going to make another, this time in plain fabric to show off the design lines, and just a smidge looser. 

Also... I seriously need to tone up my upper arms - anyone know a good way?!


It seems a long time since I've shown you anything I've made, and even longer since that finished item has been something I've knitted.

I've been going in fits and starts with my knitting recently - mainly starting lots of things and not finishing them, or changing my mind about them.  But recently I finished a scarf that I'm very happy with.

The colour of this yarn seduced me into buying it back at the end of January.  I was in London for a work meeting that got cancelled after I'd set off on my journey, so after spending a bit of time in the office I headed off home.  On my way I was forced to detour via Loop, a delicious yarn shop in Islington.  It was kind of on my way - honest!

Their yarn is usually a bit out of my price range for anything like a sweater, but this skein of Malabrigo Lace jumped out at me.   The colour is Frank Ochre and it is much more vibrant in real life than I was able to capture in the photographs. 

The pattern I chose is Bubblemania, a free pattern on Ravelry by Diana Rozenshteyn.    It takes just one skein of Malabrigo Lace, which is handy!  I used every last scrap - after binding off I think there was about 6 inches left. 

I'm absolutely loving this shade of yellow/mustard/ochre at the moment.  It looks particularly lovely with a dark grey sweater.  Sadly the sweater is currently in the wash, so here's a final shot of it draped on my dark grey stair carpet instead!

Co-incidentally I bought some dark grey and yellow quilting fabrics at my sewing social evening yesterday.   I'm hoping to turn them into a cover for my overlocker, although I might just sit and look at them!

The Wardrobe Architect - Exploring Solids and Prints

Week 7 of the Wardrobe Architect series has us looking at solids and prints.   The weeks exercise was as follows:

Examine your favorite clothing. Pick out the 10-20 most worn items in your wardrobe. What percentage of them are printed?

Pick your prints. Write down your most beloved styles of prints. Be sure to look through your closet and your fabric stash.

Update your moodboard. If you have a moodboard, try adding in examples of prints you favour.

Going through my wardrobe the clothing I wear the most is without a doubt plain fabrics, followed by stripes.  All my trousers and all bar one of my skirts are plain colours, and I have at least 5 striped jersey tops in my drawer - 4 of which are blue and white/ivory. 

When it comes to dresses I have more in the way of print there, with about half my dresses being plain fabric and half prints. 

The collage above shows some of the prints from clothing already in my wardrobe.  The top one is my one and only print skirt, and the bottom 2 are on dresses.

We can already see from the information above, that my favourite print is stripes.  Specifically narrowish stripes in 2 or maybe 3 colours.   I also like prints such as graphic/abstract florals and random prints.  I don't like overblown florals or ditsy prints.  The collage below shows examples of a few of the prints I love. 

The final collage shows some printed fabrics already in my stash. 

The two on the left are both large scale prints, the ones on the right smaller scale.   I have enough of the bottom left print for a dress, the others are top/blouse lengths.   I think they do basically fit into the discoveries I've made, although you can see there are no stripes featured. 

When shopping for fabric I seem to be much more drawn to printed fabrics.  I think that is because they look more interesting on the roll, whereas often a plain fabric looks nicer made up into a garment.

I will definitely be looking out for more plain (and striped fabrics) in the future, at least until I've used some of the prints I already own.