It’s all well and good making posh frocks, I am guilty of this, Etta and Eve dresses hang proudly in my wardrobe. Sadly my lifestyle calls for these to be worn only on the odd occasion, and considering the investment per wear, I set about making an everyday, wearable wardrobe. My starting point was The Sew Over It City Break Capsule Wardrobe E-book, which included five patterns with multiple variations. As the title suggests, it is designed to dress you for all occasions during a city break. All the pieces are designed to go together, and crucially are practical, designed for everyday and transcend all seasons. What drew me to the capsule collection is that it would challenge my beginner skills with a button down shirt, a pair of jeans and the requirement to use jersey for the first time.
Molly Top and Dress
I started with the Molly Top, a simple jersey top, with dropped shoulder sleeves, a neck band and a curved hem. Using jersey for the first time, I opted for a stable Ponte Di Roma in navy and white, as modelled in the photos of the book. The stripes created a new challenge of stripe matching and I used advice from Tilly and the Buttons. A lot of beginners, myself included, are put off from using jersey fabric because there is a misconception that jersey can only be sewn on an overlocker. However, this is not true and I made this top entirely on my sewing machine with a zig zag stitch. I struggled putting the neck band in and there are a few puckers. I used the zig zag stitch to top stitch the neckband in place, which did the job fine, but I prefer the finish of a twin-needle and since then I have invested in a jersey twin needle .
I prefer the Molly Dress and haven’t really taken it off since I made it. It’s comfortable, easy to wear, doesn’t require any ironing and still feels put together. I wore the navy and white version so much that I made it again in black and white ponte di roma. I’m looking for a bottle green and white ponte to make a third version for autumn, so it has since become a tried and tasted pattern. I like it in stripes, to accentuate the dropped shoulder and leave room to play with direction of the stripes on the contrast neck band.
Alex Shirt Dress
Next, I made the Alex Shirt Dress. I love a shirt dress, because they can be worn for almost any occasion. The pattern is relatively easy, with a soft collar and without any cuffs. Inserting the yoke required a bit of head scratching, I used the Sew Over It Tutorial which helped me through it. The pattern calls for some drapey fabric, like viscose, but because I had been given some mid-wash, mid-weight denim I took a chance. The waist tie creates the silhouette and it sits on the knee. The sleeves are turned up, which suits me because thats how I usually wear shirt dresses. The fabric is a little structured, but it doesn’t cause too many problems. In the future I’d like to make a black tencel version for winter and a linen version for summer.
The slim fitted, mid rise jeans, with back pockets are a great addition to this collection. They are a great beginner jeans pattern and I wrote a whole other post on learning to make jeans, but I did want to show how they work in the collection.
Erin is a button down skirt with darts in the back and a waist band, and with the option of above or below the knee with a slit. I opted for above the knee, knowing I’d wear this mostly with tights. I was unsure about this pattern, I decided to go with a faux suede I bought from Fabric Land in a camel colour, so it would be classic. The fabric was a bit disappointing, but it was cheap and I was unsure if this style would suit me. I didn’t want to invest too much, so I see this as more of a wearable toile. In hindsight, this skirt calls for something with a bit more structure like, denim or corduroy. The Molly top looks great tucked in to this skirt, this variation is a little short on me, but I do like the button down style. Next time I’d make a bottle green version for autumn, but with a length to sit on the knee.
The e-book comes with a Lola Coat, which is a waterfall style jacket. It’s really not my style and since I recently made the Chloe Coat, my wardrobe didn’t need another coat. What I like about all these patterns are that they work with tights or bare legs and are very wearable wardrobe staples. A great collection of patterns, great to take confident beginners onto tackling more complicated garments. I know The Molly Dress and Alex Shirt dress will become tried and tested patterns for me.
All for now.
Claire & Co.