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Monday, May 20, 2013

Sewing A Stylish Basic Wardrobe: Spring / Summer 2013

Has your sewing expertise grown to a level where you are making your own clothes and loving it? But do you find yourself impulsively buying your fabrics and patterns, creating garments, but none that really go together? This is a common problem for those of us who make our own clothes. I'm also guilty of  sewing "the icing on the cake" when it comes to sewing projects. Bold patterns, colorful items that I don't exactly know how I am going to pair together. I have made lots of flowered dresses, but only one in basic black one, which gets worn the most. I get so distracted when I shop for fabric!
What to do?
Create  mini collection of basics that you can build on and that you can add to with pieces of colorful, fun pieces you may have already made. And bring your list of patterns you plan on making with you when you go shopping for fabric so you can focus.

My Must Sew List Of Basics:
Below is a list of basics every woman should have in her wardrobe from the April 2013 Harper's Bazaar issue.
 I'm substituting  how to sew the basics instead of where to shop for them.

A plain, neutral colored pencil skirt:
You can make it in a black stretch woven, a khaki woven or even in denim, depending on your wardrobe. I would recommend sewing it in a stretch twill. It's durable and comfortable to wear. A woven cotton pique is also a nice choice fro summer.
Two pairs of trousers:
One in classic black. I would sew these in a stretch woven twill. Stretch cotton pique would be cute for summer.
A more trendy pair, perhaps a tuxedo style pant or in a bright color. Or even try a floral print.
A Pair of Tailored Shorts
You can sew these in a basic color or go wild with a print. Some fun options for summer might include cotton lace over a lining, a super bright color, a floral print, or something more classic like seersucker.
Two dresses
A little black dress which will be a basic wardrobe staple you should sew in a timeless style.
Another more festive style in a print. Maybe a maxi style, always nice in summertime.
Three to Five Tops:
Two silk blouses
One button down
Two knit tops
My Pattern Recommendations For A Basic 
Handmade Wardrobe
Spring Summer 2013

Pattern recommendations for the pencil skirt:

Pencil skirt patterns you can buy:

Basic Slim leg trouser pattern:

I have just finished this pattern in a stretch floral and will be blogging about it this week. I highly recommend this pattern. I like this pattern because it gives lots of info on how to fit your pants properly. The pattern is a bit more advanced with slash pockets and a center zip fly. But the instructions are very thorough.

Tuxedo Trouser Pattern

Tailored short pattern:

Basic peplum top pattern

This peplum top in a solid color and sewn sleeveless is a fashionable and flattering choice for your wardrobe.
I would sew it in stretch woven cotton or double knit.
I will be blogging about his top later this week. I made mine in double knit with an exposed zipper.

Dressy blouse pattern

This makes a dressier top for summer and would look great with a pencil skirt or even jeans.
I would sew it in a silk print and I have. To see my version click here.

Basic Button Down Top Pattern
I like this pattern choice for a button down because it comes with cup sizes, an awesome feature!
For summer, I'm planning the sleeveless version in chambray.

A dolman sleeve knit top. That sleeveless top on the bottom right would look great on most people! I love tops that have a draped neckline.

Knit dress patterns for summer
I love the ease of throwing a knit dress on when it's hot out.

This little knit dress would make a great LBD to wear in the summer time.

Simple maxidress pattern

To see my version of this pattern, click here.

I have been loving the McCall's patterns this season, as you can see! They just seem to very fashion forward lately.
How about you? Do you find sewing basics boring and only like to make the fun stuff, too?


  1. It really is a great pattern, Amy. like a mini class in pants fitting which is a difficult thing to learn.

  2. Ha! I'm bad at buying way too many patterns (and fabric) too. :)

    If people are interested in joining our sewing group's Summer 2013: Pencil Skirt Challenge, here's a link to the info ( ).

    We're a bunch of beginners (including Amy who commented before me) who are trying to sew more!

    Diane @ Vintage Zest

  3. I love the simplicity amazing fit patterns. I own two already and I think they have taught me more about sewing than any other pattern I've ever owned.

  4. Great tips! Thank you! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  5. You are SO totally right Justine. LOVE this post. So useful! Well done!

  6. Justine.
    Great ideas. Thank you for the tips and patterns.. I too find my self just sewing and not thinking about what I need? This is a great post.

  7. I love these suggestions! Such an awesome idea Justine. I know I suffer from this problem as well. Everything in my closet is so bright, bold, and loud. - Bethany

  8. Thank you for sharing these :) I love the NL top, I think I'll be seeking that one out!

  9. This is such a useful post! Thank you for gathering up some great ideas. I have been looking for a pants pantern after a couple recent not-so-great pairs I have made; I will definitely try out that simplicity pattern.

    Another great pencil skirt is the one by Gertie in her book "Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing".

  10. Great post! I'm starting to build my wardrobe too. Your post is very inspiring, thanks Justine!


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