Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Two skirts and a cropped Linden

Exciting news guys!! I made two more office-appropriate skirts and a top that goes with!


OK, so there's nothing earth shattering to see here.  But still, these three makes have had a disproportionately monumental impact on my wardrobe.  Here's the nitty gritty:

  • Top: Grainline Linden sweatshirt, view B, straight size 12, sleeves extended to three-quarter length. Made in a wool sweater knit from Paris that I gently washed and dried in order to deliberately felt it slightly, resulting in the absolutely perfect combo of body and drape for this sweater. It's all spongy!
  • Skirt 1, above: Betty from La Maison Victor 1/2015 - the pattern isn't available separately (yet) but if you want more details, they're selling fabric kits with a clear picture of the style here. Fabric is a stable medium-weight herringbone knit I picked up at The Fabric Sales last autumn. I'm not 100% sure but I think it's a wool mix.
  • Skirt 2, below: another Colette Zinnia v.2 in denim. Shortened, I can't remember by how much. The only other change I made was to do an exposed zip, mainly so I didn't have to go out shopping for an invisible one.

Pretty pleased with how that turned out, if I do say so myself - first exposed zip ever!

So anyway, I don't really have anything to say about the construction of these, they were all straightforward and turned out fine.  (Side comment though, every time I use a pattern from La Maison Victor I realise just how well put together the whole magazine is - the pattern pages are clear, the instructions are in tutorial format with diagrams and, give or take the odd blooper, the designs are usually pretty on trend and wearable. All good!)

No, the real deal here is the silhouette.


Basically, these two skirts are not that different from this one. (The denim one is not at all different!) They're high waisted and, with either gathers or pleats, flared. But while I'd always previously paired flared skirts with a fitted cardigan or top, as modelled in my previous post, ever since making this Linden I've chosen to wear all three skirts with it exclusively. Nothing else gets a look in. And it doesn't get boring - as you can see here, it's very easy to mix things up, just by changing shoes and jewellery choices.

Now I'm not sure I could say why I like this look of things so much. I just find it more comfortable, more fashionable I suppose, and in any case definitely more ME. The boxy, slightly cropped cut works for my shape in the way I want things to. I have to be honest though - this was a totally random, if pleasant, surprise.  Trying out Linden view B started as an experiment; I had no idea beforehand if I would like it or not.

I've never really felt fashion-literate. All that stuff about shapes and cuts and textures and styles, and that's all before we get to on trend or off. I know series like Colette's wardrobe architect are specifically there to help sewers think through many of these things, but I don't even know if I could have identified this silhouette, or any other, as 'my style', before actually wearing it.

It's all got me wondering. Is it inevitable, if we sew our own wardrobes, that we end up as our own individual fashion designers? And do we need to know what our own unique look is, in order to carry that off?


  1. Interesting questions! I don't think I know my 'style' or 'silhouette' - except for work clothes.... almost always fitted sheath dresses - I guess I never sew them because I like to sew clothes for my non-work life. I like to experiment with ideas, shapes & textures. I do confess I have a very strong sense of balance and symmetry which haunts me.

  2. Gorgeous outfits Jo - I particularly like the Zinnia/Linden combination (while also recognising that it it completely NOT my style - boxy does not work on me at all - but it looks fab on you!)

  3. Sew Little TimeMarch 25, 2015 1:58 pm

    i really like this look on you and def is fashion forward. i think having a "look" maybe helps you make things you know you will wear and enjoy wearing. but there's no harm is trying things out that are outside of that. lots of people don't have a signature shape/ look but wear a wide variety of things.

  4. yeah I don't really think a 'look' is something strictly necessary. It's just funny how you sort of know something is 'you', or how we know what clothes would suit our friends, without being able to put our finger on why! I think wearing a variety of stuff is more fun, but perhaps it does make it harder to identify what'll work before you sew it...

  5. Thank you! I like it too, especially as I was so surprised it works! Boxy is one thing I'm pretty sure I can do :-)

  6. Yes exactly! I feel like I've had to learn about this stuff just to stop myself making things I don't like!

  7. It's funny you should put it like that, as I'd think of your makes being very identifiably 'you'! And basically, it's because of the way you experiment with ideas, shapes and textures the way you do :-)

  8. English Girl at HomeMarch 25, 2015 11:26 pm

    Great combos. The colour of that wool is amazing.

  9. I've actually been thinking about that question recently. I think sewing our own stuff makes it easier and harder to expand what we tend to wear - we're no longer reliant on what fashion designers say we "can" wear (because of what they're designing, or what sizes they're designing them in). I never used to think of myself as a pants person, which is probably because I could never find nice fitting pants (I had to buy from the mens shop as a teenager). Recently I discovered - I love button down shirts! Never knew that before because in shops they were always a) boring, b) too expensive, or c) wouldn't fit me.

    It does make it harder because we have to take a big risk in trying new styles - a lot of time, effort and money goes into making something only to decide that it doesn't suit us, rather than just trying something on in the store.

  10. This is my favourite silhouette at the moment and really love the one with the shorter length on you! that linden is a real winner and the colour is great. Oh I think we all start to find a bit of a style and become our own designers. I was just saying the other day that I would never have even looked at a peplum in the shop - yet now I find them such a staple part of my wardrobe.

  11. I was thinking about you and peplums as I was writing this! And thanks - the shorter one is my favourite too :-)

  12. Lovely outfits!

    I had similar frustrations with the Wardrobe Architect. I like the idea but found it hard to pin myself down to categories to define my style. I might like a texture, but if the colour is not quite right I might not feel that great about it. For me what makes a sewing project 'work' comes down to a feeling that is harder to define, a great combination of pattern, fabric, time, and a good mood. And it's hard to plan for that!

  13. What a great post! I too have been thinking about what style I am really, and whether I can bust out of the usual a-line skirt and close fitting cardi look that I love so much. I have been loving all the cropped and boxy tops on IG at the moment though, but suspect my boobiness wouldn't allow for such fun ;)

    Overall I love this look on you! And you look happy and comfortable.

  14. I don't know, I'm definitely in the full busted range (32GG, in case that helps :-) and was surprised to find that boxy tops work for me! And I'm not exactly slim waisted either, but if anything the boxiness makes it look like I could be, underneath :-)

  15. I'm the same way, I have to try things on my body before I know if I like them - which can make for some great sewing fails - and some great successes too! It's funny how things change depending on what they are paired with too. I love that Linden - the mustard colour looks so great on you and you felted the fabric perfectly. The skirts are amazing too (perfect wardrobe staples), and paired together WOWSERS! I'm so glad you've found a work "uniform" you are happy with.

  16. Hey, I'm looking around for a skirt to do my current make Anna Dress... I might do pleats, as that looks great (Skirt #2!) I reckon!

    Now, I've been thinking a bit, about my body shape, and what's supposed to flatter my stereotypical shape (an hour glass) and all that jazz, and I'm thinking that WHO KNOWS... we all have diff likes and styles and shapes... but I'm really wanting to explore that with my sewing this year, to challenge and see what shapes I can pull off. For example, with my bust, I just don't think I can do a cropped top or a high neckline... but I haven't sewn one for ages... so maybe I should try?!

    Love these colours on you too!

  17. Helen // Grosgrain GreenMarch 30, 2015 11:10 am

    Oh, I love these. The Zinnia is amazing in that denim - I would never have thought to make that in denim, and I'd never choose a denim that colour, but I love love love the finished skirt! The Linden is great too (gorgeous colour), and I am coveting your "triangles" necklace. Glad you have managed to make work appropriate clothes that you love! I would also normally pair full skirts with fitted tops, but having just accidentally shrunk my most recent make in the wash, I now own a cropped boxy top. I may experiment with wearing it as you have done here. Thanks for the idea! S

  18. I'm currently working on a workbook from Mind, and loving. Its a lot deeper than WA and i'm enjoying the journey. i think this silhouette suits you


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