Thursday, 26 September 2013

Cold weather wardrobe planning and the Fall Essentials Sew Along


I'm a planner by nature and so I started a list of things to sew for winter about a month ago (Evernote, natch!).  It's quite a long list so hopefully it will help me work out the best order to tackle them in.

I'm not much of a fabric hoarder - I tend to buy specifically for patterns, but I do tend to give myself too many items to tackle, so I have a lot of the fabric for the patterns already bought and waiting to get sewn up.  I'm also being relatively sensible in that a few of these are patterns I have sewn up before, so the worst of tracing, muslining and adjustments have already been done, so some should be speedy makes!

And then Sarah from Rhinestones & Telephones announced the return of the Fall Essentials Sew Along (FESA for short).  I don't remember seeing this before but could well have been before I started sewing.  It's a simple format.  7 categories covering all garments, a Flickr group and no tight deadlines.  Just the sort of sewalong I like! And the beauty of it is, you can fit other new patterns and sewalongs into the mix.  Perfect!

Sarah asked if we were sewing to a colour palette.  I never really aim to do this, but I do tend to find I gravitate to similar colours in summer and winter.  Here's my usual winter palette:

I wear a lot of navy and charcoal grey as neutrals but I also have plans for a couple of black items too.  Colours to go with are teal, aubergine/ burgundy and airforce blue.

Looking at my plans, I think I'll be sticking to it again this year too!

Here's my plans organised under the FESA headings.

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather (all bottom half garments)

Kelly Skirt in teal corduroy - I snapped up the fabric for this the other day.  Not sure on whether to cut the front on the fold and leave out the buttons but as usual I was struggling to choose buttons so I still need to find these.  I may also do a burgundy one.  I have sewn this before so should be a quick make.

Source: Steph C's lovely version on Sewing Cake
Hummingbird variation with the flounce.  I have made a couple of Hummingbirds but not made the flounce version yet.  I am using a remnant of blue boucle-ish fabric.

Juniper trousers.  I meant to make these last year and failed miserably at muslin stage.  But since seeing Maria Denmark's fab trouser fitting instructions I'm keen to give them another try!  Her tinfoil tip is amazing!  I muslined in an 8 which was nowhere near fitting so I think I'll need to retrace in a 10.  I have a lovely soft grey suiting for these.

I have had a Gertie pencil skirt in mind since I bought the book and a nice burgundy crepe ready to make it.  I even bought silk organza to underline it.  I love the idea of perfecting some slow sewing but I think it might mean I get through a few other items first!  I thrifted some lovely charcoal grey wool which I want to use for the a-line variation with the pintucks.  But that will depend on the fitting issues I find with the pattern.  If I struggle it might end up being another Hummingbird!

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates

I bought the Renfrew pattern after Me Made May but not made anything from it yet.  I have a black viscose knit and a blue marl, both earmarked for long sleeved Renfrews.

I'll get a knitting project on the go for those nights when it is too cold to sit in the dining room and sew. 

Fabulous Frocks

I am currently working on the first 2 of these!

A navy wool blend By Hand London Anna dress.  Everyone has made this one up and I have yet to see anyone who didn't look great in it!  Hopefully I will be no exception.  I'm working on the slash neck midi version at the moment for their sewalong.

Unusually for me, I have 2 sewing projects on the go at the moment.  I have traced Simplicity 1882 and am making the collared version in teal cotton sateen with black accents and piping.

I had a great charity shop score recently - 5 yards of (narrow) black wool delaine for £15.  Hopefully this will work well for long sleeved Hawthorn.  Might need some funky buttons to stop it looking too drab however.  Or a nice red belt/ shoe combo.

Source: Stolen from Three Dresses Project with Leila's permission!

I've been waiting for the new Cake Patterns Red Velvet dress and it's finally on sale!  Steph has been teasing us with pics of hers on Twitter and it looks amazing!  I was going to do this in teal ponte, but I'm realising writing this list I have a lot of blue things planned, so I may make this up in burgundy or charcoal grey instead.  Isn't Leila's version gorgeous?  (and such a gorgeous girl! - click here to see more pics and read her blog post.)

Underneath it all

I'm never made any underwear but I have stashed some t-shirts which are now too big and I'm planning to make some SoZo vests and knickers out of them.

I've also got plans to make a couple of underskirts for those cotton dresses which stick to my winter tights a bit too much!  Gertie and Tasia have great tutorials here and here.

Baby it's Cold Outside

Not only am I anxiously awaiting the Red Velvet dress, but Steph has designed a whole collection around it.  When I saw the Carmine jacket I was totally hooked!  I am planning this in either a striped navy and white knit or a plain navy or burgundy.  But we have to wait til October for the pattern - boo! (apologies for the quality of the image - I couldn't find a better one since the pattern's not out yet!)

Cosy Nights

I didn't have much of a plan to make nightwear but I am tempted to make some cosy PJs or lounge trousers.  Much as I love the Tofino pattern, I don't want to pay full indie pattern prices for PJs!  I may make Maria Denmark's Lara Lounge Pants or else the Simplicity free pyjama pattern.  This might well get left til later while I see how I am getting on with the rest of the queue!

Tender Tootsies

I'm not about to start knitting socks and I don't wear slippers, so I'll probably skip this category!

Wow, that's loads when I see it written down like that!   4 (possibly 5 skirts), 1 pair of trousers, 2 tops (plus a knitting project), 4 dresses, a jacket and a "maybe" plan of PJs and undies.  Pretty sure I will make the underskirts but the PJs, pants and vests may wait til later in the season!  2 months isn't realistic is it?  I guess that is my whole season sewing list and I'll see what I can get done within the 2 months of the sewalong!

Now can I stick to this or will my plans get derailed by some new sewalong or  pattern release?

Are you doing FESA?  Do you have a sewing plan each season or are you more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of sewist? Are you excited about the new Cake patterns too?


  1. Oooh wow many projects on the go there. The carmine jacket looks really cute. And I can't wait to see how your simplicity1882 dress comes out (for obvious reasons, havn't started mine yet). Teal and black sound lovely.

    1. thanks catja! it is a bit of an epic list! simplicity 1882 next (actually i may need to do a baby blanket first!)

  2. You are going to be very busy! I really like your colour palette idea - I didn't even think of that. I'm doing the FESA too, mostly because I like the flickr sharing and the generous time scale!

    1. i ususally am nessa! i have to admit that the colour palette idea was sarah's. gillian at crafting a rainbow did a great post recently on creating one, but it does help narrow down choices when shopping! look forward to seeing your makes in the group!

  3. What a great plan and a beautiful colour palette. I love all the jewel tones. Most of my makes are knits this fall; ponte or t-shirt weight.

    1. Thanks sarah. Knits are so nice and easy and perfect for colder weather!

  4. I'm rubbish at sewalongs but this one looks like it might be doable, even for me! You have a few patterns that I have earmarked for my A/W sewing so will look forward to seeing what you produce. Right, off to play colour palettes now :o) Nothing like procrastination is there!

    1. ooh, definitely join in! colour palettes are an excellent way to avoid actual sewing. but i'm always surprised at how quickly some garments come together, even with my limited time!

  5. Sounds like you have some great makes planned, the teal/black simplicity dress sounds particularly lovely :) I may join in, but it is Spring for me in the southern hemisphere.

    1. thanks zoe - that dress is nearly finished (if i hadn't totally cocked up invisible zip insertion!). maybe you should instigate a spring/ summer sewalong!

  6. I love the winter Anna you have put in the Flickr group


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