My summer uniform 2019

So, it feels like summer is slowly coming to an end. Time to take stock on my summer wardrobe. First of all, I love summer, it’s my absolute favourite season to sew for! So it’s not surprising that my sewing output for summer clothes is pretty high, which gives me a lot of garments to play with and figure out my ideal summer style. And guys this year I really figured out the formula for the perfect outfit!

Give me a pair of Persephones (long or short), a loose fitting top (preferably a Roscoe or a Blaire) and a pair of comfortable shoes. This really is my ideal summer uniform. (That and linen sack dresses, a love that’s well documented on this blog). I’m so glad that I’m finally at a stage where I’m this happy with my wardrobe, in terms of shapes but also fabrics and colour scheme.

It won’t come as a surprise to any of you that the Anna Allen Clothing Persephone Pants and Shorts made it on the list. These are my fourth and fifth pair and they go perfectly with the rest of my wardrobe.

I’ve been dreaming about a natural white pair for ages but couldn’t find a good quality natural bull denim. Then during the move I realised that I had enough heavy weight bull denim left over from my Tello Jacket to squeeze out a pair of Persephones. And by “squeeze out” I really mean squeeze out! I didn’t even have enough fabric for a second pocket. Instead I decided to make it a feature and topstitch the one pocket. I’ve been meaning to try that out, as I find the pocket bags move around too much for my taste. I have to say I love the look. Though if I do this again, I will move the pocket slightly over towards the fly front to give it a more balanced look.

There is not much I can say about the construction of the Persephone at this stage. You can read about my adjustments here and here. The one thing I will mention though is that I batch-sewed these together with the shorts and it was amazing how quickly they came together. To speed up the process I decided to go with a top-stitching colour that would coordinate with both the natural white and the terracotta fabric. On top of that I finished the seams with a zigzag and used a triple stitch with the same thread to get the look of a top-stitching thread. That way I didn’t have to change threads at all. This is such a fast way to produce two garments at the same time! And I love the contrasting top stitching on both.

I paired the white Persephones with a True Bias Roscoe Blouse. This blouse had been on my to-sew-list for ages but I only managed to sew it up for the first time earlier this year. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long! It’s the perfect blouse; so easy to wear and I just love those sleeves. I also really like how it looks in this linen fabric which gives the blouse a bit more structure than intended, and I’m totally into it. I will definitely need to make more of these.

A quick note on this colour. I’m completely obsessed with anything khaki/olive lately. This blouse though was originally a mustardy colour (see here). I loved the original colour but unfortunately the fabric faded like crazy in the wash and looked really worn out. To put the blouse back in rotation I decided to just dye it in a colour that I had lying around (Dylon hand wash dye in olive green) and I couldn’t love it more. It’s like having a brand new garment, and it goes so well with these Persephones.

Another favourite pairing is the Persephone with my trusty Style Arc Blaire Shirt. I made this back in 2017 and it’s been in heavy rotation ever since. The fabric is some white linen that I dyed with avocado skins and pits. If you are interested in the process, you can read about it here. Even though it’s been worn on repeat for more than two years now, I’m really happy with how the colour has held up. I’ve washed it a good number of times on a gentle cycle and the colour has not faded much. It has changed slightly in hue though through all the sun exposure and is now a little bit warmer in colour. I actually love the fact that natural colours shift and change over time.

This pairing of garments is so great for hot summer days. The linen of the shirt keeps me cool and comfortable and while the shorts are short the high waist balances the shortness nicely and I don’t feel too exposed.

The fabric for these shorts is actually the same as my long pair of Persephones. I had to play another round of pattern tetris to make them work with the piece I had left over. Luckily these shorts don’t use up a lot of fabric; great for scraps!

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about these shoes. If you have followed me on Instagram or have seen me in real life this summer, you know that I’ve been wearing these leather Huaraches non-stop.

There is a little back story to these shoes. The Germany based shoe company CANO Shoes reached out to me last year to ask if I would promote their Kickstarter campaign. As you’ll know, I rarely do collaborations and in that case, they didn’t have a product for me to test, so I felt uncomfortable to promote a product that I didn’t know. However, I had been looking for the perfect pair of Huaraches for years, and never really found any that were ethically produced, easy to purchase in Europe and fit my style. So in the end I decided to back their kick-starter with my own money for a pair of their Huaraches as a reward. Lucky for me they managed to raise enough funds and when I got back from Japan this May, these Mara Huaraches in Natural Cognac were waiting for me.

I have to say these are great shoes. They took maybe a week to break in, but now they are the most comfortable pair of shoes that I own. They are perfect for summer as they let your feet breathe but still look like a closed shoe. And in my opinion they go with everything, trousers and dresses alike.

So when CANO contacted me again, because they are having a summer sale, I decided to collaborate with them after all. It’s a beautifully crafted product and I love their mission on transparency and sustainability. If you have been looking for a pair of leather shoes for summer you can get them here.

And if you are more interested in making shoes than buying them, I encourage you to check out their Instagram where they regularly give insights into the shoe making process (check out their highlight on boots, so fascinating!).

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. If you use the above links to purchase a CANO product, I will receive a small commission from the sale with no extra cost for you.

Japan Travel Wardrobe – Part 1

It’s official, my husband and I have finally booked our holiday to Japan. We’ve been planning to go for two years now (it was supposed to be sort of our honeymoon) and we finally managed to find a date. We’ll be there from the beginning of April until the beginning of March, travelling around the country. I’m very excited!

So what is the first thing a sewist does when they booked a holiday? Dream up a travel wardrobe of course and make a list of things to sew. This list I’ve sketched out focuses on some key pieces I felt I was missing. Clearly I’m already dreaming of warm weather sewing. No worries I’ll take thermals and jackets too.

This list got me so excited that I’ve already sewn half way through it. Today I’m showing you the Claudia Dress and the Stellan Tee. The leather fanny pack is done too (check out my Instagram for a preview) and I’m currently working on the Raspberry Rucksack.

The Claudia Dress by Tessuti has been on my to-sew list since it came out. I love the neckline, the length, the side slits; basically it’s my dream summer dress. I used a Robert Kaufmann cotton-linen mix that I got from Ray Stitch a while ago. It’s a beautiful fabric but it took me a long time to decide what exactly to make with it. I’m glad I decided to pair it with the Claudia dress. It’s the perfect weight for this dress and the stripes work well with this simple shape.

Talking of stripes, I totally copied the idea of playing with stripe direction from Ellen (@ejc______). I saw her version of the Claudia on Instagram and immediately wanted to make my own. I broke up the front pattern piece into two (actually just at the place where you would stick the two pattern pieces together) and cut one piece on grain, the other one cross-grain. The back stripes are aligned with the ones of the lower part of the front. I made sure to pattern match just above the slit where both sides meet and love this little detail.

In terms of sizing I graded from a size S at the top to a size M in the hips. The amount of ease around the hips is perfect, at the top though I had to take the dress in quite a bit through the side seams. Now it sits close enough to not show any boob but it’s still relatively loose so that I can wear a T-shirt or turtleneck underneath. I tried to be super careful with the armhole stitching to not stretch it out (I stay stitched instead of using tear-away vilene as suggested in the pattern), still it gapes a little. Something to improve on the next version.

For the facings I used the main fabric, but decided to also invert the stripe. I figured rather than trying to match up the stripe I would create a sort of checkered pattern if the fabric was to sheer. And indeed you can see a faint pattern in the right light, which I think is quite fun.

The dress has pockets that are topstitched to the front. While I like the construction and the fact that they are there, I feel the pockets are really tiny, and I don’t even have big hands! Something to keep in mind if you ever make this pattern.

While I like the dress loose as drafted (unfortunately I forgot to take a picture), I also sewed up a tie to cinch in the waist. It breaks up the front bodice and adds a little bit more to the stripe play.

All in all it’s a wonderful pattern. For my next version I might hack it into a top for summer.

Next up is the Stellan Tee by French Navy. It’s a FREE pattern and a great contemporary version of a tee. I love the high neck and the relaxed fit.

The fabric is the ochre merino from The Fabric Store. I don’t really wear yellow/mustard colours, but it suits my husband so I had ordered some to make him a T-shirt. While the fabric was sitting in my stash, I got curious and decided to give this colour a try. So I stole a piece to make the Stellan Tee (don’t worry, there is still enough left for my husband).

It’s a simple tee, nevertheless, the instructions are nice and thorough. I’m not much of a T-shirt sewer, so this was actually the first time that I used the technique to enclose the back neck seam allowance with tape. I love how clean it looks and will definitely add that to any future T-shirts.

I don’t have a coverstitch machine, so I used a small zig zag stitch to finish the neck and hems. I always thought it looked a little bit amateurish though these days I actually really like the look of it.

The sizing for me is spot on. I made a size S based on my bust measurements and there is plenty of room even at the hips.

The hem is drafted as curved, which was a bit fiddly to sew. It’s a cute detail, though I might straighten it out next time to give it an even cleaner look.

Such a quick and satisfying sew and this merino is a dream to wear! My husband only wears merino shirts these days and I can understand why. It’s perfect for any climate and will be great for travelling.

Stay tuned for more holiday sewing!

Summer 10×10 Challenge 2018 – The Experience

So the Summer 10×10 Challenge is over and I thought I’d quickly run you through my outfits and the lessons learned. First of all I loved choosing and wearing my 10 pieces. It was surprisingly easy to stick to them, and there are even more outfit combinations I want to try.

Here a quick run-down of what I wore each day:

Day 1: black linen Peppermint Magazine Spring Shorts (a free pattern!) and self-drafted cheesecloth top (both unblogged) for a quiet day staying in. It’s the perfect outfit for the crazy hot weather we’ve been having lately.

Day 2: thrifted lilac tank and self-drafted natural linen skirt (unblogged). I love the colour scheme in this outfit, so summery! Apparently lilac is the new millennial pink (thanks Katie for letting us know) and I can see why. I went from a slight aversion towards anything purple to being obsessed within a couple of days. I’m already planning to add more of this colour to my wardrobe.

Day 3: Blaire Shirt and Persephone Pants. All the earthy colours in one outfit. This was an Instagram favourite and I agree, it’s a great colour combination. In terms of sewing patterns these two are absolute favourites, I love sewing and wearing them!

Day 4: thrifted and altered black linen dress. Already a favourite from last year and I’m really enjoying wearing it this summer too.

Day 5: Persephone Pants, here paired with the cheesecloth top to get some pictures for the blog. Brown and natural white seem to be the colours of my summer. It might have to do with me wanting to blend in with my surroundings ;)

Day 6: Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse and self-drafted skirt for a trip to Basel for the Swiss national holiday. This skirts turns out to be exactly the summer skirt I needed. It was perfect for people watching by the river and strolling through the city.

Day 7: Allie Olson Highlands Wrap Dress. This was not on my original list of 10 pieces, but I realised that it would not be cool enough to actually wear my Tello jacket, so I swapped it with this dress for a dinner out. I love this dress and am glad that with the summer we are having and our life in France I have more opportunities to wear it out.

Day 8: Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse and Peppermint Magazine Spring Shorts. An easy breezy outfit, trying to combat the heat.

Day 9: thrifted linen dress (again) for a trip to Freiburg. Again this dress has proven to be the perfect dress for very hot days. The long skirt with the slits creates a breeze when walking and it’s linen and so loose it barely touches my skin.

Day 10: thrifted tank and Persephone Pants. This was one of the colour combinations I’d been most excited to wear. In the end it was too hot to really wear this outfit the whole day but I am keeping it in mind for cooler days. To switch things up I am wearing this outfit with a belt I just made. I haven’t worn belts in ages (not really necessary if you sew your own trousers and they fit properly) but since my husband and I have taken up leather working, I decided to make one for myself. I’m still getting used to wearing a belt, but I’m excited to try out some different styles.

So what are the lessons learned from this little challenge?

  • I love the colour palette I chose and instead of getting sick of wearing the same colours I am only more obsessed with them. I feel I need to add even more brown, orange and lilac to my wardrobe.
  • Taking daily pictures indoors is hard. Our flat only gets little direct sunlight and we are facing a church with pink walls, which makes it very difficult to get clean pictures. I really need to improve my photography and picture editing skills!
  • I am bad at accessorising. I tried to make an effort to accessorise more, but I really struggled. I just like simple, unfussy outfits (and don’t even own that many accessories). I do want to try and get better at this in the future as I find that the right accessories make a look feel more intentional. I’m planning on making/buying some minimalist pieces that fit my aesthetic.
  • I don’t mind wearing the same shoes every single day. These sandals are so versatile! I will need to add some more summer shoes to my collection though, otherwise these will be worn out by the end of the summer. I’m currently working on my shoe-making skills, which is very exciting!
  • Most difficult item to combine: the Dove blouse. While I love it on its own, it had a different vibe than the rest of the wardrobe so it felt slightly out of place.
  • Most favourite outfit to wear: anything that included my Persephone Pants.

So that’s it. All in all a very successful experiment. I stuck to my 10 pieces and didn’t mind that I was limited in what I could wear. I love the idea of a small, mix-and-match wardrobe. I am conscious though that summer has made things very easy as no layering was necessary. I’m not sure I would have had the same success in winter, maybe I’ll join the winter edition, to really challenge myself.

I’m still figuring out my new style, but it becomes increasingly clear to me what silhouettes, colours and fabrics work for me (loose silhouettes and all the linen!) and which don’t . This should make planning future projects a lot easier. The only issue now is that I am so inspired and have so many project ideas that I don’t even know where to start!