Fall wardrobe & capsule planning

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By mid-summer, I was pretty desperate for fall to breeze on in and cut the humidity, but now that it feels like fall is in the air, I’ll admit I’m a little sad to see¬†the sunshine waning. But what better way to embrace the changing season than a little wardrobe shift?

I feel like my original notes on using a capsule wardrobe planner to plan projects were rambly to the point of being unhelpful, so I thought I’d share my current wardrobe planning & project planning process in practice, broken into two posts.

Taking Stock

I find it’s helpful to start by getting a full view¬†of what I already have. I printed out the Un-Fancy wardrobe planner (which is called Capsule, but doesn’t necessitate that you actually¬†make¬†a capsule wardrobe, if you’re not interested in that sort of thing) and decided to focus on planning for mid-September through end of November. In this part of the world, fall can be long meander toward winter, or a sudden plunge into cold, so I’m curious to see how well a capsule wardrobe will work. Using the planner, I’m framing the upcoming season in terms of:

  • Weather: I literally wrote “who knows?!” but most likely “crisp, breezy” and mid-70’s to high 40’s over the course of the next few months
  • Lifestyle: the largest portion of my pie chart is working, but I either work from home, at my co-working space, or at cafes, so it’s pretty casual. I want to continue biking and walking to work as much as possible, so that’s a consideration for my wardrobe, and then in my free time I have: sewing/knitting/dyeing project time, exercise and weekend adventures, and lounging.
  • Special events & travel: an exciting work trip to the east coast at the end of October, and then another fun work trip to the Bay Area in mid-November. My goal for both trips is to have a few simple options for looking put-together and representing¬†sustainable fibers/textiles (or at least, not fast fashion).

With these factors in mind, I like to pull all my favorite things from my closet and any storage boxes, and into neat piles on my bed — whatever I’m most excited about gets pulled first, which basically fills the “pieces I own + love to wear” section of the capsule planner, I jotted those down, and then kept adding to the piles.¬†I did this on a Saturday afternoon and made sure to open the curtains wide and put on some music I love, so I can see everything in good natural light and enjoy the process.

Then I turned around to my closet and looked at what was left, which generally fell into two categories: summery things that I want to save for warm weather, or things I’m not excited or able to wear. I made piles for donating, selling, or packing away different items, and then made piles for laundry (hand wash or block, gentle cycle, and regular) and mending to get everything into shape before moving on.

I used the capsule planner to note “pieces I own + never wear” which included two pairs of jeans that don’t fit well (selling & donating them), a vintage chambray tunic that I¬†want to like but have never actually like the fit of (sell if possible),¬†a Hemlock tee I sewed a while ago that has an¬†awkward sleeve fit (alter), and some fancy dresses that hang in the back of the closet (donate and gift a few, keep two I’m not ready to part with).

Lastly, I took¬†stock of the pieces I love and am keeping — do any need mending or alteration? Based on this selection, do I have any holes in my wardrobe? The obvious thing is¬†that my favorite pair of vintage boots (purchased last fall) are totally destroyed and need to be re-soled¬†and likely replaced sometime soon too (a cobbler actually told me that the boots aren’t worth fixing, but I’m unwilling to give in). Less obvious but notable on closer inspection is that my three favorite jeans have all ripped in substantial places in the last 6 months, and each has been mended, some more visibly than others. Since these are the only ones left, after parting with two that didn’t fit well, I want to prioritize more pants and skirts so I have something more durable, and presentable if needed.

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Capsule Planning

Overall, I really enjoyed my summer capsule wardrobe experiment (which I reflected on¬†here), so I’m giving it another shot for fall. I already pulled together some inspiration from the fall styles I’m gravitating toward, but I used the capsule planner to expand it a bit:

  • Word association: layered, casual, creative, contemporary
  • Brands I admire: Elizabeth Suzann (minimal, chic), Lauren Winter (F/W campaign especially – creative, layered), Study NY (upcycled, quirky), Hackwith Design House (contemporary, minimal), First Rite (creative, “cool”), Caron Callahan (utilitarian, interesting)… I save favorites from these talented designers and more here.
  • Brands I draw from to make my wardrobe: Grainline Studio, Sonya Philip, Fancy Tiger Crafts, A Verb for Keeping Warm, Brooklyn Tweed, just to name a few.
  • Colors: neutrals (cream, black, natural/undyed tones) and grays (as noted here), deep indigo, and warm and bright accents in red, maroon, and yellow/mustard/gold tones

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My “top 8” pieces for this capsule are:

  1. Black silk blouse (thrifted)
  2. Ondawa sweater (handmade, details here)
  3. Hackwith Design House tunic (purchased at sample sale)
  4. Linen pocket tee (handmade, noted here)
  5. Khadi Prism dress (handmade, posted here)
  6. Chambray vintage dress (flea market purchase)
  7. High-waisted, cropped jeans (thrifted, modified)
  8. Sven clogs (purchased)

Based on my favorite pieces, what’s working for me? Definitely boxy, loose tops, either cropped or tunic-length; vintage denim and chambray; and details like split side seams, kimono sleeves, or dropped shoulders. Fabrics I love to wear are natural fibers including silk, tencel, denim, chambray, linen, wool and alpaca.

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Since I decided I wanted to go ahead with a full capsule wardrobe, I basically turned everything I had put onto the bed into that list:

  • 3 pairs of jeans & 1 pair of pants
  • 6 dresses (5 made by me)
  • 8 short-sleeved tops (4 made by me)
  • 6 long-sleeved tops (2 made by me)
  • 5 warm layers (all made by me: a cotton knit Linden sweatshirt, Escher sweater, Hayward sweater, Ondawa sweater, and Liv Light cardigan)
  • 2 jackets¬†(1 made my me)
  • 4 pairs of shoes (sneakers, clogs, chelsea boots, loafers)

All of the above steps and contemplation laid the foundation for planning out a few items to add to my wardrobe, which will fit with my fall capsule, my goals of reducing my stash, and my love for making things. More on that next!

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Marled sweater inspiration

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I’m in total agreement that the best prize of a knitalong is the resulting knitwear,¬†however, I was totally floored to win a sweater’s worth of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn as WIP of the Week.

And it’s funny, because when Brooklyn Tweed released the Shelter marled colorways, I was sketching out my Fringe & Friends KAL plans and part of me (ok, most of me) wanted to ditch the Shelter sweater that needed un-doing and re-using to get my hands on those beautiful neutrals.

So I’m still in disbelief that I get to both reuse the existing sweater’s worth of Shelter (a treasured gift to Jenn), and then I’ll get my own sweater’s worth of Shelter gifted to me. Crazy.

But what to knit?

My first thought for a Shelter sweater went to Bronwyn, which totally stole my heart when it was released, but I wonder if the texture would get lost or feel too overwhelming in a marl. I actually already have a marled, cabled sweater — my Ondawa¬†(shown below) is in a very similar colorway to “Caribou” and I love it, so I think another camel marled sweater would be too similar. That leaves me deciding between “Newsprint” in black & white, and “Narwhal” in grey & white.

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I love the contrast of Newsprint and I remembered Jen Beeman’s gorgeous self-designed¬†Stone Lake marled sweater. Less cabled than Bronwyn, but it makes me think Bronwyn could look nice in the Narwhal colorway since it’s lower contrast.

But, while I love knitting within the natural “grey rainbow,” I feel like Newsprint would be a nice treat as a change of pace — something less common in the small farm yarns I usually gravitate toward. In fact, the other sweater quantity of yarn in my stash is a medium-dark grey from a local small farm & mill, purchased with Exeter in mind. Maybe the marl wants to be something simpler, a break from cabling…

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So then I thought about shape and style elements — what shape would best complement my existing sweaters? I have a simple, v-neck pullover that’s a hand-me-down from my dad, a men’s cashmere sweater that shrunk one too many times to fit him. It’s inky black and luxuriously soft, albeit moth-eaten¬†with elbows that look like swiss cheese. I adore it.

Maybe a pullover with a nod to the soft, slouchy shape of this sweater I love? Immediately I thought of Lucinda, whose clever purl-side-out would certainly showcase the marl beautifully. My only hesitation is that Lucinda’s lovely drape and texture seems to come from yarns with a mixed composition, usually with a bit of silk.

Browsing some of the other Madder designs by Carrie Bostick Hoge, I remembered the newly-released Junegrass pullover, showcasing the gorgeous Colorado farm yarn Junegrass by Fancy Tiger Crafts, which includes one of my most favorite garment details: a split side seam.

Which leads me to my current daydream: a black & white marl Junegrass, with a neckline more like Lucinda (perhaps using my top-down customization skills learned in the knitalong), and a sleeve length slightly in between 3/4 and full sleeves (to match the feel of my well-worn and loved black pullover).

 

Summer capsule reflection

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What I wore

Looking back, I had a few clear summer silhouettes:

  1. Sleeveless, boxy cropped shirt + high waist + sandals. In heavy rotation were my self-drafted crop top, my blue striped t-shirt, my knit beach tank, mixed and matched with my cut-off jean shorts, vintage linen wide-leg pants, thrifted high-waist non-stretch jeans, and paired with my Birkenstock sandals or Zuzii sandals (which I bought for a wedding and have proved quite versatile).
  2. Breezy dress with pockets + sandals or sneakers. For me, dresses are the easiest thing to wear in the summer, and can be styled a little differently (more casual or a more refined) depending on shoes or jewelry. My most-reached for this summer were my wabi-sabi Dress No. 1, my hacked V1482, and my Charlotte Kan tie dress (see below). I love me-made dresses because I can make sure the length is in my comfort zone, and I can always add pockets.
  3. Wide-legged jumpsuit (sometimes layered under a top) + sandals. For hot and sticky weather, and bike riding all over town, my two jumpsuits were perfect and fun: one is a vintage linen style that I bought on ebay and dyed in indigo, and the other is a black organic cotton Sallie jumpsuit that I made last summer.

And a quick shout-out to a couple of me-made favorites that were in heavy rotation but never got a full blog post: tops and dresses made from Charlotte Kan Pocket-T and Tie Dress patterns:

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From left:¬†I first made the Tie Dress in a linen-cotton blend last summer as a birthday present to myself, and then I volunteered to pattern test the Pocket-T (so I received the pattern in exchange for my review; I used deadstock Cupro from Feral Childe) last July. Last fall I made a cropped version (with split side seams) of the pocket tee in Merchant & Mills Irish linen, and in the spring I used the sleeve shape and waistline¬†to create a heavily modified V1482 (a.k.a. Rachel Comey sack dress). If you’re interested in more details on any of those, feel free to ask in the comments, or let me know if a full post would be helpful.

What I didn’t wear

This summer was non-stop heat and humidity at home, and really didn’t cool down in the evenings at all, as it does in other places I’ve lived. This meant that I rarely/never wore any of my warm layers (light sweaters or jackets) except for travel. I also hardly wore my stretch denim jeans or my Prism dress¬†because long sleeves and pants just never seemed like something I wanted on my body.¬†Since my summer capsule extended into early September, I was able (and excited!) to bring these items into the rotation¬†at the very end of the time span.

I didn’t wear my¬†black high-waisted shorts often, but I still love them so much. They’re just a little too short for riding my bike or workwear but they’re great for going out with friends or dates.¬†I also pretty much never wore my wrap skirt! I need to make it a faux-wrap skirt because it always feels too fussy so I don’t reach for it.

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What I made (and what I didn’t)

  1. Just before I officially committed to my summer capsule, I made a self-drafted crop top and it was easily a summer fave (also made one for a friend), worn alone or layered over a jumpsuit or dress.
  2. At the start of June I also finished knitting¬†a lightweight shawl, which I intended to wear for my brother’s wedding but didn’t really end up needing. I think it will be great for fall and spring layering though.
  3. In June I made a rather wabi-sabi Dress No. 1, which exceeded my plans and expectations in how fun it was to make and wear (dressed up for a friend’s wedding, as well as my brother’s wedding rehearsal party, and dressed down for daily wear).
  4. In July I braved the unending humidity to draft and stitch my “Best Woman Dress” (full post coming soon! Inspiration post here)
  5. For a quick travel project and stash-buster, I knit a bright red Diode hat
  6. In August, I cast on a new sweater for my partner as part of the Fringe & Friends Knitalong.
  7. In the very first days of September I finished a set of silk Lakeside Pajamas

I had hoped and planned to draft and sew a¬†tunic that I had envisioned when I received¬†a beautiful piece of khadi¬†from A Verb for Keeping Warm as a Me-Made-May contest prize (which I didn’t even realize I had entered!). I can see how the tunic would have fit into my capsule and silhouettes, but I didn’t necessarily feel that it was glaringly missing. I just didn’t have time, and I’m sure it will still be inspiring next spring/summer.

I also didn’t finish the¬†Penny Raglan¬†I had planned. I actually¬†started making it, and it’s not too far from being finished, but I just don’t think I’ll wear it. I love the penny raglan shape but I made it¬†out of a linen-cotton blend curtain I found at Goodwill, and it’s too sheer for my comfort level. I’m debating between tossing the unfinished garment in the scrap bin, or finishing it and giving it away.

Looking at this list, I essentially made one garment¬†per month, with one smaller project added in or wrapped up. It’s really helpful for me to better understand my pace so I can be realistic with planning my projects and purchasing supplies, and it’s also nice to realize that I posted about nearly all the finished garments here.

This feels good as in the past I’ve been somewhat on the fence with blogging, but I’ve really been enjoying it as a writing outlet and a place to record notes (like this post, which has been a running draft for several weeks now) and inspiration. Sometimes¬†I just don’t want to spend any of my free¬†time on a computer¬†(since my work involves a lot of screen time — that’s why my tactile hobbies are so nourishing for¬†me), and other times I’d rather move into the next project instead of re-hashing what I finished, but I value the opportunity to appreciate each project and learning process.

10 x 10 outfits

What I learned, and notes for next year

My biggest takeaway is that I actually didn’t feel limited by my capsule wardrobe — I had plenty to wear, and even felt a bit more adventurous¬†trying to experiment with new ways to wear what I already love.

Toward that end, I played with styling by trying a 10 x 10 challenge while on a 10 day trip, and it was really fun! I love layering and that can get tricky in the summer. Honestly, I have no issues with repeating outfits, but the 10 x 10 challenge to make 10 items¬†feel like 10 different styles was really interesting and showed me that my clothes have greater versatility than the way I typically¬†wear them. It also allowed me to pack a light carry-on and still dress appropriately¬†for a few days at the beach, a wedding weekend, and a few days in New York City. I thought about doing a full post on it but then I fell behind (and subsequently gave up) photographing the 10 outfits. The items from my 10×10 experiment are featured in the collage at the top of this post, and the first two looks are shown above (travel day and beach day).

Part of what draws me to the capsule wardrobe exercise and using capsule planning to pare down my project list a bit, is that I get stressed out when I’m growing my stash by buying things I don’t have time to use or make. My summer capsule was successful in helping me hone in on a projects I really wanted/needed to make, and stick to working through my stash!

To be completely transparent, I did buy a few things during this capsule stretch, like the Lakeside Pajamas and Penny Raglan patterns. And when I visited Fancy Tiger Crafts I bought lots of underwear elastic, and two cuts of hemp knit for shirts for Jenn. But I didn’t buy any new fabric for my own wardrobe. And I fought a very intense urge to throw my plans (and budget) out the window to make a stripey Fen dress — that was a fascinating rollercoaster of desire to witness within myself, and might become its own post soon.

My summer capsule wardrobe also affirmed my love for jumpsuits: if I had to live with only one item of clothing, it would probably have been my indigo linen jumpsuit this summer (it’s a vintage Flax jumpsuit that I bought on Ebay and overdyed at home). I recently read an interesting post¬†on the question of whether a love of styling is at odds with a minimalist approach to fashion,¬†and the author brought up how¬†garments that are versatile don’t have to be basic. For me, jumpsuits are a prime example. You know all those “wardrobe essentials” lists on Pinterest and in fashion magazines? They often include items I don’t own or rarely wear, like a classic blazer or pencil skirt, whereas because I love the jumpsuits I have, they’ve become essentials.

A few notes for next year’s warm season:

  • My Nisolo sandals are really a half-size too big, and wearing them in very wet grass for an¬†evening didn’t help that. It might be wise to replace them.
  • I’m pretty good on lightweight sweaters — I have three that I love, which cover different shapes, and meet my needs for this climate.
  • I love my Zady linen tee but it shows wear more quickly than other items, so it would be a good item to duplicate. Either with another of the same – maybe in black or stripes so I don’t need to worry about staining so much, or I could knit a similar shape¬†in Quince & Co. sparrow¬†(I’m looking at you, Moon Tee).
  • ¬†I think another shift dress in place of my Prism dress would be good, and especially one with pockets — I’m head over heels for Lily Schlosser’s Fen dress in stripes, so that might jump to the top of my spring/summer list for next year.

So there you have it – my first official capsule wardrobe and wrap-up. I¬†plan to keep going with this pattern for a while because I’m enjoying it and I think it’s a valuable tool for my goal of a maintaining a small closet.¬†What do you think — are you interested in a capsule wardrobe, would you try one? Do you plan your wardrobe and/or projects in other ways? Do you love having an expansive stash?

Upcycled silk lakeside pajamas

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A slinky, breezy pajama set – or – a slice of humble pie.

What do I mean?

That I am both grateful to have these lakeside pajamas to wear on muggy nights and perhaps more grateful to no longer have them on my sewing table.

That even though I’ve been sewing most of my wardrobe for nearly 3 years and was starting to think my topstitching and bias binding skills were halfway decent, there is still so much to learn and practice.

Ok, what I really mean is that these pj’s are what my dad would call a “ten footer” project — they look great from 10 ft. away, but upon closer inspection the stitching is what I would call a hot mess.

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No matter, they’re still wearable. And at some point after wrestling with approximately twenty-six feet of bias binding to complete the tank top and first step of the shorts construction (an exaggeration, but still), I gave in to the struggle and decided that thread matching isn’t always necessary. Which, maybe, is a lesson in going easy on yourself, especially when it’s 9 pm on a holiday spent working the same as any other day.

Also when the color blocking would have made thread-matching a particularly time-consuming challenge. But the color blocking itself is a fun detail that was surprisingly easy since I was working with an already color-blocked silk skirt and shirt combo, picked up from a tag sale several years ago. I’m not the best at identifying silk fabric types, but I think this would be classified as a lightweight china silk — plain woven, no backing, some sheen.

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Whatever it is, remind me not to attempt to work with it anytime soon. Whereas my upcycled Alamada robe is a fluid, drapey silk, and my best woman dress is a mid- to heavy-weight stretch silk (which I only discovered while testing my stitches Рmore on that another day), this was a flimsy, slippery little devil that seemed to prefer to skew to the bias, and did not want to stay in a straight line under my needle.

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But the pattern itself, even with all the bias binding, is a gem. I love the overall look, with the slightly retro gym shorts and flattering a-line tank. The clever layered back pieces of the tank offer a breezy vent for hot nights without being too revealing, which I love; the shorts, however, are super revealing and would definitely not make it outside the house even if the stitching were better. But then, I knew when I was cutting that I would probably want to lengthen the inseam, but I chose not to because I was fussy-cutting to arrange the pieces on the various color-blocked portions available.

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Fitwise, I find both the upper-bust of the tank and the low hip of the shorts to be a little tight on me. I cut my usual Grainline size 10, although my hip measurement actually matches an 8 — I think the slight tautness might be due to the fabric, which doesn’t have much give. It could also be due to the french seams I was determined to use but not so dedicated to measuring properly. But after one night wearing them, they loosened a bit and are perfectly comfortable. Next time, I would lengthen the inseam of the shorts, remove the length I added (on a total whim) to the straps, and add a little room to the upper bust.

Just as having a fancy, handmade silk robe feels like a treat, having a stylish, matching pajama set feels surprisingly delightful. I can already imagine that next summer I might want to make an alternate set, this time in a light linen or organic cotton voile, with more precise stitching and a few fitting tweaks.

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Here & there, vol. 1

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Here:

A week full of knitting my improv, top-down raglan, which necessitated a full unraveling of sweater v.1. Even though I’m already thinking about fall and enjoying the streak of cool weather, I’m still trying to embrace the sunshine and the local colors it creates. (More on that soon).

There:

Can you strive for minimalism and still enjoy styling?
(And, a resounding NO.)
(And yes: 3 fresh takes toward #30Wears)

Looking forward to Grace Bonney’s new book on creative women, which I just found out¬†includes my current favorite comedian, Cameron Esposito, whose words are meant for me directly, I’m sure.

Weaving & natural dyeing in Laos? Sign me up.

“At one point color was as seasonal¬†and regional as cuisine- cooking, making medicine, ¬†and creating dyes were a simultaneous practice‚ĶThe drive for beautiful fashion can create healthy and meaningful opportunities through natural color, providing designers with unique and vibrant color palettes to draw upon”

Not your average jeans-jacket

Even better blues: my friend Beth won WIP of the week (and secretly I think we all just want to wear that outfit).

Fall style inspiration

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Layers

I know, shocking — fall inspiration & excitement¬†over cool weather layering possibilities. After a hot and humid summer across most¬†parts of the country, I think this is a daydream shared by many. I’m looking forward to¬†the usual suspects in denim, linen, wool, tights, and boots, but perhaps some new proportions this fall & winter. A bit¬†lagenlook, a bit ’90s nostalgia, a bit of exploration and play for a contemporary mix.

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Beanies

Because I really miss wearing hats, and also just generally being wrapped in wool. I just finished knitting the bright red Diode hat (left), which was a seasonally inappropriate summer project but a satisfying travel knit and a terrific shape and fit. Coming out of storage will be my Lilian beanie (middle) and my Jul hat (right) which to be honest needs to be re-knit at a smaller gauge because I never swatched and it has grown a lot in size. For me, hand knit accessories are a great way to top off (pun intended!) a neutral outfit and wardrobe with bright colors, and it’s also much easier and less resource-intensive to dye a small item a bright hue than to tackle, say, a vibrant oversized sweater (for Diode I used madder extract, for Jul I used fresh coreopsis flowers).

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Warm neutrals

My warm weather color palette skews more toward cool colors, lightwashed indigo and white. For fall, I’m looking forward to drifting back to neutrals and a bit of warmth: grays, darker blues and black, rich¬†browns, and apparently, I’m very drawn to that peachy nude (in inspiration images 1, 2, and 5 above). At first I thought I have nothing in that color in my stash or closet, but then I remembered the bag of avocado pits in my freezer… maybe a cool weather dye project will make that happen.¬†(My previous avocado pit and iron dye experiments shown above).

p.s.¬†I haven’t written off the end of summer — in real life, where it’s perfect bike riding weather, or in terms of writing here — and still plan to post about my best woman dress and reflect on my summer capsule in the coming weeks.

Self-drafted crop top, times two

A scrappy little crop top has been one of my hardest working garments this summer.

It’s sleeveless and breathable, but structured and cut with enough coverage that it doesn’t feel skimpy. It’s simple and chic with¬†something high-waisted, and surprisingly versatile when layered over a dress or jumpsuit.

And, it’s custom made & fit for me, by me.

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In one of our early summer heat waves, a crop top suddenly seemed essential, and I fell in love with the wider shoulders and hem band of this one by Elizabeth Suzann. I had a length of thick, cream-colored linen on hand in the form of a curtain that fit the windows in our old apartment but none in the new one (go figure), and while cleaning my sewing space I unearthed my bodice and skirt sloper.

Do you have a sloper? I made mine in a class last summer and really enjoyed the process, but then left them untouched for a year. A crop top, it turns out, is a very simple first project to make from a bodice sloper.

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My process was very intuitive, so if you have tips or techniques that you swear by, I’d love to hear! I relied a lot on measuring existing clothes and patterns to get my¬†target measurements, and then traced from my sloper (far right) onto Swedish tracing paper to create the pattern pieces (far left is the final piece).

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I made two muslins out of an old sheet, and each time I tried on the garment I wore it around a bit to get a feel for the fit, and then adjusted with pins and pen marks as needed. With each muslin I decided not to add the seam allowance to the arm holes and neckline, that way I could see where the final lines would lie on my body. The hardest part to get right was the width at the hem, because I didn’t want it to hug too closely nor swing out; it started out too wide, and then I pinched out the excess. I also carefully considered the bust dart placement (in the mirror and in my inspiration images) and ultimately lowered it by half an inch.

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Once I had the fit right,¬†sewing it up was a breeze! When I posted a progress photo on Instagram, my friend Anna asked if I would consider making one for her, and after emailing back and forth we set up a trade — a crop top for some homemade bath and body goodies (Anna has been exploring¬†zero waste living and developed some favorite recipes to replace products like makeup and lotion, and I’m excited to try them).

I don’t often sew things for others because I tend to have higher standards than when I’m just making for myself — like if the top stitching is wonky on my own shirt, I can deal with it, but for someone else I don’t want to mess it up, which can get stressful. So I explained to Anna (who lives halfway across the country) that I couldn’t guarantee a perfect fit or finest stitching, but I would be interested in trying.

Aside from a fun handmade swap, I thought it would be a good motivation to try grading my pattern. I looked up a few tutorials online and luckily Anna’s measurements were an even¬†1″ smaller than mine. I calculated that I needed to take .5″ out of the front and back each, and thus reduce the pattern pieces by .25″ each (since they’re on the fold). The guide I found online suggested dividing the pattern piece in thirds and overlapping or spreading at those lines to get an even grade.

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So I duplicated the pattern out of scrap newspaper and I think it worked well! Above you can see the original is slightly larger than the graded pattern piece beneath. I didn’t have any more of the linen I had used for my crop top, so I offered Anna a few options from my stash, and I think she chose the best one for this garment – a plain woven mid-weight organic cotton that I found secondhand (and then discovered it had an original label confirming its content). I shipped the finished crop top off to Anna and am looking forward to hearing what she says.

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