pattern hack: the warehouse dress

Earlier this year Ty and I had the opportunity to go to Amsterdam for a week. We went in March, so it wasn’t quite winter weather, nor was it warm enough that you could go without a coat. For the tourist-walking-around-all-day-taking-tons-of-pictures days, I went with skinny jeans, boots, sweaters, and my trench coat. Easy, comfortable, and I could get away with wearing everything two or three times. (I went to London for three days after, so I really had to make what I’d packed stretch to last.) We had a couple of dinner reservations at nice places, so I knew I also wanted something in my suitcase for those occasions. Enter, the search for the denim dress(es). Now, I’m not talking about a super fitted, uncomfortable dress here. I’m talking about something with a little give in it that would go effortlessly with my tights and boots, and that would also stand up to being worn a few times without missing a beat. (A cute little jersey dress would have been great too, for those of you thinking of that, but remember how chilly it was. Denim was better this time.) Finding something that wasn’t a mini dress or something that didn’t look frumpy was a challenge, but I found a couple great pieces. In the process, I  also discovered a great brand. There’s a company out of the UK called Warehouse and they have the best stuff, you guys. It’s a little more on the modest side (which I love, of course), but overall it’s very pretty and sophisticated. The quality is great too. I believe they recently hired a new creative director, so I hope the aesthetic doesn’t change too dramatically. Anyway, back to the dresses. Here’s what I ordered and wore (and have worn tons of times since the trip):

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all about labels

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One of my favorite parts of starting my business a few years ago was the planning stage. Truth be told, I’d been thinking and dreaming and planning for a long time, probably since my college days. After the paperwork is filed, domain name acquired, and business plan combed over for the zillionth time, there’s time for a little fun. Arranging the studio, ordering fabrics, sewing samples, customizing a website–all my idea of a good time. I get asked quite often about where/how I had labels done, so I thought I might suggest a couple things. Whether you have aspirations to launch your own line one day or if you just love designing and sewing for yourself or your favorite people, I hope this is helpful. I’m definitely in the “sewing for myself” camp these days, and I’m very happy about it!

There are plenty of options when it comes to having labels made.  A lot of places were eliminated right off the bat because they were done overseas or had huge minimums. I knew labels–of all things, sheesh–could be made somewhere in America, with minimums that didn’t make my eyes pop out, and at a reasonable cost. Enter, New York Custom Labels. This place offers a ton of design options, as well as woven or printed labels (mine are woven cotton), and a number of different styles (Manhattan fold, custom cut, center fold), and low minimums. I ordered a few thousand and it didn’t break the bank.

fall wardrobe: tops & coats

Today, we top things off. (See what I did there? Good one, Em.)

I wear a lot of tees with my self-made skirts, but I’ve found that I have a lot of holes in my closet when it comes to tops and blouses. A few years ago I had this pussy bow blouse that I loved. I think it was the wrong size to begin with, so somewhere along the way it got donated or sold. Fast forward to present day, and I still adore that style. I’ll be making at least three of them this fall. Vogue has a great pattern for that particular design. The best part is that it also comes with a standard collar option, so it is one seriously versatile pattern that you’ll use again and again. I know I will.

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Vogue 8772: This is the ultimate blouse pattern. I’ve cut view B in three fabrics: olive poplin, navy chambray, and burgundy. I’ll be making views C and D as well. Also, I love the darts in this design. It will be nicely fitted.

Vogue 9002: I love the simplicity of this top, and I also love the raglan sleeves. Won’t it be lovely under a blazer or long, textured cardigan too? I have a couple challis prints that will be lovely in this design, and a quick sew at that.

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Butterick 6385: I bought some coral wool in London last spring, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect coat pattern, and this is it. Another classic design that I know I will still love in a few years. I already have the lining, shoulder pads, buttons, thread, and fabric for underlining. I know I live in Texas and won’t get as much use out of this as some of you might in other areas, but I am really, really excited about this one. It’s been too long since I made a coat!

Butterick 6382: I love jackets and blazers. When it’s tailored and the quality is top notch, there isn’t much a good jacket can’t do for you. I took tailoring in college, and it was one of my favorite classes. Building shape into a garment and investing the time into the stitching and foundation of the garment is so rewarding. I have a blue wool that I think would be great for this (view A), or maybe a forest green gabardine that I’ve had for ages. Of all my projects for fall, this is the only one without a dedicated fabric. Suggestions welcome!

So, there we have it. I have a ton of projects on my list for fall–let the sewing begin!