Monday, 31 March 2014

Style Sudoku | How to build a capsule wardrobe

Style Sudoku - How to build a capsule wardrobe - Su Sews So So

Who doesn’t dream of a capsule wardrobe, where each piece works beautifully with multiple other items in your wardrobe? But building a capsule wardrobe can often be a daunting task. Personally my taste is too eclectic to even attempt to live by a capsule wardrobe alone, but I think it’s a fantastic way to plan for a holiday or trip – or, far more importantly, it’s a great way to make a sewing plan ( well, this IS a sewing blog after all)!

I’m not going to take credit for Style Sudoku, I actually saw this idea in a Grazia magazine a few years ago, and it has stuck in my mind since. I struggle to wear my handmade clothes on a regular basis, and I think one of the reasons is because I don’t have enough other things to pair with them to make workable outfits. So I thought that it might be more sensible to Sew With A Plan (as many of you will have done/talked about before). The Style Sudoku is a very clever and organic way of developing and building your own capsule wardrobe, or capsule sewing plan!

The principal is simple; 4 tops, 4 bottoms, 4 shoes and 4 accessories (It doesn’t work so well with dresses unfortunately. My thinking is that a dress is an outfit of it’s own almost anyway, so you could just add a couple of coordinating dresses to the mix to provide you with even more choice). The placement of your pieces are key to making this Sudoku work, so I’ve created the basic template to help you:

Style Sudoku key - su sews so so

From this grid, outfits can be created by reading horizontally, vertically or diagonally:

How to choose your outfit

Once you have this grid you can start building your wardrobe. I have found that it is easiest if you stick to a very limited palette, perhaps pick 2 neutrals and add one accent colour. For my example, I’ve gone with Black, Denim and Bright Pink:

Style Sudoku - Holiday 1

Here are some of the outfits you can get from this Style Sudoku:

Holiday Outfit OptionsIt’s worth noting that corner pieces coordinate with three possible outfits, so make sure those are the most versatile. It’s also harder to build your Style Sudoku if you have too many pieces with patterns – unless you are a pro at pattern mixing (I am not!!). Working with this grid system you can build 10 different outfit options. But actually, if you stick to a limited colour palette and pick simple styles, then essentially you open yourself up an awful lot more choice!

I have been using this Style Sudoku idea to help plan some of my future sewing projects and I can’t wait to share my Sudoku plan in a future post. I am excited at the possibility of so many different outfit options for my handmade clothes!

So what do you guys think? Is this a system you could adopt? Have I inspired you to start planning your next holiday wardrobe?!
If any of you try out your own Style Sudoku I would love to see it – please share a link in the comment section below or ping me an email!

(Links to the pieces in my sample Style Sudoku can be found here, and if you like to use Polyvore I’ve made a Style Sudoku template to help with your wardrobe planning)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Under The Needle

So even though things are a little quite on the blog at the moment, things are pretty busy in the sewing room! I thought I’d share some sneaks peaks…

On Instagram the other week I revealed that I have FINALLY jumped on the Anna (By Hand London) bandwagon:

Anna Dress

I’ve been working on this dress for the Sew Dolly Clackett competition and I am sooo in love with it – now I can appreciate the hype that this dress was receiving when it first came out! Here’s a sneak at the fabric I’ve used:


I cannot WAIT to get some photos done so that I can share it with you. I just have the hem and a LOT of hand sewing to do first (doh – my two biggest nemeses!)…

As well as the Anna dress, I recently decided to give ‘production line’ sewing a go. So I currently have 2 Plantain tops and 4 pencil skirts cut out and waiting for me to stitch up! Expect to see Plantains in these fabulous knits appearing soon:


And these are 3 of my planned pencil skirt:

ZigZag Skirt Floral Linen Skirt Pink Linen Pencil Skirt

I’m hoping that sewing the skirts at the same time will mean I get things done faster and procrastinate less! Hmm…watch this space…

What are you working on at the moment?
Anyone else joining in with the Sew Dolly Clackett competition fun?
Have you ever sewn up a pattern in multiple fabrics at the same time and how did you find it?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Make It Yourself : Zara Floral Skirt

Sew It Yourself 2

Guys – I found the EXACT same fabric for this Make It Yourself…and two suppliers for it too!

Zara Floral Skirt (sorry it’s not available anymore so no link) as see on Kendi Everyday

Make It Yourself:
Fabric: Floral Cotton Sateen from either Truro Fabric (£9/m) or Fabric Land (£3.99/m!!!)
Pattern: New Look 6872 view E

I have some of this exact fabric, which will hopefully be making it’s debut on the blog shortly (yep, it still needs hemming!), but I bought it from Truro…for the more expensive price – doh! Saying that, it was part of a massivo order that I placed…do check out their website, they have some amazing fabrics! The other week I stumbled across the exact same fabric on the Fabric Land website. This is a difficult website to navigate, and I can’t link to the exact fabric, so you will have to search for it yourself under the ‘printed cotton’ section. I’ve never ordered fabric from here so I can’t give you a review. Oh, and you need to phone them to place your order as they don’t have an online payment method. But still – less than half the price for the same fabric!

As for the pattern – If you want to recreate the Zara skirt perfectly then piece the bottom panel onto the main skirt piece to make one larger pattern piece. Oh, and buy some black fabric for the waistband.
OR – wing it yourself and just gather a long rectangle of the floral fabric onto wide black elastic and Bob’s your uncle! Probably not as neat and professional looking as using a pattern, but it would certainly be an easy, instant gratification project (and who doesn’t like those every now and again?!).

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sew All The Knits: Coppelia Cake

Su Sews So So Coppelia Cake 1

Well that was a wee blogging break I didn't mean to take - my internet stopped working for about a week there!!! I have no idea how I fixed it but the main thing is it's fixed and we can get back to business.

And back to sewing too! Since my sewing funk I have definitely found my mojo again and I have been beavering away in the sewing room and enjoying myself immensely! Thank you again to all the lovely people who sent me such kind, encouraging words, they really helped.

On to my latest make: The Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns.
I have had my eye on this beauty for quite some time and when I was looking for garments that would grow or shrink with my body, I thought a wrap cardi would be perfect, so I hit the 'purchase' button!

Su Sews So So Coppelia Cake 4

The packaging for Papercut Patterns is really something else - an extra large and extra sturdy box which you can actually hang up, along with pattern paper which is also extra sturdy - no flimsy tissue to contend with here! Plus the instructions are printed right on the pattern paper and can be cut out and concertinaed together to create the cutest little instruction pamphlet.

This is a really simple make which comes together quite quickly. The hardest part for me was smoothing about the cotton jersey - does anyone else find that really fiddly?!

Here is perhaps a random cutting tip (unrelated to dealing with smoothing jersey fabric), which you might not do: The Hem Tie, which wraps around your body to secure the cardi, is incredibly long and the pattern piece for it is a third of the actual size (so you end up having to cut three pieces which you then sew together). So that I could make sure I definitely had enough fabric, and to save time on pinning (I hate pinning), I traced around the piece and made two replica pieces, which I was then able to lay out simultaneously on my fabric, pin and cut everything out in one go. It's a simple trick, but hopefully it helps even one other person out there!

Su Sews So So Coppelia Cake 6

My fabric is a lovely soft, cosy cotton jersey from Croft Mill. Do check out that online shop if you haven't yet, they always have such lovely fabric at decent prices. And thankfully, postage to Northern Ireland is the same as to the rest of the UK! Oh, and I really love their fabric descriptions; they always give me a giggle.

Anyway, being relatively new to jersey, I was surprised to find that this fabric didn't have any selvedge and came as a tube! But even being in 'tube' form, it was still very fiddly to smooth out. Doh.

Due to some blog feedback telling me that the neck band can end up a bit baggy I decided to stretch it while sewing it to the bodice and reduced it's length by about 3cm. I think that did help, but it is still a little baggy. I actually think the whole cardi is perhaps a bit baggy, especially around the bust and shoulder area, so if I make this again I might try and alter that (erm…but I have no idea how I would actually do that, so please do be asking! lol).

Su Sews So So Coppelia Cake 5

I called this make Coppelia Cake as I I think this will end up being quite a basic staple in my wardrobe, which is just what I have been needing actually! I think I have mentioned before that I hardly wear my me-made things, so this year I am trying to change that.

Oh, and here are the details:

Pattern: £13.36
Fabric: £14.49 (inc. postage)
Thread: £3.65 x 4 = £14.60

TOTAL: £42.45

Eep! That sounds a bit mental for a cotton wrap cardi! But I included the cost for 4 large cones of black overlocking thread, which are obviously nowhere near used up, so that was really an investment cost. I didn't include the cost for the black sewing machine thread, or the ball point needles that I used for this make, because I had already factored those into my Plantain costs. PLUS, if I make this cardi again I won't include the pattern cost in future makes.

Su Sews So So Coppelia Cake 2

Oh yes, that photo reminds me, I was particularly in love with the cuffs! They were super easy to make, and give a really beautiful and professional finish. There is nothing particularly special about them, but because they were my first ever cuffs, I loved them! lol

So that concludes my second edition of SEW ALL THE KNITS! Expect more knits on here…I have a few things cut out and ready to be stitched up this Bank Holiday Weekend - yeay!!

Sew All The Knits Meme

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Make It Yourself : J.Crew Floral Skirt

Before I get into this post, I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. It’s nice to know that everyone goes through dips in their sewing now and again and I really appreciated all your lovely, kind words of encouragement!

So, even though my sewing skills seem to be taking a bit of a dive at the moment, my joy of planning is, as always, flying high! I just love spotting pieces which I think can be recreated at home (when not in a funk! lol), quite often for a fraction of the price. So I thought I’d try and share some of these with you from time to time.

Make It Yourself - Kendis Skirt

Today is all about the gorgeous floral skirt that Kendi was wearing recently. All details below:

J.Crew floral skirt (£198!), as seen on Kendi Everyday

Make it Yourself:
Fabric: Floral fabric from Croft Mill (it’s not exact, but it’s pretty close!) £6.50/m
Pattern: New Look 6003, View E (any pencil skirt pattern would do!) £2.99 (currently on sale – woohoo!)


Edit: Argh! How typical – unfortunately it appears that Croft Mill have sold out of that lovely fabric…from last week! If you really love it, do keep checking back on their website as I know they sometimes get fabric back in stock. Or – if any of you have spotted the fabric elsewhere give me a shout and I’ll update the post! Apologies, and thanks!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Thoughts on being in a sewing funk...

IMG 1034

I'm going through a bit of a sewing dip at the moment - everything I attempt seems to be going wrong! Do you ever get times like that? It's a real knock to the confidence and it's getting me kind of down. I make all these fab plans for my projects and dive straight in, but then get to a problem and just can't face trying to fix it!

Sunni from A Fashionable Stitch wrote a really poignant post the other day about choosing the right fabric for your project, and it really hit a chord with me. I have been sewing for quite a few years now, but I still struggle with pairing the right fabric with a pattern. I really believe that having the right fabric takes a garment from looking 'homemade' to looking professional, and I find that if something looks 'homemade' I have a lot less desire to wear it - which probably explains why I actually hardly ever wear my 'me made' clothes.

Take that pile in the photo above. The black denim was sewn up into a pleated skirt. I thought it was going to look awesome - but it just looks so awful and unflattering on me, so I haven't bothered to finished it (all it needs is hemming and sewing the inside waistband). I'm hoping I can rescue the fabric - perhaps it would be more suited for a short a-line skirt, maybe a Moss Mini?

And the plain maroon fabric - that was going to be a classic gathered skirt - but somehow I have made the waistband far too tight. And the fabric is rather stiff. I actually thought that would give the skirt a lovely crisp drape and look quite dramatic - which it does…but boy does that not suit my body shape!!!

Finally the fabric on the top is my attempt at salvaging another bad fabric choice. It used to be a lovely shirred maxi dress (that I blog about here) - but the jersey was to heavy for that style and I risked exposing myself whenever I wore it (!!!), so I thought I would try and turn it into a Plantain dress (tutorial here). The top part was going great, but I have attached the skirt on too low so it sits lower than my waist. It needs unpicking but I'm just not feeling the love for it as a dress to be honest! I'm tempted to turn it into a bit of a cropped t-shirt instead. 

I hope I can get out of this funk and get back to loving sewing. Anyone else get disheartened when things go wrong? How do you get yourself back on track again? 

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