Do you know how many amazing sewing patterns there are out there?
I've been adding pattern selections to the Hartford Stitch Project Catalog more or less at random over the past two years. Maybe it's a project that I have enjoyed for myself or kids, like the Geranium Dress by Made by Rae. Maybe it's a project that can be completed in a certain time frame, like the One Hour Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts for my Knits 101 Workshop. Maybe it's a project that covers an essential skill, like the Sigma Dress by Papercut Patterns.
So when it came to determining the fall patterns, I had some vague parameters:
1. I wanted a bag, a project with woven fabric and a project with knits fabric.
2. Each project had to add an essential skill that wasn't offered by other projects in my Project Catalog.
3. Ideally, thought not required, the patterns would be by Independent Designers and available in a print copy (I know how annoying it can be to assemble those pdf patterns!).
Then I started thinking... what if all the patterns worked together to make a cohesive outfit? What if the bag and garment pattern classes I offered were the foundation for an entire handmade wardrobe?
I was grateful to finally have that direction because with all those gobs of fantastic patterns out there I was overwhelmed with narrowing down the choices.
So I present you with the 3 Featured Patterns for this fall: (((drumroll please!)))
I dressed MiLady at the studio in the samples. She got some great feedback, but most of it centered around "business dressy" or "if I worked at an office...".
And I get that, pencil skirts immediately conjure the same image for me. But I realized I may need to spell out all the versatility that these pieces have when put together with other patterns we have in the Hartford Stitch catalog.
So I dragged a bag of shoes and shirts and accessories... and my husband and kids to Auer Farm for a "photo shoot"
Have you ever had an idea in your head that you're sure will work-- so sure that perhaps you don't think it all the way through? Or, say, scout it out?
This was my idea.... See that funky barn in the background? I was sure this was going to be the perfect location for our photo shoot. I once saw someone taking photos out there in a ballgown and that's the part I remembered. Not how far it was from the road. Or how tall the grass would be.
Yet, somehow, even when I did see that I was undeterred and dragged my kids and husband through that grass to take photos.
Around this point I gave up and realized it wasn't quite the look I was going for and that grass would completely obscure the outfit. So we trudged back and I promised they could see the animals as a peacekeeping offer.
BUT! Then I spotted a red barn and stopped everyone to take photos. While these may not be the best photos ever, I give my husband tons of credit for taking them with a baby strapped to his chest and two others chasing each other around with plastic beach tent stakes they found in the car.
So without further ado....
Outfit #1: The Date Night Version If I wore anything with a heel, outside of the most dressy occasions, this would be my go-to. Actually, some girlfriends and I have plans to go to a cider brewery next weekend. I think I may just wear this. Casual enough for a brewery, nice enough to say "I'm actually outside my house without my kids and that alone is occasion enough to dress up!"
Fabric and Accessory details:
Sweater- Drop Pocket Cardigan, fabric is a lightweight knit from Affordable Fabrics in Rocky Hill, CT
Skirt- Alberta St Pencil Skirt, fabric is a stretchy denim from Affordable Fabrics
Shirt- Wiksten Tank, fabric is a lightweight blend from Affordable Fabric
Bag: Traverse Bag, fabric is a home dec (Free Spirit I think?) weight from... Affordable Fabrics (see a pattern here? I probably spent $15 on fabric for this outfit!)
Necklace: Picked up when I traveled to Santiago, Chile years ago
Shoes: Toms Desert Wedge
(PS- Like the wet toes on those shoes? I'm telling you: that barn was a trek!)
Let's talk about this cardigan for a minute. I'm in love with it. It's cozy, but the pocket construction gives it a great style. I already have another on my cutting table (especially since I really need to return this one to the studio). Obviously, it goes with everything and you should make one every color. AND the pattern has girl sizes for about 2years old - 13 years old and women's sizes up to a 50" full bust. All in one pattern!
All you really need is a basic understanding of working with knit fabric (say, from our Knits 101 workshop) and ideally, an understanding of patterns (Patterns 101 or Garment 101 will work perfectly!) to make this beauty.
Remember how we had a week of glorious cool fall weather? Well I chose the 80 degree return-of-summer Labor Day to take these photos, so the sweater was quickly discarded and you won't see it after this outfit-- just use your imagination that it goes with most outfits!
So now on to this bag. I have carried a Mom Tote around for way too long. You know the kind that fits everything and then some? I was tired of lugging, well, luggage, everywhere and had been eyeing various cross body bag patterns when Anna Graham of Noodlehead released this pattern. It has 5 pockets-- two of which zip!
If you have 101 experience and have made a zipper pouch (or have experience with zippers and interfacing) then you can handle this project. You'll learn a ton about piping, different zipper methods and strap hardware. AND it comes in two sizes. This is the larger of the two. I'm hoping to re-purpose an old leather jacket and make the mini version soon.
Option #2: The Business Version Obviously with a pencil skirt the first thing that comes to my mind as well is dressing up and throwing on a pair of heels. And yes, this skirt is perfect for that! I made mine in a stretch denim but fancy up the fabric and you have a dressier skirt for the office.
Fabric and Accessory details:
Shirt: Scout Tee by Grainline (we make it in Garment 101 or you can use a Flex Sew!), fabric is a voile by Heather Bailey, purchased at Affordable Fabric
Shoes: No idea. Probably got them from Zappos at some point?
See it was getting warm. This isn't my "Let me model pose" it was my "where did the fall go? Why is it 80 degrees out?" pose!
This skirt is a great simple pattern that dabbles in zippers, darts and a faced waist band. It's really easy to tailor to fit your size and the pattern goes up to a 50" hip measurement.
Let's discuss patch pockets... they are completely optional of course. I'm not going to lie, until we took these photos I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to put them on my next skirt. (I'm not a huge fan of patch pockets.) HOWEVER. They were perfect to slip my phone into when walking around so I'm going to have to think twice and may include them.
Option 3: Totally Casual This is my all time favorite. Except for the long sleeved shirt which I traded out for a t-shirt, I ended up staying in this outfit all day. There is something about the silhouette of a boxier shirt with the fitted skirt that I really love.
Fabric and Accessory Details:
Shoes: Converse... obviously
At this point I was totally melting and we traded the glare of head on sun to the complete shade. Now the photos are dark, but was so much better. Plus, the kids finally got to see the animals!
So there you have it: The Featured Fall Patterns. Obviously, my emphasis for this post was on the skirt. Cardigans and cross body bags are always winners with any kind of outfit, but a pencil skirt can take a little creativity.
If you have any questions on these projects don't hesitate to ask me!
If you're ready to sign up, head over to our Project Catalog to learn a little more about each project and then to the Flex Sew registration to pick your days! If you want to learn more about how Flex Sew Works check out this blog post.
I can't wait to sew with you!