one week, one pattern, mostly


Having a blog opens up all sorts of fun sewing possibilities — like participating in OWOP 2014, coordinated this year by Handmade Jane. I love seeing how people style their makes, so I wanted to add my two cents. Hey, maybe next year I’ll be ambitious enough to try Me-Made May.

To summarize OWOP, or One Week One Pattern: Participants pick a favorite sewing pattern and wear garments made from the pattern every day for a week.

For me, that pattern was the Licorice from the Colette Sewing Handbook. Long ago, I decided to hack it into a blouse, and now I’ve got a whole bevy of Licorice-based items in my closet — even if some of them don’t look much like Licorices anymore.

Please forgive the somewhat wrinkly photos; at least half of these photos were taken after I had already worn the outfit.

Day 1, Saturday, Sept. 6:


My work week begins! This is an unblogged Licorice-based blouse made from rayon challis, with a RTW knit skirt. We’re allowed to wear jeans to work on weekend days, but it was well above 90 in D.C., so I decided I’d rather die in a fire than wear pants, let alone jeans.

Day 2, Sunday, Sept. 7:


The fabric-failure top, worn with jeans and a cardigan to cover up the top’s split back at the office (and for warmth — that air conditioning is no joke).

Day 3, Monday, Sept. 8:


The this-was-once-a-Licorice dress, also worn with a cardigan to cover the low back at the office.

Day 4, Tuesday, Sept. 9:


Unblogged Licorice-based blouse made from silk twill, with a RTW skirt made of very lightweight wool. Like the rayon challis top above, this has short sleeves finished with a band, and a little bit of gathering at the top of the shoulder — mainly because I tried to stick some random sleeve pattern on the Licorice bodice. Don’t do it.

Day 5, Wednesday, Sept. 10:


Unblogged Licorice-based blouse made from cotton lawn, lined with cotton voile, with tiny tiny tiny sleeve caps, and dark gray RTW pants. I actually took these sleeve caps from Simplicity 2648, which describes them, unappealingly, as “flanges.”  They don’t do much to cover up the shoulder, so I haven’t used them on a top since.

OK, so full disclosure: I didn’t actually wear this outfit! I had an important meeting at work and at the last minute I panicked and wore something that made me feel extra-confident — my comfort zone Moneta and a blazer. But I promise, I did plan to wear this OWOP outfit.

Day 6, Thursday, Sept. 11:


My weekend begins! This is a truly dreadful Licorice-based top that fits terribly — heyo, early make! — but I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point in the week. It’s made from silk gauze and two layers of cotton voile, though, so that’s nice. I wore it around the house.

Day 7, Friday, Sept. 12:


I decided it would be fitting to end OWOP with my very first Licorice, from spring 2013, and it’s the closest thing I have to the actual pattern. The only changes I made were to omit the collar, slim down the sleeves slightly, and use a very narrow cuff instead of elastic on the sleeves. It’s made of rayon challis — yes, the same fabric as the blouse from Day 1 — and lined with bemberg, and I love it to death.

Second disclosure: I didn’t wear this either! As much as I love it, I’ve only pulled it out a couple of times this summer, and here’s why: The damn thing is constantly shrinking. I prewashed the fabric and I wash the dress in cold water, but it gets a wee bit smaller every time I wear it. If anything, that probably helps the fit, but the hem is creeping up higher and higher. On Friday, when I put it on, it was so short that I felt uncomfortable wearing it. Who needs that?

Instead, I wore the pink-spotted Licorice top that I had planned to wear on Day 5 (pictured above), with the black RTW skirt from Day 1 (also pictured above). I felt a little guilty for not sticking to my plan, but we’re in this to wear clothes we love, right?

I wore this to my first book club meeting — we read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which was really good.

What I learned:

Planning my outfits in advance doesn’t always work! Something will come up — a change in weather, a change in mood, a big lunch — and I’ll need flexibility. I can’t get my heart set on a specific outfit; I need to give myself lots of choices.

And in that vein, blouses are extra-valuable because they give me just that flexibility. Most of the blouses above were made in the past six months, and they’re my most-worn handmade items, particularly because I can wear them to work with a number of skirts of pants that I already own. So when I’m picking future sewing projects, I should focus on separates.

This exercise also made me realize that I should stop trying to revive makes that don’t work for me. The blouse from Day 6 has always been kind of crappy, but I’ve hung on to it anyway — and for what? It won’t make me feel good OR look good to wear it. I should put it in the scrap bin. My too-short Licorice dress from Day 7 is a longtime favorite, but it doesn’t work for me now, for reasons beyond my control. I should either put it in the scrap bin or come up with a solution for it — maybe adding a white band to the bottom to add some length, or cutting it shorter and turning it into a tunic.

Anyone have ideas on how to fix my Licorice dress? Or did anyone have similar findings on the difficulties of wearing me-made?


5 thoughts on “one week, one pattern, mostly

  1. You’re not alone in changing out your outfit, though your planning ahead is impressive! What a great pattern, love how you turned it into all of these different garments. I think your ideas for fixing your dress are spot on — adding a band or shortening it to tunic length.

  2. Pingback: summer stashbust 2014 | root branch bole

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