looking back, looking ahead


I won’t tell you how much I love fall. If you also love fall, you already know what it’s like and don’t need to be told; if you’re mourning fall’s arrival, you won’t thank me for rubbing your nose in it; if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, this doesn’t even apply!

But we all can agree on one thing: Planning out what you’re going to sew for the upcoming season is the most fun.

Here’s what I’m thinking for fall/winter:

In my new philosophy of “never make a pattern just once,” my plan includes many items, but only a few patterns. This is made easier by my realization that I’ve totally got a uniform.

To the office in the winter, I wear skirts and dresses with tights and boots. Outside of the office, I wear jeans and long-sleeved tops and boots, and occasionally dresses. (Swap the jeans for shorts, the boots for flats, and the long-sleeved tops for loose kimono-sleeve tops, and you’ve got my summer uniform.)



Colette Moneta in weighty pontes. I don’t feel comfortable in lightweight knit dresses, and I might wear a slip even with these heavier knits, but there’s nothing like a knit dress for a flattering, comfortable look for days when you CANNOT DEAL with the ironing board.

Black and white are always crisp-looking, which helps me feel more pulled-together on my schlubbiest days. I’ve debated whether the white/black stripe is suitable for fall and winter, but I think with black tights, black boots and a scarf, this will be a nice winter outfit.

One of these is almost completed!


I would hereby like to lodge a complaint against the dearth of green clothing for women. I’m not a redhead, but I (and many other women) look great in green. Yet green is so damn hard to find.

The teal fabric on the right is a rayon of some kind, which made its way to the sale table after an employee apparently snipped a hole in the middle of a 3-yard cut. I made it up months ago as a Vogue 8827 wrap dress, View B, but I wasn’t thrilled with how it looked, and it’s never been worn. Now that I come back to it, I’m thinking it just needs a couple of tweaks to look amazing with cognac-colored boots and a bronze skinny belt.

The green fabric on the left is a rayon/poly blend from Mood Fabrics, and it’s destined to become a bridesmaid’s dress for my friend’s wedding! (Once I’m done with this, I’ll have worn me-made items to five weddings this year, including my own.)  This fabric has great drape and a slubby texture, shot through with tiny hints of metallic thread. Not sure yet what pattern I’ll use, but I love the yoke on the Colette Chantilly.


Welcome to Mystery Knit City. Mayor: Deer & Doe Plantain Tee. I currently own two long-sleeved T-shirts, and last winter, they were literally the first thing to be worn every time I did laundry. That’s a sign for more if ever I saw one.

These mystery knits are courtesy of the $2.97 table at G Street Fabrics. I can’t tell you what they are; all I can tell you is that I probably bought too much yardage of each.


Next, I’ll muslin the McCall’s 6503 faux-shirtdress, which I’m pretty sure is going to be a great pattern for me; views B and D are right up my alley.  For view B, I’ve got plenty of this green wool on the left, which I believe is a stretch double-gauze. For view D, I’ve got barely enough (and maybe not enough) of this wool-blend gabardine on the right, the color of which was beguilingly described as “deep sea.”


The dark green has a lofty, nubby, cozy texture; the blue is very lightweight, with a smooth hand. Both fabrics are from Couture by LK in Richmond, which can be pricey but is always interesting.

That’s enough to be going on with. But wait, we’re not done.


from my summer vacation in the USVI

There’s one thing we need to do before leaving summer behind. As crazy as it seems, this is a great time to start planning next summer’s projects. After months of wearing my hot-weather wardrobe, I’ve got a really good sense of what I’m lacking, so I’m trying to sketch in a rough plan for next year.

For me, that means: More work skirts; I’m down to three or so. More lightweight cotton or silk tops for work; it’s the only thing that feels comfortable in the heat, and it always looks polished.  More loose, short-sleeved shirts for the weekend; that’s what I want to wear with shorts when I roll out of bed to go to the farmer’s market. More simple cotton dresses (like this and this); that’s what I wear on hot days when society is FORCING me to put on clothes.

So now, hopefully, I will stick to this fabric shopping list and won’t GO CRAZY on eyelets or something:

  • Lightweight suiting for work skirts, in camel, taupe or khaki;
  • Opaque cotton lawn or silk crepe for work blouses;
  • Floaty or swingy cotton or rayon for casual tops;
  • Medium-weight cotton for dresses, preferably in a busy print so I can skip ironing. (Cotton + Steel, anyone?)

What about you? Do you have a sense for what garments you lacked this summer?


3 thoughts on “looking back, looking ahead

  1. Pingback: the monochrome monetas, part 1 | root branch bole

  2. Pingback: summer stashbust 2014 | root branch bole

  3. Pingback: wardrobe architect: march | root branch bole

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