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Made by a Fabricista: Neutral Territory




"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. "-Woody Allen

That quote is so true!  How often do you plan on making one thing with a fabric and end up making something completely different?  Back in May, I was inspired by Peggy Sager's YouTube channel to copy Eileen Fisher's System, where you have 8 neutral wardrobe pieces that form the backbone of your wardrobe.  It's a great idea, and I ordered some neutral fabrics from the High End designer section of Fabric Mart's website.  Here are the items from Eileen Fisher's website that I originally planned to try to duplicate:





I knew that I could sew all of these pieces for less than the retail price of just one full price garment, and I was so excited- couldn't wait for my fabric to arrive and to get going!  So, I started out with the plan, and made the black tank dress from black 100% cotton gauze. This was a very lightweight and delicate fabric that required a style where it wouldn't be stressed, or else it would tear.


I'm trying to use some of my pattern collection, and found Kwik Sew 3306 which was originally published in 2005, but I think feels very current.   I've forgotten how much that I love Kwik Sew patterns!  This one has a really great all in one facing for the neck and armholes.  I made View A with the double flounces. This is a pullover dress with no zipper.


So, after sewing that first piece, and much hemming and hawing, I decided that my white and cream fabrics were just not going to be drapey enough for the Eileen Fisher system tops, and I decided to scrap the plan, and let each fabric become what was best for it.  Whew, relief! The silly things that we impose on ourselves can be quite restricting.  Now, I was able to really move forward, and have fun.  So, the next thing that I wanted to sew with was a beautiful embroidered lawn.  I had enough for a full skirt, and used Butterick 5386- a Connie Crawford skirt pattern.



Here's a close up of the skirt fabric for you to see the embroidered design- it is so feminine and beautiful:


It's quite sheer, so I made an attached half slip out of a beige cotton, which you can see when the sunlight hits it just right.  I just sewed it into the elastic waistband, and ended it at the highest level of the slit.


I just love this skirt, and used a leftover piece of brown-olive designer quality linen for the top, using Butterick 6221. If you have just a short piece of fabric, this is a fabulous little top to make.  I don't like to tuck tops into skirts, and this just comes to the waist, so it stops where it would be tucked in.   I'd like one in every color!


One of my fabrics was a heavyweight white gauze (dyed gray here).  Even though this was from the same section as the black gauze that I used for the tank dress, this gauze was was night and day from the delicate and sheer black gauze.  The white was sturdy and textured, and I thought that it would be perfect for a Vogue pattern that I had been struggling to find the right fabric for- Vogue 1586.

This is a fitted dress with a side zipper, and you really need it to be snug.  The tricky thing is that the fold back collar is a single layer, so the fabric needs to look good from both sides, and be able to be narrow hemmed neatly for the collar to work.  I really liked this pattern and had tried twice unsuccessfully to make it- first from a fabric that was too crisp, and then from a fabric that was too busy to show the design lines.  Both of those ended up as wadders, but at least they gave me some idea of the fit issues, so when I made this one, I got the fit just where I wanted it.  This is the pattern at it's actual length- so it is super long!  I'm tall, so most people won't need the whole length on this one.


The fabric was originally white, but I've decided that true white is not the best color for me, so I dyed it a pearl gray, which I think is a great neutral for me.  That's the great thing about white cotton- it can be whatever you want it to be!

I had one more fabric left from my original fabric order.  This was the only knit in the order, and it was a linen cotton lycra blend in a cream color.  It was a substantial weight- which was fantastic.  I get a little frustrated with some of the really thin knits that have been all the rage lately.  They are harder to sew, and show every lump and bump.  For this fabric, I chose Kwik Sew 2762, a hooded t-shirt dress with a kangaroo pocket.




I wanted to play around with my cover stitch machine, and outlined the pockets and hems with the reverse side of the cover stitch in black.  I also dyed some white cording to a dark color to make it stand out.


This dress is so comfy, and with the cotton/linen/lycra fabric blend, I am happy with how the fabric breathes even on super hot days.  I've had some time to wear all of these a few times since I made them, and probably am most pleased with the light gray dress.  Considering that I was so frustrated with the pattern that I nearly threw it away, I'm really, really happy that I kept searching for the right fabric for the design.


So, even though my original plan didn't come to fruition, I still ended up with 5 completely unrelated pieces out of some fabulous neutral fabrics!  The moral of the story- don't fret if your fabrics don't want to become what you originally planned.  Listen to your gut and you will be happy with the results!

Over to you- do you stick to the plan, or let the fabric drive your sewing direction?

Happy Sewing!

Comments

  1. Everything is BEAUTIFUL and so are YOU!

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  2. Another great post, full of lots of goodies. I have been wanting to do some sort of capsule but struggles with the whole neutral thing. Thinking back to your travel capsule wardrobe I need to expand my definition of neutral. Looking forward to your next entry.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat! I've expanded my idea of neutrals recently too. I never would have considered an olive a neutral, until recently, and I love it.

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  3. vmhogan65@yahoo.comAugust 1, 2018 at 9:14 AM

    Sometimes I wish I HAD plans! I buy fabric because it sings to me---then I look at it for awhile--sometimes years!--until I get a wild hair and get busy at my machine.

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    Replies
    1. I hear you! You just have to wait for the inspiration to hit.

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  4. Great use of fabrics. Love the new garments!

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  5. Ann! The wrap dress is a show-stopper. You need more!

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    1. Thank you- I might if I find another perfect fabric for it!

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  6. Love your ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. Yes I have so many times bought fabrics for something specific and then changed my mind or forgotten what my original intent was!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Me too. Thank god there is no expiration date on fabrics.

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  7. My absolute favorite is that hooded dress - so cool! I have that Vogue in the plans and thought I'd need to shorten it 4". WHEW...maybe 6"! But it looks so good.

    This is a really nice mini-wardrobe. Nice basics, in nice fabrics that should wear really well and feel great on.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nakisha! Yeah, I think I probably should shorten it 4" too! I didn't realize how long it was until I saw the photos. Good luck with it- I found it tricky to get the fit right. If you need any advice, let me know.

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  8. Very nice and easy pieces they look great on you!!!

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  9. I learn so much from every post of yours. Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge of sewing and design.

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  10. Beautiful pieces! Great pairings of fabric to pattern. Especially love that Vogue!

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  11. I always enjoy seeing and reading about your "makes". These are all wonderful. You have a real knack for selecting the right pattern/fabric combo and you know what styles flatter your figure and coloring. And you are not afraid of using older patterns from your stash. Love that Kwik Sew pattern. Hooray for pattern stashes!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Audrey! My knack comes from lots and lots of trial and error though. Pattern stashes are little bits of history that can take me down memory lane.

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  12. Hi Ann, I love the entire collection! So many ways to wear each outfit. I am tall too, 6ft, and really like the V1586 pattern. I need that pattern for sure! It is always a pleasure to check out your makes.

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  13. Your use of fabric and patterns is inspiring. Love, love, love the wrap dress in particular. Thanks for all your ideas!

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  14. Actually, that quote should not be attributed to Woody Allen ..... its an old yiddish saying " A man thinks (makes plans) and G-d laughs".......
    Happy Sewing!

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  15. PS: I love the items you sew.....great talent and great taste...

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