This post is shared in conjunction with Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog.
Until March 10, 2020, I worked in an office five days a week. And although my employer had a casual dress code, there was still a work ‘uniform’ which for me was a dress, trousers or skirt, a ‘business-appropriate’ top, and a jacket or sweater. And shoes with heels! The working world has changed and maybe I won’t be in an office again all week – it could be that I’ll be in an office a couple of days a week and working from the home computer on other days. That doesn’t mean that I want to live in yoga pants and a t-shirt, I enjoy being ‘presentable.’
My wardrobe has to adapt to this change plus be prepared for a new climate! This summer, we moved from the United States to my hometown of Calgary, Canada. Other than our brief stay in Pennsylvania, we’ve been in the southern U.S. states (where 10C/50F is considered ‘cold’) since 2002 which means that I need a lot of stuff for ccccccold weather.
I spent some time perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s website and found some great fabrics that spurred my creativity!
Piece 1: Dress/Jumper
The base item is a Lodo Dress from True Bias patterns. For this dress, I chose a pretty royal blue Ponte knit from Fabric Mart’s website. Ponte is one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear in cooler weather! I like that it has enough stretch for movement (like doing a quick vacuum between Zoom calls) and is comfortable for sitting at a desk all day. And it can be sewn on a regular sewing machine, serger or cover stitch. So versatile!
The Lodo dress is a classic that I’ve made before in the above-knee length. This time I went for the longer mid-calf length because I think it’s likely to be more wearable in a place where boots are the footwear of choice for five months of the year. The longer length is also more comfortable for me when sitting at a desk (no worrying about a skirt riding up 😉. While a lot of people wear the Lodo as a standalone dress, I like to wear it as a jumper/pinafore over a top and opaque tights.
Piece 2: Top
I’m so excited about this garment! When I saw this “English Canine Print” jersey on the Fabric Mart website, I had to have it. (Shhh – don’t tell the cats that I’m wearing something that features dogs!) It’s quirky enough to be interesting but not so out there that it looks like a novelty. It’s a stretch cotton jersey and is neither too lightweight or too heavy – perfect for a top that skims the body. The pattern I used is the Maven Patterns Somerset T. This boat-neck t-shirt can be made with different sleeve styles and I selected Bishops Sleeves with a deep cuff. Big statement sleeves continue to be in stores and on the runway but let’s face it – runway designers aren’t planning for those of us who need to wear coats. I love this long cuff because it keeps the sleeves where they are supposed to be, instead of half way up my forearms!
The knit was easy to sew. I sewed most of the seams on the serger, and then topstitched the boatneck and hem with the cover stitch.
This fabric is perfect for this pattern, although it would also work well with a bamboo or lighter fabric. I’m planning to make more – maybe next time I’ll use a contrast fabric for the cuff, or a sheer fabric for the sleeves for holiday evenings out.
Piece 3: Jacket
The final piece is a cosy, fleece jacket that can be worn as a cardigan or jacket, depending on the weather. The fleece I chose has “Prussian Blue/Vivid Auburn” horizontal stripes, and it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside, which was important for the pattern I chose. Vogue 8676 (out of print) is a Marcie Tilton pattern designed for fleece and boiled wool. All of the edges are left raw – so on the collar and cuffs you can see both the wrong and right sides. This fleece worked really well as there is a slight difference in the print on the right side and wrong side. Because of the design of the fabric, the collar edges look really interesting – almost like trim was added. The collar doesn’t have a button. I keep it closed with a stick pin that I borrowed from my mom’s jewellery box. You don’t really need to close the collar but when the north wind blows …Fleece is easy to work with. This particular fabric is medium weight and my machine didn’t struggle with the many layers on edges. I used a ballpoint needle and as mentioned, the edges are left unfinished so a serger or cover stitch isn’t needed to make a nice looking jacket.
And … The Outfit
I selected all of these fabrics online without using swatches and the colours work together just as I expected! On the top there are blue highlights on the Union Jack and River Thames and those match the Royal Blue dress, and the blue/auburn stripes on the jacket coordinate well with everything.
For labels, these Kylie and the Machine ones really add a professional touch. Does anyone remember when we didn’t add labels? Or we just wrote on a piece of twill tape with a special pen? (Dating myself, clearly.)
These three pieces will get a great deal of wear in the colder months. I especially like that all are so versatile and can transition from meetings in an office to hanging out at home – with a stop at a restaurant in between.
If you’re interested in seeing more of the garments and information on how I sewed them, please visit my YouTube channel.
Thanks for visiting!