DIY Fall Capsule Wardrobe {Reveal}

Friends! Can you believe this day is finally here??? I started planning for this capsule wardrobe back at the end of September with great expectations (such great expectations) and excitement to build a styled capsule collection to wear all fall long. There were some twists and turns along the way, but I am so thrilled to finally sit down and type out this blog post to share the details with you all! Thank you to those who have been a part of the journey from day one- suggesting the perfect fabrics, the awesome patterns from my pinspiration, and for cheering me on along the way. If you missed it all, please head to my Instagram for the “work in progress” reel! I’ll be back later this week to share the “what I wish I did right the first time” notes that I hope you all can learn from my mistakes as you create your own capsule wardrobe! But, for now, let’s just take a look at what came to be from all that hard work…brew a good cup of coffee and cuddle up at your favorite seat because this one is a long read, but oh so worth it!

What is a sudoku capsule wardrobe?

So glad you asked! I realized throughout this experience that many of you aren’t familiar with the sudoku style wardrobe building, so I thought I’d break it down for you quickly. This concept isn’t new, in fact one of my sewing buddies made it cool a few years ago. Everyone has a bit different take on the sudoku capsule style, but I adapted the concept to focus on what my goals were: To create a fall wardrobe that had accessories and hair styles to get me out of my boring “momiform” rut. 

Each row, column and along the diagonal creates a head-to-toe look, a unique outfit that will work for daytime, date nights, girls nights out or just a trip to my local fabric shop to do some more hoarding….I mean fabric purchasing…same difference. Essentially, I wanted a reference guide to help me get dressed each morning. I have 10 easy looks ready to throw on at a moments notice. As a busy, work-at-home mom, this concept is BLISS I tell you! Let’s take a look at my fall capsule wardrobe:

Sudoku Collage

You’ll see that along each row, each column and each diagonal there are four parts to make up my head-to-toe look: A hairstyle, an accessory, a shoe and apparel. Before you panic and think that some days I’m only wearing a dolman top, or only wearing a mini skirt…I promise I have on a full outfit, but for aesthetics, I just put one of the two patterns in the cell. HA!

As I was photographing outfits, I noticed that there are many more combinations possible if you make non-straight line combos and maybe I’ll keep putting together looks from these pieces and show you how to really maximize your capsule wardrobe! Keep an eye out on my IG for those additional looks!

The Fabrics

As I was putting together the patterns, accessories and shoes for each look, I needed to be sure that I had a good color palette to work from in that my fall wardrobe would be interchangeable to get the most bang for my buck. I chose fabrics that a) I love b) work together c) were weather appropriate d) could transition from season to season. I needed all those criteria because after taking the time to sew, photograph and blog about this wardrobe, I actually need to be able to wear it! And not just for the blog post, but for real and for a long time!!!

Fall Capsule Fabrics.jpg

Left to Right:

Tri-Blend Jersey Solid in Sage from Sly Fox Fabrics. This jersey is cozy but not too thick, great for layering and had just enough stretch for the tulip dress pattern I was using.

Telio Knit Knack Brushed Sweater Knit Light Grey from Fabric.com. This sweater knit is thick, with good stretch, good drape and is the ultimate cozy feel for the Darcey Duster I sewed to go over the tulip dress.

Cotton and Steel Les Fleurs Canvas from Fabric.com. I wanted fabric that would hold the bell shape of the mini skirt, that would wash and wear well and that had a bit of warmth to it.

Telio Stretch Bamboo Rayon Jersey Knit from Fabric. com. I wanted a neutral color, that wasn’t stark white, that had good drape for the bell sleeve and that layered nicely with the cardigans I was making too.

Fabric Merchants Rayon Challis from Fabric.com. The jumpsuit needed a good drapey fabric which rayon challis is perfect for. I just wish I had gone for a fabric with a bit more substance to it so that it didn’t wrinkle like no other! Lesson learned- but still obsessed with this mauve color!

Stretch Velvet Print Roses Mauve from Fabric.com. Stretch velvet became super popular last year and with no end in sight to the cozy, comfy trend I just had to jump on it! This print is spectacular in person and was my favorite piece from this whole collection!

Now that we’ve seen the sudoku board and the fabrics, it’s time to look at each of the 10 looks I put together from this capsule! For simplicity sake, I’ll link each pattern just once! The accessories are old and new, without links available so you’re on your own there. I will put links to the shoes once as well.

The Looks

Pattern: Tulip Dress from Ellie and Mac Patterns. Hairstyle includes my DIY Bow Hair Tie (stay tuned for my IG highlights for this super easy tutorial!). Shoes from Target.

This outfit is sporty and fun. I love the shape of this Tulip dress on my body type. I cut a larger back to give some more room in the booty and slimmed through the waist for a nice, comfortable fit.

Pattern: Orchid x Parasol collaboration with Chalk & Notch and Ensemble Patterns. Shoes: Just Fab.

I am obsessed with this jumpsuit. I love the cross front, the elastic tie waist and the easy fit in the pants. I wish I had used a fabric that wouldn’t wrinkle so badly because it really is a pain to keep fresh. I steamed this right before photos and just having it sit on the bed while I was taking pics made it awfully wrinkly. Sad! I love the little braid and how it kind of keeps the look casual. I had different shoes for this but I forgot them in Texas, so here is the best option I could come up with!

 

Patterns: Cher mini skirt from Made for Mermaids. RuLo top from George & Ginger. Shoes from Vici.

This was my most anticipated look and I absolutely love it! The boots are comfy and slouchy to play off the structure of the skirt. The top is easy to wear to keep this outfit low maintenance and not fussy.

Pattern: Claire Dolman from Made for Mermaids. Jeans and Shoes from Vici.

This is my most-worn look. I constantly reach for this incredible stretch velvet top and my favorite “lightly worn” jeans. I love that the half-up pony gives it an easy finish and helps show off the crossover front.

This outfit makes me feel like a million bucks…can you tell just from my poses how much I adore it???

This skirt is giving me life! Seriously, there’s something about a good fitting mini skirt to bring you back to your youth! The bow continues that youthful style but the shoes keep me from looking like I’m trying to hard to be 17 again. HA!

Most effortless yet chic look in the capsule! The side braid totally shows off the crossover detail in the top. The boots are a quintessential fall piece. The distressed jeans keep this from looking too put together. Love it all.

I call this look “Sporty Spice” and as much as I didn’t like it during photos- I love how it came together. The high half pony and shoes play together and then the jumpsuit kicks it up a notch.

Pattern: Darcey Duster Cardigan from Made for Mermaids.

Fall is all about layers so I threw on the Darcey. I love that the duster has a longer hemline that really makes the tulip dress a “wow” when you see it from the front or a peek on the side. The pony and the slouch of the boots keeps it a playful look.

The tennis shoe is a huge trend right now and playing the sporty style with a more structured, dressy look is the perfect dichotomy. I love how the colors flow but aren’t matchy-matchy to keep interest.

The Take-Away

Well, there you have it friends!!! 10 easy to wear looks that make getting ready so effortless and so fun! I’ve got my sudoku board saved on my phone for reference each morning. It took a bit of planning, and several days of sewing but now I have so many great pieces to mix and match all season long. I used fabrics and a color palette that will easily transition back to spring. I can pair tank tops with my skirt and shorts with my RuLo and velvet top for warmer weather. I can add a sandal with my jumpsuit and cuff the sleeves for a great summer night out. And the combos go on and on!!! I hope you found inspiration to go through your closet and create a capsule wardrobe with pieces you already own, or even more to start fresh and sew yourself a wardrobe that will carry you from season to season with style!

I’d love to hear your favorite look or any suggestions on what to do for my winter wardrobe!! Please leave me a comment or come visit me on Instagram to stay up to date with my latest sews! Check out my fall inspiration on my Pinterest too!

{Sewing with Denim} Adding Embellishments & A FREE 3D Appliqué Tutorial

Hey friends! I am back to share with you a highly requested tutorial for the 3D appliqué you all saw on my instagram stories last week *and* to share some inspiration for denim embellishments!

Denim is great for apparel (obviously) but also great for featuring your clever and creative embellishments! A huge trend right now is hand embroidery and denim provides the perfect canvas (see what I did there) for your embroidered designs! I’ve shared a few of my faves from Pinterest below.

Denim is also great for other embellishments such as tassels, beadwork, pom trim, lace, etc. I’ve linked some of my favorite inspiration below.

Here’s why denim is so great for embellishments:

  1. It’s sturdy. When adding appliqués, beading, lace, etc. you need a good foundation in the fabric to work with or your embellishments will be floppy, may fall off, etc. Denim is a great substrate to use as it’s got the perfect weave and weight.
  2. It’s a blank canvas. Literally. Denim typically comes in a solid color or wash and therefore makes it super easy to add color and texture.

Have I convinced you to embellish ALL the denim yet?!?! If not…let’s take a look at this quick and easy tutorial to add a 3D appliqué to your favorite denim apparel!


How to sew a 3D applique

pinterest applique

Materials needed:

  • Apparel item (I chose the Catherine front bodice for this example, from Clay Traces streaked denim by AGF)
  • Fusible interfacing (quick shop affiliate link: Amazon)
  • Fussy cut fabric (you can cut two like I did, or just cut one main and one for the lining). By the way, “fussy cut” means to cut a specific area of the fabric print rather than just randomly cutting the fabric. In this case, I fussy cut out two moths.

IMG_9058

Step 1: Iron on the fusible web to the wrong side of the main appliqué piece.

You can opt to cut out the fusible web to the same shape as the appliqué first. This will keep your iron from getting gummy.

IMG_9059

Step 2: Place the main appliqué on the lining appliqué, right sides together. Sew carefully around the appliqué with a small seam allowance, leaving a small opening along a straight side. I used 1/8″ seam allowance since this is a tiny moth!IMG_9060

Step 3: Trim seam allowance at corners, clip into corners and notch curves. Be careful not to catch your stitches. Do not trim seam allowance at the opening.IMG_9062

Step 4: Use a turning tool to pull appliqué right side out through the opening. I love this tool (quick shop affiliate link).IMG_9063

Step 5: Press appliqué. Topstitch all the way around appliqué OR hand stitch the opening closed. IMG_9064

Step 6: Fold the appliqué in half, main sides touching. Press to create a crease.IMG_9065

Step 7: Place appliqué on the apparel item. If you are sewing more than one appliqué, you can lay out your arrangement before sewing to be sure you like the spacing and placement. Pin appliqué(s) in place. Sew a small line of stitches close to the fold to secure appliqué to apparel item. Repeat for remaining appliqués.  IMG_9066

Step 8: Finger press or use a light iron to press appliqué flat along the crease. You may also hand tack corners of the appliqué as you see fit. IMG_9068

How fun, quick and easy is that!??!!? Check out the finished look below:

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I hope you are feeling inspired and equipped to create some lovely 3D appliqués for your next denim apparel project! Please share if you do! Be sure to tag me on Instagram with @lilyshinecreates or send me an email so I can share!

 

{Sewing with Denim} The Perfect Fitting Pant

pant pinterest

After the first Sewing with Denim post, many readers brought up concerns in sewing pants for themselves or their children. Many also made comments that pants patterns seem intimidating and measurements all over the board mean size mashing is needed. Don’t worry, friends! I’ve got you!!! In this blog post we’ll talk about the anatomy of a pant (I don’t know if that’s a thing but I’m calling it that!), how to reference a size chart and how to modify a pants pattern for the perfect fit. This post is meant to be easy for a beginner to read and put into practice, but at the end of the post I’ll be linking up other great resources for more in-depth alterations that may be needed! Let’s get to it!


The Anatomy of the Pant Pattern

Let’s take a look at the key part of the pant pattern that you will want to pay close attention to when mashing sizes or altering a pattern for a better fit. For example sake, I’ve created a general pattern piece for a pant front and back, please note that it is not intended for real use.

Parts of PantsSide Seam: This is the part of the pant that is on the outside of the legs from the waist to the hem, where the front and the back pant pieces are joined.

Inseam: This is the part of the pant that runs along the inside of the legs, from the crotch to the hem.

Front rise: This is the curve of the pant that runs along the front from the waist to the crotch.

Back rise: This is the curve of the pant that runs along the front from the waist to the crotch. Usually the back rise is longer than the front to accommodate the bum!


Measuring for a Better Fit

Taking accurate measurements and using those measurements to reference a size chart is critical in sewing a great fitting garment. There are a few key measurements needed in order to help choose the correct size(s) to use when cutting out your pants pattern.

Measuring Pants

Waist: Measure around the wearer where the top of the pant will sit. Keep in mind that usually a waistband is added, so measure lower for the top of the pant versus the top of the waistband.

Hip: Measure around the wearer at the fullest part of the hip. The hip measurement is usually take between the waist and the crotch.

Thigh: Measure around the fullest part of the wearer’s leg.

Knee: Measure around the wearer’s knee.

Inseam: Measure from the crotch to where you’d like the hem to hit along the inside of the wearer’s leg.

Leg opening: Measure around the wearer’s ankle, allowing for ease to fit the foot through the leg opening.

After taking these measurements, reference the size chart for the pants pattern you’d like to use. Keep in mind size charts vary by designer so just because the wearer needs a size 4 for one company doesn’t mean they will need a size 4 for another.

When referencing the size chart, find where the wearer’s measurements fall for each of the key points mentioned above. Specifics such as the knee and leg opening may not be included. You can use those measurements and the size chart to mash sizes for each of those key points if needed.


Mashing for a Better Fit

Since most people don’t fit the same standard size according to a size chart for their waist, hip, thigh and inseam, mashing multiple sizes is needed for a great fitting garment. Let’s look at a specific example and some tips for mashing multiple sizes. Note: This technique works best when mashing among 2-3 sizes. If further mashing is needed, a muslin is suggested with custom alterations for the most perfect fit. Mashing Pants

In this specific example, let’s say size 4 is blue, size 5 is green and size 6 is yellow. The black lines drawn in is the new custom pattern piece. Note that the sizes are nested with the crotch points aligned. This will make for easy mashing. If you have a pants pattern where that point is not aligned, you may want to cut out each size, align them at the crotch point and tape them together before starting to mash.

If the wearer has a size 4 waist, size 5 hip and thigh and a size 6 length, mashing will help you sew pants that will fit the wearer nicely.

Start by marking the length. You’ll want to keep the rise, the inseam and the side seam a size 6 (for this example). If you alter the rise, inseam or side seam to be any shorter than the needed length, you will end up with pants that are too short or sit too low on the wearer. If your wearer needs a shorter length than their width size, draw horizontal lines across the pattern pieces at the size for the length.

Next, mark the waist. You’ll simply extend the size 4 waist line up to the size 6 for this example.

Then, mark the hip, thigh and leg opening. You’ll draw a curve from the waist markings out to the size 5 hip, thigh and down the pant leg. You follow the same process along the rise and inseam of the pant.

Note any of these alterations will need to be transferred to other pattern pieces such as the waistband, hem facing, pockets, etc.

Once you’ve customized the pattern piece at the waist, hip, thigh, etc. you’ll cut the pattern pieces out along those new lines and get to sewing!


I hope you found some helpful tips and tricks in this post. Sometimes even further alterations are needed but get to be a bit more complicated and are geared towards the advanced sewist. Some helpful links for problem areas are included below.

A great video on altering the crotch length.

A full thigh alteration plus other great tips.

A Craftsy class for altering pants.

For more precise altering for jeans (this is geared towards ladies’ wear)

How to alter for cloth diapers.

 

{Introduction} Sewing with Denim

Hey sewing friends! I’d like to begin the New Year with several series to help you build confidence in sewing apparel and to encourage you to try new things. First up, we’ll be taking a look at sewing with denim! Let’s start by learning a little bit about denim and taking a look at various types and weights of denim that are great for apparel.


What are denim fabrics?

Denim fabrics are sturdy fabrics with a particular woven construction. Typically denim is made from indigo and white yarn but over time the term has come to reference various colors other than just blue.

What are the various types of denim best for apparel? I love using Art Gallery Fabrics denims for clothing. Let’s see their denim studio offerings:

  • Classic Denim
    • 100% Cotton
    • 4.5 oz/sqm weight
  • Textured Denim
    • 100% Cotton
    • 10 oz/sqm weight
  • Smooth Denim
    • 80% Cotton 20% Polyester
    • 4.5 oz/sqm weight
  • Linen Blends
    • 55% Linen 45% Cotton
    • 220 g/sqm weight
  • Lovey Dobby
    • 100% Cotton
    • 123 g/sqm weight
  • Crosshatch Textured Denim
    • 100% Cotton
    • 10 oz/sqm weight
  • Outland Yarn Dyes
    • 100% Cotton
    • 4 oz/sqm
  • Streaked Blend
    • 65% Cotton 34% Polyester 1% Spandex
    • 5 oz/sqm

When selecting the denim that is right for your project, pay attention to the weight of the fabric (shown typically in g/sqm).

Lightweight fabrics will be less than 150 g/sqm. You’ll want to choose lightweight fabrics for apparel that needs to have a good flow or will be fully lined. Ideas for apparel items: blouses, flowy skirts, children’s apparel, etc.

Medium weight fabrics are usually between 150 & 300 g/sqm. Medium weight fabrics are great for apparel patterns that need some structure but also allow for movement. Ideas for apparel items: pants, jackets, structured skirts, etc.

Heavy weight fabrics will be 300+ g/sqm. Typically heavy weight fabrics aren’t the best for kids apparel, so I tend to steer clear of them.

You’ll also want to pay attention to the fabric content. Any denims that include spandex (like the Streaked Blend from AGF) will have some stretch to it. Denims that have a combination of cotton and polyester will typically have less wrinkling or will shrink less in the wash.

You can read more about the various AGF denim offerings on their blog.

Here are some of my favorite denims. Simply click the photo (affiliate link) to shop. I’m curious if you recognize these fabrics from any of my previous sews????


Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing sewing projects made from each type of denim offered by AGF. Which type of denim listed above are you most excited to see?? Leave me a note in the comments below!

In the meantime, shop around to find what type of denim you’ll need for your next apparel sewing project. You can also check out my Pinterest board I’ll be using during this series for more inspiration!