Last August I was fed up of not achieving anything with my sewing and I decided to take part in Seamwork’s ‘Design Your Wardrobe’ program. The result was six planned outfits and an experience that was enormously freeing. I felt like I was ready to take over the world with my collection of interchangeable separates and yet, when I stumbled across the folder again this week, I realised that after more than half a year I had only completed three garments out of the ten that I had planned.
Whatever the matter was, I had quickly fallen back into my old trap. I would fill my head with plenty of bright ideas, but never get around to the ones that excited me most. In fact, I rarely complete a garment at all. Usually, I complete the majority of the construction and then abandon it when I reach a difficult step, or spend so much of my time scrolling on instagram that I don’t actually get a chance to sew.
So, when this quarantine began, I told myself that I was not going to spend it sat on social media, or in front of the TV. I wanted to feel as though I had at least made something of the time inside and I set my heart on another capsule collection. I decided to use Seamwork’s program and all of their worksheets again as even though I had failed to produce the garments I said I would last time around, I really enjoyed the designing process and the way the program gets you to think about why you want to create a collection before throwing you into making a moodboard.
One of the things the program gets you to do is give your collection a name and I called mine ‘Romantic Glamour’. I wanted to create a collection that was elegant and filled with feminine details, largely inspired by my visit to the Dior exhibit at the V&A last year, but naturally translated into an everyday context. Last year, my first attempt at a capsule collection was centred around a ‘work-wear’ wardrobe for school and this I think is maybe where I fell short. This time I’ve chosen to design for a more casual context, with the hope that it will keep me motivated to make clothes that I want to wear, without being restricted by a dress code. Here’s some examples of the outfits I was inspired by and used as part of my moodboard below:
I ended up with 6 outfits, composed of 10 different garments. I wanted to mostly focus on separates, so that I could mix and match, but the first project I chose (which I’ve already cut out) is a Nina Lee Kew dress. I’ve made this dress twice before, having only just finished a version in our Myriel print, but it is perhaps my favourite pattern ever and definitely the epitome of what I am aiming for with this collection. I already knew that I wanted to make it out of our Rebekah Linen and chose the Periwinkle colourway, which I used for the basis of the collection’s colour palette.
I also chose Sew House Seven’s Burnside Bibs having seen a version made up on Instagram. I loved the workwear vibe of this pattern, although it probably fits the least with my general mood for the collection so I think I’m going to make them in a tencel twill to give them a nice drape.
This is the Tencel that I think I will use. It has a lovely weight and the subtle stripe makes for a really understated look. I’m also going to use French Navy’s free t-shirt pattern to make an ivory t-shirt to go underneath.
I also took inspiration from this year’s Sewing Bee. In the first week, Liz made a fantastic 90s inspired full-length dress for the final challenge and I knew that I had to make one similar as soon as I saw it. I’m going to be using the True Bias Shelby pattern (I think this is the one she used), but I am still slightly undecided on what fabrics to use.
I’m also going to make a few self-drafted tops and I’ve ordered a skirt and a paperbag trousers pattern from Apolline Patterns which I’m very excited about! It’s a French pattern company based in Paris and they make the most gorgeous designs. I believe the instructions in her latest collection have been translated into English, but the ones that I’ve ordered only come in French. However, as I speak Spanish I’m hoping that combining that with diagrams and my limited secondary school French will be good enough. I’ll just have to see how that goes!
I’m excited to get started on this new project and I’m absolutely determined to finish all ten garments. I’m hoping to detail each one on the blog as I go as I think that will help me stay on track and hold myself accountable to completing them. I think what I have learned so far from my first failed attempt is that simply designing the collection isn’t going to make the clothes magically appear in my hands. I do actually have to make them!