Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PR 2009 Wardrobe Contest

10 pieces. 5 tops, 4 bottoms and one topper. At least one piece must be a print and all the tops must go with all the bottoms and the topper must go over all of it.

Those are the requirements for this fall's Pattern Review wardrobe contest. It runs from September 1 to November 30. That's plenty of time to sew 10 pieces especially if I've got all the patterns worked out ahead of time. There is also a lined jacket contest that runs from September 1 to the 30th. I could make my planned motorcycle jacket as the topper and enter it in both contests, or go with my original plan of using a knit sweater coat as my topper. I need a light weight coat for fall more than I need a motorcycle jacket! I like the wardrobe plans in theory, but the proportions for tops with pants and tops with skirts can be very different. If you read the original article about sewing with a plan or SWAP that was in Australian Stitches the clothing all went together but they were pretty boring, run of the mill pieces. Shannon of the Hungry Zombie blog did several amazing SWAPs over the years when she participated in the Timmel swap and Laura lo has also done some great swaps too. The question is, can I make a really good wardrobe following the rules, or only an ok wardrobe and would I do better just making smaller groupings? I haven't participated in a contest on PR in awhile and I do want to, so the question is do I do the wardrobe, or just make my motorcycle jacket and enter the lined jacket contest? I have fabric, lining and notions for the jacket, and most of the fabrics for the wardrobe contest.
I still have to adjust my BWOF pattern for the motorcycle jacket and a few for the wardrobe contest.
Here's what I have so far for the wardrobe contest using a sweater coat as a topper:
The middle piece is the topper, a DKNY sweater coat that I will make in this sweater knit from Emmaonesock, with black wool for the bands. The left is a Patrones pencil skirt in black cotton heavy knit. Top is possibly Jalie in large scale animal print with black trim. Right one is that Burda twist neck top I just finished, with long sleeves and in gray wool rayon jersey.

Wool sweater knit from Emmaonesock.

Tops from the left: black wool tunic with nailhead trim at the neck. It's a knock off of a Tory Burch top. The second is in gray knit with padded, top stitched black silk shoulders also a knock off from a top I saw on shopbop.com. Right one is also a knock off of a Donna Karan white cotton wrap blouse. Yes, Karen I will finally use that white stretch poplin we bought in NYC.
This one is the loop front 3 Graces t from Hot Patterns in a dark red. The pants are black jeans, black wool with a fine metallic pinstripe, and gray wool and silk. I actually have one too many tops here. I just can't help thinking that it's boring, though I've tried to make the tops a bit different, at least the two with trims. I really like the white blouse too.
From upper left:. black stretch denim, black wool for trim on the sweater coat, white poplin, black wool knit from Michaels, gray wool rayon jersey, red rayon jersey,
Second row: wool sweater knit, black wool suiting with fine metallic stripe, gray wool and silk,
black cotton knit for pencil skirt.
I am not quite sure on which pants patterns I'll use. When I look at the photo of my fabrics it looks kind of boring! I do have a large scale black, gray and white animal print that I am thinking of using for one of the tops that might bump it up a notch. I am not very confident at putting prints together though. Well I still have some time to make a final decision. Feel free to comment and make suggestions.


  1. My daughter says when planning a wardrobe, base it on one fabulous favorite piece of fabric and build from there. Maybe none of these are your favorites? You have to have something you're excited about. I agree, the colors above are too low key. But maybe you are more understated? It has to fit your personality. Does it? I know I am more dramatic, but I work at home and so can suit myself.

  2. Nancy, I admire you for thinking about the wardrobe contest. Right now, I'm just going from one thing to the next with no real plan. I do love your sweater coat and the fabric you picked for it. If you go for the contest, I would most definitely swap something out for the bold animal print and make sure you have smashing bright colored shoes and/or belt.

  3. Little Hunting Creek, You're right, I need to build the wardrobe around a fabric I really love. I do like the jacket, but maybe not the fabric so much. I have a dark red wool double knit that may be better and give me the pop I need. The deep jewel tones work well for me. I will hit the stash again and see if I can't come up with a fabric combination that I like better. I love the animal pint fabric so that's a perfect addition.

  4. I love your choices and your fashion drawings are great. As for me, conceptually I'm always interested in the SWAP but I'm too driven by "what do I feel like sewing today" to stick with it. Good luck - your designs are a winner.

  5. Nancy, the advice about picking a fabulous print and building from there is good. I do think it would be fun to add some shots of color into your wardrobe. Accessories can play a big part in that--think belts, scarves, shoes, necklaces, etc.

  6. Love your planning. But this makes my head spin, I guess cause I've got 5 major contracts to fulfill before the end of November - I don't think PR would count those as entries!!!!

    Loved seeing all this put together. Thanks for sharing.

  7. great fabrics and patterns - love your croquis too, did you trace a photo of yourself? Very clever! Great idea for getting an idea of proportion etc.

    I think a pop of red would make those fabrics work together really well, I would call them classic and versatile rather than boring - and although they have to go together for the contest they don't always have to be worn with each other - the tip about accessories to add colour is good too.

    This is very close to the requirements of the old SWAP, I seem to remember you doing one with black, silver and yellow which was great!

  8. I agree with Fran. I think the patterns look fabulous (and you are right, as much as I hate to admit it that the sweater thingy is more versatile than a motorcycle jacket. The 23 year old in me just keeps saying "But, but it's a super rad motorcycle jacket!") but the overall color scheme is too drab. You love animal prints, you love splashes of color. Swap something out for a super amazing pattern and maybe a bright top? Who knows. This is the girl who spends most of her time in polo shirts that end the day with a splatter of kimchi on them from a clutzy 5 year old. :-p

  9. Every time I have put together a truly cohesive SWAP, it took so much effort that I thought my brain would melt. All the issues you mentioned, like making sure all the tops work with all the bottoms (in style, colour and fabrication) and making sure the topper looks good over everything is painstakingly difficult to attain.

    Typically, my starting point is one garment that I HAVE TO sew - it's always something I can't imagine living without. Then, I expand and fill in the blanks from there. Sometimes it's a pattern that screams to be made or a fabric that wants to be used - there's no explaining inspiration - the heart wants what it wants!

  10. Yay for using the white shirting! It hasn't reached its first birthday yet, so you're still good.

    I vote for the motorcycle jacket for the topper - it's the most special piece, and if you don't finish the wardrobe but you do finish the jacket, you won't be disappointed.

  11. I just had to say your little fashion croquis are so great, accurate, and I love that they seem to even have some attitude!