Hi friends!! This is the second time I'll be talking about fabric selection during the capsule series, so apologies in advance for any duplicate information you're about to endure. I have improved upon my skills since last year, so I figured an update was in order.
THESE TIPS HOLD TRUE REGARDLESS THE SEASON YOU'RE SEWING FOR. Though, if you're sewing for Fall (Aussies) or perpetual winter (Canadians. Just kidding. Kinda.) - follow the sudoku tips/free printable from Fall planning and substitute all the jewelry you will see below with layering pieces.
Let's hop to it, shall we!?
STEP 1. SORT ALL YOUR FABRIC BY PRINT SIZE.
What, you were expecting me to say substrate!? We'll get there. But sudoku planning really requires expert pattern mixing.
"I'm not an expert!! What did you get me into, you crazy person? You hath deceived me!"
Shhhhhhhhh, be quiet, be still, my friends. Just follow my lead, you'll be FINE! The task at hand is as simple as it sounds. Sort your fabrics by print size. Mega prints first, micro prints & textured solids second, and solids third. Or, if you're like me and have a wealth of solids, they can spill over into a fourth pile ;)
We're going to assign each pile to either the tops category, the bottoms category, or the layers/coordinates category. Separating them out like this will give our final outfits balance. None will be super boring. None will be over the top.
Now look at each pile separately. What trends do you notice? Here's my micro-print/textures stack. All but one are woven, and the cuts of most of them are under 2 yards. That alone says "tops" to me. (Not much else to make from voile remnants!) So this is now my "tops" pile.
According to my plan, I will need to pair this "tops" pile down to 3 fabrics. One for the Bellevue (accent piece), one for Akita, and one for the basics tank. Let's do that now:
- I eliminate the darker gray chambray and heather gray cotton lawn (top 2) because there's significant yardage of each, and I'll want to use those for future projects that would put them to maximum use.
- I eliminate the blue knit because I just don't need it for these patterns.
- I have just enough of the voile (purpley print) for a basics tank, so I'll pick that one.
- I have just enough of the white textured lawn for the akita, so I'll pick that too.
- The gray/polkadot is probably the most neutral of all my microprints - so I'll pick that for the bellevue accent piece. Plus, there's a lot of it, so I can fit an akita muslin out of it too. Win/win!
- Bellevue needs a knit coordinate. We'll come back to that.
Now let's look at the Mega Prints pile. These are the hardest to work with because they demand a lot of visual attention. You may not use many of these in the end.
Once again, there's a fabric theme. 3 of these are stretch denim (polkadot, indigo leopard, floral). I only need 3 bottomweights - so let's narrow it down.
- The teal print is scuba knit, and I already mentally promised it to a Sew The Show project (We're sewing for Mad Men this month!) So I'll eliminate that one first.
- The Blue/leaves is a rayon challis, and not meant for bottom-weights. It will make a great stand alone piece - maybe a dress-length Valley blouse?? We'll set this aside too.
- The white/navy stripe is french terry. I COULD use it for joggers, but that's not on my pattern list, and it has big dreams of becoming a sundance jacket someday. Who am I to rip those away from Terry!?
- That leaves the three denims. The floral is obviously "in." Hello?? We're sewing for Spring!
- The other two... let's see how it all pans out. Besides, I have a pair of darkwash jeggings that I can sneak into the mix and I'm one step closer to my lofty "wardrobe in week" goal.
Now I need coordinates. Just not nearly this many...
I have a maxi on my mind, and fabric for the job. Super cozy black slub knit I picked up at Hancocks last night. Consider yourself selected, maxi knit!
I need that coordinate for the Bellevue, too. I picked up a cut of dirt cheap pique last night too. (Hard to be sad Hancock's going out of business when they threw me 10 yards of fabric for $30 last night! Well... until I have another need to fabric shop. Then I'll be sad.) and there's probably JUST ENOUGH of the cream pique to do the job. If not, I'll swap in some beige jersey knit from the stash.
"Pika-what now? Are you collecting pokemon or fabric here?"
Pique, as far as my untrained hand can tell, is very much like a thinner french terry. It won't have a lot of movement, it's super soft, and has great texture on the backside.
I need knit for a Julia cardi, and I REALLY wanted to make a color work for it... but the purply voile (which cannot be reassigned because it's the only pattern I can use with such a small remnant) makes this difficult. I settle on a lightweight, light gray rayon cotton blend. It's soft and I'll love it, even if the color doesn't particularly excite me. Wooooo practical sewing...
So that brings me here:
I still COULD use the polkadot denim for the pants in the top row... and I haven't ruled it out. But polkadot on polkadot worried me. Besides, I'm in love with the plan for my pokemon Bellevue.
BUT, THERE IS A CHANGE.
Not for you necessarily, but for me. I can't bare to "half-ass" my floral denim. (I believe they call those "chaps"?) I already have the Liana Jeans for Itch to Stitch taped and muslined, so it's not a considerable jump in sewing hours for me. I think I'll be happy with this choice in the end. Just... remind me it's the right choice this weekend when I have to cut out all those pattern pieces ;)
I may also strip down the Liana pattern for the gray denim in the top row, too. I had my heart set on using a light blue 4oz stretch denim for the elastic pants, and it just didn't work out this time. I'll probably save that sew for summer!
In the end, my final sudoku looks like this.... Just, not necessarily to scale.
Now... if you don't have a wealth of apparel fabric for this exercise, you'll have a bit more freedom - and going to the store will probably get overwhelming. In which case, STILL shop by print size. You'll just get more choice over the substrate, and whether the print goes up top or down below or somewhere else entirely.
The visual above may be of some help to you, and determining where you place prints and how that will balance your proportions. Remember - you have an extraordinary body. NOTHING needs to be hidden or fixed. Focus on BALANCE to feel the most comfortable in your clothes and in your skin. If you want to know more about print placement, you can check out my own experiments with it, here.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST. I hope you'll forgive a mini rant on what I perceive to be a plague of the self-sewing world...
JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN INCORPORATE MULTIPLE PRINTS INTO A GARMENT, DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.
We're the masters of our own closets here ladies. We can make whatever we want! But we can be SO short sighted where print-mixing is involved. I know anthropologie makes it look easy - but have you ever considered what it could look like if you put this skirt with this top and this vest? They're ALL adorable individually. But put it together, and we'll all be like...
Before you grab that stripe ("Totes perfect for the sleeves!), that floral ("HELLOOO, accent pocket!") , and "OOH how cute would this contrast solid be for the binding!" - consider how neutral the rest of your closet is. If you can't wear it with 4 or more "boring" pieces you already have (or are willing to make), you're cheating yourself of sewing time and fabric for a one-night-fling with a hot mess of a shirt.
All the more reason to sew with a plan, amiright? You could have seen me sporting this craziness if I wasn't careful!
Haters gonna hate. Do your thing. I'm still proud of you for sewing yourself some love! Just balance your inner (and outer) wild child with lots of neutral wardrobe pieces, ok?? Love you. Mean it. **KISS KISS**
End rant, end post. Let me know what questions you have! Or what a boob I am for hating on extreme print mixing. ;) Chat with you below!