Top 10 patterns I’m looking forward to sewing in 2016

Last year I did a post just like this one and listed what sewing patterns I was looking forward to making in the coming year. I declared that it was not a goal or a promise, just thoughts on what was on my radar for the coming year. Looking back on that list, it is clear that by not making it a commitment, those patterns went unmade, save one. Only 1 out of 10! That is a bit disappointing. My sliver of an excuse was my big move that kept me out of the sewing room for at least 3 months, but still. So this top 10 list is much more of a declaration of sewing challenges I want to climb and clothing items I will actually wear. Imma gonna do it!

  1. Fehr Trade XYT top and Greenstyle Creations Stride tights – Workout wear was on the list last year and I’m really going to do it this year. I am a distance runner, I run almost everyday, so I know that making my own athletic wear will be so rewarding and well loved. Procuring good athletic fabric is a big hurtle here, but I just need to buy some. The styles that Melissa offers are unique, fun and practical. She has wrote so many helpful pieces on demystifying the process, too, so it really seems do-able.
  2. Rosari skirt by Pauline Alice – I have suddenly become obsessed with all of the patterns that Pauline Alice offers. I remember seeing a dress or 2 of hers a few years ago and not being excited, but all of a sudden now I want them all! This new skirt pattern is so good and I know I will wear it a ton, but what about the Turia overalls? What about the Quart coat? The Malvarosa dress? I could go on and on.
  3. A classic French Jacket – Now, I am not going pour 60+ hours into a couture jacket. No, no, no. But I would like to make a machine quilted, tweed coat with some classic details like trim and fringe. I recently tried one on at Nordstrom and felt like exactly 1 million dollars in it. It took every ounce of strength I had to resist buying the beautiful thing – it was on sale for $85 (marked down from like $250) and I knew how beautifully made it was, even if it was not handsewn like a Chanel. Maybe I should have just bought it, since I’m obviously still longing for it. But I knew that there was not room for many such jackets in my ultra casual lifestyle, and I truly want to make one. If I bought the jacket, I probably wouldn’t make one. It will be a labor of love, I’m sure.
  4. Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos – This is such a beautiful book to just look at, I might be tempted to use it simply for inspiration. But there are some really intruiguing patterns included in there, and I do love Victory Patterns. I am not much of a fit and flare dress type person, but some of the bodice and sleeve combinations look so cool! I really want to give them a try, and figure out how to incorporate them into my style so I can wear them. No doubt about it, they are tempting!
  5. The Sydney or Tokyo jackets by Tessuti – Lightweight and flowy, but still adding style. I have seen beautiful versions of both of these jackets, and I know both or either would slip into my wardrobe as “the third piece” when my outfits get boring and basic. The fabric selection will be endlessly exhilerating. Big bold prints, color, texture, who knows? They are cool shapes and have interesting details and just are not boring! I don’t like to sew basics.
  6. Inari_techInari T dress by Named Patterns – This is a shape I love to wear! Boxy, simple, but cool and comfortable. I’m not going to lie, I already muslined this up and made a nightgown, and I really like the fit so far. Again, the fabric choices are endless here, and I’m excited to use some unique woven fabrics. I have a couple ideas to try, like changing the neckline up and putting something into those side seams to emphasize the shape. Those special fabrics that have been hiding in my stash for a few better be scared, because this pattern may launch you under my sewing machine. Important question: This style really demands great shoes, does it not? I’m going to need to buy some new ones, right?
  7. Classic PJs – My previous sleepwear consisted in the thickest fleece pajamas I could find at Costco. Super glamorous image, right? Well, I realized pretty soon after driving over the state line into California that I was going to need a sleepwear overhaul. I have one lonely pair of Colette Madeline bloomers I made years ago and my husband hates, but I had to wear them every night from August to November. I would like a pair of lightweight classic pajamas that I can mix and match, with pants and shorts, and a matching camisole for really hot nights. I really like the Closet Case Files Carolyn pajamas, but the thought of taping all those PDF pages together sounds awful! I do know that her instructions would be super helpful, though. There is also the Butterick 6296 by Lisette, and I have had very good luck with her patterns in the past. There is also the Lakeside PJ set by Grainline Studios. I guess I have a whole night time wardrobe to make, huh?
  8. A Bralette like the Florence by Seamwork or the Anna Crossover by Oh Lulu – I say a bralette because basically I want to get into sewing lingerie “lite”. I don’t want to have to track down too many findings. I don’t want to get hung up on “the perfect fitting” bra. But I do want to dip my toe in the water and make something pretty and delicate and learn some new skills. And they actually might be pretty useful to me, since I work from home and avoid putting all that jazz on for real until I absolutely have to, I can just lounge around in a bralette until I’m good and ready to get dressed. It would be a vast improvement over my old Costco tank tops with the built in shelf bra. And I swear I don’t only shop at Costco.
  9. Popover shirts, tunics and dresses like the Itch to Stich Mila or McCall’s 6885 – I have 2 tops and 2 dresses that are this shape that I have purchased and love. My problem is that they are fairly boring fabric (white cotton, white silk, chambray and teal rayon, all solid colors) and are always too short! I want my shirts to come to my hip, a tunic that covers my bum, and the dress to come to just above my knee. I also want some print and color! I could really go wild with fabric choices in this shape, too, with the added detail of buttons to play with. As I mentioned last year when I said I wanted to learn button up shirts and collars, I can learn those things here!
  10. B6241 jersey dress – This pattern has me all kinds of excited. A cross between athleisure wear and super secret pajamas, but in a dress! It is sporty and cool and made from comfy knit. Look at those gargantuan pockets, too. I imagine myself donning this dress in the morning, loading the pockets up with my phone, snacks, maybe a soda. I’d be set for the day, and would not even need to walk down the long hallway to the kitchen. But no, really, I think I would wear this everyday, and it looks interesting and fun to make. It even has some colorblocking possibilities. Oh, and a zipper. I’m obsessed with zippers.

Continue reading

Another Morris blazer – and how to lengthen it!

Longer Morris blazerFor my next Grainline Morris blazer, I found another totally awesome 1980’s knit fabric, this time in a vertical stripe. So rad! It is actually quite hard to find a vertical stripe knit nowadays, so I was excited when I found this thrift shopping, even though it was just gray and white. I like how the stripe changed direction on the lapels, too. Continue reading

Capsule Wardrobe Update – Weeks 1 & 2


Hi all! Here is a little update on how my capsule wardrobe experiment is coming along. I’ve learned a lot these past 2 weeks and I’m going to make adjustments to the capsule along the way. Let’s take a look at how things looked on week 1:

Outfits week 1

It was chilly that week, and I mostly wanted to wear pants. Honestly, it has to be pretty warm for me to want to wear a skirt. We do have some cooler days and I walk my daughter to school, so I mostly reach for pants. And on the day we went to Disneyland, I had to dress as warmly as I could since we stayed out so late. I was glad I included knee boots in the wardrobe. Those can warm up any outfit.

My favorite outfit of the week was my ikat jeans, white shirt and gray jacket. This silhouette of slim pants, flowy top and cropped jacket is my favorite to wear. That is my best observation from week 1.

Outfits Week2

And on week 2, my observation really bears out, eh? I wore that gray jacket again, but now that I have my new pink Morris blazer, maybe I’ll give it a rest. It was still chilly, if you can believe it! I guess this is “winter” here in SoCal.

From this week I finally figured out what was bugging me about those leather and ponte pants — the front crotch length! I get extra fabric bunching up there basically anytime I move. HATE IT! So, my first adjustment to the capsule is to get rid of those leather jeggings (I’ll wear them with longer tops that cover that front part. The legs fit really well and they are comfy!) and replace them with my black Jamie jeans.

I also decided that 2 pink tops is silly, so I will swap out my pink Aurora tank with that white T-shirt I have on under my Morris blazer in the pic above. Having 2 white shirts seems like a much wiser plan and I like the shorter length that still goes well under my cropped jackets.

So, those are my deep thoughts on the wardrobe so far!  I’ll be getting my newest Morris blazer up on the blog this week and the tutorial that goes along with it. What do you guys think? Any thoughts on mixing and matching these pieces? I still have 2 tops and another jacket/thingy to add to it, which is fun to plan.

Geometric Morris Blazer

Morris blazer outfitThis has to be as close to a perfect garment for me as is possible. I know, I know, I have said that about my last 3 makes – my Camas blouse, my Liana jeans, and now this Morris blazer, but it is true. I think those 3 items cover my casual style pretty perfectly. I am planning on a dive into shift dresses soon, too, but that is another post.

Grainline Morris blazer sleeve cuffI believe this glorious pastel geometric printed knit could, in fact, be from the 80’s. I found it at my favorite East Side thrift store and have had it in the stash about 7 months. It had finally met its match in the Morris blazer. The weight is medium and the stretch is low, perfect for the hang of this jacket. I cut the facings out of another piece of thrifted sweatshirt fabric that was a bit scratchy on the face, but the underside was super soft, so I used that side. I do recommend putting something very comfortable on the lapels/facings because my neck gets irritated easily, does yours? That would be a sad end to a really wearable jacket if it was itchy! Continue reading

Liana stretch jeans rock my world!

Liana Stretch Jeans patternOf course I still love the Named Jamie jeans pattern, and I wear both my black and ikat pairs often, but I wanted to try making a classic pair of jeans. You know, the traditionally shaped 5 pocket with all the topstitching. I actually quite like to add topstitching to my garments now that I have an edgestitch foot for my Bernina. I wanted something I would wear and wear, not keep “saving” like I do for many of my handmades that are a little too fancy or precious. I wanted a workhorse.

I got to test the Liana Stretch jeans for my friend Kennis of Itch to Stitch patterns. I enjoyed the testing deadline to keep me focused, and I like helping other pattern designers. Kennis does a lot for the pattern design community and she is a very talented designer.

Itch to stitch Liana jeansThe coolest thing about this pattern is that it has options for skinny, straight, and bootcut legs. The way she does this is she drafted separate leg pieces that you add to your waist/butt/fly area. This is brilliant! Basically, when you finally get the fit of the tricky butt/crotch curve/hip area perfect in these jeans you will be able to use any leg width you want for a complete jeans wardrobe! So smart, right? I want to try them in all the different shapes and all the different colors…

My review- I love them so far! I included them in my Winter Capsule Wardrobe because they will go with anything. And I recently wore them to Disneyland. I was sitting down, then getting up, walking, skipping, you name it! These were comfortable and cute and BEST OF ALL, no yanking up my pants because they slide down my hips! This is huge for me, guys. Huge. They come up just high enough to stay up, but not so high that I can’t tuck things in. Extremely exciting!

Liana jeans zipper closeI also loved Kennis’ fly insertion method. It was easy to follow and resulted in a smooth, nicely finished fly. My best one yet.

Please note that this was the first version of the jeans, and there was a little tweaking of the yoke in the final version, and it ended up looking fab on a lot of different bodies. But, as I’m sure you know, it is very unlikely that you will find a jeans pattern that fits most people out of the box. People are just shaped different! This one fit me so well (no modifications because it was a test) that I am going with this version. I think the new pattern has more room in the bum area, and that is not an adjustment that I need. I have a lack in that arena!

Liana jeans DIY distressedCan you see that I tried to distress my seam edges and legs? It doesn’t show up on camera, and I will admit that I was a little timid about the whole thing. I might have another sandpaper session down the legs at least after I’ve washed them a couple more times. The distressed sections actually look more blue, so I wonder how the washing will effect the color.

Liana jeans back viewMy back pocket design was a horror of indecision and not getting them mirrored correctly. Ugh. I tried at least 3 different marking methods with limited success. Next time- straight lines I can measure out! But I like my unique choice of topstitching color. It is a little different, but not too wild. They remain classic.

Stretch jeans sideI didn’t feel I needed rivets in this pair, but I look forward to trying that technique out. This is a first try, but the errors I see are a learning opportunity. I’m so glad I am learning this new skill with such an nice PDF pattern and well written instructions, too. It has been very fun so far!

I asked Kennis if she wanted to extend a discount to my readers, and she agreed that it is a fun idea! Use the code “grayallday” without the quotes at on the Liana Jeans PDF pattern until January 17th, 2016 to get 20% off and start your own jeans wardrobe! I hope I see yours linked up on the Sew it Chic party soon!

Liana jeans discount


Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: An experiment


Here is my first attempt at a capsule wardrobe for Winter 2016. After doing a bit of research, making lists and revising them, and then revising again, these are the pieces that I came up with.

Quick overview if you have not read/heard/been bombarded with the idea of the capsule wardrobe: It is a limited collection of clothes that you can mix and match to create an array of outfits. The point is that every piece is one that you love and feel good in, and that even in those limited choices, every outfit you pull together will make you feel great and reflect your personal style without you having to amass a mountain of clothes. It will be easier to get dressed in the morning, easier to shop for, and you’ll be better equipped to express your real style. Cool idea, right?

When the idea struck me to create (and then blog) a capsule wardrobe, I imagined a comepletely handmade collection that fit my lifestyle, taste and was perfectly tailored to me. The challenge was that I do not have enough handmades at this time and for this season to put that together immediately. Should I wait and make the 8-10 pieces I dream of and then put the collection together? But then it will no longer be winter, and I won’t be able to wear the clothes. And I wasn’t sure which pieces were the perfect pieces anyway. So I set my perfectionist dreams aside and decided to put together a capsule about half and half, with a few plans for new pieces thrown in as I see fit.

My goal in doing this: I want a better sense of my style and what I feel good in, I want to see how I can be creative with the clothes I have now, and I want a clearer picture of what I’m missing for the future. I hope to use these insights for a Spring 2016 capsule. And I thought it would be fun! Clothes are so purely fun to me!

Hnadmade Capsule wardrobe bottoms

I’m already learning a bunch from making my list and photographing it for you guys. The plan I am going to follow prescribes 37 pieces…8 bottoms, 10 tops, 8 jackets, 8 pairs of shoes and 3 dresses or jumpsuits. I’m going create outfits and try to comb my hair for pictures 4 days a week and I’ll post about how it all goes together. Continue reading

Sew it Chic Monthly January

Sew it Chic first saturdaysAh! The clean slate of a new year is intoxicating! Throughout the year I am constantly making goals, revising goals, and working on my good/bad habits, so New Year’s Day is like a Super Holiday to me! My goals and plans get crazy during this special time. Whoo hoo!

But the main thing that I want to work on, online and in life, is to just do it. Jump in and don’t be afraid. Put it out there. I get really excited about my ideas, and then begins the slow descent of talking myself out of them. For example, 3 entire years ago I was really pumped up about starting a podcast. I had been listening to some knitting podcasts that were just basically rambling on about their journey and learning about fiber. I loved it and thought “Why don’t any seamstresses do this? I would love that podcast so hard.” So I did some research, bought some equipment, made plans, lists and goals, and then talked myself out of it. Now there are a bunch of great sewing podcasts out there, and so I especially feel that a simple monologue on my sewing obsessions would be stupid and uninteresting. But if I had done it more than 3 years ago, I would already know if my idea was awful, if I hated it, or if other people would listen to it.

Right now I am consumed by the idea of the capsule wardrobe. I really enjoyed making my wardrobe for the Pattern Review contest last year, and that kind of strategic thinking is so fun. I also follow some fashion blogs where this is mentioned and I wonder how they can look so stylish on a limited amount of clothes? So I started planning one, and thinking about sharing it here on the blog, and immediately I thought this is not what the sewing community wants to see. They don’t care about what I wear everyday and putting together new outfits is not going to be the least bit interesting. Especially if my wardrobe is not entirely handmade. So I totally talked myself out of presenting it on the blog.

But, IRL, I’m still really intrigued. I still want to try it. I’ve still got my list all ready and I rearranged my closet and I made a resolution to get dressed (I work from home, so that is a real resolution! Ha!) in my capsule 4 days a week.I think I will learn a lot from it, be able to plan new pieces to add and sew, and get more comfortable with my style, whatever that turns out to be. So I should just put it up on the blog, take you on the adventure with me, and you can always unfollow me if you hate it. (that would make me so sad, though!)

This hesitancy extends to patterns I don’t feel I’m not ready for (I’ve been sewing for 27 years!) or special fabrics I’m hoarding (I live within an hour of the second largest fabric district in the country! I can always buy more!). I would really like to break this habit in the new year.

So let’s jump into 2016!


I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been sewing up this last month! Let’s kick this party off with some rules:

Women’s garments only
Made or blogged in the past month only – to avoid reposts.
The party is open about a month, until the last day of that month.
You don’t have to blog to join in! Link up your Pattern Review, your Kollabora project or even an Instagram pic. I know there are so many lovely things made that we never see because not everyone is crazy enough to blog. I also have one person who emails me the pictures so I can get them up here.

Optional additional ideas:

If you are on a blogging platform that supports links, please link back to by using the Sew it Chic button in the sidebar, or just a simple mention in the text of your post. That way more people will find the party!
Look around and share a comment or 2 with a neighbor. I don’t mind admitting that I savor blog comments as much as New Year’s Resolutions. They are encouraging and build community.
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