Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest

Guys! Guys. I entered a contest. I actually did it. I’m seriously so impressed with myself. This project took over two months of planning, shopping, more planning, and then sewing and fitting like crazy!

I entered the 2016 Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest, where the challenge was to make 10 garments that all mix and match. It must contain 2 bottoms, 2 tops, and 1 topper.

I came up with this plan mid-January, and tweaked it as I found fabric and patterns:

It felt like a lot to tackle, but I jumped right on it, starting February 1st. By mid-February, I had finished all 5 of my tops! I felt so ahead of schedule. By late February, I had finished the skirt, the sweater, and started on the dress.

And then life happened. There was a family crisis, and we decided to move on March 15th… So I packed up my sewing room, said goodbye to my pink shorts (which were cut out, laying on my sewing desk), and bid adieu to the contest. Until… my mom insisted I go to a retreat. It was a full weekend away, with nothing to do but whatever I wanted, which I could use to sew as much as possible. I said no at first, that I had way too much on my plate to just pick and up and go away for a weekend (4 days after we moved!), but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Wasn’t a weekend away exactly what I needed? Didn’t I just need to recharge, recoup and sew?

So I went! I finished those pink shorts by Saturday noon, and started on my black jeans after lunch. And they were completely done and ready to wear by Sunday noon! I couldn’t believe it. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you have literally nothing to do other than sew.

I used the rest of Sunday afternoon to make a skirt (just for fun!) and finish hand-sewing the lining of my dress. And then it was done. All that was left was pictures.

Taking pictures was, in and of itself, a daunting task. I had to take pictures of 33 different outfit combinations! (I discovered later that I didn’t need to actually capture every single combination, but oh well).

So after all that, I finally got everything edited, writted up and posted! You can see my contest entry here.

The first garment I finished is this chiffon blouse. I made it with Simplicity 1162 and light pink bird print chiffon from JoAnn last summer (my one trip to the states to buy fabric!). I modified to pattern to remove the front placket, as I thought the chiffon was too delicate for buttons and a placket. Reviewed here.

The next thing I finished was this rayon tank. I used Pattern for Pirates Free Spirit Tank, with the racerback view, and some rayon spandex knit I found in Fabricland’s bargain center. I ended up trimming a few inches off of the hem, as I felt it was too long to wear with the rest of the wardrobe. Reviewed here.

The next project was this simple floral shirt. This fabric was one of my very few stash fabrics without a plan, as I bought it during one of Fabricland’s “Buy _ Get _” kind of sales. This one was in the same price range as the knit I really wanted, so I grabbed it to get the deal, figuring I’d use it eventually. I didn’t realize how much I’d love it! This is such a gorgeous print once it’s sewn up! I used Patterns for Pirates Womens Henley as my basic tee, and I modified the neckline here. Reviewed here.

I then tackled this hack – I used the P4P henley, like with the previous shirt, but colour-blocked it, and drafted flutter sleeves. I used black stretch lace and pink rayon spandex knit. I absolutely love everything about this top – from the fit, to the colour, to the sleeves. I do wish I’d had the foresight to put the colour-blocking line a little higher, but I just wear a pink cami with it. Reviewed here.

Oh, and of course my dog decided she needed to be in the photo! We were outside with her for a few hours, taking photos, and I’m sure she was so confused. A couple times, she’d wander up and stand in the photo, but this one turned out too cute not to share!

And the last top I made – another p4p henley! This time, I used the same neckline as the floral top, but hacked the back to create a crossover keyhole. I used slinky polyester-spandex ITY from Fabric Wholesale Direct. I’m always nervous to order online (between shipping to Canada, the exchange rate, and the complicated returns, it’s tough), but this colour was too pretty to pass up. I’m very happy with the shade, as well. It’s exactly what I imagined. Reviewed here.

It was really tough making this knee-length skirt in the middle of February. Saskatchewan couldn’t make up its mind about the weather this winter, so the snow would start to melt, and then we’d have a blizzard and awful temperatures. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground until early March, so it was tough making such a cute skirt that just had to wait for warmer weather. I made this dark grey pleated skirt using Love Notions Sybil skirt, and ponte roma from Fabric Wholesale Direct. I will be ordering more of this ponte roma, it’s a heavy weight, stretchy, firm fabric that hasn’t pilled yet! Reviewed here

If I thought that skirt was hard to make, this dress was even harder! I made this dress using the book Sew Many Dresses, which is a mix-and-match pattern book. When I found this beautiful eyelet at Fabricland, I had an image in my head of exactly what dress I wanted to make. As I hunted for patterns, the image in my head only solidified, and I couldn’t find anything close enough! I figured I could Frankenpattern it together, but instead I decided to order Sew Many Dresses off Amazon. And it was perfect! I used the princess seamed bodice with the scoop neckline, paired with the pleated skirt, and I made it sleeveless, fully-lined and with a center-back zip. Exactly what was in my head! And a perfect style to show off this pretty eyelet. Reviewed here.

This was the project I was looking forward to! Cutting it out takes a lot of space, so I put it off, but I absolutely love this sweater. I started wearing it right away, almost too much! Haha. It’s a very versatile style, and goes with a lot of outfits, despite the bright colour. I made it using Simplicity 1961 and a poly-rayon-spandex slub knit from Fabricland (quick story about this fabric – it was a Christmas present from my husband! I told him that 2m or 3m was a perfect amount, and told him to look for knits, and he went to fabric store and walked around touching everything until he found something he liked! What a sweetie. So he bought 3m cuts of this fabric, and the same fabric in green.) Reviewed here.

And then I took a wee bit of a break from sewing to pack my house, move, and start unpacking my house, but I already told you that story. So by the time I got around to making these shorts, it almost felt like time to wear them! (It’s still pretty cold out, getting below freezing most nights, but we’ve had some really warm days!) I made these using stretch denim from Fabricland in such a fun colour, and using the Jalie stretch jeans pattern. I wanted to simultaneously make shorts and test the jeans pattern, so I just cut the pattern off at the knees and made jean shorts (only not as tacky!), so these shorts have full front pockets, back pockets, belt loops, a fly zip and a button! I tackled a lot of new things making these, but I always love a challenge. Reviewed here.

And then, at long last, I made a pair of jeans! I used black stretch twill, so they look a little more professional, but they still have all the jeans finishes like topstitching, pockets, zip fly, belt loops… They fit exactly the way I want them to. I know these will get a lot of wear, especially to work. Reviewed here.

Here’s a few composite photos so you can get an idea of how all the items pair together:

Each top paired with black pants
Each top paired with pink shorts
Each top paired with the skirt
The dress!

I’m absolutely so happy with it all! I know this was a crazy long post, but there was a lot to get through (more than 2 months worth of work). So thanks for sticking with me, and checking out the largest single project I’ve ever tackled. Can’t wait to plan a summer wardrobe! (just kidding…)

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