It took me an age to work out how to put a selection of images together for this post, and equally as long to find something that inspired me. However, I think it has been a very worthwhile exercise. I'm still very much in the 'novice' phase of my sewing. I buy patterns and fabric on impulse without much fore thought, and now I have a cupboard full of patterns and fabric that doesn't match my current tastes or the season.
This exercise has actually made me think about what I want to wear over the autumn. I normally end up in a uniform of black. Black coat, black jacket, black boots, black cardigan, et cetera and ad nauseum. Hell, if I could bring myself to wear a beret it would be positively hipster and goth. And whilst I have an enduring fondness for the goth* as I am a former goth, the black on black thang can get a little bit dull.
One of the (many) good things about sewing is that I do not find myself at all attracted to black fabric. I've not even contemplated a black fabric so far whilst out shopping. I tend to find myself drawn to florals and bright reds, blues and purples.
This autumn I'm predominantly looking to make clothes that will work well with the two jackets on my mood board. Sadly I don't have the skills to make those beauties. Yet.
I've already bought the tweed number for a beastly sum - I made the mistake of trying it on when it was on display in Greenwich market. It was the red binding along the edges that won me, that and its posh country tweedy charm (I harbour a secret desire for rahs** who I purport to despise). If you feel equally taken by it, you can purchase it here. The bother is that I don't own much that matches it. I think bold reds, navy and purples will match this well. A bold pattern combining these colours would also be charming, however I do not think a floral is a good idea; this is a good thing as I need to be broken on the florals. Almost every fabric I have in my stash is a floral or a fruit print.
The second coat, a waxed cotton number by Henry Hunt, is not yet owned by me. But it will be. On a recent jaunt to Edinburgh, I happened past a Barbour shop and whilst perusing the window front I was reminded of the coats of my late pre-teens. My parents went through a spat of buying waxed cotton jackets for me, meaning I had to endure what I then considered to be painfully uncool market-bought Barbour rip-offs for quite sometime before we moved onto the next non-descript school coat. Now I think my parents were ahead of the curve, not that I'll let them know that. I love this Henry Hunt number so much! Again I think it's the red and tartan trim. At the very least I'm consistent. I have more clothes that will match this jacket than tweedy, but I want a host of red and purple dresses to go with it.
The jackets were my starting point, I then found the shoes and boots in the current issue of InStyle magazine which I bought to try and clue myself in to trends and what is actually happening in the fashion world. Again I tend to buy my shoes and boots in a functional black, and whilst they do indeed go with everything, I do feel bored by my shoes. My shoes do not inspire me or my sartorial choices, they are just there. The shoes and the boots on the board however, are amazing. The red shoes have a touch of the geisha to them and the boots are just freaking awesome. I like big mean looking boots.
From these items I used ColourLovers to devise a palette, choosing mustard yellow, scarlet, purple, blue and brown for the project. I then thought about the fabrics I would like to use. My main ambition is to try out a non-cotton fabric. Now remembering my former gothness, I decided on velvet. Velvet is just decadence, fantasy and luxury to me. I love velvet. I've never sewn it and I'm a bit frightened of making a cutting error or any error for that matter, but I so want a velvet dress.
Another fabric I've long considered but never attempted is a kimono fabric. I've long admired the designs and beauty of kimono fabrics and have toyed many times with buying a bolt. I've stopped myself because of my beginner status and the heartache I'd suffer if I ruined any. But I love the idea of 50s or 40s pattern worked up in a kimono fabric. I'm not sure how workable this idea is, the stuff I've seen for sale seems quite old and delicate; moreover it doesn't seem very wide. Still, why live half a life? I'm going to get on eBay and find a bolt and give it a go! Very carefully.
I reviewed my stash today and hit Lewisham's finest fabric shop 'Rolls and Rems' and have selected five fabrics for the challenge:
The pictures don't do justice to the colours of some of the fabrics pictured above. The blue velvet is more a petrol blue and what looks like a pink velvet above is actually more of a wine colour. I don't have any patterns selected for these lovelies. It has taken me ages to get to this stage and I have so many patterns, and I won't be buying any new ones. I'll think about when I have the current dress completed.
I'll end this post on a caveat; making up garments for this challenge will take me far longer than four to six weeks offered by the challenge. I'm a slow sewer at the best of times, I have a busy job and I have a lot of hobbies, friends and family that requires maintenance. Because I love the fabrics, and some were wicked pricey, I won't be comfortable using them without making a muslin first. Naturally this equals even more time.
Le sigh, perhaps I'll have my fall collection finished by spring?
*Although not for hipsters. Sorry hipsters you are objectionable and humourless, and you think far too much of yourselves. Please stop ruining large swaths of London and New York. Also, please stop.
** Rahs = posh types, upper classes, Made in Chelsea, those that brim with a nonchalant confidence that comes from being well bred and effortless in all that they do. I come from a rough part of SE London, I'm not at all like this. I ooze awkwardness.