Planning Sewing Projects by Outfit: The Fall List Grows!

I had my fall sewing plans laid out nicely, and felt pretty good about my small reasonable list! Then I stopped by the fabric store to get snaps and lining… and a fabric on the sale table caught my eye. You can guess what happens from there!

blue cotton floral pique-1

This beautiful floral was on the 50 percent off table. It’s dark enough that it doesn’t say summer and it’ll work with black tights, my fall staple.

blue cotton floral pique-1-2

Now is a good time to mention another tip about fabric shopping: take a photograph of the bolt label!

It’s easy to forget the exact content if the fabric isn’t 100% cotton or 100% polyester. You also get useful information like the name of the fabric, sometimes the same manufacturer will use the same base for other prints and it’s good to know which fabric qualities you like and which you don’t. I don’t always remember to do this, but when I do and I save the photograph in a useful spot, it’s a good reference to have.

I thought I’d wander the rest of the store and make sure I wasn’t missing anything else.

cream cotton eyelet-1

When you sew a bright floral skirt, it’s best if you already know what top you’ll wear it with. This cream eyelet isn’t too flowery and I like to wear a light colour on top, so it works with the print. I’ll line it with cream cotton voile to avoid the holes showing actual skin and seam allowances.

I was done and ready to leave after that. I had two pieces of fabric that I didn’t come in for and I thought I’d get out of the store before more came home with me… until I saw this!

black wool tweed with stretch-1

Stretch wool tweed? Yes please! I’d been wanting to sew a dark black jacket but so many of the black fabric I looked at were too shiny, too flat or too fuzzy. This was perfect! Not to mention there are little flecks of blue, making it both interesting and adding a subtle tie-in to the blue print skirt. I’ve lightened the photo so you can see the tweed and flecks of blue, but it’s quite subtle.

black wool tweed with spandex - designer!

Designer, too! Made in Italy. Expensive, but really nice. And for a fitted, short, jacket, you don’t need a lot of fabric. I think a $40/metre price tag is definitely on the high end, until you consider that the jacket takes less than 2 metres, less than $80 in fabric. Back to why I love sewing jackets: I couldn’t buy a well-made wool jacket for that price! (I know, labour is part of the price, but that’s a whole different story. Let’s just consider the cost that comes out of pocket.)

I chose bright blue lining for the jacket to bring out the flecks and to look nice with the skirt.

black wool tweed with stretch-1-2

It’s a good plan, to sew three pieces that work together as an outfit but are versatile on their own. The dark jacket goes with everything! An eyelet top is pretty with jeans, dark or coloured trousers, printed skirts. The skirt will look great with sweaters and tights.

black wool tweed and blue print cotton

I decided the concept was worth blogging about: the idea of shopping for fabric by outfit.

I rarely shop for fabric by outfit, but I can see the appeal. It does simplify your wardrobe if you finish all the planned pieces. You know that the next three things you sew go together, and there’s no worry that you’re just sewing cool things that match with nothing else.

black wool tweed and blue print cotton-2

A long time ago I read about the rule of three, that you should choose fabrics three at a time in coordinating colours and textures. That used to seem extravagant to me, but now I can see the logic. Even if the planned skirt fabric becomes a blouse, and the planned jacket fabric gets sewn into a skirt, you’ll end up with an outfit of some sort.

Tips for planning sewing projects by outfit:

  • Consider each item on its own. Cream eyelet blouse? Sounds good, as it works with jeans, trousers or any colour of skirt. Printed floral skirt? Exactly something I would wear, also works with grey or cream sweaters. Dark tweed jacket? Can’t go wrong! It’ll go with just about any colour or print blouse. An example of what might not work as well is a bright blue jacket to match the blue print skirt. It’ll go with the one skirt, but would it go with anything else?
  • Choose fabrics that suit the same season. I’m bending the rule a little here, as light cotton eyelet and charcoal wool tweed don’t exactly match, but I think an eyelet blouse works for early fall. However, if it was a eyelet skirt and a wool jacket, that’s more of a mismatch. Or a light-coloured printed skirt that doesn’t look good with dark tights.
  • Mix textures. In this case I have a printed skirt with a bit of a ribbed texture, an eyelet blouse and a tweed jacket. If all of these pieces were similar in texture, say a cotton sateen skirt, a cotton sateen jacket, and a cotton voile blouse, it could look a bit flat. Tweed jackets and satin blouses make a nice mix, or wool flannel and chiffon.

I’m excited to sew this outfit I have planned! It feels like smart shopping to do it this way. Three pieces that look awesome together, and equally great on their own. Do you ever shop for fabric by outfit – and do you end up actually sewing the outfit as planned or does the fabric get used for different things?

, , , , ,

39 Responses to Planning Sewing Projects by Outfit: The Fall List Grows!

  1. Alicia August 14, 2015 at 6:31 am #

    That eyelet would make a lovely Alma! Shame I live on the other side of the country, I would buy the fabric to make one for myself.

  2. Sam August 14, 2015 at 7:01 am #

    Fabric shopping by outfit is an excellent idea! It’s all too easy to be distracted by lovely fabrics only to find when you get them home you’ve got nothing to go with them.

    I love all three you’ve bought, they’ll make a great outfit together, and work with other things, as you say. That tweed looks really lovely.

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      That’s my usual problem! Very interesting fabrics, that are too distinct to wear frequently or don’t go with a variety of other items.

  3. Rachel August 14, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    That’s such a good idea :-) I tend to just but stuff I like when I see it, and then lament not having nicely planned pieces that go together. There’s not really any fabric shops near where I am, so I tend to get things online, so I really should plan better! Thanks for the thoughts :-)

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

      Glad it’s useful! Buying online would make this easy too, just ‘add to cart’ and compare how they look together. Or open a bunch of tabs. Or save the images to your desktop and look at them next to each other.

  4. Denise August 14, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    What pattern are you going to use for the eyelet? I have some similar fabric, and I can’t quite decide what to do with it.

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      I’m not sure yet, I’m thinking of a simple, semi-fitted top with not a lot of seams. I’ll post about it once I make it, or decide! I think what’s key is not too many seams, avoiding darts if possible, keeping the overall look very simple so the eyelet isn’t all broken up with lumpy seams.

  5. Lana August 14, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    I am excited to see these pieces all sewn up! I just started my obsession with sewing and have only ventured to make pillow covers and baby quilts but I am looking soooo forward to actually making clothes! Oh, I just can’t wait!

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

      Clothing is so fun to make! Well, I don’t make pillows very often, but I do get a lot of satisfaction being able to make and wear exactly what I want. If you can make a pillow, you can definitely make our beginner pattern the Rae Skirt – !

  6. Anya August 14, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    That’s a great idea and I am absolutely sure I will be using it as an excuse to buy more fabric… :) Also, I am just drooling over that wool over here! I hope Calgary stocks wool like that this fall/winter season.

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

      Calgary is much colder than us, so I hope beautiful wool comes your way soon!

    • Kim G September 15, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

      I have found lots of beautiful wool yardage at, of all places, the Mennonite thrift shop in NE Calgary! (It’s kind of in behind Sunridge Mall). Maybe that was a one-off donation, but I seemed to find different fabrics over a period of several months. Worth a look, perhaps?

      I love the Rule of Three – it makes total sense once it’s set out like that. I’m sewing out of my (copious) stash right now, but I think I’ll go reorganize said stash with that rule in mind. I think it will speed up my decision making *and* my sewing.

  7. Tracy August 14, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I love that eyelet and especially love that Derek Lam tweed-I’ll need to make a trip to Fabricana soon!!

    How’s the hand on that tweed? Would be suitable for a dress like the Cambie dress?

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

      It’s lovely eh? You recognized the bolt label from Fabricana! It’s the Richmond location if you plan to go. I think it would make a nice Cambie Dress, but only the A-line skirt version, not the gathered skirt. It’s not as thick as it might seem, it’s quite soft.

  8. Elle August 14, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    The Rule of Three! Another brilliant concept that seems so obvious once brought to light. I have too many orphans. Thanks for sharing, I’m looking forward to seeing your completed outfit.

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

      It’s a good way to plan if you often find yourself without a plan!

  9. Marie August 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Such I great plan! I think it is a great idea to plan a few project ahead and to make the pieces work together. I must say that with your planning this summer, and for this fall, you have inspired me to focuss on 3 projects only, and to make them work together. I am planning a pair of Ginger Jean in black denim, a Granville shirt in a lovely Liberty print in white and grey, and I would like to make a Morris blazer in a black/grey marl fabric something like your lovely stretch wool (would love to find something similar around here). Just need to find the fabric for the blazer. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration!

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

      I’m super excited to hear that our blog posts on planning have inspired you to make three things as well! That’s awesome. You’ve done both things in fact – three things AND planned an outfit! Sounds like a great fall plan.

  10. Cherie August 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    Tasia, in which fabric store did you find these? I’ll be in Vancouver in a couple of weeks for only a short time, so might have time to pop into one store!


    • Lauribear August 14, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

      The fabric came from Fabricana. There are two locations, one in Richmond and one in Coquitlam. Fabricana is wonderful! They have absolutely everything and good quality fabrics.

      • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

        Thanks for jumping in with the answer!

      • Cherie August 17, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

        Thanks, Lauribear! Appreciate the info!!

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

      Fabricana Richmond – address and details on their website or included in our fabric guide! It’s a good choice if you’re only going to one store, but we have many more if you find yourself with more time!

      • Cherie August 17, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

        Many thanks for the info!! Wish me a two-hour span!

  11. Lauribear August 14, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    I *love* your fabric selections. It’s going to be a beautiful outfit.

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks! I’m excited already. I mean I’m always excited about sewing projects, but it’s somehow even better when you can envision the full look!

  12. RavenNemain August 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    I just finished a dress from the green colourway of that eyelet. Underlined the whole thing (with guidance from the Sewtionary!) and lined it, and even though it was tedious at times, the result was totally worth it. Can’t wait to see pics of your finished outfit!

    • Tasia August 14, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

      That sounds lovely! I’m glad the book was helpful, you’re right underlining and such can be tedious but then you have a beautiful (and not sheer) final result!

  13. Gb August 14, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    Love those fabrics. Great choices. Look forward to seeing them made up.

  14. Nane August 15, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Waw, I’m completely sold on the concept and what you came up with. Gives a lot of motivation too not to wait too long between those three projects. You need to have them all in the same season :-) Can’t wait to see the progress and results. Have fun creating this outfit !

  15. Susan August 15, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Love the idea of taking a picture of the bolt end. It beats writing just some of the information down on the sales receipt when you are in a rush to not stall the line and get out the door. I will take a picture from this day forward.

    Thanks for the tip.

    • Tasia August 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      Glad it helps! I try to remember as it’s good to have the information later on.

  16. Angela August 15, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    I really need to do this! I really want to have a plan so I don’t waste so much time figuring out what to sew!.

  17. Lauren August 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    Sounds like a great plan. I can’t wait to see the finished pieces.

  18. Camilla August 18, 2015 at 2:27 am #

    Lovely fabric choices. And everything co-ordinates too. Can’t wait to see them all sewn up.

  19. Ms. McCall August 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    Love your choices! That wool is pricey, but it’s about what I’ve seen here in the US in the well known stores (Mood etc.). In fact I’ve seen designer wools for a lot more than that! My problem is that the wool becomes much more expensive for me when I factor in the problem that none of it has turned in to a jacket yet!

  20. Toni August 20, 2015 at 4:04 am #

    Beautiful fabric choices and such great tips Tasia! I need to work on coordinating my wardrobe more when I make clothes!

  21. Peggy August 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    I love your choices, not to mention the jacket you are planning to make will match black or blue jeans, a staple in my wardrobe! I can’t wait to see you post your results!


  1. Is 2015 going as you planned? | DIY wardrobe - October 4, 2015

    […] to wool fabrics and lots of knitwear. I’ve seen tons of  inspiring Pinterest boards and blog posts packed with autumn sewing plans. While I love reading other people’s, I don’t always […]