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Rae’s DIY Spring Wardrobe Refresh

Nothing like spring and a looming special event to instill the feeling that one’s wardrobe needs a little boost. This week I will head out of town to celebrate the wedding of a nephew with lots of family, some of whom I was with this time last year at the celebration of a different nephew’s wedding. There will be several events this weekend that require an outfit, so I headed to my very full closet a few months ago to make a plan for a DIY spring wardrobe refresh.  

Refreshing TRJ Makes in My Wardrobe

Chiffon top for dinner and dancing.

First plan was for the “dressy” dinner and dancing party. That sounded like it needed something black and shiny. Upon reflection I realized that it was before the pandemic when I made my last pair of black pants. There are a couple posts in this column’s archive about sewing basic black pants and how it is essential to create a new, fresh pair every now and then. I ordered some stretch sateen in black from Mood so I could stitch up a pair of black, light weight fancy pants.

To accompany these new pants, I have updated a beautiful, lightly sequined silk chiffon Tabula Rasa Jacket with ornate floral ruching that adds interest in the front and sleeve hems.  This top had one little problem regarding the location of the center front details, which needed to drape higher on my torso. Adding another ruched posy shifted the center front alignment and solved the issue. I am feeling great about this little adjustment. Stay tuned to social media this weekend to see the ensemble at the festive party.

Friday night there is an evening event at a restaurant. Last year I added a new pair of olive pants to the closet and they looked amazing with a very vintage silk kimono jacket in the back of the closet.  This silk print top always felt oversized when I chose to wear it, so I want to alter this piece to fit a bit more closely. The design was an early version of the Tabula Rasa Jacket, making it easy to remove the sleeve/side section, recut each section and then reassemble the jacket. 

After I added a second dart into each front, the hemline was about an inch shorter in the front than in the back. I adjusted it to create a slight high-low hemline, so it was not necessary to re-hem the entire top. 

Close up of the hem adjustment.

It is so satisfying to restructure beloved wardrobe pieces for a more comfortable fit and a new life.

Adding a Fresh Knit Top

The  last addition to my spring refresh is a light green sweater made from my Tabula Rasa Knit pattern with the ballet neckline. I am wearing it with a favorite scarf in the introductory photo. The fabric is cozy, but because of the color, feels perfect for a chilly spring day. The fabric was purchased at JoAnne Fabrics and it washed and stitched up beautifully.  

Adding this sweater has allowed me to wear a few of my beloved scarves that have not seen the light of day for many years. I had embraced the opportunity to stitch up well fitting printed tops to satisfy my love of color and floral prints and abandoned my habit of wearing solid tops with colorful scarves. During a closet and drawer cleanout in the midst of the pandemic, I realized I was missing wardrobe essentials that make wearing fun scarves possible; this inspired me to set a personal goal to add some.

As Earth Day reminds us about limiting personal consumption with regards to the environment, it feels good to have only purchased 2 fabrics for 4 new wardrobe choices that will become 3 different ensembles and lots of future ensembles as spring arrives each year.

Have you stitched any new garments for the new season where you live? Have you repurposed any beloved outfits that had become ill fitting or unfashionable? If you are interested in repurposing, I will be teaching several seminars including one called ReVamping your Wardrobe, at the national ASG conference in San Francisco this June. Visit their website for more information. If you are in the Mid-Atlantic region, Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg MD is sponsoring some classes about using up scraps, and I will be teaching one June 1 on making Scrap Lace. It would be great to see you there!

Happy Sewing, RAE

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