mini wardrobe submission

For the mini-wardrobe contest you need to make four pieces that will compliment a previously owned piece, or completer piece.  All together you need to make at least six outfits with your items.  So I made two tops, a dress, and a pair of pants.

COMPLETER PIECE- my refashioned navy cropped leather jacket (love it).

TOP ONE- For this top I drafted a loose fitting top with butterfly sleeves, a v neck and gathering at the neck line.  I found this lace at Joann’s that is more like the lace that you would see on the veil part of an old fashioned hat (I am sure there is a name for it but I have no idea what it is).  I liked that I could follow the lace trend with it without haveing to go with a really heavy pattern like you see more often in the stores.  I completely line the shirt.  At first I only had one layer of lace at the necline but it looked a little wimpy so I added the second longer layer underneath it and I love how it turned out!

THE DRESS- Last spring I saw this dress at Anthropologie and fell in love.

The things I didn’t quite love were the 248 dollar price tag, it is silk (four children), and I am not too crazy about the Aztec like print.  I love the shape of the dress, that it is a flowy looking dress that still has waist definition.  So I found this Ikat like fabric at Joann’s in a color pallete that fits perfectly with my other mini wardrobe fabrics.  I started pinning it on my dress form and cutting and sewing until I had it figured out.  The trickiest part was the two gathers at the waist.  I ended up using a big seam allowance then folding it over and stitching with enough room to run my ties through.  Then I made buttonholes in the front to run the ties out of.  This dress has 16 shank buttons.  Do you know how much money 16 shank buttons can run you?  I ended up buying a bag of wood beads for four dollars.  That is only 25 cents a button!!!  I kind of get a little over excited when I get a good deal.  I really love this dress!  I think it will be great for summer because of the style, but will also work really well for fall with a cardigan because of the color pallete.

THE PANTS- I think these pants were meant to be.  I had absolutely no problems sewing them.  I didn’t have to unpick one seam, my thread never ran out at the wrong time, and my idea for changing my pattern looked just like it did  in my head.  I was inspired by a look I have seen a couple of times on Project Runway here here and here (sorry but I couldn’t get a good picture to copy).  I loved the baggy look at the bottom of the pants.  You see I have some issues with skinny jeans, mainly that they make my hips look HUGE, but I love the fact that you can wear cute shoes with them that can actually be seen since the hem of your pants isn’t so close to the ground.  I thought this might be the perfect solution.  I feel like the gathering around the calf gives enough volume to balance out my hips and thighs reducing the ice cream cone effect.  I made these out of uncut corduroy.  I love this fabric it is really sturdy and thick (thinking cold Montana winters here) and really soft.  It feels somewhere between a felt and a velvet nice and soft.  I used the flat front zipper placket tutorial from Threads magazine and and Sandra Betzina.  On a side note I got a kindle fire and I LOVE it.  Usually when I follow tutorials with my sewing I have to run upstairs to see it on my computer then downstairs to do a few steps, then upstairs again and over and over.  This time I just set up my kindle on my sewing table.  It was so much quicker.  I used my awl and hammer to insert the button and a whole bunch of rivets.  I top stitched the begeezes out of these pants with classic gold denim thread.

TOP TWO- This top was originally supposed to be a pencil skirt made out of a carmel colored two way stretch knit.  I only had one day left to make it so I thought “this will be easy, I can knock out a knit skirt in a couple of hours” boy was I wrong.  The knit was pretty thin without a lot of stability so it would show every unfortunate bulge in the stomach, hips, but area.  So I got this great idea to ruch the sides of the the skirt to give it a gathered look that would be thicker and more stable.  When I was done and looking at it in the mirror the game show The 20 thousand dollar pyramid came to mind…

Cattegory- Things that look terrible


  • Sausage links
  • ruched 80s prom dresses
  • 80s balloon valances

Answer- Karen’s ruched pencil skirt!!!!!!  (winning bell, balloons falling, confeti everywhere)

So ya, I was in a pinch.  I quickly looked through my fabric to see if I had something else in the right color pallette, but I really wanted that fabric.  So I chopped up the skirt and made a shirt out of it.  I made really long sleeves (because apparently I am more than a little obsessed with gathering) but I really like the results on this top.  I also have had this idea for a while with a twist on a scarf at the neck.  I sewed a long rectangular strip of the fabric to the front of the neckline then I can wrap it around the neck and hang it down the front for a scarf look, or wrap it around to the back for a turtle neck look.

I am really happy with how everything turned out, I feel like I have a lot of versatile yet unique pieces to wear this fall, and now for your viewing enjoyment here are a bazillion posibilities for these items.

Wow, so I am pretty sure that is the longest post ever.  My eyes are completely dried out from staring at the computer this long.  HOW do people have desk jobs???  I really am happy with everything, the only thing I might change is to make the lace top a little more slender through the ribcage.  I think my favorite is the maxi dress with the leather jacket, I think it is a little unexpected but really cool.  So anyway head on over to  to see all the other amazing entries!

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8 Responses to mini wardrobe submission

  1. Meredith says:

    I really like all the pieces, the dress and pants especially. You’re so creative, yet so practical and still stylish.

    I just love your blog! I know I’ll always find something cool, interesting, unique, cute and downright amazing. It’s really awesome that you can make all of this, and make it look so easy. I hope you win a prize. Can I vote for you?

  2. Meredith says:

    PS: You comment about the skirt that didn’t work out had me laughing out loud.

  3. Uta says:

    Wow, that’s a great mini wardrobe! Your leather jacket is so cool, and now you have so many things to wear with it. My favorite garment is the pants, great style, great color, perfect execution!

  4. Mom says:

    Karen you are the Bomb! What a fun contest! I think I would love to do something like that…is there an age limit? haha

  5. Andrea says:

    Ummm, how do you just “make stuff” without having to follow a pattern? You’re like a sewing magician, seriously! Everything looks so great, but my favourite are the pants. Love the colour and the fact that they are cords, and they look awesome with that cropped jacket. Excellent mini-wardrobe, IMO!

  6. prttynpnk says:

    This is a great collection- you have my favorite so far!

  7. Jessica says:

    Um, I’m going to need a version of that dress too…just like the blouse I loved a few weeks ago! Awesome wardrobe!!!

  8. Gorgeous wardrobe! I love your creativity and make-it-work attitude. I can’t believe that top was salvaged from a wadder skirt, it looks like it was just perfect for that top.

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