My Summer Capsule: Reflections

The weekend long read. 

Back in May I set myself the challenge of making a mini summer capsule that was interchangeable, useful and beautiful. It may have taken me 3 and a half months but it’s been a really lovely project to work on. Have a read below to hear my thoughts and reflections on the process. 

In my newsletters I talk quite a lot about my previous business and career in fashion, running a small women’s fashion label. I spend a lot of time thinking about the fashion industry and home sewing world and how they don’t have a great deal of cross over (in my view). Having spent time working in both, I think there is huge value to be drawn from both and I’m interested in finding a place in the middle; one where home sewing is able to be more cutting edge and modern and where the fashion world can soften and take time to slow down. 
I’m ultimately passionate about both sides of the spectrum. I love that home sewing is all about the individual creative endeavour which is supported by a friendly global network of makers. And I love the fashion industry for its constant demand for innovation, the feeling of ‘newness’ (even when it’s timeless) and the opportunity to curate collections.
To start finding my own groove in the middle I wanted to create a mini capsule collection using the PDF patterns available on my website. It didn’t feel right to work on the collection behind the scenes and present it as ‘finished’, as is standard in the fashion industry. Instead I built it backwards, sharing each stage as it happened from the first sketches and mood board, to each individual piece as I completed it.
Reflecting on the process I realise how the initial planning session was so key to making the project a success. I sat down with my boxes of fabric and pulled out various options from my stash. I cut swatches from these to take to fabric shops which helped me find colours that worked with what I already had. The process helped me to use lots of existing fabrics which was an unforeseen benefit.
When it came to choosing designs I thought long and hard about what pieces would be useful and fill the gaps in my wardrobe. I took a lot of time and care at this planning stage and the result is a collection that’s fully cohesive. It could be packed into a suitcase for a weekend away and all I’d need to add is shoes and underwear (which feels like an absolute triumph). This is the first collection I have designed around my own wardrobe so it feels really personal and a very sustainable approach to making clothes.
Overall it was such a treat to sew a whole body of work rather than approaching them as individual projects. Six garments might seem like a huge task but the pre-planning session meant I had a clear plan which removed so much of the faffing I tend to have around every project. I had the fabrics and ideas ready, I just had to execute them.
I’m really interested in hearing from you and whether it has been interesting to follow or if you’ve got any burning questions or thoughts. Hit reply if you’d like to share anything! And have a scroll for a round up on each individual piece.

Celia Dress

Dropped Waist Hack 
The first piece I made for this collection was this a dropped waist hack of the Celia Dress. An easy breezy summer dress that felt smart enough for me to wear to a relaxed wedding in May.
I'm not a 'dress' person but this is just the easiest piece to wear and I was really happy with how this simple hack totally transformed the pattern. I think this would also be beautiful in a very lightweight denim or a poplin in a punchy colour.

Classic Shirt

A short sleeved version
I'm wearing this shirt as I write this email so that says a lot. It actually took me a few weeks to warm up to this piece. I wasn't keen on it to begin with but it's now something I wear once a week.
The short sleeve hack works really well and it's a great hack for beginners who are nervous about sewing a placket and cuff!

Daphne Trousers

As shorts...
Next up I made shorts using the Daphne Trouser pattern. The verdict on Daphne Trousers as shorts...? I actually prefer shorts made from the Worker Trousers and Spring Trouser patterns but these are a colourful, fun addition.

Cara Top 

The simple summer top
Paired with the Daphne Shorts above is a rather dainty hack of the Cara Top. I made this piece more fitted by adding a centre back seam, taking in the side seams and cropping it to hip length. I also left off the collar and used a flat binding to finish the neckline.
You might have seen the tutorial for this on instagram which now has nearly 1 million views.... whaaat...?! If you missed it you can watch it via the button below.
I had intended for this to feel very casual but as it's so fitted it feels like more of an 'occasion' piece. I tend to lean more towards over-sized garments for comfort but it definitely fills a gap in my wardrobe for a simple but smart top so it was a worthwhile piece to make

Worker Trousers 

The pin-tuck hack
I wasn't sure if I'd have time to add these Workers but I suddenly had a real urge to make a really good pair of denim trousers. So here we are.
I did a pin-tuck down the front legs which I love as it adds another dimension of 'texture' to the garment. I've already worn these a lot and I know they'll be a reliable favourites for a long time.

Over Shirt 

The drawstring hack
This is probably my favourite piece of the lot which felt like a really nice way to round off this project. Having worked with the Over Shirt pattern for 8 years it was long overdue a shake up and I'm so happy with the results of this simple hack.
Even though it's the punchiest colour in the collection it works with every single garment and really lifts this mini range. I know I'll be wearing this jacket for a long time to come.