Sewing a Summer Capsule Wardrobe (part 1)

I had so much fun planning a capsule wardrobe and now it’s time to actually start sewing. Since I no longer have a job to go to every day, I want my summer wardrobe to be easy, comfortable, effortless, and most of all cool! As in—it’s 95 degrees and I want as few clothes as possible on my body—cool! For me a pair of easy fitting, easy wearing shorts fits that category perfectly. And it just so happens that I have the perfect pattern for those kinds of shorts, The Love Notions Allegro*.

This pattern has options for shorts in two lengths, two skirts, and three options of pants. It can be made in lightweight, breezy cotton or linen which suit my style just perfectly. Lucky for me, Tami, the designer of Love Notions was updating the pattern and I got to test out the changes. A bit of fullness in the original pattern was removed and the rise was lengthened a bit. Sizes have changed to numerical sizing and go up to a 30 now, so there’s something for everyone with this pattern. And it’s on sale right now. If you already own it, you just have to download the updated version-easy peasy!

I used the My Body Model app to plan my shorts and think about which fabric I already had in my stash that would work for the pattern and work with lots of different tops. I originally thought I would use linen but then I came across this lightweight denim-y fabric that I thought would work well. The fabric was purchased a couple of years ago at Textile Fabrics in Nashville and leftover from another project. To tie them into the rest of the capsule, I planned a few red bar tacks and a red draw string at the waist.

So now there was nothing left but to sew them! Since the waistband is elastic, fitting is an easy matter. Although my measurements mostly put me in a size 10, I sized down to an 8 to create a somewhat fitted pair of shorts. I made a slight “flat seat adjustment” and added a smidge of room at the inner thighs. Both of those are very typical adjustments for me. Actual construction is quick and easy and the direction are clear so that gave me a little freedom to add details like the red bar tacks. However, looking at the pictures I can see that I might have over corrected as I’ve got some weird pulling there.

I doubt I’ll tuck my shirt into these shorts very often but I’m really pleased with the touches of red at the pockets!

After the shorts were constructed, I moved on to the La Bella Donna top*, also from Love Notions. I’ve had this really fabulous knit stripe fabric from Blackbird Fabrics that I’ve been afraid to use because I loved it so much. (Why do we do that?) I finally decided to go with a foolproof pattern that I knew I would wear. La Bella Donna is a great wardrobe staple that takes very little time to stitch up. I did hand-baste all of my stripes before I ran them through the serger to make sure those stripes matched up.

So now I’ve got one entire outfit finished for my summer capsule! I like sewing a top and then a bottom so that I’ve got something ready to wear right from the start. This outfit is mostly blue so I’m going to work on red and white next.

*All highlighted Love Notions patterns are affiliate links which means I earn a very small commission if you buy the pattern from this link. Love Notions patterns are the only affiliate links I use because I really love the patterns!

Love Notions Rhapsody Update

Love Notions recently updated their popular and versatile Rhapsody blouse pattern and made it even better! The size range has been increased to a 5X and a dress option has been added. There are 8 sleeve options so you could have a Rhapsody for every day of the week (and one extra!) I was lucky to be a tester for this updated version. You can get your copy of it here: lovenotions.com/product/rhapsody

I made a size M with no fit adjustments. My measurements are UB 35”, FB 36”, W 30”, and H 40”. I frequently have to do a forward shoulder adjustment on patterns but I think with the yoke detail already coming to the front it worked out perfectly and I didn’t need one! Yay!

The Rhapsody works best in a flowy type fabric like rayon challis or a lightweight poly. Fabric suggestions list any type of lightweight fabric and since I’m a cotton kind of girl, I made one in a lightweight dotted Swiss cotton using the cap sleeve option. In this fabric the details of the gathered yoke and the ties really stand out.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone! I also made the dress version in a beautiful, flowy rayon. I went with the flutter sleeves for the dress to maximize the swishy-ness. I made a mistake when I cut the skirt on this one, though. The front and back are the same pattern piece but the back is cut on the outside line and the front on a different line. I cut both pieces on the front line so my back pattern piece wasn’t wide enough. Not a huge problem, I just gathered the back bodice a bit to fit the skirt, but there was a good bit of head scratching until I figured it out!

My third top I made from a lightweight cotton gingham I purchased from Stitch Therapy, a lovely little shop in Auburn, AL. I found myself in Auburn for two weeks back in the fall helping my son and I spent a good deal of time here. I didn’t have my machine with me so I could only do some hand sewing but the shop was so welcoming. It’s always nice to hang out with “your people.”

I tried out the bishop sleeves with the gingham version. I only had a wide elastic to use in the sleeves and I think it made them a bit shorter than the pattern intended. (Is everyone else out of narrow elastic these days?) However, I almost always go for a slightly shorter sleeve anyway so it’s not a problem for me. If you have longer arms, you should probably measure before you cut.

I did a little hack at the neckline for the dress and gingham Rhapsody. I’ve seen this type of neck recently and I love the unfussy look of it. It also keeps your blouse from gaping at the neck without bothering with the ties. If you want to know how I did it, check out the Love Notions blog next week!

I was a pattern tester-and it was fun!


Recently Love Notions Patterns put out a call for testers to work on a new dress pattern, the Vivace. About the same time, The Love to Sew Podcast featured Meg McCarthy from the Cookin’ and Craftin’ blog and the had a great conversation about the pros and cons of being a pattern tester. So I took the plunge and filled out the tester application with Love Notions. I answered questions about my sewing skills, my measurements, and my photography skills. Frankly, I didn’t dream I would ever be selected, I was just proud of myself for “putting myself out there.” Imagine my extreme surprise when I received the email: “You’re in!”

Now the real terror began. What if I did it wrong? What if I was chosen by mistake? What if I hated the pattern? Relax, I told myself. I can just quietly slip away, never to be heard from again, if I can’t keep up.

Testers are asked to send a variety of views to the pattern designer. This was my initial version. A bit of the ease was removed in the final pattern.

Fortunately, none of those fears came true! The Love Notions community is nothing but kind and I loved the pattern! In fact I loved it so much that I’ve made three versions and have another couple planned. As far as the process goes, testers are emailed the initial pattern and instructions, asked to make a specific size and view, and then asked to give feedback. All feedback is welcome and as the pattern evolves you might be asked to make another sample. I actually found a mistake in the initial version that was quickly corrected in subsequent versions. At the end, testers are given a credit to get the final version at no cost.

One of my final versions of the Vivace pattern from Love Notions. I’d had this large scale print in my stash for a couple of years and this pattern turned out to be perfect for it.

After making a couple of other versions, I got a little creative with the pattern and added a lace overlay. I don’t know where or when I will be able to show this off but it’s ready when I need it!

I really enjoyed the process of testing a new pattern! It’s a community within a community and it’s been a great way to get involved.