Wardrobe Assessment: Old and New Basics

This year, one of my personal sewing goals was to quit sewing with black. In fact, I said “No more black at all.  Period.”  When I started experimenting with sewing for myself, I sewed with black.  Black linen, black cotton, black silk, black dresses, black blouses black pants, black skirts, black black black.  Monotonous, but generally tasteful.

I also made a goal this year to severely limit the fabrics I buy, with the intention of learning to become a more thoughtful consumer (not to mention saving money).  Both of those goals helped teach me which colors work well for me, as well as how to combine them in a pleasing way.  When taken together, these colors look rather bright, but when mixed with my other clothes they make more sense.

I dyed some tencel-linen blend fabric blue recently using iDye.  (I also dyed the aqua colored voile pictured, to see what would happen.)  I played with this photo to show the texture of the fabric.

iDye is very simple to use.  I use it for many of my dye projects and find that it generally holds the color well. (Tip: Wash the fabric a few times after you dye it, drying between.  I wash with like color loads, it helps freshen the colors, too.  The dye doesn’t bother my washing machine, in fact it seems to clean all the gunk out of it.)

This 1930’s ensemble pattern finally arrived.  It was a sad, sopping wet little package on my rainy front step but luckily LanetzLiving knows what she’s about and the patterns were wrapped in thick airtight plastic bags.

I have a suspicion that this skirt might prove one of those excessively useful skirts I want to make over and over in different colors- a “new basic.”  Bonus- it fits on 1 yard of fabric!

The only change I’ll make is to add side slot pockets and either a super-high waistband or a contour band. It’s very long, reaching within 6 inches of the floor. Suggestions?

I know I slacked off uploading patterns over Christmas, I’ll finish out the sizes shortly.  Apologies if you’re hanging out for one, it will be there soon.


  1. That’s a good thing to know about iDye Steph – I have never purchased it as I was very nervous about putting dye into my washing machine. The colour you achieved is lovely and I look forward to seeing your skirt all finished. I’m itching to play with my sewing when I get back to Brisbane.

    • I think I’ll cut it long (nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?) and if I don’t like it, the skirt should chop down nicely into a 4-gore…

      • I’ve been having a lot of “thinks” about my blue wrapover skirt, I never realised what a huge decision where to put the buttons was, I’ve been looking at it on a hanger for weeks and I’m still not 100% sure!! Lol. X

  2. Are you using the EU/AU type washer or the American type? I am back in the States now and I HATE those American washing machines. I’m afraid to dye in them. I don’t think all the water washes out.

    • I don’t know. I’m using a water efficient/ energy efficient one, I never saw this kind in the United States but I never looked for them either… It’s a front loader and uses a small fraction of the normal water, but the trade off is each load takes about twice as long, up to 2 hours. Which is fine, I think it’s probably gentler on the fabrics as a rule.

  3. good to know about the dye – does it work on all types of fabrics? I have a ton of “scraps” that would be more useful in a different colour. When do you start teaching again? can you please include me? have been missing wardrobe club real bad :-)

    • It works on natural fibers- both protein and vegetable, as well as rayon. iDye makes a separate dye for polyester/nylon/synthetics which I am sure is very good as well. Be careful to buy the right one!

      I will be teaching from the first week of Feb- I’m doing a “Foundations” class which is open to anyone but a beginner can take it (details when I finish the samples and take some awesome photos…), and an open-ended intermediate class if I have the interest. I’ll be coming up with more later in the year. ;) I’d be pleased to have you in class again, Monika.

  4. I need to do a re-assessment of my wardrobe, and take a hard look at colours. I love working with colours and prints, but I really need some basic blacks (black skirts, black pants, and a couple black tops). However, that’s mostly so that I can mix in some of my mis-matched coloured pieces, and black is a classy shade that just works with everything.

    And also I’ve never really worked with it. I tend to gravitate toward brighter colours, and I need to start grounding my wardrobe a bit. At least in the colder temps.

    Of course, with me working in the field most of the time, I rarely wear anything besides field clothes anymore. But dammit, I wanna look pretty when I’m in the city!

    Okay, back to the content of the post. :D I love the colour your achieved! I admire that you can just go and dye fabric whatever colours you want. I’m intimidated by the whole thing, to be honest. But you seem to do it without breaking a sweat!

    Are you planning to make the jacket on your new lovely pattern as well?

    Okay, tl;dr a bit, eh? I’ll stop blathering on. :)

    • Well, you know what to do! Sew with some black. It’s not difficult or boring. In fact, I used to find it kind of magical… It seemed like no matter what I made, if it was black it looked awesome.

      I can dye fabric because I don’t care much what color comes out… There’s no calculation, just experimentation.

      I’m muslining the jacket now…. :)

  5. I always hate sewing my “boring” projects (plain black skirt, plain charcoal skirt, plain charcoal pants) but those are the projects I wear all the time because they go with everything.

  6. Well I haven’t yet sewed so much but there is certainly a lot of black in my wardrobe too. I well remember my mum dying fabric when I was a kid, and blouses too. When she got bored with the colour of an item she’d bring out the dye and the big jam pan and get mixing.

  7. Pingback: Tencel / Lyocell Fabric: The Basics « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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