Thursday, June 30, 2016

Planning a professional wardrobe

I'm starting a new job in the fall, and I feel like I need a whole new wardrobe.  I'll be a real live assistant professor, and the worn-out t-shirts I've been wearing for six years of grad school are not going to cut it - not to mention that the dress code norms (business casual) at my new school (a small private liberal arts college in the Midwest) are much more formal than the norm (full professors wearing shorts) in my grad school department at an R1 research-heavy university.

So I've been buying some apparel fabric and thinking about appropriate patterns ...
 In April, about a month after I signed my contract, I put in an order on sale at and got: 2.5 yards of  charcoal ponte de roma (75% polyester, 21% rayon, 4% spandex) for a long-sleeved Lady Skater dress, 1.5 yards of charcoal Bemberg rayon for lining a Phoebe dress, and 2 yards of teal shantung sateen (100% polyester) intended for a Phoebe dress but on second thought I think it might be too shiny and fancy for this application so I might save it for something else.  Those are all on the left in the picture.  On the right are fabrics I bought a few weeks ago when my sister-in-law and I went to shop the Hancock's Fabrics closing sale.  From top to bottom, they are 2.5 yards of blue geometric quilting cotton for a Megan dress, 1.75 yards of charcoal polyester gabardine for a Phoebe dress, 2 yards of quilting cotton for a McCall's M7285 view C (in the next picture), 2 yards of a navy blue wool blend for a McCall's M6757 skirt, and 2 yards of purple scuba knit for a Jenna cardigan.
I expect to buy a few pairs of warm tights (or make some leggings), and I already own two pairs of black dress slacks (although one of them needs to be hemmed), a yellow cardigan, and a handful of work-appropriate blouses.  I would like to have a white button-down shirt, which I'll most likely buy second hand, and maybe one or two more blouses.  I really want to try the Granville shirt pattern, but I didn't see any good shirtings at Hancock's.  I also have enough of a lovely light tangerine cotton voile with a firefly print for a fabric-hogging dress, so I think I might either make some of that into a Granville or another M7285 (and then still probably have enough left over for a non-fabric-hogging sundress).

With all of that (if I manage to sew very much of it between now and the start of classes) I think I'll have a pretty good business-casual capsule wardrobe!  I'm really excited about making more of my clothing, learning more apparel sewing techniques, and dipping my toes into fitting!

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