I love the autumn; it’s my favourite season. The colours work for me, the weather’s interesting, I get to tidy up in the garden and the weeds stop for a few months. There’s a good balance between time that can be spent outside, and time that can be spent inside reading and sewing. In France they have ‘La rentrée’ as an actual season which has always struck me as immensely civilised.
In fabric and wardrobe terms, we get to play with layers and textures; for me there’s a sense of renewal and personal re-invention. All the more exceptional then, why I needed to make such an effort to get my head into autumnal mode, as I described last week.
But here I am – and the process of assembling cuttings, patterns and swatches for this post has helped me along still further. This is a personal sewing list – not a run-down of what’s in and what’s out. If you want a visual précis of the coming season then I highly recommend nipping along to Dream. Cut. Sew. where Diane has compiled one of her excellent bi-annual style summaries, Pantone colour swatches and all.
My autumnal moods
It’s always exciting to watch the new fabrics come in; whatever my mood, especially in autumn, the process of creating groups and ‘stories’ is always a stimulating one. Actually playing with swatches invariably prompts ideas and combinations I hadn’t seen previously.
This year I seem to have two vibes going one. One’s a sharp-lined blue-and-black vision, inspired (I suspect, somewhere, at the back of my mind) by this ad and all it evokes.
Here’s how my A/W20 is running with that.
My other favourite grouping is this more traditional combination of rust, olive, dark gold and teal.
With these fabric and colour groupings in mind then, these are the patterns I’ve hit upon.
An absolute top priority. I wear them 95% of the time. I’ve fitted a couple of patterns before but it’s time to fit an ankle-length fitted pair that are more tailored than my favourite Leah Lounge Pants and which will keep my ankles warm, unlike my Wide-legged crops. I want more shape than the straight-leg jeans and ‘boyfriend’ chinos that are my daily go-to in the winter. I also want options that’ll prevent me from resorting to my leggings collection.
Almost as an aside, I have the Tessuti Chiara Pants pattern ready and waiting for a pre-washed length of our ‘Verdure’ linen. It’s not strictly speaking an autumnal project – more of a preliminary round, finishing off what should be a fairly simple summer project. But if I can get this one right I think it might be a perennial winner that I can replicate in other fabrics.
However the main event is the ‘Billie’ Trousers pattern from Fibre Mood. Now this, people, may be my holy grail of trouser patterns. The waist will need to come down a bit (my torso is ridiculously short) but I’m really excited by the styling in this pattern. I think the design owes something to the minimalist tailoring of Isabel Marant or Margaret Howell.
The cut is streamlined down the hips and legs but with nicely-tailored ease built in and wide enough to (hopefully) skim-and-not-get-stuck-on my calves. There’s a sharp line at the ankle to sit just above my winter brogues and flat boots. Vertical pockets at the side seams too. These could be the long sought-after replacement for my decades-old black acetate sateen trousers from French Connection that have been my staple going-out trousers. For that role, I’d use our ‘Tuxedo’ stretch sateen but my first fabric will be a daywear version with our restocked ‘Houdini’ cotton houndstooth.
Finally, just possibly, a needlecord trouser to follow, although that might require pleats, a wider leg and a turn-up. I love the exaggerated styling of these trousers from Cos, similar to a pair in the recent Chloe collection.
No – I know they don’t look practical for dashing up and down stairs but if you know a pattern might fit that bill then please, let me know!
My trousers will be the anchor for anything else I make this autumn – but I’ve fallen prey before to only thinking about one half of my wardrobe. So on top I’m planning The Assembly Line’s Cuff Top, probably in our ‘Ceanothus’ cobalt Tencel twill.
I know I’m late to the Cuff Top party (as ever) but that 80s blue-black contrast is too good to miss out on.
Other top options are the popular ‘Cielo’ from Closet Core – as an opportunity to try out some structured sleeves – or even this top by Rachel Comey in Vogue 1744. (I’d missed this one – but thanks are due to Dream. Cut. Sew. for bringing it to my attention.) It’s possible the ‘Cielo’ is too boxy for me and V1744 too fitted – in which case there could be a sleeve mashup in sight if I like the gently-shaped fit of the Cuff Top as much as I think I might…
I made a couple of jumpsuits two years ago; both were summer versions and the more casual one in viscose got an awful lot of wear. I’m toying therefore with the idea of a winter jumpsuit and for that, the utilitarian styling of the ‘Thelma’ from Merchant & Mills is beckoning.
I’ve read that the sizing is tricky and I don’t want to be swamped so a toile is on the cards, as is the possibility of using a drapier fabric – and again, I’m back to our Tencel twills. We have lovely autumnal colours on the way, including toffee, ochre and a rich red – but the jury’s out on colour…
I have my slow-sew checked jacket still to finish. The undercollar is pad-stitched and waiting to be attached and this autumn really has to see this project completed.
Once it is, Kerry brought the M&M’s ‘Ottoline’ Jacket to my attention. Another utiliarian option, but I like the fit on the shoulders and it’s a look that would work well in a drill on top of those needlecord trousers.
Ready, steady, toile…
The first job though will be to toile my trousers. Trouser fitting can be daunting but now it’s a task I can’t wait to get going on. Despite my misgivings a few weeks ago, I’m all fired up for the autumn and I’m determined to rediscover my creative energies regardless of whatever’s hitting the fan elsewhere. I’ve even had a haircut!
If you’ve tips and tricks for any of the patterns I’ve mentioned then do let me know – likewise if you think I’ve missed a trick. Are you planning to sew for the new season – and if so, what? Do tell – and thank you for stopping by!