Thanks for stopping by as part of the Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates Sew, What Do I Wear? Professional Edition Blog Tour! I have been working on a winter mini capsule that can be worn in the work place (with a few great date-night pieces, too!). I know lots of people ask what sort of me-made outfits make appropriate work attire; I’m happy to share some of my favorite options with you!
The easiest part of a capsule for me is always the actual garment construction; the hardest for me is always choosing fabric and patterns! If you read about my fall or my spring capsule, you have a pretty good idea of how I plan my mini capsules. This one was slightly different – I made a no-floral rule (😱😱😱😱), and set a goal of including at least two woven patterns.
As in the past, I chose my two busiest fabrics first. The diamonds are a double brushed polyester spandex from Love Adore (just a note – their beloved founder, Kim, passed away a few months ago. Kim’s family opens up shop periodically to continue her legacy. Join their Facebook group to keep up with their schedule. I love to support them any time they’re open for business!). The animal print is a rayon spandex from Sly Fox Fabrics.
After I chose my two busy prints, I decided to stick to mostly neutral colors with just a little pop of color. I picked a bright blue knit (I think it was a french terry blend) from a clearance sale Knitpop, and a blush pink chiffon from Hobby Lobby.
The remainder of my fabrics were a variety of neutrals, including a great dark gray yoga knit (also from Knitpop), a gray and white striped rayon spandex, a gorgeous sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee, and solid black double brushed polyester.
Choosing Patterns –
After fabrics, I planned out which patterns I wanted to use. I usually plan 3 tops, 3 bottoms, and 3 layers, but I strayed from that a little this time for a total of 12 pieces. The two things I considered when choosing patterns for a professional setting were neckline for tops and length for dresses/skirts. I find almost all of the Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids patterns to be work appropriate, but always check with your individual employer/existing dress code before you plan your own professional wardrobe.
One last thing to consider if you’re working on a capsule over a longer period of time is to take your measurements multiple times, especially if you usually hover between two sizes, and definitely before you cut woven pattern pieces since you don’t have the wiggle room you do in a knit pattern. I’m SO glad I measured again before I cut out my woven pieces; since I worked on this capsule over a period of two months, my measurements changed just enough that if I cut my “normal” size I would’ve been unhappy! I still went with the same size for the knits I had already cut out/finished, but definitely consider measuring frequently!
Featured Patterns – Mama Isabel with Mama Quinn
Mama Isabel is true love for me because of how versatile it is. I love the option to wear it as a dress, a long cardigan, or over/under other skirts and tops. My fall capsule had several different ways to wear Mama Isabel, but one of my favorites is wearing it as a cardi. I made this one with 3/4 sleeves and dress length tulip hem.
One of the two woven patterns I included for this capsule was a dress length Mama Quinn, made in a cream chiffon with a lace (non-stretch) trim from Hobby Lobby.
This was a great way to provide a higher neckline and more coverage at the hemline without needing a ton of layers. Depending on your specific dress code, an infinity scarf is another great way to work with lower necklines! This hemline may still be a little short for your work place, but both Mama Isabel and Mama Quinn can certainly be altered to have more length! Quinn would also make a great cami-style blouse to wear under cardis, but the chiffon I used was a little too sheer to wear like that!
Tops- Mama Tara, Mama Mya,
I LOVE the Mama Mya pattern. It’s one of my most used patterns. It’s a quick and easy sew; even though it’s casual enough to wear with jeans or leggings on the weekend, it can still work in a professsional setting. I made the one above in a light gray & white striped rayon spandex. I used tunic length and 3/4 sleeves, with no height adjustments.
Mama Tara is another quick sew, with a drape detail that gives it just enough of a boutique-feel. This Mama Tara is a lightweight sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. I LOVE the coziness of the sweater knit paired with heels and some chunky jewelry!
Dresses – Mama Mya with a Mama Kourtney inspired knot, Brunch Blouse, Mama Nina
The Brunch Blouse was the other woven pattern I knew I HAD to make. I had this beautiful blush chiffon in my stash left over from my fall capsule, and later ordered these rose gold sequins from Etsy to use as accent pieces. The finishing touch was two rose gold buttons I found at Hobby Lobby. The Brunch Blouse is just perfect in dress length. Mama Quinn also worked great as a slip underneath this, too! I also tucked the dress into the Pencil Skirt, because you know I like my clothes to pull double duty. I made this Blouse with the dolman short sleeve, dress length, with cuffs and button tabs.
Of course, I couldn’t just make ONE Mama Mya, so I made a second in dress length in this gray knit that I believe came from Knitpop . This might not be dressy enough for all work places, but the length and neckline are both great if you have a less formal dress code. I loved the knot detail on the Mama Kourtney, so I added that to Mama Mya to give it a little something.
Finally, I made a Mama Nina in a black stretch velvet from Hobby Lobby, with a stretch lace neckband and trim (also from Hobby Lobby). I know winter comes with plenty of Holiday parties, concerts, dinners, plays, and all sorts of other events, so I wanted to make an outfit that could be worn to work, but also to those types of events (and around the house just for fun, because stretch velvet 😍). For this version, I shortened the back so the hi-low hem is less drastic.
As a side note – when you’re not quite in love with something you’ve made, make sure you try it on COMPLETELY before you throw in the towel. This velvet Nina looked awful when I tried it on with my wild mom-bun and bare feet, but I liked it so much more once I tried it on again with a pair of shoes and jewelry that I would actually wear with it if I were going out in public and not just back down the hall to my sewing studio.
Bottoms – Peg Leg Leggings, Pirate Pencil Skirt, SOS Pants
The Pencil Skirt is one of my favorites because it’s so quick to make, and always looks so classy and timeless (pssst! I also sometimes wear them as a scarf or a strapless top!).
The skinny SOS Pants were much easier than I anticipated. If you must know, I did accidentally sew the front pockets on to the back (don’t even ask how that happened – I still don’t know!!), but was able to fix my sewfu (get it? Like a snafu? 😬) without too much trouble. I love that they look like dress pants, but are comfortable enough that they feel like sweats. I used a yoga-style waistband folded over once on mine, but the pattern calls for elastic in the waist band.
Last but not least, basic black Peg Leg Leggings to pair with the dresses when it finally gets cold out! I know a lot of employers have banned leggings without sufficient booty coverage, so I personally wouldn’t wear Tara or a top-length Mya with them to work (but at home or on the weekends, game on!!). However, they make a great alternative to tights or hose, because nobody’s got time for runs in those!
Layers – Grandpa Cardi, Cocoon Cardigan
The bright blue of this Patterns for Pirates Grandpa Cardi is such a fun pop of color for a winter capsule! I love how fresh it looks against all the neutrals. This is perfect for winter, but also great if you work somewhere that likes to keep their AC cranked year round. I added 6 inches in length to the cardi.
I also can’t get enough of this animal print Cocoon Cardi! The Cocoon Cardi is another layering piece that’s great for the colder months, but also great for the AC months if you don’t get to be in charge of the thermostat. When I taught elementary school, I always kept a “school sweater” or two in my classroom! You can usually find another two or three in my car. I like to be prepared 🙂 For this version, I made tunic length with tall bands and no cuffs.
Shoes & Accessories –
I tried to stick to MOSTLY neutral colors with a few pops of color to make the shoes/accessories as versatile as possible for all the outfit combinations.
Bags – red wallet/clutch by Coach; bag by Michael Kors (printer ink stain on the interior bag is by me); faux suede clutch is an Old Navy clearance find
Although it pained me a little to set all my florals to the side for a bit, I had so much fun putting together some dressier, professional looks in a more neutral palette. Here are just a few of my favorite looks:
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the ladies on the blog tour:
If you’re not into sewing, go through your closet and look for nine or so pieces that can be used in similar ways. Start with the same concept of 2 busy prints, 3-4 coordinating colors, and 3-4 neutrals; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how many combinations you can come up with!
If you’d like to have a capsule designed and/or made just for you, come visit me on Facebook or Etsy.
*post contains affiliate links*
Photo credit: Megan of A Beautiful Moment Photography