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Sew Your Stash Challenge: Double Duty Wardrobe Basics!

Ahhh, August. I hate to give up my short shorts and bare shoulders, but I also know that I will need a more “professional” wardrobe for the fall. Not only will I be going back to in-person classes, but I will also be TAing an undergraduate course, student teaching kindergarten, and attending various professional events, including conferences and trainings. My goal for this challenge was to sew up some staples that both let me savor the end of the summer AND would still be usable once I headed back to school.

I’m going to level with you all: I had no idea how to put together a capsule. I’m nonbinary, and many of the styles I typically see capsules built around (like dresses or skirts) give me dysphoria. When I went to pull fabric from my stash, I discovered that I mostly had fabrics in shades of blue. Not wanting to end up in head-to-toe navy, I had to think about how to mix fabrics in a way that felt interesting. Needless to say, it took me a little while to work out what I wanted to make and how things would fit together. I decided to make two bottoms - one summery, one professional - and build up from there with layers that could be used interchangeably.

Anyway, without further ado...let’s get started!

I particularly love Loggers for swim bottoms, but I couldn’t resist whipping up a pair of sassy shorties in this awesome Bedford snakeskin print athletic! I love the feeling of this fabric - it is soft, smooth, matte, and stable, sort of like a lightweight, athletic ponte. These shorties were perfect for hanging out on the beach and boardwalk and are comfy enough for lounging around the house, too.

The JJ’s have become the favorite jogger pattern around my house, but this is the first pair I've made for myself. I normally have to take 5-6 inches of height out of pants, so I was excited to try the petite cut on the JJs. I still adjusted height, but it was much smaller and less disruptive to the overall pattern lines. Overall the fit is fantastic, and I need more pairs immediately! My calves tend to overheat, and I will wear this below-the-knee length all year long.

The Alana has become one of my favorite summer patterns, and it is perfect for drapey cool knits like rayon spandex, bamboo spandex, and this modal! I added clear elastic to the straps for the first time - it gave me a slightly higher neckline that still feels summery but would be a nice layering piece for conference wear. The Oasis color is so beautiful and really effortlessly moves between beachy and professional.

The Blade is brand new from ALD and adds a bit of flair to the usual racerback tank! I made mine out of 125 gsm athletic brushed poly. It’s a super lightweight fabric with gorgeous drape that is also easy to work with - that last bit comes in handy for the binding! ABP is one of my favorite fabrics to work with, and I love how breezy it is! This tank is cute on its own or will make a versatile layer in the fall.

If the Alana is one of my favorite summer patterns, the Olive is one of my favorite cozy patterns! In this oversized waffle knit, it’s still lightweight enough for breezy summer evenings (or stormy beach days!) but could be layered over a warmer top in cooler weather. I think this will be great for student teaching and loooong all-day training!

Something about this material has a slightly more sophisticated feeling to it, and I think it makes a beautiful cardigan. It is unbelievably soft and cozy, and the color is just lovely. I skipped the closures on this one for a quicker sew, and I think it still looks great! This piece would be equally at home on the beach or at a conference.

Overall, this was a super fun challenge that came at the right time as I scramble to get my student teaching wardrobe together. It was a great motivation to dive into my stash (let’s be real, it’s a daunting task!), and I learned a lot in the process. I hope this inspires you to do a little wardrobe building of your own!

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