There Ain’t No Tee in Edgy

I wear a lot of T shirts. I don’t make a lot of T shirts. I have no prob finding RTW shirts that fit well, and I’d rather spend my sewing time on unique items.

But I wanted a cobalt blue tee for my edgy work wardrobe, so I thought I’d take a basic and elevate it a skosh with a contrasting neckband.

This is from New Look 6330, a pattern I bought for the cool drapey cardigan. I needed a tee with a pretty wide neckline and 3/4 sleeves, so this worked fine.

The main fabric is cotton jersey. The neckband is viscose jersey left over from a cardigan I made few years ago.

The directions for the pattern are a little silly. You don’t need to see a sleeve cap easeline in a knit, especially if you sew the sleeves in flat. I made my usual sloping shoulder adjustment on the right side and sewed some clear elastic at the shoulders to prevent stretching.

Here’s the look with my edgy skirts and cardigan.

Looking forward to wearing these outfits this fall.


Taking a Skirt from Cartoony to Edgy in 3 Easy Steps

I finished a new iteration of the Cynthia Rowley-designed Simplicity 8058. It’s all edgy instead of cartoony now. Here’s the before and after:

Seriously, I feel like this skirt went from something you’d find in Smurfette’s dowdy sister’s closet to a kick-ass boardroom power skirt. I made three major changes to get to this look.

  1. Instead of the cartoony big buttons and the protruding center-front panel, I made added a buckle and made the panel even with the rest of the waistband.
  2. I shortened it a bit and pegged the sides gradually, to 2 inches at the hem, for a sexier pencil shape.
  3. I made this in a high-quality sober gray heathered ponte and silver zipper instead of that blue crap.

The buckle detail required me to make a piece of belting 3 inches by 14 inches, sewn with some stiff non-stretch interfacing, turned and topstitched, then centered on the front panel. It was a bit of a job to line it up and get it tight enough that it didn’t sag, yet not so tight that it would warp that center panel.


I am delighted with this! I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear it to work and kick some ass.

La Mia Boutique Goes Futurama

Once in a while I stop at Around the World Fashion Magazines and Books in New York’s Garment District to peruse the foreign fashion magazines. Especially around Fashion Week time, there are a lot of lewks to be seen.


I sought out the August/September issue of La Mia Boutique, an Italian sewing magazine similar to Burda Style, because I had to check out the “Futurama” spread of patterns by Elena Savò as part of my “edgy” sewing wardrobe plan. Several of her looks for fall/winter 2018 are in the issue, including these:


savo face jacket
This jacket with the face profiles is fascinating
Savo Betsey
Reincarnated Betsey Johnson realness
Savo dress
I’m too old to wear this but I love it
Savo pants
Crazypants with off-center fly

I also love this denim ensemble by Sara Poiese:

Sara outfit
La Mia Boutique Aug/Sept 18 line drawings

I don’t have any of these projects in my plan now, of course, but I am going to go over the patterns in detail and see what’s doable for spring – at least the skirt and jacket combo and that “face” sheer jacket.

Edgy Hardware Shopping Spree

I hit up the Garment District in New York last week for some hardware and trims for my “edgy” wardrobe plan. Here’s my haul from Pacific Trimming:

Hardware helps make an “edgy” look

I splurged for a lightweight silver-tooth RiRi zipper with a very flexible, serpentine quality for my Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan. I had it cut to size at Pacific too, since I don’t know how to shorten a separating zipper. It was $8 altogether, but worth it, I think, since I really needed something flashy yet light to make the cardi edgy. It looks good pinned in place anyway:


I also got zippers for my cranberry knit dress and for the wide-leg pants I plan to make.

The three bags at lower right in the picture contain two types of faux leather trim and some 3 1/2-inch wide black petersham ribbon, to try making a skirt waistband facing from. Never tried this before, but I am interested to see how it goes.

I bought these two buckles to try adding some detail to the front of Simplicity 8058, a Cynthia Rowley skirt. The original skirt’s center-front detail is awkward to wear, since it tends to get warped out of shape when you sit, and those giant fabric-covered buttons are a bit twee so me. So I intend to trim it even with the rest of the waistband and then use a belt and buckle detail to add some interest, like so:

Buckle vs. buttons

We’ll see how that goes. I think I could have bought a larger buckle, but I was worried that it would weigh too much and would pull at the front of the skirt – a concern especially because it’s a knit.

I also got three roundly spiked buttons to add to the epaulet of dress 120 from the December 2017 issue of Burda Style. I used the same buttons for the epaulets of my Simplicity 8174 moto jacket. They’re plastic, not metal, so their weight shouldn’t be annoying or pull the dress in some unappealing way, I hope.

Edgy buttons?

I also bought a dozen of these square-in-a-round buttons, on spec. I plan to use them in a button-up blouse which will include a button-down collar to bring a bit of metal and menswear detail in the party.

What Gives a Garment “Edge”?

If I had to describe my personal style, I’d say I’m classic with an edge. That is, I go for traditional styles done in slightly non-traditional ways that interrupt our expectations and make us think. Here’s a RTW example of a dress I wear to work:

Karen Millen Midi Shirt Dress

I bought this shirt dress because, while it’s a traditional shirt dress in some respects (and therefore suits my shape well and is OK for work) it has an edgy side too because of that corset-like panel, fastened with hooks and eyes at the waist, and (to a lesser extent) the bold blue color and the high-low hem. Without the corset panel, it’s like every shirt dress you ever saw.

Some hallmarks in edgy style I look for or add are:

  • Metal hardware and details – Exposed zippers, unusual fasteners, metal buttons and just overall more metal give garments a hard edge for soft bodies and curvy shapes.
  • Leather and other animal inspirations – While leather, real or faux, can be a cliche, it’s undeniable that a T-shirt trimmed in leather or suede is edgier than one without. Same goes for feathers, reptile skins and bones – it’s all about blurring the lines between human and animal, modern and ancient.
  • Asymmetry – High-low hems, off-center cuts, draping and origami-like pleats and folds push your perception of a garment a bit sideways, because we’re so used to seeing symmetrical clothing on symmetrical bodies.
  • Exaggeration – Oversize cuts, ballooning sleeves, hard shoulders and super-skinny pants all sharpen a look by obscuring the expected human form.
  • Bold colors – Black and gray, to be sure, but also blood red, acid green, flame orange, hot pink, eggplant purple and electric blue shake up the senses, especially when color-blocked or in bold prints.
  • Surprise – Maybe the back is different from the front, or seams are unfinished, or a detail reveals something unexpected, like a shirt in a masculine cut and fabric is finished with a girly collar.

Here are three recent of edgy me-made makes to show what I mean:

The Oki Style “Joker” shirt has asymmetry and off-kilter drapes and pleats. I accentuated the design with color blocking. Without those features, this is just a button-up raglan sleeve dress shirt.

This is a tunic top from the Japanese sewing book “Happy Homemade Sew Chic”:


If you look carefully, you will see that this is a snakeskin print done in purple, hot pink, black and gray. I further edged it up with the black lace sleeve detail and the metal-capped black bow.

Finally, a moto jacket from Simplicity 8174 is obviously edgy. But this one has some surprises:

It’s made of red ultrasuede with the expected metal zippers and epaulets, and an asymmetric front. But inside, the lining is a Japanese-inspired floral silk charmeuse. Surprise!

For me, “edgy” is not really body-con or revealing. If anything, “edgy” looks drift into “cheap” when they’re showing a lot of skin. It’s much edgier to me to play with the traditional concepts of how clothing is shaped, fit, styled and embellished.

Do you wear edgy looks? Any other factors you look for?

Stupid Mistakes

I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to lay out patterns for the centerpiece inspiration fabric for my “edgy” work wardrobe. And then I thought about it so much I screwed it up.

‘This is the fabric, a border print rayon sweater knit I bought at Marina’s Fabrics in Hamilton, Ont. during the PatternReview Weekend shopping trip.


I like the bold geometric element over the staid charcoal and grey houndstooth design. I had envisioned this as a lined skirt based on Simplicity 8058, but I couldn’t get the layout to work. The repeat of the cobalt blue motif didn’t allow for good pattern matching, especially since I really wanted a skirt with a zipper, not an elastic waist.

So I downshifted into a knit jacket or cardigan plan, and chose the Muse Jenna Cardi that I bought last fall and never sewed up. I taped together the .pdf pattern and spent – no joke – an hour laying out the pattern pieces in various scenarios.

Layout of the Muse Jenna cardigan with my border print knit

I had enough fabric for either a short-sleeved hip-length cardigan where I’d have to piece the bottom band, or a longer-sleeved waist-length where I didn’t need to piece the band. I fussed and fussed and decided to do the waist-length with 3/4-length sleeves because it would fit better with the rest of this wardrobe’s high-waisted skirts and pants, and short sleeves would be a bit too precious for me.

Then I cut the pattern out. I had assembled the hip-length .pdf pieces and folded up to the shorter hemline, figuring if I wanted to make a longer one later, I’d have the pieces all ready. I cut. Then I cried.


That’s right – I folded up the hem for the back but not for the fronts. Another C- in home ed moment. The whole damn thing was now mismatched, with too little fabric left to recut. After a proper round of cursing, I decided to adapt. I cut the fronts out of the plain houndstooth fabric and squeezed in 3/4 length sleeves.

There was not enough fabric to do the very wide hem band. I had planned to cut the button band, cuffs and neck band from faux leather, but I didn’t have enough to also do the hem bands, so instead I cut all these pieces from black ponte. The cobalt only shows on the back. Here’s the cardi in progress. Does this look weird?


Anyway, it’s done. I am going to “edge” it up with some special buttons, or maybe a silver zipper.