Wardrobe Padding

I cleaned out my summer scraps from the sewing room the other day – aka. the huge pile of scraps from everything I’ve sewn over the last 3 months! In the process, I finished up some WIPs and sewed some scrap busters. Sewing scraps is almost like tidying, right?


First up, a Maria Denmark Day-to-Night top, sewn up using leftovers from my Groove dress. That dress highlighted the bold Baroque scroll border print, and I didn’t think I could use that twice and get away with it! So for this top, I just used the centre part of the yardage, which is a kind of abstract houndstooth. I picture wearing this top with black pants and a sweater – kind of a classic, work-friendly, don’t-notice-me sort of look!

(OK, only in my wardrobe would this count as a slightly conservative look!) 


Next, a reworked dress! This was a Mission Maxi dress that I made last summer, and it was actually the outfit that prompted the Better Pictures Project! I just couldn’t get good pictures of it, and I decided to increase my skills! The dress was never a great fit (Hello, sneaky weight gain!) and didn’t get worn. I like the fabric, so I cut it up into a Jalie Dolman top. Hopefully now it will at least get worn!


Third, a Groove dress top! I used the hem from the Santa Fe to shorten the Groove dress. Groove is more fitted in the bust, and has proper sleeves, so I like it better than the kimono tee variation of the Santa Fe. Fits quite like a Plantain in the end!

I got this faux-tye-dye rayon jersey locally… and then realised the circular pattern made print placement rather awkward! The first time I cut the front I got a boob-target… so I used that as the back, and recut the front. Except when I threw the top on for pictures, I put it on backwards! Ooops!


Finally, a pair of Ginger jeans. I’m in love with my Cone Mills pair, but couldn’t quite bring myself to cut into more precious Cone Mills denim, so these are made with cheap, stretchy local denim instead.  It’s not nearly as good, but it does wear a good 4 times or more without getting too baggy.

I’ve been having lots of thoughts about jeans fit lately… namely, how much should I care about wrinkles? I did even more knock-knee adjustment on these, and I can’t say it’s changed much. I do have quite a curvy bottom half, and it’s a lot to ask of a stiff fabric to drape around me without folds and wrinkles! Part of me wants to quest for the perfect fit, and part of me is tired of feeling like my jeans aren’t good enough, when they are as good as RTW or better. What do you think?

None of these pieces are show-stoppers, but they fill gaps in my wardrobe. I’m thinking of them, as the title says, as wardrobe padding: the sort of B-list clothes that give you a few more choices in the morning while you wait to strike sewing gold and make something you’ll love! I’m blogging them anyway, because I like the honestly of it. Slightly mediocre photos, slightly mediocre makes… but practical, cute enough, and I cleared some fabric out of the sewing room!

37 thoughts on “Wardrobe Padding

    1. Thanks Debbie! i’m hoping I feel a bit more excited about them once I’ve figured out proper “outfits”, instead of running inside my house to change in 20 seconds so no one steals my camera that I left on my porch! 😛 Didn’t help that a neighbour was watching me take these photos… so awkward! 😛


      1. Hahaha! I’m imagining that mad dash and a quizzical neighbor wondering wtf. Thanks for all the work and odd situations in the name of blogging. Yours is a fav read and I truly appreciate your efforts. 😄


  1. First off, I think that these are terrific projects – so practical and lovely. My fave is the Denmark.

    Here’s what I think about wrinkles/fit: If you have any sort of obsessive compulsive tendency, it’s an impossible game to win. I actually own skinny RTW jeans that wrinkle at the knees to the ankle deliberately (partly because I like the look and it means I don’t have to hem them). The reason I will only sew with stretch wovens (or knit) fabric at this point is because that’s all I’d buy RTW. That’s all that works over actual topography! Unless you’ve got a couture house designing for you (and I know you are a couture house of 1 but it’s not like you’ve got infrastructure or as if this is your full time job) AND a very straight frame, the likelihood that wovens are going to work on a regular basis is slim.

    I just wish the knit and stretch woven offerings available to us were of the RTW quality.


    1. I totally agree! The cone mills denim really is a cut about the rest… but the three cuts I have all tend to be more stable that what I’d buy in RTW. So, good for a tailored jean that holds you in, but not so much for the secret pyjama look. A friend was singing the praises of some 4-way-stretch yoga jeans she’d bought, and it got me thinking that with 4-way stretch I could get rid of the wrinkles… basically, like a legging has no wrinkles! But does such a fabric exist in fabric stores? Nope. Of course not! 😛


    2. This SO MUCH. Part of what stops me from sewing more basics is because I know I can’t match the quality of fabric in RTW. Knits and stretch wovens for slim fitting pants are the worst offenders. I also find sewing elastics to be poorer quality and more uncomfortable to wear than those found in RTW clothing.

      I tried to get around this recently by buying massive, long sleeve tees from KMart, and sewing tops from them (2 purchased shirts = 1 made top). They turned out really well but cutting them out was a challenge and I ended up having to add hem bands to the sleeves and shortening the body so they would fit. If you are very petite it may be a good solution.


  2. I love the Denmark too! Beautiful fabric for that top 🙂 I always appreciate the work you put into your blog Gillian. Inspiring and fun to read and see. I haven’t sewn jeans yet – that still feels above my skill level but even RTW jeans are problematic for fit. I’m not even sure I like them anymore having worn them off and on for almost 50 years 🙂


    1. Thank you!
      You know, jeans really aren’t that hard… especially if you go for dark denim and navy thread – it hides all manner of fitting and stitching sins! 😉 I can’t say enough good things about pull-on stretch jeans – avoids some of the difficult steps in sewing jeans AND makes for a really comfortable garment!


  3. These are great pieces! I bet they’ll get a lot of wear. I really wouldn’t worry much about the wrinkles at the knees on your jeans. It’s just not reasonable to expect you’ll eliminate each and every one (or even most, tbh) of them.


  4. Take a photo of you in your fav rtw jeans and compare your homemade ones to that before you start even considering they’re wrinkly (top tip I read somewhere, maybe on Cashmerette, losts in the mists of blogland now).

    I’m with you on sewing scraps, so satisfying to squeeze every last bit out of your precious fabric.


    1. That’s a great suggestion! I did that a few years back, but my ideal jeans probably fit a little more snuggly now than then. Worth another try! (And back then at least, the wrinkles were the same on RTW!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Gillian, they all look awesome! Love the tops, you always get that nice inbetween of loose but still fitted.
    On the subject of wrinkles, I think we all worry too much about them, if they don’t worry you and aren’t uncomfortable then leave them! I do wonder if yours are caused by hyperextended calves/large calves this time, since I have the same problem and tend to get wrinkles like that if I haven’t made that adjustment. It might be too much length just under your knee too, you could try pinning out the excess length and see if it fixes it.
    I love your blog, don’t comment much cos I normally check it on my phone, but it’s a must read for me!


    1. That’s an alteration I haven’t tried yet! I do notice that my pants are sometimes snug on my calves though, so I’ll give it a shot.
      I love your blog too!


  6. How satisfying is to churn out a few nice, basic tees? Yours are really lovely. For the wrinkles issue, well, clothes have to be wearable. You might end up with garments that are entirely wrinkle-free, but you probably wouldn’t be able to move in them!
    It’s so easy to get caught up in the fitting cycle of doom, but the end goal of sewing is to make something that looks good and is comfortable to wear. A few wrinkles on the knee don’t detract from that.


    1. I totally agree! The pants I have that fit really snuggly are hell to commute in – I sit in a car 2 hours a day or more, so pants need to bend at hip and knee… and that means 4-way stretch or wrinkles!


  7. Scrapbusting is definitely the best sort of cleaning! I especially love the first top, it’s a great way to showcase the quieter part of that crazy border print! And I mean crazy in the best way.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the jeans wrinkles. I’ve noticed that at least for me, if I overfit it to get rid of them, they’re not the most comfortable pants to sit down in.


    1. Hehehe – I went fabric shopping with a coworker (who I’ve passed on me-mades to, so she knows my style and sewing obsession) and she pulled out a fabric and said “this looks like you!”… it was the same crazy scroll print in another colour way! 😉 Spot on!


  8. I think if you lost more wrinkles you’d end up w leggings — which we all know are great, but sometimes you want wovens- and they come with wrinkles to allow you to move!
    Lol on taking the time to re-cut your front piece then putting it on backwards for pics!


    1. Hahahaha – I kept feeling that the back neckline was low, but I told myself that’s because it was really a front… but now, it was the real front that I’d scooped lower! 😛


  9. Love this post! I’m kind of doing this too. I don’t really know what my next big project is so I’m sewing little things in the meantime (mostly literally, as in kids clothes).


  10. Oh wow I love a lot of these! I love that your ‘don’t look at me’ top is so bright! Perfect 😛 I really love the blue tie die shirt too but that’s me being predictable in my colour preferences!

    Stuff like this really makes a wardrobe, I think. Not everything can be a show stopper, and having lots of perfectly fine tops is so handy (although I think you’ve raised the bar for padding! Yeesh, lots to live up to!)

    I frankly didn’t notice the wrinkles until you pointed them out. Now I see them ofc but… I think they’re fine. Your jeans clearly fit your body, but there’s just wearing and movement wrinkles and the usual ‘this is the physical world and not some comic book where women’s clothes are painted on’ wrinkles. I am also firmly on team ‘it’s fine’ re fitting. If you feel comfortable and good in them, I don’t see any need to go on fitting and fitting. There is definitely such a thing as overfitting – I’m guilty of it! Especially when it’s jeans rather than, idk, a tailored suit or a ballgown. For me, once it’s hanging and sitting nicely, there’s no need to go overboard on fitting until it’s 100% wrinkle free. Some of those wrinkles are practical, necessary wrinkled!


  11. Love your blog! Love your tops, particularly the style of the Groove.

    I hear you over fitting issues and wish I had an answer. I’m with K-Line in that those of us with any degree of OCD are probably never going to be satisfied.

    Comfort has become my goal and on occasion I know the garment looks fine to an observer, but it just doesn’t feel right. So hard to reach a compromise between not looking big, baggy and thereby usually frumpy, and comfort! Stretch fabrics certainly help, but as others have mentioned, good ones are so difficult to source.


  12. My sewing studio needs this kind of tidying up! Nice work. All great pieces to add to you wardrobe. I’m glad you shared your thoughts on your jeans….most of the time I’m pretty happy with the fit of my makes even though I know that they aren’t perfect. I’m not fitting perfectionist. Is that ok in the sewing blog world?


  13. I appreciate this post. These are the clothes we end up wearing most days. If all you ever posted was fancy stuff I think it would defeat the point of encouraging people to sew their own clothes…
    Lovely pieces.
    Good thoughts on the jeans too. Very timely for me because I was contemplating my jeans too…


  14. Sewing scraps is absolutely tidying! I do this periodically–sometimes it’s a good creative challenge to look at a pile of little bits of this and that and see what comes out at the end. And basics are good to have around for their versatility for matching with those a-listers. When you’re trying to create a focal point and you’ve done it with something flashier, those more standard makes are so helpful to have on hand to finish the look. I’m thinking I need to do this with some leggings/tights.


  15. I love to think about fit, but I also think if you’ve gotten your jeans draft to a point where you are comfortable and like the general look, you’re good! Anything after that is icing on the cake. But my jeans all have wrinkles in various places, so I might be the wrong person to ask!

    (Just had to add I had a chuckle over your “don’t notice me” look because that it’s on par with the most vibrant garment in my wardrobe!)


  16. Ummm I disagree – that first top looks like a total show stopper to me. It shows off your figure so well! That being said I do really love the other two too! You are the scrap master!

    As for your jeans – I think it’s really up to you. How do you feel in them? Are you happy with how they fit? I recently had a massive revelation with a thin thigh adjustment when making the Chi-town Chinos. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I had thin thighs, but it’s all about proportion. So in proportion to my waist, tummy, hips and bum, my thighs are thin. Does that make sense?

    You do need some wrinkles in the back for movement, but if you did want to get rid of some of them, I would try to remove fullness from the back of the thigh. It looks to me, that your front thigh curves forward and there’s too much fabric at the back thigh. You might want to put your jeans on, and then pull them up at the back (while looking in the mirror) and see if any of those wrinkles disappear.If they do, you might need more length in the back crotch curve, along with a thin thigh adjustment for the back leg (and that would probably help you around the back of the knees too). Because these are quite fitted skinny jeans, it might also be an idea to compare your pattern pieces to your leggings pattern and see how big a difference there is. Obviously, denim doesn’t stretch quite like a knit, but it might give you some idea as to wear to start with adjustments, especially with the espresso leggings that are custom fit. It’s a journey and it takes a lot of patience and trial and error, and honestly, I think your jeans look great so if you’re not up for it, I wouldn’t worry about it too much! 😉 You know where to find me if you need help!


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