My “Pastel Forest” Colour Palette in Action!

In my last post I showed you how I developed this new colour palette to match my pastel hair, which I’ve dubbed “Pastel Forest”. Because, you know, it’s pastel and green! Giving it a name just sounds more official, you know?

It is strong inspired by this amazing sweatshirt fabric I bought myself for my June birthday:

Today, we get to the fun stuff – the clothes! This is a mix of old and new me-mades, plus RTW. It’s very mix and match – basically patterned tops with basic bottoms, that will work in any combination and layer well with cardigans. All the patterns from Helen’s Closet and Cashmerette were sent to me for free over the years. Let’s dig in!

My favourite! This lightweight rayon has been at lots of stores over the summer, so chances are high that you’ve seen it around. I got mine at Minerva, and at first I was disappointed because it verges on sheer… but it turns out that it was MADE to become this garment! This is the Ashton tank from Helen’s Closet (the first of 3 in this post) and I fully lined the bodice instead of using facings. The front is self-lined, and the back is lined with block print cotton from my deeeeeeep stash (aka. 20 years old). That means the bodice isn’t see through at all! The skirt is a 2m gathered rectangle, determined by the length of fabric I had. It is voluminous enough that sheerness isn’t an issue, plus I’m always wearing legging shorts anyway!

Real talk: I put this on and realised it is precisely what teachers wore in the early 90’s when I was in school. And you know what? They were right. It’s super comfortable, modest in the right way for working with little kids, and also fun to wear. Do you think I would wear a winter version of this with boots, leggings and a sweater? I’m not sure but I think it might feel cute!

Next up, dress number 2! This is my second version of the new(ish) Hey June Prescott Dress. It is a knit dress with a bust dart and shelf bra. I wear my first maxi version a lot (I’ll try to share it soon) so I was happy to use 2m of ITY to make this version.

Comfy, cute, functional, no bra needed? It’s a win!

Now on to the separates! This black and white cat print is a custom design by Blackbird Fabrics, sewn up into another Ashton tank. My one quibble with the fabric is that I got several white pulls on the black side of the print whenever my needle tugged at the threads, which is an issue I usually don’t have. I switched to a finer needle, but it still happened. Jasika Nicole mentioned the same thing happened to her on their heavier fall prints.

The pants are from Old Navy, as are a few of the other bottoms coming up. Old Navy recently revamped their plus sizes to make them available in store and consistent through every size 0-30, and I know that a lot of my plus0size friends are interested in the new fit, so I’ll give some mini-reviews here. These are in size XXL, the size the chart suggests, and I’ve nipped them in at the waist. I also own them in XL, which look perfect when I’m standing but have no ease left when I sit. To my great surprise, both pairs turned out to be double gauze! They were listed as twill on the website (though they are gone now) but are very clearly not a twill. They make for great light breezy pants and were cheaper than sewing them myself.

Another Helen’s Closet Top! This is the Jackson Pullover and Tee, which I’ve made 3 times already as a sweatshirt. It’s my perfect mix of boxy but not TOO boxy, and I love it! Just before I started this colour palette I’d been making myself a little Helens Closet capsule, so I rolled them into one. I bought this Telio rayon jersey at the very start of COVID in a “treat yo’self” splurge, and it turns out to have just the right colours for this palette.

After years of skinny jeans, and then not being able to find pants online for the last year that fit properly, I went into my local Old Navy a few weeks ago and tried on piles of pants to see what fits. These are size 20 “High-Waisted O.G. Straight“, which have 1% lycra but are my first (almost) rigid jeans in a decade. They are actually pretty comfy, especially after a few hours wear to loosen them up. Size 20 is what the size chart recommends to me, and was consistently closest to my size in everything I tried on. Some size 20’s were still too tight, too loose, or too high rise, which does make it hard to shop online.

(For those of you interested in the pants… here’s a pair of the same high rise straight style in black khaki, which has more lycra but feels tighter. I chopped them into shorts!)

One thing I’ve realised though is that while I love a high rise fit, I am just too damn short for anything labeled super high rise! That’s on of the reasons that pants I ordered from various online stores last year just didn’t fit. I’m wearing them here with a Muna and Broad Torrens Box top from my Blue collection this spring.

Now back to the capsule wardrobe!

Stripes! This is another Jackson tee, paired with dirty wrinkled Calder Pants that I pulled out of the laundry bin! This was the forest green I pictured when I made the palette, so I had to include them in the pictures. #sorrynotsorry

Speaking of avoiding super high rise pants… almost all the pull on pants I’ve sewn in the last year turn out to have too high a rise. These look great, but my thighs tough within the crotch curve and that defeats the whole reason of pants. I also have to accept that maybe I don’t know how to measure my hips? When I sew dresses I learned to measure when sitting or to hold the tape slightly out from my pelvis to account for how much my belly protrudes out. Turns out with already roomy pants, that is a recipe for sewing a size too big! I’ve taken in both these Calders and my Muna and Broad Willandra pants since sewing them, even though I’ve gained an inch since last summer. Live and learn!

See? I learned! These Muna and Broad Glebe pants actually fit. I made them this spring, but they fit my capsule well. There is enough-but-not-too-much ease at the waist, but obviously a lot of volume in the legs. As for the top, you can probably say it with me: Helen’s Closet Ashton tank! This one actually started out with sleeves, but I didn’t love the draft on the sleeve head. I was looking for something with a shallow sleeve head that would give a casual vibe but instead the sleeve head is tall and so it sat more like a blouse. It looked funny, so I cut them off.

Now, let’s talk about the (small) elephant in the room: Every single one of these Ashton tops shows two inches of bra under my arms! I’m wearing an older one today, and it doesn’t have the same issue, so either I did a petite alteration on the small size I used last year, or it is gaping because of the extra fabric in the larger size. By rights I should grade from a smaller size bust to a larger waist and hip, but I didn’t. I just don’t really care, so I kept on making them!

Phew! Did you manage to remember what my palette even looked like through all of that? And did you catch the second undercurrent: Gillian, you are short. At 5’2″, almost every one of these garments could have benefitted from a petite adjustment above the bust or at the hips. Oops.

I’m very happy with how this wardrobe came together without buying any new fabric or clothing. I’ve worn everything at least once already. Most of all, sewing these really helped me ignore back-to-school stress and got my creative juices flowing!

Do you have a favourite outfit on me, or one you would steal for yourself? Let me know below, and I’ll guard my closet accordingly!

11 thoughts on “My “Pastel Forest” Colour Palette in Action!

  1. Interesting! What stands out for me is that even though your palette seems predominantly pastel/bright, most of your actual outfits tend to the darker end, except for the last one [which is also my favourite]


  2. I love this wardrobe – the colors are so fantastic together, and I love the way you’ve pulled them all in with the prints. I *love* all the printed tops and dresses, but the Glebe pants surprised me the most as being a favorite outfit – the color is great and they looks super comfy to wear. The whole wardrobe looks so fun!


  3. Your creativity is back, baby!!! I love all of these – and fascinating input about the pants and need for petite alterations. I feel that – and I know that I should prob start adjusting pants (when next I make them – and I will – when I need more!) for the lower abdomen because a rounder stomach is not the same thing as wider hips! Also – how are you managing with the store bought jeans? I have my own pair from Banana (bought before the pandemic) and having a button and firm fabric everywhere (and the jeans definitely have lycra in them!!) is kind of torment for more than 3 hours. I don’t think the 18 months of wearing an elastic waist band has helped me to manage sensory sensitivity. But never mind that, firm fabric is just uncomfortable, IMO!!


  4. I love your blog Gillian and being a fellow teacher I hear you about the modesty bit. Except I teach teenagers. Your ideas for a new colour palette are great and I’m currently organising one for myself but we are going into spring here in Sydney albeit in lockdown (sigh). Thanks for showing the Hey June dress. Somehow I missed what a great pattern that is. It looks fabulous and I have several lengths of fabric that would be perfect for one. And the petite thing? It’s only taken me 50 years of sewing to finally realise that I really need to do petite adjustments on all the clothes (I’m 5’1) especially like you, above the bust and above the hips. High waisted jeans (my current sewing challenge) hit my bra! And lungs. Who knew you needed those to breathe?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, you had me at cat print! I would definitely swoop in on that outfit (and tbh I could probably come up with something similar using my much loved block print cat top). I like the palette description, too! All the best for this return to school season!


  6. If I were a thief I would definitely steal that first Ashton dress! I made so many ashton tops this summer and just bought the sleeve expansion. Armholes are a bit big on me as well even though I am almost 5’8 so I’m not sure its a height thing but I have also not done an alteration for it and I’m living in denial that all 6 or so tops I made this summer are just a bit “off”. I love your collection and how you pulled them all together!


  7. This posting is such a good guild for me. I have crossed into the curvy zone & trying to find style & fit that pleasing to me. Building a wardrobe for my new shape in my colours has been a learning curve. I am on a budget so having a plan is important & helps me stay on track. Thanks so much for putting you help out there for folks like me & I hope you find your centre in your own life … everyone matters & deserves respect.


  8. Totally agree that the first dress is everything. I think that this would work with tights and cardigan for fall and in a slightly weightier fabric for a winter version.

    I really like all of the colors and prints. Very pretty!


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