This month's boxes mark our 51st theme that I've put together at Needle Sharp. That means 50 boxes of distinct garment types, and if you had told me five years ago that there were that many options, I probably wouldn't have believed you. This year, because there are only so many garments out there, I've decided to spend a few of the themes focusing on elements of clothes. Focusing on a distinct detail of a garment opens up a whole new arena for our boxes, and I'm really excited to explore it.
For March, that detail is the collar. While I've done clothes with collars before, this month the collar is the star of the garment, the element that defines the piece. And collars are having a moment right now! Nodding to vintage sewing patterns from the sixties or seventies, several sewing patterns have come out in the last year that really up their collar game. And they just happen to be perfect for zoom calls and workwear, depending on what your life entails.
March is always a difficult month for clothes as the weather can vary wildly from wearing a t-shirt to wearing a parka for the St. Patrick's Day parade. That's another reason the collared top is so great for this time. You can wear it on its own for the warmer days, or even make the short-sleeved versions if you're in a southern climate, or you can layer on a cardigan or sweater if you want more layers. The collar effortlessly adds a pop of style right off the bat.
In terms of color palette this month, I was drawn towards turquoise and purple, only to realize later that aquamarine was March's birthstone. This seemed like a nice kismet, so I ran with it. The colors are cool yet saturated and will help you transition from winter to spring in style!
So, without further ado, let's dig into the boxes!
Sew Essential Box: Airelle Blouse from Deer & Doe Patterns
Deer and Doe Patterns are all about interesting details (I mean, have you seen the pocket on the Opium Coat?), so it was an obvious place to look for a cool collared blouse. And they did not disappoint! The Airelle Blouse is just so pretty. The Chelsea collar, which is defined by a v-neck cut and no collar stand - is slightly rounded for a softer feel that complements the gathered sleeve and yoke. Subtle double-pointed darts along the bodice add nice shaping and make it ideal for tucking into jeans, dress pants, or a pencil skirt. All in all, a stunning blouse you'll want to wear again and again.
For fabric, the blouse lends itself nicely to both crisp and drapey wovens, so it was an opportunity to give a range to choose from. That led to me crisp cottons, silky lawns, and a just-released crepe. So let's take a look!
- Lagoon Blue Crinkle Cotton Crepe - This fabric is all about the texture! The creped surface is nubbly and dry, with a crisp drape and matte finish . In a gorgeous lagoon blue, veering towards teal, this fabric will transform into a beautiful blouse. The lightweight means it will gather well for the sleeves, and the structure of the fabric will really let the collar shine. And Like most cottons, it will soften up with washing so you can be sure your blouse will be oh-so-comfortable!
- White and Pink Pin Dot Rayon Lawn - I love a rayon lawn for its silky sheen and its fine, smooth hand. The tight weave lends itself so well to blouses, and it also helps keep the white from becoming translucent (Great for bra coverage in a blouse). With pin dots of pink, this fabric is just the right hint of color for your wardrobe too! Wear it with jeans or dress pants, sweaters or blazers. It will transition wonderfully from work to play!
- Lucie River Ecovero Crepe - Part of Atelier Brunette's new fabric release, this ecovero fabric, a relative of viscose, is simply stunning. Inspired by the paintings of Lucie Cousturier, a French pointillist artist, this fabric is dotted with blue on a black background. Layered with pale, champagne-colored leaves and red berries, this fabric is botanical, abstract, and truly unique! The drapiest of the three options, this fabric will give you look of a printed silk blouse without the headache of drycleaning. Always a win!
Sew Select Box & Sew Curvy Box: Patina Blouse from Friday Pattern Company
Released this past October, the Patina Blouse is the collar that started off this whole theme. I just fell hard for the blouse and knew I had to use it. And there's so much to love! the collar is large yet tailored, allowing you to make a statement without feeling costumey. The sleeves are full and gathered to a cuff, like a classic silk blouse, and the button placket makes it incredibly versatile. It also has multiple neckline options, including free downloads through the website, so you can customize the look to match your style.
But want to know the best part of Patina Blouse? Friday Pattern Company has one of the most inclusive size ranges so we can offer it in both our Sew Select and Sew Curvy Boxes! That means we can offer even more fabric options to make the gorgeous top. The Sew Select box has more casual options, perfect for the weekend or business casual, while the Sew Curvy Box has heirloom cottons and organic ecovero, ideal for a dressier look. So, here they are!
- White Ultra Cotton Sateen - With a slight sheen, the sateen instantly looks dressed up while still being a joy to sew. Lightweight, with a crisp drape and a silky hand, the fabric is a step above your typical white shirting and will become an amazing versatile blouse. Nothing brightens up an outfit like a crisp white shirt, and you will look instantly tailored and chic in your make. A classic and gorgeous choice!
- Turquoise Phases Rayon Poplin - I always come back to rayon poplin because it's just so wearable. Thin but opaque, this fabric has a silky hand and semi-fluid drape, making it the obvious choice if you want a softly shaped top to mimic a silk blouse. And the print is so cool! Abstract circles on a lush turquoise background, the pattern evokes phases of the moon or pebbled walkways. Definitely a step up from your typical dot!
- Violet Crawford Gingham - If you're feeling a little country-core, gingham is always a great option, and this violet version is delightful. The color is muted since the base is undyed cotton, and that quality gives the fabric a lovely rustic feel. Paired with the flat collar and button front, and you have a casual look you'll want to wear well beyond the weekend. Sweet, but not saccharine, this fabric option is just what your wardrobe needs!
- Sevenberry Lilac Liberty Floral Lawn - There is nothing quite like a liberty floral print. The tightly packed flowers are just so cheery! They instantly make me think of English country gardens, and by March, that's probably a thought we could all use. This lawn, from Japanese designer Sevenberry, is warm and welcoming, combining a buttercream background with violet and mauve flowers. Silky, crisp, and smooth, this is just the fabric you need in your wardrobe!
- Black Swiss Dot Cotton Voile - If you want just a hint of texture in your fabric, look no further than swiss dot. Little bumps of thread dot this black voile, and it creates a beautiful polka dot pattern will give an heirloom look to this blouse. The fabric is wonderfully lightweight and soft, and you will make your top feel just like a dream. A beautiful choice!
- Shade Cobalt Ecovero Challis - Light, neutral, yet full of texture and interest, this fabric is a stunner! The white background is luxe and soft and the blue print, evoking the dappled shade from palm trees adds a botanical feel. The viscose drapes so nicely that it will look just like silk and will dress up any outfit!
Sew Indulgent Box: Bakerloo Blouse from Nina Lee Patterns
In their description, Nina Lee Patterns calls the Bakerloo Blouse "frilly fun" and I couldn't think of a better descriptor. The collar is wildly oversized, inspired by the Buster Brown collar of the 1920s, and is all the better for it. Fashion is all about making a statement, and this collar does just that. Combined with balloon sleeves that are elasticized at the wrist, you have a top or dress that is vintage yet modern and completely unique!
For fabrics, there are so many options to achieve different looks. To let the collar stand out, you can choose a simpler fabric. Or you choose a print and let the collar blend in so the details are only clear up close. Either way, I wanted to choose fabrics that felt as classic and vintage as the pattern itself. Oh, and each box will also contain lace edging, in case you want to use it around the collar.
- Shiraz Fan Print Rayon Satin - The print of this fabric reminds me of art deco architecture and the roaring 20s, which makes it perfect for this vintage-inspired collar. A deep plum color combines with almost peach lines for a print that is truly unique. Plus, the rayon satin is silky and smooth, with a drape that will look soft and elegant through the gathered sleeves and skirt. A beautiful choice!
- Sapphire Micro Houndstooth Yarn Dyed Linen - This linen is heavenly, simply put. Incredibly soft and lightweight, with good, medium-bodied drape, it's perfect for a more casual version of this top. Plus, the houndstooth is nicely subtle, allowing the collar to shine, especially with the gathered edge. Simple yet stunning, this fabric is divine.
- Scalloped Edge Navy Embroidered Voile - When I saw the scalloped edge of this fabric, I knew I had to use it for this collar. Use the selvage for the gathered edge of the collar and you have instant seam finishing! Oh, and the embroidered floral pattern, quite similar to another voile we used in our November boxes, looks hand-stitched and intricate, a perfect combo for the vintage look of the pattern. Make a one of a kind dress or top with this gorgeous voile!
If tops aren't in your sewing plans, our Tried and True Boxes feature our pull-on pants from a few summers ago. It feels like yesterday that I put these boxes together, so that sentence feels a little bizarre to write. This was one of my favorite themes, so if you're feeling like making pants, these are a great place to start. The elastic waist helps a bunch with fitting and also makes for easy wearing as well.
That's it for this month. But don't forget to sign up for our new newsletter series about Mindful Sewing. The first of the zoom gatherings is happening next Wednesday, and I can't tell you how excited I am to talk to you all!
Until next time. . .