Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

40 Shades of…….


Well, 3 actually.

One of the things I like about summer is starting to think about A/W clothes. I’ve gathered a few metres together already in greys and burgundy. I like Thornberry’s new approach to sewing – sew an outfit, not an orphan!

I took the Toni dress pattern and made it exactly as is but didn’t sew up the centre front seam.


What I have is a long, drapey waistcoat with a fab collar and pockets.

This time I added lead weights to the points of the drapes and they hang much better. The fabric is a stretch grey marl, actually quite stable and very good recovery, cotton and elastane blend from Fab Works.

But you can’t have a waistcoat without something to wear with it, like a skirt.


CC_FOLD_SKIRT__78680_zoom2_grandeThis one is Centre for Pattern Design CC Fold skirt. It’s mock wrap, one seam, waist tied. There’s space for a hidden zip inside the front fold but as this fabric is stretch I left it out.

My ties are also only half length.

I sewed the front fold halfway down just to keep it in place and the waist ties are also sewn together. So this skirt has no fastenings at all. It’s not even hemmed and I quite like the slight dip where the fold is.

Then, there’s fabric left over so you have to do something with it


This is Vogue 9193 by Marcy Tilton. It’s the top half of the top only.  The sleeves are patched with inside out seams; raw edge bands for neck and hem and finally a little side pocket.

DSCN6453 (1)

Altogether now –


V9193As the Tilton pattern was out and about, I made a full length version of the top in a light grey, almost silver, knit from Minerva.







This can now be layered with the dark grey top –

DSCN6462and when it gets really cold, just layer up again with the waistcoat.

But now you need something else to wear with the tops, like trousers. Same Tilton pattern this time made in the weirdest fabric from Fab Works: silk and linen woven into ripples. The trousers have a yoke and horizontal pockets; elasticated waist and ankle length.


Then the camera battery was exhausted, as was I. So I suppose there’ll have to be a sequel.




69 thoughts on “40 Shades of…….

  1. Your Toni adaptation is such a success – plus you look so tall and slender in it!

  2. Fantastic – all of it. But I especially like the waistcoat, I’m so glad you did this! Striking.

  3. Wow, now you’re really inspiring me Ruth. I love everything in this extended outfit and the whole lot all together is great.

  4. I love everything! The Toni dress rendition my favorite…great inspiration!

  5. Magnificent planning. I love them all – I really have to get on and buy that Toni pattern instead of talking about it. Your conversion into a waistcoat is lovely.
    Your post is an inspiration. Just wait and see if I can follow the ‘outfits not orphans’ rule.

  6. Fabulous ensemble Ruth and as everyone has said extremely inspirational.
    Love, love grey. I really should take a look at these patterns……………………..Thanks for sharing.

  7. Fabulous mix and match ensemble here. Lovely fabrics. You look great. An inspiration to us sewers to gear up for fall!

  8. That is so brilliant not sewing up the front seam! The grey on white is striking and I too have a pair of white palazzos I adore. As soon as I had sent my BMV order in, I saw how you had used the MT pattern for layering, and it’s in the next order. Woman, you’re so fabulously fearless with those shears

  9. I so look forward to your posts. You certainly get your money out of your patterns! Love,love,Love!

  10. Love all of the pieces you made…you are very talented. Your wardrobe ensembles always work well together. Learning a lot from you. Very inspirational.

  11. Ruth -that’s not an outfit. That is a mini wardrobe! Wonderful job.

  12. A stunning outfit. Perfect for almost any climate. Layers rule!

  13. Really clever Toni Dress interpretation! #like

  14. Genius wardrobe for travel!!! Beautiful Toni Dress revision! Your creativity is going on just wonderfully! Can hardly wait for the next chapter!!

  15. I like the Toni duster so much better than the dress. Great job, lots of lagenlook.

  16. Stunning wardrobe,great ideas, and you are sew stylish.

  17. BRILLIANT Really like the waistcoat.

  18. Wow! This outfit looks great on you. So many pieces and so many choices!

  19. I may just get out my CC Fold Skirt soon. I hadn’t really thought of sewing it in a knit before.
    I love the entire outfit!

  20. Wow- Toni redeemed! Love it- and yes, you do look outrageously tall, slim and classy in this lot. Welcome back!

  21. You’re amazing! And there’s more?! Waiting with bated breath…

  22. Love all of the asymmetry and the monochromatic stuff going on here. The waistcoat is something special. And that collar! I wish I could sew so productively.

  23. Wonderful layering pieces! You look great in them. So many possibilities.

  24. I am speechless, and if I wasn’t, I would echo every one of your first 24 responders! I feel so lucky to be one of your followers. I did have to look up “marl” fabric. It means a light colored thread/yarn running through the knit – at least that is my interpretation.

    • Thanks Chris. Marl looks speckled with bits of light and dark, sort of a mini tweed appearance.
      Glad to see you’re doing independent research and learning.

  25. Ooh, lovely! I really like all the layers – and the autumnal colours are fabulous!

  26. Very clever Ruth. I especially like the layering of the tops. And the unfinished edges. Great stuff.

  27. Wow! You are so prolific. And it all looks great!

  28. I am in awe of how prolific you are! Love the way you move from one garment to the next, that’s a great way to sew. love the fully layered outfit. The collar on the waistcoat looks great, I like that contrast between quite a tailored collar with the very unstructured body. X

    • Aw Mags, you know I’ve been off work for 6 weeks! I need something to fill my days and the same colour of thread in the machine is a pretty good incentive to keep going. Thank you.

  29. Pingback: 40 Shades + | corecouture

  30. You’re a genius!! A co-ordinating genius!! I absolutely love the drapy dress as a coat, it is gorgeous and brilliant.

  31. Fabulous! I’m not a huge fan of the Lagenlook style (I’m too short to do it justice), but I love seeing it on others. You’ve done a wonderful job with all of your pattern/fabric coordination. Huge congrats to you. What a fun ensemble.

    • HI Kathryn, what about shortening and minimising the flare and drape around your body. If you use the Tilton pattern and make a full length, then a cropped top, these are quite slimline items and would be a subtle introduction to a discreet layering.
      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

  32. Love it all. I had to buy the pattern after seeing your versions!!

  33. A) I LOVE your duster!
    B) I may copy this idea. 😀

  34. Oy. There will be a sudden burst of open-front Toris. Mine included. Brilliant!

  35. Pingback: Centre for Pattern design The CC Fold skirt – Fabrickated

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