Separates, separates, separates

Things have changed for me quite a bit in the last year-and-a-half or so. I went from being a law student living in rural Vermont to a sort-of unemployed lawyer in urban Philadelphia, waiting for a job I had accepted back in September 2013 to begin in August 2014. Now, I’m living in a less urban area of Philly, commuting every day 45 minutes each way to Trenton, New Jersey, and working a pretty intense 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. job as a law clerk for a judge. All of this change has required a pretty major overhaul of my wardrobe.

In my current job, I’m in court 3 or so days a week, which requires a jacket. Before I started this job, I had two suits and a slew of ill-fitting and outdated dress clothes from my pre-law-student days. I quickly added a couple more suits to my wardrobe this fall. I also knew that I wanted to increase the separates I had in my wardrobe. In particular, I knew I needed some woven tops–especially silk–to wear under jackets. My goal was to create a bunch of separates that I could easily grab without too much thought when I get dressed in the dark at 6 a.m. I want to look polished and professional because lawyers are on the whole a pretty conservative bunch. But, I also don’t want to completely lose my personality in a sea of black, gray, and navy jackets.

I also have a lot less time to sew now that I’m working full time. Usually, when I get home, I have just enough energy to shove food in my mouth and relax for a little while before bed. I’m also working hard to add physical activity to my routine. And, on the weekends, I am trying to catch up on household related stuff: grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking a big pot of something that will have leftovers to eat throughout the week. I also, unfortunately, usually spent some amount of time working on the weekends, because seriously, my job is kind of intense and overwhelming. All of this is to say that my sewing time has decreased significantly. Thus, I’m all about simple patterns that I can put together quickly and easily.

Enter the 9 items above–simple basics with a little personality. The green top is the Salme Hannah top made from an off-cut of green silk leftover from a dress I made (also needing to be posted here). It works under a jacket, but the arm holes were a challenge to fit and to wear. I need to re-draft them a bit to make this pattern work a little better for me. The two middle tops are variations on the Wiksten Tova, both from silk prints snagged at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL last spring. I love both of these. The rest of the tops are all Deer & Doe Datura blouses. I love the yoke of this pattern because it’s a great way to use up leftover fabrics. I also like using it for silks since the yoke means no fiddling around with bias edging.

For the skirts, I made a couple of simple pencil skirts out of cotton sateen: one in plain navy and one in a print. I do have more of the navy sateen to, at some point, make a jacket to go with the skirt. I typically wear the print skit with my navy suit jacket. It’s really nice to be able to separate my suit pieces to make more interesting outfits. Finally, the fuller skirt in the middle is a Colette Zinnia skirt made from a great black and white wax print cotton I bought at B&J Fabrics in New York. I love it and typically wear it with a blouse and a black jacket or sweater.

Believe it or not, I have a few more separates I didn’t photograph above. My love of Liberty of London knows no bounds these days, so I’ve been really enjoying making up a couple Wiksten Tova tanks to wear both casually and under jackets or sweaters for work. I also have another Deer & Doe Dature. All of these items were in the laundry when I photographed the pieces above. I need to keep working on documenting all of my sewing efforts! I also have more plans for more separates as I move into fall and winter. Now, if only there were more hours in the day . . .