Today I have something very exciting to share with you: I’m starting my own pattern company, Capital Chic Patterns.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know about my fondness for drafting patterns and creating unusual garments using both drafting and draping techniques. On seeing so many wonderful indie sewing pattern companies become successful in their own niches, it was a natural next step for me to start a new venture which might allow me to make a little money while doing something I love. I am a big supporter of indie pattern companies but felt like there wasn’t one around that fully matched my personal style – modern, fashionable dresses and separates that suit my lifestyle. As you know, I live and work in central London and favour slim silhouettes, clean lines and tend towards the smarter or more formal end of the spectrum. That’s why my new collection of patterns is designed primarily as work wear and cocktail wear, though depending on the fabrics, these shapes could carry you through from weekend shopping to date night, or the office party to that summer wedding. I feel that there are people who sew whose personal style doesn’t necessarily fit into the vintage/retro style that a lot of indie pattern companies cater for, and those are the people for whom I’m designing.
Another thing I am passionate about is improving my own sewing skills as well as those of my readers and the community in general. I’m not a sewing expert but consider myself to be experienced in some of the more advanced techniques. I have always tried to share tutorials on ideas and techniques for refashioning and pattern making here on the blog, so that people may learn something new. And this is another thing I’ll be trying to address with the new company – the patterns are aimed at intermediate to advanced sewers. Again, I feel this is a sector that is not necessarily being covered as well as it could be by indie pattern companies at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is a lot of choice out there for beginners. But what happens when you want to progress and start working on your skills as a sewist? If you continue making beginner-rated patterns, you’ll never improve, and that worries me. I want people to challenge themselves – that’s the only way to learn! All Capital Chic patterns come with fully-illustrated and easy-to-understand instructions which will hopefully enable those that haven’t tried certain techniques to give them a go. The new collection includes things like sew-in boning, French seams, machine-rolled hems and various other techniques that wouldn’t be found in beginner-rated patterns. So if you’ve been making beginner patterns up to now, but are ready for a challenge, Capital Chic is for you.
Without getting too emotional, I want to say thanks to everyone for your support since I started the blog 3 years and 115 posts ago. It’s been an absolute blast, and here’s to the next 115! Huge thanks to those in the sewing blogger community who have helped with testing the patterns thus far. And extra-special thanks to Clare for being a sounding board and drinking companion throughout the whole process!
On that note, don’t worry, nothing will change over here on Charity Shop Chic. I’ll still be buying the ugliest things I can find in charity shops across the world and making them special, and sharing the process with you all. I promise not to become one of those blogs that started out great but became merely a tool for self-promotion. I’m sure you all know that is just not my style! There will be a brand new blog for the new company here where I’ll be talking about all sorts of things to do with the new patterns, such as pattern hacks, sewing tips, fashion and styling ideas and more. If that interests you, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed here. You can also subscribe to receive occasional email updates, on new pattern releases and that sort of thing, from Capital Chic here. And feel free to follow me with my Capital Chic hat on on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.
And now, I want to share a little bit about each of the new patterns with you. There are six designs in my first collection and they each come with two variations. Each comes as a print-at-home or print-at-copyshop PDF file, complete with fully illustrated instructions, in sizes UK 10-18. For full details, hop over to the new website.
Martini is a cocktail dress with a twist. In today’s crop-top shape with an above-the-waist skirt, the silhouette helps create the illusion of a narrow waistline. It comes either as separates, so you can show as much or as little skin as you like, or as a lined dress that looks like separates but without the risk of showing any midriff. Martini’s instructions include full descriptions of advanced techniques such as boning, french seams and inserting the zip guard, making it ideal for sewing intermediates looking for a challenge.
Cosmopolitan looks flirty, but actually means business; it can be paired with a jacket and flats for work, then ditch the jacket and add heels for an instant evening-friendly look. T-shaped darts at the bust mean striped or plaid fabrics really come into their own, but this dress can just as effectively be made up in solid colours. The blouse version features a pleated peplum with just the right amount of ‘pep’ and the same T-shaped darts for interest.
White Russian is a fairly close fitting sweatshirt, intended for pre-quilted jersey or sweatshirt fabrics or for quilting your own design. View A is a long sleeved raglan sweatshirt with cuffs, and View B is a quilted T-shirt with turn ups instead of cuffs. The pattern comes with templates for lion and fox quilting or appliqué designs and fully illustrated instructions for these techniques.
Bellini is a loose fitting, cap sleeved blouse with either a cutaway collar or a scalloped collar. Either collar option provides a blank canvas for embellishment. Add sequins, beads or sew-on gems for a night-time look, or go for a contrasting fabric such as leather/pleather for an edge. The blouse features bias-bound armholes, a machine rolled hem and french seams throughout. Full illustrated instructions for these techniques are included.
Manhattan is based on a pencil skirt silhouette with a curved side panel for added interest. Choose View A with its sexy, jagged hemline and exposed zip for a night on the town, or View B for a skirt that’s boardroom-appropriate with a chance to showcase special fabrics in the curved side panel. This dartless skirt sits at the waist and fits snugly with minimal ease.
Champagne is a basic, versatile pencil skirt design that moves from the office to after-hours drinks with ease. Both views feature a coordinating or contrasting hem band. The band for View A is straight at the front but party in the back with a small flounce taking the place of a vent. View B has more of a trumpet shape with a circular flounce front and back for a flirty feel. Both versions lend themselves to colour blocking, or to fabrics with two good sides/two different textures, such as satin backed crepe.
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