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Summer Wardrobe Boost, Professional Edition

June 18, 2015

I am so excited to be heading to Montreal next month to present my work at the major academic conference in my field. It will be my first time at this particular conference as well as my first visit to Quebec, and I am so excited and nervous!

In addition to being an essential part of academic life, conferences are also a great opportunity to spruce up a professional wardrobe a little bit at a time while boosting confidence. I’m especially feeling the need for a wardrobe boost for this conference because 1) it’s in the summer, and we all know how much trouble I have dressing well in the heat, and 2) I’m a little bigger on the bottom than I used to be, so my professional wardrobe isn’t as extensive as it once was. I have a few projects in mind for this particular conference:
Red Knits_Dove Gray Skinny ThurlowsA pair of dress pants that can be worn with either heels or flats and a wide variety of tops. I’m going to begin with the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern in the hopes that it’s closer to fitting my large hip-to-waist ratio than my last trouser attempt. However, I want to make these pants skinny and very slightly cropped so they work with all sorts of shoes in warmer weather. For the fabric, I chose this dove gray lightweight suiting.
Red Knits_V8766 Sheath DressA sheath dress to wear to my presentation and, later that evening, dress up for the banquet. I will use Vogue 8766 because the pattern accompanies a Craftsy class I have and have been meaning to take. Both the class and the pattern were free thanks to some special email offer! I’m planning to make the sleeveless, straight skirt version (as in the blue fashion illustration) so that I can wear it under a blazer during the day, and then remove the blazer and add some fun jewelry for the banquet. The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen.
Red Knits _Morris Blazer and Pencil Skirt
This may look like I’m making a suit, but I actually plan to make separates that won’t be worn together, at least for now. I’m going with the Grainline Morris blazer to be worn over the sheath dress one day and a top and pants on another. I’ll also make a straight skirt using Simplicity 2475 view B, an Amazing Fit pattern, to be worn with a blouse and cardigan. They’ll both be out of the same rayon/nylon/spandex stretch twill, which is in fact black despite what my camera tells you.

I would also love to make a sleeveless top to wear underneath the blazer because I have so few of them, but I already have an ambitious plan here, so that may not happen. I am so pleased that a huge sale at JoAnn made it doable to add to my warm weather professional wardrobe, and I know I’ll be so much more comfortable at both the conference and my August classes in some fabulous new clothes.
Red Knits_ Thurlow MuslinFirst thing is first: it’s time to trace off the Thurlow pattern and work up a muslin. I’m armed with Pants for Real People and my previous trouser experience, so hopefully the path isn’t too rocky!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Carla permalink
    June 19, 2015 3:47 pm

    Can I hire you to update my wardrobe? I love your ideas. Maybe they will inspire me to sew up some of my stockpile of fabric!

    • June 20, 2015 9:53 pm

      Carla, don’t you have an avid little seamstress you could rope into sewing for you? Sounds like the perfect Christmas/birthday/Mothers Day gift to me!

  2. Anne permalink
    June 19, 2015 4:46 pm

    “Pants for Real People”… ahahah I love it.

  3. June 19, 2015 6:10 pm

    Wish I was able to sew… And good luck with the academic part as well. I have a big conference I will attend in the US soon, but without a tailored wardrobe I guess πŸ™‚ Greetings from Oslo!

    • June 20, 2015 9:56 pm

      Thanks so much for visiting! My husband’s heritage is mostly Norwegian, and we would love to visit someday. Well, actually he’s all for packing up and moving there!

      Good luck at your conference, too! I find that my appearance makes all the difference in my confidence, but I know that’s not true for everyone πŸ™‚

      • June 21, 2015 5:19 pm

        I know the feeling πŸ˜‰ And Norway is a good country to live in (we have tried US as well), we’ll soon be travelling to the fjords; I’ll add some photos to my blog to show! Hege

  4. June 22, 2015 2:15 am

    How about making a sleeveless shell top using a simple tank pattern like the ones from Grainline, Wiksten, or Colette Patterns.

    • June 25, 2015 9:33 am

      It’s like you were looking into the future! The first Sewing Match challenge is the True Bias Sutton Blouse, which is a simple top with short kimono sleeves, so I’ll get my new blouse for the conference after all.


  1. SOSM Round 1: True Bias Sutton Blouse | Red Knits

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