A Classic Workwear Combo

Turner Dress and Julia Cardigan

Behold, a cold seamstress! It was -16c/3F when I took these pics… the only other person I saw outside was dressed head-to-toe in winter gear while he walked his dogs! But this post wouldn’t have quite the same impact if I was wearing my ankle-length winter coat, so I took the bare minimum of pics and ran back inside!

(Yes, of course I could have taken pictures inside… but the light is so dim, and editing them to look decent would have taken far longer! I wasn’t uncomfortable outside for 5 minutes, since thankfully there was no wind!) 

I had mixed feelings while I sewed this dress. On the one hand, it is simple to the point of boring. On the other, this style is exactly what I reach for day in and day out when I dress for work! I was pretty undecided right until the end… but I’m happy to report that when I put it on for pictures, the colours won me over and I felt good in it!

Turner Dress and Julia Cardigan

The dress is a Cashmerette Turner, though I know it looks pretty dang similar to the plaid dress I just made with the Washington bodice. The difference with Turner is that it’s fully lined, so it has a cleanly finished neckline with no band. The Turner skirt has a nice amount of flare, though in this ITY knit the skirt hangs quite straight and has less volume that it did on my striped Turner this fall.

Turner Dress and Julia Cardigan

For this dress, I set my heart on copying a square-neckline Turner that the beautiful and talented @naomimolly posted on Instagram a few weeks back. It was stunning on her! But as I tried this dress on mid-construction, I realised a few things. First, to give the neckline the same impact her party dress , I would have to scoop it a good deal lower than was work appropriate. Second, this fabric filled with round flowers didn’t suite a strong square neckline. And finally, I prefer square necklines that angle in towards the shoulders instead of going straight up. More like this Bronte I made years back. I was wearing a neckline like that the night Jamie and I first kissed, so I’ve got a soft spot for it!

Turner Dress and Julia Cardigan

Pairing perfectly with this dress is a Julia cardigan that I made before Christmas. It’s made with the same sweater knit as this red long cardigan, which means it suffers the same tendency to cling to itself or whatever is underneath it. The double-layered edging on this cardigan pattern helps with that though, as does wearing it over something slipper like ITY. Fit wise, I probably should have put in even more room for my hips but really, who cares? It fits as well as RTW, and that’s fine for me.

(Oh, and I made new black bamboo leggings, because you can never have enough of those!) 

Turner Dress and Julia Cardigan

All in all, not the most exciting combo in terms of technique or style, but it’s the epitome of my workwear style for the last 5 years of sewing – I mean, seriously, look at this post from 2012, and you’ll see me wearing three versions of a fit-and-flare dress with leggings and cardigan!

(Can I detour for a moment? In that post from 2012 is a link to the very first dress I ever made and blogged… and I had to laugh at this quote from myself:

“I’m working on round two right now… but here’s my problem! Having done it once, it’s kinda boring the second time around! I keep trying to dream up exciting and new modifications, when really I should just finish the darn thing and experiment with something new. Someone told me once that as an artist, the first time making something is exciting and the second time through is just boring. Do you find that too?”

 

AHAHAHAHA! I didn’t like sewing patterns more than once? Oh. My. Goodness. Nowadays I make my favourite patterns five, ten, even fifteen time!)

Friends, tell me: What part of your wardrobe hasn’t changed in 5 years or more? 


50 thoughts on “A Classic Workwear Combo

  1. I love this- the colours, they easy breezy style, all of it. I sympathise about the outdoor pic dilemma- my LBD shoot lasted about 5 minutes too, as I was sinking into frosty mud as I tried to twirl. Sleeveless too, eek!
    I make favourite items [usually dresses] multiple times too, and shirts for the missus. I have four versions of Vogue 1410, 3 StyleArc Twiggys, four self drafted skater dresses, and an unknown number of Kwiksew 3658 tops and dresses [it’s a doozie!]
    No one ever spots that they’re the same pattern, and if they did, so what? It can get boring though [all those shirts, sigh]

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    1. Shirts are one things I’ve been avoiding, because it does seem boringly laborious – all those little seams to sew, press, and topstitch! You are extra kind to do that for anyone but yourself! (My poor husband gets underwear and the occasional hoodie from me, and that’s it!)

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      1. I actually dodged them for years because of the buttonholes- I’ve never had a machine that makes decent ones. BUT now I have a gorgeous 1911 Singer, and its buttonhole attachment is glorious. I actually seek out things with buttonholes to make! Next up for wifey is a coat [fabrics all ready to cut] and I want to perfect a trouser toile or 2. I’m basing my 2017 SWAP entry on a wardrobe for the missus [Wife SWAP]

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  2. That fabric is definitely a winner, I ❤ the colours! I’m very much with you concerning the garments that always work. I think I made my first proper jersey dress in spring of 2012 (navy with irregular cream dots and 3/4 sleeves) and I still regularly wear it!

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    1. I feel like you found your style and colour palette really early – now you’ve had years to keep sewing and wearing the perfect things!

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  3. I wear the same color palette. Yesterday I was fabric shopping and was really drawn to a bright pink double knit. And then I asked myself, “will I actually wear this?” And I knew the answer was no. I tend to stick to fall colors and darker jewel tones. I also agree that the Turner is not the most exciting pattern ever, but it is so dang wearable!!!! I have 2 and I’m planning a third now.

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    1. I wasn’t in love with Turner when I tested it – sure, funtional, yeah, whatever… but oh man, I’m going to be sewing them for years! Interesting about the hot pink – I wear that colour a lot, so it would be a basic for me!

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    1. Thank you! I think it’s the combo of the white, back and jewel tones that I really love… take away one of those three, and the balance would be off!

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  4. Sounds like you have found the silouette that works in your life – dress/tights/cardigan. It’s good to see another blogger that likes to make TNT patterns over and over! Pattern Repeaters unite!

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  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these colors and style on you! You obviously know what works for you, your lifestyle and your body. I have made a similar colored Quilted Clare Coat- must take pictures – I find the color combination so joyful. We were actually just looking at photos from a family holiday we’d taken 5 years ago and, though I wasn’t sewing as much as I am now, I was surprised at the similarities – though I get a much better fit these days!

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    1. Ooh, a quilted Clare sounds amazing! I can’t wait to see it! It’s funny how personal style sneaks up on us… and then all of a sudden, you look back and boom! There it is, in embryonic form!

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  6. I love the colours of this dress on you too – those intermittent bright white flowers make it so eye catching. I think the notion of making the same pattern several times is a relatively new phenomenon. Back when I first started sewing garments (1971?) people didn’t do that. They bought a pattern and made it up and that was that – its curious that there are TONS more patterns to choose from (there was no such thing as an indie pattern maker either) and most people make them up more than once!

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    1. My Mom and Granny say the same thing about sewing in the 50’s onward: people just sewed the pattern as is, and moved on! Now I think there is so much emphasis on adjustments and fit that sewing it again is more appealing… and pattern cost more now, so I’m less likely to experiment!

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  7. You are brave for going outside in winter!! I don’t think I could do that.
    Seeing as I’m a teenager, there’s really nothing I have from five years ago…or similar styles even, except maybe a cardigan in warm weather and my work jeans (read: unflattering but so so comfy. Also stained).

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    1. Hehehehe – you mean you don’t love your tweenage wardrobe from 5 years ago? 😛 Oh man – when I was that age, I was wearing baggy overalls and oversized sweaters… both of which are now back in a much more flattering ways! 😛 I remember loving this one stripped knitted vest that was down past my hips… yikes!

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  8. What a great question! I think a lot has changed, but I still love wearing leggings and tights with tunics and dresses and tall riding boots. This look never fails for me 🙂 I also still have way too much clothing, but that is not likely to change anytime soon!

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    1. That is an EXCELLENT look, and i feel like it’ll be one of the enduring silhouette of the 00’s and teens. That, and skinny jeans, which I think I probably had two or three pairs of 5 years ago, but also still straight legged jeans…

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  9. I don’t think this outfit is boring at all! The fun pattern keeps it interesting. And why not make what you need in your wardrobe.

    I must say I would happily trade some of that snow for our heat! 40C days are not my idea of fun – maybe we could reach a happy medium?

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    1. Uh, I’ll keep my snow if that’s your trade! Hot hot weather is so hard! I’ve been there, lived through that, and I’m definitely a Canadian at heart! I wish you luck and a nice cool breeze, though! 😉

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  10. Oh my goodness I love that fabric! And this outfit looks smashing on you! For the past 20 years I would say my wardrobe has been largely a pair of blue jeans and some sort of top. For many of those years it was blue jeans and a slouchy t-shirt. (I once interviewed for a job in blue jeans, slouchy tie-dyed t-shirt, and birkenstocks–and got the job, ah Silicon Valley 😉 I went through a phase of trying to upgrade my wardrobe, but it really just consisted of going from slouchy t-shirts to more interesting nicer tops.

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  11. The things you do for this blog – I’m glad there was no wind though & you didn’t get too cold! This is a lovely dress and I like the sound of no neckband sewing! I’ve been nodding along whilst reading this post – I definitely like to sew the same patterns over & over, and sew things that sometimes I think might be a bit boring but I know will get lots of wear. Also quite happy with the fit being as good as RTW! I think tshirt dresses have been a work & weekend staple of my life for years now – comfy, smart, no ironing needed.

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    1. I”m glad we think the same about our wardrobes! No fuss and oh so practical while still being fun and pretty – that’s pretty much my ideal!

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  12. these colours suit you very well Gillian, I can’t belive you took the pics at -16.
    I find myself to feel still the same as you felt 5 years ago, as I don’t sew many garments I still try to use mostly new patterns but I’m sure this will change If I become more productive.

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    1. I think some people always love the thrill of a new adventure… I think I just got less adventurous as time got more precious!

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  13. Ooh, the colors in that print! And maybe it’s not the most exciting silhouette, but if you get a lot of wear out of it, that makes it all worthwhile! Besides, fun prints make up for a lot.

    Let’s see… obviously, much of my lifestyle has changed over the last five years! But the constants, as much as pregnancy and nursing has allowed, are blue jeans, long flowy skirts, boots, and the colors in your new dress. 😉

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    1. I bet your experiences sewing with limited time while the kids are young puts you in good stead once you have time to sew more – you’ll know exactly what you like!

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  14. I love these – perfect together ;o) I have bought a teal knit the same colour, will have to wait a bit longer until we get winter down under – which is nowhere near as cold as what you have there!!

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  15. This dress is so lovely on you! Why mess with a formula that works so well for you? I’ve been trying to find something that works effortlessly, and after a year and many projects, I’m still trying to get it right. And where did you get that beautiful fabric? I love the colours!

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    1. I got the fabric for everything at my local chain store, Fabricland – they do sell some stuff online, but sadly not this print! 😦

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  16. Great combo, I wearing something very similar now, I love comfy clothes that look fab! I must make another Julia cardigan, it looks great.

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  17. You are one tough lady to take pictures outdoors in that weather!

    Make and wear what you love. If you’re changing the fabric a bit it isn’t dull at all. I’ve got a Burda skinny trousers pattern that I always have a version of in my wardrobe; I wear them until they wear out.

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    1. Thank you! I tried this on after weaing a dress in not-my-colours, and it was really clear that these colours are much better on me! Makes my skin look much less red!

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  18. Pretty sure everything has changed – except for an Old Navy tank top that still fits perfectly. I use it to DIY tank tops for mysef 🙂 and sometimes I even wear it, haha! I love changing my style, from year to year or life-phase to life-phase (or both). But I hope that tank top lasts me for-ev-er!

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  19. You are brave being out in the snow in just your dress. Oh, what we do for our art! I absolutely love this dress, and your cardigan looks great with it. The colours are perfect together and that floral fabric is utterly gorgeous. In those old posts you can really see your current colour palette starting to take shape but I can’t believe that you sewed a WOVEN!!! In my wardrobe nothing much has changed for a very long time. I still wear skinnies and a (band) t-shirt at the weekends, just the sizes are a lot bigger. I do have a lot less vintage, but that is because I have expanded not that I don’t want to wear it any more and lots of separates for work. I seem to be in slightly more sensible adult mode and even have some dresses for work. Eek! :O Xx

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  20. I like your whole outfit, but that dress in that fabric is fantastic!! Five years ago I was on a hiatus from sewing and was wearing a lot of slacks and mini-cable sweaters (so much so that people commented on it!). Then I discovered that I could sew my own leggings/tights and now I love to wear dresses. I can’t wait to sew up a couple more Turners, since I agree that they are simple but wearable. I also really like things that are good for layering as I move through bus commuting and an inconsistently heated office – dresses I can wear with tights and a sweater or scarf/shawl make me feel cozy and put together 🙂

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  21. This reminds me so much of my own workwardrobe last year! I’ve changed it up into a more shift dress silhouette but seeing this makes me want to sew a bit more knit fit and flare dresses!
    You look amazing, even in that snow!

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  22. The colours in this dress are beautiful, and the whole outfit screams you! Why not make the things you love to wear? 😉 I can’t believe you braved the cold, I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold. Ha ha!

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