Charlie Caftan in wool // Closet Case Patterns
Fashion Sewing & Wardrobe

Fall Sewing Plans

Fall makes me want to sew everything. I always feel a little underwhelmed by my options when the cooler weather comes,  and I like adding a few new pieces to make getting dressed every morning feel like less of a chore. While I make a project list every season, this time around I’ve been a little more thoughtful about what will give me the most bang for my buck and time. This means lots of basics and a few workhorse pieces that will help me build lots of outfits to keep warm.

Since moving out of my studio, I’ve had to readjust my sewing practice. My new apartment is on the small side, so I don’t have a lot of dedicated space for a sewing room. This means no serger, and no counter height cutting table. Since I do most of my sewing on the weekend, I have to plan ahead and make sure I’ve cut everything out at work before I take it home, and anything that needs to be serged needs to be done back in the office. I’ve found my favourite thing to sew at home is bras; they take up so little room and can be sewn start to finish on my vintage Bernina. I’m trying to get more organized since it’s super frustrating to dive into a project only to realize I didn’t bring the right thread or interfacing home with me. Logistics aside, I thought I’d share my fall sewing plans with you. I’m going through a  bit of a magazine editor phase, which means lots of black and simple, classic shapes. Here’s what I’ve got planned.

Up first? A Charlie Caftan in a thick wool. I drafted this pattern for the warmer months, but I can’t stop thinking about how cute it would look in something thick and warm, layered over slim pants or paired with tights and a turtleneck. The pleated version would be fabulous in something more structured; if I can find the right heathered grey wool, this will be a rockstar garment for me.

Pendleton Wool Coat // Closet Case Patterns

I’d like to add a new coat to the collection as well. I treated myself to a few yards of this magnificent Pendelton wool, and am trying to settle on the right pattern since I have more than enough Clare Coats and would like to try something new. I love the Sapporo Coat from Papercut Patterns, but it’s not the most practical for Montreal winters (no closures means its only wearable maybe three months out of the year). I am considering drafting something myself but I’m not sure I have the energy for all the muslinning given our pattern schedule for the coming year. To be continued…

Maxi Cardigan // Closet Case Patterns

Next up is a maxi or duster cardigan. I bought a RTW one in Paris this summer and wear it all the time; it makes even the most slovenly outfit 100% more elegant. I plan to draft this using our knit block. I’m thinking about a deep autumnal wool jersey or slightly drapey ponte for a little heft.

Lander Pants in twill // Closet Case Patterns

I love, love, love the new Lander Pants pattern from True Bias. I’ve already muslinned the first pair, and am halfway constructing some in a bold mustard yellow. I also have a super beefy olive cotton twill I’d like to use. I’m planning on widening the leg a little and pairing the cropped version with knee-high boots.

Ebony Tee in black bamboo knit // Closet Case Patterns

I just picked up a few yards of super soft black bamboo knit, and I’m going to make our Ebony dress with it. Paired with tights and flats it’s an easy to wear Little Black Dress, of which I shamefully have none.

Great British Sewing Bee Knit Dress - Free pattern! // Closet Case Patterns

I am also SUPER excited to make this clever drapey dress from the latest book from the Great Britsh Sewing Bee. I saw Melissa of Fehr Trade wearing it in London and practically ripped it off her body – the neckline is so pretty! Love Sewing offers a free download but I had trouble with a corrupted file and got in touch with someone at the magazine; let me know if anyone else has success downloading it! It calls for drapier knits but I want something structured, so I may use ponte, or perhaps a gorgeous forest green scuba I bought on Goldhawk Road to bring it full British circle.

Cropped Quilted Jacket - McCalls M7549 // Closet Case Patterns

Carrying over from my spring sewing list is this cropped quilted jacket from McCalls. The quilting design is absolutely perfect, and I’m hoping to use some of the stretch black denim from our last Cone Mills kit. I think this will be a slightly more sophisticated, “evening” version of my Tamarack Jacket.

Cline Sweater in Tov II // Closet Case Patterns

I’m planning on hopefully actually finishing a sweater this year. I still need to finish Snoqualmie (hey remember when I was going to host a knitalong for that? HAHAHAHA) but I tried on a sample of the Cline Sweater by Julie Hoover at Fancy Tiger Crafts this fall and fell in love with the silhouette. It’s so chic and kinda French, non? The lovely people at Woolfolk have sent me some of their new Tov DK yarn in charcoal to knit it with, and my skin is already swooning at the thought of that silky merino all up on my upper half this winter. It looks easy to knit; I’m just hoping I don’t get bored of all the stockinette. I was tempted to go with a bolder hue but knitting takes SO much time, I’d rather invest in a colour I know I’ll want to wear all the time. Because apparently, I’m goth now.

Black Stretch Trousers // Closet Case Patterns

Desperately, desperately missing from my wardobe is a pair of slim fitting black dress pants. I get bored of wearing jeans every day, and these are so easy to dress up or down. I’m torn between using a stretch wool or gabardine with poly; either way, these pants will be self-drafted.

Kalle shirtdress in Mammoth plaid // Closet Case Patterns

Last but not least, I’m hoping to make a few Kalle Shirt and Shirtdresses in flannel. I wear flannel shirts at least once a week, and I want some tunic-y ones to wear with leggings. There are about forty different versions of the to-die-for Kaufman Mammoth Flannel on the market now so I’m going to have to Sophie’s Choice a few options; a black and white buffalo check is on the top of the list.

All of this may be a little ambitious given our upcoming studio move, but one of my new work resolutions is to carve out more time during the work day to sew for myself, so I’m hoping I can tackle a good chunk of this before spring comes and I have a whole new list of things I need to obsessively make.

What’s on your fall sewing agenda this year?


  • senzie

    What about adding a wind shield and then maybe those
    Horn button/leather toggles to Sapporo???
    Also, if you were going to use this fabric for a Clare, what kind of interfacing would you recommend (I have the pattern and this post reminded me that a dozen years ago, I got some Pendleton wool which is packed away…)

    • I’d recommend knit fusible interfacing, same as I’d use on any wool coating. And a wind shield is a great idea!

      • senzie

        Thank you.

  • Veronika Eido

    I downloaded the GBSB dress pattern this time last year without any problems. Do you want me to send it to you?
    Btw, I managed to sew it in lose wool crepe and it worked as well :

    • They fixed the link! I’ve got it now but thank you!

  • Cadi

    Glad that thought of layering a turtleneck under Charlie stuck with you! 🙂 Curious about making one in wool (or flannel, like I’m considering) – would you underline it so it doesn’t stick to tights and tops? I want to make one soooo bad but that’s the only thing hanging me up.

    • I think I would line it? I was thinking about how to do it and I was considering removing the pleat and center panel for the lining but I’d have to make sure I’d still have enough ease through the hip. Although underlining would probably be easier – the inside center panel could just be the same lining fabric.

      • Francesca Amodeo

        Isn’t it easier to just wear a slip? I’ve made a few in different shapes – they take no time to run up. I have 3 half slips in different lengths and 2 vest dress type ones, same story. They work in a nice lining fabric but my most comfy ones are in lightweight silk.

        • I just need to find or draft the right pattern. I am very picky about slips!

          • Francesca Amodeo

            and so you should be:). I made one for under dresses with a shape from a 50s princess seamed pattern…. love it. Then I made another one which I traced from an existing one – it was a hand me down from big sis of a Ferre sweater dress which came with a slip (Italian designers, of course…) – basically an elongated tank, and I love this one too. The half slips were made from skirt patterns because I hate shapeless tubes – in A line and pencil shapes.

          • Ryan Patterson

            Have you seen the Ruby slip pattern? I’ve meant to make it but haven’t yet but it’s pretty simple but there’s a sewalong and variations and everything. I have a lot of vintage slips that I wear but a bunch need to be mended and I’d love to have at least one real silk slip.

          • I think I’ve seen that one! Its a pretty vintage style?

  • I saw the Charlie, followed by the Sapporo coat and now I’m want to hack Charlie into a jacket. Something cozy and soft to replace my ratty 26 year old cardigan…

    • OMG that could be epic! Keep me posted!

      • I’ve had an internal argument going on in my head that I can make it work from something in my limited stash, but nothing I have on hand is ideal. Something soft enough to be comfortable loafing around with a book that won’t look crumpled from doing the same if I want to whip off to the grocery store.

  • Caroline

    I long for mustard Landers.

  • That drapy knit dress is haunting me. Ms Fehr has done her duty by it, surely. I did get a download, printed it out and there it waits, with the other printed out but not taped up PDF’s. It’s just kinda like a couple other dresses I have that are….deeply sack-like. The Sapporo is next on the list, after some gift work. It’s going to get an exposed zip up the front. Like I’ve said, Jet Set Julie should be getting a commission on that one. You’re both enablers, you know.

    • “Deeply sack-like” is my current personal style in a nutshell 😉

  • Beck

    That Pendelton wool is out of this world! Must be nerve-wracking trying to decide what to sew with such a special fabric! I have also had my eyes on the Sapporo jacket but been a bit put off also by its lack of longevity through the coldest months of winter! Plus, while I loooove the one on the pattern envelope, I feel like some of the versions made by sewists online are a bit hit and miss! Good luck deciding what to do with it! You have some great sewing plans lined up!

    • I think it’s hit or miss because it runs big – I’m planning on sizing down a lot. And yes to Pendleton anxiety – I’ve never spent so much on fabric so cutting into it will be an exercise in zen.

  • Samantha Molloy

    I’ve had the same thoughts about the Sapporo coat. I was wondering if extending the fronts across so they overlap and adding some big snap fastenings would work.

    • kellicousins

      I have done this and can enthusiastically say that extending the front/adding snaps does work, it looks good, and the finished coat is DOPE AS HELL. Do it!

      (Some notes, though: pay attention to the finished measurements before choosing your size. By their chart I should’ve been wearing an XL, but the ease in the XS was more than enough to make it comfortably oversized and the sleeves are almost down to my wrists. This coat is BIG.)

      • It looks too big on everyone so I was planning on sizing down a lot.

        • kellicousins

          The shoulders are deceptively precise. A bunch of my friends have tried it on and it looks either fantastic or terrible based on the width of their shoulders. I lucked out with where it hangs on me. A muslin, while a drag, is probably a good idea.

  • Lisa

    Fun ideas! Sadly, I agree about the Sapporo coat. I’m currently in a phase of tracing all the things so I can sew all the things. I’ve got a men’s button up and vest in the queue as well as the Lander pants, a long cardigan like you mentioned, a long t-shirt I can wear with leggings, and a blouse with an empire waist. I kind of want to make a Kalle and some pants with octopus fabric (because I can and it’s weird in a fun way), but those will have to wait so I don’t get overwhelmed.

    • I like cutting as much as possible in one foul swoop so it’s all ready for me when I have the time. And I 200% want to see that octopus Kalle 😉

  • Love your sewing plans for the fall!

  • Pam

    I love that Sapporo coat and I agree that it might not be the best coat for a cold climate. But if you have other coats that you can wear when the weather is fierce, why not make it anyway? That Pendleton wool would be insanely gorgeous with that pattern. My fall sewing plans include basics like a crisp white button down, a charcoal grey ponte cardigan and a stretch velvet swing dress for the holidays. Right now I am working on amping up my outdoor gear for cold weather biking and cross country skiing. I am totally geeking out on technical fabrics to make balaclavas, a windblock fleece anorak and stretchy fleece base layers. It’s so freaking fun I can hardly stand it!

    • I love getting that excited about sewing new stuff! And a crisp white button down has been on my list forever but I find it nigh near impossible to find white oxford with the right heft so it’s not see through….

  • kellicousins

    Make the Sapporo! I made one for Chicago fall in a heavy linen and it’s delightful. And I HATE coats without closures, so I redrafted the fronts to extend each center panel by 1 inch and added 7/8″ snaps. It wasn’t a difficult thing to do and it doesn’t ruin the line of the jacket at all, though my center points don’t line up in a perfect chevron anymore due to the overlap.

    Alllso, once I did that I hacked the Inari Dress with the Sapporo pockets and I cannot recommend that enough for a fall dress (I also took out the slit and hi/lo hem so it’s extra coccoon-y). Inari’s one flaw for me was lack of pockets, so the addition of Sapporo’s makes it the best dress around.

    • Oooh that linen Sapporo sounds rad! Now that it’s officially cold AF here (-8 and snow tomorrow) I was thinking Sapporo might be better in the spring – linen sounds lovely! I also just bought the Making quarterly because of the cute Wiksten jacket pattern in there, also destined for linen… I will definitely think about that Inari hack since my love for that pattern is great.

      • kellicousins

        The raddest part of the coat is that it’s lined with the same wax print fabric Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is wearing in this photo:

        And I hear you on needing a warm coat. This one has been surprisingly warm; I think the cocoon shape traps heat somehow and it’s been fine with a sweater underneath as long as the weather is above freezing. The coldest thing about this one is that the sleeves are SO WIDE (I even thinned them by 2″ each) and in the heavy linen they stand away from the body quite a lot. I’m planning to make a heavy wool version sometime, and I”ll probably add some sort of internal baffle to the lining of the sleeves to keep the wind from coming up the cuffs

  • Quinn May

    I love how organized you are in your plans. I feel like always having all your plans laid out like this would keep you from getting stuck on not quite knowing what to tackle next. Sometimes I just get stuck there and spend weeks without sewing just because I don’t want to make the wrong choice (which is pretty much just the most ridiculous thing).

    • I find getting organized really helps. I pull out fabric I want to use and put projects in piles. I also like having one epic cutting day when I prep a few projects all at once so it’s no big deal to get started on something, especially if I only have an hour at a time to work on it.

      • Quinn May

        Brilliant! Often the cutting part is where I get hung up. I might start adopting some of your prep methods.

  • Oh man my list is so long too!! I have a coat (found some faux fur at mood), a silk dress, and pants all on the list. We’ll see what actually happens. Have fun!!

    PS I have the same problem with sewing at home on the weekend and realizing I forgot some critical thing from work. So frustrating!!

    • I have a wholesale account with a sewing supplier so when the budget allows I’m going to try and double up on all the critical stuff so this stops happening! What coat are you going to make?

      • That’s a great idea. I just bought a couple boxes of the bulk Schmetz needles (100 ct I think) so that at least I will have the right needles at each place. Thread is next…

        Coat: currently experiencing classic coat pattern indecision slash paralysis.

  • I’m currently working on a raspberry colored trench coat, but I also have a Sapporo coat planned – I plan to winterize it a bit by lengthening the sleeves, lining with kasha and adding large hooks and eyes for a closure that won’t be noticeable/visible without scrutiny. Also Landers, Gingers, a few cosy tops, an LBD, more wool trousers…. oy, more than I can get done!

    • Yes to a raspberry pink trench! That will look smashing on you.

  • Your list IS long! My ambitions are not so grand 🙂 but I do have the Sapporo Coat on my list. I’ve been thinking the same thing however, that without closures it won’t be warm enough – even here in Victoria winter is still too cold to have a coat flapping open. Now reading Clio’s comment below that she’ll use large hooks and eyes – I’m re-inspired! I just finished 2 Toaster Sweaters – a pattern that truly lived up to all its raves I must say. One I wore today in a heavy cotton sweatshirt fabric from Thread Theory and some mystery heavy cotton ribbing for the bands. I love this sweater/sweat shirt. So cozy 🙂 I have the Trend Asymmetric hem dress ready to be cut out. Have you investigated Trend patterns? They are brilliant. I love all her designs…we’ll see how I make out with this one and if it goes well I’ll be back for more.

    • honestly Kathleen I will probably not get to most of this. Especially since we’ll be packing up the office in a few weeks! I just like being ambitious and kidding myself into thinking I can do it 😉 I love my TOaster sweater but I made mine too big – I need to revisit in a smaller size. And yes I know Trend patterns. There are some interesting designs worth investigating but I was not a fan of the 70’s ruffled dress with pink lame sample I saw last week – WHOA.

      • Yes that ruffled dress is fussy! lol It wouldn’t be for me – I can’t even imagine how it would look – not a pic I even fancy in my mental albumn – but for sure my partner wouldn’t be seen anywhere with me wearing it 🙂

      • Francesca Amodeo

        Re the toaster – yup, I sized down based on finished measurements. Re Trend – ridiculously overpriced. As ridiculous as that dress. Calling it 70s inspired was almost enough to put me off the 70s…For me to say they’re overpriced says something, because I have a very high bar for pricing for good patterns. Also the type who doesn’t think twice about rebuying a pattern in print even though I have the pdf…… Have either of you heard of DP Studio? They’re in France, ship overseas, and their patterns are very very up to the minute, really well drafted and decently priced too.

        • Whooooooaaaaaa! 25 quid for a paper pattern?! I guess they’re shucking the traditional pricing conventions and trying to make it more of a “luxury” thing? That or their print runs are so small and thus so expensive that it’s only feasible with a different pricing model.

          Yes I like DP! They have a super cute top with a mock neck and curved hem I’d like to tackle one day…

          • Francesca Amodeo

            25 and 30 quid…for trending type designs ie not my thing, not staples like your patterns…. Well, I am not paying for people’s low print runs “shrugs” or long slow design and drafting process. sorrynotsorry.
            Back to DP, I have that pattern and have made it and love it. Recommend:). Oh – and I am about to cut out Daughters of Style’s clutch coat which has a similar sort of aesthetic to Sapporo. Bought it before Sapporo came out and thus didn’t buy the latter. It has a swing style and will be super easy to add fasteners or even just a belt for the cold windy days here.

  • How on earth do you find the time, woman?! I’ll think I’ll just copy this entire list and have enough sewing projects for the next 3 years. 😉 I can’t wait to see how they turn out! Especially, the self-drafted slim fitting pants… I aspire to do the same but I’m having lots of trouble with pants fitting. Meh.

    • Let’s be honest – half of this probably won’t get done, especially with our studio move this week. But a girl can dream!