Sewing Up Fall Fashion Trends

If you've spent the summer just trying to beat the heat with your breeziest skirts and tank tops, you might be wondering, as we are–what's in style for fall? We took a quick tour of fashion websites to see which trends stand out for fall and winter, and which skills an intrepid sewist might want to brush up on to make these trends a reality. We'll be scouring our soon-to-arrive September fall fashion issues for more, but here's a start on a few key trends.

Vests are back, with some intriguing variations on the standard waistcoat style. Some vests are soft and drapey, others structured with menswear style, and still others make a statement in fake fur. Universally flattering and fun to layer, a couple of vests can refresh and update last year's clothes with ease.

Sewing Techniques to Brush Up On: Vests are great projects for new and beginning sewists. They don't take a lot of fabric, and since there are no sleeves or collar, they're easy to make and to fit. A great fabric and interesting buttons make the vest. Try velvet or velveteen, a pretty brocade, or a menswear pinstripe. If you're more experienced, add welt pockets or try a fake fur fabric.

The cape or capelet (and its sister garment, the poncho) is just one of the styles from the mod mid-1960s to re-emerge in 2010. Capes are dramatic but easy to wear, and perfect for the transition to fall weather. To make your cape totally trendworthy, make it in camel wool for a chic topper for skirts, pants, or your '60s sheath dress. Or make a short capelet in a beaded fabric or fake fur (look for a great design from Stitch project editor Katrina Loving in the upcoming issue! Here's a little teaser of Katrina's capelet, above right).

Sewing Techniques to Brush Up On: A cape can be simple or more detailed; you'll want to either line your cape or make sure that seams and hems are cleanly finished. Openings for arms can be a simple as an opening in a seam, and closures can be ties, dramatic pins, a single statement button, or a hidden hook and eye at the neckline. You'll look great in a relaxed, easy-to-make plaid poncho over jeans or in an elegant velvet cape for holiday evenings.

Menswear-inspired clothing for women seems to be a perennial trend, and that's because it looks great on so many of us. It's especially charming to pair menswear-inspired items with something feminine and soft–a cashmere sweater with tailored wool pants, or a herringbone tweed skirt with a great silk top. Pantsuits with wide-legged pants are showing up on the runways for an attention-getting look. And don't forget that the vest trend fits with menswear-inspired style; a sharp, fitted vest in a classic pinstripe, or an unexpected bright shade, will have you perfectly on trend.

Sewing Techniques to Brush Up On: Wool is the classic menswear fabric, and the good news is that wool is easy to sew. If you choose stripes or plaids, pay attention to grainlines and take time to match pieces carefully at seamlines; look for helpful notions like basting tape (to get started with plaid, look for fun plaid projects in the upcoming issue of Stitch). If you want to learn or practice tailoring skills, take on a jacket or tailored pants for a satisfying challenge. Or choose a beautiful shirting cotton or woven silk to make a button-down shirt, and learn or practice skills for topstitching, buttonholes, collars, plackets, and cuffs. Just take your time and go step by step.

These are just a few of the great 2010 trends we're seeing, and we'll bring you more in future posts. Meanwhile, register to comment and tell us which trends you love, which ones you hate, and what you'd like to sew for fall. We love to hear from you!

Happy sewing!

Image: Fake fur capelet by Katrina Loving, from Stitch Fall 2010, available in September.

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