Sew long, summer: A back-to-school transition capsule

20160910_102949End-of-summer sewing is always a very emotional thing for me. As a teacher, I am using my last weeks of summer vacation to finish up projects I didn’t get done over the break and mentally prepare myself for another school year. I also try to sew my “first day” outfit as it’s a good icebreaker with the kids and allows me to show them the care I put into preparing for them to arrive.

20160910_104757The difficulty I experience in creating a “back-to-school” capsule lies in the very specific criteria I have for the clothes I wear in September. As the year wears on, I allow myself to relax a little, but the first weeks are so important in setting the tone for the rest of the year. I strive to achieve a look that comes off as approachable to the kids, but professional to their parents and my colleagues. Weird late-summer/early fall weather complicates this significantly, as I am often leaving the house in 12-degree weather (we’re talking Celsius, here), but I’m taking the kids out in sweltering, humid 30+ degrees in the afternoon. As a result, my capsule includes many light-weight separates that can be layered to fit the ever-changing temperature.

20160910_105631I started with a few items I already had in my closet (a few of which are the base of my spring capsule) and added two new blouses to round out my looks and create a new colour palate that moves from summer (chambray and gingham) to fall (dark florals and mustard yellow). My mini, exclusively me-made capsule now consists of: two three-quarter sleeve jackets, two knee-length skirts and three sleeveless blouses, which makes so, so many different outfits.

20160910_105333The larger gingham check peplum blouse and gingham skirt are old standbys from last spring. The jackets were made as part of a course I took in the fall. The chambray skirt has been a wardrobe warrior since I made it last summer.

20160910_104430The new additions are two ruffle-front blouses with a stand up collar. I felt the style looked professional without being stuffy. Both blouses are made from this printable Burda pattern. If you’re interested in my PDF pattern experience, check out this post from a few weeks ago. The gingham check was made straight from the pattern, and the black and yellow floral was adapted to be longer and flowier. I’ll be posting later this month on how I adapted the pattern for a more casual cut and how I dealt with the shifty, fray-i-ness of that floral (read: not well).


I think my favourite part of making mini capsules, is how you can coordinate details to pull everything together. The yellow jacket features a Hong Kong binding using the yellow and black floral fabric. The peplum blouse includes and under-collar and collar band that match the gingham skirt. The gingham ruffle blouse has a strip of chambray along the neckline to go with the chambray skirt. The details make me so happy!20160910_104954The combo of these seven garments has afforded me limitless options of comfy, breezy, professional options for the first weeks of school and have helped me feel ready to say sew long to summer. If you’re interested in reading posts from other bloggers about how they say good bye to summer with their sewing, check out this link. We’re blogging all week! Thank you to Mahlica Designs for including me!

16 thoughts on “Sew long, summer: A back-to-school transition capsule

  1. I too work in a school and deal with wildly fluctuating temperatures. Case in point today – BBC weather predicted a warm and sunny day today – so sandals and a skirt today. Its drizzly and grey and my feet have been freezing all day!

  2. It’s so much harder to know what to wear when your temperature fluctuates so much. I think you’ve done a fab job though. I especially love the mustard jacket!

  3. I think you’ve put together a beautiful capsule and it looks like it accomplishes what you need it to do; look professional, approachable, and weather enduring. I really like your use of the mustard yellow pieces. It seems like all of your pieces work together well.

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