Hot! The “Wardrobe Building” Skirt & Top

The Facts

Fabric: 3½ yards polyester
Patterns: Simplicity 7086 (top) & Simplicity 4951 (skirt)
Year: 2002 & 2004 (respectively)
Notions: four 5/8” buttons (stash) & a 7” invisible zipper ($2)
Time to complete: top – 4 hours; skirt – 2 hours
First worn: January 27 for photos
Wear again?: Yes

Total price: $7 (for fabric and invisible zipper; the patterns I’ve had for years)

This is a bathroom in the capitol building. Not too shabby.


I was going to skip this challenge because I prefer to make something I will be able to use right away during winter. But then I thought of a poor cream skirt and mulberry top that I made last year but were still waiting for a final piece (a coat that needs a lot of pattern alterations) before I would wear them. They needed some friends while they waited for May. Plus, like many of you, I suspect, I need more separates that I can wear at the office.


I had gotten this pink, cream, and taupe polyester fabric on the cheap ($5) from an old lady neighbor of my mother and realized it would coordinate with both of the pieces I had already made. So I decided I may as well make them up now as a skirt would take no time at all and a simple top would be fairly quick as well.


What would take so long, I knew, would be getting photographs of all four coordinating pieces in all four combinations. And who wants to wear summery things outside in Michigan in January for any photo session, let alone a long one that involves multiple costume changes? You have to have a spot where you can go in and change (and warm up a bit).


So we drove a couple miles from our house to the State Capitol Building where a dear friend happens to work and she generously allowed me to pose for photos in some lovely parts of the building she is obsessed with and change clothes in her office. Seriously, folks, she gets to look at this dome every day she goes to work:



What I like about these pieces is that they can be worn many the ways shown below (plus another skirt I made last year but totally forgot to bring to the photo shoot) and I can pair the tops with slacks or even jeans. I also like that nothing in this ensemble is blue. I have a serious problem branching out from blues and greens, and I’m hoping to diversify my wardrobe this year. I also really need more shirts in my life, so this helps fill that need as well.



Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


Comments are closed.

  1. Fantastic! Building a wardrobe is such a good idea. Very nice fabric and it does coordinate beautifully with all of your other pieces. (and what a stunning building!)

    • The coordination was pure luck as none of those fabrics were bought to go together. The coordination with the beautiful painted walls in the capitol was also a lucky coincidence. :)

  2. Wow Erin you have been on a sewing roll. Great job on the skirt and top. Good luck on diversifying your wardrobe this year, SW will certainly help you do that.

    • I know, I’m sort of stunned at how much I’ve done already this year (I’m a few weeks ahead of schedule even). I WILL bust this stash down to size this year.

  3. That is so cool and comfy looking and yes, what a fabulous building.

    • Yes, I think they will be perfect for hot weather. So light it’s like wearing nothing at all (which wouldn’t really be good for several reasons). :)

  4. Hurrah for the “pleasant peninsula”! Our capitol building is gorgeous, isn’t it. All your combinations look awesome! Such a great idea.

  5. These are lovely pieces! Definitely great wardrobe building blocks – I love your combined looks! Very well done :)