Chanel-inspired Co-ord Top - Carnaby Dress pattern hack

Chanel-inspired Co-ord Top - Carnaby Dress pattern hack

Apologies for the abysmal gap between my last blog post and this! I've been (quite literally) all over the place; we moved out of our Mountain View apartment, returned to England for a working holiday, then came back to California and spent a few weeks living in hotels and airbnbs whilst we searched for a new place to live. This ensemble outfit came along for the ride. 

I finished it in London and wore it to the London Book Fair (wearing my other career hat). I then brought the set back to California with me, but we didn't return to the sunshine-filled, scorchio paradise we'd left behind. Instead, we've moved into San Francisco – the city famous for its fog. Ok, so yes, it is not foggy but bright and sunny (and there are lemons) in these photos, but the sad truth is I was really quite cold.

Having finally found a home for ourselves, we are living in one of the city's sunniest neighbourhoods (the magic of the peninsula's bizarre weather is that it can alter quite drastically street to street) - and yet, even here, it's colder than London. As I write, 'Karl' (the name of the fog that rolls in daily from the Pacific) is spreading eastwards across the city, visible from our window. To my left (west), the sky is a lowering slate grey; to my right (east), a watercolour blue with soft rosy clouds, picking up the last rays from a sun I cannot see. There has not been a single day so far in which I could comfortably go outside with bare arms and bare legs. Brrrr.

Karl in action (as seen from our new home)

There's another reason this glorious outfit hasn't made it out of the wardrobe since moving. People in the Bay Area as a whole dress down. Very far down. T-shirts and jeans, sweaters and leggings dominate. Tonally, beige is king. You can easily go to an expensive restaurant here - the sort of place with a three-month waiting list and eyewatering prices - and find everyone dressed as though they're grabbing a cheeky Nando's. 

I don't think it's just tech bro culture though; I think there's other stuff at play. The streets of the city aren't exactly unsafe, but they're uncomfortable because so much is just glaringly wrong – and so standing out, drawing attention to yourself, doesn't necessarily feel like a smart or sensitive move. It feels off to be effectively peacocking as you walk between people living in tents. So perhaps that's another reason San Franciscans seem to prefer plain clothes. 

That's not to say there aren't people wearing amazing outfits here in SF. Of course there are - it's just there doesn't seem to be much in-between the folks wearing glitter mankinis in Dolores Park and the people that dress like they live in a gym. 

But ... back to the outfit. The top is the simplest of Carnaby Dress hacks. There isn't much more to say than that - it's a the 'top' part of the Carnaby Dress. I replaced the back zip closure with a keyhole opening (read my blog post on how to do that here) and also lined the top by assembling it again in lining fabric and then stitching the lining to the tweed around the neckline. The lining hangs free inside. The Carnaby makes for a really cute little boxy top, if you ask me - perfect for making woven fabric tailored tees.  

I love the look. It scratches the sixties itch I got from watching The Last Letter from Your Lover and yet still feels current. And so I just need to find the way to make it - and honestly, the rest of my wardrobe too - work for me here and now. 
Get the Carnaby Dress pattern
Get the Camden Skirt pattern
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1 comment

Oh. My. Goodness. I love this SO MUCH!!! Had a sudden need for stories of sunshine and sewing at the weekend so was catching up on your blog – admittedly sounds like the sunshine might be fleeting but the photo shines buckets! Hope you are doing well – sounds like lots of change for you guys recently!

Helen Puddefoot

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