Essential Gray Pieces

When I started this adventure of my capsule wardrobe, I picked out fabrics from my stash that I thought would look pretty together in a particular color palette.  And my neutral component was gray.  I realize that you have to have balance and it helps to soothe the eye to have a nice neutral.  One day last year when I was quite happy wearing what I thought was a nice Spring outfit with lavender and pink and turquoise, a 15 year old respectfully told me- "Mrs. Brodsky, you can't wear ALL the colors at once."  I saw a picture of me later in that same outfit, and I thought- "Oh boy, was she right! "

So, inclusion of a neutral gray in my capsule wardrobe was needed, and I actually have purchased several gray fabrics over the years.  But in working through the bin of fabrics for this capsule wardrobe, the last pieces left in the bin were all gray.  Kind of like when going through the bowl of jelly beans and the last jelly beans left are the black ones.   Not interested.

 But, I had planned this wardrobe, and by gum, I was going to finish it!  So, one by one, I plucked the gray pieces out of the bin, and made something from them.  And it was like pulling teeth.  My mind resisted this at every turn.  In the end, I am sooooo happy that I made them because they are fantastic pieces!  I really can't believe how much I've enjoyed wearing them.  They completely balance out the other more colorful pieces, and I love them.

So, I started with what was the quickest of the bunch- a light grey knit turtleneck and a medium gray waterfall vest from Butterick 6389.   I love both of these pieces.  You can make both the top and vest in short or long lengths, and I chose the long length for both turtleneck and vest.

I used a wool double knit and it is a really nice fabric.  For the finishing, you do flat felled seams at the collar, and narrow hem the rest of the vest.   Really a fast sew, and did I mention that it has pockets?

The turtleneck calls for a zipper, but if you have a fabric with enough stretch, you can skip that.  I also made it in a blue gray mini-striped jersey here:

This woven vest is from Butterick 6524. 

 I wasn't thrilled with the design on this one, as after I got it home, I discovered that there aren't really any pockets- just the welts. So, I had to figure out how to make real pockets, which I did, but I would have rather have had that all figured out for me.  

Here it is with my Bellavista light pink top, which needed something to go with it.  I made the vest out of a rayon twill, which is a pretty versatile weight, so I think I will be able to use this a lot.
Here it is from the back- it has shaping darts and a yoke.  I think that the back piece was drafted too straight- it doesn't hang correctly at the sides, and I think that if the back flared out a little more at the bottom that might help.

My last piece is Butterick 6525.   I seem to be doing an advertisement for Butterick!  I'm not getting paid- I just like these wardrobe patterns a lot.

This one has some interesting pieces, and lots of topstitching.  I used my coverstitch for most of it. It also has pockets, and a very clever construction of them at that!  My only problem here is the neck seems a little wide for me.  I think I need to go back in and take up the shoulder seams about an inch.  Which may be a little tricky, because I've already coverstitched the neck.  I may just wait and see if it shrinks up after washing, as I haven't tried that yet.  This fabric was in a Halston bundle from Fabricmart a couple of years ago, and it is really nice.  I have no idea what the composition is, but it's kind of a lightweight double knit.  I've got a lot of pretty scarves that I can wear with this dress, and it is casual enough to wear without feeling too dressy.  And I got my color fix in with some colored tights.

So, these gray pieces don't look particularly exciting alone, but combined with other pieces, I think these were well worth my time in making them!  How about you?  Do you like sewing with neutrals?

Happy Sewing!



  1. You surely explained the dilemma of sewing a capsule wardrobe well! I am glad you pushed through because your pieces look amazing!!!

  2. I agree - well done. The colors work so well together.

  3. SO glad you pushed yourself to sew the neutrals!!! Everything looks AMAZING together!

  4. The perfect neutral in my opinion is grey and you've just proved it! A lovely collection.

  5. Grey is the perfect neutral to go with your colour palette. These garments will all work so well in your wardrobe. Very clever sewing.

  6. It all looks great Ann. I love that waterfall vest- the fabric is gorgeous! Also I love the dress, I think the wide neckline is a feature of the pattern because if you look on the McCall’s site their Instagram shows a model wearing that dress with a turtleneck underneath. Good for you for pushing through, it’s been fun following along- I always love your capsule collections.

  7. I love the use of gray for your capsule wardrobe. I think all the combinations you used look great! I too like Butterick patterns especially the combination patterns, definitely get your money's worth with them.

  8. I was just thinking I need to sew more neutrals and I really love your choice of grey! I haven't sewn a "big 4" pattern since I discovered a number of independent designers. I always had trouble with my garments being too large - whether for me or my Granddaughters. I will have to look again as you have some stunning pieces!!


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