Do you ever feel completely scattered when it comes to your sewing projects?
So many fabrics, so many patterns, so many darn CHOICES. Not only have I found myself buying way too much, I’ve been completely neglecting some of the beautiful treasures I already have.
Not only that, but I tend to flip from project to project depending on my mood. In the end, I might make something cute, but I’m often over it by the time it’s done.
I’ve realized that it helps to really develop an attachment to what you’re making. When I invest time in planning out my projects, in making them work together, and in choosing just the right style, color, and fabric, something magical happens. It becomes worthy of love.
This is a small part of my stash, which has tons of gorgeous things in it I haven’t been using.
I tried a few different approaches, like creating a physical queue of patterns and fabric, but I kept getting distracted by the new and shiny. I get serious FOMO in fabric stores because you never know how long something will be available. It’s a recipe for an ever-growing stash.
Here’s my sad attempt at creating a pattern and fabric queue. It basically just became another pile:
I realized I needed a more disciplined approach. It was time to return to the Wardrobe Architect process and actually design a fall wardrobe with some forethought and intention.
After I’d used that process to really think about what I wanted to make, I’d plan each individual project in much greater detail, so I really felt invested in each one. Sewing is a labor of love, and I wanted to feel that sense of love each time I finished a garment.
Step One: Reviewing my style
Those of you who have followed along with the whole Wardrobe Architect experiment over the last few years know that it begins with a pretty in-depth look at your own personal preferences, history, and context to come up with a core style.
Because I’ve done this before and because what feels like me hasn’t changed much over the last few years, I don’t need to redo this whole process every season. I just need to take what I’ve learned, perhaps update a few things here and there, and adapt it for the coming season.
Since I first created my core style board on Pinterest, I have added a few things here and there. I also decided to narrow my style words a little, in part to be more specific and in part because I realized that remembering more than 3 words is kind of hard!
Here’s my current board and the 3 style words I use: enduring, sultry, lush.
Step two: Creating my fall 2016 mood board
After looking through this, I next created my mood board for the upcoming season.
I wanted to ground my inspiration in reality, so before I started my mood board, I took a good look at what I actually wear frequently and feel best in. I’ll talk more about this process later, but for now, I determined a few things that I’ve found I really love wearing at the moment:
image: Garance Dore
- Antique jewelry. After years of being fairly minimalist with my jewelry, I have developed a minor obsession with jewels, particularly of the victorian era. I don’t really have a big enough collection to pile it on, but I’ve discovered that the sense of history and the enduring nature of jewelry really speaks to me. I also have a few heirloom pieces that have a connection to my family history, and I find them very comforting to wear.
- Jewel tones. Maybe it’s all the jewelry, but I’ve been really attracted to colors like sapphire blue and emerald green and ruby, along with my usual staples of black and pale neutrals.
- Metallics. I might be becoming an eccentric old lady, but all things sparkly are just appealing to me right now.
- Menswear. I’ve been finding that I wear a lot more pants and button-ups than I thought I did. I like the mix of menswear details with pretty and feminine fabrics and shapes, like a silk dress with a tuxedo jacket.
I also made sure to look through my fabric stash to find fabrics and colors that were inspiring me and that I might want to use. I pulled these out and kept them nearby as I went through the rest of these steps.
I also included one “dream project” on here, something I’ve been wanting to make for a long time: a tuxedo jacket in the style of a Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking jacket.
For this mood board, I started with a whole bunch of images collected on Pinterest but then went small and analog. I find it helpful to start big and whittle things down little by little.
Step 3: Choosing my silhouettes
The next step was choosing 3-5 silhouettes for the season. These are designed to basically be outfit “templates” I can use to help me really nail down what I want to wear and make sure that the things I make actually go together.
Here’s what I chose. A lot of the individual pieces here can be mixed and matched too. I think that when you concentrate on silhouettes and shapes rather than individual garments in specific fabrics/colors, this becomes a lot easier. It sort of opens your frame of reference a bit.
Pencil skirt + woven or knit tee + heels
Full midi skirt + cropped sweater + heels
1940s style rayon/silk dress + blazer + heels
Button-up + high waist pants + boots
Step 4: Creating a palette
I love making color palettes. I also knew this would be the number one thing that would help me in buying fabric and being able to say no to fabrics even if I love them.
Like I said, I’ve found myself more and more drawn toward rich jewel tones, and also oddly drawn to lilac purple, a color I haven’t worn much in the past. It all started when I thrifted a beautiful silk michiyuki that reminded me of wisteria.
Again, I followed the Wardrobe Architect principle of dividing my palette into neutrals, near-neutrals, and statement colors. I find that some jewel tones (like deep berry or plum) work really nicely as near-neutrals, which makes them easy to mix and match.
Next post: From concept to project queue!
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll talk about how I went from here to creating my list of projects I want to sew this fall/winter.
Have you guys planned your fall sewing yet? Are you like me and get overwhelmed by possibilities if you don’t intentionally focus like this? Or do you prefer a more freeform approach to sewing and wardrobe planning?