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Sewing Chatter: What does 2016 have in store for your wardrobe?


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Change is inevitable in January. Or, at the very least, thinking about change is inevitable. I only made one simple resolution this year: keep the kitchen sink sparkling clean every day. However, lately I am thinking about larger resolutions for my wardrobe as a whole. I’m fashionably late to the Wardrobe Architect party, but maybe I will join Christine Haynes and get started with Wardrobe Architect this year.

So I look to you, our brilliant readers, to help get me started! What are you going to change in your wardrobe this year? What do you think you will keep?

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 52


You’re not the only one who is late the WA party! I was considering doing this as well this year because I often find my sewing projects are all over the place. The result is that I get to make lots of fun things, but they don’t work together! I would love to follow your WA process :)


It’s difficult to think about an outfit as a whole when a really fun sewing pattern comes out!


I’ve done the WA process and it has made a huge difference in planning my wardrobe/sewing projects. This year is dedicated to creating a few tried and true patterns to fill massive holes in my wardrobe. I need to add a couple different jackets/blazers, adding button up the front dress shirt — both for casual and for professional and several more blouses. I’ve been on a skirt making rampage, but I have hardly any tops (let alone ones that work with the new skirts).

I’m seriously eyeing a body suit or two, running tights, some jeans, and a leather (real leather) moto jacket. Before the jacket comes a fitting, a twill version worn to work kinks out, adjustments and then finally the leather.


Your sewing plans sound great. Have fun with your leather jacket!


Wow, Knitmo, I am very impressed and envious of your plans and abilities! Here’s to hoping you share photos!


While I haven’t yet done the WA series, I know I am overdue for a HUGE purge of the wardrobe – and, for the first time, I know this needs to include some me-makes that don’t really work for me (for a variety of reasons). That process seems way more painful than purging RTW because of the time spent – but am gradually coming around to thinking about the not-worn stuff as “hey, I learned something from this garment, so it served some purpose and can be let go – perhaps to someone who will appreciate it more”


It is really hard to let go of your me-made clothes! My friends and I have clothing exchanges pretty regularly, and it makes me really happy when someone chooses something I made to take home.


I feel your pain. I’ve purged hand knit sweaters. And that was hard. But having them stare at me unworn was stressful too. So, getting them out of the closet felt good in the end.

Debera Massahos

I had been having a hard time making the entire wardrobe make sense and realized that I was buying beautiful fabrics that didn’t necessarily suit my lifestyle or incorporate well into my wardrobe. But for me, master planning of a new wardrobe seems a bit daunting. Last year, I transitioned from buying random pretty fabric to sewing groups of things that played well together but still was winding up with things that didn’t get worn. So…. I thought really hard about what I wear most that also makes me happy and pulled those few things out of the closet. AND THEY WERE ALL BLUE. So with that realization and a commitment to use mostly solids, I’m now sewing whatever garment I want, so long as it’s a lovely shade of blue, or at least has blue in it. Eventually, I will have a coherent wardrobe. I might get tired of blue but when I came to this realization I got really energized about sewing again and I’m now much more disciplined about purchasing fabric. If it isn’t blue, it doesn’t come home with me.


I love this! I have a similar problem with greys. At least grey and blue come in many shades :)


I had to do that too before I could really get my wardrobe together. I only do denim, grey or red now, (although anything goes for 1 hour blouses like Sorbetto, Akita, Sutton or Scout). Slowly it’s coming together and I find it’s getting a lot easier to pick my clothes out and I actually wear everything.


I did the WA and it was great and I identified silhouettes and outfits that I loved and that made me feel great BUT being a SAHM means that none of my ideal clothes work with my lifestyle (and especially so now that I’m nursing my newest little one). So this year I’m going to try to create activewear (since that’s what I end up wearing…total cliche I know) with a bit of luxe thrown in so that I can be comfortable but still feel like me. Not sure how this will go yet!!


I started looking at the WA architect last year. I didn’t follow through 100% super diligently but used it as inspiration to help work through my wardrobe issues (which I am still doing).

I’m starting a new job in a few months, so until then I’m trying to hold off any new purchases. I do want to do more sewing this year!

Idealism never goes out of fashion


Every time I read a blog (which is TOO often!) I am inspired with something new. My first task is to consider what exactly I would LIKE to add to my wardrobe and what strikes me right away is my lack of slacks. I have lots of leggings and a couple of pairs of jeans but I could use some nice slacks. Comfortable but maybe even slightly dressy. But I haven’t decided on a material – I have the Clover pants in mind in maybe a wildly flowered santeen :)


Hi Meg,

I’m a new(sew)bie, and found your “Wardrobe Architect Series” by doing researches on ”how to create a Capsule Wardrobe”. I have basically no me-made clothes yet, so my focus is on finding my personal tried and true patterns, that I will then try to master and decline in different fabrics.

I don’t know if you ever heard about ‘Utility’, so I will quote (sorry, it’s a bit longer…):

“Britain’s high street adapted in response to wartime conditions, and this was reflected in their retail ranges. The government intervened in the mass manufacture of high street fashions with the arrival of the Utility clothing scheme in 1942.

Shoppers carefully spent their precious clothing coupons and money on new clothes to make sure their purchases would be suitable across spring, summer and autumn and winter.

In 1942, the first ‘Utility’ clothes went on sale on the British high street as part of a government scheme. These clothes were made from a limited range of quality controlled fabrics. The Utility scheme developed out of a need to make production of civilian clothing in British factories more efficient and to provide price-regulated better quality clothing. Until Utility clothing was introduced, the less well-off had to use the same number of coupons for cheaper garments that might wear out in half the time. Utility fabrics – and clothes made from these materials – gave the public a guarantee of quality and value for their money and coupons.”

I would like to reflect some of these principles in my own wardrobe, since they make so much sense to me, fortunately on a more environmental and ethical than political level.

Thank you for your inspiration, I am very happy to be able to learn so much from women like you, that share their knowledge in such a passionate way.


Wow, that’s fascinating! There is an episode of Foyle’s war where they use this war time phenomenon as a small part of the plot – Foyle’s assistant gets a new pair of shoes using coupons that have an interchangeable heel and decoration on the vamp so she can wear them to work or out on the town by simply switching out different pieces. To make a connection to environmental consciousness is a great idea, and inspiring too.


Thank you so much for sharing. That is really interesting, and I look forward to seeing how you incorporate this idea into your sewing!


It’s going to be a year of change for me. While my weight has finally stabilized after reaching the “menomilestone” this past year, I was recently laid off, and have no idea what my future work life might look like, assuming I am lucky enough to have one. After nine years of working from home, I may definitely need a WA brush up, even though any actual makes to support my plan will take some time to create after that. In the meantime, the focus will be on culling the wardrobe for a variety of interview outfits and pieces that make me feel confident, but not old.

On the plus side, I have a full fabric stash, and like other commenters, have made real progress lately making purchases of neutrals in fabrics and colors I wear most often. Good thing, because any new purchases are out. This has generally meant more knits. The pattern stash has to be aligned as well, and maybe I have to let go of a few dozen that are just taking up space because they will likely never be made. The first to go are the ones that are too small or just didn’t mature with me and are no longer my style or even in style (I’m looking at you, fitted jackets with traditional lapels! And you, dashed designer dream patterns from the 90s!)

I am really looking forward to reading what others are planning, and why!


You never know, those dream patterns from the 90s might be on their way back (I kid, I kid). It definitely sounds like you have the mindset and fabric needed to meet your wardrobe goals this year. Good luck with everything!


Thank you!


Hi Robin, I did not know ‘Foyle’s’, despite the fact that I love british series (because of their details and realism) and the fact that I love detective dramas! ;)
So thank you for that :D
I wish you all the best for your future work.. hard times – I can sing a song of that.
But before you throw all that 90’s stuff away, try to sell it on etsy, you never know, I saw a lot of ‘interesting tasted’ (don’t know how to express it more polite ^^) stuff there lately.. maybe you are the next big vintage pattern seller.
Keep your head up, Bisous from France


Thanks for the kind words – you made my day!

Gretchen Potts

So, I recently moved to Durango, CO. This year we have been getting lots of snow, so naturally, Ive been doing a lot of skiing. Mostly nordic skate skiing. Ive taken to wearing mini skirts (Mabel) in insulating technical fabric over my tights to keep my buns warm without having to wear a complete second layer. Thats one big change.

The other wardrobe change Ive noticed is my growing arsenal of hoodie shift dresses and skirts. They enhance my ability to shape shift between sports and casual wear. In the winter the dresses and skirts are great for adding extra warmth over jeans or leggings, and in the summer, they become instrumental in discretely changing out of bike shorts and delivering me back to everyday wear without much fuss.


Oooh, like the idea of the Mabel miniskirt in a technical fabric over tights. Thanks for that! I also have a hard time turning down something with a hood…


This month I will give birth and so I will need for new wardrobe, mostly garments for home and going out with kids. I already started to jump in to Wardrobe architect workbooks and did some lessons. Hope that I will have time for sewing and make my new garments.


I found the past editions of the Wardrobe Architect Series really interessting but have not joined in yet which is for two reasons: First, I thought that my wardrobe already contains garments that work together well and fit my lifestyle and second, I was afraid of not being able to keep track of the single steps in the WA project. But now there are several reasons for me to join in: Over the last half year or so, I felt increasingly attracted by garments with different style and colours than those in my wardrobe so maybe it’s time to think about that. Furthermore, the place where I live now has a different climate than my former home country which caused a lack of suitable garments in my wardrobe. And last but not least, I feel guilty about the piles of fabric and sewing patterns I haven’t used yet haha. So I hope joining the WA 2016 will help me organize my wardrobe and sewing.


I too have a truckload of patterns and fabrics that I harbor guilt for spending the money but not utilizing and now I fear that something will happen to them and all that money will be wasted. To pile on the guilt, I am a MAJOR Halloween lover and costumes excite the hell out of me so those patterns and material have never gone to waste. That’s something right?


My WA focus this year isn’t so much about making pieces that work together as it is about making pieces that work with things I have. I’ve got leggings, two skirts, a sweater and a blouse that I don’t wear because nothing goes with them and I’m out to correct that. I also find I need to make a few nicer things since I’m dating again after my relationship ended. There is a distinct lack of winter dresses and nice blouses, so I have to scramble to put something together when I meet someone new. I’d rather not show up at the fancy restaurant in jeans and a tee! ; )


My focus is on adapting my wardrobe to my new life as a mostly stay at home mom who still needs to look presentable for music lessons. So I’m focusing on pieces that are easy to care for, and with a flexible fit where possible to accommodate baby weight loss, nursing, and any further changes from future family expansion. Relatively quick sews have to be a thing, too, since naptime is a struggle around here. (Several Seamwork patterns are on my list. Thank you for making those!)


Unfortunately, I am also late to the wardrobe architect party and my entire closet, shoes included, need a complete makeover. Maybe not makeover so much as trash it all and start with nothing. Between going to school and working full-time plus 3 furry little ones and a loving man-child, time is rather limited. I would love to see recommendations for someone with OCD who does not do anything quickly in fear of imperfection, to completely redo her closet herself. No pressure!!


You should read Heather Lou’s recent blog entry, “Just make it already! How to boost your sewing confidence”. It really helped me think about the fear I have with certain projects.


Count me in as another one who has just started working on Wardrobe Architect. I wrote about my core style this week. I think it works really well with the Sewing with a plan concept.


It sounds as if there are many of us, myself included that are fashionably late to the WA. I have just started reading through the posts, and trying to make realistic goals to my sewing plans. This is mainly as I only made two garments last year, but I wore them so much, if I can choose well, wear them well then I will be pleased!


I currently have three items under construction – two silky tops and a dress with a boho vibe. This year I am working on improving my sewing skills because although I have sewn for a long time I think you can always improve your skills. In terms of my wardrobe I am filling gaps – I love dresses and like to have a good array and I always need new tops – I actually struggle to find good tops that fit me both in the bust and the arms. I have the family bosom and I weightlift hence I struggle to buy a top that fits well and I don’t like them to be too baggy through the body. I know what my core style is and what suits my body shape which is a huge help when making sewing decisions.


I did the Wardrobe Architect the first time around and it really opened my eyes to the things I want to wear! I’m moving more towards minimalism this year, so I’m not sure I’ll be making as much because I don’t need as much! However, I have a job that occasionally requires a cocktail party or a gala (nonprofit life, not as glam as it sounds!) so I’m going to test my skills and treat myself to a couple swish new dresses for fancy work occasions! That combined with a few workhorse pieces (black pencil skirt, new fall jacket) should see me through!

Karyn Hutcherson

I would like to give the WA a try, but i think a “Wardrobe Handy(wo)man” could be put directly to work. Tailoring skills would clean up my look. I am short and round , but my legs are slender. Narrowing legs on pants, adjusting sleeve lengths and general a better fitting garment could brighten my wardrobe.


I might add becoming a wardrobe handywoman to my list this year. Thanks for sharing!


I’ve looked over the WA materials and have incorporated some of the ideas in my adaptation of the KonMari method (yes, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I have an eclectic wardrobe which suits me. This year is important as well as I’m on a make/mend/thrift journey and not buying any new clothes. One thing that’s been happening a little bit is that some of my handmades are meeting each other in outfits I hadn’t intended. Pretty fun!

I am trying to make, nonetheless, things that I’ll actually wear as well as items to fill (perceived) holes in my wardrobe. I feel like it’s a honing of my style.


I have been following Wardrobe Architect (I so looked forward to those Thursday posts!), I read Marie Kondo too like Claudia, and also used advice in The Workbook from Into Mind (

So I have my wardrobe cleared and colours set. I am still working on my silhouettes and my style. In 2016 I plan to sew tops, skirts and dresses. I am starting with the Seamwork patterns. I have nearly finished my first Akita and I have printed the pattern for Mojave. This is the year where I want to learn about fitting clothes and altering patterns to suit my body and style.

Please can we have more posts on Wardrobe Architect? I would love to see what others are sewing for their wardrobe and how all their pieces go together.

Thank you and happy sewing!


I’m going to try to make at least 10 pretty dresses. I found out last year that I love to wear statement dresses every day. The dresses in bold fabrics that I made (peony’s, moneta’s and a Laurel) got the most wear. As a teacher I also feel that kids like it when you do things they can gossip about. Painting my nails a different color every week, doing crazy things with my hair and wearing my pretty dresses: it gets a reaction and makes teaching fun.

Laurie Myer

Yep, late as well. I planned to jump in last year but 2015 held too much change; all unforeseen. I could sew for sanity and that was it. But! I started going through the worksheets in late Dec and have so enjoyed doing that and helped me clarify sewing for the life I have now, not the expat one I’ve lived for the last 11 years. This year I plan to nail down TNT pants: woven, knit and jeans. I have several Craftsy classes that will be fantastic resources. I’d also like to get a TNT going for a button-up shirt and a sheath dress. But a reality check is probably needed regarding these.


Will Coletterie be doing a WA 2016? Team comraderie would be great incentive,!


That is a good idea. I’ll bring it to the team!


I would be interested in participating


Like other commenters, I have recently discovered the color range I :actually: wear is nothing like the colors that catch my eye. I went on a trip to maui recently, and was stoked to put my capsule wardrobe together, seeing how all the colors worked together and how I could include lots of handmade pieces. It’s amazing what a little bit of clarity can do, very satisfying! I don’t have too many long-term goals, but do need some more jeans and would love to tackle bras.


2016 is going to be the year of the PLAN. I will try and follow along with Christine’s version of the Wardrobe Architect series to try and pull my wardrobe together more.
Actual plans for sewing include Ginger Jeans, a wrap dress more T-shirts some trousers. Lets see if it actually happens


I’m going to concentrate on capsule wardrobe items that I can interchange with different seasons. I really need a few summer dresses that I can style up or down. Also try to change things up 4 times a year i.e. January-February-March colder weather dressing, April May June transition clothes for cooler to warmer weather – maybe one of those dresses with a jacket in April and alone in June! Etc. you get the idea.


I perused through the WA posts last year, not following it diligently, as I found that I generally follow those principles anyway. I liked the idea of making my own basics and was set on making tops, skirts and dresses in neutrals that I can build on. But I quickly got frustrated because, even after I’d make a muslin, the final garment didn’t fit properly. I think I was using too cheap fabrics or tweaking the pattern before I knew what I was doing. I needed clothes badly but couldn’t make them fast enough–or correctly enough–to fill the holes in my wardrobe… so I ended up buying some basics, following the WA principles, that I’m now quite happy with.

This actually freed up my sewing! Now I’m looking at colors I wouldn’t normally have considered, patterns that seem too “special occasions” for daily wear… but that I would still wear and never be able to find in a store. I am indeed lacking party/going out clothes, and I can never find what I want in stores, whereas I tend to find basics easily when I go clothes shopping.

For 2016, my sewing goal is to make FUN pieces… and joining sew-alongs (so far for Phoebe) and classes (the Marianne knit dress at my local fabric store) to give my sewing schedule some structure. Already, sewing feels fun again, rather than a chore. I’ll go back to sewing basics when I have better skills and have my staple patterns better adjusted for my body… but I will practice first on fun pieces–fun to make and fun to wear, without the pressure of needing a basic item quickly for daily wear.


I haven’t been following WA to the tee, but some parts of it has been majorly helpful–especially the parts about honing in on your actual style. I impulse buy things based on material (I just can’t pass up silk or cashmere…) or how much I like the IDEA of them rather than how they actually look on me or fit my style. I also am way overdue for a purge of everything I don’t use. That’ll be my first step this year, perfect because I’m about the graduate/move out soon!

poonam buying

It is very inspiring for me to come to know about your plans for this year. I wish you best of luck and will look forward for your more post in future. Truly Inspiring.


Hello….my first time commenting, I’m really in late with wardrobe architect, and I tried to concentrate every exercices in a few time because I founded this blog just last month…. but really great idea, focusing me in my true core style, never think about it. And this January I started to clean out my wardrobe……refashioning clothes or give them away. That’s a good start and no more wild shopping I design and I realize my own clothes. Happy sewing


I read something quite a few years ago that changed all of my thinking on wardrobe planning. The discussion was of the different clothing shopping habits of French and American women. It seems (said the author- and I can’t remember the source for the life of me) that American women think in terms of “outfits” while French women think in terms of “pieces.” The idea is that if you shop (or sew) with a mind to pieces that will fit in with what you already have instead of always looking for a totally new look (we even change our hair style/color more often than European women), your wardrobe will coordinate on its own. Special occasion pieces are added as needed.

I have found that if I start with basic planning and coordinate fabrics, I don’t really have the issues with the single off piece that I used to.

Another thing that I really think messes us up is buying/using too many prints. While prints are so much more fun than solids, solids are a great way to bring cohesiveness to a wardrobe and are far easier to coordinate.

So my biggest tip is more solids in coordinating or mix and match colors! And just ask yourself before you buy: Do I really need a purple/hot pink/printed jacket (sometimes the answer is YES) or could I add/make a fun scarf with this fabric instead? Impulse fabric and pattern shopping isn’t any better than impulse clothing shopping.

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