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Introducing The Wardrobe Architect: Crafting a small wardrobe that reflects who you are


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The Wardrobe Architect is a popular series that ran in early 2014. You can read all the posts here.

You and I are builders. We love to construct things and to use our hands. We enjoy the focus and the flow of creation. And most of all, we like the sense of accomplishment we feel when our sewing projects are finished.

But one thing I’ve learned from many aspects of my life is that design is just as important as implementation.

I use the term “design” loosely. Really what I mean is planning. Whether you are building a complex piece of software over several years or tiling your bathroom floor, the more time you spend thinking about how you want to do it, the better the result and the less time wasted in the end.

But lately, I’ve been feeling that my wardrobe – the thing I spend so much time building for the sheer fun of it – is created a bit haphazardly. Yes, I definitely think about what my style is, whether I need something, and whether I’ll wear it. I know generally what colors I like and what shapes suit me.

But just as often, I sew something just because I like it or the fabric is pretty. And that’s fine. But when the majority of what you’re sewing (or buying) isn’t really planned in the context of a wardrobe, you do end up with a few problems.

Do these sound familiar?

  • You acquire things you don’t use.
  • You feel regret over purchases, whether it’s fabric you’ll never use or a blouse bought because it was on clearance.
  • You tend to buy quantity over quality more than you’d like.
  • You buy things that are “close enough.”
  • You don’t have a chance to think very deeply about your purchases, like the environmental or ethical impact.
  • When buying fabric, you go for the bright and shiny instead of the fabrics you really like to wear.
  • You make clothes that don’t really fit your life well (another party dress?)
  • You have an overwhelmingly long list of sewing projects you want to make and no idea of how to prioritize them. This can actually be kind of stressful for me.
  • You feel like your wardrobe is all over the place.
  • You don’t know how to put outfits together from what you have, so you keep acquiring more instead.

That’s a big pile of issues. Do any of these ring true for you? I know they do for me, some more than others.

Architecting a wardrobe

I propose that you join me on an experimental project this year.

Let’s go from being builders to being architects as well. Let’s think about form and function, the deeper implications of our choices, how clothing reflects each of our identities, and how we can sew more and buy less.

This year, let’s work to build wardrobes that reflect each of us, and let’s do it together! It’ll be fun.

I am not going to pretend to be some sort of fashion guru, and I’m not going to prescribe you buy or make anything in particular. I want this to be a project of discovery that we embark upon together. I want there to be discussion and feedback on what works and what doesn’t, because it’s going to vary from person to person.
But there will be a structure and a creative process, and hopefully one that’s enlightening for each of us.

How it will work

Each week, I’ll post on a topic related to wardrobe planning. These posts will build on each other, hopefully creating a process we can work through together to refine our choices, understand our own tastes better, and create wardrobes that we love.

At the end of each post, I’ll conclude with either a topic for discussion, or a creative exercise we can do together. Again, I want this to be a group project so we can learn from each other.

We’ll start with several posts on defining our own styles, and how it relates to who we are. We’ll then get into more pragmatic techniques, like creating uniforms and planning capsule wardrobes. Last, we’ll talk about editing and culling.

This isn’t about minimalism. But it is about personalizing your sewing even more than you already are and thinking about your aesthetics a bit more deeply.

Next week, I’ll start by talking a bit about defining a personal style, and we’re even putting together a little worksheet/questionnaire to get the gears turning.

The posts (so far)

You can also use the hashtag #WardrobeArchitect on twitter, pinterest, or instagram for anything you post related to the series. I can’t wait to get started!

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 266


I can’t even tell you how much I have been thinking about this lately! Totally perfect timing–especially after another December 31 spent going through my wardrobe and pulling out pieces that I sweated over to create but have never been able to make functional in my everyday life–and then donating them. I would love to have a year where all the ideas floating around my head for what holes in the closet need filling actually GET FILLED. How rewarding!!

Love this. Will be following along with relish.

Johanna@projects by me

Sounds very interesting!

Lisa G.

This is a capital idea!


This is a really great idea. Right now, I feel as though I have clothes but I’d prefer to have a wardrobe. This is a great opportunity to remedy that.


I love the idea, and I also love the neat blog buttons. Pretty!
Looking forward to playing with any kinds of exercises, work-sheets and questionnaires you can come up with. I’m a nerd and I actually enjoy filling out forms and such, so this sounds great. (:

Diane @ Vintage Zest

I have had a similar idea on the back burner as well, but haven’t known where to start. I like this “wardrobe craft-along” series that will hopefully get us all on the right track to a thoughtful collection of garments. :)


This is wonderful! I can’t wait for your upcoming posts.

The Nerdy Seamstress

I’m jumping with both feet in! I love this idea, and I’ve been slowly working towards defining my style. I think I have a gist of my style, but I have no idea how to build a wardrobe and how to put outfits together. I think that’s why I normally wear dresses. :P I do want to focus on quality instead of quantity. I’m super excited to be a part of this experimental project! Yay!

Rachel W.

Aah, this really is perfectly timed. I want 2014 to be the year I bring more cohesive design and purpose to my handmade wardrobe. Last year I made a lot of garments, but too many of them were ‘near misses’– technically proficient, perhaps, but not moving me towards where I want to go!

The actual stitching of yet another party dress isn’t a good time to reflect on whether it fits your aesthetics, ethics, and lifestyle goals, so a bit of meta-musing in community with others sewists sounds fantastic! I am totally in (and ask for your encouragement in staying away from ‘shiny’ fabrics in the meantime– I need basics!).


Oh, yes please. My closet is a mess.


I love this so much I can’t even put it into words. Was thinking about doing a series on my blog about wardrobe basics, and this will be perfect to help me through it. I’m SO IN!!


One of my goals for 2014 is to purge from my wardrobe and sew/create staple pieces that fit my life. I’m definitely in on this–this is perfect.


Yes! Count me in. I am struggling with my wardrobe. I hate it. I buy/make bits I like but I need more……….substance to it, more coordination. I am doing a similar thing on a style blog I follow so this will dovetail nicely!


I am so in on this! It’s so topical as I’ve ground to a halt with my makes and need to get some thought and strategy behind what I’m doing. Whilst still fulfilling my creative urge!


A great idea. Have been sorting through my wardrobe and plan only to have garments that mix and match and can be worn time and time again. So look forward to ideas and advice.


I love this idea! Every year I go through my wardrobe, get rid of the pieces I don’t wear only to be left with lots of other pieces I still hold onto. Then I end up buying or making pieces that are beautiful but don’t really go together or fit my personal style. I am so in.


YES YES YES! This is just what I needed!

With the aid of a close friend, I did a huge closet purge last year. We trashed and donated ill-fitting clothes and everything that was not “my” style and that was simply not being worn, and made outfits using the remaining clothes. I realised how much crappy clothing decisions I made, how much money I threw out the window…

The entire process had me feeling so good and hopeful that I swore off buying clothes to only make what I needed. Big mistake! While my closet was temporarily free of clutter, I went back to my old ways of buying discount clothing and falling for ill fitting or “not my style” garments because I liked the print. Obviously, I felt horrible about it, but I realised I didn’t have the proper tools to help me plan my dream wardrobe.

In other words, this wardrobe architect thing is JUST what I was looking for! Hazaa!


Your timing is impeccable – this is the kind of project I need. Have just had baby number 3 (almost definitely my last) & need to rebuild my wardrobe :)


Simone- it’s so funny that you say “almost definitely my last”… I had three also. It’s a good number. :)

As to this idea, I’m all in. Thanks for offering!

Simone C

Haha you got me…My husband says definitely our last!


Don’t be too quick in taking maternity clothes to the charity shop…I did that after number three, and then found I was expecting twins. They are 21 now and absolutely lovely but a 2 year old plus twins was hard work!


This will be great! I’m getting ready to retire so the emphasis of my wardrobe is really going to change – structured rebuilding rather than wild chaos sounds like it will be a lot less stressful. And I’ll have time to sew rather than buy so there will be a much better chance that things will fit well – win/win for me!


This is so timely. (Probably because it’s January) I’ve been thinking about wardrobe basics that I need to make before I make ANOTHER party dress, and prioritizing my sewing for the year. I can’t wait to hear what guidance the group can bring.


I think this is a great idea. I feel like my closet is so full, but I am still lacking practical, wardrobe-building components.


I’m in! I really need to work in this area, build a wardorobe and learn to create outfit, and acquire pieces that go as outfits. I will definitely join in, perhaps not every week since life can happen, but I will play along as much as I can.


Count me in! This is something I’ve been trying for a while now and I must admit that other peoples input on this would be much appreciated. It’s not easy building a wardrobe that fits your style but also your life.


I am intrigued! Will definitely follow along. :)

Mary Anne E

As a budding stylist, I am greatly looking forward to this. As a fashion lover and shopper, I still struggle with this, so looking forward to hearing your tips/tricks. Wonderful idea.


Great idea! I definitely need help with this!


WONDERFUL IDEA. I’ve been contemplating this lately. Everyone keeps telling me I look so good in colors, so I find myself deliberately buying a lot of very pretty and colorful prints. But if I go look at my wardrobe and assess what gets worn the most, it’s a lot of black and grey and long, flowy, dark-colored skirts and a handful of black body suits with a pair of jeans thrown in. I’ve made several brightly colored pieces but I don’t really wear them because when I do I just don’t feel like me. And then I tend not to act like me, either. Maybe I do look great in hot pink, but I like dark colors and that’s OK!


This is where scarves are great. I too wear “The Bruise Colors” (black, grey, navy) to work every day, but a bright scarf gives a needed pop of color near your face, and varies the look of basic pieces, dressing them up or down as you wish. (A slinky pashmina, a silk square, or a cotton scarf will totally change the appearance of a basic black pullover.)

Kate McIvor

Yes, Yes, and Yes! I’ll be putting a button on my website and following along. This is exactly what I need!


Such a fantastic idea – I have so many things in my wardrobe, but tend to wear a core of staples and ignore the rest that for some reason or other don’t fit perfectly/flatter my skin tone/feel comfortable/suit my style. I guess this core that I rely on is a capsule wardrobe in a way, but it doesn’t feel like it all goes together as well as if I’d planned it as one. I’m really looking forward to seeing the series unfold – thank you! Florence x

Fiona M

Seams like a wonderful idea, count me in!


Such a great idea, I’m totally in!

Fiona M

Seems like a great idea, count me in!


I’ve been a quiet reader for very long, and have always enjoyed the well thought writing I find on these pages! This is the perfect opportunity to show how much I love the community you’ve created here;
As for the focus point you’ve just started, I am really excited about seeing what will come out of it, and maybe with a bit more time in my hand, get practical with you! I certainly find a great gap between what I wear, what I sew: I enjoy creating complex pattern, and only sewing challenges will get me through a project. but when it come to wearing I am the happiest in a rectangle bag dress.
I think it will be a good year for your cohesive wardrobe!


This is awesome. I have been following ‘Project 333’ and trying to make it through each three-month season with only 33 items, as a way for me to stop buying and making stuff that I don’t/won’t/can’t ever wear.

I’m pregnant right now, so i won’t be making myself anything until the summer, but I will definitely follow along. When I close my eyes and picture my own style, I see a 1940s-1950s type of glamour. Yet, when I look into my closet, I see jeans and t-shirts. Ugh.


First: CONGRATULATIONS! I wish you all the luck for your pregnancy!

Second: Ohhh, how I understand your dilemma with dream vs real closet! I´m a jeans and tshirt person too and I hate it! It kinds of looks like giving up/not knowing who I am. When I imagine myself, I always see skirts and dresses and Blouses. Not to mention nice blazers and cardigans instead of shabby pullovers!

I startet by adding a pique blazer from Esprit to my wardrobe and feel instantly more stylish! And because of wardrobe architect I choose a different color than I normally would.
So, try starting with a new jacket, it might help you as well (plus: a jacket can be worn after pregancy as well).

And THANK YOU for mentioning `Project 333` this sounds good to me, I´ll check it out!


Your timing could not get any better. I just emptied my wardrobe over the weekend (7 bags went to the charity bin). I am hoping to make my wardrobe this year, and have been reading “Simply Stylish: How to revamp your wardrobe for chic style at any age” by Carrie Foster. And this will totally compliment this by adding my personal style to my wardrobe.

I am in and my empty wardrobe awaits you…


This is such great timing for me. Just finished up a super feminine summer dress of pale yellow and blue. I was showing it to a girlfriend while standing in my closet of black, whites and maroons then it hit me! I have a problem! Ha ha


I love this idea – definitely going to join in!


This sounds great! I’m focusing a lot of my efforts into stashbusting this year, but one of my goals is also to build a more cohesive wardrobe. I’m pretty good at making clothes by this point, but building outfits is something that I struggle with. And I’m also a print-aholic, so that makes it hard for me to make things coordinate sometimes! So I’ll be following this with much excitement (although I doubt my wardrobe will end up small at the end, lol. I like clothes too much.)


Yes!! I need to do this so badly. I made a dress last year out of baseball fabric, just to see if I could make a wearable dress, and it just sits in my closet. I’m really proud of it, but I’ve worn it maybe three times. My goal for the year is to make things I’ll actually wear on a regular basis, and definitely to make garments that coordinate! Thank you!


I’m definitely up for this! Sounds like a great idea for a blog series.


I felt weepy reading this because it’s so true. I feel so weak when it comes to “close enough” or my overwhelming sewing list. I AM SO IN!

M B Pazdernik

Emme – those are the exact two issues which resonated with me. Working too long in retail has made me not want to be an over-exacting shopper ( or sewist), but I think it has gone too far. I have high hopes for this project!


This is a wonderful idea – and surely best undertaken with friends!

I’ve done a fairly good job of gutting my closet over the past few years (two international moves and two pregnancies helps!), but am having a hard time restocking with any gusto. Buying seems silly when making is possible, but making without a good plan is terrifying considering the time required (see above two children).

Looking forward to being along for this ride!


I love that you are looking at creating/refining your wardrobe from a UX standpoint.

When I began being more thoughtful in what I bought, sewed or kept in my wardrobe it was very satisfying and I thought I was really onto something. But after several months of having a nicely curated wardrobe hanging in my closet, which included my “uniforms”…guess what? I realized I was bored with it! And maybe that is the maker in me, the constant need to create new things. But this realization has annoyed me a bit. I don’t want to have a ton of stuff, I don’t want to constantly shop for clothes and I certainly don’t have the time to make everything on my to-do list. But I when I look at my wardrobe, which is mostly neutral with the exceptions of some summer dresses, I seriously wish I had hot pink and yellow in there instead! (Is this the definitive 1st world complaint or what? Yikes.) So I guess I haven’t completely figured out this wardrobe architecting thing on my own. I’m very interested in the topics you’ll cover!


That’s what most concerns me about a minimal wardrobe–boredom! My cold-weather wardrobe isn’t nearly as extensive as my warm weather one, currently, and I was bored with the whole thing by November! Trying to remedy that currently, but of course that means sewing more clothes…


I think the keys to that are:

1) Having pieces that are versatile enough that you can create new and interesting outfits.
2) Accessories
3) changing it up with the seasons and allowing your style to evolve, just in a more considered way.

Also, with the whole capsule wardrobe thing, I still have plenty of clothing that isn’t part of the small capsule wardrobe! They can be rotated in and out and add more spice, I think.


Fabulous! Wish I had a blog for the button (another thing I’ve been meaning to do). I have so so so so much fabric, most of it great but I just realized that I will not live long enough to sew all the clothing and make all the quilts this fabric represents.

However, this year we are sacrificing some space in the bedroom so that I can actually have a bona-fide room for sewing. I think doing this is going to make me, well,more organized and thoughtful about what I bring into the room, what I want to do in the long-term, and what my plans for building my skills and vision are. Great great great!!!!


I’m definitely going to follow along! One of the things I’ve found is that I have chosen some patterns based on popularity, despite a gut feeling that they don’t really suit me. On the other hand, I have a number of Colette patterns that I’m confident suit me, but I’m afraid to try them. Having this focus will help me get there.


Perfect timing! I have project planning paralysis. I keep buying fabric and patterns because they look cute on other people / look fun in the store without actually thinking about what I like to wear and feel best in. The result is a whole pile of patterns and fabrics that I don’t even want to sew into things because I know I’ll never wear any of those items! I also love worksheets and things neatly organized like that so I’m very excited to follow along with this! Fantastic idea! So excited to start!


That’s one of the reasons why I started to sew everything since a half year. It helped me to focus on making things I really want and need!


Love this idea! Perfect timing as I’m working on simplifying my style and making more clothes that get worn this year!

Teresa Ward

My own wardrobe is fine for my lifestyle, but it am sewing for two of my grown daughters. They need to dress conservatively, but both look best in bright summer colors. They have “summer” complexions. Learning your “season” is a fabulous early step in planning!

I am an autumn, another dd is spring, and another is winter. They are all happier with their handmade garments n their “seasons.”

I will enjoy this “Warderobe Architect” series as I help my daughters build their wardrobes. Thanks for the guidance!

Eleanor Humphrey

I echo this – knowing my colours lead to me completely rebuilding my wardrobe – I am an autumn and I look deathly in black, however when I looked at my wardrobe it was mostly black, and whenever I walk into a RTW shop now all I see is black most of the time. Knowing your colours is an essential first step.

This also reminds me of a blog post I read recently about creating a capsule wardrobe using only three colours ( great idea, but I definitely don’t have that kind of restraint with colours.


After finding inspiration in an older Coletterie post that involved palettes of three colors (I can’t remember it well enough now to even figure out decent search terms, but it definitely influenced me), I looked critically at the colors in my wardrobe. I discovered that, if I didn’t include denim, my wardrobe was about half made of three main colors and their shades already. Now, when confronted with a simple shopping dilemma (top in this print or that?), I choose to coordinate with those colors. Special things in trendy colors go easily with the aforementioned denim, and the rest remains coordinated. It’s a simple trick that helps me encourage a little cohesion in a rather chaotic wardrobe (that is due in no little part to chaotic weight fluctuations). It’s similar to my favorite, easy “diet”: eat whatever you want, just less of it! (And make it yourself, dummy!)


count me in! as a relative newbie ti sewing my own clothes I want to make things that I like and want to wear, and that fit with my style and the rest of my wardrobe.

Efwa . Medea

I’d love to join. I sew all my clothes and plan every season, but it will never be as perfect as I want. I really look forward to see where this will lead. I’m @med_ea at Instagram


Great idea, I sell items on eBay often to make way for new purchases. Then find I miss something I sold thinking that would have looked great with this or that. This I want to sell less on bay buy less and make buy things which compliment what I have as I know mysyle and what suits me. Looking forward to theses posts x

Winwick Mum

Ooh, I’m in too! I’m still quite a newbie to this dressmaking mularky so it’ll be really useful to make stuff that I’m actually going to wear. It’s too easy to buy things off the peg that are nearly – but not quite – what I had in mind which of course never get worn but I hate to throw away without feeling that I’ve got use out of. I love the idea of being able to make just what I want to make my wardrobe really work for me.


I am in! I am taking part in the RTW Fast, and changing my wardrobe to what I love instead of just what I can find in my size.


I have the problem that I buy things because I desperately need something to fill a hole – so of course I end up with things that ‘do’ rather than clothes I love. My wardrobe has gotten emptier and emptier over the last few years – I feel like the shops are always pushing trends so hard that there’s no choice if you don’t think the trend will suit you (or if you just don’t want to wear the same kind of things as everyone else!). So this is exactly the sort of project I need to kickstart me!


This is exactly what I need! I’m so excited about this!! My wardrobe feels so random, and it will be so much fun to wardrobe plan with other people :) My biggest problem right now is trying to balance learning new skills using patterns that I know aren’t really “me” and modifying patterns to create the designs in my head even though my skills aren’t up to it (plus, I’m still learning about fit). I can’t wait for the worksheets! So nerdy ;)


so excited about this – thank you


I swear there is something going around! I feel like everyone is feeling the same urge to simplify and structure. I’m doing my Weekend Wardrobe challenge, Rochelle is sewing from only 12 patterns… I think they all complement each other nicely and serve similar purposes. Love it!


This is such a great idea. I won’t have a lot of time for sewing this year, but I really want to make clothes that I will really love and wear; clothes that fit in with my style, wardrobe and lifestyle. I really look forward to taking part in this.

Donna Thackston

Thank you so much for sharing your insight.


Fun! I’ve only started thinking about my clothes as a “wardrobe” recently, and it is definitely a work-in-progress. Can’t wait to start!


I’m so in! There are some items in my wardrobe that get worn over and over again, items that make me happy. And then there are the others… And there are the fabrics I buy because “pretty!” but that never make it into an actual item that I would wear. My issue is that I love so many different fabrics and styles but what works for me and feels like me is something entirely different. I need to learn to differentiate between the three and find what I love AND works for me AND feels like me.


This goes perfectly with my plans for the new year. I’ve realized that it is rare that I actually like an outfit I’m wearing. This year I’m making an effort to really analyze my wardrobe and put together outfits that look like me. I have also become more conscious of my wardrobe’s impact on the environment and other people, and am trying to sew, knit, or thrift what I do wear. Now I will have some structure to help me do this!


Sounds so much fun!! Count me in!…. Do you need to have a blog to participate?


I think this challenge is just what the sewing blogging world was craving this year. Bravo on giving it a great structure and a great name! Can’t wait to follow along.


This is an awesome idea! I’m moving this summer, so I really have to edit my wardrobe. This will help me so much, I’m sure!


Great idea! I am looking forward to reading more! :)


This is an exiting series; sure to be thought-provoking, helpful, and fun. I like the emphasis on personal style and lifestyle; quality vs quantity; and making thoughtful choices-environmental, social, and otherwise. As a recent nursing graduate, I have more time for sewing and a bit more money to spend on high-quality fabrics. One of my dreams is to create a wardrobe of mostly me-made clothing that fits my body and style, mates well together, and is of a higher quality than I could ever afford to purchase. Love this. I am in.


How timely! I just started sewing last year and I am so into it that I am having a hard time focusing. I want to make one of everything in all the pretty fabrics, practicality be damned! The things is, before I started sewing, I had gotten my wardrobe pared down to the just the essentials – things I actually loved and wore often – and now that I am sewing it is filling up with pretty things, but not all of them are fitting (figuratively AND literally).

So count me in! This may be exactly what I need to focus my creative drive.


What great timing. I am doing the Ready-to-Wear Fast witn Goodbye Valentino and evaluating what I need in my closet. I have so many items that I do not wear because it does not have a blouse or bottoms to match.
I’m in.

Julie Allan

I think you must be a mind reader (especially judging by a lot of the other comments). My wardrobe space is tiny – I have far too many clothes – I can NEVER find anything to wear. You are just what I need – thank you.


Oh YES!! My wardrobe is so painfully small that it is embarrassing. Seriously, I am a 49 yo woman and currently I have 2 pains of jeans as pants that fit. That is it. Yep. I have a few knit tops. I have squat to wear to go out somewhere nice. And, not bragging, but money isn’t the issue. My lack of confidence in what to make is the problem.

In addition, I signed up for Goodbye Valentino’s RTW Fast for 2014. I am excited, but really want my sewing time to end up in a nice wardrobe, not one wear I still exclaim “I’ve got nothing to wear!!!” – and I’m not kidding.

Amy Peck

You are brilliant! My job is very flexible and I can dress up or down, and I usually opt for the dressing down (jeans, t-shirt and cardigan) but then I find that if a “dress up” occasion arises I have nothing to wear. I’d like to dress a bit more professional and NOT look just like one of my students. Thank you for this… I’m super excited to get started!


This is a great idea. I have been thinking about this alot lately as I plan some of my new year projects. I have a lovely altered sorbetto tunic that I wear much more often than anything else I have sewn, but my mind becomes a flurry of activity and new patterns. This weekend I’m planning on making another one of those tunics. It may not be so exciting and challenging, but it will actually be something I grab when I’m dressing. These ideas are so appropriate for knitting as well. I’m working on knitting what I will wear, rather than what looks challenging or uber creative.
Thanks for the reminder!


I am so there. This sounds intriguing.


A few years ago, I made a 10-piece wardrobe to take on my summer vacation, and it was absolutely thrilling. Since the vacation, I’ve continued to wear all of those pieces–together as well as with new makes.

Lately, I’ve been making various versions of my uniform of skinny pants/jeans and silk blouses. I love wearing those pieces too. I just feel like myself and they all fit.

I even planned a cold weather wardrobe for my one-year-old, just to make sure I didn’t sew 5 cute, frilly dresses that she’d wear once before she outgrew them. So hooray for wardrobe planning! It really works, and I love it! However, I also still indulge myself in sewing something impractical for fun if I feel like it; aside from sewing for my wardrobe, I also sew for sheer joy/therapy.


This is exciting and perfect timing as in 2013 I decided I wanted to sew my own clothes so would love to put more thought into it. I always feel inspired by your blog.


Yes, I need an architect. Do I really want to sew those dresses for spring? This is my chance to find out. Looking forward to taking part in the challenge.


Such an amazing idea! I’m on board! I’ve moved houses 6 months ago and took photos of all my clothes before putting them away, and I realized that I have quite a lot of clothes, yet I only where about 15 pieces in total, on a daily basis, so let’s do this! I’m really excited! :)


I love the idea of sewing for my life and making stuff I’ll actually wear. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to sew the crazy tops, I just want to make trousers and skirts to match. :-D


This is excellent. My sewing doesn’t compliment my lifestyle at all. I’ve chosen to stay at home with my children and end up in jeans most days, but I love to sew dresses and workwear. I end up working for weeks on a dress for a wedding or a special event that I wear only twice. That isn’t a good use of my time.

As I see it, I have three options I need to explore:
1) I need to limit my sewing “time splurges” and focus on what will be more practical.
2) I could learn to make sewing my staples more enjoyable- try a new technique or add some special design elements.
3) I can learn to be comfortable being the best-dressed mom at casual, Pacific Northwest play groups.


I’ve been thinking so much about this same topic lately! I’m super excited to see what you come up with, and I’m completely on board for joining in. I’m tired of bring dissatisfied with what I find when I look in my closet.

Sue Augustyn

This really sounds like a great exercise to edit the choices I make instead of, for example buying a pattern that I absolutely love but is more suitable for a woman 5′ 10″ and 120 lbs instead of a woman 5′ 3″ and……well you know, not 120 lbs! Count me in!


I can’t wait! I wear dark jeans and a nice-ish top or sweater to work EVERY DAY with a variety of running shoes. I’m a teacher, so dressing up isn’t huge, but I need some variety in life… and … I strategically planned this wardrobe BECAUSE it’s SIMPLE, and I don’t have to think about it (I’m terrible at dressing myself), and BECAUSE it’s COMFORTABLE, and BECAUSE IT FITS MY LIFE… but..


This sounds like an AWESOME series.

Enlighten me! :)


Catherine from Canada

I’d love to join in! I’ve been on a style define and redefine odyssey for a few years now, first transitioning from 28 years as a SAHM to working in an office, then starting an exercise and weight loss project (40 pounds and counting!) that has me sewing a new wardrobe every season. I don’t have time to waste on mistakes!

PS I got complimented on my ponte Laurel at the gym this morning.


This is so timely…I too have been thinking the very same thing! I think it is important to have a wardrobe that works for you and works together. I sometimes have trouble with a ‘signature’ style, though. I really do have different moods on different days…so I also think it’s important not to be too restrictive in your choices and still have some fun and experiment.


I’m in! What a positive and fresh approach!

Carol carrier

I’m in! I think there is book lurking here to be written


Killer timing! Last week after read your post with the Excel doc for assessing one’s personal wardrobe, I’ve been visually categorizing my wardrobe every morning (and seeing pics with me). I realize the need to really look at my old punk rock/lazy career artist mom wardrobe more realistically. And I’ve realized that blacks, grays and T-shirts don’t really look that exciting in a photo, no matter how red my lipstick may be.

Focus, plan, and build. Look forward to joining into this. Thanks!


I’m in! I’ve assigned myself a uniform to wear to work, and that, combined with some weight gain has made my wardrobe incredibly spotty. I also hate to shop for clothing because I feel as though nothing fits me, and sewing things for myself takes a very long time and produces uneven results. So I could use a project in this area.


Yes! I’ve been pretty focused on this for a couple of years and I love that sewing lets us get away from the fast fashion culture.


I love your idea! All your points sound just like me. Since becoming a mom, I just don’t have the places to wear many of the things I like to sew (fancy). I need more “regular” clothing and things that are kid-proof.


I was just thinking a about this! I want in.


I’m in! It’s perfect timing since I joined a no RTW challenge for 2014 on the heels of culling my clothing (decimated it – oops!), shoes, fabric and patterns and have been mulling over these very decisions as I do not want anything in my closet that doesn’t suit my life and the direction it’s going as I creep closer to 50. Once I realized I purchased a lot of patterns and fabric based on the life I’d like to live rather than the life I currently live, I decided to simplify. This will be a great way to focus on what deserves my time and a place in my closet.


Coming for the Luddite corner as I don’t have a Twitter account or a blog, I love this idea! And, what seems so appropriate for the moment, I just read a quote from Walt Whitman, “Whatever satifies the soul is truth.” That may be my motto for life. Thanks for doing this and I can’t wait to see what you post. And… Count. Me. In.

Gretchen Moran

Im all in!


I just wore my jeans & boots winter uniform and spent the day thinking how tired of it I am and how I want to have a wardrobe I love. I can’t wait to achieve that with your help!

Amy Clark

Such a good idea! I am perpetually drawn to the most colorful fabrics, yet I mostly wear black and grey. I have mostly opted out of the consumer lifestyle, yet I love fashion. I have tried to pare down, yet my closet is full. And so, because my wardrobe decisions all compete with each other, I generally wear the same 4 things until I’m so sick of them I have to get rid of them. Which is wasteful. And irritating when I need to get dressed. Looking forward to the discussion I am sure will arise.


I’m in. I plan to change job and I need to think before starting a new project.

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